Thursday, March 17, 2016

All-New X-men #6: Nuff Said!

What is it about teen drama that makes it so appealing? Is it because we all still have nightmares about how much our teenage lives suck? Or is it more like the zoo where we just watch on in amazement at how such creatures could ever have functioned in the while? It might be a mix of both, but some definitely handle it better than others. And in terms of handling it, O5 Angel might as well be the Cleveland Browns.

There has been plenty of teen drama in Dennis Hopeless’ All-New X-men since it began, but not all of it is the good kind. Most of that not-good-kind comes from O5 Angel, who seems to think that dating X-23 won’t come with a certain amount of violent bloodshed. Apparently, his stomach and his dick just don’t agree anymore and he says he wants to break up. All-New X-men #6 is supposed to determine whether this is just more teen whining or something legitimate. With teenagers, it’s never wise to assume anything, especially when it involves who’s getting into whose pants.

Not all teen drama involves the inside of other peoples’ pants, believe it or not. During this battle, Idie was having a real crisis of faith. Early in her history, she was deeply religious who just loved telling people that they were going to Hell. She was basically a much cuter version of Pat Robertson. But unlike Pat Robertson, she’s shown actual personal and emotional growth since becoming a mutant. She’s still way cuter, both physically and spiritually.

Armed with that spirit, she joins the fight against Blob and unlike Pat Robertson, she doesn’t rely on prayers or donations from gullible people to solve the problem. That alone makes her better than any Christian that claims to support Ted Cruz. Her inner thoughts along with her actions help make the battle feel intense in a way that Mark Bagley’s art can only help.

O5 Iceman gets a chance to do some musing too as he’s helping Idie. Given that he recently came out as gay, it’s probably a good thing that Idie is having a crisis of faith. Anyone who has tried to argue with someone who thinks forcing men to be celibate and listen to people’s raunchy confessions is a good idea understands what I mean.

His thoughts are perfectly appropriate for a teenage kid looking to simplify his life beyond dealing with which body part he finds more attractive. Like X-men fans in general, he just wishes that things could be as simple as blasting ice chunks in Blob’s face. That’s not nearly as dirty or as it sounds. Considering the complications in his life, I can’t say I blame him for feeling like a fight against Blob is easier somehow.

The fight continues to escalate. The X-men’s strategy, as well as Mark Bagley’s artwork, continues to shine. Blob ends up getting his giant ass thrown across town before he can stop on anybody else’s face. It’s an overdue turn in this battle. However, he’s not the only one who starts to get fucked over.

Stop me if this sounds too familiar, but O5 Cyclops gets badly fucked in this part of the fight and not in a way that involves Emma Frost covered in chocolate syrup. He just gets run over by a car while everyone else is going after Blob. In this case, I’m glad that’s not a metaphor. Compared to some of the shit that has been happening to him, and off-panel no less, this might as well be a fucking hangnail.

That hangnail, however, turns into a shit-stained tumor when Toad turns out to be the one driving the car. He hit O5 Cyclops, effectively taking him out of the fight, and he even tossed aside Kid Apocalypse in the process. Yes, Toad beat Apocalypse…a de-aged, underpowered, and immature version of Apocalypse. It’s not saying much, but it’s still way fucking more than Toad has accomplished in the past five decades.

While O5 Cyclops is getting fucked over in a whole new way, the battle against Blob continues and it continues to find new ways of being entertaining. How could any fight where O5 Beast gets his ass kicked not be entertaining? I know I’m not always fair to Beast on this blog, but let’s be honest. He’s lost his right to fairness the moment he ditched the X-men and joined the Inhumans. So damn it, I’m going to enjoy watching O5 Beast get his ass kicked while he muses about how antiquated he feels in the future.

While O5 Beast is getting his ass kicked, X-23 finally heals enough from the beating she took earlier to join the fight. This is where she finally starts to muse on the annoying teen drama that has been built around O5 Angel’s whining. It’s not as eye-rolling as it sounds. It’s hardly the kind of shit that would show up on a 90120 rerun. She’s not exactly bawling that her boyfriend broke up with her. She’s fucking X-23. She doesn’t whine about her problems. She stabs them.

