Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Extraordinary X-men #8: Nuff Said!

Don’t lie. There are times in your life where you wish you had a time machine, a fast-forward button, or even a mute button. Who among us doesn’t wish they could’ve skipped through most of high school with their soul intact? Well, it’s not a longing fantasy for the X-men. They’ve been involved in so much time travel bullshit that they probably have their own support group, complete with PSA announcements.

Time Travel has almost never worked out for the X-men, but it was vital in undoing X3 from the movies so it’s not without merit. Now, with Apocalypse Wars starting in Extraordinary X-men #8, the X-men are willing to gamble that fucking with the time stream will help them unfuck themselves. Short of going back in time and mind-fucking every lawyer Fox ever employed, the chances are slim at best.

And who has the unenviable task of playing these shitty odds? It’s Storm. At the very least, if the odds kick her ass, she’s able to lose with grace and sex appeal. Ask Hallie Berry about how important that is. She’s still musing over how fucked the mutant race is and how she’s trying to keep the school going, despite being stuck in Limbo. She worries that mutants will go down in history as a rectal wart on humanity while the Inhumans will go down as an extra breast. It’s not an unreasonable concern.

Old Man Logan shows up to help share those concerns. It leads to a moment with all sorts of wonderful feels, and not just the kind you feel in your pants. It’s the first time Old Man Logan dares to get a little closer to his new teammates, which is saying something since he fucking killed these same teammates in his world. But the moment has with Storm is so sweet and not just because it’s dripping with romantic and sexual tension. Yeah, Old Man Logan is an old fart, but he’s an old fart with a functioning dick.

It’s one of the few times this series actually makes a relevant connection to the X-men comics that came before the entire mutant race was fucked over off-panel. Storm and Wolverine were romantically involved before Wolverine’s death. Now here she is, facing a non-clone version of the man she loved. It’s a powerful moment, at least until Forge comes in to cock-block Old Man Logan. I’m pretty sure he can expect to be missing a nut if this becomes a trend.

Cock blocking aside, Forge does have important news to share. He reveals that Cerebra detected about 600 fresh mutant signatures. In a world where the giant Inhuman fart known as the Terrigen Mist is killing their kind, this is pretty fucking important. They don’t know how it’s happening. They don’t know if it’s some Inhuman prank done in obscenely poor taste, but it’s something they need to investigate. And since the odds are already shitty enough, Storm decides to send some of the younger mutants with the team.

Now on the surface, this sounds like one of those moves that Peter Parker would make when a clone of Gwen Stacy is flashing him her tits. But keep in mind, the X-men are stretched thin and low on manpower. They can’t exactly have students wasting time learning advanced math and 18th century French poetry. They need to get off their asses and fucking contribute, which will already put them above 90 percent of the college students I’ve known.

The team that ends up investigating consists of Colossus, Glob Herman, Anole, Ernst, and No Girl. They’re basically a scout team with a first stringer whose only role is to stop them from fucking up too bad. It’s not as good a role as being Domino’s personal gigolo, but I’m sure Colossus will take it.

They arrive in Tokyo where mutants and giant robots aren’t even the 10th weirdest thing people see on a daily basis, nor is it the most inconvenient. Anyone who has been on a Tokyo subway can confirm this. So there are no riots or pitchforks to worry about. They can just focus on finding the source of the new mutants.

So what will they find? Will it be a warehouse of 600 mutant underwear models whose powers force them to stay naked? Sorry, but like I said, the odds the X-men are dealing with are totally fucked. They end up finding Sugar Man hiding out in some Japanese wharf. And anyone who knows Sugar Man, also known as butt-ugly version of Pac Man, knows that he’s usually the first warning that Apocalypse is about to fuck shit up.

It’s not exactly a meth-fueled Magneto so I’d say he’s still a reasonable threat for the young X-men to take on. It leads to some decent action that involves Sugar Man getting attacked by Colossus and a Sentinel. It’s not exactly an epic brawl that will teach these young X-men valuable lessons in ass-kicking. Remember, Sugar Man is the preseason. Apocalypse is the fucking Super Bowl.

Even if he is a nightmare version of Pac Man, Sugar Man does reveal he’s fighting for something important. He managed to isolate 600 mutant embryos in isolation from the big Inhuman farts plaguing the world. So that explains the mutant signatures and why he’s being uglier than usual in protecting them. It’s probably the best thing he could’ve done for mutant kind without making Emma Frost’s tits bigger.

