Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #34
There comes a point where someone has had so many bad days that they just say, “Fuck it!” And I’m not just talking about the kinds of days that involve a tax audit, a parking ticket, and a bar fight that ends with missing teeth. I’m talking about the days that will earn extra therapy for some and extra whiskey for others. For the X-men, I think they’ve gotten a handwritten thank-you letter from every distillery east of the Mississippi at this point. The New Xavier School closed down. Cyclops’ students hate his guts. Emma Frost has locked her panties for the foreseeable future. And Dazzler is still fuming about being screwed over by SHIELD and Mystique. Seeing as how the world is set to end with Secret Wars, they deserve a little more than an extra case of whiskey.
There’s not a whole lot they can do at this point to avoid the cosmic clusterfuck that Secret Wars brings. But that doesn’t mean they can’t face the upcoming incursion without saying they gave the middle finger to their circumstances. At this point, who really gives a shit about the Schism or the shit that went down after Avengers vs. X-men? Are there really any fucks left to give at this point? I say no and Uncanny X-men #34 offers a previous sliver of time between now and Secret Wars to get their shit right. Some take advantage of it. Some don’t. Like everyone who thought the iPhone would fail, those that don’t have any excuses at this point.
And if anyone is good at exploiting the fuck out of a situation, it’s Mystique. If the world is ending, her only concern is how much debt she can run up in the meantime. She’s already run up quite a bit with the shit she did to Dazzler and the shit she’s doing in Wolverines. Yet she still finds time to steal the identity of a famous Bollywood actress and crash in her mansion, complete with all the luxuries that movie stars can enjoy. Say what you will about Mystique, but she knows how to enjoy herself. She would be the ultimate wingman on a trip to Vegas.
Naturally, her love of exploiting the shit out of everyone else’s clusterfucks gets the attention of Cyclops. He’s a guy who could use Mystique’s approach of not giving enough of a shit to enjoy her time before the world ends, but he’s a little more ambitious. And he’s more than a little curious about how Mystique may or may not fuck with those ambitious. Given her history, it’s probably the most reasonable thing he’s done since letting Emma Frost buy the porno.
Mystique is her usual sassy, devious self and it’s still sexy as hell. She doesn’t feel threatened by Cyclops in the slightest. In fact, she treats him the same way Game of Thrones fans treat message boards, using every opportunity to troll the hell out of him. That includes shape-shifting into his ex-girlfriends, teasing him with the Phoenix, and bringing up his recent breakup with Emma Frost. It’s basically anti-therapy. She’s trying to make Cyclops feel he needs to start shooting heroine.
To his credit, he doesn’t book the first flight to Tijuana. He’s able to endure Mystique’s trolling and stay serious. He basically asks her the same question Mystique fans have been asking since Messiah Complex. What the hell is her problem and why the fuck has she become a total sociopath? She’s not quite a King Joffrey level cunt, but she’s trying way too hard. It’s a problem because there was actually a time when Mystique had more depth than that. Cyclops even points that out to her. Since he’s in a similar state, being despised by everyone and on Maria Hill’s shit list, it’s a relevant question for both of them.
It’s slightly less relevant for Dazzler in the sense that she doesn’t really give a damn why Mystique is acting like a total cunt. She just wants payback for the shit she put her through. Mystique did more than just troll her. She knocked Dazzler out, drugged her, took her place, and used her to create MGH. Unless Mystique hated disco more than anyone else in history, she has no excuse for that shit. And Dazzler wants to bring her to justice.
Unfortunately, that means getting a favor from Maria Hill. And she tends to give out favors the same way the Gordon Ramsey gives out compliments. Lucky for Dazzler, Maria owes her one. She was so busy being angry/horny at Cyclops that she didn’t notice that Mystique had taken her place. Dazzler wants Maria to use SHIELD resources to find her. At first, Maria Hill responds as anyone at the DMV would, telling her to pick a number and be ready to fuck off. However, Maria Hill shows some uncanny understanding that is usually absent from the DMV. She gives Dazzler some info while Dazzler gives her advice on Cyclops. Basically, she tells her to keep her panties on. Whether or not she takes this advice is completely up to her.
The conversation between Mystique and Cyclops isn’t quite as tense at first. Cyclops makes some legitimate observations about their respective situation. They were both affected by the death of Charles Xavier and Wolverine. They’re both branded criminals and everyone they ever cared about now hates their guts. If this were a romantic comedy, they would be dry humping by now. However, the conversation takes an unexpected turn.
It happens when some of Cyclops’ observations are no longer as legitimate. Mystique tries trolling him again and like everyone who got into an argument with a creationist on a message board, Cyclops made the mistake of feeding her. She hints that they had a fling at one point. But outside bad fan fiction, that shit never happened and that tips Mystique off that this isn’t Cyclops. He may talk like him, but keeping a straight face at the mention of them boning is a dead giveaway.
