Friday, June 27, 2014

X-men Supreme Issue 98: Tech Spec Terror PREVIEW!

The next era of X-men Supreme is almost upon us and I couldn’t be more excited. This fanfiction series is set to enter a bold new world that has risen from the ashes of the events in X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. Professor Charles Xavier and his X-men have always fought for peace. However, the very nature of peace tends to be fragile. And the peace that was forged through Xavier, General Grimshaw, President Robert Kelly, and Wanda Maximoff promises to be more fragile than most.

That peace is built entirely around the alien technology that Genosha has been harboring for centuries. This is the technology that Cameron Hodge used to wage war on mutants in the Uprising arc. Magneto used this same technology to nearly destroy the entire human race during both the Overlord arc and the Cambrian arc. Now Wanda Maximoff is ready to use this technology in a different way. The world of X-men Supreme could be vastly improved by this alien technology. It’s value as a commodity is much greater than its value as a weapon. By exporting this commodity, Genosha becomes an engine for prosperity rather than conflict.

It’s a dynamic that often plays out in the real world and one that will drive many of the new conflicts in this fanfiction series. When new precious resources are discovered, societies naturally seek a way to make use of these resources. In most cases, maintaining peace is preferable to endless conflict. And after battles against the likes of the Cambrian, the world of X-men Supreme has had all the conflict it can stomach. To govern this peace, Professor Xavier and the X-men must work with General Grimshaw and the Scarlet Witch to enforce the peace treaty that meant to give order to this new state of affairs. But in the first issue of X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths, the X-men will be faced with some of the very real challenges that these new affairs will bring. With that in mind, I’ve prepared an extended brief preview of the volatile kind of world that the X-men will have to deal with.

“Ain’t nowhere left to run,” said Gambit, “You gonna cut the voodoo and save yourself the pain?”

Zero responded by pulling out one of his guns and firing right towards the Cajun. He and Psylocke ducked behind a nearby crate for cover. He may have been low on options, but the man still had guts.

“Why does Remy bother asking?” he said as the pullets flew by him.

“This bloke doesn’t say much. I can’t imagine who hired him for a stunt like this,” grunted Psylocke as she formed some psionic blades in preparation for an attack.

“These days, could be anybody. This here tech be attracting every kind of thug from every kind of hell.”

“Good thing they aren’t as smart as they are dangerous.”

With Zero still backed up against the crate, Gambit and Psylocke needed only to wait. He was bound to run out of bullets at some point and reinforcements were already close by. From the same stairs Zero had walked up earlier, Cyclops and Colossus emerged. When Zero saw this, his options quickly narrowed even further.

“There he is!” Colossus yelled out.

“We’ve got him now. Let’s box him in!” said Cyclops, following close behind.

Zero put away his gun and went back to running. He cut through a few lines of crates, buying precious seconds and avoiding another optic blast from Cyclops. He made his way towards the other side of the ship, which was running parallel along the dock. If he couldn’t make an escape by sea, he would have to take his chances on land.

By the time the other side of the ship came into view, Psylocke and Gambit were closing in. Gambit charged a couple of playing cards and aimed for his feet to trip him up. He missed on both shots, but it caused him to stumble. Psylocke tried to take him out with a well-aimed psionic blade. She tried aiming for his legs where there wasn’t any body armor. She missed her first shot, but by the time she was ready for the second, the assailant had run out of room.

Now standing over the rail of the massive ship, Zero looked down to see he had quite a fall before him. As he took in his situation, Gambit and Psylocke arrived along with Cyclops and Colossus. Now they had him completely surrounded. There was no way out.

“Nowhere left to run and no more ceilings to shoot,” said Cyclops, his hand menacingly gripping his visor.

“Are you going to quit while you’re behind? Or are you going to keep up the silent treatment and do something outrageously stupid?” said Psylocke.

Zero looked at the X-men and then over the rail. The choice was a lot easier than she made it out to be.

Without hesitation, the masked figure jumped over the side of the ship and plummeted towards the hard pavement below. The four X-men rushed towards his position, not allowing him to escape their sights.

“Are we to be surprised?” said Colossus.

“Not as much as we should, Peter,” said Cyclops in a bemused tone.

“So are we gonna go after this rat or what?” said Gambit, who still several charged cards in hand.

“We don’t have to, luv,” grinned Psylocke, who had already picked up up on a few welcome telepathic signatures.

The four X-men stood over the deck and watched Agent Zero plummit to the ground below. There was no chance this was some suicide tactic or desperation move. Based on the power he demonstrated earlier, they assumed he had a few more tricks up his sleeve. However, he wasn’t the only one.

When Agent Zero struck the hard pavement, rather than become a mangled corpse, he absorbed the energy of the impact. It caused his whole body to glow bright red and left a sizable indent in the concrete. It was a lot of energy and should have equipped him for his escape into the city of Calcutta. However, his glowing form revealed something else that he didn’t expect.

“Hands in the air, Tinkerbell. That’s more than enough pixie dust for one night,” said the caustic voice of Captain Jack Freeman.

Suddenly, facing the X-men didn’t seem as daunting. His glowing form revealed that the MSA backup his superior mentioned had arrived. All over the port, there were dozens of well-armed, well-equipped officers from the Indian branch of the MSA. They bore the distinct uniforms that had become so recognizable all over the world. They were dark green with shades of blue around the shoulders and arms. All were heavily armed, sporting more advanced weapons than the officers on the ship. At every angle surrounding Zero’s position, he faced a dead end with a gun pointed at him. The success of the mission was now question.

Captain Freeman, who was wearing a special uniform that bore the emblems of the Green Berets, stepped forward to confront Agent Zero. Psylocke’s telepathic insight worked to perfection. Their coordination with the X-men allowed them to box in this latest attempt at high tech piracy. It was a game he and the MSA had been playing for a while now and while their record was not perfect, it was still playoff caliber so to speak.

“Agent Zero, is it? Interpol has had you in their top ten most wanted list six years running. I can see why,” said Captain Freeman as he fearlessly approached.

Agent Zero stayed silent, clinging to the two cases and remaining still as a statue.

“I know you don’t say much so I’ll get to the point,” Freeman continued, “None of these guys have any problem with shooting you, but we’re not hit men. We’re the MSA. We’re sick of this tech being on every greedy bastard’s Christmas list. We’re more than willing to make deals if it will keep this tech flowing to the people who actually make useful shit out of it. Long story short, if you come with us, we might be able to work something out.”

It was a standard speech that Jack Freeman rarely said with much enthusiasm. He was more soldier than police officer. But as General Grimshaw’s most trusted subordinate, he was required to be political at times.

“So what’s it going to be, Zero? Your move,” said the Green Beret menacingly.

Agent Zero stared down Captain Freeman. Then he looked over the vast contingent of Indian MSA officers before him. Then he looked up at the X-men, who were still watching from the cargo ship. He had no way out. If he was to escape, it was going to cost him something. Looking down at the two cases he was carrying, he saw only once chance. His superiors probably weren’t going to like this. However, they would like it even less if he got caught or came back empty handed. This forced him to make a fateful decision.

With his body still glowing with energy, Agent Zero made his move. Taking one of the cases, he threw it up into the air as hard as he could. Then with all the energy he had absorbed, he unleashed it in a concentrated burst. When that blast hit the case head on, the reaction was immediate.

“GET DOWN!” ordered Captain Freeman.

I’ve really enjoyed developing the various dynamics that fuel the story in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Like real life, I see it as an ever-unfolding process. One of the problems I have with the comics is that it just seems to go from crisis to crises, never taking note of the bigger picture. I want to great a bigger vision with this fanfiction series and that will definitely show in X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths. As always, the success of that vision depends heavily on the feedback and support I get from readers. So please take the time to contact me or post feedback directly in the issues. I’m always happy to talk about X-men Supreme or X-men in general. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine #9

Ninjas are like bacon bits for comic books. There are very few things that they can't make more awesome. I've always found ninjas to have greater personality than killer robots or blood-thirsty aliens. They're not as inept as faceless henchmen and they're more menacing than some alien with a complexion that looks like whale shit and Ron Jeremy's foreskin. Let's not lie to ourselves. Ninjas are basically just meat bags that fuel the action in most comics, but like the shit that fertilizes my pot garden, they're necessary. Ninjas have become Wolverine's main obstacle on his path to being the lasted high-profile character Marvel wants to kill to give the finger to Fox and boost sales. The end is drawing near as he gets help from friends like Iron Fist and Shang Chi to come to terms with the fact that he's going to take a dirt nap like everyone else and he'll do it without having banged Jean Grey. It's a story that has been inconsistent since it began, but I'm trying not to stay too sober as the end draws near. Wolverine #9 is supposed to be another stage in the acceptance process, but I'm not convinced that Wolverine is done being pissed off. At least with an army of ninjas, he has someone he can take it out on.

