Friday, November 29, 2013

X-men Supreme Issue 89: Disheartening Discord PREVIEW and Pic Updates

It's a time to give thanks, but not in this world of X-men Supreme. The Cambrian has dealt some serious damage to this fanfiction series. Every corner of the world felt its assualt. And every corner of the world will now deal with the effects. Some are already dealing with it and the X-men once again find themselves on the front lines. The X-men's big 50th anniversary celebration has passed both in the comics and in the world of X-men Supreme. Now it's time to shift the focus to the future and in this fanfiction series, that future is becoming increasingly dangerous.

The defeat of the Cambrian now opens the door to a whole new host of challenges. Before the Cambrian even attacked, the X-men Supreme fanfiction series was going through some big transitions. President Robert Kelly and General Nathan Grimshaw had started a bold initiative to deal with mutants. General Grimshaw even invited Charles Xavier to be part of that process. He gave Xavier and his X-men a chance to prove themselves. Now it seems they have failed the test. After the attack by the Cambrian, there isn't much room to be reasonable. This will create a dangerous environment that will set the stage for some significant changes in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series.

But before those changes can manifest, the dust from the Cambrian attack needs to settle. There's a big mess, both literally and figuratively, to clean up. Spirits have been broken, hearts have been hardened, and relationships have been strained. In the next issue of X-men Supreme, the biggest challenge the X-men and everyone around them must face is just processing what just happened and how they're going to deal with it. Some will use it as a means to gain strength. Others will use it make hard decisions. And the decision made will have long-lasting implications. I've prepared an extended preview of the kind of hard decisions that can be expected.

‘So this is how the world reacts to a giant mud monster…Genosha occupation round two. I’m not sure if I should be overwhelmed or underwhelmed. Nobody is happy to see armed troops in their homes again. Hell, the troops themselves don’t look happy being here either. Guess the Cambrian took away everybody’s desire to start a fight. But the hangover is going to wear off. Sooner or later, someone is going to make a move.’

Alex Summers mused over this latest debacle as he looked over the landscape of Genosha. He had a good view of the capital city from atop the tallest building in the downtown area that had been turned into a makeshift government center. This was where the Brotherhood was setting up shop to govern this devastated island. He turned one of the top floor offices into his own bedroom. The rest of the Brotherhood had their own rooms as well. Magneto was also present, but he stayed in a secure area lower in the building and was still not all there after his encounter with the Cambrian.

Looking down towards the base of the building, Alex watched dozens of wary soldiers patrol the area. This was probably the most secure building on the island now since Magneto was in it. Lorna and Wanda did not take any chances and used their powers to erect a tall metal barrier made out of rubble from the citadel with special secure entrances. They also borrowed some security gear from the military and installed it to give some added layers of protection. It was nowhere near the protection they once had in the citadel, but it would have to do.

‘How can this end in anything but disaster? As soon as the population recovers, they’re going to want these troops gone. It’s not like they can protest. The world already hates us because they think Magneto conducted some illegal experiment. It may not be that far from the truth, but we aren’t winning any sympathy that’s for sure. They’re rigging the fight so we can only go with two hands tied behind our back. Something’s gotta give and I happen to be the leader of the Brotherhood. I’m starting to wonder if there’s anything worth leading at this point.’

Alex sighed as he looked back towards the ruins of the Citadel. Cleanup was already underway. The globs of the Cambrian that had fallen all over the world had pretty much withered to dust. The rest of the world had the luxury of just dusting off their cars and buildings and returning to a normal life. Here on Genosha, it was different.

Not far from the citadel, a series of camps were set up. These were medical depots where mutants who were affected by the Cambrian could go for medical treatment, courtesy of the occupying soldiers. Some were reluctant to get that treatment and he had already dealt with incidents of abuse from bigoted soldiers. By and large, they still did a decent job. They gave the mutant citizens of Genosha the resources they needed to recover. It would be a wonderful act of charity if the armies of the world didn’t spend most of the time stripping Genosha of the resources that made it strong.

Alex Summers could only shake his head and turn away. He obviously wasn’t going to solve Genosha’s problems today. When he turned towards the door, he was greeted with an unexpected presence.

“Uh…hey Alex. Do you have a moment?” said Lorna in an awkward tone.

“Um…sure,” he said, “What’s wrong? Is Blob whining for his third snack since lunch?”

“He’s already on his forth by my count. But I was hoping to talk to you about something and I’d like to address it before we’re overwhelmed again.”

She almost sounded nervous. That was rare for any daughter of Magneto. Alex remained concerned as he watched Lorna pace throughout his room, gazing out through the same window he had been staring from the past half-hour.

“I heard from Wanda that you’re officially the head of security. Some in the Brotherhood area already calling you General Summers,” she said.

“I thought they were calling me a much more vulgar title,” made Alex as he walked up beside her.

“Everybody calls everybody something vulgar on this island. You have any idea what some people call me behind my back?”

“Is it something I should consider grounds for treason? Because with my new authority, I can do that,” he said with a half-grin.

“Thanks, but I don’t think we can afford to be petty at this point,” she replied with a grin of her own, “I bring it up because even though you think everybody undermines you, I believe that a good share of Genosha has come to respect you. Now that Wanda is in charge, we have so many uncertainties. This new occupation is going to change things and it may not be for the better.”

“That seems to be the consensus,” Alex conceded, “Nobody thinks much good will come of this shit. You put too many fighters in a confined area and they’ll find a reason to fight.”

“I don’t doubt that. It has a lot of people scared. Even some in the Brotherhood are scared with my father being so distant and Toad being in jail,” said Lorna as she turned to face Alex, “But you know what? I’m not afraid. I honestly believe Genosha will get through this. I honestly believe it’ll become a homeland for mutants again one day.”

“That’s a pretty bold statement, Lorna. Some may call that wishful thinking,” warned Alex.

“I wouldn’t put it past them,” she conceded, “But I have a very good reason for believing in this.”

“Oh? And what might that be?” he asked curiously.

“It’s standing here right beside me.”

Alex’s attention shifted away from the window and towards the eyes of this enigmatic yet alluring young woman. His confusion quickly gave way to new feelings entirely. The usually poised Alex Summers found himself faltering under her gaze.

Lorna managed a slight smile despite her awkwardness and moved in closer to the bewildered young man. More feelings continued to surface for her. Since there was no telling when they would get another chance like this, she might as well let them flow freely.

“You showed me something special, Alex. Throughout this Cambrian affair, you never stopped fighting. You never lost focus. When so many others were looking for a way out, you stood your ground. That makes you more than just a fighter. It makes you a genuine leader.”

Alex shifted awkwardly, trying not to look as foolish as he felt.

