Thursday, September 18, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #26
We all do favors in our day-to-day lives. It’s one of the only ways human civilization can function, being able to cooperate with one another. Sure, it still leads to shitty things like wars, genocide, and reality TV, but it has helped us progress to the point where we have abundant internet porn so I won’t say it’s a total burden. But every now and then, someone will ask a favor that will make us want to choke on our own piss. And when those favors come in the form of a will from a dead loved one, that piss is more bitter than usual. That’s what the X-men have been experiencing in wake of revealing Charles Xavier’s last will and testament.
First, they found out that he secretly married Mystique. That alone was harder to swallow then ten gallons of piss. Then they find out that Xavier had been secretly monitoring a dangerous mutant named Matthew Malloy for much of his life. Never mind that he somehow managed to hide this during all the other times he was dead, evil, or MIA. I doubt those kinds of details are ever considered when shitting all over 50 years of convoluted continuity. But now that Xavier is dead, the X-men must continue what he started or their entire function as X-men is completely fucked. I’m expecting plenty of Xavier’s loved ones to be choking on plenty of piss in Uncanny X-men #25. But since this is the last will of their mentor, they might as well hold their nose and pretend it’s cheap vodka.
They might be able to take some comfort in the knowledge that Maria Hill will be drinking her share as well because she’s still trying to keep SHIELD in the mutant-policing business. After the epic clusterfuck that Dark Beast pulled them into with the Sentinels, I would think that Maria Hill would avoid mutant issues like a hypochondriac avoids a gas station toilet. But after the big fucking crater Matthew Malloy left in South Carolina, she’s going to take another swing at it. Sure, she might leave a few more craters and she admits this one of her worst nightmares that don’t involve killer clowns. But hey, nobody can accuse her of not being persistent. It’s admirable when Rocky Balboa doesn’t. Not so much when a government agency with a history of fucking up a certain issue.
I still think Cyclops would gladly trade places with Maria Hill at this point because after hearing the full extent of Charles Xavier’s will in the previous issue, he’s understandably pissed. Xavier now wants the X-men to continue his legacy of mind-fucking Matthew Malloy into not blowing everything up. Sure, that goes completely against everything Xavier taught his X-men about teaching mutants to accept who they are. But this is a case where he had to make an exception and keep it a secret from everybody. Why? I’ve given up trying to figure it out and so has Cyclops.
It’s a pretty emotional moment in that it gives Cyclops a chance to fully react to Xavier’s will. But the impact is pretty limited because Cyclops is the only one that has such a reaction. It’s not even a completely understandable. He’s pissed that Xavier would lie to them like this and wait until he’s dead to tell them. I’m not sure why he would be more pissed now than he would all the other times he’s lied. Xavier has gone behind the backs of the X-men before and he’s gone so far as to mind-fuck them. It just feels like he’s being pissed for the sake of being pissed. What makes it feel even weaker is that the rest of the team are on board with doing as Xavier asks. They pretend they’re okay with Xavier doing this. They treat it like we’ll treat boy bands one day, as one of those things we just wish never happened.
Usually, this is the perfect opportunity for Beast to do something that would make him even more of a douche. But this time, it’s Iceman who takes advantage of this opportunity and he really swings for the fences. Whereas everyone else just yells at Cyclops to go along with Xavier’s last wishes, he just keeps trying to throw in more jabs about how he murdered Xavier. Never mind that he wasn’t in control of himself. Never mind that he’s standing right next to Wolverine, a guy who murdered his own son without the influence of the Phoenix. Never mind he’s standing next to Beast, who has helped murder entire universes. He just has a permanent rage boner for Cyclops and only Cyclops.
Iceman swings for the fences with his douche-baggery on this one. Everyone else is more understanding in getting Cyclops to go along with Xavier’s will. Firestar even shows sympathy, noting just how tortured Cyclops is. She has this thing called empathy. Iceman clearly never even heard of it because when everyone else asks what he would do, he actually says he hopes Cyclops dies in battle. That sounds like the kind of shit seen on a 4chan message board, not from someone who was once Cyclops’ friend. It puts Iceman into a whole new world of douche that even Beast has never entered. I thought nobody could be as big an asshole as Beast, but Iceman just made him his prison bitch.
All this outrage and douche-baggery still centers around Matthew Malloy, who is probably the least douchy character in this conflict. For a guy who just blew up an entire town and killed thousands of people, that’s saying something. It helps that he does come off as sympathetic. He doesn’t understand what’s happening with him. He’s still trying to figure out his powers. With Xavier having suppressed them for so long, he might as well be a 12-year-old trying to play quarterback in the NFL. The problem is he still doesn’t have much personality. He’s just perpetually shell-shocked the whole time. Given the circumstances, that’s understandable. But it still makes him feel like more a prop than a character.
