Thursday, February 19, 2015

Scanned Thoughts: Legendary Starlord #9

We’re all taught time and again that power corrupts and we shouldn’t stick our dick in it unless we want to get horribly maimed. We tend to believe that because it makes for great stories about the underdog overcoming overwhelming power. That’s the appeal of every Rocky movie ever made. But on some levels, we all wish we had that kind of power, if only to maim the assholes who cut us off on the highway. Well that’s exactly the kind of thinking the Black Vortex crossover appeals to. And so far, that appeal has made for a pretty awesome story.

The X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy have teamed up again. This unlikely crossover has already produced some unlikely awesome with The Trial of Jean Grey and so far, this story has shown that it wasn’t a fluke. But this time, they’re not the underdogs. They were able to take the Black Vortex from Mr. Knife and the Slaughter Lords before they could use it to make the universe their own personal roll of toilet paper. They debated on whether they should use it for a while and that made for some nice moments. Then Gamora decided to tempt them in a way that can’t be matched without strippers laying on a bed of cocaine. She showed them what they could all look like if they decided they want to pack cosmic heat. And seriously, who wouldn’t be tempted about getting the kind of power that would mean they never paid for another speeding ticket?

Now in the Legendary Starlord #9, we see who can best resist the lure of this power. There was already tension among lovers, teammates, and talking trees. Adding cosmic power to the mix is a great way to fuck things up and/or make it more entertaining. However it pans out, I’m sure Hank McCoy will still find a way to blame Cyclops for it.

For the moment, Beast is letting his cosmic nuts hang along with Gamora. They’re both enjoying the effects of the Black Vortex the same way enjoy a cold beer and a hot bath. They just showed the X-men, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Nova what they can expect with this power. While I’m sure they’re tempted, they understand that it’s like an infomercial for a weight loss drug. It’s never as good as the paid supermodels make it out to be. And since Beast is no supermodel, nobody on either team is lining up to give him the credit card number to their souls.

But in the same way infomercials sucker some people in with their shitty effects and overly enthusiastic voice-overs, some are tempted. And O5 Angel is one of them. Given what he’s been through in the pages of All-New X-men, that’s actually understandable. He found out that he’s going to grow up to be a brain-dead hippie, minus the excessive LSD and body odor. That’s not a lot to look forward to. While Iceman might be content never evolving beyond being an immature little shit, O5 Angel isn’t.

So he decides to submit to the Black Vortex. Even though it has the feel of one of those videos that put paintball guns in the hands of teenagers, the initial result is pretty awesome. O5 Angel becomes a slightly upgraded version of Arcangel, minus the smurf-like appearance. I admit it’s pretty badass. I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t take Arcangel as being that menacing when he had the same skin complexion as Papa Smurf. Even Nova admits it’s cool. I usually don’t agree with Nova on much so I think that says a lot about just how potent the Black Vortex is.

And like a joint of some really awesome weed, others want a puff. O5 Iceman, again showing the maturity that never leaves a Junior High homeroom, wants to get a taste. Drax saves us from his cosmic level immaturity by getting in his way. And Kitty Pryde tries to stop Beast from tempting any more impressionable young minds. At this point, German dungeon porn is healthier than Beast’s influence.

What’s really fucked up about it is that Beast in this new form sounds exactly like Cyclops did while he was doped up on the Phoenix Force. He talks about accomplishing so much more with this power than they ever could have otherwise. He talks about remaking the whole universe in their image whereas Cyclops only wanted to remake the Earth. Yet Beast still gives Cyclops shit? I know I shouldn’t be surprised by this level of hypocrisy. I really shouldn’t. Yet here I am.

Storm seems to sense the hypocrisy as well because she decides to grab the Black Vortex and run while Kitty Pryde is busy busting Beast’s balls. It’s a pretty effective distraction for someone just looking to cock-block a friend at a club in Miami. But when cosmic power is involved, it’s like pissing on the face of a hungry shark. It’s not going to end well.

It has already ended in a pretty shitty way for Mr. Knife, also known as Starlord’s asshole father. He’s not at all thrilled that he lost the Black Vortex. He’s probably pissing himself at the possibility that he may have to face his cosmic-powered son and his girlfriend, who he’s gone out of his way to berate. But he still has allies, specifically Thanos’ son. He also has a giant fucking ship so it’s not like he’s completely helpless. He’s still totally fucked, but at least he’ll put up a fight. Even though he’s still the underdog in this battle that involves cosmically powered X-men and Gamora, I have a hard time rooting for him. How can I root for anyone who berates his son’s even after he’s hooked up with Kitty Pryde? There’s being tough and then there’s just being a douche-bag.

Starlord’s father is still very low on the list of concerns for the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy at this point. Storm is probably the only one in the galaxy at this point who can be trusted with getting the Black Vortex as far away from Beast, O5 Angel, and Gamora at this point. But she might as well be hiding a cheesecake from John Goodman. They’ve got cosmic fucking power on their side. It’s like giving Ivan Drago a tank.