“I…do what I can,” he managed to get out.

“I know you do. That’s exactly why I still have hope,” said Lorna strongly, “I know that no matter what this new occupation brings, you’ll keep fighting for our cause. You’ll stand up when everybody else falls down. I…I can’t tell you how much that means to my family…and to me.”

Another awkward silence followed. Lorna was blushing bright red now while Alex could not fathom a worthy response. They just stood together in silence, gazing into one another’s eyes. Eventually, instincts beyond their control took over. They started drifting closer to one another until they met in a soft kiss.

Soon the awkwardness melted away. Words were no longer necessary. Since Alex was brought in, there was a subtle attraction between him and Lorna. It was hard to explore since Magneto kept them so busy. Now in the ruins of the Cambrian, they could skip all those unnecessary steps and just embrace this feeling. It was intoxicating, tender, and full of a love they both sorely needed.

Also, I did another quick update to the pics section, if for no other reason than to offer a holiday bonus for all those celebrating Thanksgiving. It is getting to be that time of year again and I want to be generous with X-men Supreme. Please remember that I'm always open to posting submitted artwork. Please contact me if you're interested. Until then, enjoy this latest update to the X-women section.

Psylocke Pics

Jean Grey Pics

Rogue Pics

It feels good to finish another big arc for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. I look forward to shifting the pace and the tone of X-men Supreme as X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear approaches its conclusion. However, I have not gotten as much feedback on this arc as I had hoped. I really mean it when I say I want to make the X-men Supreme fanfiction series as awesome as it can possibly be. And I can't do that without feedback and criticism. Please take the time to post comments in any issue or contact me directly and I'll be happy to discuss this or anything X-men related. I am very good at responding to every message and I always appreciate the support of my readers. I hope that support continues. Again, happy Thanksgiving everybody! Take care and best wishes. Excelsior.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Amazing X-men #2 Preview - Hellish Holiday Wishes

It's that time of year again. I can finally start getting drunk off eggnog and not have it be weird. Not that I need an excuse to get drunk, but the holidays give me a few extra reasons and I can never have too many. I know today is the day Americans everywhere have a big meal to celebrate the time before Europeans screwed over the Native Americans to prepare themselves for several weeks of intense shopping. I'm sure the overpaid investment bankers on Wall Street are jizzing their pants in participation. But I don't like to wait for my gifts and I imagine few people beyond the age of 5 do.

So to celebrate this day of overly commercialized gift-giving and gluttony, I've got a preview to share. Amazing X-men #1 exceeded my expectations in ways I haven't experienced since my first trip to Amsterdam. It didn't just bring Nightcrawler back into the X-men comics. It put him in the center of a heavenly crusade mixed with Pirates of the Caribbean. It really is as awesome as it sounds. But before Johnny Depp could get involved, the staff at the Jean Grey Institute, including the freshly recruited Firestar, got transported into the middle of the battle courtesy of the bamfs. Now thanks to to's willingness to work on holidays, we have a preview for Amazing X-men #2.


• The X-Men, on the search for Nightcrawler, find themselves separated!
• Wolverine and Northstar are mysteriously in... heaven?!
• But where does that leave the rest of the team?

So the X-men's holiday starts off with a trip to Hell itself. I imagine it's still not as bad as being stuck in traffic on the way to Best Buy at five in the morning. It's nice that they actually take a moment to contemplate how fucked up the concept of being in Hell actually is. The Marvel universe is downright schizophrenic when it comes to gods and devils. Thor and the Asgardians walks around as actual gods and nobody gives more than a couple wet shits. And there must be no Richard Dawkins in the Marvel universe because Heaven and Hell apparently exist, in which case he's probably shitting himself on a daily basis. But if this is what the X-men have to go through to get Nightcrawler back, so be it.

The battle between Heaven and Hell is epic on paper alone and a welcome change of pace. For too long now, the X-men have been fighting each other more than actual villains. Sure, the occasional Sentinel drops by. But whenever there's action, it mostly involves the X-men fighting each other or other heroes. Fighting the forces of Hell is exactly the kind of shit they need to remind themselves that heroes don't always have to be pissing on each others' shoes. Sure, it may completely destroy the very foundation of their faith and all notions of Western theology, but I say that's worth it for an epic battle that brings Nightcrawler back.

Scanned Thoughts: All New X-men #19

Back in high school, I once had to do a group project with a guy whose older sister I boned and in his room no less. He knew it happened. I certainly knew it happened because I kept fighting the urge to yell out "I boned your sister!" the whole time. But it was still an awkward situation and one that made the project all the more difficult. And I fucking hate group projects to begin with. I imagine it's just as awkward for the O5 right now in All New X-men. Not only have they joined Cyclops, the guy they thought murdered the Professor and would cause a full blown mutant genocide. But O5 Cyclops has found out that the love of his life has been swapping spit with other teammates. That's a blow to the heart and a kick to the balls, yet he still has to function on the team while pretending that his brain and penis aren't kicking his ass. So as I review All New X-men #19, I expect it to get awkward, but I don't expect anyone to bone someone's older sister again.

A trip to Miami is one of those trips that can go either way. Someone can either get boned in the best possible way or the worst possible way. There’s a huge difference between banging a couple of European supermodels on South Beach and being beat up by LeBron James in a nightclub. And for one exceedingly unlucky mutant, they might as well be stealing one of LeBron’s championship trophies because they’re being chased by the Purifiers. These people are like the Taliban mixed with creationists mixed with Ted Nugant. They make it so they think God blesses them whenever they kill or horribly maim a mutant. It’s so disgusting it almost makes me think that churches demanding money from their followers, despite not having to pay any taxes, isn’t so bad…almost.

Kitty Pryde and the O5 X-men can’t arrive to kick their asses fast enough. They just got some kick-ass new uniforms so why not break them in a little? They’ve never faced the Purifiers before so they’re probably somewhat surprised when they shoot first and plan to jack off with their entrails later. It forces Kitty Pryde to phase them through the bullets, allowing them to be appropriately shell shocked by what they’re experiencing. But they’re not quite as shell shocked as they probably should be and not just because they know they’ve got Kitty Pryde to protect them from the bullets. They look at these religious nut jobs as if they’re just a bunch of Gears of War cos-players who take their role way too seriously and got into a fight with Halo fans. While I’m willing to attribute this to the O5’s unfamiliarity with the many threats the X-men have faced over the years, the dialog here is weak and somewhat dry.

