Thursday, September 29, 2016

Extraordinary X-men #14: Nuff Said!

In the annuls of the X-men, Apocalypse is kind of like circumcision. His presence is kind of a ritual that nobody understands, he tends to leave a lasting impact on the parts of you that really count, and no matter how much you try to ignore him, he finds a way to remind you. Apocalypse Wars did a damn good job of that and not just because it created yet another dystopian future. Extraordinary X-men already has a time traveler and an AU version of Wolverine in it. They know they're fucked. Apocalypse just likes to remind them.

Some reminders are still more frustrating than others. That's what happened with Colossus in Apocalypse Wars. Apocalypse left a mark on him that's only somewhat less distressing than circumcision. Now, his teammate have to unfuck his situation, relative to being a team that lives in a fucking demon realm. In that sense, Extraordinary X-men #14 is doing what it can to make shit shine, but that doesn't mean it can't be entertaining as hell.

So what kind of entertainment value can we get from Iceman and Nightcrawler reaching out to their corrupted friend? Do they have a tender heart-to-heart? Do they all attend therapy together to work out their problems? Fuck no! Colossus kicks their asses. There's definitely entertainment value in that.

Granted, seeing heroes fight other heroes is getting old as fuck. The concept already made a billion-dollar movie. Isn't that enough? Well, at least this fight has a valid context. It's spins directly out of the fight that began in Apocalypse Wars. So it's not like Marvel just pulled another bullshit reason for heroes to fight heroes out of their ass. Colossus is still corrupted by Apocalypse so of course he's going to make it hard on Iceman and Nightcrawler. It's still somewhat generic, but at least it's entertaining and relevant.

If you're sick as hell of watching heroes fight other heroes, this issue does offer something a bit more basic. While Iceman and Nightcrawler go after Colossus, Storm and Magik go after another missing teammate in Sapna. This leads them to the less friendly parts of Limbo and since Limbo is already a fucking demon realm, that should tell you something. Naturally, the end up finding some monsters and magic-wielding assholes who try to get in their way. They even try taking control of Storm in the process. It's every bit as retarded as it sounds. Even in Limbo, demon-loving assholes have a death wish.

It makes for some much more satisfying forms of action that don't involve heroes fighting other heroes. Storm kicks up a big fucking tornado. Keep in mind, this is still Limbo. A tornado in a demon realm is like a flood of piss in a shit storm. It makes things messy, but in a much more awesome, much less stinky sort of way. It gives her and Magik the chance to ditch these generic D-listers so they can go back to jerking off to demon porn or whatever they do in Limbo.

It's not very elaborate. It's not very epic either, but it really doesn't have to be. Colossus fighting Nightcrawler and Iceman isn't supposed to be a fight scene from the Matrix. Storm and Magik's fight isn't supposed to be on par with a dick-measuring contest against the Hulk either. They're basic skirmishes and they're nothing special. They're not really that connected either. They're basically warm beer in that it doesn't taste as good as it could, but it'll still get the job done.

Aside from the fighting, there's another side-plot in between involving Forge and Apocalypse. This one does actually have some connections in that Apocalypse is the key to undoing this horsemen shit with Colossus. So there it does contribute meaningfully to the plot. However, this form of Apoclaypse isn't nearly as menacing or imposing as his predecessors so it's not like anyone is shitting themselves in his presence.

This doesn't stop him from busting Forge's balls. Despite being a old far that even Oscar Isaac couldn't make sexy, he's still trying to recruit new horsemen to do his bidding. He even tempts Forge by saying that becoming a horsemen will make Storm want to fuck him again. Not going to lie. That's pretty damn tempting.

Then, Forge does what may be the most awesome thing he could've done, short of inventing a form of beer that never causes a hangover. He duct tapes Apocalypse's mouth shut. It's even more satisfying than it sounds. Forge silenced a mutant tyrant demigod with fucking duct tape. Seriously, is there anything duct tape can't fix?

