This is the situation Psylocke finds herself in with Apocalypse Wars. She's been trying to save one former lover in Angel, who isn't all that jaded. To do that, she must deal with a far more jaded ex-lover in Fantomex. As a character who tries to be a sophisticated kind of douche-bag anti-hero, he is uniquely qualified to make the shit storm in Apocalypse Wars even worse. Uncanny X-men #9 has him poised to add more shit and make Psylocke want to rip his heart out through his asshole. I usually don't root for jaded ex-girlfriends, but I'll gladly make an exception for Psylocke.
I also make that exception because Psylocke has Magneto in her corner and generally, it's not wise to be on any side opposing Magneto. He still managed to get himself captured with Psylocke in an earlier issue. Psylocke spent a lot of time and effort trying to free him, having to go through her douche-bag ex in the process. In the end, she doesn't succeed, but Mystique does.
Yes, she has finally arrived. Jennifer Lawrence couldn't hog her completely. Her presence has been teased mercilessly since Uncanny X-men began. Finally, she shows up and at the best possible time. She doesn't just free Magneto. She does it while busting his balls and probably giving him a boner at the same time. Few women who didn't marry Larry King can make such a claim. Sure compares Magneto to Apocalypse, which does plenty to piss him off. However, he's pissed off in Akkaba City where Genocide is prepared to take a giant, genocidal dump on the mutant race. That means he has someone to take it out on.
Can we all just agree that Mystique know show to piss people off in just the right ways at just the right times?
As this shit storm in Akkaba City is unfolding, there's another conflict that is still woefully disconnected in the sewers of New York. That's not to say it's a meaningless conflict. It involves Monet and Sabretooth fighting mutant zombies, courtesy of Monet's evil, ass-ugly brother Emplate. So meaning or not, it's still pretty entertaining and personal. I'm just not sure what the fuck it has to do with Apocalypse Wars. Like light beer, that's not going to stop me from enjoying it, even if it takes a little more to get the same buzz.
The fight began in the previous issue. Now, it's progress naturally to a point where Sabretooth fucks up and gets considerably maimed by Emplate. I know he's still inverted. I know he's trying hard not to be a raging asshole. I'm just saying it's still entertaining as hell watching him get maimed. Some inversions just can't change that.
Monet doesn't let Sabretooth get maimed too much, only to the point where it's still entertaining as fuck. This is personal for her. She hasn't clashed with her brother since the Clinton Administration so this is a pretty big deal for her. Like a Backstreet Boys comeback tour, she can't afford to fuck this up. Emplate doesn't make that easy for her though. He confirms that he's the one who drew her to the Morlock tunnels. He also confirms he didn't draw her there just to maim Sabretooth, although I'm sure that was a nice bonus. Like any whiny brother, he wants her help. He just uses mutant zombies to get his point across. Not saying that's right, sane, or logical, but I can't say it doesn't work.
It's hard to top the entertainment value of mutant zombies and Sabretooth getting maimed. That said, Mystique and Magneto fighting side-by-side against the forces of Genocide is pretty damn close. It's a battle that I think Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence would approve of. They're not relying on Psylocke to work around her douche-bag ex. They're taking matters into their own hands, looking to kick Genocide's ass on their own terms. It's one thing to piss off Storm, Cyclops, or Wolverine. Pissing off Magneto and Mystique though? Even Apocalypse's minions are really pushing it.
The battle leads to a fucked up, disturbing, and oddly satisfying revelation. You know all these monstrosities and Skrillix wannabes that Genocide is making? Well, he didn't just buy them from Sinister, although I'm sure he considered that. He creates them from Angel's flesh. Sure, it requires a healthy bit of torture, but so does waiting for Comic Con tickets. It's a matter of perspective. For Angel, it's worth it because having the blood of Apocalypse in him really fucking sucks. It's another echo from the Dark Angel Saga and completely understandable in that context. Like actually paying to see the last Adam Sandler movie, it's one of those scars that just doesn't go away easily.
I still don't get the sense that Angel thought this through completely. Sure, he's a handsome, rich, charismatic preacher for some cultish church that reeks of bad televangelism and Scientology. However, he's also helping Genocide and making himself a real pussy in the process. So while his choice is understandable, it's still a dick move. In a story that has Mystique, Sabretooth, and Fantomex though, I guess it's a matter of perspective.
The same perspective applies to Emplate. He's done maiming Sabretooth, which may be disappointing to some. However, he offers a few more important revelations as to why he feels the need to communicate with mutant zombies. It turns out feeding on them is the only thing keeping him anchored to this world, which in turn prevents him from slipping back into a world that really fucking sucks. It has to suck if he considers it a downgrade from a New York City sewer. The problem is that mutants are kind of going extinct thanks to giant Inhuman fart clouds. He's going to run out of mutants soon so he kind has to get proactive.
This leads to another powerful brother/sister moment in a non-creepy, non-Game of Thrones sort of way. Emplate actually makes clear that he loves his sister. He doesn't love her enough to not attack with mutant zombies, but that's beside the point. He loves her enough to want her help and she's willing to help him, provided he stops killing mutants. However, she can only do that by making a really shitty deal for herself. It's a powerful moment and while it doesn't seem to do shit for Apocalypse Wars as a whole, it is a nice reminder of why she's awesome.
Touching, non-incest moments between siblings is nice and all. Flashy, explosive battles between Magneto, Mystique, and Holocaust are still way more fun. I'm all for sentiment in comics, but there's just no substitute to seeing Magneto and Mystique kick ass. It's not the most brutal battle. It's not Wolverine and Cyclops fighting over an old pair of Jean Grey's panties. It's still entertaining as hell and given how much Mystique pissed Magneto off earlier, it ends up being a fairly even fight. Since Apocalypse battles usually require the fucking Phoenix Force to tip the balance, this is a nice change of pace.
So all this epic shit is going on. Where is Psylocke? Did fighting with her ex really distract her that much? Well, I think we can all forgive someone for getting a little side-tracked when an asshole ex enters the picture, but she's supposed to be tougher than this. Modern feminism demands it. Instead, she encounters some of the fucked up monstrosities that Genocide created with Angel's flesh. She's so spent from fighting her ex at this point that she doesn't stand a chance when they attack and poison her. Of course Fantomex sees this and of course he's probably resisting the urge to dance to a Taylor Swift song. He's just that big a douche. It really is a low point for Psylocke. It's definitely one Olivia Munn will want to avoid for future X-men movies.
There is an indirect benefit/problem for situations when Psylocke is in that much trouble. It pisses off Arcangel, her drone/attack dog/boy toy. He doesn't talk much and has been basically a blunt instrument since Uncanny X-men began. Now, Psylocke is in trouble and her ex is eager to piss on her corpse. Brainwashed or not, Archangel can't have that. He finally arrives, ready to fuck up Genocide and Fantomex's balls, but not necessarily in that order. I still find it strange rooting for jaded ex-girlfriends, but when this is the shit it inspires, I'm happy to make an exception.
So...is it awesome?
It has Mystique finally joining the battle and fighting alongside Magneto. Does I really need to write an essay on why that shit is awesome? It took a while, but it finally converged in a cohesive way. Then shit started blowing up. That's basic level awesome at its best. The advanced levels aren't on as big a display as before, but for good reason. Uncanny X-men #9 focuses less on drama and more on moving the plot forward. It does this with a lot of destruction, suffering, and mutant zombies. It's not as concise in some areas, but it's still entertaining as hell. If you can't be entertained by mutant zombies, then adjust your medications because something is wrong with you.
Final Score 7 out of 10