Thursday, April 7, 2016

Uncanny X-men #6: Nuff Said!

Love will make us do fucked up things for fucked up reasons to get fucked up with the ones we love. Somewhere during the 8-month time skip after Secret Wars, perhaps during the unspeakable act that made Cyclops the most hated non-clone character in the Marvel universe, something got really fucked up between Psylocke and Angel. He’s not some amnesiac hippie anymore. He’s a mindless, murdering Archangel again. That’s still a step up from a hippie in my book.

But now Apocalypse Wars has consumed the X-books. Marvel isn’t taking a huge shit on Fox’s upcoming movie. I imagine it’ll only be half a piss because this is an event that has already affected Extraordinary X-men. Now, with Arcangel’s elaborate history with Apocalypse, it’s set to consume Uncanny X-men. I imagine Psylocke’s panties have been dry for quite some time after what happened with Angel. I’m expect them to get even dryer after the events of Uncanny X-men #6.

Dry panties or not, Cullen Bunn makes it a point to capture Psylocke’s anguish. That same anguish that got cast to the wayside after the Dark Angel Saga is as strong as ever here. She laments over the man she lost, even though Arcangel is pretty damn useful as an attack drone for the X-men. While I’m sure some women would appreciate being able to control a man the same way they’re able to control their smart phone, Psylocke isn’t one of them. She isn’t a total cunt.

Through these lamentations, she finally gets a sign that maybe the Angel she knew isn’t deader than mullets, crystal Pepsi, or Cyclops’ reputation. She gets a brief psychic vision while scanning Arcangel’s mind. It’s not the kind of vision that involves George Clooney and Channing Tatum oil wrestling in a jungle though. It’s a horrifying sight of a coming Apocalypse. Given what’s happening in Extraordinary X-men, the timing couldn’t be better. And just like she did in the Dark Angel Saga, Psylocke has to stop him.

I would say it’s a recurring theme, but unlike mutant sterilization plots, it’s not a theme that feels forced. Cullen Bunn is building on the same foundation Rick Remender laid with the Dark Angel Saga. There’s nothing he’s doing here that isn’t a natural progression of that story. So anyone who wants to put this in the same category as mutant sterilization can quit while they’re behind.

With this terrifying vision, and with panties that are still annoyingly dry, Psylocke shares this information with Magneto. He didn’t play a role in the Dark Angel Saga so Psylocke has to give him a quick rundown, which also acts as a quick refresher course for those who missed it. And if you did skip the Dark Angel Saga, then shame of a 1,000 John Stamos dick pics on you. The story isn’t necessary for this one to make sense, but it’s a fucking awesome story and that should be reason enough.

This helpful reminder also includes a clue. Whatever shit storm Arcangel is about to kick up will take place in the overtly generic town of Green Ridge, Colorado. It might sound like tourist trap for pot smokers, but it’s as good a lead as they can ask for without Psylocke mind-fucking and/or flashing her tits at someone, although I’m sure that’s on the table if Dark Angel is involved.

As Magneto and Psylocke set out on a new mission, Monet and Sabretooth have one going on. It may or may not have anything to do with Arcangel, Apocalypse, the Hellfire Club, or anything else this series has conditioned us to give a shit about. But it involve some colorful banter between Sabretooth and Monet, who have developed a rather volatile chemistry. I can’t tell if they’re going to kill each other, fuck each other, or both. They’re basically a walking Quentin Tarantino movie, minus the presence of Sam Jackson. And their mission requires that they venture into the New York City sewer system so you know it’s going to be fun. Because it’s not like anything terrible ever came out of the New York City sewer system? Just ask Spider-Man.

If they did ask Spider-Man, he’d probably say, “I told you so! Now let me go back to sabotaging myself so I can stay relatable!” After a little bit of banter on inversions and past massacres, they encounter a familiar face. It’s Callisto, one of the Morlocks and someone who has a fuckton of reasons to stab Sabretooth on sight. And, true to form, she does just that. Inverted or not, seeing Sabretooth get stabbed is still pretty damn satisfying.

It leads to a quick yet wonderfully brutal fight. The artwork by Ken Lashley and Paco Medina really shines here. It’s bloody, it’s brutal, and it’s taking place in a fucking sewer. Considering how much the X-men have been shit on lately over movie rights and sterilization plots, I’d say it’s tragically appropriate.