The problem is the attack by the X-men triggered a failsafe for the embryos. He might be ugly and evil as fuck, but he understands the value of having a backup. So he set a machine to send his embryos somewhere safer than even Rick Santroum could ever imagine. Assuming, of course, his concept for safety is every bit as fucked as Rick Santorum’s, Colossus and the young X-men try to stop it. Again, the X-men’s shitty luck and shittier odds work against them.

Cerebra manages to get out a distress call to the rest of the X-men. In short order, this brings in Magik, Storm, Iceman, O5 Jean, Old Man Logan, Forge, and Nightcrawler. Now it’s a bunch of pro bowlers playing against a bunch of pre-season waiver pickups. That means Sugar Man is fucked and he doesn’t realize it in time to stop Old Man Logan from chopping his tongue off. Is it gross? Yes. Is it satisfying as hell to see someone like Sugar Man silenced so violently? Hell yes.

Unfortunately, cutting Sugar Man’s tongue off doesn’t stop the machine. The X-men are a long ways away from ever being that lucky. So instead, the machine goes off and Colossus’ team disappears, along with the 600 mutant embryos. They disappear, but since they’re not Cyclops, they’re not going to just get fucked over off-panel. I’m sure Marvel is saving that for some other bullshit retcon.

A quick scan of Sugar Man’s disgusting mind reveals that he sent the embryos to the future because I guess they don’t have Dr. Who reruns in Age of Apocalypse. It is dystopian, after all. Since being stuck in the future tends to suck elephant balls, as the O5 X-men can attest, they decide to go to the future to get him. Forge hot wires the machine while Magik is forced to stay behind. They need someone to watch over the Jean Grey Institute, which is still stuck in Limbo. It might as well be someone who is disturbingly comfortable around demons.

Some LSD-inspired artwork gives us a decent time travel sequence. When it passes and everyone’s brain’s stop melting, the X-men find themselves approximately 1,000 years in the future. They’re in an I Am Legends version of New York City, minus the vampire creatures. Since there are no flying cars or mutant/Inhuman love fests in the streets, it’s safe to assume this future is dystopian on some level.

They do catch up with Glob, Anole, and No Girl. However, it turns out that they fucked the timeline a little too hard and they ended up being stuck in the future for years. So now they’re grown up, older, and a lot less cute. But they don’t exactly show that they’ve matured much in however much time has passed. That might be too jarring, even in a series built on a foundation of bullshit retcons.

There is one notable absence though. Colossus is missing. So what the fuck happened to him? Well, since the X-men’s luck is so fucked, they find out the hard way. He shows up, blasts Cerebra, and reveals that he’s become a horseman of Apocalypse. Having been a vessel for the Phoenix Force just a few years ago, I think it’s safe to say that Colossus is getting around more than a joint at Tommy Chong’s house.

And he’s got other horseman too. This includes Moon Knight, Venom, and Deadpool. Because why not? Deadpool has a $700 million movie. To not include him in a big Apocalypse event would just be irresponsible from a business perspective. Beyond that though, there’s nothing all that shocking about these horsemen other than they promise to fuck the X-men up even more. Like Jenna Jameson after a gangbang, are they even going to feel it at this point? it awesome?

In terms of busting Forge’s balls and showing the inherent power of white hair? Sure, I’ll grant Extraordinary X-men #8 that. But in terms of overall story? Sorry, but busting balls only goes so far for me. It’s not like the story isn’t coherent and concise. It just doesn’t do anything that would make me want to pay closer attention to it. Maybe if it was printed on Emma Frost’s tits, I would be more intrigued. Since it’s not, I can only neither condemn nor praise it.

It does have plenty of moments. Bringing Sugar Man back into the mix was a nice touch. Seeing him get his tongue cut off certainly helps make my day. Beyond that though, I can’t say this story did anything to make time travel, the dystopian futures, or shitting all over the entire mutant race feel less overdone. The extra story with Magik was a nice bonus, but Extraordinary X-men #8 doesn’t exactly need a warning for heart patients or those with bladder issues. And at a time when Oscar Isaac can basically name his own price, I think Apocalypse deserves better.

Final Score: 7 out of 10


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