Thursday, March 19, 2015

Scanned Thoughts: Cyclops #11

We all tell crazy lies at some point in our lives. Sometimes we do it to get ahead. Sometimes we do it to get laid. Sometimes we do it because we work at Fox News and lying is the only way Rupert Murdoch can get an erection anymore. Contrary to what the hippies may say, most lies are harmless. But certain lies can do a fuckton of damage if they come out the wrong way. Most of us learn that lesson in our youth, especially during our teen years. O5 Cyclops is learning that lesson in the hardest way possible.

For once, Cyclops did everything right. He did the right thing for the right reason. He saved his father from Captain Malafect. He even went out of his way to save Captain Malafect’s crew when he didn’t have to. Even the assholes who still bust his balls for what happened with Madelyne Pryor have to admit he’s done all the right things. But that just wasn’t enough for Vileena, the hot alien girl who wanted to show him her inter-species mating rituals. Even alien teenage girls don’t give a shit about the circumstances. He lied to her and that pisses her off in a way that justifies ball busting torture. It’s a tough lesson that men have to learn at some point in their lives and O5 Cyclops gets to learn it in Cyclops #11. But it’s going to be an important lesson, especially if he’s going to survive dating Emma Frost.

First, he has to survive being the latest of Vileena’s unfortunate love interests. As it turns out, she has a bit of a history with cute young pirates. And it’s not unlike the same history a hungry piranha has with a wounded duck. It’s revealed through some flashbacks that O5 Cyclops isn’t the first hormonal male who has been smitten with Vileena’s charms. And like the Hilton kids, she never hesitates to exploit her family’s resources.

She wants her father to torture O5 Cyclops in every horrible way imaginable and a teenage girl can imagine some pretty fucked up shit. And I’m sure under most circumstances Captain Malafect wouldn’t hesitate to listen to his precious little girl’s whining the same way Paris Hilton’s family entertained her failed music career. There’s just one big fucking problem. They’re in a busted ship and the big fancy weapon they hoped to sell for a fuckton of money is broken. And since badass pirates can’t afford to be broke, they have to work smart. Money does indeed trump whiney teenage girls. It’s one of the few forces that can.

This takes the conflict to a special little hell hole called Tjaro-6. It’s basically an even shittier version of Mos Eisleys in Star Wars. It’s basically a pirate’s den, but it doesn’t just trade in weapons, ships, and Wookie furs. It also trades in slaves. It’s basically what sweatshop owners wish existed. And this is where Malafect wants to take O5 Cyclops and Corsair. I think on some levels Vileena would be okay with that.

But it’s not just Corsair and O5 Cyclops who have to enjoy this colorful speck of hell in the galaxy. The rest of the Starjammers were lucky enough to be rescued by slave traders. And where do slave traders go to take their cargo? I guess Tjaro-6 is the Wal-Mart of slaves. Now this also makes for a galactic level coincidence. The Starjammers just happened to be picked up by slave traders and they just happen to end up in the same place as Corsair and O5 Cyclops. Even if Tjaro-6 is the Wal-Mart of slaves, it’s still quite a coincidence. I won’t say it’s overly contrived. They’re pirates. I imagine they cross paths with slave traders at least once a week. So it does fit in that context. It just feels too convenient in a galaxy large enough to have more than one slave post.

Convenience or not, it still makes for a less-than-pleasant reunion between Corsair and his crew. They arrive shortly after Hepzibah and the others are thrown into cells. So if he and O5 Cyclops were hoping the rest of the Starjammers would rescue them, he can pretty much flush that down the toilet along with his dignity. They don’t even give him the courtesy of a conjugal visit. These are slave traders, not medium security prisons, not discount motels along the Jersey Turnpike. However, I imagine the beds are just as comfortable.

Before Corsair and O5 Cyclops get thrown into a cell, O5 Cyclops attempts to reason with Kratyr. He’s the big yellow Thing rip-off who O5 Cyclops went out of his way to save during their battle against the Shi’ar. He’s not Captain Malafect and he’s not Vileena. O5 Cyclops never broke his heart or made him horny. He has a reason to help O5 Cyclops. He’s the one who directly benefited from O5 Cyclops’ annoying tendency to be a boy scout. But it wasn’t enough. He still throws them in a slave cell, knowing they’ll probably get sold into an alien plantation or an alien zoo, whoever has deeper pockets pays better.

