Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Cyclops #8

Men of all ages are often guilty of letting their penises draw them to a woman they shouldn't be drawn to. Teenage boys in particular are especially vulnerable to the overwhelming influence of their penises because they're still learning how to manage them and few realize early on when the brain should have veto power. O5 Cyclops is in a situation where he'll have to learn to mitigate the influence of his penis because in addition to being a secret crewmate on a ship of cut-throat space pirates, he's got a boner for the ruthless captain's pretty alien daughter. Now I don't blame O5 Cyclops in the slightest. Hot alien girls are at the top of any Star Trek or Star Wars fan's ultimate fantasies, usually just a few rungs below women in chain bikinis. But he's in more danger than most teenage boys in Cyclops #8 because he has to keep his penis in check while he seeks a way to help his captured father. And it remains to be seen if he can overcome his hormones and the lure of sweet alien poon.

So far, O5 Cyclops has shown some promise in his competence beyond controlling the whims of his penis. He's had to fend for himself on a ship called the Desolation, which is run by the kinds of pirates that would make Jack Sparrow shit himself. Surviving and being in close quarters to a cute alien girl has been hard enough, but O5 Cyclops showed he can multi-task. He was able to help out the rest of the Starjammers, who were thrown out into deep space aboard a capsule with no life support and no hope of rescue. He sent out a distress signal in the hopes that someone would find them. They're all in bad shape and they have only O5 Cyclops to rely on. Usually when all hope rests in the hands of a teenage boy who is barely old enough to shave his balls, it's not a good sign.

That's not to say that the aid O5 Cyclops gives them is perfect. The Starjammers are rescued. The distress signal he sent out did actually work...sort of. By that I mean he wasn't all that specific in terms of who should rescue the Starjammers. He didn't specify that other hostile space pirates need not apply. It would've been much nicer if the Starjammers were rescued by a race of teddy bears, but that would've been asking for too much of a teenage boy. So they end up getting captured again. It's still an upgrade from drifting hopelessly in space waiting for the air to run out, but not by much.

It continues the tradition this book has been following, giving O5 Cyclops a chance to show the competence that will one day lead the X-men and earn him a spot in Jean Grey's panties. But it's still a work in progress. He's able to help the Starjammers, just not as well as he probably wished he could. And the mere fact that this part of the story isn't glossed over or forgotten helps make everything feel more cohesive, showing that O5 Cyclops is now the one in the driver's seat. Sure, he just got his learner's permit and anyone in the passenger seat should be terrified out of their minds, but it's progress that's rare in any comic, let alone a solo series.

O5 Cyclops has no choice but to continue progressing as he's now tasked with storming what he thinks is a medical ship full of sick aliens. The captain's orders are clear. They're to plunder everything of value on this ship and kill anyone that gets in their way, be it a Stormtrooper or a sick alien baby carrying a squirt gun. This certainly doesn't sit well with him. O5 Cyclops is not like his older self in that he's not yet so eager to cross certain lines. And this would've made a hell of a conflict for him to address. However, he doesn't end up having to.

It turns out this ship isn't full of doctors and sick aliens looking for care. It's actually a hostile Shi'ar transport vessel disguised as an medical ship, sneaking through shipping lanes and full of hardened Shi'ar warriors. This makes the conflict a little less difficult for O5 Cyclops. Not long ago, he got a nasty introduction to the Shi'ar. They abducted O5 Jean Grey, they revealed that they killed O5 Jean's entire family, and they even revealed they murdered his mother. Needless to say, he's not quite as conflicted about shooting them.

While it makes for great action, it is somewhat disappointing that he doesn't have to face this conflict surrounding the lines he has to cross. This is exactly the kind of stuff that he's been trying to avoid since learning that his older self grew up to be quite the douche-bag. It's a conflict that has been explored throughout this series, but it falls to the wayside here. That said, it still makes for some awesome space pirate action.

While O5 Cyclops is exercising his inner Han Solo, Captain Malafect is just as shocked and not nearly as relieved. Being an experienced space pirate, he knows that something about a hostile Shi'ar ship disguised as a medical ship just don't seem right. It would be like seeing an old man at a One Direction concert. Something just isn't right here. He suspects they're hiding something of much greater value than sick aliens. Being the competent pirate he is, he orders his crew to find it and maim any Shi'ar along the way. This is one order that O5 Cyclops is more than happy to comply with.

O5 Cyclops eventually catches up with his crewmate, Zeeble. An issue ago, Zeeble gave him the kind of welcome that's typical on an episode of Oz, minus the sodomy. He's basically the mean, slutty cheerleader type in a slasher movie. He's the one with the target on his back. He still ends up doing something more useful beyond showing his tits and banging the lifeguard. He beats up a Shi'ar until he reveals where the precious cargo is. He also reveals that they had hoped to trade it for something called the Black Vortex, which makes it all the more valuable.

Now for those who don't follow comics on their Twitter feed or insist on getting all their comic book news from the guy at the comic book store who still thinks Smallville is on the air, this is a telling hint at the next cosmic event that O5 Cyclops is going to be part of. Marvel apparently liked teaming up the Guardians of the Galaxy with a bunch of teenage X-men so much that they're going to do it again through an event called The Black Vortex. It's already been hinted at in the Guardians of the Galaxy comics. Now we've got our first hint in the X-men comics. It's that kind of convergence that shows that synergy and crossovers don't just have to involve Wolverine teaming up with Captain America. There are other ideas that don't involve stories ripped from a Call of Duty game.

