Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Extraordinary X-men #7: Nuff Said!

A part of me is glad that telepathy doesn’t exist in the real world. If it did, anyone who scanned my mind would be bombarded by the equivalent of porno spam and Super Bowl beer ads. And I’m not entirely convinced that telepathy could make me enjoy getting shit faced and reviewing comics any less. But for the X-men, having to telepathically repair a damaged mind is the equivalent of an oil change and a tire rotation. And wouldn’t you know it? Nightcrawler’s mind is due at the same time the rest of the team is taking a trip to the LSD-inspired expanse that is Weirdworld. Extraordinary X-men #7 promises some pretty exotic locales. I may need something stronger than beer in order to fully appreciate it as I write this review.


The first locale is pretty exotic, but it’s not Weirdworld. It’s Nightcrawler’s mind. He’s got Mystique for a mother, Azazel for a father, and Rogue as an adopted sister. His mind is NOT going to be normal is what I’m saying. Even the Pope would forgive him for having unholy thoughts about Rogue every now and then, but these are not the thoughts O5 Jean and Storm experience.

They enter Nightcrawler’s mind in an effort to get him to shut the fuck up with the apocalyptic ramblings. They can leave that shit to Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck. They arrive in a familiar, Claremont-inspired memory where Nightcrawler is being chased by pitchforks and torches. O5 Jean is even decked out in a new Marvel Girl style uniform. I consider it a downgrade compared to her last uniform, but it’s not like she’s dressed like Power Girl or Starfire. She doesn’t need to give Nightcrawler any more unholy thoughts as they chase him. I’m sure he’s gotten enough of those from Rogue.


Being in Nightcrawler’s mind, the laws of physics are drunk off their ass and probably high too. That means Storm’s powers aren’t as potent as usual. This means O5 Jean, a teenage girl in a goofy costume, has to be the one to lead them through Nightcrawler’s mind to save them. Not saying Nightcrawler should be scared shitless. I’m just saying that putting a teenage girl in the driver’s seat in a life-threatening situation is a gamble at best.


Back in Weirdworld, another exotic locale where teenagers and adults alike are unequipped to deal with the weirdness, the X-men catch up with Sunfire. This is a big fucking deal because apparently, he helped Cyclops in doing whatever horrific crime that’s so horrific nobody can say what the fuck it is. It could’ve made for a very telling moment. Instead, we get only slightly more than jack shit.

There’s no answers here. There’s not much drama either. Magik just whines at him for doing what he did with Cyclops, but this is Magik. I’m sure she has the same reaction with the pizza guy when he’s 10 minutes late. Sunfire just reveals that they were trying to get as many mutant refugees as possible to X-Haven, but they ended up in Weirdworld instead. Why? Well why the fuck does there need to be a valid reason? They’ve already fucked over the mutant race and Cyclops’ character off-panel. I guess they think actual reasons for events in a story fell out of fashion with razor scooters and boy bands.

Instead of reasons, we just get more Weirdworld style attacks. This time, it comes from ghosts. Why? Well, in Weirdworld, reasons are even less necessary so it gets a pass. It only gives Old Man Logan another chance to remind everyone he’s too old for this shit. I say it’s a point worth belaboring.


The laws of physics seemed fucked on both ends. It gets downright disorienting in Nightcrawler’s mind, who decides that the stoner crowd has run out of shiny shit to stare at. So everything turns upside down when they arrive on a pirate ship with Nightcrawer, another nice homage to the Chris Claremont contributions to Nightcrawler’s story. It’s disorienting, but I can say on behalf of stoners it definitely make shit more interesting. If you get motion sickness, you might not agree. But it fits nicely with the overall theme of this issue, namely that real world physics are boring as hell.


The X-men continue fighting the ghosts in Weirdworld and being a demon-loving teenage girl, it’s Magik’s job to take care of this shit. So she tracks down the source, albeit in the most contrived way possible. She finds the evil wizard who is conjuring these ghosts because I guess there always has to be an evil wizard in this shit. Magik and the wizard have a chat and by chat, I mean Magik stabs him. In a series where Wolverine stabs his way out of problems for the same reason most people end up rebooting their computers, it’s not exactly ground-breaking.

