Thursday, July 28, 2016

Extraordinary X-men #12: Nuff Said!

How many apocalyptic futures does anyone have to see before they just say, "Fuck it! I'm joining Skynet." If anyone is in a position to answer that question, it's the X-men. They face a new apocalyptic future every other week and on their off-weeks, they face another plague or sterility plot. They don't have good days is what I'm saying. They haven't since their last cartoon got canceled. I don't know how close they are to just throwing their hands up and sucking the dick of the nearest Inhuman, but I imagine they're close.

Apocalypse Wars promises to bring them even closer. I'm sure they're already licking their lips with Death of X coming up. Once again, the X-men are in an apocalyptic future. Once again, they have to fight one of their teammates who has been corrupted. I guess it's Tuesday for the X-men. For Extraordinary X-men #12 though, it's the end of Apocalypse Wars. Can it feel like more than a typical Tuesday? Well, that's why I'm here.

These days, before lunch on a typical Tuesday, Magik has to get caught up in some sort of demon-centric shit storms. This is no exception. She and her magic mojo is the only way the X-men have to get escape this apocalyptic future for their semi-apocalyptic present. To do that though, she has to take the express lane to the future. Along the way, that express lane has a few stops. One of them offers some disturbing hints to the next dystopian future that'll fuck over the X-men because I guess they really can't have too many.

This one is a bit more personal though. It involves Sapna, the semi-creepy girl Magik began training at the start of this series. Apparently, being trained by a mutant demon queen with a habit of killing things with a big fucking sword isn't a healthy influence. She ends up turning the entire world into a kingdom of death. It would be so dire if the X-men didn't get futures like this at least once a week, but the fact it has personal ties to Magik does add intrigue.

Intrigue is a bit less important in the other dystopian future that's currently fucking over the X-men. Storm and Nightcrawler finally managed to reach Apocalypse in the last issue. Then, Nightcrawler decides it's a good idea to kill Apocalypse in his weakened state. I don't think any mostly-sober mind would disagree with that logic. The problem is killing Apocalypse means killing Omega World. That might be a good idea too if they weren't fucking trapped in it.

Luckily for Storm, Apocalypse is almost as durable as Keith Richards and Nightcrawler kind of sucks at killing immortal mutant demigods. While he's intent on killing Apocalypse while he doesn't have Oscar Isaac's sex appeal to protect him, Storm makes clear that they need to keep him alive to save their asses and Colossus. So I guess Nightcrawler forgot about that detail too. Again, I still can't fault him for his logic in killing a mutant tyrant.

Before they can think about killing tyrants or surviving yet another dystopian future, the X-men have to stop Apocalypse's horsemen first. One of them happens to be Old Man Logan infused with a the Venom symbiote and its main target is a teenage Jean Grey. Pretty sure that's how 90 percent of tentacle porn starts out. In this case, however, it doesn't get quite that disturbing.

Iceman, fresh off kicking Deadpool's ass, helps O5 Jean connect with the mind of the symbiote. It's as disturbing as it sounds, but it works. It gives O5 Jean yet another chance to be more badass than most teenage girls dare to be. It's another step in an ongoing trend to make O5 Jean the kind of Jean Grey that doesn't need rescuing every other issue and doesn't faint the second someone breathes on her too hard. Time-displaced or not, it's definitely a step up from tentacle porn. It also frees Old Man Logan, who is old, grumpy, and pissed off. That means the fight is actually even now.

Then, the X-men remember that they have Glob fucking Herman on their team and it's not as even as they think. Nothing against Glob, but he's not exactly the kind of guy who can go multiple rounds with the horsemen of Apocalypse. There's no shame in that though. Few who aren't experienced X-men or survived dating Emma Frost are equipped for such a feat. At the very least, it serves to piss Old Man Logan off even more and just like that, the fight is even again.

It's bound to get uneven again at some point, as most battles involving Apocalypse do. That's all the more reason for Magik to get her demon-loving ass in gear. However, she still has to deal with yet another horrific vision of another horrific future where someone she tried to help fucks the world over. Sapna's future daughters say it's because Magik didn't guide her properly that she took her frustrations out on the whole fucking world. They're still assuming that a demon-loving teenage girl is a healthy influence for another teenage girl with a death fetish, but I guess less shitty options are the only options the X-men get these days.