However, the torture and indignation that O5 Cyclops and Corsair would endure as slaves still isn’t enough for Vileena. Like a spoiled rich girl who is upset over having one less Bentley than her neighbor, she demands that O5 Cyclops die. It’s a perfectly irrational demand for any teenage girl to make, alien or otherwise. The problem is that few badass space pirates succeed by listening to the whims of teenage girls and Captain Malafect understands this.

He calmly explains to her that killing O5 Cyclops and Corsair will just make things harder for them in the long run. Their ship already got fucked up after their battle with the Shi’ar. They need money in order to fix it. Since the starcracker is trashed, they need to sell O5 Cyclops and Corsair as slaves. That way they have the money to fix their ship and get the fuck away from the Shi’ar before they can come looking for their missing starcracker. It’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. It makes good sense from a pragmatic and logistical level. But since when has that ever been enough to satisfy a pissed off teenager? Being reasonable and pragmatic just doesn’t compute for an immature teenage mind. Captain Malafect might as well be trying to convince a dog not to lick its balls.

This puts O5 Cyclops and Corsair in a very bad position. They’re about to be sold off as slaves. They even watch as the rest of the Starjammers get sold off and hauled away. This is usually the time where most people just start shitting themselves and not bother to ask for a change of underwear. Corsair certainly seems ready to take a knee, but O5 Cyclops remains convinced that they have to fight. Like I said, teenage minds simply can’t compute logistics sometimes. Corsair says they need a miracle, but they end up getting the next best thing.

Remember O5 Cyclops’ annoying tendency to be a boy scout and how that ended up screwing them over by helping Malafect? Well, it also ended up saving their miserable asses because the shackles on them just suddenly unlock. It’s not a miracle. O5 Cyclops figures out it comes courtesy of Kratyr, the Thing rip-off he went out of his way to save earlier. He set their shackles to unlock themselves. That way they can save themselves and he doesn’t screw himself over. It’s not just a perfect crime. It’s wonderfully befitting.

This is the kind of shit that the adult Cyclops forgot. Being the boy scout and doing the right thing may cause some nasty complications, some of which include pissing off vindictive ex-girlfriends. But it does pay off in the long run. Karma can screw people over, but it can deliver a much needed shot in the arm when shit starts to get heavy. It shows that there’s genuine merit to O5 Cyclops’ tactics. Even vehement Wolverine fans have to concede that this was much more effective than trying to solve every problem with claws and whiskey.

Once O5 Cyclops and Corsair escape, they race to get the fuck out of this slave pit. But their escape does not go unnoticed. And of course Vileena is the first one to make them wish they could live the rest of their lives as slaves. She manages to hunt them down and she brings a big fucking gun with her. She may not dress in the overtly sexual outfits of the Goblin Queen, but a big fucking gun is just as effective as an army of goblins. And she’s able to do what I’m sure Madelyne Pryor dreams of doing when she jerks off, punching O5 Cyclops right across the face after he tries to apologize. Considering what she could’ve done, I still think he got off easy.

This is where the pacing gets a little choppy and rushed. I get shit is starting to hit the fan, but it happens a little quickly. Vileena and Captain Malafect find O5 Cyclops and Corsair pretty damn quickly. That’s perfectly understandable. They want them to suffer. Why wouldn’t they keep a close eye on them? It just doesn’t flow as well as other recent shit storms in this series. I’m sure that still won’t stop the anti-Cyclops fans from enjoying the sight of Vileena decking him in ways that would get her suspended from the NFL.

But she does more than just punch him. She makes it clear that she really did care about O5 Cyclops. She’s not just some crazed teenage girl who enjoys getting pissed off at her love interests, although she doesn’t seem to mind. She really did care about O5 Cyclops. And his betrayal really did hurt her. It makes her cosmic hissy fit a bit more meaningful. That’s more than can be said for Madelyne Pryor. She tries making O5 Cyclops pay by shooting his father. I guess that basically ruins any possibility of break-up sex.

