Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Scanned Thoughts: All-New X-men #36
There comes a point in every shitty vacation where the lines between torture and frustration become so obscure that it might as well be its own circle of hell. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s an ill-fated family vacation to the Grand Canyon that’s most remembered for being broken down on the side of the road for eight hours or a trip to New Orleans that was ruined by a nasty case of food poisoning, at some point we just want to go home and sleep it off. I imagine the O5 X-men passed this point during their trip to the Ultimate universe when they found out that incest and cannibalism aren’t quite as taboo as they are in their home universe. And that was before they encountered a version of Dr. Doom that had goat legs. That alone shows how fucked the Ultimate universe has become.
But the end is in sight. They’re almost back on the road, ready to give the finger to this shit-stained universe, at least until it rubs its shit all over 616 in the upcoming incursion during Secret Wars. To do that, they have to go through a goat-legged Dr. Doom. I suppose there are worse parts of the Ultimate universe that they would have to endure, but a goat-legged Dr. Doom is right up there with watching a private porno from the Maximoff twins in terms of shitty obstacles. All-New X-men #36 is not going to be the last time the O5 X-men have to deal with this shitty universe. However, it’s very likely this experience will make them feel relieved when it finally gets flushed down the same shitter that swallowed Heroes Reborn.
And whenever that happens, Ultimate Dr. Doom will be the largest kernel of corn in that massive pile of shit. He made both the O5 X-men and their Ultimate counterparts feel about as welcome as a Mormon at a gay bar in Bangkok. He managed to successfully kick all their asses and lay them out like a gallon of spiked punch. He’s basically doing the same thing 616 Doom would do. He just does it with fucking goat legs. That should tell everyone all they need to know about the Ultimate universe. Fuck the characters and the shitty stories. Just give them goat legs and hope that’s enough.
In his triumph, Dr. Doom tries to flex his goat nuts a little. He singles out Miles Morales for a little extra douche-baggery because if George Zimmerman can get away with it, why can’t he? He apparently hasn’t kept up with the new Spider-Man. He must not watch Glen Beck. But he’s ready to fuck him up in ways Wesley Snipes’ accountant can’t even match. O5 Jean Grey has a problem with that. She’s had enough time to become friends with Miles and she doesn’t appreciate people fucking with her friends, especially when they do it with fucking goat legs.
So while her shitty counterpart just lays there like a wounded puppy, O5 Jean Grey gets her shit together and shows off her all-new skills against Dr. Doom. It’s the first real challenge where she’s gotten a chance to use these powers. And she uses them pretty fucking well. She’s able to go toe-to-toe with Dr. fucking Doom. This should also tell everyone a little more about the Ultimate Universe. Their counterparts are shit and goat legs don’t make anyone more powerful.
O5 Jean Grey is able to match Dr. Doom’s bullshit just long enough to get her friends to wake the fuck up and join her. She’s softened them up. Now they get a chance to prove they’re not as useless as a wet fart in the Sahara Desert. Storm, both Jean Greys, and both Icemen get in on the action. But that’s about it. Nobody really does much else to fuck Dr. Doom up. They really don’t have to in the long run. They outnumber him and they have O5 Jean Grey on their side. That alone makes it a fair fight.
It still makes for a decidedly unepic battle. Most of the Ultimate characters don’t even say anything. Maybe that’s for the best. They’ve contributed about as much as my pizza guy did to this fight. I’m not saying I expected it to be as epic as an arm-wrestling match between Thanos and Onslaught. It really didn’t have the manpower for it. In the end, it just felt a bit too rushed. It didn’t give enough chances for the others to contribute. But again, they had two Jean Greys on their side. They really didn’t have to.
Dr. Doom understands this. He’s not some shitty Power Rangers monster who just keeps fighting until he’s blown up. He decides that once he has to face two Jean Greys and two teams of mutants, he’s cutting his losses. So he ends up just ditching the battle. He teleports away, presumably grabbing his balls Marshawn Lynch style. It’s as unspectacular as it sounds. But again, this was one of those battles where it didn’t really have the manpower or the resources to be that epic. Expecting it to would be like expecting Don Draper to start hiring ugly women. It’s unreasonable.
That’s not to say that everyone just shrugs their shoulders and walks away. They’re still in the middle of fucking Latveria where Doombots outnumber the people. They still have to deal with those Sentinel wannabes so there’s still some fighting. Even so, it’s not all that epic or detailed. They’re fucking Doombots, not the entire droid army from the Clone Wars. They could just stick around and waste their energy ripping them to shreds. Or they could work smarter and not harder like every CEO, hall-of-fame athlete, or anyone who ever played Contra.
This actually gives O5 Beast a chance to do something other than piss and moan about how much he hates Cyclops. While the others fight the Doombots, he fucks up Dr. Doom’s systems so that his castle blows up. Now I know I give O5 Beast a lot of shit, but anyone who blows up Castle Doom earns some points in my book. It’s still not a very epic or detailed battle, but it gets the job done. Nobody’s panties are going to be soaked. Nobody’s heart is going to be racing. It’s just a quick, somewhat rushed conclusion to a struggle that could only be so big. It’s messy, but it works. Anything that blows up Dr. Doom’s castle can’t qualify as a failure.
Now that they’ve beaten Dr. Doom and his goofy goat legs, the O5 X-men have more than earned the right to get the fuck out of Ultimate and never come back. To do this, they need to find the scared mutant girl who brought them there. At this point in the story, it’s pretty easy to forget about her even without the side-effects of really good weed. But she’s the one doing all this dimension-hopping. I guess she just couldn’t be patient enough to wait until Secret Wars and for that, I can’t blame her.
