Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scanned Thoughts: Inferno #4

There was once a time when demons and the women who fucked them were an actual, legitimate concern. These were not fun times to say the least. Without internet porn or TV, people would deal with these concerns by burning people at the stake and conducting exorcisms that would make any reasonable person prefer the company of demons. Since then, demons have become cartoon characters, except for the Duck Dynasty crowd. And stories like Inferno have shown that, despite all the horror and carnage they bring, they can still be pretty damn awesome.

Inferno has nicely established itself as one of the better tie-ins for Secret Wars. How can it not when it involves a kid version of Cable, a crazy demon psycho bitch in Magik, and Madelyne Pryor in a thong? It adds to that awesome by crafting a genuinely compelling story about Colossus trying to save his sister from Limbo. There's been plenty of drama to go along with epic demon battles. He's even found time to hook up with Domino on the side. Swap the vodka out for whiskey and he'd be on Wolverine's level. But in Inferno #4, he's gotten to a point where all the vodka and whiskey in the world won't convince him that he can save Magik. She's dry-humped one too many demons. It's time he get medieval on this demon shit.

That's exactly what Colossus reflects on, albeit in a more brotherly sort of way. He and Domino are still working with Madelyne fucking Pryor of all people in their effort to find her. It's not as unreasonable as it sounds because by the time they reach Limbo, Magik has effectively unleashed a demonic version of PMS on everyone and everything. With a new demon Nightcrawler pet by her side, she's casually strolling the streets while her demon hordes torment and horrify everyone in their sight. There's being a sadistic brat and then there's being a crazy demon psycho bitch. And at this point, I think it's safe to say that Magik has embraced and gangbanged both. Evil demons are bad enough. Evil demons who are also sadistic teenage girls? Even my penis shudders at that thought.

As she rampages with a smile like a kid on their first trip to Disney World, she still encounters some resistance. Although at this point, calling Longshot resistance is like calling Bobby Jindal a legitimate contender for President. It's not going to do anything but annoy Magik, albeit less than a speech by Bobby Jindal. And annoying crazy demon psychic bitches is a bad idea, no matter how much luck you have on your side. He should stick to playing Powerball.

But Longshot doesn't end up getting to do jack shit. Before he can do anything more than mildly amuse Magik, Dr. Strange and Doom's Thor Corp show up. This is somewhat jarring, but it's also a nice reminder that this story is taking place within Battleworld. That means when a big fucking demon army invades a part of it, a god-powered Dr. Doom is going to take notice. It may mildly annoy him just as much, but it's still the first instance where this story is injected into the larger context of Secret Wars.

While this is an intriguing twist, it still feels somewhat forced. I have to wonder how a god-powered Doom reasons that, "I'll give only half a shit about any particular realm in Battleworld. But when demon armies start invading, I'll take an interest." But whatever his reasons, it's still one of those moments that offer tantalizing possibilities. Like a stripper in the process of taking off her bra, there's a distinct promise that something awesome is about to be revealed.

For the rest of the X-men who spent years protecting this realm from demon attacks, it's not quite as awesome. The epic battle in the previous issue ended up being pretty lopsided. The X-men and all the mutant forces that Cyclops led, despite being confined to a wheelchair, got their asses kicked by a demon-loving teenager. That has to be right up there with getting farted on by Blob as a low point. Their pride, their spirit, and their collective balls are pretty damn wounded.

It leads to a vulnerable moment with Cyclops. Everyone around him, including Jean, keep telling him just how fucked they are. At this point, they would have better luck in the Zombieverse or Age of Ultron. But Cyclops, being stubborn/badass leader he's always been, tries to rally the X-men with a stirring Mel Gibson speech. And he does it without going into an anti-semetic rant. I admit even I felt the urge to go out and fight demons or my 5th grade teacher, which is basically the same thing. It's the kind of Cyclops that X-men fans have come to love and Wolverine fans have come to despise.

But before anyone can start cheering and mooning demons, Magik's forces and a demon Nightcrawler show up. So much for an inspiring speech. Still a better outcome than Mel Gibson's last speech though.

Everybody seems to be running on empty. Fighting a crazy demon psycho bitch who is on a hell of a winning streak is taking a toll. Colossus, Domino, and the Goblin Queen's forces/bitches are still trying to meet up with the X-men or kick Magik's ass, whichever comes first. Along the way, they keep losing more of their forces. They're basically trying to fight Ronda Rhousy while bleeding to death. Colossus seems to know this and continues to look pretty damn pessimistic about saving his sister and/or ending her demonic ass. The only one who doesn't seem all that broken up about it is the Goblin Queen. She still looks like she's enjoying this. That or she's horny. I honestly can't tell and neither can my penis.

They finally get a break, albeit a small one. A few issues ago, Nightcrawler and Boom Boom managed to dive head-first into the losing end of a demon battle. Nightcrawler got turned into one of Magik's pets. Boom Boom just ended up like most pretty blondes in a slasher movie. Or did she? Well, this isn't another shitty Friday the 13th sequel so remarkably, she survived. Her hair looks like shit, but she's in one piece.