Actions still speak louder than words and the O5 show once again that despite their youth, they’re pretty damn good in a fight. They took on Hydra, Mystique, and Sabretooth. Taking on the Purifiers should be no more problematic than beating up a bunch of drunken Storm Troopers. Their tactics aren’t too fancy, but they don’t just take Wolverine’s approach and charge head-first into a hail of bullets. They don’t have a healing factor or that much whiskey in their system (that we know of). They manage to occupy the Purifiers while Kitty Pryde goes after the mutant they were harassing. It has the makings of a perfectly choreographed ballet, minus the excessive anorexia.

But while the O5 are competent fighters, they are inexperienced. This shows when O5 Beast manages to get himself hit in a way that will not hurt him anywhere as much as he deserves for his recent bullshit. It’s basically a way of making sure that shit doesn’t come too easy for the O5 X-men. It only works in the sense that it pisses off O5 Jean Grey and when O5 Jean Grey is pissed off, it’s not a fair fight. The Purifiers might as well be baby seals on Dick Cheney’s front lawn. The dialog is still weak, but again the actions speak much louder than words.

While the O5 X-men are handling themselves admirably, Kitty Pryde catches up with the mysterious mutant girl that the Purifiers were using for target practice. Then she makes a startling revelation that really shouldn’t be so startling to anyone who reads comics sober (ie not me). That girl is actually X-23 and for some reason, she claims she’s not a mutant and doesn’t recognize Kitty Pryde. Having not read the final issue of Avengers Arena, I’m left to assume the Purifiers did some really horrific shit to her. It wouldn’t be the first time someone with a healing factor and claws had their memory wiped, but it’s hard to tell from either the situation or the dialog. It’s just clear that X-23 is going to make this shit more difficult than it already is, but she’s a teenage girl. That’s almost a given.

It doesn’t get much more difficult for the O5 X-men though. They continue to handle themselves with a fair amount of competence as they take on the Purifiers. But it isn’t just optic blasts and ice beams. At some point they actually do make an effort to try and learn about these guys and why they think hunting a mutant in the streets of Miami is more important than trying to score tickets to the next Miami Heat game. O5 Angel even points out that their theology is kind of fucked up when he looks like an actual angel and they think he’s an abomination. That would be like calling Scarlett Johansen fat. But in the same way pointing out facts to a creationist does jack shit, O5 Angel can’t convince these guys that God was kind of serious when he gave that “Thoust Shalt Not Kill” commandment. So he does the next best thing and drops his sorry ass. If only someone could do that with Kirk Cameron.

Despite a few hiccups, the O5 X-men are able to subdue the Purifiers. Now the O5 X-men are in a much better position to learn more about these assholes and hopefully teach them why it’s a bad idea to shoot innocent mutants in a crowded city. O5 Cyclops tries at first to play good cop and asks the politely without shooting them with his optic blasts. But since they think God is on their side and he’ll send them to Hell where they’ll have to clean Hitler’s toilet for eternity if they talk, they have a pretty strong incentive to keep their mouth shut. So they go right to O5 Jean Grey, who plays bad cop by peeking into their minds. While she has had a nasty tendency to probe minds without permission, I don’t anybody will have much sympathy for any Purifier who gets mind-fucked.

What O5 Jean Grey sees is really no surprise to any X-men fan or anyone with a Wikipedia app on their smartphone. The Purifiers are just a bunch of religious zealots who use religion to justify violence against mutants in the same way Pat Robertson uses religion to justify his senility. But for O5 Jean, it’s a pretty shocking and pretty disturbing revelation. It’s easy to forget for anyone who has damaged their short-term memory as much as I have that the O5 X-men are still new to this superhero gig, even before they traveled through time. They’ve never faced a threat like the Purifiers. At least the Sentinels didn’t obsessively preach how much God hates them like a Catholic priest with OCD. It’s a jarring yet important discovery for O5 Jean and the O5 X-men, although I suspect O5 Jean is the only one with the urge to throw up.

It would have been easy for O5 Jean to throw another one of her psychic temper tantrums. But by this point, all the shooting and street preaching has attracted the police. They’re a little late to the party so they can be forgiven for not knowing what the fuck is going on. For all they know, this is just a costume party at a nightclub that went horribly wrong. Magik tells them this is their cue to get the fuck out of here. However, O5 Cyclops attempts to placate the situation. He thinks it may be helpful if they tried to help the police in a peaceful, respectable fashion. Apparently, he has never been busted for hiding pot in a bottle of lube at airport security.

It’s actually a pretty interesting moment in that it sets O5 Cyclops apart from his older counterpart, who actually attacked a police station earlier in the series. He still doesn’t quite understand that he’s technically an outlaw and the police aren’t exactly reacting to a surge in the mutant population with donuts and coffee. He’s still trying to handle a situation peacefully, which in this day and age is a pretty novel concept. It’s respectable, even if it is a little stupid. Nobody should be surprised in the slightest when one of the cops tries to shoot him and doesn’t even have the courtesy to claim he has a gun. Magik teleports them out before they could defuse the situation, but it’s still an important distinction between what the O5 are doing and what Cyclops is doing.

Once back at the New Xavier School, they finally have a moment to process what they just encountered. It’s another interesting and important moment. Now they finally allow themselves to be a little shell shocked. And Magik allows herself to be a little pissed at O5 Cyclops when he didn’t understand the simple concept of getting the fuck away when the cops show up packing guns. But what resonates with them even more was the threat posed by the Purifiers. These are not like the Sentinels they faced or even their evil future selves in X-men Battle of the Atom. These are zealous assholes who have no problem snapping the neck of innocent mutants and shitting on their corpses. It’s a lot to take in for a bunch of teenage X-men, especially when they’re trying to keep Charles Xavier’s dream alive.

The impact is definitely greater on O5 Jean Grey, who actually had to read the thoughts of one of these assholes. I imagine it would be like sleeping in Jerry Sandusky’s basement for a night during a full moon on Friday the 13th. She has already had her share of emotional upheavals, but those upheavals aren’t really touched on that much. This is more about her and the rest of the O5 realizing that there are more psychic mutant-hating assholes in the world than they ever expected. It’s like any other teenager learning that sex is much more complicated and messy than porn had led them to believe.

While the O5 X-men are dealing with these very uncomfortable realizations, Kitty Pryde has her own encounter with the cops. To their credit, they don’t just threaten to shoot first and honor the 5th amendment later. Kitty Pryde tries to reason with them as well, but it’s X-23 who ends up being difficult. To get her out of an already stressful situation, she phases her into the sewer. She’s already in a pretty shitty state of mind so Kitty probably figures she won’t mind being in another shitty environment. But it’s here where the extent of the damage done to her becomes more apparent. In addition to not wanting to be touched, she reveals that something fucked her up so bad that she went bald and her face now looks like Hugh Hefner’s nutsack. It’s disturbing, but provides further justification for her attitude. There’s still no clue as to what happened to her, but since she’s shown swapping spit with O5 Cyclops on the cover of the next issue, it’s a given that she’ll get over it pretty damn quickly.