There is a slight hint that the new mutant Magik made friends with last issue might need stabbing too, but the scene itself is so inanely unepic that it has little impact. Introduce some random wizard, stab him, and solve the problem. That’s pretty much as dramatic as it gets here. Even stoners can’t find that too interesting.


Inane or not, stabbing the wizard solved the problem. The ghosts are no longer attacking mutants. They’re all safe and sound, at least as much as they can be in Weirdworld. All that tension that was teased surrounding Sunfire and his allegiance with Cyclops? They seemed to have forgotten about that real fucking fast because they don’t even mention it. They just welcome him and the refugees to X-Haven because why actually explore that drama? It’s not like that ever makes a story actually interesting, right? That’s why movies like Titanic and Avatar tanked at the box office, right? Excuse me while I rest my omega level sarcasm.


So that’s one exotic locale they’re done with. In Nightcrawler’s exotic mindscape, Storm and O5 Jean keep following their friends fucked up thoughts. They end up in a more recent, non-Claremont era memory that happened only a week ago. They see Nightcrawler rescuing some young mutants from a couple of thugs dragging them out in the woods. They’re not wearing clown masks so it’s not as creepy as it sounds, but it is every bit as brutal. Nightcrawler manages to save these mutants, but he learns something else that fucks him up and it couldn’t be any worse than finding a sex tape between Mystique and Sabretooth.


It turns out these mutants were being taken to a mass grave. They weren’t being chased out of the city or protested against. They just decided that the Nazis were onto something and decided that mass graves were a viable solution to mutant issues. And seeing this kind of fucked Nightcrawler up, as it would most people.

Now I want to sympathize with Nightcrawler, but this is a guy who has fucking died for crying out loud. He’s died and he’s probably seen more than his share of horrific shit. He hangs out with Wolverine. He’s bound to see more than a few dead bodies. So for this to fuck him up to the point of getting overly biblical feels kind of forced, but not at all unwarranted. It provides at least some of the drama that we never got with Weirdworld.


This seems to be the jolt O5 Jean and Storm need to get out of Nightcrawler’s head. And for whatever reason, revisiting that has made him marginally sane again. There’s not much else other than O5 Jean giving Nightcrawler a hug. That’s not completely unwarranted either. She’s been overly fond of hugs since Brian Michael Bendis’ run began. It still feels forced, as though this somehow resolves all the crazy shit surrounding Nightcrawler’s state and Weirdworld. But it’s not as contrived as it could’ve been.


So...is it awesome?

The drunk in me wants to give a definitive answer. The sober mind in me wants to hold off because the story as a whole feels so incomplete. Usually, I’d let the drunk me kick the sober me’s ass, but I’ll have to call it a push here. There is some heavy drama. There are some heart-warming moments in Extraordinary X-men #7, albeit of the Schindler’s List variety. The art and visuals are very well-done, but there are a lot of missing details here and for once, they don’t just involve people whining about Cyclops.

Between the plot in Weirdworld and the plot in Nightcrawler’s fucked up head, every resolution feels rushed and unrefined. So there were mass graves in Germany? So there’s a wizard in Weirdworld? Like the side-effects to boner pills, these aren’t the kinds of things that should be glossed over. While it never gets too confusing, it never feels all that complete either. Extraordinary X-men #7 has the rest setting. But like Elton John at the Playboy Mansion, it ends up feeling soft.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

2 comments:

  1. I don't think it's the sight of dead mutant bodies that broke Nightcrawler. I think it's the feeling of regret not being able to save the dead mutants. He said so himself that Germany is under his protection.

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    1. I don't disagree. But this is a guy who ended up dead at one point. He knows all about how much it sucks to fail. I think seeing a lot of dead mutant bodies was a much bigger factor.

      Jack

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