Even if he isn't done being pissed off, he's still Wolverine. That means he's going to be fucked up in many other ways. He already came face-to-face with death herself in the previous issues. And at the risk of pissing off feminazis more than they already are after reading Hillary Clinton's new book, I'll just say that's fitting in its own twisted way. Wolverine, still trying to get through the acceptance process, is going along with Death's morbid tour of his impending doom. Part of that tour involves copping a feel and stealing a kiss.

No, I'm not exaggerating or stoned (for the most part). This is actually how Death gets the ball rolling with Wolverine's little death tour. He's so sexy, even Death in a woman's form can't resist her. I imagine the same thing will happen when Hugh Jackman dies one day. Now this could still be just an illusion or a sign that someone spiked Wolverine's whiskey, but at the very least it reveals that Wolverine is becoming intimately more familiar with his death. How intimate, though, is a matter of one's obscenely perverse imagination.

It also wouldn't be a very comprehensive process for Wolverine if Sabretooth wasn't somehow involved in an effort to fuck it all up. He's in a very good position to do so, more so than usual. He already has Pinch and the Offer, two people Wolverine has screwed over and quite literally in some cases. Plus, Sabretooth has Pinch's daughter. Between her motherly instincts and her utter disgust at having let Wolverine lied her way into her panties, she has a lot of reasons to get back at him. And she also is capable of wielding that fancy alien orb that Sabretooth believes will allow him to fuck Wolverine over in the most efficient way possible. That doesn't stop him from taunting Pinch or making him easier to hate. I get the sense he's just making it so it'll be all the more satisfying when Wolverine eventually kicks his ass.

If Wolverine is to get that point, he's going to need some coaching and who better than Death herself? This actually involves more than a Rocky Balboa style mantra and shitty 80s music. She actually takes the time to break down some of Wolverine's recent actions, going all the way back to earlier in the series when he froze in the face of a Sentinel attack. She claims he was chasing her the same way he chases married redheaded women with big tits. She even claims that he hates being afraid of her and that's not at all unreasonable. He's never had to be afraid of her until recently. Hell, this is a guy who once had his entire fucking flesh blown off and he still survived. He used to be as afraid of death as most people are afraid of wounded kittens. Now those kittens have turned into blood-thirsty tigers on crystal meth.

It's actually a nice breakdown of what Wolverine has become since he has been rendered killable. It sort of feels like long overdue therapy and since even an army of Dr. Phils couldn't give Wolverine the pep talk he needs, he has to hear this from death herself. That's a fucked up extreme, but that doesn't make it any less effective. She gets in deep, going back to when he joined the X-men and what drove him to become the big time superhero that helped make Hugh Jackman famous. Yet no matter what he did, he was never as heroic as he wanted to be. She even proved that by tricking him into drinking some wine made up of the blood of his victims. It's a fucked up way to get her point across, but I imagine it's way more effective than hypnotherapy or yoga.

With all this therapy and personal exploration, I imagine some are getting anxious like me when I've had to go without whiskey for more than three days. This comic was supposed to promise therapy that involved killing ninjas and Wolverine hasn't even stabbed one yet. Well, the ninjas are there. They're still outside the temple and both Shang-Chi and Iron Fist have been handling them. It's not quite as epic as some might hope, but it really shouldn't be. The point of Wolverine's visit to this island was to come to terms with his killable form, not fight ninjas. Hell, fighting ninjas are essentially a bonus he encounters in pretty much every endeavor. I imagine his idea of a good date involves killing ninjas. We only get a few reminders that this battle is going on. There is some slight insight with Shang-Chi, but it really just acts as a reminder that they're doing more than acting as glorified ninja janitors, just not that much more.

Seeing two kung fu masters fight ninjas might not be as entertaining as it sounds, but it acts as a nice interlude before Sabretooth gets around to finalize his plans for tormenting more people. He's still not making himself any less an asshole in the eyes of Pinch, the Offer, and Lost Boy. He makes it clear that Pinch begging for her life and the safety of her friends gives him a massive boner. It's still not completely one-sided. Pinch shows that she does know how to negotiate. I think any woman willing to fuck Wolverine needs something like that, otherwise shit can get really kinky in the bedroom really fast. She doesn't have much leverage, but she does have plenty of incentive to help Sabretooth fuck over Wolverine. I think Sabretooth insists there be some sort of poetic justice in Wolverine meeting his end through the help of a woman he boned. It's like a reverse OJ Simpson, but with no expensive lawyers.

By the same token, the beautiful women that Wolverine has crossed paths with should also play a role in getting him through this battle. And that leads to what might be the best act of fan service that didn't involve Brittney Spears showing her tits at a concert. Just a few issues ago, Wolverine got a tattoo that referenced Rose, the proto-Jean Grey he met as a kid that revealed his penis really has a thing for pretty redheads. Well as part of his therapy, Death has Rose pay him a visit from the afterlife. It creates an epic moment that couldn't be matched by an entire army of ninjas.

At first, Rose is understandably hostile. Wolverine did fucking kill her after all. But Wolverine is given a chance to earn her forgiveness and as vindictive as some women can be, he makes a good case. He comes off as very heartfelt and sincere, highlighting her death and her life as a critical moment for him. And in many ways, it was. What happened to her was really the beginning of all things Wolverine. Since he's about to die, it couldn't be more fitting for him to reach out to Rose and lay these feelings to rest. It would be like Captain Kirk earning the forgiveness of every hot alien chick he ever boned. It's a beautiful moment, even if ninjas do show up to cut it short.

Yes, there are still ninjas that haven't been stabbed. Yes, it's impossible for Wolverine to have any kind of therapy that doesn't involve him stabbing someone. Absolutely none of that should surprise anyone, regardless of how unsober they may be. But Death makes sure that the battle with the ninjas doesn't get too messy. She likes to keep shit clean when she's fucking with prospective souls. And just like the Sentinel battle several issues back, Wolverine still hesitates during the battle. And he knows that if he hesitates when a fucking ninja attacks, then he's in deep shit. It's one thing to flinch around a killer robot, but a ninja? That's like Hugh Hefner not being able to get it up in a hot tub full of blondes.

But in addition to the ninjas, Wolverine gets an unexpected visit from the dead. And for once, it's not someone he killed or boned. It's Fuel, who Sabretooth kindly slaughtered during Wolverine's latest visit to Madripoor. He manages to slip out of the afterlife briefly and warn him that Sabretooth has Pinch and the rest of the team. That's probably something he neglected since he basically betrayed them. Having confronted Rose and committing to be less an asshole during his final days, he takes it upon himself to save them. He needs to at least earn the forgiveness of one woman he's screwed over, both literally and figuratively, while she's still alive.

Armed with this information and the new sense of self-awareness that Death helps him realizes, he leaves with her blessing. I'm sure if Death had panties, they would be very wet right now because she probably knows what he's in for. But Wolverine doesn't know and probably doesn't give as much a shit as most people who almost got killed by a ninja. He meets up with Iron Fist and Shang-Chi, who still contributed about as much as Ringo Starr in this story. Shang-Chi still does some musing, but only to the extent that it makes him and Iron Fist slightly less forgettable. Wolverine claims he's ready to start anew with a different outlook. Granted, it'll last about as long as the last Charlie's Angels reboot, but that doesn't make it less meaningful.

