Tuesday, September 15, 2015

All-New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis #21

On an undercover infiltration of the Purifiers' base, the OCF with Kitty and Illyana found themselves in a dire position after they were captured by Reverend Stryker's son whose DNA was alternated so he will have superpowers for himself. I thought for sure he was a mutant. Well, his movie counterpart in the X2 movie was a telepath so...I don't know. It would have been such a delicious irony if he was a mutant too. It may have made him sympathetic to me. But as a Purifier and Stryker's progeny, he is as hateful as one would expect.

This issue opens with a great callback to Chris Claremont's piece God Loves, Man Kills and the illustrations themselves seem to look exactly like the panels featured in the aforementioned storyline with a few touch-ups here. Anyway, I was no longer paying that much attention to whatever fucking delusion Stryker Jr. and his apostles are currently chewing on so reading this issue was a pain in the ass. Seeing my babies incapacitated was no treat, but time-dispelled Jean Grey is proving to be someone you should never fuck around with, and she is not thrilled about Stryker and the Purifiers at all. It just occurred to me that even her present-day adult version has never encountered the full force of the Purifiers (she was dead during God Loves, Man Kills) so it's noteworthy to see how she is reacting to all of this. 

And let me tell you, she might be one meltdown away from killing these motherfuckers. I wouldn't be oppose to it, but the truth is, what is chilling about her reaction so far is how...calculating they are. She doesn't get full-blown angry but rather quietly seething--which for me is a lot more dangerous than her nuclear meltdowns. It feels as if after meeting the woman she becomes in the future when she decided to stay in this timeline (I'm referring to Xorn-Jean Grey from Battle of the Atom), I think teen Jean is beginning to see her point of view or at least understand why future-her got to be so vengeful. She could feel the pressure of still turning into Xorn-Jean if she's not careful with how she's dealing with anti-mutant assholes at this point. I just get the sense that Jean is struggling internally, whether she's aware of it or not, to minimize her negative feelings toward that infuriating faction of the human race that desires to destroy the mutantkind. I guess, what I'm saying is, she might become the next Magneto if she's not too careful. Xorn-Jean from Battle of the Atom was certainly giving off that world-weary witness-to-atrocities vibes in same manner as classic Magneto. That should intrigue you, dear reader. It certainly had me thinking.

I would be very interested to see this tackled in the future issues if Bendis decided to make more Jean-centric stories. I've always considered Jean in my top three faves for X-Men (next to Rogue and Storm), and I'm so happy that we get a version of her in this continuity and it's someone who is still young and inexperienced but is brutally forced to grow up especially when the adult she becomes is covered head to toe with issues so astronomical that the next arc for this series feature a crossover with Guardians of the Galaxy which touch upon the effects of her arrival from the past have caused in the universe itself. Apparently, certain alien species are not thrilled to have the original Phoenix Force receptor who even devoured a planet randomly, when she has gone dark, all because she was a bored bitch.

Anyway, the OCF and Kittyana eventually escaped before this issue wrapped up. The only punishment Stryker Jr. gets is when Jean projected an image of his late father being disappointed in him which is a pretty mild thing to do, considering young Jean has never shied away from applying more force when using her telepathy. I really think she's bidding her time here. I think Jean is not aware of it but her rage is hardening her and she might give in to it and when she does Stryker Jr. and the rest of the Purifiers will experience a new circle in Hell tailored specifically for them. I would like to commend a nameless Purifier though who stood up against Stryker and argued that they shouldn't kill the OCF willy-nilly because it might have a bad effect on the time-space continuum. Whoever that dude is, he made a right judgment call on persuading Stryker Jr. to think about the repercussions, therefore buying the OCF enough time to escape. I hope that dude isn't dead now. I hope he quits the stupid crusade he is a part of and start anew. Seriously, nameless guy, be a better extra character in the background and go home to your family and stop all this bigotry nonsense while it's still early to repent and be a decent human being for once.

Another thing that I felt was worth mentioning in this issue was the developing relationship between Scott and Laura (X23). The girl is a genetic clone of Wolverine who seemed to have gone mad at some point (Stryker Jr. showed her video surveillance of her rampage) so she's in a vulnerable place and Scott is the only one willing to help her. That scene of her hugging him as she breaks down was pretty nice and of course Jean had to witness that for herself because Bendis is a sadist. It was almost as if the roles have now been reversed. Back when there's that whole Jean and Logan thing going on, Scott felt neglected and cheated on. Now it seems that Jean is placed on that side of things and has to watch in a corner as Scott and Laura continue to emotionally bond. It's...great, is all I'm saying. Very Claremont-esque soap opera. And I like me that sort of thing. Overall, this issue wasn't as strong as its previous contenders so I'm removing half a star.


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