Tuesday, January 6, 2015

X-Men by Chris Claremont issue #9 (1992)

So the Brood, your quintessential fugly aliens who consider themselves a master race with the quaint charm of your average Doctor Who Dalek, is the main Big Bad for issue #9 entitled The Not So Big Easy. This was the kind of comic book story that viciously reminds you that you are reading a comic book, you big nerd, and you're the only one who understands why you're having such a great time deriving amusement from what you are reading . And by "you big nerd," I'm of course talking to myself.

I did not give a singular dookie about the Brood in this issue and in general. Aliens in X-Men often are an afterthought for me, much like Professor X's girlfriends beards like that Alien Queen who is probably his longest romantic relationship with another being who is not his destined-to-be and secret-on Magneto (see what I did there? I ALWAYS FIND A WAY to insert a Cherik reference here and there). But I, once again, digress.

The opening panel features the X-Men collectively dropping their jaws at the sight of the Brood not much out of fear and panic (well, maybe just Jubilee then) but from the utter annoyance and inconvenience these fuktard sons of bitches will put them through for the entire issue. Trust me, I feel for them. The only reason why I found the ordeal entertaining and worth the read is because the character interactions we get to witness between certain X-Men are precious gems that made me giddy. Look, let's just get the reason why the Brood are here out of the way because it's so inconsequential to the more important parts of this book (even though it is the main plot but who gives a shit about plot? I'm essentially just reading 90's X-Men to ship people and comment on cheesetastic moments, okay?). The Brood basically enslaved Gambit's homies, the clans of thieves and assassins he is a part of, so what the X-Men actually stumbled upon is a breeding colony. One of these fuglies also implanted itself on the Ghost Rider which is why he's being a total dickface and trying to kill Wolverine somewhere in the middle of this beautiful atrocity we call Just Another X-Men Story.

The moments shared among Jubilee, Beast and Wolverine (especially Beast) as well as that potentially all-out-make-out-sesh between Cyclops and Psylocke (an itch is an itch, why don't we just scratch it, mmm-kay?) were enough for me to forgive the fact that, once again, Storm and Jean Grey are left behind the mansion. Just what the actual significant fuck are they doing in there? I can't possibly believe Professor X is such riveting company though I'm sure Magneto will disagree IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. I would like to assume that the ladies are slamming it with Bishop in the meantime, passing the time by playing ping-pong or something (I bet they own one). So back to the story: Beast, Rogue, Gambit, Wolverine, Jubilee, Psylocke, Cyclops and Bella Donna are locked in a clumsy combat with some Brood when the ground collapses beneath them which divided the group into factions in a timely manner. Beast and Wolverine exchanged some sass while taking turns fighting off the Ghost Rider, Gambit and his estranged wife had a rather touching moment (I just glimpsed at Gambit's humanity and I shuddered) while Psylocke and Cyclops should have had a quickie even if only telepathically. The unlucky little Jubilee is all alone as she sees the cocooned victims of the Brood hanging from the ceiling. Thankfully, Rogue was there. I had this theory that she was originally supposed to be with Gambit but saw that he needs to have some alone time with the missus so she walks off and finds Jubilee instead. That totally makes sense and will make me love Rogue even more for being so considerate even though she has feelings for Gambit.

All of these scenes played rather remarkably fast-paced, putting me on the edge of my seat as I watch each one unfold and collide later as an entire epic action sequence. One moment you see Wolverine and Beast with the Ghost Rider while Gambit and the wife are having a tearful reconciliation as Cyke and Psylocke REALLY NEED TO START DOING IT and then the Ghost Rider crashes into Rogue who was freeing one of the cocooned relatives. Cyclops and Psylocke WHO I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE ARE NOT DOING IT managed to arrive just in time for Cyke to blast a beam at Ghost Rider and for Psylocke to kick a Brood in the face to protect Jubilee. Awesome, awesome stuff. We see the Ghost Rider transforming into a Brood hybrid (GROSS especially when I imagine it's the Nicolas Cage film version). Psylocke, once again proving she's an assertive force to be reckoned with, mentally links herself with the Ghost Rider so she can extinguish the parasitic Brood that is inhabiting him. Bella Donna was able to do the same (the woman is full of surprises, all right) and together they kick ass. With Ghost Rider now in control of his consciousness, he thanks the X-Men and decides to fight with them against the Broods.

In a surprisingly sad twist, Bella Donna was unable to recover from her mental battle and died. I barely knew her but I was glad for her presence. She softened Gambit and actually made me feel sorry for him. Their conversations earlier about their relationship and Gambit's reasons for leaving her were also very emotional (as verbose, cheesy and often absurd Claremont's writing can be, he sure knows how to make compelling character drama when  the moment demands it). I like that single panel of Jubilee holding back tears as she tries to make light of the situation, a testament to her youth and inexperience about adult matters, while Rogue looks devastated as she watches Gambit's first love die in his arms. It was genuine shock and sadness in that expression of hers. After Gambit gives Bella Donna's body away to her cousins so they can bury her, we get this spectacularly badass panel:

"You don't get more 'family' than the X-Men". What a transcendent sentiment, Logan. It definitely holds more weight coming from him too, especially since he's going through something very personal himself. I'm so happy he stepped up to tell Gambit that they all have his back just like they all did too when it was Logan who was in a pinch in the previous issues ago. Too bad the conclusion of this arc is going to be in a Ghost Rider issue instead which I don't intend to read but I am pretty confident that it's gonna be awesome.

Ah, X-Men by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. WHY CAN'T I QUIT YOU?


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