Now Wolverine has the mindset he needs to take on Sabretooth, probably for the last time. He even does a little Richard Sherman type trash talking, dumping a whole heap of dead ninjas on his front doorstep. Sabretooth isn't all that worried though. Hell, this kind of shit is to him what bacon on Jenna Jameson's tits is for me. With the Offer now his ally and Pinch's continued cooperation, he has all the right assets in place to confront Wolverine one last time. And naturally, he plans on doing so in New York City while armed with a fancy alien tech orb. I'm pretty sure Marvel made a movie with this same setup once. It involved Robert Downy Jr., Scarlett Johannsen, and Samuel L. Jackson I think. The name escapes me. But this is where Sabretooth wants to send Wolverine back to Death, preferably in pieces. I won't say it's fitting. I'll just say that Sabretooth could have picked a worse movie to rip off.

This issue accomplished two things that put a smile on my face and a boner in my pants. First, it highlighted some genuine personal development with Wolverine as he learns to accept the fact that he's now killable and has to fear death every time he drives down the Jersey Turnpike during rush hour like the rest of us. That's an important development in the scope of the story. Second, it provided awesome fan service by bringing Rose into the picture rather than just making her one of those passing references that anyone who hasn't read ever Wolverine comic since the first Bush administration would recognize. Rose's appearance really sold the weight of the story, so much so that the ninjas were a secondary concern. I can't remember the last time a book that involved fighting ninjas made the ninjas this much of an afterthought, but I'm not complaining. It's not like Marvel will ever have a shortage of evil ninjas to randomly throw into any conflict. The focus on Wolverine and his accepting of his fear of death marked a powerful moment that made it feel as though this comic was the final step towards Wolverine eventually bunking with the Grim Reaper. Now he just has to make sure Sabretooth suffers the agony of a trillion Justin Bieber concerts before that time comes. I give Wolverine #9 an 8 out of 10. We get ninjas, pretty redheads, and Wolverine brooding. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate his upcoming death without an Olympic sized swimming pool full of whiskey. Nuff said!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny Avengers #21

We live in an era where everything is a remake, reboot, or rip-off of something else. Now I’m not going to go on some hipster douche rant about how this is wrong and somehow an affront to real artistic expression. I don’t give a shit how many times Transformers, Terminator, or Robocop is rebooted or ripped off. If it’s entertaining and fun, I’m going to get drunk and enjoy it, damn it. Now that has been a bit tougher lately when it comes to time travel stories. They’ve been flooding comics and movies so much lately that it makes me want to kick Dr. Who in the balls. Uncanny Avengers is part of that trend in they ripped off the second greatest X-men story of all time in Days of Futures Past to fix the fucked up future that the Apocalypse Twins created. Given that this is the same year that Days of Futures Past became a mediocre movie, it’s pretty shitty timing. But given the quality of Uncanny Avengers, and the possibility that it can bring back dead characters like Rogue and Captain America, I’m going to try and overlook that. Uncanny Avengers #21 promises to get out of yet another shitty future and fix the damn present for once. That shouldn’t sound like such a novel concept, but here we are.

What is a novel concept, however, is Rogue not hating the Scarlet Witch so much that she wants to lock her in a room with a bunch of hungry dogs once owned by OJ Simpson. Not long ago, I was buying a few extra bottles of tequila after it looked like Rogue and the Scarlet Witch ended up killing each other. Well, thanks to yet another liberal application of time travel, they’re both alive again. And armed with the knowledge of the future, Wolverine and Sunfire catch up with Rogue before she can gut the Scarlet Witch. How they convinced her that they were from the future and they needed to listen is never stated, but pretty fucking outrageous. I imagine Gambit used that exact same excuse to convince her to try anal. But it still works.

They end up walking in on her and Wonder Man shortly after they’ve finished bumping uglies. It would have probably been less awkward if they were still naked, but I’m guessing Marvel still thinks two people being naked is somehow more obscene than someone getting impaled. They basically give them the spoiler version of what happened in the future. At times, the Scarlet Witch has a big WTF face and that was before Rogue hugged her. But now they’re all apparently on the same page finally. And it just took another apocalyptic future. I want to say better late than never, but when time travel is involved, that’s the shittiest possible excuse.

More awkward conversations are skipped over and I’m not just talking about the details Rogue probably asked for about Wonder Man’s ass. Somehow we don’t get to see how they convince him and the Scarlet Witch that this new plan is going to save their asses when a fucking Celestial is about to destroy the planet. But this is where some of the events from before start to change thanks to this new foresight. Captain America, Rogue, Wonder Man, and the Scarlet Witch naturally decide not to go with their previous suicide plan to attack the Apocalypse Twins. Instead, they catch up with the rest of the Avengers, who tried and failed to stop the Celestial in the previous timeline. They know as well as anyone that fighting a Celestial is like trying to fight the Hulk with a feather-duster so they’re open to ideas. And their idea is actually pretty simple. They all just give Rogue their powers. So that means they make Rogue really fucking powerful and they all get to cop a feel from her. I would be totally fucking on board with that plan.

This foresight and the promise of touching Rogue is all great news for the Avengers. I’m sure Tony Stark couldn’t agree to it fast enough. But for the Apocalypse Twins, they’re pretty much fucked and pretty pissed off. The changing timeline is already affecting them because now the Scarlet Witch is gone and they needed her to rapture the mutants off Earth. Since they couldn’t possibly be that inept or unlucky, they assume what every narcissistic asshole in the Marvel universe assumes. Somebody fucked with the timeline. It might be narcissistic, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. And since their adopted father is Kang, they know who to be pissed at.

It actually begins a very significant shift for them because in the previous doomed timeline, they were always in control. They never panicked in the slightest and never looked more frustrated than pot smoker on valium. Yet now this elaborate plan that worked so damn well before is falling apart. To say it’s a satisfying sight would be to say that seeing Jessica Alba naked is just okay. And it only gets more satisfying because Havok, Wolverine, and Sunfire add to the Twins’ frustration by going after the Tachyon Dam, guarded by Reaper. It’s one of those scenes that I can point to whenever someone asks why I insist on reading comics while stoned. It just makes the satisfaction all the more fulfilling.

Havok and his team go to work shutting Reaper up, pissing off the Apocalypse Twins even more. As this unfolds, they also find out that Jarnbjorn, the axe that is capable of killing a fucking Celestial, is now missing. So all the shit they need to control to keep their plan from blowing up like the fucking Hindenburg is slipping out of their grasp. I can only imagine how pissed they would be if they found out that Rogue paid a quick visit to the Jean Grey Institute to absorb more powers. I’m just going to assume there isn’t enough weed in Colorado to calm them down.

For Rogue fans, this is basically the most awesome kind of porn that doesn’t involve Jenna Jameson and a bucket of lube. Once she has all these powers, she goes to work stopping the Celestial. There’s even some nice inner monologue that shows her dealing with all this power and the responsibility of stopping a fucking Celestial. She refers back to Xavier and everything she learned from him, which is fitting given how Uncanny Avengers began with his funeral. It’s pretty intense and yet she still finds a way to look sexy doing it. Anyone who has dry eyes and loose pants after seeing this isn’t human.

Rogue succeeds at stopping the Celestial from crushing the Earth like Flavor Flav crushes a crack rock, but even with all that power she’s absorbed, she still needs more. Maybe she should try flashing her boobs at the Celestial anyways. Even if it doesn’t help, it couldn’t hurt either. But before they get that desperate, we find out Wasp enlisted some extra help for her in the form of Sentry. Somehow, she managed to convince him that letting a Celestial destroy the planet, which contains people he swore to protect, is a bad idea. That or she flashed him his boobs and that was enough.

He provides the extra muscle to stop the Celestial’s attack. That gives a chance for Thor to put Jarnbjorn to good use, which involves slitting the Celestial’s throat. There are simply no words to describe how awesome that is. It happens pretty fast and on an epic scale too big for even a seasoned stoner. And that’s part of the problem because just as before, a lot of crazy shit apparently unfolded off-panel. First, Wolverine and Sunfire convinced Rogue that killing the Scarlet Witch was a bad idea. Then Wasp somehow convinced Sentry, who is still a Horseman of Apocalypse, to help her. I get that persuading someone to help isn’t that entertaining and often reminds us of why we hate car salesmen. But it forces readers to make way too many assumptions and for some like me, I’m always going to assume it involves flashing tits.