At the very least, I can say that nobody became more or less inclined to bone anyone. After all the melodrama and relationship fodder in the previous issue, this issue took a more simplistic approach. It had a bunch of teenage superheroes in skin-tight outfits beat the shit out of a bunch of heavily armed religious zealots. It’s the kind of shit that brings tears of joy to Richard Dawkins’ eyes. It also effectively introduced X-23 into the pages of All New X-men. While it isn’t clear how the fuck she ended up bald and with no memory, it’ll ensure she’ll be pretty fucked up once she joins the All New X-men. And I guess being fucked up is all that’s necessary to kiss Cyclops. His penis is just that powerful, even as a teenager.

There’s a lot to like about this issue, but it fell flat and was a bit disorganized at times. So I give All New X-men #19 a 7 out of 10. It’s like a burger without bacon, relish, and hot sauce. It’s good, but not awesome. I’m hoping that X-23 can provide the extra bacon needed to make All New X-men as awesome as it deserves to be. Nuff said!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #14

If watching Dr. Who while stoned has taught me anything, it's that streamlining the space time continuum is like trying to perform brain surgery blindfolded while break-dancing. It's unreasonable to expect Marvel or anyone to effectively streamline the long list of alternate timelines. Hell, DC got so frustrated with it that they just said, "Fuck it, we're rebooting." But Marvel has been trying to find some sense of harmony with these various timelines in wake of Age of Ultron. They already have Galactus laying waste to the Ultimate universe. And Uncanny Avengers is in the middle of a story that involves time travel and taking advantage of those who fuck up when time traveling.

The Uncanny Avengers have been overmatched and outsmarted by the Apocalypse Twins so far. But they're not the only ones they have to worry about. They still have pissed off time travelers like Kang to deal with and a pissed off time traveler is right up there with a pissed off Hulk in terms of shit nobody wants to deal with. So as I review Uncanny Avengers #14, I'm ready to hear Doc Brown shit himself in horror as the timeline continues to get more fucked up. I’m also ready to hear a lot of fans shit themselves over the kind of death that comes along with a fucked up timeline so I hope I’m not the only one ready to be frustrated and pissed by this issue.

Doc Brown and Dr. Who already probably have some serious migraines. After Kang finds out that the Apocalypse Twins have basically cock-blocked him from going back to their time, he sees that his entire future is falling apart. Not one to take such cock-blocking lightly, he starts fucking with the timeline even more. He travels to multiple timelines that exist throughout the Marvel multiverse, including the 2099 universe and the dystopian future that Rick Remender created with Psylocke in Uncanny X-Force. Kang figures if he’s going to discipline the twins, he’ll need to risk a fucked up paradox to make it sufficient. I could say it makes the story even more convoluted, but I can’t say Kang isn’t resourceful.

Unfortunately, we don’t get to see Kang lead his new time-displaced army against the Apocalypse Twins. He basically just falls to the wayside while the rest of the story focuses on the Scarlett Witch. I’m not against a more focused plot. It makes this series much easier to read while drunk. However, part of the appeal of the recent issues of Uncanny Avengers has been its ability to balance so many different sub-plots and so many different characters. That is pretty much abandoned in this issue, but for good reason. Wanda Maximoff is about to transport the entire mutant population to an artificial world. Like a gushing neck wound, that kind of shit can’t be ignored.

So after rescuing Wolverine from his degenerate and exceedingly horny son in the previous issue, Rogue and Sunfire take it upon themselves to stop the Scarlett Witch once and for all. And while Rogue promised Wolverine that she would make a concerted effort not to kill her, she assumed that Wolverine was just doing his best Mitt Romney impression. She makes it clear through some well-crafted internal monologue that she still blames the Scarlett Witch for all the damage she did to the mutant race. And this shit is way past the final straw.

They go after the Scarlett Witch and Wonder Man, who are in the process of beginning the spell that the Apocalypse Twins requested. They’re ready to bring the entire mutant race into this new world they created. However, the Twins still think that Wanda is going to make it so that these mutants don’t arrived pissed off. She made it clear to Wonder Man that she has no intention of complying with their request and the Apocalypse Twins don’t seem that worried. They’re content to just sit back, drink wine, and enjoy the show. I admit I would probably do the same thing if I was that confident that one of my crazy plans wouldn’t fuck up. Then again, I’m a drunk with humility.

However, Rogue and Sunfire don’t know that the Scarlett Witch intends to screw the Apocalypse Twins over. As far as they’re concerned, she basically agreed to be their magical bitch. So when they arrive, they’re ready to take her down. It’s ironic because it’s really hard to root for the Scarlett Witch. She committed mass genocide and gets a fucking pass with the Avengers. Cyclops and the X-men try to create a global utopia with the Phoenix Force and he gets thrown in jail. I’ve made it clear in my reviews that I think the Scarlett Witch is about as deserving as a pass as O.J. Simpson. Yet here I am, actually giving a damn about her succeeding in her plan while the X-men she screwed over are now the assholes.

Daken and the Grim Reaper are there to stop them before they can disrupt the spell. And while I may be rooting for the Scarlett Witch, there’s no way I can get drunk enough to root for these assholes. The battle that follows isn’t quite as epic as some of the other battles that have taken place over the course of this arc. It’s pretty basic actually and some may even get a little impatient to see what happens with the Scarlett Witch’s spell. But I think it’s a given that most everyone at this point is impatient to see Rogue and Sunfire beat the shit out of these two. In some ways it causes the story to drag, as if this sort of fight was contractually obligated. I get that there’s supposed to be action in these comics, but it couldn’t hurt to make it at least feel meaningful in the same way cocaine makes people at least feel they’re invincible.

As the basic yet visceral battle unfolds, Wolverine manages to heal up enough to join the fight. There’s no way he would miss an opportunity to discipline his wayward son in a way that won’t give him a boner. However, there’s none of the personal drama between these two that made their struggle in the previous issue so compelling. I understand that most of that shit was vetted in the previous issue, but it still felt somewhat incomplete. Just seeing Wolverine attack his son while Daken just looks like he’s trying not to get too horny is somewhat underwhelming.

But Daken’s main role here is to basically keep Wolverine from stopping Rogue. At this point he realizes that Rogue had no intention of keeping that “no killing” promise she made him. Given how liberal he has been with killing, I don’t think he should be surprised. He actually looks like a little girl watching her mother throw away her favorite teddy bear while Rogue goes in for the kill against the Scarlett Witch, which isn’t very fitting for a guy who murdered his own son…even if he didn’t stay murdered.

