Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Scanned Thoughts: All-New X-men #38
Being rich, powerful, and successful is an easy way to become a target. Maybe it's jealous or maybe all life is biologically programmed to be a dick to anyone or anything that's inherently more powerful. Why else would bees, flies, snakes, and spiders fuck with us so much? Sure, we can have the civilization, the skyscrapers, and the space ships. But they can still hide in closets and scare the piss out of us to remind us that we're not much higher up on the food chain. So with that in mind, imagine the kind of cosmic scale target that the Black Vortex can create.
Thanks to Hank McCoy and Gamora, the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy have that cosmic target on their cosmically-powered asses. When whenever cosmic power gets involved, it's way worse than a snakebite or a bee sting. The X-men know from experience how cosmic power tends to complicate shit. Hell, I think Cyclops included a resurrection provision in his pre-nup with Jean Grey. Like the Phoenix Force, the X-men and the Guardians got involved with the Black Vortex with the best of intentions. They were looking to fuck with Starlord's asshole father and maybe get into Kitty Pryde's panties again. Then, like the Phoenix Force, some corruptive shit entered the equation and it really starts hitting the fan in All-New X-men #38.
The stench is already pretty potent because Hank McCoy is the one leading the charge with the Black Vortex. He, O5 Angel, and Gamora now have the Black Vortex in their possession and they have a cosmic-sized boner to use it on the rest of the universe. That might sound good on paper. Then the cosmic-powered Beast starts ranting about what happens when technologically advanced explorers meet native tribes. Ask any Native American how that shit turned out and then add a cosmic twist to it.
Yet this is the analogy Beast wants to use? I'm pretty sure Al Sharpton would be on his ass in a heartbeat if he said that shit on CNN. He thinks he's saving lesser civilizations with the Black Vortex. His heart's in the right place. Even I'll admit that. But for someone that now claims to have cosmic awareness, he should at least be able to check Wikipedia for a history lesson on forcing change on people not ready for it. Hell, he could call George W. Bush for a lesson in that shit. But I guess that would make too much sense for Hank McCoy at this point.
Gamora and O5 Angel only encourage him. Hell, they're totally on board with this. They want to use the Black Vortex to spread its power to the far ends of the universe and maybe tear Thanos a billion new assholes in the process. Again, on paper that sounds like ice cream and whiskey. But all that cosmic power still isn't enough to remind them how badly this shit usually turns out. They still take the Black Vortex to some backwater planet full of Dr. Manhattan wannabes with the intention of using it. They even admit that some of their friends wouldn't agree, namely O5 Jean Grey who is going out of her way to avoid this kind of cosmic-level shit. But this is where their goals start to reek of more bullshit.
Beast and O5 Angel talk about using the Black Vortex to usher in universal peace. That sounds great, like it was ripped right from one of Mahatma Gandhi's speeches. The problem is that they actually ripped it off from someone more recent. And that someone is Cyclops. Just look at the setup. A couple of X-men and an ally get cosmic power. They use that power to piss off their friends. Now they want to prove they can wield this power by creating a universal peace. How is that shit any different than what Cyclops and the Phoenix Five tried to do with the Phoenix Force? It isn't. In fact, I'm pretty sure Cyclops could sue Beast for plagiarism and win, even if I was his lawyer.
I admit that I sometimes go out of my way to give Hank McCoy shit on this blog. But this time, he fucking earns it. He's doing the exact same shit that he whines about with Cyclops. This is cosmic-level hypocrisy right here. He's doing just what Cyclops tried to do, but because he's the one doing it he thinks it's okay. I'm sorry, but there's no excuses anymore. If he still gives Cyclops shit after this, he might as well French kiss Dr. Doom.
And just like Cyclops learned in Avengers vs. X-men, Beast learns that imposing universe peace is a hard sell. Power like the Black Vortex tends to attract a fuckton of attention and some of that attention doesn't care for peace. The idea of now slaughtering others just doesn't resonate with them. Ronan the Accuser is one of those critics. He shows up with a Kree destroyer just as Beast, Gamora, and O5 Angel are about to use their cosmic mojo on this unsuspecting planet of cute blue aliens. Instead, they're not caught in the crossfire of the Kree. Somewhere on the other side of the universe, Cyclops is probably laughing his ass off.
Now the appearance of the Kree is a bit sudden, but I won't say it's totally forced. It makes sense that a power like the Black Vortex would get their attention. It was already revealed in the other books that this thing had gotten the attention of other alien races, namely the Shi'ar. So why wouldn't it get the attention of the Kree? This is the kind of shit Ronan would eat a live puppy to get his hands on. So while does make the plot feel a little less concise, it doesn't feel too jarring. An extra bong hit or a shot of tequila is all it takes to not be bothered by it.
Even for those who feel Ronan's appearance was forced, they have to admit the battle that ensues is pretty fucking sweet. It's a bit rushed, but it's wonderfully detailed none-the-less. Beast, Gamora, and O5 Angel may have cosmic power on their side, but Ronan brought a fuckton of Kree firepower to back him up. This is one instance where overkill is perfectly logical. It's also logical to not bother trying to kill cosmic-powered enemies. That's like taking a piss in the Hulk's coffee. Instead, Ronan just focuses on getting the Black Vortex. It's still one of those moves that's bound to screw him over in the long run, but that doesn't make short-term victory any less sweet. He may have ended up screwing over even more planets because now Beast, Gamora, and O5 Angel are going to be even more motivated to impose their fucked up version of universal peace. Way to piss on that hornet's nest, Ronan!