The tables turn on the Apocalypse Twins on every possible front. Not only is the Celestial wounded, but Reaper is now down for the count as well. That fight was somewhat glossed over, but that’s okay. Reaper might as well be the slutty cheerleader in a slasher movie. Wolverine, Havok, and Sunfire successfully beat his sorry ass to the surprise of absolutely no one. They then do what Wasp and Captain America failed to do before and destroy the Tachyon Dam, yet another part of the Apocalypse Twins’ plan going to shit. I swear if this becomes any more satisfying, I’m going to have to label it an orgy.

It could have been the most epic victory the Avengers and X-men have ever achieved, albeit with the aid of time travel. But unfortunately, I had to stop short of making this orgy on the Playboy/Hustler scale because while the Apocalypse Twins have now failed miserably, Kang the Conqueror has succeeded. With the dam destroyed, he is now able to finally travel back from the future. At this point, more time travel should make me throw up, but I did enough of that with the previous few issues and my stomach needs a rest.

But how exactly does this succeed for Kang? Well, apparently all this fucked up shit, time travel and all, was part of a ridiculously elaborate plan. And when Thor killed a Celestial, that was basically his endgame. So before Thor can send this wounded Celestial away to some other place in the universe that nobody minds fucking up, Kang drops in and throws a cyborg Hulk at him. He does it with a smug grin and a throbbing erection. Now Thor, he claims, his dead and he has the energy of a fucking Celestial at his fingertips. As ruthless plans go, this is pretty fucking confusing. But hey, it’s hard to argue with results.

In addition to him, he brings in the rest of his dimensionally displaced team to join the fun. Since their timelines are now probably fucked beyond repair, they need someone to take it out on and Kang needs someone to distract the Avengers. Granted, there’s only five of them and none of them can say they have power levels on the same scale as a Celestial. But at the very least, they’ll frustrate and piss off the Avengers long enough for Kang to do what he needs to do. It’s another act of stunning convergence, taking elements from previous issues and incorporating them into a climax that could only be matched with multiple gangbangs. It’s part of what made Uncanny X-Force the epic piece of awesome it was and now it’s happening here in Uncanny Avengers. True awesome need not be confined to one series.

So now Kang has done it. He has the power of an entire fucking Celestial at his disposal. As expected, he boldly proclaims his brilliance as though he were in some sort of shitty MTV reality show. It still feels needlessly convoluted, going through the trouble of taking the Apocalypse Twins from birth and using them to gain the power of a Celestial. Again, it still works. I can’t deny that. It just feels a contrived and confusing. I know that’s part of who Kang is, but this just takes it several steps farther. Even Donald Trump would say he’s overdoing it at this point. I really want to appreciate that kind of ambition, but as epic as it is, I’m left more confused than excited and I don’t think it’s because of the weed for once.

Well I won’t say that the future is now fixed, but I will say that the present is sure fucked. A lot of shit came together in an obscenely awesome way. Everything going all the way back to the bar brawl that Thor had with Apocalypse and the catfight Rogue had with the Scarlet Witch came into play here. It created a level of cosmic epic that I simply cannot use while sober. I might even have to invent a few. But as awesome as the action and scale of this story was, parts of it still felt incomplete and not just because of the agonizing cliff-hangers towards the end. It feels like it skipped a few steps, getting Wolverine, Thor, Havok, Sunfire, and Wasp to convince the others that they’ve seen how they fuck up and they need to fix it. I imagine that is somehow part of divorce laws in the Marvel universe. It also seems to skip a few steps as to how Wasp convinces Sentry to help them out and I doubt just flashing him her tits would have been enough. That made the overall pacing of the story feel very ADHD at times, but fuck if it wasn’t better than a double dose of Ritalin and LSD. Uncanny Avengers #21 gets a 9 out of 10. We’re finally out of yet another apocalyptic future. Now we’ve got an apocalyptic present to deal with. I’ll still take it because I’m really that sick of all this time travel bullshit. Nuff said!

Excessively Bad Days and Bad Moods: Batgirl #32

The following is my review of Batgirl #32, which was posted on

We’ve all had bad days that have put us in bad moods. It doesn’t how rich someone is, how attractive they are, or how much power they wield. Sooner or later, they’re going to have a day where it feels like the universe is conspiring against them. On those days, we are all in our own Jason Bourne movie and the CIA is way more competent. We’re constantly on the brink of tearing our hair out and punching the nearest brick wall. From high school to retirement, these are the kinds of days where we wish we could crawl back into our mother’s womb and get away from it all. In that respect, we can all relate to the day Barbara Gordon is having in Batgirl #32.

Since regaining the use of her legs and becoming Batgirl again, Barbara Gordon’s have has been in flux. She has had her share of good days and bad days. She became close friends with her roommate, Alysia. She reconnected with her mother. She even found time to turn a former car thief into a boyfriend in Ricky Gutierrez. But lately, the bad days have been outnumbering the good by an increasingly wide margin. Between her brother dying, her father going to jail, and her boyfriend suing her father, she’s on a bit of a losing streak to say the least. Short of losing her cell phone, Batgirl is on the brink and Batgirl #32 promises to give her a violent shove.

She deals with many sources of frustration, as is to be expected of anyone in the Batman family, but the most pressing comes from Knightfall. By most standards, it’s a standard crime syndicate. By Gotham City standards, it’s the most dangerous kind of crime syndicate in that they’re more competent than those that rely on freeze rays, poisonous plants, and laughing gas. Their competence has allowed them to evade Batgirl, staying a step ahead of her no matter what she does. It’s like running a race where every other runner has a head start. Needless to say, this leaves Batgirl pretty frustrated.

But beyond her work as Batgirl, she also has some very different kinds of frustration adding to that violent shove. In addition to her father being in jail, her boyfriend, Ricky, is suing him for shooting him in a horribly mismanaged raid that occurred several issues ago. Any kind of frustration is difficult to deal with, but it can always be made worse when lawyers are involved. It’s an effective one-two punch for Batgirl, her personal life and her professional life working against her in ways that no amount of spa trips could hope to alleviate.

These are some big, heart-wrenching issues that are attacking Barbara Gordon on all fronts. Yet it doesn’t stop there. Even the little things are adding to her frustration. She comes home hoping to unwind, or at least get away from anymore brick walls to punch, only to walk in on her roommate getting intimate with her girlfriend. On any ordinary day, it would be one of those things that she could probably laugh off. But on a bad day like this, it might as well be an extra punch to the jaw after she has already lost a few teeth.

At this point, Batgirl’s life is more than just a string of unfortunate events. Bad luck only goes so far. Even casino owners understand that. But it starts to get a little excessive when one of Barbara’s old friends, Munira Khairuddin, tracks her down while she’s out for a morning jog to clear her head. She’s not looking to catch up over a cappuccino and a beagle either. She actually drugs Barbara, abducts her, and tries to recruit her into some elite counter-terrorism squad that requires that she sever all ties to her family and become a ghost. It’s like someone having their identity stolen and being forced to work for the identity thieves.

Munira claims she wants to enlist Barbara because she’s they were college friends who respected each other’s skills. She also warns her that Knightfall is about to launch some massive attack on Gotham that would be on par of Pablo Escobar taking hostages at the White House. Her sales pitch is pretty lousy. She basically asks Barbara to join a version of the NSA with guns and even less accountability. She even warns her that refusing this offer has consequences, which gives the impression it’s not much of an offer. Maybe Barbara would have actually considered it if she weren’t having such a lousy day. To be fair, Munira has no idea how rotten her luck has been lately. But the damage is done.

At this point, the plot has gone beyond Batgirl just having a string of bad days to piling on. She’s having a rough time. There’s no need to reinforce it anymore. It’s expected that superheroes have more bad days than most people and some of their worst days make for great stories. This issue did a nice job building on Batgirl’s recent hardships, but the level of torment inflicted upon her just becomes excessive, so much so that it loses its impact. People can only relate so much to bad days that involve abductions, lawsuits, and promiscuous roommates. Like football team that gets blown out for nine straight games, it eventually loses its impact.

