Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Uncanny X-men #2: Nuff Said!

Admit it. You’d probably would’ve voted for Mitt Romney if he could prove definitively that electing him President would drastically increase internet speeds, eliminate all pop-up ads, and allow all bottles of whiskey to be tax deductible. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or even a petty one. It just means that you get behind people who can get shit done. If Magneto ever ran for President, I imagine he’d get plenty of votes on the basis that he’d disembowel every mullah in Iran who denied the holocaust. Sadly, he and the rest of the mutant race need more than votes right now.

Cullen Bunn has continued his efforts to make Magneto the most badass X-men villain of all time. That or he’s trying to give Michael Fassbender more sex appeal. I’m not sure. But in his new Uncanny X-men series, he has Magneto giving the mutant race and the humans who spit on them an excessively hard kick in the balls. But in Uncanny X-men #2, he has to kick a little harder because everyone wants to get in on the mutant-bashing action. Inhumans fans, get ready to jerk off. X-men fans, I hope you skipped lunch.


As much fun as it is seeing Magneto kick scared mutants in the balls, it’s still way more fun watching Mystique kick ass. It’s easier to fap too as well. She finally makes her post-Secret Wars debut and she’s still doing what she does best. She’s living the dream, which is to say she’s living the lives of others, and she’s looking damn sexy doing it. In other words, she’s still the same Mystique we know and love. Marvel just didn’t see fit to fuck her over like they did Cyclops. I guess Jennifer Lawrence has that kind of effect on a character.

But like the IRS at a fundraiser for the Koch brothers, someone comes along the way to fuck up Mystique’s stolen life. She’s living happily as a cute blond at a San Francisco tech company. She’s not even the hipster type. Then, some random Secret Service rejects come along to ruin everything. Mystique responds in the most appropriate way possible by kicking the everloving shit out of them. And she does it in a way that I’m sure even Jennifer Lawrence would approve of.


Once she’s done kicking ass and making my penis happy, she ditches the company and rejoins some mysterious partner. Not much is revealed, but these partners are either dedicated Hellfire Club cos-players or they’re from the motherfucking Hellfire Club. I’m fine with either. Hell, I’m surprised the Hellfire Club didn’t extend the red carpet to Mystique sooner. But if she’s spying for them, at least she has good tastes. We don’t know much about what she’s after, but we do know that working for the Hellfire Club comes with a free supply of thongs. So I guess everyone wins.


There’s not nearly as much mystery with Magneto and Psylocke’s mission. In the first issue, they rescued a mutant healer who was too chicken shit to tough it out through these dark times for the mutant race. He tried to put himself in hibernation until the world stopped fucking over the mutant race. Granted, he probably would’ve had to wait until the day Fox went bankrupt, but Magneto managed to get his ass in gear. Then, he got himself killed by the Dark Riders. So either way, he was fucked.

Finding his dead body actually makes for a dramatic moment for Magneto. Keep in mind, this guy knows a thing or two about an entire race being devastated by poison gas. The main difference is he doesn’t bitch and moan about Cyclops. He’s just looking to find out who killed this mutant so he can determine whether he needs to rip their spine out of their assholes or their noses.


There’s a little drama with Psylocke as well. She’s providing psychic support and identifying other healers that might be a target for a Colombian necktie. So the mission to save healers is still ongoing. But she gets distracted briefly by Arcangel’s appearance. It’s another ominous hint on top of the ones we get in the first issue. This isn’t the same bad boy Arcangel that once made Psylocke’s thong-loving ass so hot. This is a mindless drone version of Arcangel who has only slightly more personality than Kristen Stewart. It’s only a teaser for now, but like a nipple slip an awards show, it offers some tantalizing possibilities.


As for the possibility of sexual tension between Monet and Sabretooth? Well, it’s not quite as tantalizing, but it’s close enough. While Magneto tries to figure out who maimed the healer they freed, these two are on a mission to save another healer. It’s perfectly in line with the overall theme thus far. Someone is targeting healers the same way the Epic Meal Time guys target bacon. It might not sound like a big deal, but at a time when 8-month time skips cause more plot holes than the last two seasons of Lost, they count for something.

