Cullen Bunn has made it clear that Magneto and his new team of fuck-this-Inhumans-loving-world brand of X-men are most definitely the second kind of people. They’ve spent the first few issues of Uncanny X-men giving hopeless, broken-spirited mutants of the Marvel universe a badly-needed kick in the balls. This involved them saving a few healers and telling a few mutants trying to take the easy way out to grow some fucking balls. It’s a beautiful thing and Uncanny X-men #4 attempts to build on that beauty by adding Mystique into the mix. Both my brain and my penis are sufficiently intrigued.
My penis and my brain would also be interested in attending a Hellfire Club party, as Fantomex gets to do. Yes, the masked, omega-level douche who once shot a creepy Kid Apocalypse in the head gets caught up in a mission that involves him attending a Hellfire Club party. I would only be slightly less outraged if he had been sent to infiltrate the Playboy Mansion during Mardi Gras.
While I’m sure Fantomex is up for an orgy or two, there is a meaningful reason why he’s at the Hellfire Club. The previous issue revealed they had some connection to the shady company that was promising mutants they could sleep through this latest shit storm. Because besides orgies, the Hellfire Club just loves to turn a profit on other peoples’ desperation. For them, that might as well be an aphrodisiac.
But Fantomex isn’t alone in infiltrating the Hellfire Club. Even he understands that no man accomplishes anything in the Hellfire Club without the aid and/or presence of a beautiful woman by his side. This means teaming up with Mystique, who is also aware of the shady dealings of the shady corporation that may or may not be turning enough of a profit. And if they can’t provide profits to the Hellfire Club and/or beautiful women, what good are they?
This means Mystique and Fantomex have to work together. It also means Fantomex is working with a woman who is just as likely to rip his spine out through his urethra as she is to fuck him. Not gonna lie. I still say that’s a risk worth taking, but if it all goes to shit, nobody’s going to feel sorry for Fantomex.
If anyone deserves sympathy in this cast of killers, shape-shifters, and inverted villains, it’s Triage. Magneto and his team managed to save him after losing Elixir. He’s now hiding out on Genosha from the Dark Riders where Magneto makes it clear to him that the Dark Riders might as well be sucking the dick of every Inhuman while letting themselves get fisted. They’re on a mission to ensure that M-pox and the Terrigen Mist fucks over the mutant race as much as it’s supposed to. And they treat healers like Triage the same way Marvel treats lawyers from Fox.
It still makes for a meaningful conversation where Triage complains about taken into protective custody against his will. It just means he hasn’t come to appreciate the douche-baggery of the Dark Riders just yet. And Magneto convinces him that keeping him away from the action is the best course of action. That’s something else Triage needs to learn. Nobody wins an argument with Magneto and survives with their cranium intact.
The Dark Riders might have failed to kill Triage, but there are other healers for them to slaughter. One of them is Shen Xorn. No, I’m not talking about the asshole Magneto imposter who killed Jean Grey the second time. I’m talking about the actual Xorn. Confused yet? Don’t be. It’s not worth rationalizing. You’d be better off rationalizing one of Ted Cruz’ campaign speeches.
Xorn was warned of the Dark Riders in the previous issue and he didn’t do shit when they finally showed up. It might sound stupid as fuck at first. Then, Xorn proceeds to kick their asses and after offering them tea no less. Yes, Xorn kicked the asses of the Dark Riders. I don’t know when Xorn became this awesome, but I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised.
The Dark Riders are just as shocked. They’re supposed to be the ones with the creepy masks doing the senseless maiming. Instead, they get pwned by a guy who thinks it’s okay to offer tea before coffee. I’m pretty sure the size of their balls shrank at least 80 percent after that. They end up having to return to their base in Egypt to lick their wounds. It’s almost as satisfying as seeing Cam Newton’s press conference after this year’s Super Bowl. Sorry Panthers fans, but even you had to admit you enjoy seeing a whiny bitch mope.
So the Dark Riders are humbled and pwned in the most humiliating way that doesn’t involve photoshopped dick pics. The time is perfect for the rest of Magneto’s team to strike. They’re already on their trail, having found them in the previous issue. With help from a still-mindless Arcangel, they deliver the kind of welcome that’s usually reserved for Shia Lebouf in a Transformers movie.
Now I know it’s usually a dick move to kick someone when they’re down. I hope Cam Newton fans have already forgiven me. But when the assholes in question are the Dark Riders, I think we as a species can make an exception and hope they do more than just kick. If someone doesn’t spit on someone else’s wounded body, then I think they’re just not giving a full effort.
The X-men are welcomed by the Dark Riders with the same warmth as a hungry wolf armed with a machine gun. There’s no wit or trash talk. There are just explosions, shots, and Apoclaypse-inspired monsters. In other words, it’s a great way for Greg Land to show off his art skills in ways that don’t make Emma Frost look like Pamela Anderson. Say what you will about his style, but he draws a brutal battle just as well as he draws an awesome pair of tits.
The battle that unfolds is not rushed or drawn out. It’s intense, visceral, and brutal, just as it should be when assholes on the level of the Dark Riders are involved. And remember, these are guys who just got fucked up by Xorn. They’re more than a little frustrated and definitely in need of picking their balls up off the floor. Every character from Sabretooth to Monet gets to shine. It’s the kind of brutal battle we would expect a team led by Magneto to fight.
However, those hoping to see the X-men supplement Xorn’s efforts from earlier will be disappointed. The Dark Riders, knowing they can’t afford another round of pwnage, decide to put on a fresh pair of panties and ditch the fight. But to make sure they give the X-men a sufficient amount of fuck yous, they blow up the exit to their base and bury them. Is it a dick move? Yes. Is it the kind of move a coward and a Ben Stiller character would pull? Definitely. But it also fucking works. And as anyone who has dealt with Comcast customer support understands, results fucking matter.
So now Magneto’s entire team is buried and sidelined, at least temporarily. The Dark Riders are now free to go anywhere they want and slaughter anyone they please, so long as they’re not Xorn or don’t offer them tea. Their first choice? Well, it seems their balls have been re-inflated because they decide to go after Magneto and Triage. At first, it doesn’t sound like a fair fight. Then I remember they’re fighting Magneto on Genosha, a country where millions of mutants died. I’d say it’s as fair a fight as the Dark Riders can hope for. They just better hope that Magneto doesn’t offer them tea first.
So...is it awesome?
Well Mystique is involved, so my penis can say yes. Fantomex is involved, so my penis is conflicted. But neither really contributed much to the story within this issue. In terms of the overall arc though, there’s definitely a link. It’s still kind of sad when the character that kicked the most ass in this story was fucking Xorn, but that didn’t make it less satisfying.
Uncanny X-men #4 still moves the story forward in a meaningful way. Magneto and his team are hunting the Dark Riders. The Dark Riders are showing that they can be cunning when they’re not busy being ugly as hell. Cullen Bunn makes a concerted effort to make this conflict between the X-men and the Dark Riders feel more refined than a glorified cage match. At a time when the most effort anyone makes is limited by how full their DVR is, that says a lot about.
Final Score: 7 out of 10