To Batgirl’s credit, she deals with this uninterrupted string of bad luck better than most people could ever hope to manage. That’s why she’s part of the Batman family. Dealing with bad days isn’t just part of the job. It’s as useful as any grappling hook. She eventually enlists help from other female heroines, including Black Canary and Huntress. Most people in bad moods are content punching more walls rather than seeking help from friends. It offers at least some hope that Batgirl’s string of bad days will end at some point.

Batgirl #32 succeeded in taking Barbara Gordon to as low a point as she could have without another visit from the Joker. It added both personal and professional struggles, sometimes excessively. While the impact of those struggles became muted at times, it still strikes all the right chords. Now anyone who has a bad day has much less reason to complain. If Barbara Gordon can get through this issue without punching any brick walls, then nobody has any excuses.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Friday, June 20, 2014

X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths Announcement

Another era of the X-men Supreme fanfiction series is officially in the books. With the completion of X-men Supreme Reflections Volume 4, I can now say that this fanfiction series can move forward from events and changes brought on by X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. As with every new volume, I intend for the next era of X-men Supreme to be a jumping on point for new readers. I know Marvel throws that term around all the time with its comics, but I want to make it work here. I want someone to pick up the first issue of a volume and be able to follow along without having to read the entire saga of X-men Supreme, which has grown to such an extent that this would be exceedingly difficult. While the circumstances and setting of these volumes of X-men Supreme will be different, the qualities that make X-men so awesome and compelling will be the same.

This brings me to X-men Supreme Volume 5. Every volume of X-men Supreme is built on a foundation of upheavals and that couldn't be more true this time around. The world of X-men Supreme underwent many changes at the end of X-men Supreme Volume 4: Politics of Fear. Magneto has gone into exile and Wanda Maximoff has once again resumed control over Genosha. In addition, General Grimshaw and President Kelly have established a treaty with Genosha that creates a fragile yet beneficial peace. That peace was vulnerable the moment it began. Charles Xavier helped create it and that was difficult enough. Now he has to maintain it, which promises to be a much greater challenge.

The circumstances he and the X-men created are actually not unlike the circumstances in the real world. Whenever there is conflict between peoples and nations, one of the best ways to mitigate it is through mutually beneficial trade. When there's an economic incentive to avoid war, it usually wins out. It might not be peace for the right reasons, but it's still peace none-the-less. It's not quite the peace Charles Xavier envisioned when he formed the X-men, but it's the best he could manage right now. One of the drawbacks of this peace is that when it is strained, it reveals its flaws and the harsh truths behind it. That will be the prevailing theme for this new world the X-men now find themselves in. That's why I'm proud to announce the title to the next era of X-men Supreme.

X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Truths


I do not have a preview to share at the moment. Due to the lack of feedback and the various other publishing projects that I am pursuing, I am unable to update X-men Supreme as regularly as I have in the past. This means that the biweekly update schedule that I've worked so hard to maintain since the X-men Supreme fanfiction series began might have to change. But I can promise that I will complete X-men Supreme Volume 5: Dark Turths. I'm still undecided as to whether I'll continue this fanfiction series afterwards. Even if I do continue it, I might put it on haitus for a while. I've yet to decide. But for those of you who have supported this fanfiction series, I can't thank you enough. I hope your support continues as X-men Supreme continues to grow. If ever anybody has any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at any time. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Wolverine and the X-men #5

I think it’s safe to say at this point that most people are sick of time travel stories in X-men. Between X-men: Days of Futures Past and X-men: Battle of the Atom, it feels as though I’ve been having time paradoxes and apocalyptic futures shoved up my ass like I’m a drug mule. And unless I’m paying a doctor or a skilled hooker, I’m not looking to have anything else shoved up my ass. The story in Wolverine and the X-men doesn’t involve the kind of overt time travel gimmicks as Days of Futures Past, but it does involve preventing yet another shitty future. The Phoenix Corporation’s whole mission has been to get Kid Omega ready to handle that oversized cosmic parrot so he can kick Apocalypse’s ass in the future. And Faithful John, the only one from the Phoenix Corporation that hasn’t been completely forgettable, is looking to get a head start. I get it that we all have to look for the future, but there’s only so many Terminator style warnings that make me just want to say, “Fuck it, I’m joining Skynet.” I’m still willing to see this story through in Wolverine and the X-men #5, but I think I’m not alone when I say we need to give the timeline and apocalyptic futures a fucking break.

The future is currently the least of the concerns for the students at the Jean Grey Institute. While they should be used to their school being blown up or attacked by now, they’re not quite as used to having someone like Faithful John pit them against one another. That was one of the more brilliant tactics that the Sinisters and the Graydon Creeds of the world probably wish they thought of first. Some like Hellion already didn’t trust Genesis not to give into his apocalyptic instincts, leading to some awkward clashes with his classmates. I’m sure they wish they could go back to the awkwardness teens usually reserve for the gym showers. But the damage has been done. Faithful John got them to do the fighting for him and now he’s closing in on Genesis. That, my friends, is called working smart and not hard. That’s what separates the slackers from the slackers with money.

With nobody else in his way, Faithful John prepares to confront Genesis and do to him what the fathers of many teenage girls only wish they could do to Justin Bieber. The only one standing in his way, ironically, is the guy who once shot a Kid Apocalypse in the head. There’s actually some nice homages to the Dark Angel Saga, which helps set the tone for Fantomex to make his stand against Faithful John. While I generally don’t care for Fantomex or anything he does with his pants on, I’m still conflicted on who to root for. Fantomex, despite being a massive douche, has gone out of his way to try to turn Apocalypse into less of an asshole. Faithful John would undo all that shit and probably make it worse. So he’s going to fight to protect him. That’s all well and good, but I still can’t forget that this is the same guy who shot a kid in the head. Even I can’t kill that many brain cells.

While that fight is heating up, the battle against Eden Younge and Wolverine has effectively cooled down. Younge successfully subdued Wolverine in the previous issue. Now he’s ready to wave his dick in his face, boasting how he’s going to be vindicated that Apocalypse must die and the Phoenix Force must survive. And being the Phoenix Corporation, they’re banking on the Phoenix Force to give them the TV rights and the inevitable movie deal. Wolverine isn’t really doing a good job of explaining why this plan is more fucked up than the marketing plan for New Coke. Winning arguments without his claws just isn’t his strong suit.

For Cyclops, however, he can win arguments with both his words and his penis (or both in instances that involve pretty telepaths). He shows up with Kid Omega to stop Younge, courtesy of a bamf. But it wouldn’t be enough to just blast or mindfuck this guy into admitting his full of shit. Kid Omega has to do a little telepathic trick and utilize a chalkboard in ways that Glenn Beck only wished he could to make his case. And what he says actually turns to the tables on Younge because using the fucked up logic of the timeline, he claims that it’s only logical that Apocalypse isn’t the real problem. It’s the Phoenix Force. Now considering that future Kid Omega has already showed up from the future in full control of the Phoenix, this is pretty fucked up in and of itself. But I’ve given up trying to follow the logic of time travel so I’m just going to take a bong hit and assume this means something that’ll be later clarified.

There is much less ambiguity in the battle between Fantomex and Faithful John. This time he doesn’t get any of the students to fight for him. He takes on Fantomex himself. I’m guessing he’s not going to take chances against a guy who has a history of shooting kids in the head. That alone makes him less of a douche-bag than Fantomex, but Fantomex makes up for it with some nice inner monologue. He reflects on the choices he has made, which he admits are pretty shitty. And he identifies himself as Genesis’s father. It’s a rare show of humility from a man who usually goes out of his way shit all over the concept. It doesn’t make him less a douche, but it does make him sympathetic in a way that’s way overdue.