Now that Ronan is involved, I wouldn't blame the X-men and Guardians of the Galaxy for opting to sit this one out. But they don't know how much more fucked they are. They're still picking themselves up and dusting themselves off after their last clash with Mr. Knife. That clash left a good chunk of Spartax's moon missing. I think it's safe to say a clash with Ronan wouldn't have turned out much better. They still manage to survive, thanks to Kitty Pryde's phasing and Magik's mystical mojo. But they're all in that jaded state of mind where it's starting to sink in just how fucked they are. They can't even entertain a concept of winning the battle at this point. They just need to focus on keeping their asses intact.
The problem is that Mr. Knife wants to make damn sure their asses are in pieces, even though they don't have the Black Vortex at this point. And since they're too shell-shocked to fight and X-23 is badly injured, this is not a fight they care to handle at this point. So rather than risk throwing more shit at the fan, Magik casts a spell to make them invisible. Is it cheating? Perhaps. Would Bill Belichick do it if he could? Fuck yes. But does it work for the context of this situation? Fuck yes to that too.
Being invisible gives them just enough time to call the Guardians of the Galaxy's ship. They're all able to sneak on board and get the fuck out of there before Mr. Knife finds out they lost the Black Vortex. Starlord being Starlord even manages to give his old man the finger as they fly off. There's just something about that which gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. And for once, it's not from a shot of whiskey. It even impresses Kitty Pryde, who makes a marriage proposal on the spot. And if something impresses Kitty Pryde that much, then it's not cheating anymore. It's inherently awesome.
In most other circumstances, launching a full scale attack on Ronan the Accuser after he's stolen a weapon of immense destruction would be inherently awesome as well. However, this attack comes courtesy of a cosmic-powered Beast, Gamora, and O5 Angel. So I'm honestly not sure if there's anyone worth rooting for now. It's another battle that's somewhat rushed, but it's still wonderfully detailed in its scope and scale. Beast, Gamora, and O5 Angel don't go all Metal Gear in attempting to retrieve the Black Vortex. They go in like Jet Li on a bucket of meth armed with a M60 machine gun. They launch an attack on the Kree homeworld of Hala with a reckless abandon that would impress Rambo. Even though it's hard to root for either side, it's still a nice way of showing the kind of forces at work here. When cosmic power enters the equation, there's no such thing as subtlety. It's either ripping off the Phoenix Five or laying waste to planets. There's no in-between.
Again, this is a battle that the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy have no idea is going on. They're still clenching their assholes at the thought of fighting their cosmically-powered friends. And some, like Gamora, didn't even need cosmic power to kick their asses in the first place. Between losing the Black Vortex and being attacked by Mr. Knife, they're all still trying to unfuck themselves. It nicely conveys a sense of being overwhelmed and under-equipped to handle this shit. I'm pretty sure that if they found out about Ronan and the Kree getting involved, they would adopt Eric Cartman's "Screw you guys, I'm going home" approach. And nobody would blame them.
In addition to this sentiment, there's also a sense that they need some backup. They might as well cross the Avengers off the list. After Avengers vs. X-men, I'm pretty sure they've had their fill of cosmic power for the next dozen lifetimes. But it's not an unreasonable assessment. For next-level cosmic shit like this, they need help. But who the fuck could help them at this point? Who would even have a reason to?
Well it turns out they already know someone who has a big fucking incentive to kick the shit out of any cosmic power within the known universe. And as it just so happens, someone picked up on the Guardians of the Galaxy's ship passing by. Is it also a little random? Yes. But I'm not even going to make a big deal of it this time because that someone happens to be O5 Cyclops.
He signals the Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-men just in time to give O5 Jean Grey that "I need to change my panties" look. His arrival isn't just convenient. It's fitting. He originally ventured off into space after the events of the first X-men/Guardians of the Galaxy crossover. Now in the new crossover, he meets up with them again and just in time to take on a cosmic-powered Hank McCoy. It couldn't be more fitting without Emma Frost's tits being involved.
The main theme of this issue and this point in the crossover is to show just how fucked the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy are at this point. In that sense, this issue succeeded in conveying that sentiment. They watched three of their friends get corrupted by the Black Vortex. They then got their asses handed to them with a side of fries. Now they have to deal with their cosmic-powered teammates and Mr. Knife's douchebaggery. By all accounts, that's a cosmic level of screwed. And they don't even know about Ronan and the Kree sticking their dicks into this mess. So in some ways, they're even more fucked than they think they are.
But they don't spend the entire issue with their thumbs up their collective asses. They don't go all goth and start moping like a teenager who has listened to one too many Linkin Park albums. They do get their shit together and start making an effort to fix this shit. They're still pretty fucked, but at least they know what they have to do. The pacing was still a bit sluggish. The most meaningful thing they did was ditch Mr. Knife and slip away in the Guardians' ship. Sure, it was necessary. But nobody's panties are going to get too wet from this struggle. It's still another meaningful part in the process and it moves the story forward. I give All-New X-men #38 a 7 out of 10. It even deserves a little extra praise for having Starlord give his asshole father the finger. It's almost symbolic of the scale and scope of this crossover. It's only a glorious coincidence that it's the same symbol I use to convey my emotions in a traffic jam. Nuff said!