Her musings highlight the biggest problem with her relationship with O5 Angel. It was never really that deep or meaningful. These two never had the kind of chemistry that would make readers feel like baby kittens are nestling in their souls. It was a hormonal teenage fling. That’s all it ever managed to be and every effort to make it more than that failed miserably, thanks to O5 Angel’s whining. In terms of comic book romances, this deserves to be forgotten quicker than that time She-Hulk banged Juggernaut.

With this overdrawn fling behind him, O5 Angel finally lets his balls descend once more and goes to fucking town on Blob. This involves him finally showing off that cosmic power that he hasn’t been doing jack shit with since Black Vortex. He attacks Blob in a colorful, explosive spectacle. Mark Bagley’s artwork makes it beautiful. Dennis Hopeless’ inner dialog makes it meaningful. It’s by far the best moment O5 Angel has had with his pants on to date.

It gets downright brutal. At one point, O5 Angel jams a piece of metal in Blob’s eye. So fling or no fling, X-23 definitely rubbed off on him and not just in ways that gave him a boner. His musings hint that he understands more than X-23 gives him credit for. She thinks he can’t possibly relate to the darkness she feels and the risks she takes. He claims he does and if he knows anything about his future self, then she can’t bust his balls for that. Then again, it’s not like she didn’t have enough unrelated reasons before.

This time, however, nobody can question the solidity of O5 Angel’s balls. He effectively takes out Blob in the middle of downtown Paris with a cosmic show that France has never had outside shitty History Channel documentaries on World War II. It’s a beautiful culmination to a battle that could’ve been overly simplified. But Hopeless and Bagley drew it out in the best possible way. They made sure we had plenty of reasons to root against Blob when he stomped all over X-23’s face. Then, they had O5 Angel of all people kick his ass. It couldn’t be more appropriate without Eric Cartman showing up to call Blob a total fat ass.

The end of the battle leads to a brief, but telling moment between X-23 and O5 Angel. No, they don’t start making out on top of Blob’s unconscious body. Even teenage hormones have their limits. They don’t get back together either. There’s some awkwardness, but it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll become the kind of jealous ex-lovers that drive pickup trucks into their bedroom. I’d still sleep in a pair of adamantium boxers if I were O5 Angel, just in case.

There’s one more, less dramatic moment between O5 Iceman and Idie. Whereas Mark Bagley has shined for the most part in this series, it’s Dennis Hopeless who really shines here. He has them share a nice conversation about Idie’s faith and the conflicts she’s feeling. She claims she’s still very Catholic, but only to the extent that Lady Gaga is still Catholic. It’s an ongoing inner struggle and one that promises future intrigue, especially as more apocalyptic plots unfold. The fact she’s gone this long without telling O5 Iceman that he’s going to Hell counts as progress.

So Blob is defeated, X-23 and O5 Angel broke up, and everyone’s soul is still intact for the most part. That alone makes for a productive day by X-men standards. However, there’s still the matter of O5 Cyclops still getting screwed over. Kid Apocalypse catches up with the others just in time to tell them that Toad abducted him. That shows he’s a long ways away from being worthy of Oscar Isaac’s voice. But for O5 Cyclops, his day is now totally fucked because Toad now has him tied up in ways that even Emma Frost never tried. However, at this point I imagine he and everyone else in the multiverse is done being shocked whenever any version of Cyclops gets screwed over. it awesome?

Well it finally ditched most of the teen drama and opted for kicking Blob’s oversized ass. So yeah, it’s awesome in a way that you’ll never get on the CW, that’s for sure. This issue had a lot of inner musings and meaningful chats, but it was all built around a simple battle between the X-men and Blob. At a time when every X-men story has been horribly corrupted by massive Inhuman farts and agendas dictated by Disney’s legal team, this was like a breath of fresh air and a cold beer.

On top of that, O5 Angel finally stopped being a pussy! All-New X-men #6 definitely deserves bonus points for that. He actually got to show off some of that cosmic power he took on in Black Vortex. It took way too fucking long, but he finally showed he can be more than the guy who keeps X-23’s panties warm. Considering what often happens to anyone involved with anyone who has adamantium claws in the Marvel universe, that’s probably a good thing for everyone.

Final Score: 8 out of 10


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