Perhaps Nightcrawler and Iceman should've brought some duct tape with them because they basically get their asses handed to them by Colossus. That's not too surprising. Colossus is strong enough to bench press a jumbo jet and almost tough enough to survive the comments section on a message board. Add Horsemen strength to the mix and they've got no fucking chance.

Even so, it makes for a dull battle. Nightcrawler and Iceman really don't put up much of a fight. There's no scrappy underdog, Mighty Ducks bullshit here. It's just them getting their asses kicked until some backup arrives. However, that backup is led by Glob Herman so it's not like the fight got that much more balanced.

Dull fights are easy to balance out though. It definitely helps to throw in a nice, meaningful conversation between Old Man Logan and O5 Jean Grey in the mix. Now to all you special kind of perverts out there, put your dicks away. It's not THAT kind of conversation. It's meaningful in that it shows just how well O5 Jean Grey can influence people without probing their minds.

Old Man Logan's love life does come up, but they focus on Storm, which makes more sense. They both have white hair after all. I'm sure that's a special porno genre somewhere. However, even though O5 Jean encourages Old Man Logan to get his wrinkly old cock wet again, he doesn't seem fond of the idea of pursuing another woman he's just going to get killed. It's not an unreasonable concern, given how Jeff Lemire has been developing Old Man Logan. It's still telling that O5 Jean brings it up, which makes the exchange feel meaningful and not nearly as lopsided as a fight against Colossus.

As for Storm's own struggles, she has more pressing concerns than who she lets into her panties. She's still on a mission with Magik to find Sapna. They escape the D-list demon lovers. Now, they're in another part of Limbo, which is like being on the other side of an asshole. It's not much of an improvement.

This doesn't stop things from getting more tense. This whole demon shit storm is Magik's mission more than it is Storm's. She's the one who took Sapna under her wing. She's the one who wants to find her and stop her from loving demons a bit too much. It makes for a nice little exchange between her and Storm, which brings out the less demonic part of Magik. At a time when she's often a glorified Uber driver for the X-men, that's pretty damn important.

The tension quickly disappears when Sapna finally shows up. It's not like they find her or fight off a demon horde to rescue her. She just shows up out of the darkness like a kid running from an army of creepy clown. It's random and a little contrived, but it's in a fucking demon realm. It's unreasonable to expect it to make that much sense. Still not as terrifying as an army of creepy clowns though.

Sapna's sudden return makes for a nice little moment between her and Magik, complete with a hug. It has the potential to be one of those moments from a Hallmark card or a bad Julia Roberts movie. Then, you remember that this is taking place in a fucking demon realm. Of course it's going to be short lived. This is where fuzzy bunnies and lovable kittens come to get eaten.

Sapna, proving she's already made out with one too many demons, promptly blasts Magik and Storm. Then, she takes Magik's Soul Sword and uses it to summon a monster right out of bad tentacle porn. It's not actually as terrifying as it sounds. In fact, it's downright muted because this is taking place in a fucking demon realm. Like Colossus kicking the ass of undersized opponents, it's really not that surprising. Sapna is a teenage girl who learned to connect with demons. Short of giving her an unlimited supply of heroin and Nirvana records, she was bound to get this fucked up at some point. it awesome?

Well, it definitely has its moments. Forge putting duct tape over Apocalypse's mouth alone makes this issue worth buying. A nice heart-to-heart between O5 Jean and Old Man Logan on ways for him to hook up with Storm is a nice bonus. Other than that though, not a whole lot really happens here. Iceman and Nightcrawler make no progress with Colossus. Storm and Magik are just pissing into the wind with Sapna. The art is solid and the action is decent, but not all that productive.

I do give points for solid character moments. Those moments are lacking or half-assed in many other comics these days. I can't give too many points for a story that really doesn't move forward by much. There is an ongoing plot here in Extraordinary X-men #14. There are parts of that plot that are interesting, even to a non-sober mind. It just doesn't do enough to warrant genuine awesome. If nothing else, it offers further proof that duct tape can solve 90 percent of all problems.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Forge putting a duct tape in Apocalipse was one of X-men's best moments of this month. But this comics is worthless to me. Unhappily, because I love the characters which be contained in it.