Thursday, February 12, 2015
Scanned Thoughts: Guardians of the Galaxy #24
For the same reason it’s never wise to give a convicted arsonist a flamethrower, it’s also unwise to give cosmic power to certain characters. Jean Grey proved that it fuck people up in ways that couldn’t be worse without the inclusion of Jack Daniels and crystal meth. Any time someone has gotten their hands on that kind of power, it has usually led to a lot of death, destruction, and bitching on comic book message boards. And perhaps it’s for that very reason that the Black Vortex crossover has people talking. We know something that gives anyone, including the asshole who can’t spell anyone’s name right at Starbucks, a dose of comic power is bound to be a spectacle.
The event began with a rushed, but concise bang. The X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy have teamed up again because The Trial of Jean Grey got everyone way more drunk than expected. This time, the scale is bigger. This doesn’t just involve the X-men and the Guardians navigating the fucked up legal systems of the Shi’ar. It involves fighting over an artifact that could tear the whole universe way too many new assholes. They managed to steal it from Starlord’s asshole father, now known as Mr. Knife. Then someone thought it might be a fun idea to try it and Gamora volunteered. Now Guardians of the Galaxy #24 promises to show why this ranks right up there with New Coke, Crystal Pepsi, and non-alcoholic beer as the worst ideas of all time.
Starlord already has his doubts about this idea. He and the others watch as Gamora flexes her new cosmic power by beating the living shit out of the Slaughter Lords. She even does with the same smile that most women get when using their favorite vibrator. This is the adopted daughter of Thanos. Now she’s got cosmic power. Pretty much any fight short of an eating contest with Galacuts would be unfair at this point. Starlord understands that. He even pities the Slaughter Lords. That’s like pitying the Seattle Seahawks at this point. But more than anything else, it shows that wielding the power of the Black Vortex essentially makes every fight akin to playing Skyrim in God mode.
Even though the Slaughter Lords are getting their asses kicked in ways that Gamora will probably pleasure herself to from now on, the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy think it’s probably best to get the fuck out of this shit storm and take the Black Vortex with them. I guess just standing around and watching Gamora beat the shit out of the Slaughter Lords is just too entertaining for them. Besides, it’s probably not a good idea to have such a lop-sided battle in the presence of a cosmic artifact like the Black Vortex. That’s like leaving a barrel of lube in a room full of compulsive masturbators. It’s a bad situation.
So Magik ends up teleporting them to Spartax’s moon. It’s not exactly the Temple of Doom, but it’s not the middle of New York City during rush hour either. Now that the fighting has stopped, they all get a chance to catch their breath and decide what the they’re going to do with such a powerful artifact. They’re like a bunch of kids that just found a crate of fireworks and machine guns. It’s a volatile situation and one that actually leads to a pretty engaging discussion, complete with some heavy drama between Starlord and Kitty Pryde. Not long ago, they were bumping uglies and pissing off Starlord’s father. Now they’re arguing about the merits of using the Black Vortex. I’m not sure if that counts as progress in a relationship, but in this context it should.
Even though the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy have a history dealing with cosmic forces that go batshit, there is some significant disagreement. They look at Gamora and she’s not in the process of devouring stars or killing Charles Xavier. Bad history aside, both teams end up in way too many battles where they’re overpowered and overmatched. Honestly, would Starlord’s father or the Red Skull really be in a position to fuck with them if they had this kind of power?
It’s a genuinely engaging debate that discusses the merits of wielding great power. It’s a discussion that goes beyond fighting killer aliens and robots, something that doesn’t happen nearly enough for the X-men or the Guardians. Kitty Pryde remains adamantly opposed while others like Captain Marvel, Magik, and O5 Beast are in favor of dipping their toes in the cosmic wading pool. What makes it so compelling is that both sides make a valid point. Gamora points out how this power could help her end Thanos’ reign of douche-baggery permanently. And that says nothing about all the Sentinels the X-men can destroy with this thing. But again, the Phoenix Force comes up and that’s not something people can easily forget. And as the debate continues, Starlord’s place in Kitty Pryde’s heart and panties becomes increasingly vulnerable.
The debate doesn’t get resolved, but for good reason. Beast, never one to pass up an opportunity to be a massive douche, decides to skip the debate and try the Black Vortex for himself. The results aren’t nearly as awesome as Gamora’s overpowered ass-kicking. For Beast, the Black Vortex turns him into a cross between a Star Trek villain and a creepy Disney toy. It’s not quite as horrifying as it could be. He’s still way less goofy-looking than Cat Beast. But more than anything else, his actions prove that he’s not afraid to tell his friends to go fuck themselves so he can do shit his own way. Yet for some reason, he has a problem when Cyclops does this. Go figure.
