Now, the Inhumans have the ultimate edge in Ulysses, as if having Kamala Khan on their side wasn't enough. While he does help save Magneto and the Uncanny X-men team, there are still those who aren't all that comfortable with the Inhumans having this kind of weapon. Naturally, Magneto is one of them. Tragically, Storm still thinks there's benefits to teaming up with racist, xenophobic slave-owners who don't want to do shit about the poison fart cloud that's killing her people. I normally support storm in all things, but I really have a hard time standing by her on this one. I'm hoping Civil War II: X-men #3 will at least add some balance to the argument because I am not comfortable siding against a woman who can turn my asshole into a lightning rod.
In the spirit of balance, it helps to find someone who knows a thing or two about this shit. You know who has a good idea of what shitty futures feel like? Rachel Grey-Summers. Yep! The daughter of two founding members of the X-men comes from a pretty shitty future to say the least. She's basically a mutant-hunting bloodhound, albeit a very sexy mutant-hunting bloodhound. I'm just saying that if I'm going to be hunted and killed in an shitty future, I want it done by a pretty redhead and not some giant Inhuman fart cloud.
Why is Rachel Grey suddenly relevant? Well, at the end of the previous issue, Magneto is in need of a telepath and Psylocke currently trusts him about as much as she can jerk off to him. So he needs another telepath who's on her level. Rachel Grey's mother is a telepath so powerful she bitch-slapped Emma Frost and hogtied the Phoenix Force for years. She's got a damn good pedigree is what I'm saying.
Magneto tracks her down in London where she's reading some pretty sick thoughts and not of the Austin Powers variety. Apparently, dying mutants generate about as much concern as potholes and cheap wine. The minds Rachel reads are basically cut and pasted from Disney lawyers. They're eager to see every mutant in the world wiped out to make way for the racist, xenophobic slave-owners to take their place. Suddenly, I feel like strangling Austin Powers and pissing on his grave.
Naturally, it doesn't take much to convince Rachel to help Magneto. She's already from a shitty future. Now, the racist xenophobic slave-owners behind the mutant-killing fart cloud have Ulysses on their side. Magneto makes the perfectly logical point that mutants would not be this screwed, were it not for the racist xenophobic slave-owners. So of course Rachel Grey agrees to help him. In her future, the racist xenophobic slave-owners don't do shit to help anyone. Now they've got a fucking pre-cog on their side? That's like Donald Trump winning the fucking lottery.
It's one of the strangest, yet most intriguing parts of this series. Magneto is making the most sense. Again, let me say that more slowly. Magneto is making sense. Anyone who has been an X-men fan longer than a few years understands how fucked up that is. That's just the kind of world X-men live in now, thanks to racist xenophobic slave owners.
While Magneto is making sense and recruiting powerful telepaths from shitty futures, Storm makes some effort at a peaceful solution. She meets with the queen of the racist xenophobic slave-owners. It's admirable to some degree. Then, I remember that this is the same queen of the racist xenophobic slave-owners who doesn't do jack shit to help an entire race that's dying because of a big fucking fart cloud.
Never-the-less, there is a genuine effort here to provide balance to the debate. Storm and Medusa of the racist xenophobic slave-owners discuss the recent break-in of Fantomex, one of Magneto's top spies. The racist xenophobic slave-owners don't appreciate spies, even if it's from another race they're helping to exterminate. Storm points out that they helped with this. They didn't even ask the racist xenophobic slave-owners to step it up on the whole M-pox issue. They just did the right thing, hoping to avoid another shit storm with racist xenophobic slave-owners.
The conversation here is actually pretty dense. Cullen Bunn really digs into the personalities of both characters. Storm is a former queen. Medusa is an acting queen of the racist xenophobic slave-owners. They can relate to one another better than most. Hell, Old Man Logan would probably just try to bone her because she has red hair. Storm makes a genuine effort to avoid becoming enemies. She wants to be allies with racist xenophobic slave-owners. I'm not sure if that makes her hypocritical, but she's still sincere as she always is.
