Wednesday, August 31, 2016

X-men 92 #6: Nuff Said!

Being an X-men fan sucks these days. Being without the internet sucks even more. So those X-men fans from the 90s, also known as the golden era of X-men, are fucked either way. We just can't win. Thanks to shitty movie rights deals, we're stuck in a state where the best the X-men have to offer is being butt-fucked by an Inhuman-tipped dick and it'll stay that way until Fox's lawyers get too drunk or something.

In the meantime, we still have X-men 92 to remind us that it didn't always suck this bad. X-men 92 has characters that are alive. It has little to no time-displaced X-men. It also has lovable, less whiny versions of the characters we know and love. Chad Bowers and Chris Sims taught us to love Cyclops and Jean Grey again in X-men 92 #5. Now, they're here to help us love other awesome shit from the 90s in X-men 92 #6. On top of that, we don't have to enjoy it with a shitty 56k modem. It really is the best of both worlds.

No matter what world you're in, it can only be a bit safer and a bit more awesome with Abigail Brand watching over it with SWORD. Turns out, she exists in the X-men 92 world. She even dresses like an extra in an old Janet Jackson video for good measure. In any decade, that should make anyone feel safer and hornier.

It also turns out that regardless of the decade or era, Abigail Brand is still Abigail Brand. That means she's still a hardcore, ball-busting bitch who will shoot someone in the dick if it protects Earth against alien threats. As it just so happens, an alien ship comes flying through, thinking it's a good idea to visit Earth without getting Abigail Brand's permission first. Don't know if that alien has a dick, but he/she/it will probably not keep it intact for much longer.

The destination of that alien ship? Where the fuck else? It's heading to Westchester and as it just so happens, it's in the middle of a concert called Lilapalooza. It sounds so 90s that it couldn't be more 90s without a mullet and parachute pants. The concert, in this case, is intended to be a human/mutant peace concert. Given how Woodstock 99 turned out, the X-men are taking a chance. They're also the ones providing security so anyone who thinks it's a good idea to set fire to a stage has to deal with Wolverine and Bishop. You literally can't get better concert security than that without hiring the Hells Angels on crack.

It's a fun, festive scene. Lila Cheney is an intergalactic pop star who comes from an era where the name Cheney doesn't immediately conjure images of waterboarding, pre-emptive wars, or Sith Lord level evil. She's singing songs that aren't about breaking shit and ex-boyfriends. The X-men aren't just keeping peoples' asses in line. They're enjoying the show while busting up wannabe groupies from sneaking backstage. Storm is even friends with Lila, making for nice moments that don't involve her blaming Cyclops for all the terrible shit in the world. Beats the shit out of getting sterilized and shot at by killer robots.

These are good times at a fucking rock concert where people aren't busy tweeting about it 85 percent of the time. That begs the question. Where the fuck is Jubilee? This is the kind of stuff that gives teenage girl's orgasmic-induced seizures in the 90s. Well, she's still kind of grounded and this is an era where that didn't just mean taking away your cell phone for a few days.

It turns out Xavier didn't appreciate her breaking curfew to go on a date with Chamber and getting turned into a fucking vampire as a result. Also, she kind of tried to eat her fellow students so that's kind of hard to overlook. Considering she just gets grounded, I'd say that's as reasonable as Charles Xavier can be in an era where changing the wifi password is considered child abuse. It also ensures she misses the concert so she's understandably pissed, but has no one to blame but herself. This will teach her to go out and enjoy being a teenager in an era before dick pics and Tinder!

Everything seems to be going well at the concert. Nobody is starting any fires. Nobody is getting their skull crushed in a mosh pit. Wolverine and Bishop even find time to talk about the future somewhat. Then again, nobody is sterilized by giant fart clouds from racist xenophobic slave-owners in Bishop's future so how apocalyptic can it really be at this point? Either way, this present is far more hopeful and uplifting.

It only starts to go to shit when that alien ship from earlier arrives. Considering that Woodstock 99 ended with fires, riots, and overpriced burritos, I'd say this is still more successful. The concert-goers probably just think this is part of the show or are too damn high from that crack they smoked. Remember, this is the 90s. Everyone still believes weed is evil and crack is cheaper.