For a while, the battle between Faithful John and Fantomex is evenly matched. I’m still a bit torn on who to root for. That or the weed hasn’t kicked in. At one point, Fantomex manages to cut off one of his arms, which happens to be cybernetic because I guess the editors get nauseous at the sight of blood. It probably stings like hell, but Faithful John keeps on fighting. At one point, Fantomex has a chance to put a bullet between his eyes the same way he did with Apocalypse. But like a shitty Die Hard sequel, he happens to run out of bullets. Still beats the bullshit bulletproof vest gimmick that the Back to the Future movies always used. Faithful John uses that as a chance to gain the upper hand. With no bullets and only his douche-baggery at his disposal, Fantomex is pretty outmatched.

That’s when he gets some help from the students. Apparently, they’ve all agreed that Faithful John is a bigger asshole for turning them against one another so he could go kill Genesis. They probably acknowledge it was still pretty damn smart and something they should probably learn from if they ever want to not get screwed over when buying a used car, but they decide to protect their classmate. That involves using the powers of the newest student to the Jean Grey Institute, who they call Nature Girl. Not only is she adorable enough to be in her own Disney movie, she can summon nature and turn them on her enemies. This means Faithful John gets swarmed by a bunch of pissed off birds while Eye-Boy shoots him point blank. Then Idie finishes him off, showing that she’s still the most adorable badass at the school. It’s pretty decent teamwork for a bunch of teenagers. They probably won’t get that kind of experience outside a Mighty Ducks movie.

Faithful John is down for the count and Eden Younge is now Kid Omega’s psychic prison bitch. To prove his point, and hopefully clear up some of the confusing shit from his chaulkboard lecture, he has a bamf teleport him and Younge to the Jean Grey Institute where they hop into Beast’s time machine. That’s right, this whole story that is built on fucked up futures is going to be resolved by more fucking time travel. Excuse me while I cook up a fresh shot of heroin.

Now Kid Omega might end up getting his point across. Cyclops expresses faith in Kid Omega that Wolverine clearly doesn’t have. Now I might actually side with Wolverine on this one because trusting a teenager with a history of being a total douche and mindfucking people to his will doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of trust. Then again, the future has already established Kid Omega’s connection to the Phoenix Force. If nothing else, he’ll prove his point to Eden Younge just to rub it in his face. In the meantime, Cyclops gets to enjoy the worship and adulation of the Phoenix Corporation. Being a former bearer of the Phoenix, they treat him like the Pope, minus the scandals. There are so many fucked up things he could do in that position. Hopefully, they don’t involve cover ups and money laundering.

For Faithful John, he’s still focused on the present. Unfortunately, the present is almost as painful as the future. He’s not just down for the count. He’s basically a wounded duck walking in front of a pack of hungry bear. And one of those hungry bears is Storm, who can rein an unholy amount of lightning up his ass. Keep in mind, the man just lost an arm as well and the students are no longer fighting each other for him. He’s in a pretty bad position. Most people would throw their hands up, claim they were drunk, and claim they’re part of the Benghazi conspiracy. Again, Faithful John isn’t just badass. He’s works smart and not hard. That means getting help from another source, namely all the monsters Fantomex has stored in The World. And I’m pretty sure he’s not going to need to mindfuck them to get them to attack Fantomex. With tactics like that, Faithful John should be the new icon of slackers everywhere. Seth Rogan will have to abdicate I guess.

My headache regarding the prospect of more time travel has more or less faded at this point. I would be content to just wait and see how all these monsters are going to try and maim Fantomex. But then my head starts pounding again because when Wolverine returns to the Jean Grey Institute, he sees that Idie is getting ready to jump into the time stream as well. She claims one of the bamfs wanted to show him this. And despite Wolverine’s urging not to make me any sicker of Back to the Future style gimmicks, she jumps in. My head is now hurting again and I’m all out of blow. Not a good way to end a comic.

Reading this issue didn’t make me any less sick of these time travel stories. In fact, the prospect of even more time travel makes me want to punch Marty McFly and Dr. Brown in the balls. That said, the overall structure of the story was still solid. There were some great character moments with Kid Omega, Wolverine, and Cyclops. I could still do without Fantomex, but Faithful John continues to do a great job stealing the show. The whole idea of a clash between the Phoenix and Apocalypse still has a lot of appeal, but it feels like the Phoenix Corporation is doing a shitty job marketing the fight. That makes it hard to maintain my boner, but I’m not going to completely discount this story just because I’m sick of time travel. I’ll still give Wolverine and the X-men #5 a 6 out 10. I want to be more generous because my penis badly wants to see a battle between Apocalypse and the Phoenix, but my stomach can only accommodate it so much. All I can really say to that is, “Fuck you, McFly!”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Uncanny X-men #22

I like to think of myself as a pretty patient guy in most circumstances. Sure, when it takes 10 minutes for the dipshit at Starbucks to get me my espresso, I’m going to get pissed. But one of the benefits of being a stoner is that it’s easy to get distracted and think about other crazy shit. This has come in real handy with Uncanny X-men for the past few months. Going all the way back to the first issue, there has been this ongoing plot about Sentinels attacking mutants. On more than one occasion, this plot has been abandoned and derailed for less interesting shit like Dormammu. Other more pressing plots also got in the way, namely X-men: Battle of the Atom. Now the story that began before anyone knew who the name Cliven Bundy promises to finally give us some answers. The Mysterio-wannabe finally spoke in the previous issue and Beast, taking a break from his role as big fuzzy douche-bag, claims to have figured out who he is. Uncanny X-men #22 promises to finally reward our patience. But if it behaves anything like that dipshit at Starbucks, I’m still going to be pissed.

Seeing as how this whole plot with Sentinels and SHIELD has gone off-track more than the last Tim Burton movie, it’s only fitting that we get another random side-plot. But I think this would only qualify as a partially random because it’s following a story that has been unfolding alongside this Sentinel plot, namely Magneto’s rescue of Dazzler from Madripoor. He succeeded in the previous issue, taking Blob down a few sizes in the process and not in the Jenny Craig way either. Now he has brought her back to the New Xavier School where Triage is there to heal her. She quickly returns to her beautiful pop star diva self, but she’s fucking pissed off and ready to take it out on someone. Whereas most pretty girls would cope by banging their ex-boyfriend’s brother, she plans on doing something almost as destructive. Pissed off beautiful women tend to both terrify and arouse me so I’m fully in favor of Dazzler getting in on the action.

She’ll have plenty to work with because the action in this case is pretty one-sided. The whole SHIELD helicarrier has turned against them. Now it’s attacking the Jean Grey Institute instead of just providing a badass way of getting around and wasting taxpayer money. Maria Hill and the rest of the Jean Grey Institute is naturally losing their shit. Beast urges everyone to evacuate the Jean Grey Institute and Maria Hill keeps trying to solve the problem by yelling at it, not unlike the way my old driving instructor tried to make teenagers better drivers. It works just as well because the Mysterio-wannabe makes it very clear that he’s the one in control. Hell, for all we know, he’s been jerking off since the first shot was fired.

Then it actually gets even worse. Maria Hill keeps trying to regain control of the situation, trying a different tactic besides yelling. She notices Agent Dazzler, who is actually Mystique, casually slip away. Really, the head of the most powerful security agency on the fucking planet just let one of her top agents slip away when she was standing right next to her moments ago. If I were a tax payer in the Marvel universe, I would be so pissed that I might actually consider voting for Ted Cruz. It’s a weak way to get her out of the picture, but that’s not what makes things even worse.

Apparently, SHIELD took a page from the Pentagon and found even more ways to waste taxpayer money because somehow the helicarrier summons an army of Sentinels to attack. It just wouldn’t be an all-out attack on the X-men if killer robots weren’t involved. That’s like a basic law of physics in the Marvel universe. I want to say that the Mysterio-wannabe is really going for overkill here, but I don’t think that’s possible when a government agency is involved. If the military can spend 20 billion dollars on a jet fighter nobody wants, then surely it can afford an attack of killer robots on this scale. Besides, it has only been about six months since the last Sentinel attack on the X-men. I don’t know if Sentinels can get blue blues, but why risk it?