That said, she does show some frustration at some point. It's the first time Storm actually shows a little backbone against the racist xenophobic slave-owners. Instead of bitching about Cyclops and blaming everything on him, she actually gets hostile towards Medusa and her racist xenophobic slave-owners for the current state of mutants. What makes it remarkable is that it does work to some degree. Medusa agrees not to unleash the full force of the racist xenophobic slave-owners against Magneto. She still wants to try a more measured response, which is probably the best Storm can hope for from a bunch of racist xenophobic slave-owners.
The response is actually fairly measured. Medusa sends a spy on behalf of the racist xenophobic slave-owners to Magneto's base in the Savage Land. He arrives just in time to listen to Magneto say what pretty much every single X-men fan feels right now. The racist xenophobic slave-owners don't deserve to have a powerful pre-cog on their team for the same reason that Warren Buffet doesn't deserve tax breaks. Their only hope is to secure Ulysses to keep the racist xenophobic slave-owners from exploiting his talents. They make it clear they don't want to kill him, but knowing Magento, that's always an option. Against racist xenophobic slave-owners, he tends not to be that merciful.
He also tends to know when he's being spied on. This guy fought fucking Nazis. He's used to sniffing out racist xenophobic slave-owners. With Sabretooth on his team, it's even easier. Does it make for a bland spy movie? Sure. At this point though, how competent can you expect racist xenophobic slave-owners to be?
There's more spy shit going on in other parts as well. In the previous issue, Storm's team manages to capture Fantomex, thanks to help from Gambit. These efforts mean Gambit gets to kiss Storm on the cheek without getting a lightning bolt up the ass. That's as good a reward as any in my book. It gives them a chance to interrogate Fantomex. Since Psylocke is on their team, I'm pretty sure they're eager to violate every provision of the Geneva Convention.
They don't have to though. Fantomex is happy to cooperate, telling them he just went to spy on the racist xenophobic slave-owners to scope them out. He was never going to harm Ulysses or any of the racist xenophobic slave-owners, which is a pretty big deal for someone who once shot a kid in the head. Even Psylocke, who wants any excuse to rip his eyes out, says he's telling the truth.
The only problem is that Fantomex, being the douche-bag that he is, doesn't cooperate this easily unless there's a tactical advantage. In this case, that means him setting up an attack by Magneto's team. Nightcrawler, Monet, Sabretooth, and Arcangel each storm in and release Fantomex. This officially sets off the war part of X-men Civil War II. It may have taken a while to unfold, but fuck if it isn't satisfying.
It has Sabretooth vs. Old Man Logan. It has Storm vs. Arcangel. It has Magik vs. Monet. It even has Mystique vs. Gambit and who doesn't want to see a bitter old woman deck the guy who tries to constantly screw her daughter? It's as satisfying as it sounds. While X-men do fight each other a lot these days, so do other heroes. It's an obscenely common theme in an event called Civil War. That's what makes it so fitting.
As much fun as it is seeing X-men fight X-men, even when it's the racist xenophobic slave-owners who are fucking them over, there are real tactical mechanisms in play here. As the X-men are making life that much easier for the racist xenophobic slave-owners, a few decide to actually do something. With Storm's team distracted, Magneto and Rachel Grey head towards Attilan to confront the racist xenophobic slave-owners and their newest weapon. It's still strange, rooting for Magneto this much, but he's too damn competent and too damn reasonable this time. A holocaust survivor against racist xenophobic slave-owners? No contest.
So...is it awesome?
Well for one, it's refreshing to see Storm show some backbone against Medusa. Sure, they're just a few sparks and she still gives the impression that she's not willing to lick Medusa's asshole clean if she were to ask, but she doesn't just bend over and take it. She has slightly more dignity than a gimp in a German fetish porno. Even so, her side still fails to make any case that working with the Inhumans makes any fucking sense. They're still racist xenophobic slave owners who don't do jack shit when mutants are dying. Magneto rightly points this out and I can't disagree with him.
Beyond Storm showing at least some backbone, the action here is solid. Cullen Bunn once again arranges the story masterfully. It doesn't have any major "Oh fuck me with a telephone pole!" type moments, but he puts all the major players in place. He creates a solid, well-detailed plan that doesn't just involve X-men bitching at one another. It's the kind of refinement that makes Bunn the kind of X-men writer that you could share a glass of imported wine with. For that, Civil War II #3 has everything going for it, except overpriced cheese.
Final Score: 7 out of 10