This may also sound forced, but it's not. And that's not just because of the weed. However she survived, she offers Colossus, Domino, and the Goblin Queen a better way to get to the demon-fighting action. Sure, it involves going through a sewer, but they just went through fucking Limbo. By comparison, a sewer has to be a cruise to the Bahamas. Since they're so fucked right now, they follow Boom Boom willingly. It seriously can't be worse than just wandering around the wasteland that Magik's demonic hissy fit has created.

Thanks to Boom Boom and the overly elaborate sewers that might as well be shit-powered magic gateways, Colossus and his team are able to meet up with the others. The details are somewhat lacking, but it's not a big deal because it leads to another X-men vs. Demons battle. There are just some things you can't be petty about.

The fight that unfolds isn't quite as epic as previous battles, nor is it intended to be. It's basically a way for Colossus, Domino, and the Goblin Queen's forces to meet up with Cyclops, Jean, and the rest of the beleaguered X-men. Is it enough to tip the balance in their favor? Probably not. But it does lead to a scene where Madelyne Pryor and Jean Grey are within slapping distance of one another. That alone makes it worthwhile.

Now this could and probably should've been a big moment. In the history of Inferno, the conflict between Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor is one of the most emotionally charged clashes in the story and not just because guys like me jerk off to the thought of two sexy redheads fighting. Madelyne Pryor is still Jean Grey's clone and I imagine she's still somewhat pissed that Jean had the audacity to come back to life and take Cyclops from her. But none of that shit comes up. Instead, Madelyne just finds it satisfying to pwn Jean by subduing the demon Nightcrawler and making her look like a total pussy. I admit it's not the kind of emotionally charged clash I had been hoping for, but I can't deny that Madelyne knows how to pwn her rivals.

We don't get much from the Jean/Madelyne conflict, which is somewhat disappointing. But we still get plenty of demon fighting, which is pretty damn awesome. It's not as epic as previous battles, but it's still plenty visceral. It's not a case of whiskey, but it's a couple bottles and that's enough to have a good time.

And while we were denied more Jean/Madelyne conflict, we get more than our share of Cyclops/Colossus conflict. Granted, it's not nearly as sexy, but it's every bit as emotionally charged. Once they get a breather from fighting demons, Cyclops goes out of his way to blast and yell at Colossus for basically doing the exact opposite of what he told him to do. If that weren't bad enough, Cyclops ended up being right in the end and this time it didn't get his ass thrown in jail. He rightly points out that Colossus' endless efforts to save his sister were doing more harm than good. Now, they're all pretty much fucked. He's harsh, way more than he ever was with Wolverine. But Colossus doesn't argue with him. He never denies that he fucked up. Even so, it doesn't do much of anything to unfuck their situation.

It's a powerful moment and one that could get a lot messier and a lot less sexy if it continues. But just like before, it's a moment that gets cock-blocked. But this time, it isn't from Dr. Doom's people. This time, it's from their old friend/asshole Sinister. He showed up at the end of the previous issue. Now, he's arriving just in time exploit the X-men's desperation and vulnerability. He's like a corrupt lawyer, but not quite as ugly.

His appearance definitely surprises everybody. It's the first time Madelyne looks genuinely shocked and definitively not horny. Then Boom Boom vouches for him. It's at this point we find out how she actually survived. It's Sinister who saved her. He claims he also tinkered with her genetics to make her more subservient, but that's pretty much the basic package for this guy. That's one question answered, but the X-men are still suspicious of him, as they probably should be given how many crazy clones this guy has unleashed.

However, he claims he's there to help them. He claims he has a way for them to beat Magik. And Dr. Oz claims I can run a marathon in under two hours just by buying my vitamins from him. It's not a very credible claim. Unfortunately, the X-men aren't in a position to turn down help, especially now that Magik has the attention of Dr. Doom and his unholy henchmen. At the very least, Sinister isn't asking for their credit card number or a copy of their passport. It's hard to imagine how he can help them turn the tide against Magik. But given his reputation for fucking shit up, often with clones, why not take a chance? If it's a choice between Sinister and a teenage demon-loving psycho bitch, I think the choice is obvious.

After reading this issue, I feel like I need an exorcism, but in a good way. Once again, this series finds a way to make demons and the psycho bitches who love them fun. It also finds a way to inject a premium level of X-men caliber drama along the way. Like Red Bull and Vodka, the idea that X-men and demons would come together to make an awesome mix sounds crazy. But even if it is crazy, it's the kind of mixture that gets you fucked up in all the right ways and doesn't turn your vomit green. On behalf of my toilet, I thank Dennis Hopeless for making this work.

The heavy drama with Colossus and the inclusion of Sinister helps raise the stakes of this story. And with Doom's unholy army showing up, this series now feels like it's more than just a random brain fart from Battleworld. It has the potential to affect the larger landscape of Secret Wars. Overall, this issue and this series does everything it needs to do. It does drag a bit in some places, but it never kills your boner. And those who jerk off to demons and X-men drama will definitely need new underwear after this. Inferno #4 gets an 8 out of 10. More than anything else, we now know how dangerous crazy psycho demon bitches are. They're so crazy that they make Sinister an ally of the X-men. Let that sink in for the next several weeks. Nuff said!


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