But it just isn't enough to find this precious cargo and valuable intel for Zeeble. Apparently, he didn't appreciate the way O5 Cyclops upstaged him when he tried to give him his Oz-style initiation. So rather than play by the rules and wait for another chance to get him back, he just flat out turns on him at what's probably the worst possible moment. They're on the brink of a big score. They're already surrounded by hostile Shi'ar. This would be like trying to have therapy during a cocaine binge in Cancun. It's a dumb move, but one that's not entirely unexpected from Zeeble.

It shows that teenagers aren't the only ones who can make dumb mistakes. Zeeble's attempt to take on O5 Cyclops after he's had a chance to warm up against a bunch of hostile Shi'ar proves to be a shitty move. O5 Cyclops, once again showing signs of the awesome X-men leader he'll become, shows off his ability to use his optic blasts to hit Zeeble and immobilize him. This allows another one of O5 Cyclops' crew mates, Kratyr, to finish him off. Apparently, Zeeble didn't make a lot of friends on the Desolation. He helped prove a valuable lesson to O5 Cyclops. It's important to be liked because acting like Zeeble means that friends and associates will take the first chance they get to kill assholes like that.

The death of Zeeble caps off as successful a mission as O5 Cyclops could've hoped for as a member of the crew of hostile space pirates. He got to rough up the Shi'ar and plunder what they believe to be a very valuable bit of loot. They even got rid of Zeeble, an asshole crewmate that nobody is going to miss. They couldn't have been more successful without finding a crate of space whiskey and space hookers. But O5 Cyclops being the overachiever he is, he finds a way to get a little more out of it.

During the raid, he managed to save Vileena a couple of times. She's the cute alien girl who caught his attention in the previous issue. She doesn't have red hair, fake tits, or telepathy, but she's cute and exotic. For a teenage boy, that more than exceeds the very low threshold it takes to get him interested. But Vileena adds to it even more by revealing she knows that he went out of his way to help her. She also notes that she notices how he goes out of his way to avoid killing people. On a ship with all sorts of harden killers, I guess that turns her on.

O5 Cyclops' reward for turning her on is a nice juicy kiss. Somewhere out there, Captain Kirk is smiling and giving O5 Cyclops a thumbs up. It's another step in the progression of O5 Cyclops from awkward teenage mutant to a competent space pirate capable of raiding a ship and attracting hot alien ass. They grow so fast. I'm sure Corsair would shed tears of joy if he saw this moment.

The problem is that Corsair is still a prisoner. O5 Cyclops is doing his best to keep up his ruse and help his father. Now he has to add a hot alien girl to the mix, which is sure to complicate his efforts. It's still worth it though and I think Corsair himself would understand. O5 Cyclops conveniently leaves that part out when he visits his father. In doing so, he learns that the loot they took is called a Starcracker. It sounds like a reality show for washed up celebrities, but it's actually a miniature death star in that it can destroy an entire star system. It's pretty fucking dangerous in the hands of the Shi'ar. It's even more dangerous in the hands of a bunch of space pirates. It also gives them a sense of just how valuable this Black Vortex is. If it's worth a planet-killing machine from George Lucas' worst nightmare, then it's worth being worried about.

It's a not a good sign for any of them. It gets even worse when Captain Malafect shows up and sees O5 Cyclops talking to Corsair. Thankfully, Corsair doesn't revert to Ben Stiller level awkwardness and manages to talk his way around it. He claims he's asking Corsair for information on the Black Vortex, which is perfectly believable. It shows that as awkward and goofy as he can be, O5 Cyclops is still competent and tactful. It's a skill he's going to need if he's to survive being the leader of the X-men and being married to Jean Grey. The problem is that Captain Malafect thinks it's a good idea. So rather than try the good cop/bad cop routine, he's going to go straight to CIA style tactics to get the information from Corsair. At this point, adults and teenage boys alike are perfectly within their right to start worrying.

I'm always weary of comic books that go on these long winning streaks of awesome. All too often, I've seen a comic be so good for a certain stretch only to take a nose-dive into the shitter. Just look at Avengers vs. X-men or the entire Ultimate line for proof of that. I thought Cyclops' solo series would eventually level out. But somehow, it's found a way to keep being awesome on a truly cosmic level. This issue continued that tradition. It told a solid, cohesive story that captured the right emotions. It even dropped a few hints about some upcoming events with The Black Vortex. That's quite a feat for a solo series about a character that some people go out of their way to hate.

At this point, I don't see how anybody who isn't a complete sociopath can hate O5 Cyclops after this issue. He bested an asshole who tried to kill him, kept up the ruse he needed to keep him and his father alive, saved the Starjammers, and even earned himself a nice kiss from a cute alien girl. I think Captain Kirk himself would give O5 Cyclops his seal of approval for his actions in Cyclops #8. That's why I give it a 9 out of 10. O5 Cyclops is playing a dangerous game, acting as a spy while getting cute with the captain's daughter. But if James Bond has taught us anything, it's that the risks are worth it when survival and alien pussy are the prize. Nuff said!

1 comment:

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