That doesn’t stop her from putting up a fight. She may not have cosmic power, but she’s Storm. She doesn’t need cosmic power to kick ass. She gets into a visceral battle with Gamora. It’s the kind of battle that gets my heart racing and my dick aching, but in a good way. It’s not rushed. It’s not glossed over. It’s just a beautifully detailed struggle. Anyone who can’t enjoy this is either comatose or overdosing on Xanax.

Gamora eventually does beat Storm. As satisfying a fight it might be, it’s more lopsided than Brian Williams’ memory. She’s not going to defeat a cosmically powered Gamora for the same reason I’ll never bang Megan Fox and Jessica Alba in a single night. But Storm still has allies. They might not be able to hook me up with movie stars, but they can make the battle feel a little less lopsided. O5 Jean Grey does this by doing a little mind-fuck with Gamora, tapping into her cosmic-powered daddy issues with Thanos. She doesn’t appreciate this in the same way Willie Nelson doesn’t appreciate the IRS. She tries to gut O5 Jean where she stands, but Kitty Pryde manages to spare them another Phoenix-level fuck-up.

Drax and some of the others catch up to help keep O5 Jean and Kitty Pryde from being Friday the 13th cos-players against Gamora. Again, it’s a nicely detailed and well-developed battle. It’s not rushed and on some levels, it drags a bit. Not much really happens as a result of the X-men and Guardians’ effort to keep the Black Vortex from their cosmic-powered friends. It’s not as emotional as it could be either. However, it’s still satisfying enough to make everyone’s pants at least somewhat tighter.

The battle’s outcome is hardly surprising. The X-men, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Nova really don’t stand much of a chance against three cosmic-powered friends. Beast and O5 Angel manage to get their hands on the Black Vortex again. They don’t stick around to finish off their friends. While Gamora is tempted and my penis does want to see her keep fighting, Beast convinces her that their time would better be spent putting the Black Vortex to good use. I still really want to kick his ass for basically plagiarizing that shit from Cyclops during Avengers vs. X-men, but I’ve learned to control my outrage towards Hank McCoy. It may take a few extra bong hits. At some point, however, I’d love it if someone called him out on his shit.

Instead, Kitty Pryde takes her frustration out on her boyfriend. Apparently, she blames him for Gamora choosing to embrace its power and Beast deciding that he wants to be an even bigger hypocrite. It’s irrational and she comes off as a nagging bitch. Having been blamed for way more shit than I was ever guilty of by ex-girlfriends, I’m not all that surprised. I just think this is a disturbing pattern for Kitty Pryde. She’s so fucking petty with the Peters in her life. She’ll blame them for choices that other people make and use that as an excuse to bust their balls. She’s a great teacher and a great motivator, but it’s times like this I’m glad my parents didn’t name me Peter.

The others remain a bit more focused. They see their friends leaving with the Black Vortex and they know they’re capable of kicking up a cosmic shit storm. Hank McCoy alone already fucked up the timeline without cosmic power. How much more can he fuck up now that he has it? IT’s a disturbing thought and both the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy are pretty fucked. And Kitty Pryde just makes it worse by berating her boyfriend.

However, as bad as Kitty Pryde can be in dealing with boyfriends and crises, Starlord’s father is still the reigning champ. Just as the others escape with the Black Vortex, he shows up in his giant living ship to attack them. As far as he knows, they still have the Black Vortex. They may already be packing cosmic heat. So like Jack Baur at a terrorist convention, he doesn’t ask questions. He just starts shooting. There are a lot of ways a conflict involving cosmic forces can get progressively worse. Starlord’s father just put himself in the top ten.

If this story were an episode of Jerry Springer, this would be the point where the transsexuals and midget strippers start fighting. They wouldn’t yet reveal that one of the midgets slept with the transsexual’s mother, but it’s getting there. Not everyone is succumbing to the lure of the Black Vortex, but some really want to. It’s creating the kind of discord that reminds me why I miss Jerry Springer. But beyond the well-developed infighting, there’s a remarkably balanced conflict there. Both sides have merit in that conflict. There’s genuine good that could be done with the Black Vortex. Sure, that depends on completely forgetting the shit storm caused by other cosmic powers like the Phoenix Force, but that doesn’t make it any less justified. And it’s that balance that gives this story just the right kind of tension.

As balanced as the conflict was, the story didn’t move forward all that much. Most of it centered around the X-men and the Guardians of the Galaxy fighting over what to do with the Black Vortex and Kitty Pryde blaming Starlord for not destroying it. But what it lacked in progress it made up for in detail. The struggles here were beautifully visceral and had a few notable moments that should make everyone’s asshole a little tighter. There’s a lot to enjoy here. It hasn’t gotten too confusing or fucked up, even by Jerry Springer standards. It has a lot going for it and if it can avoid the same fuck-ups as Avengers vs. X-men, it has the potential to be truly special. The Legendary Starlord #9 gets an 8 out of 10. I think we should all be deeply tempted by the Black Vortex at this point. Sure, it may fuck us up. But like a fresh bottle of whiskey and a bag of weed, that’s exactly what makes it worth doing. Nuff said!


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