At first, it looks like we’re going to get an exact repeat of the battle from X-men: Battle of the Atom. The X-men come together, rip the Sentinels to shreds, and Wolverine finds a way to blame it all on Cyclops. I admit I was honestly expecting this. But then, it takes a very different turn and not in the way that involves time travel or psychic mind tricks for once. The Sentinels and the Helicarrier stop attacking. I probably need to say that again. The killer robots stop trying to kill the X-men. Just saying that feels weirder than explaining to my grandmother how I got a tattoo of a nipple on my left butt cheek. But that’s exactly what happens. Not only that, the helicarrier stops attacking the X-men and starts shooting at the Sentinels. The X-men and Maria Hall are as confused as I am, although probably not quite as stoned. Even the Mysterio-wannabe is confused and plenty pissed. It’s probably because he’s not sufficiently stoned.

The reason for this has to do with another forgotten side-plot that helped kick-start this arc to begin with. Remember our old friend Hijack? The guy who the cops once shot because he had the audacity to make a bunch of cars honk their horn in an uncrowded parking lot? He got kicked off the team for being stupid enough to use a cell phone that SHIELD could track. I guess he never heard the name Edward Snowden. Well he was more forgotten than the last coach of the Cleveland Browns, but he wasn’t content just jacking cars and turning women’s vibrators against them. He decided to make himself useful again and paid a visit to the Jean Grey Institute just in time to turn the tide of the battle. Now he claims he just came hoping to enroll. I’m pretty sure his real agenda involved finding an opportunity that would allow him to say, “Kiss my ass, Cyclops!”

This is a good example of a story making the right connections. Granted, Hijack got himself kicked off the team in one of the many side-plots that unfolded in this series. It would have been easy to give him the same treatment the New York Yankees gave Alex Rodriguez, but instead he ends playing a critical role. While it’s a fitting connection, it’s also pretty weak. We’re left to assume he just randomly decided somewhere between getting kicked off the team and getting bored with making fat guys chase after their cars that he wanted to be an X-man again. Not saying what he did isn’t badass. It just would have been nice to see more reasons behind it.

With the tide of the battle now firmly on the side of the X-men, Beast finally gets around to helping Cyclops confront the shitty Mysterio cos-player that has been behind this shit. In addition, Emma Frost shows up with Magneto, Magik, and Dazzler. That’s a lot of pissed off blondes to further tip the balance. It ensures the asshole behind this bullshit that has plagued the New Xavier School since the first issue of this series has nowhere to hide and might as well start kicking his own balls. For once, Beast actually makes himself useful and leads Cyclops right to the asshole’s mysterious hidden lair, where Cyclops promptly blasts his ass. I don’t think there’s a more satisfying blast that doesn’t involve a money shot in a porno with Jessica Alba.

But it gets even more satisfying than that, as if my penis wasn’t overworked enough. In addition to revealing the badly dressed mastermind, Beast also reveals that he discovered what had been fucking with his powers. Apparently, someone fed him some nano-Sentinels and they have been fucking with his powers, meaning he’ll have a hell of a time shitting those out later on along with Emma and Magik. It’s actually a much more satisfying explanation than blaming that shit on the Phoenix, which gets more blame than the President these days. It’s also really fucking overdue. But again, I’m a patient guy. I willing to save that special bag of blow for just the right moment.

That moment only becomes even more satisfying, warranting even more blow, when the identity of the asshole behind all these bullshit Sentinel attacks is revealed. And low and behold, Beast is involved. Specifically, it’s Dark Beast, the Age of Apocalypse version of Beast who has been MIA since the Dark Angel Saga. I couldn’t have picked a more appropriate asshole to carry out this kind of douche-baggery without hiring Bryan Cranston to play Lex Luthor. He has the means, the balls, and the assholery to do something like this.

Granted, his reasons for doing it are somewhat bland. He just claims he hates the X-men. Seriously, why can’t this guy just do what Kardashian haters do and bitch about them on a message board with normal people? But I digress. It’s still very fitting and it gives Cyclops a chance to maim Beast like I’m sure he’s wanted to do. He even made it easy for him because apparently he needed that goofy suit to keep himself alive. He had been experimenting on his own body. I won’t say it’s tragic because the asshole deserved it. I’ll just say he should have just stuck to bulimia and botox.

Dark Beast is now dead and/or comatose. Whichever it is, it’s way less than he deserves. There’s still the matter of a pissed off Maria Hill, who hasn’t forgotten her pussy boner for arresting Cyclops. This is where it gets a little awkward because Cyclops rightly points out that this shit happened under her watch. All these attacks on innocent mutants were carried out using SHIELD resources and she didn’t do a damn thing about it.

Now in her defense, she didn’t know how resourceful Dark Beast was. But she was also the one that decided she would focus all her energy on arresting Cyclops and possibly boning him if the situation permitted. By doing that instead of focusing on the actual killer robots that were hurting people, she basically let this shit happen. So in that sense, her demanding Cyclops to turn herself in would be OJ Simpson demanding that the cops who arrested him clean out the blood stains from his white Ford Bronco. It makes for a difficult and somewhat unrefined conversation. But this is one instance where I don’t think much needs to be said. They all fucked themselves over in some way and it’s probably best give their assholes a rest.

While in the spirit of tying up so many loose ends, it’s only fitting that we add one more to the heap. This one feels like a bonus because it involves Dazzler. She’s understandably pissed about what happened to her. For once, Maria Hill is pretty forgiving. She doesn’t blame Dazzler for all the shit Mystique did while disguised as her. That’s probably the most reasonable thing she has done since she stopped banging Tony Stark. But Dazzler isn’t having it. SHIELD was inept enough to let Mystique abduct her and they didn’t do shit to save her. The X-men were the ones who saved her. That’s all the proof she needs that she’s not cut out for government work. She’s an X-man. It’s a beautiful moment. It’s not clear what her plans are, but I think she’s already made herself comfortable with the other blondes in Cyclops’s New Xavier School. Like Hugh Hefner has shown time and again, there’s no such thing as having too many pretty blondes.

It’s a beautiful thing when gaping holes are finally filled. Whether it’s a pothole in the middle of a highway or a gangbang with Jenna Jameson, there’s something about it that’s worth celebrating. Sure, it got sidetracked. Sure, it knocked over a few signs and maybe ran over a few pedestrians, but it got to the final destination. Everything from the identity of the Mysterio-wannabe to the reason for these broken powers got explained in one issue. My patience was rewarded and Cyclops’s team has been rewarded with another hot blonde on their team. That’s like a win and a free blowjob from the cheerleading squad. That’s not to say the impact still wasn’t somewhat weak after all the delays and side-plots. But like driving from Boston to Tijuana armed with Donald Trump’s credit card, it was still satisfying. Uncanny X-men #22 gets a 9 out of 10. So now SHIELD’s credibility is fucked once again, the Jean Grey Institute has been nearly blown up, and Cyclops has another pretty girl on his team. I won’t say it’s a typical Tuesday in the Marvel universe. I’ll just say it’s more productive than usual. Nuff said!

Uncanny X-men #23 Preview - Not-So-Secret Douche-Baggery

There was once a time when Charles Xavier ranked very highly on the scale of heroic visionaries who strived to make the world a better place. That is the Charles Xavier that Patrick Stewart brought to life in the X-men movies and that James McAvoy later failed to live up to by turning him into a drugged out 70s disco punk. It seems so long ago. Was Charles Xavier really once that respectable or was I just doing way too much Ecstasy back in the early 2000s? I’m not saying the Ecstasy and blow didn’t have an effect, but I think it’s worth adding a little perspective.

Xaiver has always had his history of questionable laurels. He lied to his students, making them think he was dead at one point. He kept Danger locked up for decades. He lied to Cyclops about having a third brother. He’s also divorced, has a son that’s crazier bag of brain dead rabbits,  That doesn’t even get into the whole Onslaught Epic, although I might be willing to give him a pass because that outfit looked pretty badass. The man just doesn’t have much credibility anymore. So when Cyclops killed him in Avengers vs. X-men, it wasn’t like he ripped an angel’s wings off, snapped its neck, and took a piss on its corpse. There’s also the whole issue of Xavier fucking attacking him, but I won’t belabor that point more than I already have on this blog. My liver can only take so much.