And Rogue lands that killing blow. Having absorbed Wolverine’s powers and his lifetime of killing skills, she effectively gives the Scarlett Witch the Mariko Yashida treatment. Sunfire made sure Wonder Man wasn’t in a position to stop her, leaving these two to finally settle the argument that began all the way back in Uncanny Avengers #1. While it may look like Rogue won the argument on the surface, the impact of this scene is far greater.

The big problem with death scenes in comics is that most of the time, it’s done just for shock value. It’s no different than making Megan Fox wear a tank top in a movie. It’s for purely superficial appeal. But for the past few issues, Rick Remender has effectively built up the Scarlett Witch’s story so that there really is a true emotional impact here. She may have nearly wiped out the mutant race, but she was prepared to risk everything to stop the Apocalypse Twins. With the exception of those who took too much valium, this moment has just the right impact.

However, the opposite applies to Rogue. And it’s not just because she didn’t have a fucking clue that the Scarlett Witch was actually trying to screw over the Apocalypse Twins. There really hasn’t been much of anything done with her to make this moment have an impact. So when she stabs the Scarlett Witch and lets her fall off a cliff, there’s no depth to her reaction. Wolverine is clearly upset, but after what he endured against Daken, that’s understandable. There’s none of that with Rogue and it only gets worse when the Grim Reaper comes in and returns the favor for what she did to the Scarlett Witch.

The only emotion evoked in this moment is frustration mixed with WTF. Rogue only has a moment to reflect on what she just did and then she gets fucking stabbed. It’s like a crack head that got sick from smoking too much crack that tries to make themselves feel better by smoking more crack. It does everything wrong that the moment with the Scarlett Witch did right. It’s annoying and frustrating, especially to Rogue fans. She underwent so much great character development over the course of X-men Legacy, but that development basically stalled with Uncanny Avengers. And her getting stabbed makes her look like a deer that Dick Cheney ran while on his way back from a successful hunting trip.

It only gets worse when the Grim Reaper effectively shocks Rogue to the point where she’s reduced to bone. This only adds more to that shock value that seems tailor made towards pissing fans off. Granted, she had Wolverine’s healing power at the time and it’s not clear that she’s fully dead, but that is certainly the impression that’s given here. It’s the kind of scene that should never be read while recovering from a hangover. It only makes the dry heaves and vomit more painful.

And it doesn’t stop there either. In his pissed off rage, Wolverine brushes aside whatever guilt he may have still felt for killing Daken the first time around and kills him again. This time he’ll probably give fewer shits than Wesley Snipes gives about the IRS. But at this point Wolverine killing his son has no fucking impact whatsoever. And there’s still the matter of the spell that Rogue and Sunfire so rudely interrupted. Yet for some reason the Apocalypse Twins don’t even show up. The focus is all on the death in the story and anyone who doesn’t have a stomach laced with tobasco sauce will probably be sickened.

At the very least, Wonder Man tries to recapture some of the emotional impact from all this death. He goes after the mortally wounded Scarlett Witch after he shakes off Sunfire. He understands that by finishing the spell, they’ll still have their best chance at screwing over the Apocalypse Twins. So in an act of self-sacrifice that is far more befitting and less shocking, he lets the Scarlett Witch absorb the full extent of his power so that she can cast the spell. It does effectively kill him, but at this point everyone should be pretty desensitized to that shit. Also, he got to bone the Scarlett Witch in the previous issue. If he’s going to die, this is a damn good way to go out.

There was once a time when death in comics was more meaningful than a cheap sales gimmick or a way to troll fans. I’m sure that just before this issue came out, Rick Remender got himself a beer and some pretzels, loaded up his Twitter feed, and laughed his ass off at the shit storm that followed. Now when it comes to character deaths in comics, I try to treat it like the nasty scar I have on my left ass-cheek that I got from a rather unpleasant Halloween party at a frat house in college. I know how it happened and I can’t change that it happened, but I know it eventually will heal to the point where I don’t have to explain it to my doctor anymore.

The death in this story was not like the bullshit deaths in other stories. This one actually had heart and emotion, at least for Wonder Man and the Scarlett Witch. For Rogue, not so much. And because of that, this issue only partially succeeds in making it worth getting another scar on my ass. I give Uncanny Avengers #14 a 6 out of 10. It’s the kind of emotional turning point that if it were a romantic comedy, it would give every straight woman a pussy boner. But it lacks so many of the elements that made previous issues of Uncanny Avengers so epic. And given how death is like wedding vows with Larry King, there’s no telling how much of this shit will stick. Whatever the case, my ass is ready for another scar if necessary. Nuff said!

Friday, November 22, 2013

X-men Supreme Issue 88: Cambrian Explosion Part 5 is LIVE!

It's finally here! The last issue of one of the biggest arcs to date in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series has arrived. Ever since it began, I've been stating and re-stating how big this arc is in terms of the big picture in X-men Supreme. And at the end of this new issue, everyone will see why. I know it's a little late since Marvel has already finished their X-men 50th anniversary event in X-men Battle of the Atom. I wish X-men Supreme could have finished alongside this event, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. My goal with this fanfiction series is to tell the best possible stories with X-men. And with almost 100 issues to date, I like to think I've done plenty to achieve that goal. Now I'm hoping to add to X-men Supreme's legacy with the conclusion of the Cambrian arc.

The X-men are going up against a true force of nature. The Cambrian is unlike anything they have ever faced before. It's even more menacing than the Phoenix Force. This thing doesn't just affect one person. It affects the entire mutant race and all life on Earth. It literally wants to reshape the entire biosphere of a planet and anything that gets in its way will be doomed to extinction. In the previous issue, the X-men fought hard and even against some of their own friends who had succumbed to the Cambrian's influence to reach its core. Now that they've made it, they must deliver the final blow. However, any victory at this point is going to come at a price and that price will have significant costs for the entire X-men Supreme fanfiction series.

Now it's all up to Professor Charles Xavier and Jean Grey to deliver this final blow. And they have to do so knowing that any pain they inflict upon the Cambrian will be felt by every mutant it has under its influence, including the man who provoked this creature, Magneto. In addition, they also have to be mindful of President Kelly and General Grimshow, who both want to blow the Cambrian up and everyone with it. Time has almost run out. The X-men need to succeed or all life on Earth is doomed. It's one of the most epic struggles in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series to date and I'm proud to finally finish it to commemorate the X-men's 50th anniversary.

X-men Supreme Issue 88: Cambrian Explosion Part 5

And since the end of this event is such a big moment for the X-men Supreme fanfiction series, I think it's fitting and perfectly timed that I add in another update for the pics section. My good friend, Brian Brinlee, has submitted another commission that captures a very memorable moment between Deadpool and Wolverine in X-men Supreme Issue 37: Deadpool Part 2. As always, I deeply appreciate Mr. Brinlee's contributions and anyone out there who wishes to submit artwork, please contact me and I'll be happy to post it as well.