Monet eventually stops the fight, but not before we’ve had our fill of bloody and brutal awesome. I’m sure Callisto will be touching herself tonight at the fresh memories of stabbing Sabretooth. Given all the enemies he’s made over the years, who wouldn’t? But Callisto understands that there’s a time for touching herself and a time for missions. Sadly, the latter must take priority over the former.

She reveals she was the one who called Monet. She just didn’t know she would bring Sabretooth with him. She claimed there’s another mutant crisis brewing and it cannot be fixed by hiding in the sewers. It works for ninja turtles. It doesn’t work for mutants sadly. Like the rest of the mutant race, the Morlocks are dying. And these are already a people who have been subject to a massacre in the past. In terms of being totally fucked, they’re right up there with Native Americans.

We go from the sewers of New York to the picturesque streets of Green Ridge, Colorado where everything is clean, the people are friendly, and pot is legal. It couldn’t be a more radical shift without having unicorns that shit chocolate fudge walking the streets. Naturally, Psylocke and Magneto assume there’s something horribly fucked up about this situation. In the Marvel universe where anything this peaceful is usually a sinister plot by Hydra, that’s a pretty safe assumption.

They walk the streets, seeing more and more utopian bullshit, making it even more clear that something ridiculously evil is lurking. They follow these clean-cut, Leave It To Beaver type people into a church in a park because it’s not like a church has ever done anything evil. Just ask a certain group of altar boys from the Catholic Church. Knowing organized religion is like catnip for insanely evil plots and/or televangelism, Psylocke and Magneto investigate. I hope they’ve also tempered their sense of decency because organized religion has a way of fucking that up too.

When they arrive, they’re just in time to see the charismatic heavenly leader of this church. And it turns out to be…Angel? Okay, like a couple of horny teenagers locked in a dark closet, I actually did not see that coming. However, I am very much intrigued. Psylocke is understandably confused while Magneto has that, “Oh fuck, it’s going to that kind of day,” type faces. Whoever this Angel is though, he claims to be preparing the folks of this town for a time of spiritual and physical healing. Being a sharply dressed, charismatic religious figure, it won’t be long before he starts demanding money or claiming that salvation can be achieved through his penis.

Ending the story here would’ve been just fine, but this issue has some nice bonus material as well. It doesn’t necessarily add to the ongoing story, but it doesn’t completely derail it either. It actually complements this issue and the other ongoing X-books for that matter. It shows a Fox News style debate about the mutant situation, complete with a bimbo-looking blond host and a grumpy old white guy who embodies all that is intolerant and hateful. They still manage to have a meaningful discussion about the state of mutants in the Marvel universe and it’s much more engaging than anything you’ll see on Fox News. Then again, a dog eating his own shit is more engaging than Fox News these days so that’s not saying much.

There’s also a nice bonus scene with Magneto and Xorn. Unless you’re a die-hard Grant Morrison fan, it makes more sense than it sounds. This actually does complement this series in particular because it builds on the end of the previous arc where Magneto sank Genosha. Xorn already kicked a lot of ass when the Dark Riders attacked. So it’s nice to see him interacting with the X-men again. He’s still a walking pseudo-sensei ripped from a Karate Kid movie, but the exchange he has with Magneto is meaningful. I hope it means he’ll show up in future issues to kick more ass and offer more tea. it awesome?

Well, there’s tragedy, there’s grit, there’s blood, there’s romance, and there’s even a bunch of religious nuts thrown into the mix. That’s just too much awesome to ignore. Uncanny X-men #6 couldn’t have set the stage for Apocalypse Wars better without projecting it on Pamela Anderson’s tits. We get insight into what happened in the Dark Angel Saga, what’s going to happen in Apocalypse Wars, and what kind of brutality we can expect along the way. Like a heated toilet seat, you just can’t get up from this thing and still be in a bad mood.

The drama with Psylocke and Angel is still as strong as ever. Fantomex tried to derail it, but he failed. Plus, Sabretooth got his ass kicked in a sewer. Like watching Glenn Beck cry, it’s one of those things that never gets old. Once again, Cullen Bunn establishes that this is a different brand of X-men who get shit done in a very different (and much more violent) sort of way. And as I often say when alcohol and deep fryers are used in conjunction with one another, you can’t argue with results.

Final Score: 8 out of 10


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