But with the ongoing events in Original Sin, dirty little secrets are being exposed more than Paris Hilton’s side-boob. So naturally, Charles Xavier is still going to have a few dirty secrets that haven’t been revealed. As if the man needed to be discredited anymore, he apparently has a will that reveals the kind of twisted shit that’s supposed to tear the X-men apart. It must be really bad, like being hot for one of his students or something. I mean what kind of guy would…actually, that’s a bad example. Forget I said that.

With the war against SHIELD and the Sentinels resolved, this promises to be the next major plot in Uncanny X-men. And thanks to our fine friends at CBR, a teaser and an unlettered preview was released. Anyone who has been keeping up with Original Sin probably won’t be surprised. The whole story is built around the premise that everyone has douche-bag secrets, but some are way more douchy than others. Given Charles Xavier’s track record, I might have to avoid spicy foods before this comes out.

This July, the X-Men crash headlong into Original Sin in Uncanny X-Men #23 – from New York Times Bestselling writer Brian Michael Bendis and rising star artist Kris Anka! Thanks to the events of Original Sin, Charles Xavier’s last will and testament has been discovered. The final wishes of a man who fought all his life for peaceful coexistence between man and mutant – until the very day it got him killed. The rift between the two X-Men squads grows with each passing day. Do the secrets contained in Xavier’s will have the power to finally reunite them? Or doom them forever? Don’t miss the story that will have everyone talking and sets the stage for huge X-Men stories on the horizon when The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier stands revealed in Uncanny X-Men #23!

Can’t really glean too much from these unlettered previews. For all I know, Cyclops is thinking “What an asshole!” while he’s recalling that fight with Charles Xavier. Not sure if the scene with Dazzler is related, but I’m going to assume she’s still pissed about what Mystique did to her and is probably going to spend the next few issues taking it out on someone or something. While I’m all for stories about pretty girls dealing with their feelings in fucked up ways, I’m more intrigued by Charles Xavier’s latest deep dark secrets.

It can’t just involve one character and it can’t just involve him having a boner for one of his students again. It could be any number of fucked up things. Maybe he intended to give the X-men to Magneto when he died or maybe he intended to integrate the X-men with the Brotherhood at some point if he felt peace was no longer possible. Or maybe he left all his money and property to Jean Grey, which would in turn mean that Cyclops now owns it because he was Jean’s husband.

I have my own theory and I think it’s one that would really rip the X-men apart from their foundation. It’s probably wrong, but I’ll share it anyways because drunks aren’t known for filtering their ideas. It’s well-established that Charles Xavier used psychic blocks on Jean Grey’s mind to help her control her powers. But maybe his secret is he didn’t stop with Jean Grey. He put blocks on the minds of all his students, making it difficult for them to control their powers. That might be the real reason why Cyclops couldn’t control his blasts or why Beast turned all furry or why Wolverine couldn’t control his berserker rage. It wasn’t because they weren’t strong enough to overcome it. It was because Xavier made sure they couldn’t. It was his way of either motivating them or controlling them.

This could have some really serious implications. Perhaps at one point, he realized that by holding Jean’s powers back, he made sure she couldn’t handle the Phoenix Force. These new powers Jean has in All-New X-men might be the powers she was supposed to have all along. By suppressing them, he essentially killed her by ensuring she wasn’t strong enough. This is the kind of shit that would undermine both their trust and their respect for this man, as if he had much left at this point. Again, I’m probably wrong, but this is my theory. Get enough beer in me and I’ll come up with another. If there’s another preview released, I might just share it. Nuff said!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Humanizing The Gods: Amazing X-men Annual #1

The following is my review of Amazing X-men Annual #1, which was posted on

The concept of humanizing a god is like trying to humble Donald Trump. On paper, it sounds daunting. In practice, it creates a powerful narrative that takes beings of extraordinary ability and makes them more relatable. Superman might be a being with the ability to bench press a planet and fly to the edge of the solar system in the span of an afternoon, but a big part of his story is built around humble beginnings. He grew up on a farm in Kansas. It can’t get more humble than that without becoming a Charles Dickens novel. This presents a challenge to characters like Storm in X-men, but it’s a challenge that is taken up in the pages of Amazing X-men #1.

Compared to Superman, Storm’s origins aren’t nearly as humble. She was worshipped as a goddess at one point. That’s the very antithesis of humble. However, this well-known part of her life only represents a fraction of her life. While most are familiar with her life as Storm, her life as Ororo Munroe is less known and often underdeveloped. It wasn’t until the past ten years that her history with Black Panther was revealed. Granted, it was a contrived history meant to justify her marriage to Black Panther, but it revealed that Ororo Munroe’s early life was anything but divine.

The heart of the story revolves around Storm’s efforts to save her cousin, Abuya, who was abducted by a newly minted Inhuman calling himself, Meruda. He’s got powers similar to Storm’s in that he can conjure winds and create dust storms, but he lacks her grace and personality. He also claims to have a very personal vendetta against Storm. This is where the humanizing begins, but that humanization process is somewhat obscured by circumstances. Despite being one of the most popular X-men of all time, not much of Storm’s early life is explored. Hallie Berry might have captured her personality in the X-men movies, but there isn’t much in terms of the source of that personality. In that respect, Storm is like a beautiful flower from an unknown garden.

By bringing Storm’s extended family into this story, it offers a brief yet compelling glimpse into the life made her into the goddess is now. At one point, she wasn’t the powerful woman who could end droughts on a whim and survive dating Wolverine. She was just a girl trying to save her friends and family with powers that she didn’t fully understand. It might seem strange for those used to seeing only Jean Grey lose control of her powers, but it makes perfect sense and maybe it makes too much sense to explore. Powers that involve controlling something as complex as weather must be difficult. Even goddesses have to deal with insecurities at some point.

That’s a lesson Storm had to learn at a young age and a lesson that Meruda hasn’t bothered to learn. In some respects, that makes them reflections of one another. Whereas Storm is Warren Buffet, Meruda is Jordon Belfort. He doesn’t try to control his powers. As soon as he gets them, he uses them to get back at Storm. That’s why he abducts Storm’s cousin. That’s why he skips the process of developing a respect with nature and immediately becomes the kind of arrogant god that demands animal sacrifices and punishes his followers for knocking over candles. It’s not just petty. It’s shrugs off humility as if it were mosquito. But what makes it particularly egregious in Meruda’s case is that his grudge against Storm might not even be warranted.

After going through the trouble of turning Storm’s cousin into a monster and subduing her with his dust powers, Meruda claims that Storm was responsible for triggering a dust storm that wiped out his entire family. The fact that Storm was just 12-years-old at the time and was trying to save a young Black Panther means nothing. It may sound like the kind of traumatic experience that brings out the Dr. Doom in everyone. However, Storm has had her share of traumatic experiences as well. This is a girl who lost her parents at a young age and had to survive as a pick-pocket in Cairo. Yet unlike Meruda, she didn’t immediately use her new powers to take revenge on everyone smart enough to hide their wallets in their shoes. She used it as a means to become someone better. They’re two distinct paths. Storm took the path of the graceful goddess. Meruda took the path of the petty, vengeful god.

In the end, the graceful goddess proves to be more resilient than any vengeful thug. While the X-men save her cousin, she shows Meruda that even a graceful goddess is not someone he should provoke. Unlike Meruda, she has spent a lifetime developing her connection to nature and using it to hone her powers the same way Peyton Manning hones his quarterbacking skills. Meruda just got his powers from the recent events surrounding the Inhumans. He might as well be a rookie trying to beat a Hall of Famer blindfolded and with one hand tied behind his back.

Storm’s triumph isn’t just a testament to her power and grace. It reveals the scale and scope of her humility. Even though she was worshipped as a goddess, she still maintains close ties to her family and loved ones. Those loved ones might not be well-developed. Nobody is going to confuse her cousin with the Kents and nobody is going to confuse Meruda with Lex Luthor, but the story conveyed in Amazing X-men Annual #1 provides a conflict and a struggle for Storm that contains a very personal touch. It might not have the kind of breadth that is going to fundamentally change Storm’s character, but it will reinforce the humility that makes her a goddess worth worshipping.

Final Score: 8 out of 10