Meanwhile, Dazzler still isn’t done asking Maria Hill for favors. Like Willie Nelson asking for an extension on his taxes, she’s really pushing her luck. But what she asks for isn’t that unreasonable. She just asks that the students from the New Xavier School get a pass. Just because Cyclops rescued them doesn’t mean they should be criminals. Maria Hill is not the IRS so she does show a rare bit of understanding. If only all government officials could be so reasonable. She even throws in some free ice cream if she can bring in Mystique. When is the last time any government employee offered ice cream? The DEA should take notice.
This deal provides all the right incentives. It leads to a beautiful convergence of sorts when it’s revealed who the Cyclops imposter was. It wasn’t another shape-shifter. It was actually Dazzler all along and the Stepford Cuckoos provided the illusion. And since the New Xavier students had an incentive as well, Dazzler brought them along for the ride. That means that for once, Mystique was the victim of deception. It’s the second greatest form of irony, ranking just behind being called an asshole by Kanye West.
It all goes downhill for Mystique from there. The Stepford Cuckoos paralyze her so that she can’t attack. Goldballs disarms her as only he can. Then David Bond uses a stereo to give Dazzler just what she needs to give Mystique the ultimate finger. It’s not as sexy as it sounds, unless you find getting blasted out the window sexy. In a world where some people find Cher sexy, I’m sure that’s a thing. But nobody is more satisfied by this than Dazzler. Hell, I’d be shocked if her panties were dry after this.
With Mystique defeated and turned over to SHIELD, Dazzler decides to celebrate. For her, that doesn’t mean a case of whisky and a bag of blow. It means performing a fucking rock concert that would make Lady Gaga herself envious. I’m not usually one for celebrations that don’t involve whiskey, but I think Dazzler has earned this. She was so badly screwed over by Mystique that she could’ve re-enacted a few gruesome Game of Thrones scenes with Mystique and she would’ve been justified. But she chose not to. She’s still an X-man at heart. She’s just an X-man who also happens to be a fucking rock star. Even Wolverine can’t say he ever had that much skill.
Once the show is over, Maria Hill catches up with her and they basically seal the deal. Dazzler did her part. Maria did hers as well. She didn’t even give her more paperwork to fill out. If only she worked for a traffic court. And since she seems to be in an unusually good mood, she offers Dazzler her old job back. I’m pretty sure that SHIELD has a clause that says nobody can be fired for being screwed over by a shape shifter. Hell, I’m pretty sure that was the first thing their union fought for.
It’s not clear if Dazzler takes Maria Hill up on her offer. But she also makes another point. She says that Cyclops is no longer the mutant that can protect young mutants. And that’s the freshest kind of bullshit there is. I guess nobody told Maria that Cyclops saved young mutants who had been wrongfully arrested for healing innocent people or were shot for no reason by cops. Where the fuck was SHIELD when that happened? Where the fuck was the Jean Grey Institute? And she says he’s not that guy? I don’t know if her rage boner for Cyclops has given her brain damage, but this is the most full of shit any government employee has been that didn’t involve parking tickets.
There’s a much more balanced conversation between the New Xavier School students. They leave the concert and get a bite to eat, which is understandable. Rocking out works up an appetite for both food and other crazy shit. They then talk about what they’re going to do now that their records are clean. They all come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that just being mutants doesn’t mean they need to be X-men. Cyclops ditched them and the Jean Grey Institute didn’t do shit for them when they were in trouble. So Hijack comes up with an idea. However, it’s not clear what that idea is. Since he looks like he just got a blowjob from Jessica Alba, I’m guessing it’s not entirely fucked. But I’ve been wrong before.
Let’s face facts. There were and still are a metric fuckton of loose ends to resolve for Secret Wars. Anyone expecting Marvel to go all obsessive compulsive and close every one of them like Sheldon Cooper on crack was expecting too much. But let’s give credit to where credit is due. This issue was able to tie up a lingering, drawn out loose end in a simple, concise way. Dazzler’s rage boner against Mystique has finally been quelled and Maria Hill’s rage boner/normal boner for Cyclops has been at least partially quelled. It was satisfying in a way that usually involves lube and weed, but this one allowed me to keep both my hands and my lungs clean.
There are still much larger loose ends to tie up, but this issue provided a template of sorts on how to do it right. Take a long-standing vendetta, mix in a little deception, and throw in some overtly sexy innuendo and the end result is a damn good story/James Bond movie. Dazzler fans can finally break out the disco ball and the roller skates. She really kicked ass in this issue. Even though the world as she knows it ends with Secret Wars, she can now go into it with the satisfaction that she kicked Mystique’s ass and taught a valuable lesson to teenagers. She couldn’t have accomplished more without access to Warren Buffet’s credit card. I give Uncanny X-men #34 a 9 out of 10. Whether she’s an outdated disco queen or a punk rock prototype found only at an Ozzy Osborne concert, Dazzler is awesome. She’s not awesome enough to make disco popular again, but she’s worth giving a shit about. Her awesome may be the only thing that fans of One Direction and Marilyn Manson can agree on. Nuff said!