Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #29
I'm convinced that if given the right circumstances and emotions, anyone can become an asshole or a supervillain. While some characters are inherently douchy, some are often products of their circumstances. And few characters have faced shittier circumstances than Cyclops. He's lost two wives. He's had to step up and lead when everybody lost faith in Charles Xavier. He's had to lead an entire species from the brink of extinction while battling both the Avengers and cosmic forces. If anyone has a valid excuse to be a dick from time to time, it's him. And the revelations from Charles Xavier's last will and testament have given him more. It's put him in a position where he might as well be a Magneto cos-player who put on the wrong costume by accident. That hasn't stopped some within the anti-Cyclops crowd from jerking off uncontrollably to this arc. But at some point, he has to make a hard decision that Magneto won't make.
He's at a point with Matthew Malloy where he can either do as Charles Xavier requested or do things his way. And he has to make this choice while Magneto has shown up to point out he's not nearly as good at being an asshole as an accomplished villain like him. It promises to change and/or undermine Cyclops' character for years to come. Anti-Cyclops fans will either need another several gallons of lube or a week's worth of meth so they can bitch about it on message boards. Uncanny X-men #29 creates yet another set of shitty circumstances for Cyclops to make this choice. Whatever he ends up choosing, I'm pretty sure nobody will applaud him for it. That would just make too much sense and we can't have that in the Marvel universe.
These circumstances don't just involve Cyclops though. As he's trying to find a way to help Matthew Malloy, Magik is trying to find another solution through magic. Because apparently she's never heard the name Wanda Maximoff and is fully confident that magic won't fuck things up even more. I'm willing to attribute that to her youth, inexperience, and being a demon child from Limbo, but I can only cut her so much slack. She ends up traveling back to the past where Dr. Strange doesn't know that Cyclops and his team are wanted fugitives.
She even manages to arrive at the most awkward possible moment where she catches Dr. Strange getting his freak on with a woman he probably impressed with a few magic tricks at a bar. It may or may not have involved a rabbit's foot in a bottle of gin, but it's probably best the details remain vague. The perverse imaginations of fans like me can fill in the blanks. It just adds a little extra humor to a story that hasn't had much of it since Mystique was revealed to be Xavier's wife.
Dr. Strange is understandably annoyed and embarrassed. This isn't one of those times when a pretty teenage girls walking in on two people in bed is a good thing. They start discussing ways in which to stop Matthew Malloy through magic. It doesn't help that Magik has to be vague on the details. She can't exactly reveal the extent to which the X-men have screwed themselves in the future. But eventually, Dr. Strange does come up with an idea. It doesn't involve hiring a hooker with magic panties. That's what I would've done if I had that kind of magic, but then again that's why I'm not the Sorcerer Supreme.
It's not nearly as awkward when Cyclops and Magneto meet. At least they're both fully clothed. They basically have the same argument Cyclops had with Matthew Malloy in the previous issue. Magneto thinks Cyclops is using him the same way he used plenty of powerful mutants in the past to serve his agenda. Cyclops thinks Magneto is being a flat out hypocrite and he's just trying to help a mutant in a way that will in turn help his cause. In many ways, they're both hypocrites. But it could be argued that Magneto is the bigger hypocrite because not long ago, Magneto would be doing exactly what Cyclops was doing now.
And it's not like Magneto makes a compelling case for an alternative. He says he wants to save the mutant race just like Cyclops. He just doesn't give details. He says he wants to help Matthew "end his suffering." That sounds a bit too much like a parent telling their kid they're taking their sick dog to a special doctor that'll put them in a happy place full off bones, toilets, and unsniffed butts. They make the same arguments we've been hearing since the Kennedy administration with Magneto justifying his atrocities and Cyclops wanted to give Matthew a chance to use his powers for good. There's nothing new here and neither of them comes off as all that Xavier-ish. But after finding out he married Mystique, that might not be a bad thing.
Eventually, Matthew Malloy gets tired of this argument and decides Cyclops' points are less inane than Magneto's. So he uses his powers to teleport Magneto back to the New Xavier School, causing him to fall flat on his face just as Cyclops did a few issues ago. It's another touch of humor in the classic Charlie Brown, which a story like this needs. It doesn't make the arguments he made earlier any less bland. It just puts him in a position to do something different. He still laments at how he helped ruin Cyclops, as though the bullshit the rest of his team gave him had no effect. His whining comes off as overly contrived, like everything Cyclops is doing is his fault when it's not. There were a lot of factors that put Cyclops in this shitty position and by ignoring that, it makes the situation way more simplistic than it should be.
The rest of the students at the New Xavier School are now convinced they're all totally fucked. If Magneto and Cyclops are at each others' throats, then chances are none of them are going to get a passing grade when all is said and done. This leads some students to come up with their own crazy ideas to fix it. And the craziest of all comes from Tempus, who was once the most lovable Australian since Crocodile Dundee.