She’s seen jumping through a series of fucked up alternate universes that she has no business or desire visiting. It’s also a bit rushed, but there are only so many fucked up alternate universes anyone can take in at this point so it’s a relief when she finally ends up in Ultimate again. The O5 X-men are there waiting for her. There’s not much detail into how they ended up in just the right place. It’s not completely contrived though. They were able to locate her in previous issues using Cerebro. They just had to make a pit stop in Latveria. It still feels rushed, but I can’t blame them for wanting to get the fuck out of Ultimate as fast as they can.
This poor girl, Carmen Cruise, has probably shit herself multiple times at this point. At least she didn’t have to deal with Dr. Doom. For that, she still qualifies as being lucky. This gives both O5 Jean and Ultimate Jean a chance to help her calm down, stop shitting herself, and get control of her powers. For a brief moment, both Jean Greys interact with this girl in the way a good Jean Grey should. It’s the first real moment where the sheer shitiness of Ultimate fades and the characters revert to their core. They act like Charles Xavier before he was a total douchebag, helping this girl form a gateway that will take the O5 X-men home.
It’s not quite as easy as it sounds. She’s still a scared young girl. She’s not going to master this power just because two pretty redheads give her some encouragement. This grants a few more moments of action where the two teams have to fight off fucked up alternate versions of characters. I still imagine their worlds aren’t nearly as fucked as Ultimate. I’d much rather read a comic about a world where Wolverine was a minotaur. But that’s just me. Still, it doesn’t linger. It shouldn’t. At this point, the O5 X-men just want to fucking go home. They’ve had enough alternate universes for multiple lifetimes. That just means they’re going to hate Secret Wars.
Finally, they find their home world. O5 Jean Grey even confirms it by reading Tony Stark’s horrible, depraved thoughts. For a teenage girl who has endured more than her share of trauma, that’s pushing it. But it’s still a funny way to confirm that they now know how to go home.
It leads to one final goodbye that is somewhat lacking. The Ultimate characters really don’t say or do much. They’re so used to being completely fucked and utterly marginalized that I guess they don’t have much to say. That still doesn’t stop O5 Jean from giving Miles Morales a kiss on the cheek. Because why not? He helped her and he’s pretty much the only one in Ultimate that’s not worth throwing away. It’s not the kind of kiss that’ll make Twilight fans faint, but it’s a nice friendly gesture between two characters who did most of the heavy lifting in this story.
While the O5 X-men’s departure is welcome and bittersweet, it does feel like a missed opportunity. There’s a lot of shit the O5 X-men could learn from the failures in Ultimate. O5 Jean could learn a lot from her counterpart alone. But we never get any of those moments. They just fought Dr. Doom together and that’s it. Now I can understand why the O5 X-men are in a rush to get home, but there’s just so much they didn’t get a chance to talk about. I can’t say it undermines the story. It really would’ve been an aside if it did happen. It just feels like there could’ve been more.
As soon as the O5 X-men get home, they do as good X-men do and take Carmen back home to her mother. It makes for a nice reunion. It’s somewhat fitting, even though Carmen basically missed out on most of the shit storm that was Ultimate. It also has a rather ominous bit of foreboding, courtesy of O5 Beast. Like the others, he was traumatized by what he saw in Ultimate. He saw a world that totally went to shit and he realizes that it’s in all their best interest if they avoid that in their world. It feels like code for him doing something else to fuck everything up. I guess screwing with the timeline wasn’t enough. So while he did earn points for blowing up Dr. Doom’s castle, he seems more than ready to piss it away the first chance he gets.
So the O5 X-men’s journey into the soiled anus that is the Ultimate universe is over and they were only mildly traumatized by it. All things being equal, that’s probably the best they could’ve hoped for. They saw a world where the X-men were truly and unequivocally fucked. They even admitted it at one point. That alone helps this story convey just the right message. As fucked up as the O5 X-men’s future may be, it’s not even close to being the worst.
While the message is sound, the end product feels lacking in some respects. I can’t say the story didn’t feel complete. It succeeded in having the O5 X-men and what’s left of the Ultimate mutants population team up and get the fuck out of this world. The battle against Dr. Doom was a bit rushed, but satisfying. And for once, O5 Beast didn’t do something that reinforced his position as alpha douche-bag of the X-men. But it feels like there was a lot of shit left unaddressed. The O5 X-men never really had a chance to fully react to the fucked up scope of the Ultimate universe. And it feels like there was so much more Ultimate Jean could’ve discussed with her counterpart. However, given the nature of the plot, that kind of shit would’ve been a bonus. I can’t really get too pissed off about something that wouldn’t have really affected the plot. It also helps I’ve got a good weed dealer, but that’s beside the point.
This story didn’t change that Ultimate is more fucked than Marilyn Munroe’s corpse at a necrophilia convention. It didn’t really significantly change a lot of characters, but it did affect a few. Miles Morales got a kiss on the cheek from O5 Jean Grey. That’s going to affect anybody. There’s a lot more this story could’ve done, but it did just what it needed to do to complete the story and leave it open for more shit storms during Secret Wars. In the end, I give All-New X-men #36 a 7 out of 10. It gets the job done, just not in really memorable sort of way. Again, that’s kind of the best anyone can hope for from Ultimate at this point. Any story that ends without more acid being poured on this rotting corpse of a shitty universe is worthy of respect. Nuff said!