X-men Supreme Official Panels

When I first came up with the idea for the Cambrian, I always intended for it to be a major turning point for X-men Supreme. The nature of that turning point has changed a number of times as the story has unfolded, but now that it's set, it will set the stage for how X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear will play out. Throughout the history of X-men, the team has undergone numerous upheavals and shake-ups. I have every intention of doing the same thing with X-men Supreme. And as always, it can only be as awesome as the help I receive from people who take the time to review. I noticed that not many people have been leaving comments on this website lately. If there is a reason for that, I would love to know why. So please take the time to post your review of X-men Supreme. Post your feedback in the issue or contact me directly and I'll be happy to discuss this or anything X-men related. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Scanned Thoughts: X-men #7

When women ban together for anything that doesn't involve an orgy in a porno movie, they're every bit as deadly as any gang of men. I don't just say that to ward off angry feminists who send me hate mail on a regular basis. I say that from experience. It's hard enough dealing with one angry woman, but a whole team of them? That's enough to make any man's penis shrivel in fear. Yet that's exactly what the all-female team of the X-men are facing in the post-Battle of the Atom world. It makes sense, doesn't it? A new team of female X-men form. Therefore, a new team of female villains should form. Just because it makes sense doesn't make the concept any less painful for anyone with functioning testicles. So as I review X-men #7, I will keep them tucked away for their own protection.

It’s a common misconception that only old rich men who can’t get an erection without a bottle of Viagra are inherently evil. Young, attractive rich women can be every bit as inherently evil. Ana Cortes certainly doesn’t look that evil when she is first introduced. She looks basically like a Latina Paris Hilton who hasn’t put out a sex tape or had her own reality show yet. And like Paris Hilton, she didn’t earn her money. She inherited it from her father. And after he died, she now has all kinds of money and a lot of free time, which are two of the most important ingredients to evil. And like Charlie Sheen, she needs drugs to unlock that evil, which she gets courtesy of her strangely familiar female assistant looks like an extra on the set of lesbian porn.

But this woman apparently has access to drugs that are much more potent than anything Charlie Sheen has ever taken, as hard as that may be to believe. Through some creative and engaging inner monologue, we find out that these drugs have unlocked Lady Deathstrike from within Ana’s persona. That’s surprising considering Lady Deathstrike is supposed to be dead, but then again death is no worse than the common cold in the Marvel universe, provided the character in question isn’t named Jean Grey or Gwen Stacy. She apparently convinced some rich Latina bimbo to share her body so that Lady Deathstrike could have access to her funds. It’s ingenious and pragmatic, but how anyone could convince some upper class bimbo to share her body like that without the promise of undeserved fame and powerful drugs is beyond me.

As Lady Deathstrike is enjoying a new body and new access to resources, Jubilee is enjoying some welcome news from Storm at the Jean Grey Institute. It’s official now. She’s a single, vampire, adoptive mother. Storm, who I imagine threatened a new ice age to the Hungarian government, made it official. They’re not going to press charges against a teenage vampire who wants to adopt one of their infant citizens. They probably don’t know that this baby is going to be living in a school that gets blown up every few years with a teenage girl who also happens to be a vampire, but I doubt they care. They probably have bigger problems to worry about, like how to attract more rich American tourists to their red light district.

And that’s not the only good news either, although it’s not clear whether it qualifies as good. After Jubilee finds out she’s now a single mom, Monet shows up and reveals that Storm is letting her stay at the institute while she “rests and recuperates.” I’m pretty sure that’s code for “she’s dry humped karma and now it’s screwing her over.” It tapers Jubilee’s enthusiasm because of their history. And it’s not clear which part of that history has screwed her over, making her appearance a bit contrived. But it’s another beautiful, tough woman on a team of all-female X-men. And like an orgy with Playboy playmates, more is better.

Monet quickly makes herself at home, meeting up with Omega Sentinel and Beast in his lab. Omega Sentinel, who is fresh of her unexpected awakening from her coma at the hands of Arkea, is still recovering and for some reason, running on a treadmill while Beast takes in data is supposed to help with that. That sounds like treating a recovering alcoholic with cocaine. But it effectively continues the plot with Omega Sentinel that began in the first arc while throwing Monet into the mix.

That mix isn’t all that compelling at first. Monet makes it clear that she didn’t come to the Jean Grey Institute to put on a spandex uniform and beat up Sentinels. If she wanted that kind of stress, she would work for the mayor of Toronto. She’s at the institute to unwind, which is like going to Afghanistan for a vacation. But for whatever reason, she connects with Omega Sentinel in a way that isn’t easy to masturbate to. They talk about coming back from the dead, which has already been established as a major theme of this issue. So I guess it’s fitting in some respects.

Since Beast’s lab is about as relaxing as Jerry Sandusky’s basement, Monet invites Omega Sentinel to do some more traditional running by going on a jog in the countryside. It’s not a bad idea. Some people do relax by jogging in the same way I relax with beer and porn. I would still argue that my method is more effective, but who am I to judge? But at the very least it should give them some additional bonding time without Beast being a douche to mess it up.

However, this pleasant little fun run is rudely interrupted when Lady Deathstrike, now the dominant force in her new body and sporting some badass new body paint, drive by with some well-paid thugs. She probably thinks she’s luckier than a rat in a cheese factory because she apparently didn’t know that Omega Sentinel woke up from her coma recently. She hired these thugs to break into the Jean Grey Institute and bust her out. She must have been having multiple orgasms when she found Omega Sentinel just running out in the open. They attack the two ill-prepared women and effectively ruin any further efforts at relaxing.

Like any prank involving horse shit and crazy glue, having the element of surprise goes a long ways towards making it work. Lady Deathstrike’s thugs successfully wound Omega Sentinel, leaving her more vulnerable than a chocolate cake at John Goodman’s house. But Monet has a pretty extensive array of powers and since Omega Sentinel took a bullet, she takes it upon herself to make these assholes pay for ruining her relaxing getaway. She takes out Lady Deathstrike’s thugs, which makes me wonder how long they would have lasted if they had to actually break into the Jean Grey Institute. I have to think that Storm would have shoved fifty bolts of lightning up their asses and Wolverine would have peeled their skin off like a banana, but Lady Deathstrike is not dissuaded. How can she be when she looks like a professional wrestler?