At first, Lily tries to convince the audience that it's part of the show and/or a side-effect of crack. She's actually scared shitless because it turns out that, despite being an intergalactic pop star, there are still a few bounty hunters who want to kill her. If this is what happens to pop stars with too much power, then I worry for Taylor Swift's safety.

The bounty hunter in question is Death's Head, a villain that has so many over-the-top 90s features that he might as well have come out of an over-budget Michael Jackson music video. Sure, he looks like Darth Vader fucked a Transformer, but he's here to attack a cute pop star trying to foster peace at a rock concert. Evil like that just cannot stand.

The X-men, acting as security, are immediately inclined to kick Death's Head's ass. They have Wolverine, Bishop, and Rogue to throw at this guy. Pretty sure the staff at Woodstock 99 had pepper spray, night sticks, and used condoms. This is a much fairer fight is what I'm saying and this time, nobody can blame the destruction on shitty Limp Bizkit songs.

Unfortunately, the fight that unfolds doesn't last very long. Rogue gets in a few shots. Wolverine and Bishop get pissed off while concert-goers flee in terror and not because water costs 10 bucks. That's about it though. The fighting gets cut off because Abigail Brand shows up. While it's usually disappointing when an awesome battle gets cut off, Abigail Brand showing up often gives a damn good excuse so I can't be too disappointed.

Brand's presence in this fight means it's probably going to be over in time for an encore. That's when we get an unexpected complications thrown into the mix. It turns out, the X-men didn't do quite as good a job at keeping wannabe groupies/roadies out. One manages to slip through and he happens to be Fabian Cortez. Why is this a big fucking deal? He's one of the assholes who made up the wannbe Inner Circle that unleashed Alpha Red on the X-men a few issues back. Now, he's there to fuck with the X-men in an entirely different way.

This involves him using his powers to overload Lila Cheney's teleportation powers, which causes her to transport the X-men far and away from the cheering crowds who probably paid way too much for their tickets. Why would he do something like that? He's an asshole who probably got kicked out of a Guns n' Roses concert. Then again, does he really need a reason? He already helped unleash a fucking vampire against the X-men. Now, he's fucking with them in a whole new way. As long as it doesn't involve vampires, it shows he's making a genuine effort.

Turns out Cortez actually does have more imagination than a Power Rangers villain. The X-men, Lila, Brand, and Death's Head end up teleporting way the fuck away from Earth. They're not on Earth anymore. Cortez put Lila's powers into overdrive and like a crack head in withdraw, she's in no condition to take them back. At the very least, they're away from innocent concert-goers. That means Abigail Brand can kick Death Head's ass so he can't fuck their day up any more than it already is. I'd say it's a battle that's overly rushed, but it's Abigail Brand versus an ugly ass alien. I'm shocked it lasted as long as it did.

That takes care of one alien asshole. There's just one much bigger problem. This planet that Cortez sent them too has something that's way worse than some alien bounty hunter who tries way too fucking hard to be more awesome than Boba Fett. It's actually a planet overrun by the Brood. That's right. The horrific, flesh-eating aliens from the 90s who aren't from Independence Day are back and they've got a fresh plate of X-men to devour. It's a really shitty situation, but I argue it still beats being stuck on a planet where mutants are sterilized and racist xenophobic slave-owners are considered superheroes. it awesome?

Abigail Brand shows up and kicks ass. The X-men go to a rock concert that doesn't involve 95 percent of the audience holding their phones up and recording shitty-quality video. Aliens show up and start blowing shit up. If you can't find entertainment value in at least one of those things, then adjust your meds or get to a fucking emergency room because you're half-way towards a coma.

It's fun. It's entertaining. It has awesome, endearing characters. It's actually fun to read like a comic book should be. These days, comics that don't have Squirrel Girl or Kamala Khan are just a round of bad makeup away from going all emo goth. X-men comics, especially, have become thinly veiled Prozac commercials so X-men 92 #6 is so refreshing in that it reminds us of a time when comics were actually fun. What a fucking concept, right?

Final Score: 8 out of 10

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