And while I’m still not sold on an inverted Sabretooth, I will say his teasing with Monet was pretty fun. He might be an inverted prick, but he’s got a sense of humor about it. In a series that has such dark themes, it offers some much-needed balance. He’s no Deadpool, but maybe that’s setting expectations too high, especially when he’s got a movie coming out that might actually not suck.


Sabretooth and Monet find their healer and for the moment, he doesn’t have a bullet hole in his chest. This one happens to be a more familiar face. It’s Elixir, whose exploits include being on X-Force and banging the Stepford Cuckoos. That’s not a bad resume to say the least. But I guess X-Force and sexy blond triplets was just too exciting for him because he’s now trying help people without his powers. So he’s joined this charity in Vermont.

It’s a perfectly noble endeavor. He claims he’s not sure just how much his powers are helping people. At a time when mutants are less popular than explosive diarrhea or NRA lobbyists, that’s probably a good thing. He doesn’t even blame Cyclops for his current situation, which already puts him above 90 percent of the X-men. But there’s a distinct sincerity to his current state in that he’s just not sure what to do with himself. And sincerity in comics these days is rarer than an intelligent conversation with Jessica Simpson.


Whatever conflict Elixir feels ends up meaning jack shit once the Dark Riders arrive. Just as they did with the last healer, they show up and hit with the force of the 85 Bears on crack. This time, the X-men have a chance to protect Elixir. It leads to a short, but pretty damn visceral battle. It’s the kind of battle that brings out the strengths in Greg Land’s art. The Gloria Steinmans of the world might bitch and moan about how he draws every woman like a Victoria’s Secret model, but even they would have to admit his action scenes are pretty damn good.


The battle gets bloody very fast. The Dark Riders don’t just target Elixir. They target any innocent person around him. And keep in mind, this isn’t a UFC fight night. This is a fucking charity. It hits hard and makes for heavy drama. Again, it plays to the strengths of Sabretooth and Monet’s style as well as Greg Land’s art. Eventually, Elixir finally stops being a pussy and shows his strengths as well.

Despite looking more shell shocked than Mormon at a gay bar, Elixir finally decides to put his powers to good use. He’s able to heal everyone the Dark Riders maimed. It’s another moment that nicely builds on the drama that Cullen Bunn is so good at building. If Elixir has any lingering reservations about the good he can do with his powers, then he’s just being difficult.


There’s just one slight problem. While Elixir might have saved all these innocent people, he basically slathered steak sauce on his body and jumped into a den of hungry bears. Because Sabretooth figures out just a second too late that this is exactly what the Dark Riders wanted him to do. By using his powers out in the open, he basically gave them a big, shiny target and they took it. It leaves Elixir with a hole in his chest and a couple of demoralized X-men in his wake. It’s a heavy moment and one that has just the right impact. I would offer my sympathy to Elixir fans, but I’d rather they just seek Jean Grey and Richard Rider fans for support.


So...is it awesome?

Well if I’m going to judge this book by how hard Magneto’s team kicks the mutant race in the balls, I can only say yes, for the most part. Nobody is going to be rendered sterile just yet, but that’s not to say the potential isn’t there. While this might be bad news to my future grandchildren, it’s promising news for this story. It’s concise, dramatic, and flows nicely from the first issue. They’re like Megan Fox’s ass in a Michael Bay movie. It just works.

That’s not to say Uncanny X-men #2 has only as much depth as a Michael Bay movie. It certainly has more and doesn’t need giant robots or mutant turtles to move the plot along. The mission to protect healers fits nicely within the overall narrative of mutants being fucked more than all the gangbangs in a German porno. But between Mystique’s mysterious role, the role of the Dark Riders, and the unexplained sexual tension between Monet and Sabretooth, there are some shortcomings. But none of these shortcomings involve bitching about Cyclops or kissing an Inhuman’s ass. So that still counts for a lot.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

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