She suggests traveling back in time and warning Charles Xavier about Matthew Malloy. Yes, this is what they've been reduced to. They're going to try more time travel bullshit to fix the present. Because apparently, none of them saw Back to the Future or Terminator enough times. Hell, did anyone at that school tell them about Bishop, Cable, or Hope fucking Summers? I doubt it. But this is really how bad it's gotten. They're relying on time travel.
This isn't just a problem in terms of concept. This is a problem in terms of overall impact. Time travel is right up there with evil clones in terms of bullshit ways to avoid dealing with the impacts of a story. This story put Cyclops and the rest of the X-men in a very difficult position against a very powerful mutant. The impact it could've had would've been huge. Instead, it might just get completely nullified and will matter about as much as a Dr. Who rerun in the end. It's a total fucking cop-out, but one that's not entirely unexpected.
At the Jean Grey Institute, the need for a cop-out becomes all the more vital when Beast reveals he done fucked up again. If anybody at all is surprised at this point, call the doctor and tell them to lower the dosage on the Prozac. This just adds to the predictability because it seems everything Hank McCoy does at this point just pours napalm on the problem. This time he attempted to call the authorities in hopes that they could help deal with Matthew Malloy. That's like calling the DEA to have them mediate a drug sale. Now they're going to attack Matthew Malloy and Cyclops in the same way, just with a giant fucking helicarrier. Can anybody at this point honestly give Hank McCoy a pass anymore? Seriously, the man just looks for ways to fuck up.
Cyclops and Matthew still have no idea about Beast's latest douche-baggery. Cyclops is still trying to convince Matthew that he can help him. Matthew is still fucked up that he killed a lot of innocent people with his powers. It's a debate that's been going on way too fucking long at this point. I want to feel sorry for Matthew, but he's just become too much a whiney bitch at this point. Sure, he's a sympathetic character in many respects, but it would be nice if he was a bit more complex than that. If I want this kind of whining, I'll watch Fox News.
Magik eventually shows up the end this inane debate. She has with her the Eye of Agamatto, courtesy of a mortified Dr. Strange. I imagine he just gave it to her so he could go back to banging his lady friend. She claims it can reveal whether Matthew can truly be controlled and become a positive force for mutants or if he'll just be a walking mutant bomb. It sounds like a great way to end this boring debate. But again, it's one of those things that would make too much sense.
Before Magik can work her magic, those helpful humans Beast called showed up. And like every other incompetent authority figure, they shoot first and skip the whole rule of law part. That would just keep them from playing with their fancy toy guns. It's pretty destructive and pretty damn brutal. It looks like that Cyclops, Magik, and Matthew Malloy are all vaporized. Considering how this comic didn't get anywhere near the same attention as Death of Wolverine, it's pretty save to assume that there's no way this shit will stick. It just gives the anti-Cyclops crowd something else to jerk off to.
The mention of time travel earlier should make those same people save some of their lube. Despite the criticisms of her classmates and the warnings of every Back to the Future movie, Tempus does decide to go through with her plan. She travels back in time to meet Charles Xavier during the innocent O5 X-men era. He's still alive. And maybe he hasn't yet developed the hots for a teenage Jean Grey, but that might be pushing it. He's now the only one who can end this bullshit once and for all. And like an overworked hooker who just wants to get her crack and go home, it can't come soon enough.
This story is starting to suffer from the same problems as the last Transformers story. It's heavy on action, destruction, an bravado. That's all well and good after the first hour. But after a about the 29th explosion and the 195th shot of some pretty girl's ass, it starts to get old. This arc was supposed to be a tie-in with Original Sin. Well that story ended back when Oakland Raiders hadn't been eliminated from the playoffs. Now it has dragged on for so long that it's gotten to the point where it's resorting to more time travel to fix everything. And between Age of Ultron and a new Terminator movie coming out next year, I think it's safe to say that dead horse has been beaten to the point where even a necrophiliac can't jerk off to it anymore. And in the process, it's basically going to make all this dragged out action mean about as much as a promise from Dr. Doom.
I want to like this story. I really do. It had Magik dropping in on Dr. Strange at a very awkward moment. It had Beast admitting he had fucked up. It had Cyclops and Magneto calling each other out on their bullshit. But in the end, it just started going in circles. It became so inane at one point that even an extra bong hit couldn't make it interesting. Now Matthew Malloy has just become another annoying little shit who is best left retconned out of existence. I can see where the conflict is coming from here. I can even see the merit behind it. But resorting to time travel just complicates it to the point where it's not worth the extra weed. I give Uncanny X-men #29 a 4 out of 10. The X-men comics need a lot of things to keep being awesome. More time travel stories isn't one of them. I'd much rather have more of Emma Frost's tits and Wolverine's drinking, but I guess that's asking for too much at this point. Nuff said!