Thursday, February 26, 2015
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #2
Deadbeat parents are the source of many Disney movies and rap albums. It’s like the fart joke of stories. It’s classic and overdone, but it can still be entertaining if done right. A fart joke in an episode of the West Wing is not going to work as well as a fart joke in Family Guy. The Seth MacFarlanes of the world have a special talent for fleshing out certain elements, be they fart jokes or talking babies. Those elements don’t always work well in certain circumstances. And deadbeat parents is one of those issues that’s struggling to work in Uncanny Avengers.
Aside from Tony Stark being a drunk again, the big fallout from Avengers and X-men: AXIS was the revelation/bullshit retcon that Magneto wasn’t the father of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Naturally, this left them pretty curious so the first arc of the newly relaunched Uncanny Avengers series is built around this mystery. It brought Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to Counter-Earth so they could search for the High Evolutionary. The Uncanny Avengers got dragged into it too because why the fuck not? It’s been an uneven narrative, but it hasn’t completely fucked itself to the point of absurdity. Uncanny Avengers #2 gives it another chance and it’s already dangerously close to not needing too many others.
It certainly helps when a battle between Sabretooth and the High Evolutionary ends with Sabretooth getting a hole blown in his torso. And no, that’s not quite as gay as it sounds. Sabretooth was the lucky/unlucky asshole who managed to show up on Counter-Earth in a perfect position to get his ass kicked by the High Evolutionary’s creations. The High Evolutionary just happens to be there to finish the job. It’s an inglorious end, but one that’s somewhat fitting because it forces Sabretooth to fight in a way that’s as inverted as he is. He doesn’t just go for his typical Plan A of slaughtering anything that moves and fucking anything that’s still warm. Sure, this ends with him getting a hole in the torso, but it clearly establishes the High Evolutionary as the asshole here.
And the High Evolutionary really runs with his assholery in a major way, so much so that he kind of steals the show a bit. Once Sabretooth is down for the count, he reveals that he didn’t just drop by to horribly wound someone. He’s probably as bored of that as Wolverine was before he died. He’s actually there to tell his citizens that they are basically failed lab experiments, just like Sabretooth. He goes on this long, but not-so-meaningless rant about how his brand of evolution goes beyond just surviving and fucking. By that process, there’s not much difference between man and pond scum. And on some levels, he’s not wrong. But this guy strives for perfection and as it stands, these anthropomorphic creations aren’t making the cut.
For anyone who doesn’t know shit about the High Evolutionary and is too lazy to use Wikipedia, this moment perfectly conveyed the personality and motivations of this character. He’s not Magneto, Sinister, or Apocalypse. He’s something else. Sure, he’s still an asshole. But he’s an evolved asshole seeking to achieve the perfect life and he’s not using shitty self-help books to do it. He’s actually trying to create it from scratch. In that sense he’s not inherently an asshole. He’s just ambitious and has some fucked up ways of going about it.
This speech has nothing to do with the parentage of the Maximoff Twins or the Uncanny Avengers. But I’ll come out and say it anyways. The High Evolutionary is now the most interesting part of this story. His pursuit and his fucked up ways of going about it are way more interesting than who knocked up Pietro and Wanda’s mother. He’s no Dr. Doom, but he’s no Walter White either.
The asshole part of his pursuit is that he’s willing to exterminate huge populations of his creation with the same callousness as most people have when they click the undo button in an essay. While Sabretooth makes an attempt to stop him, he fails miserably in a way that probably has Wolverine laughing his ass off from beyond the grave. Then with a shrug and a smile, the Hugh Evolutionary proceeds to wipe out every living creature around him with a burst of power that might as well have been ripped from a rerun of Dragonball Z. It looks every bit as awesome as it sounds. And all this is done in the name of pursuing perfection. It makes me shudder to think how this guy would deal with typos.
After a display like that, catching up with the Maximoff twins feels like a downgrade. Sure, this whole story began with them traveling to Counter-Earth to find the High Evolutionary. That doesn’t mean it’s the most engaging part of this story. Their only accomplishment since showing up in this world is losing a bar fight and getting themselves captured. That’s like getting thrown out of a bar in New Orleans and still ending up in jail because the police had to fill a public drunkenness quota. And they don’t do much more than I did on my last trip to New Orleans.
Once they wake up, there is some nice inner musings from the Scarlet Witch. She talks about how she and Quicksilver have been dealing with the revelation about Magneto not being their father. In a nutshell, they’re still fucked up about it. But they still aren’t doing anything other than getting their asses kicked to deal with it. That doesn’t mean that this ends up being less productive than my last trip to jail.
