That said, I question the sobriety of anyone who calls themselves a friend of Wolverine. Unless you’re a married redheaded woman or a Japanese hooker, it’s bound get messy. Maverick finds this out to hard way. In Wolverine’s defense, it’s Bishop who roughs him up. Sure, he lets Bishop shoot him with a fancy gun from the future, but that’s barely a love tap by Wolverine standards. And it’s not like Maverick said that Bishop’s hair looks like Oprah Winfrey’s snatch or anything. He was concealing data disks from the X-men. Unless those disks contain Emma Frost masturbating, there’s no excuse for keeping them secret.
It makes for a tense situation, but it’s Wolverine and Weapon X. Are there any other kinds? I think not. It’s also another fine example of how Chad Bowers and Chris Sims explore the discord in this new team. They still got new members like Bishop and Psylocke. They’re still adjusting, not yet understanding that the old X-Force approach of shooting people to solve problems isn’t their standard tactic. That might work for Deadpool, but not the X-men.
The discord takes a backseat the second Chamber arrives with an unconscious Jubilee in his arms. She was bitten by Alpha Red at the end of the previous issue. She hasn’t started sparkling yet or watching teenage girls sleep at night, but she’s in bad shape. It’s a sad turn for someone who was just getting a chance to exercise her raging teenage hormones in a way that 90s cartoons rarely allowed. I feel bad for Chamber too. I doubt he even got to cop a feel.
So who’s behind this latest effort to fuck with the X-men more than Fox’s lawyers already have? Well, we got introduced to the Von Strucker twins in the previous when they awoke Alpha Red. We now learn they’ve got some rich, resourceful friends and they’re not the Koch brothers. This includes Trevor Fitzroy, Shanobi Shaw, Gamemaster, and Fabian Cortez. Are they A-list villains? Fuck no. Do they have the resources and balls to make life miserable in ways other than sterilizing them? Fuck yes.
There’s a lot of intrigue here, including a few hints as to other players who will later be fucking with Cyclops and Jean Grey. Could it be Emma Frost? Madelyne Pryor? Someone with an uncanny resemblance to Brett Ratner? Who knows? What’s so intriguing is that these guys have a larger agenda and the prize is the entire mutant race. They’re not looking for no bullshit consolation prize in the Inhumans. They want to mutant race under their thumb. I don’t work for Fox, but I can still respect that agenda.
Things are looking grim for mutants, but so long as they aren’t sterilized, they can’t say they have it too bad. However, things suck a lot more for Jubilee. She’s in a coma, dead, or about to suffer the same fate as ever throw-away character from True Blood. There’s genuine heart and concern here, something that just hasn’t been prevalent in other X-men comics, at least not from characters that aren’t time displaced. It’s another moment that captures the sentiment of the old TV show.
Oh, and Wolverine runs off on his own to confront Maverick. That happens in every other episode and every other comic it seems. And yet somehow, like Emma Frost’s tits, it never gets old.
It’s a fairly standard confrontation between Wolverine and one of his old Weapon X buddies. It takes just a few microseconds for him to draw his claws and start coaxing him to tell the truth. Since Maverick clearly values having his balls attached, he adds a new wrinkle to the conflict. Apparently, there’s this book called Darkhold that got lost when the communists decided to set up shop in Russia and, like the cheat codes in old Contra games, it’s supposed to have the key to taking down Alpha Red. Since this thing attacked Jubilee, that gives Wolverine enough reason to keep Maverick’s balls intact.
But he’s not the only one interested in that book. Apparently, Omega Red feels that this book belongs to Russia and if Russia can’t use it to flex their communist-loving muscles, then no one can. Seeing as how he and his team got their asses kicked in the first issue, I’m certainly up for seeing it again. Like Pyslocke’s ass, it just doesn’t get old.
However, the fight that unfolds has a juicy twist and no, it’s not Psylocke’s ass. It’s close though! Remember that team of communist-lovers Omega Red ran with in the first issue? Well, they had a nasty encounter with Alpha Red too. And now they’re vampires. Communist, super-powered, vampires. It’s every bit as awesome as it sounds, unless you’re Stephanie Meyer.
The fight that unfolds isn’t quite as epic as the first one, nor is it supposed to be. It’s more of an “oh fuck, we’re dealing with vampires now?!” moment. Rogue and Gambit arrive just in time to make sure that Wolverine and Maverick don’t join the communist vampire army. Those three words alone should give a pretty clear understanding of the stakes involved. However, they might be more fucked than they realize.
In the first real act that probably never would’ve made it onto a 90s kids show, Alpha Red flat out eviscerates Omega Red. Sure, it’s not the kind of blood bath we see on a typical Sunday in Westeros, but it’s a level of brutality that shows this series isn’t entirely beholden to 90s era censorship. And given all the shit Omega Red did during that era, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving asshole. That’s not to say I’m a fan of Alpha Red. He’s still the anti-Twilight in terms of vampires. But anyone who can shut Omega Red up like that gets props in my book.
Naturally, all this vampire talk worries the new mutant students at the Xavier Institute. They already deal with killer robots, sterilization plagues, and Fox lawyers. They don’t need to deal with fucking vampires as well. So Monet, who is fittingly elected as the student council president on the spot, decides to hold an impromptu meeting on safety tips for vampire threats. And it can’t just involve making sure teenage girls know how to handle blood-thirsty stalkers.
It’s a funny insight into the workings of the student population at the Xavier Institute, one that isn’t consumed with the doom and gloom that comes with sterilization. That insight doesn’t last though. Remember Jubilee’s dire condition? Well, she made a quick recovery and now she’s in a house of scared teenage mutants. For a young, newly minted vampire, it’s like leaving a toddler in a chocolate factory. It’s bound to get messy.
Storm, being the new leader of the X-men, needs to find a way to deal with this vampire threat before these student start relying on Stephanie Meyer’s knowledge for protection. That involves getting young mutant named U-Go Girl, allowing yet another D-list mutant to contribute. It also involves more discord with Psylocke and Bishop, which has yet to get boring. They’re still adjusting and the X-men are still adapting to their X-Force style. It still makes for great team dynamics the likes of which require only one time traveler. It show Storm still has a ways to go with her team, but they haven’t killed each other yet so that counts as progress.
With help from U-Go Girl, Storm leads Bishop and Psylocke to a very particular destination where they can get some very particular help on vampires. Neither destination nor the identity of the help should surprise anyone born after 1898. That’s right. They’re enlisting help from Dracula. Yeah, I know the X-men did something like this with Victor Gischler a few years ago. And yeah, that also involved a vampire Jubilee. But did that story involve communist mutant vampires? Winner: X-men 92.
So...is it awesome?
That depends. Which way do you like your awesome? With vampires that don’t fucking sparkle? With secrets from Wolverine’s old Weapon X buddies? With Omega Red getting maimed by a terrifying vampire creature? With a new Inner Circle kicking up a shit storm for the X-men? Take your pick because X-men 92 #2 has all that and Psylocke in a skin-tight outfit. If that’s not enough for you, then you’re just being a douche.
X-men 92 is a rich, vibrant world where the X-men aren’t completely and utterly fucked. And yet, it still has so many intriguing stories to tell and battles to fight. What a fucking concept, right? It’s sad that this series is likely going to be written off faster than an extra on Game of Thrones, but it has so much to offer for jaded X-men fans. X-men 92 #2 only adds to it and if you’re as sick of sterilization plots as I am, then this series will tickle your fancy better than all the hookers in Bangkok.
Final Score: 9 out of 10