Thursday, January 29, 2015
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #30
For anyone who has ever played video games, at some point they’ve used cheat codes. Sure, the can make a game so damn easy that it might as well be on auto-pilot. But sometimes it can make the game fun. Who doesn’t enjoy turning on God-mode in Skyrim every once in a while and beating dragons with a dagger? But that kind of cheating is a bit harder to enjoy when it comes to resolving egregious flaws in a story like the one being told in Uncanny X-men.
It’s a story that has dragged for way too fucking long. It was supposed to tie into the events of Original Sin, an event that ended last summer before people started getting sick of Frozen. It introduced one of Charles Xavier’s dying wishes and a volatile new mutant named Matthew Malloy. It has had its share of good, intense moments. But it has also been full of shitty characterization and huge dick moves, largely from Iceman. Now it’s gotten so fucked up that cheat codes might be necessary to fix it and Tempus is basically an updated version of Game Genie. It’s gotten to a point where shit is so bad that Uncanny X-men #30 has to cheat to tie up loose ends. But for a story that’s dragged so much, maybe that’s the most merciful thing to do at this point.
Some level of cheating will definitely be needed for SHIELD. They just told Maria Hill that they fucking killed Cyclops, Magik, and Matthew Malloy. It sounds like the kind of callous shit usually reserved for the Ultimate universe, but anyone who saw the teasers for Secret Wars (or even the preview for Uncanny X-men #31 that was released five days before this fucking issue) can sleep easy knowing that he’ll be back and his death will be undone. And that’s going to be bad fucking news for SHIELD. It doesn’t matter how much Maria Hill wants to secretly bone Cyclops. After shit like this, he’s going to see to it that her panties stay dry for a long fucking time.
The real cheating takes place, courtesy of Tempus. She saw how fucked this situation was so she resorted to more time travel because I guess Marvel assumes we’ve all become desensitized to this shit. The sad part is they’re not entirely wrong. It certainly makes it hard to get excited about the implications for this story. At the very least, it gives us a chance to see a Charles Xavier that Patrick Stewart would be proud to play.
Xavier isn’t quite as charming as Patrick Stewart, but he’s not the same douche-bag he was leading up to his death. He picks up on how fucked things must be. He even picks up how it involves Cyclops, who at this point is the teacher’s pet. Yet he remains remarkably calm, not even spilling his tea. I guess pretty girls from the future drop in all the time. If he were Patrick Stewart, he might even have a chance at boning them. But I guess there are limits to even time travel.
There are also limits to how much Emma Frost can keep arguing with the Jean Grey Institute staff. This is an argument that began several issues ago and it has still accomplished less than Paris Hilton’s music career. They kept bitching and moaning about the merits of recruiting Matthew Malloy and how Cyclops is just looking for a weapon. If this were a college lecture, I would have long since run out of weed and fallen asleep.
It only finally ends when gets news from SHIELD that Cyclops is dead. He doesn’t exactly sound that upset about it. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s hiding a boner. But again, it’s a moment that falls painfully flat because it’s a death that we already know isn’t going to stick. Considering how it accomplishes so little on top of an argument that went fucking nowhere, this is one of those moments that even weed can’t make entertaining.
There’s a much more meaningful argument between Tempus and Charles Xavier. She keeps trying to make him read her mind fully. He’s not too eager to see how fucked the future is who spoil the next dozen or so Superbowls. But he does sense enough to know what Tempus wants. She thinks Matthew Malloy needs to die in the past the save the future. She already sees what happens by doing things Xavier’s way. She thinks this situation is fucked enough to warrant an exception. Usually, this is the point where Xavier would just shrug his shoulders and compromise like he’s been doing since the Clinton administration. But this isn’t that same Charles Xavier and this is probably what makes this moment actually feel meaningful.
Maybe Patrick Stewart spoiled us, but I’m among those who miss this version of Charles Xavier. He didn’t compromise his principles whenever convenient. He didn’t mind-fuck his students when he thought it was necessary. He was dedicated to doing the right thing. Why the fuck did we have to abandon this Xavier so we could only see him in shitty movies? I know this is the result of time travel, but that doesn’t make it less meaningful.