When the Maximoff twins wake up, they find themselves in a bunker where three Rambo knock-offs are arguing about what the High Evolutionary just did. They seem to have a problem with the High Evolutionary just exterminating millions of lives on a whim. I guess they’re weird like that. It reveals that the High Evolutionary has enemies aside from the Maximoff twins and the Uncanny Avengers. It also reveals that these guys went out of their way to save the Maximoff twins rather than help the lives the High Evolutionary snuffed out. Given how easily he fucked up Sabretooth, they might have done the smart thing. They can’t help anyone if they’re dead or horribly maimed.
These people definitely need help if they’re going to fight the High Evolutionary. The Maximoff twins offer something. But given their issues with family and retcons, they can only offer so much. It’s easy to forget that the rest of the Uncanny Avengers were supposed to get involved with this. But there still isn’t much progress on that front. Only Dr. Voodoo gets to do anything of real merit here and even he’s behind the curve.
In a fucked up realm of the dead, he encounters the souls of all the lives the High Evolutionary just exterminated. They’re not exactly happy about it to say the least. Souls tend to get restless when some douche-bag in purple armor commits genocide on them. But Dr. Voodoo is in a position to do something about it and it has nothing to do with haunting the High Evolutionary in a blatant Paranormal Activity rip-off.
He gets in touch with Doniva, the first daughter of the High Evolutionary. She’s not exactly fond of her father. He treated her the same way most people treat a defective iPhone, casting her aside like a teenage boy casts aside dirty tissues during a porn marathon. She warns that like a teenage boy with an unfiltered internet connection, the High Evolutionary will keep doing this. And she wants to help stop him. There are no specifics, but it continues the trend of making the High Evolutionary the most interesting character in this story. The Uncanny Avengers might as well be guest stars at this point.
The High Evolutionary remains front and center, showing off just how much he’s in charge of this world. He’s still not satisfied after slaughtering millions of lives for the imperfections they’re not even responsible for. So he takes Sabretooth back to his lab and decides to dissect him as only he can. It’s not quite as gruesome as the last three Saw movies, but it is pretty fucking brutal. I wouldn’t be surprised if this shit gave the High Evolutionary a boner because he’s intrigued by Sabretooth’s healing factor. That just gives him another means of pursing his quest for perfection and fucking with those who don’t meet his standards. Now this isn’t a new tactic. Plenty of other assholes have tried to exploit healing factors. The High Evolutionary isn’t even the top 10, but his ability to torment Sabretooth still earns him some points.
As he’s torturing Sabretooth, he ends up getting a call from one of the guys dumb enough to help him in this endless pursuit of perfection. He’s the same asshole who was dumb enough to capture Rogue. While Rogue still isn’t doing jack shit along with the rest of the Uncanny Avengers, she’s still alive and still in a position to fuck things up when she gets a chance. Right now, her creepy old captor is just letting the High Evolutionary know that there are mutants stirring shit up on Counter-Earth. And Sabretooth has already proved that they can be quite a hassle.
The High Evolutionary doesn’t get too upset about this. He doesn’t even look annoyed. He has a, “Oh, that’s happening? How cute,” type reaction. But that doesn’t mean that he’s okay with anyone coming along and fucking up his perfect little world. So he calls in some help to deal with it in the form of Luminous. But who the fuck is Luminous? Well that’s not entirely clear, but the High Evolutionary does reveal that she’s related to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. It’s set up as one of those “Oh fuck!” moments. But at this point, the impact is lacking. So the Maximoff Twins have some siblings that want to kill them. That’s not too shocking. That’s the next three sitcoms on CBS.
There was a lot going on in this issue. But like watching an episode of Lost without the aid of weed, it didn’t make for a lot of progress. That’s not to say it did nothing of merit. More than anything else, it revealed special breed of asshole that the High Evolutionary has become. He’s the opposite of Spider-Man, so much power and no responsibility. He’ll create and slaughter as many living beings he has to in order to achieve his goal. He comes off as someone who took his OCD way too fucking far, but at least there’s a sense of perspective in terms of what the Uncanny Avengers are up against.
Beyond that, not a whole lot happened. Sabretooth gave everyone attitude in a way that was indistinguishable from Wolverine. The Maximoff twins slept through most of the story, not getting much closer to finding out who their real father is. And aside from Dr. Voodoo, none of the other Uncanny Avengers did or discovered anything of merit. I can’t say the story didn’t move forward because it did. I can’t even say it lacked depth and appeal. There is a story worth telling here, but it’s the kind of story that makes me less and less likely to give a fuck about who Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch’s parents are. If nothing else, this issue still retained just enough fucks to be interesting. It’s just getting way too side-tracked. I give Uncanny Avengers #2 a 6 out of 10. It’s not easy to get over bullshit retcons. Just re-read the Clone Saga and try to let it go. But it is possible to stop being pissed off enough to enjoy the stories that follow. So unless someone is in need of anger management or is Charlie Sheen, they shouldn’t be bothered by it at this point. Nuff said!