When Monet and Omega Sentinel return to the Jean Grey Institute, Storm and the other all-female X-men team are understandably skeptical and disturbed to hear that Lady Deathstrike is back. But none of them seem too surprised. I figure they’ve long since accepted that their hated enemies never stay dead. It warrants a quick and thorough investigation, knowing that Lady Deathstrike can never go too long without eviscerating someone. She’s like a coffee addict with no Starbucks to feed her addiction. And Monet offers to be part of the fight. Even though she’s supposed to be lying low, she feels obligated to help Omega Sentinel since she took a bullet for her. It’s a somewhat weak explanation since it hasn’t really been explained why she needs to lie low in the first place. It doesn’t help that the dialog is somewhat weak as well. But it gets the point across that the all-female X-men are going to fight back against Lady Deathstrike.

This isn’t the only instance of weak dialog. Jubilee, whose role on the team is still unclear since she has a baby now, meets up with Roxy, who she was supposed to meet up with earlier. She talks about how she tried to ask Mercury out on a date and ended up getting punched. Most straight people who get hit on by gays tend to be flattered so I can’t imagine why Mercury would want to punch her. But Roxy makes it clear that she’s already over Mercury and now she has a crush on someone else. Then she proceeds to look at Jubilee the same way a teenage boy looks at his first pair of boobs.

The innuendo in an all-female X-men comic is sure to piss of feminists, but they may take comfort in seeing that Lady Deathstrike has teamed up with another woman in a completely non-lesbian sort of way. That assistant from earlier who looked way too hot to be an assistant for someone not named Donald Trump reveals that she isn’t just some overpaid pretty face. She’s fucking Typhoid Mary, the second most devious redheaded mutant after Hope fucking Summers. She was the one that helped Lady Deathstrike set up shop in a new body and now she’s going to help Deathstrike fuck with the X-men. It’s a beautiful thing and both my brain and my penis agree for once.

After reading this comic, I'm honestly not sure how angry feminists will bitch about it. I can see how they would piss and moan at the first arc, which involved an all-female X-men team relying on a man in John Sublime (granted, he's not a man as much as he is a sentient grouping of sludge) to help them defeat Arkea. I really don't know how anyone who wants to bust the balls of every man within a five-mile radius can be upset about this book. It brings in yet another female character to join the all-female X-men. It also introduces two dangerous female villains. It might as well be entitled X-men: No Dicks Allowed. And it still worked in a way that still made it feel like a regular X-men book and not one that focused only on showing Psylocke's ass or Monet's cleavage. It's enough to stimulate both the mind and genitals. For that, feminists should find plenty to enjoy in this issue and so should men with functioning penises. I give X-men #7 a 7 out of 10. It has single mothers, non-lesbian friendships, and disembodied souls from pissed off enemies. It's like Desperate Housewives with mutants, minus the overly sexual undertones. But that's okay. Perverted men can still make good use of their imagination while angry feminists will always find a reason to be pissed off. Nuff said!

All New X-men #19 Preview - Thy Will Be Awesome

Talk is supposed to be cheap, but if that were the case, then my phone bill with AT&T wouldn’t be so fucking expensive. When an unlettered preview of a comic book comes out, it tends to leave a lot to the imagination. And for guys like me whose imagination is more unhinged than Gary Busey on a crack binge, that can be dangerous. But it can also be dangerous when the lettered preview finally comes out and an unhinged imagination proves to be more interesting. That or some previews just shouldn’t be read sober.

Not long ago, I posted the unlettered preview for All New X-men #19. It was the first preview that showed the O5 in their brand spakin’ new uniforms. It didn’t reveal much other than they popped in to help out a mutant that the Purifiers decided to target. It’s basic, it had no words, but it conveyed the necessary levels of awesome. Now Newsarama has released a fully lettered preview for All New X-men #19, which is set to come out next week.

While I’ve already got a semi-boner in anticipation for this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a lettered preview. Sometimes they’re presented in a way that’s akin to walking into the middle of a conversation and pretending to know what the fuck everyone is talking about. That may work for some politicians, but it doesn’t work for comics quite as well. It can still convey plenty of awesome though.

The post-Battle of the Atom X-verse continues to take shape as the original mutants battle a militia group who believe mutants are the work of the devil in this Newsarama-exclusive preview of next week's All-New X-Men #19.

It really doesn’t say much. We have no idea who that poor mutant girl is. We only know who the George Zimmerman wannabes are. They’re the Purifiers. They’re basically the people who vote for Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz with a straight face. And for some reason, they feel like they have to always talk like Billy Graham. I know it’s for dramatic effect, but at a time when too many religious zealots have too much power, it’s uncomfortably real.

And while the O5 approach the battle with the same indifference as Elton John at a Victoria’s Secret, it does present an interesting and potentially difficult concept for them to process. In the early days of Uncanny X-men, they never encountered people like this. They never dealt with an anti-mutant version of the KKK. They’re still hopelessly optimistic on some levels, thinking that the government isn’t inept and that there aren’t too many assholes in this world. But these are the kinds of people that do exist and in a world where new mutants are manifesting again, they’re not going to listen to Charles Xavier’s message of peace and understanding.

The O5 have already had their innocence shattered quicker than a five-year-old girl who just walked in on her mother banging the mail man. Now they’re going to have to deal with genuinely hateful motherfuckers who hate mutants just because they breathe. Like arguing with creationists, there’s no reasoning with that kind of stupid. And on Cyclops’s team, their mission is to confront assholes like this and expose them for the assholes they are. It could very well add to the kind of emotional upheaval that has O5 Jean kissing every boy she crosses paths with or O5 Cyclops hooking up with Wolverine’s clone daughter. And that could only make All New X-men more awesome.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #14

I know I’m pretty harsh on my old high school teachers on this blog. Perhaps I am too harsh. But for any of my old teachers who may be reading this blog, I can only say to most of them…fuck you. I’m sorry, but I just can’t be kind to the people who made school feel like getting circumcised by a great white shark on daily basis. Some people just aren’t meant to be teachers and some students just aren’t meant to be taught. There are a lot of teachers in the X-men comics. The X-men were founded as a school initially. And despite the constant threat of being blown up or hunted by giant robot sentinels, I would gladly take the New Xavier School over my old high school any day. And the events of Uncanny X-men #14 only reinforce that notion.

I don’t think the current students at the New Xavier school would agree with my sentiment. They’re still young and inexperienced and Cyclops is intent on training them. However, training for him means climbing a muddy hill in the middle of the rain while Emma Frost and Illyana watch it like a re-run of Breaking Bad. It’s tough going for most of the students, even for those who had shitty gym teachers like I did. Is it a dick move? Yes, but considering they’ll be fighting killer sentinels, it’s not unreasonable for them to have this kind of harsh training.