In addition to seeing a less douchy Charles Xavier, I also enjoy seeing SHIELD get their asses handed to them when they fuck up. And they definitely fucked up by trying to solve this problem with Cyclops and Matthew Malloy with missiles. Haven’t they learned anything from George W. Bush? Bombing problems doesn’t make them go away. That certainly applies to Matthew Malloy, who managed to survive the attack. He’s able to reform his body and royally fuck up every SHIELD agent, jet, and helicarrier within a 20-mile radius. He then tries to bring Magik and Cyclops back to life. He fails at this because I guess that would just be too convenient, even for a grossly overpowered mutant like him. Now he has even more reasons to be pissed off. But at this point, Matthew Malloy’s powers are so obscene that it’s hard to feel sorry for him in the slightest. I have more sympathy for Bill Belichick at this point.
There’s really nobody else who can unfuck this situation besides Charles Xavier. He’s the one who put Matthew Malloy in this position. He tried to help him, but only ended up turning him into a ticking time bomb. He’s certainly not happy that Tempus has revealed that he’s basically a miserable failure in his efforts. Not only did he fail Matthew Malloy, but he failed his best student too. He gleans just how bad it’s gotten from her thoughts, finding out that even Magneto thinks they’re fucked.
Yet he still refuses to kill Matthew. Again, this is the kind of Charles Xavier who doesn’t make that kind of douche-bag compromises. It would be so refreshing if it didn’t take a situation this fucked to revisit it. That’s the biggest problem with this story and with moments like this. They have no emotional weight. The story has either dragged too much or it’s one of those stories that’s basically going to be undone. It kept AXIS from being as good as it could’ve been and it’s making this story as shitty as it deserves to be.
Back at the Jean Grey Institute, the shock of Cyclops’ death has hit pretty much nobody. The only one who really reacts to it as Emma Frost and even she doesn’t break down in tears. She’s not even sleeping with the guy anymore, but she cares about him enough to know how fucked the X-men are without him. She even manages to lash out with a little telepathic hissy fit, if only to kill Beast and Iceman’s boners. Her powers may be broke, but she’s still capable of getting pretty pissed off.
She ends up taking that anger out on Matthew Malloy when he appears at the Jean Grey Institute. How he gets there and why he chooses to go there when SHIELD is the one that fucked him over is not explained. But as soon as Emma Frost lays into the guy who killed the last guy to fuck her good who wasn’t a king or a billionaire mogul, he kills her. Because I guess this story isn’t done trying too fucking hard. It has to kill more characters to keep our attention. A free bottle of gin would’ve done the same.
At this point, nobody should even raise an eyebrow. Even Emma Frost fans will probably yawn at this because it’s just that bland. Matthew Malloy is on a roll, killing anyone and everyone who gets near him. Emma Frost might as well have been another meat bag in the mix that goes into making a bad hot dog. I’m sure it’s going to make Kitty Pryde happy while all her former students cry for the teacher they used to fantasize about in the shower, but for everyone else it’s an annoyance at best.
This latest meaningless death is sensed by the Stepford Cuckoos. At that point even they agree on just how fucked they are. They start plotting on how they’re going to handle this and/or how they’re going to start shitting themselves. But that’s when Tempus arrives back in the present, this time with Charles Xavier. And since it’s a non-douchy Charles Xavier, they actually have reason to not curl up into a fetal position and cry themselves to death. He’s the one who helped make Matthew Malloy the fucked up overpowered character he is. Now he has to fix it. Sure, it required more bullshit time travel, but who the fuck really cares at this point?
I’m normally in favor of overkill, especially when it involves boobs, beer, and fireworks. But when it comes to death in comics, even a grain of salt is too much. This story that has dragged way past the point of feeling meaningful is now throwing too many “Holy fuck!” moments into the mix. But these are moments that really feel hollow because it’s already been established in teasers for Secret Wars that Cyclops, Emma Frost, and pretty much everyone who gets slaughtered in this issue will come back. And the way it’s done has lost every bit of emotional depth it could’ve had. Now that time travel is being used again, it’s become more of an annoyance than a story.
And it’s not just time travel that makes this story feel like it’s resorting to cheat codes. Mathew Malloy has gone way past the point of being a tragic figure. Now he’s just a grossly overpowered damsel who might as well have his own Disney movie. Between his whining and his tendency to kill anyone who so much as touches him, he’s lost everything that once made him interesting and he wasn’t even that interesting to begin with. The only saving grace this story has is that Charles Xavier is acting like Charles fucking Xavier again. It sucks that we needed time travel to see this kind of Xavier again, but it helps that someone with a balanced mind is finally entering the story. It’s still dragging on way too fucking long and has no impact, but it’s helps keep this book from getting shitty on an epic level. Uncanny X-men #30 gets a 4 out of 10. There are a lot of flaws in this story, but the worst by far is that Iceman got what he wanted and we just can’t have that. Nuff said!