It's still a personal issue for Magik and unfortunately, we don't get much of a reaction from her. She's just like, "Oh, one of my demon pupils went crazy and killed the world? Meh. I'll fix that later." Granted, Magik isn't one for melodrama, but it's still somewhat lacking. At the very least, it sets up another intriguing conflict for the X-men down the line. Sure, it involves another dystopian future, but can we really expect anything else at this point?

We sure as shit can't expect the X-men to defeat an Apocalypse-powered Colossus with limited manpower and Glob Herman as backup. Even a pissed off Old Man Logan has his limits. It makes for some pretty intense action that allows Hamberto Ramos to really kick ass with his art. At this point, Colossus kicks more ass than Apocalypse has during this entire event. Considering how whiny and reserved he's been since Avengers vs. X-men, it's a welcome change.

It only gets uneven again when Magik arrives, this time in the X-men's favor. Colossus may have the power of a horseman. Magik has a demon sword and the strength of a pissed off teenage girl. It's not a fair fight and makes for a nice spectacle to say the least. Considering that this is a story involving Apocalypse and shitty futures, that's perfectly appropriate and downright satisfying.

Colossus is defeated. Omega World is still falling apart around them, but they still won. That counts for something, right? Moral victories are the best the X-men can hope for these days, especially in a world dominated by Fox lawyers and Inhumans. I'm sure Marvel is tempted to just let the X-men die here so they can make way for more shitty Inhumans comics, but I guess they know on some levels they can't screw themselves too much.

Storm and Nightcrawler show up again, this time with a wounded Apocalypse. Their first instinct is to kill him. That's a perfectly reasonable instinct if ever there was one. However, Storm makes clear that they need him to save Colossus. It's a tough sell, letting Apocalypse live and taking him back to the past. It doesn't matter though. She's the fucking leader of the X-men now so what she says goes. Plus, Omega World is still falling apart so arguing with Storm isn't a productive use of time.

Thanks to Magik, they go back to the past. They escape yet another dystopian future. All should be good again, right? Well, they're still stuck living in a fucking demon realm while Inhumans wave their dicks in the face of every mutant in the world so I guess it's all relative. However, there is one minor issue that fucks up the present more than the future. Colossus didn't exactly land in the same place as them.

This naturally pisses off the X-men. The problem is, they can't be pissed off enough to kill Apocalypse because he's still the key to saving Colossus. Tactically speaking, that's pretty damn smart. He just ensured that he can keep fucking with the X-men in the present and not just the future. It's hard to respect someone like Apocalypse, but even I admit that's pretty damn cunning.

So where exactly did Colossus land? Well, Apocalypse shows again that he's pretty damn cunning. Lemire also nicely sets up the next conflict on top of Magik having to stop a teenage mutant with a death fetish. Colossus, still a horseman at this point, pops right in at a Clan Akkaba rally. That's like magically dropping me into a whiskey distillery. It's wonderfully appropriate in that it's bound to lead to all sorts of crazy shit that may or may not screw a few people over. Provided Colossus keeps his pants on more than I would if I spent too much time in a whiskey distillery, it opens the door to some intriguing conflicts. it awesome?

Well there's a lot of shit going on in Extraordinary X-men #12 and for the non-sober crowd, it's hard to keep up with at times. That said, Jeff Lemire manages to keep things fairly concise. The chaos never gets too overwhelming, even for a non-sober mind. The conflict ends. The X-men save their asses, even if they can't save this fucked up future. However, they do set the stage for the next shit storm and they won't even have to time travel for it. That alone has me plenty intrigued.

Some characters really get to shine here. Storm, Nightcrawler, and Magik all do their part. Others kind of just take up space, but not in a bad way. Everyone finds a way to contribute in Extraordinary X-men #12. There's not a whole lot of drama, but there is a lot of action, a lot of intrigue, and a lot of apocalyptic shit to go around. It's refined, concise, and coherent. These days, that might as well be worth its weight in adamantium.

Final Score: 8 out of 10


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