Shell shocked or not, he’s still at the top of Maria Hill’s shit list. Since Cyclops was once at the top of that list, that’s not saying much. To her credit, she does try to do more than just throw bombs or killer robots at the problem. She’s not John McCain. So in an effort to be a little smarter, she enlists help from Exodus and Headlok, who happen to be part of SHIELD’s psi division. Not even sure how long they’ve had that because it sure as hell would’ve come in handy when Dark Beast was screwing them over. But I digress.
They make a concerted effort to attack Matthew psychically, just as Charles Xavier had done. Since SHIELD has no psychic on the level of Charles Xavier, it doesn’t turn out very well. It turns out like most government operations turn out, but it does yield one important detail. Matthew is a mutant. That means SHIELD has to deal with mutants again. It also means that Maria Hill will be having more nightmares about mutants. On the other hand, some of those nightmares might involve Cyclops so that means she’ll at least get a few wet dreams out of it. Not saying it balances everything out, but it’s something.
It’s setting up for a powerful convergence between SHIELD and the X-men on Matthew. That’s why it’s more than a little jarring and disappointing when another unrelated side-plot enters the picture. It’s not related to Xavier, Matthew Malloy, or secret marriages. It’s just the New Xavier students training with the Cuckoos in the Danger Room in a scenario that pits them against the Avengers. It’s not even that novel because they actually faced the Avengers earlier in the series when they tried to arrest Cyclops and he told them to piss off. Since they don’t have Cyclops do to that with this simulation, they’re understandably inept. I know they’re teenagers, but this wasn’t supposed to be a story about how inept teenagers are against the Avengers. It’s supposed to be about the last will and testament of Charles Xavier. That or somebody got way too stoned when they made the solicits for this.
As out-of-place it might be, it does lead to a meaningful conversation between Triage and the Stepford Cuckoos. Triage rightly points out that training to fight the Avengers sort of has some unpleasant implications. The Avengers are supposed to be the good guys. That’s how the world sees them. That’s how their PR team keeps it, even if some of them secretly meet to destroy other universes from time-to-time. So if they ever did fight them, then that would make them villains by default. It doesn’t matter if it’s overly simplistic. Triage understands that the people of this world have minds organized like Fox News in that overly simplistic explanations are the only acceptable explanations. The Cuckoos paint it a different way, saying they’re training to protect themselves. But Triage still isn’t buying it.
It’s not clear if anyone wins the argument, but Triage does seem to get his point across. Nobody seems to know what Cyclops’ “mutant revolution” is supposed to look like. Just preparing to fight the Avengers sets a bad precedent. Now that’s not to say he’s completely right here. Cyclops actually went to a rally in a previous issue and told everybody that the Avengers aren’t the enemies. He hasn’t tried to fight them. They come to him. But it’s something nobody talks about or thinks about. It gives the impression that there really is no clear understanding about Cyclops’ mutant revolution at this point. It would be so much more relevant if it actually fit cohesively into the ongoing story about Xavier’s will. Instead, it just reminds everybody that they really have no idea what the fuck Cyclops has planned for them in the long run.
Nobody seems to have a plan on dealing with Matthew Malloy either. That’s what makes this glorified student debate feel even more out-of-place. As the X-men are making their way towards Matthew, SHIELD shows up and basically tells them what they already know. They don’t wait until they can enter the story in an interesting way. They just catch up in time for Beast to tell them how fucked they are. It’s probably the longest Beast has ever gone without being a total douche. He just tells them that Matthew Malloy’s mutant signature reveals that he’s powerful enough to consume an entire state and shit out the entrails. Again, this is shit we already know and don’t need to be reminded of. Even I don’t smoke that much pot.
This issue really didn’t accomplish much other than make me want to punch Iceman in the jaw and kick him in the balls. I honestly thought only Beast was capable of being more of a prick, but Iceman just joined him in the douche-bag Hall of Fame. Thankfully, nobody else had a chance to carve their own bust because the plot really stalled. All they did was react to Xavier’s will and that’s about it. Matthew Malloy is still a walking death machine. Maria Hill is still enduring migraines over all mutant-related issues. The only really compelling part of this story was the debate with Triage and the Cuckoos. But given the circumstances of the story, it felt really out of place. If it’s supposed to be a prelude to the upcoming AXIS event, then it’s the comic book equivalent of premature ejaculation and that’s not enjoyable for anyone. Uncanny X-men #26 gets a 5 out of 10. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to add another name to my list of characters I want to drop kick into a vat of cat piss, but Iceman has joined Beast as permanent members on that list. And I really don’t like having people I have the urge to beat up while I’m sober. Some just do way too much to deserve it. Nuff said!