This is bad news for both the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy. But it’s even worse news for Mr. Knife, who has now officially lost the Black Vortex to his son, his son’s girlfriend, and a bunch of mutants who are already known for being on the Shi’ar’s shit list. He’s having a bad day to say the least and his internet didn’t even go out. That’s saying a lot. He now has the fucking Brood breathing down his neck, saying he better get the Black Vortex back. He just has to find a way to pry it out of his son’s bitter grip, knowing his son’s girlfriend has the power to make that even harder.
And since Mr. Knife isn’t screwed enough, his own allies are starting to turn against him. One of them even tries to convince Thane, the son of Thanos who already got a taste of the Black Vortex, starts planning a coup. Thane doesn’t go along with it. He’s got enough shit on his plate and slipping into his father’s old habits is not a good coping mechanism. It’s still a bad sign for Mr. Knife and these guys were supposed to be the main villains. Now they’re underdogs that no amount of Mighty Ducks movies can match. It’s still hard to have sympathy for them, but fuck if they don’t have it rougher than most villains.
Villains actually aren’t the biggest problem the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy face at this point. Now Beast is high on cosmic power and he looks at it the same way a teenage boy looks at internet porn. He’s now on the world’s greatest power trip that doesn’t involve LSD. He claims he can see the whole universe now and can solve all its problems, including the ones he created. I’m sure he’s probably said shit like that before, usually when he hasn’t had his coffee. But this time he’s got cosmic power so maybe this time he won’t fuck it up that badly. He’ll still fuck it up though. Just because he’s got cosmic power doesn’t make him any less a douche-bag.
This definitely worries Kitty Pryde and the others. X-23, never one to need powers aside from her claws, tries to destroy the Black Vortex. Beast responds by blasting her in a way Cyclops usually reserves for Captain America. I guess it’s only a dick move when he does it now. This helps end the argument. If the Black Vortex has users blasting their own teammates, then that’s probably a good sign that they should stick to safer forms of power like weed and blow. Even Starlord comes around. And to her credit, Kitty Pryde doesn’t say, “I told you so, asshole. Now you owe me a movie and cheesecake.” That alone makes her the best girlfriend in the galaxy.
The tension escalates and it’s at this point that Nova, who Starlord called in a previous issue, finally shows up the join the fight. Now his appearance isn’t completely random. Like I said, Starlord did call him. But his timing couldn’t be worse if he caught Hulk in the middle of taking a shit. He’s like a camera guy showing up in a porno. He ruins the moment. He doesn’t contribute anything.
This is probably the only part of the plot that feels choppy. It’s understandable why Nova would be involved. An artifact that induces cosmic power in its users is definitely something within the Nova Corp’s jurisdiction. The problem is that he doesn’t add to the debate or the conflict. He’s completely out of place and distracts from the reactions of the rest of the teams. He’s just there in that he provides a distraction for Gamora to fuck things up even more.
Gamora makes good use of that distraction as well. While the others are focused on Nova and Beast’s cosmic powered douche-baggery, she swipes the Black Vortex and decides to end the debate once and for all. She does this by turning the Black Vortex on everyone and giving them a full dose. They don’t ask for it. Some of them have already concluded that this isn’t something they want to fuck with. They end up getting it anyway, making for the best possible WTF moment that doesn’t involve Emma Frost being naked. And it didn’t even require that Tony Stark shoot it with a big ass gun. I think that counts as progress.
As bad an idea it was to give Gamora cosmic power, she’s not even in the same galactic neighborhood as Beast. Storm already went out of her way to tell him he’s kicking up one too many shit storms in the previous issue. Now I’m pretty sure he’s given the finger to all her concerns now that he’s got cosmic power. He and Gamora embrace this power and give the finger to anyone who thinks the lessons learned from the Phoenix Saga have any merit. And to prove their point, Gamora makes sure they all get a taste, even after they started recalling those lessons. I’m not going to say it doesn’t prove her point. I’m just saying Cyclops is probably doing a cosmic powered face palm back on Earth.
Once again, Gamora gave this issue the best possible “oh fuck!” moment it could’ve had. The X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy managed to keep the Black Vortex away from the Slaughter Lords. That ended up being the easy part. Now they’ve got to deal with cosmic level complications. And if after this they still think Cyclops was a douche bag with the Phoenix Force, then they’re just being assholes. It also helps that there was genuine debate on the merits of using this power, despite their shitty history with cosmic powers in general. It’s a debate that never happened during Avengers vs. X-men. Maybe that would’ve helped give it a less shitty ending. But it’s too late for that story. It sure as hell isn’t too late for this story. Guardians of the Galaxy #24 gets a 9 out of 10. Between Beast’s douche-baggery and the promise of more cosmic powered characters, this story couldn’t be more of a rush without including a free hit of meth. My dentist can breathe a sigh of relief. Everybody else can continue to squee. Nuff said!