Most of the students make it up, yet still do plenty of bitching and moaning. However, Ben Deeds, the so-called mutant chameleon, does more than most. He struggles to reach the top. He gives the impression that the most strenuous activity he ever did was wake up before nine in the morning to attend a class. And Cyclops doesn’t tolerate that slackers like that so he gives him an extra hash lesson, shoving him back down the hill and forcing him to climb back up. Yes, it’s another dick move. But at least he’s nice enough to let Ben hit him back. However, he fucks that up too, further proving that he’s behind the curve.

Now this isn’t the first time Ben Deeds has proven himself to be whiney and inept. Since he was introduced in the pages of All New X-men, he hasn’t done much other than bitch and moan. Everyone in the team has complained, but he does it on a professional level. It’s left him with very little development and because of that, it’s hard to sympathize with him. He’s like spoiled rich kid who whines every time he has to use a public toilet. There’s just no sympathy for assholes like that.

He’s badly in need of some extra tutoring and as it just so happens, Emma Frost is bored seeing him fail and takes it upon herself to give him some extra lessons. She’s even waiting for him the moment he returns to his room wearing only a towel. Granted, there are far worse things a teenage boy could face than Emma Frost in a sexy Punisher-style dress while in a towel, but Ben gives the impression that his penis can’t hide that he’s ill-prepared for such tutoring. Well too bad, because he’s getting it anyway. Emma fucking Frost is teaching him and now that she doesn’t have to waste time being Cyclops’s arm candy, she can dedicate more time to students like him.

It’s awkward as hell at first, which I’m sure was Emma’s intent. But when she confronts him, she discovers something about his powers that make him less like a glorified Mystique rip-off. Since he was introduced, he has been billed as just a mutant chameleon. That’s about as useful as a bucket of piss in the middle of a desert. But that’s not all he can do. Emma senses that he also has a strange ability to instill a sense of trust and good feeling in those around him. When he takes the shape of someone near him, that’s sort of a signal that his power is working. It’s pretty poorly defined, especially to anyone who reads comics while high. But it is unique, even to a drunk and something that needs to be explored.

So in order to explore it, Emma and Magik take Ben to Atlantic City, which is basically Las Vegas-lite for those who can’t handle seeing fully exposed breasts. To test his abilities, Emma has Ben try to hook up with some random girl at a bar. It’s a pretty simple test. Hell, it seems like one of those skills that should have been an elective in high school. That class would have had a waiting list. But even if Ben Deeds managed to get into that class, he would have flunked miserably because he fails to impress the girl. He might have even taken a shit in her purse for all we know because she calls security on him, leaving Emma Frost to be patient and like making the Hulk angry, nobody likes Emma Frost when she’s impatient.

Ben manages to get away from the angry woman and try again with another girl. This time, he finds a girl who happens to be a fan of Stanly Kubrick, proving once again that awesome movies can bring people together almost as good as blow and weed. It’s still not clear how the fuck his powers are working or even if they’re working. But when he takes the appearance of the girl, which she doesn’t fucking notice for some reason, she becomes more attached to him than a horny dog and Megan Fox’s leg. It’s his first real success, which is quite a leap from the ineptitude he showed earlier. From getting shoved down a hill to confronted by Emma Frost while wearing just a towel, he was overdue for a win.

And that first win triggers a winning streak of sorts. He begins exercising his skills with a diverse array of people ranging from a punk rock girl to some hipster douche in a coffee shop to a guy that looks strikingly like Brian Michael Bendis for some reason. They all seem to have the same reaction. Ben manages to endear themselves to him to such an extent that they would tattoo his name on their eyelids if he asked them to. He’s like the world’s best car salesman and would probably make an awesome telemarketer if he was so inclined.

However, the nature of his powers still aren’t defined. Emma Frost said it didn’t involve pheromones or mind control. There’s something else at work and when Marvel doesn’t have details, they tend to take the let’s-not-and-way-we-did approach. That may have worked for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq and health care policy, but it doesn’t work well in comics. At the very least, it shows Ben doing something unique and more novel than just shooting gold balls out of his body. But that’s beside the point.

After so many successes, Emma Frost feels he’s ready for an exam of sorts. This time he’ll have to do more than impress some girl who has a thing for Stanley Kubrick movies. He’ll have to deliver a letter to some guy named Timothy Dugan in a building in the financial district. For all he knows, he’s delivering a picture of Wolverine’s dick to Donald Trump’s office. But he does it anyways. And through his ambiguous powers, he’s able to make it through the building and even play nice with the secretary. He has pretty much no trouble getting to Dugan and delivering the letter. It’s so mundane that it could be a Dilbert comic strip.

It only starts to get fucked up when Dugan opens the letter and finds out it’s basically trolling by Cyclops. He says in the most polite way possible that he knows SHIELD is using Sentinels and if they don’t want to have any problems, they’ll cut that shit out. Naturally, SHIELD responds in the most logical way possible. They break out assault weapons and surround Ben Deeds like he just pissed on Captain America’s boot. He’s probably the only one who doesn’t know what the fuck is going on. All he knows is that he just delivered a “fuck you” message to SHIELD.

It would have been a major dick move on Emma’s part, but she makes sure that Magik is there to get him out before SHIELD starts pissing on Ben’s 5th Amendment rights. But beyond this fucked up test of his powers, this also effectively ties into the end of X-men Battle of the Atom. It was revealed that SHIELD had been dealing in Sentinels and that’s not the kind of shit Cyclops wants to see in a world where mutants are no longer going extinct. This plot was developing even before Battle of the Atom and while this doesn’t move that plot forward by much, it does nicely link it up with the larger narrative.

Ben is understandably shaken and a little pissed off probably. But Emma and Cyclops make it clear that he passed the test and finally did more than just bitch and moan. His powers, as ambiguous as they are, have real use and he could definitely be an asset to the X-men. While Ben is still an underdeveloped character who is still not much more likable than Kanye West at this point. He finally has some personality depth. In addition, it also shows that Emma Frost can do way more than just look great in a thong. She can still teach mutants to life up to their potential and that makes her both awesome and sexy as hell.

This issue wasn’t epic and the action wasn’t much more intense than a game of dodge ball. However, the story itself was still awesome because it explored some important elements that had been somewhat negated in Uncanny X-men. Ben Deeds became more than a whiney little bitch and Emma Frost got to teach and look damn sexy doing it. I couldn’t help but hum the song, “Hot For Teacher” by Van Halen at times. And not only was the lesson effectively taught, but it still tied into the ongoing plots in the post-Battle of the Atom world of Uncanny X-men. Some areas were still somewhat negated and underdeveloped, but it didn’t make the issue any less satisfying. I give Uncanny X-men #14 an 8 out of 10. And for the first time since I snuck a Playboy into my history class, both my penis and my mind were stimulated. Nuff said!