This is when Captain Malafect also gets in on the fun. Being a good father who spends time with his daughter and shares her passions, she decides to help her maim O5 Cyclops and Corsair. He goes after Corsair specifically, making a point at how much he hates it when hormonal boys hurt her daughter. He also takes plenty of that frustration out on Corsair. But for Corsair, his son’s ability to be a pain in Captain Malafect’s ass is a compliment. I guess that’s two things they both have in common. They’re very proud of their children and they’re willing to help them kick ass when it needs to be kicked. It’s the joys of fatherhood, minus the complications caused by Maury Pouvich.

The battle between the two sides is intense and visceral. That’s what makes it satisfying. This is a battle between two rival space pirates and two hormonal teenagers. It’s like Pirates of the Caribbean meets the Jersey Shore, taking two things that suck and making something awesome out of it. The emotions help make it an awesome battle. But it also ensures that it ends tragically.

Because she’s in a pissed off, overly emotional state, Vileena makes another poor decision. She attempts to throw a knife at Corsair and O5 Cyclops saves him. But in her anger, she fails to notice her father right behind him and the blade ends up killing him instead. It makes for another emotional moment. In her anger over a boy, she ends up killing her father. But being a teenage girl, chances are she’s not going to learn from that mistake. It’s a powerful moment that also gives O5 Cyclops and Corsair a chance to escape. O5 Cyclops offers his condolences, but he might as well offer her cupcakes laced with meth because there’s nothing that’s going to fix this situation for her.

The pacing gets a little rushed and choppy again, but it still helps tie up the remaining loose ends. Once free, O5 Cyclops and Corsair take out the slave traders who took the Starjammers. They then get the fuck out of this slave pit and back into the cold darkness of space, which at this point is like a beach in Maui.

But for Vileena, it’s not nearly as pleasant. She and the crew of the Desolation have a funeral for her father that they clearly ripped off from Star Trek. The crew then names her the captain because making a pissed off teenager a leader has always turned out well, as Game of Thrones has shown. I guess pirates should watch more HBO because Vileena makes it clear she’s now on Madelyne Pryor’s team. She wants to make O5 Cyclops suffer, even though she’s the one responsible for her father’s death. Why? She’s a teenage girl. It doesn’t need to be logical.

When all is said and done, the Starjammers are finally back home. They make their way back to their ship and start repairing it. They can finally focus on being badass space pirates again. They’ve more than earned it. It also gives them a chance to catch up with some of the events in the galaxy they missed, namely the shit storm being caused by the Black Vortex. They were already aware of it. Now they’re set up for the perfect transition that’ll put them in the crossfire of more cosmic power and more emotional teenagers, talking trees, and Hank McCoy. Because why not? They’ve just handled a ruthless pirate and his vindictive daughter. They’re more than equipped to handle a cosmic power not named the Phoenix Force.

This series has had more than its share of defining moments for O5 Cyclops. These were the kinds of moments that would’ve sent his older self farther down that darker path he’s been following ever since Apocalypse mind-fucked him and Emma Frost gave him a repeated dose of sloppy seconds. But O5 Cyclops didn’t fall into that same trap. He resisted the urge to become a Wolverine-lite anti-hero. He remained the lovable boy scout who kept trying to do the right thing, even when it screwed him over. And more than anything else, this issue showed how being that boy scout can pay off.

It was because O5 Cyclops showed mercy and compassion to even his enemies that he escaped Captain Malafect. Sure, Vileena still hates his guts. Sure, she blames him for her father’s death even though she’s the one who threw the fucking knife. But mercy and compassion just aren’t enough for teenage girls. However, it is enough to save him and his father in the most fitting and satisfying way possible. He didn’t have to compromise. He didn’t have to lose his fucking mind or sell his soul. He just had to keep fighting and doing the right thing. Even Madelyne Pryor fans have to respect that.

This issue did so many things right. It wrapped up plenty of loose ends. And while it did get a little choppy in some areas, it provided a perfect transition into the Black Vortex crossover. There was emotion, drama, tragedy, and badass space pirates kicking ass. Anyone who is not satisfied with that needs to lay off the valium. Cyclops #11 gets a 8 out of 10. It also deserves to be added to the list of reasons why Cyclops is an awesome character. It’s not just that he can hook up with hot telepaths and cute alien girls. He can do so while being a nice, honest boy scout. In other words, Hank McCoy can go fuck himself. Nuff said!


  1. Thanks for review man.


  2. No prob! Glad you enjoyed it.


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