Thursday, September 17, 2015

All-New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis #26

Let's consider this issue as the calm before the storm because that's exactly what it is. Nothing of great importance really occurred in this issue; even its two key moments were kind of flat. That's the reason why I had to keep reading until I got to the next one which had more memorable moments in there and some useful plot progression.

Issue #26 serves as the aftermath of The Trial of Jean Grey which was pretty underwhelming already so having a follow-up didn't really interest me except the one about teen Scot who left the OCF so he can travel the stars with his estranged father. That was a blow to the morale. The issue started with Jean waking up from a nightmare fueled by Phoenix delirium because that's basically teen Jean's life right now: an awful travesty featuring a constant flow of mishaps, angst and unsolvable fuck-ups. So yeah, she's understandably gloomy once more. But hey, present-day Scott was there to console her. They had a nice chat about things although it was palpably awkward and tense. Of course it is. 

I actually loved this scene because Scott was calm, collected and understanding of teen Jean's struggle to look for some sort of solidarity outside of herself because even her mental status cannot be trusted. Grasping on straws, Jean Grey has certainly made any normal teenager's problems seem disrespectful compared to the colossal grievances and traumatic experiences she just had and will have as this series progresses into darker lanes. If I was there talking to her, I certainly would not have a goddamn clue what to say to make her feel better because I can't. There is just no way to sugarcoat how disastrous her life has become since she made the decision to stay here in this timeline...

...and god be wiling, she can't ever go back either, thanks to some time-space continuum shitfest that prevents her and the rest of the OCF to return to their timeline. Jesus fuck.

But matured Scott tries to be there for her in her moment of need right now which is more than I can say with teen Scott whom I'm relieved and thrilled to see be reunited with family even if it meant leaving Jean behind. But hey, she made him feel like he is not needed. In issue #22, he insisted that she opened up to him because they're friends and she shut him off even more forcefully than ever before. Young Scott has some self-respect so it's good on him that he made a decision that is uplifting to his sense of self-worth. I'm happy for his choice and if Jean is miserable now because she misses him and she regrets not holding onto him when she had the chance, then boo-freaking-hoo, Ms. Grey. That's what happens when you act like a martyr and then push away the people who care about you. One day you will push them hard enough that they don't come back.

So these two are having a nice platonic moment when Jean decided to make it...weird. She took Scott's hand (which is fine, it was pretty adorbs) and then she started saying...things that don't make sense to me as a reader who's been following her journey in ANXM, and as a fan of the character. Seriously, Bendis, your characterization of teen Jean is beginning to test my patience. Just look at this shite:


The man you hoped he'd be? WHEN? HOW? WHY? WHUUUUUTTT??

This man murdered Professor X--your mentor--and you've been very angry about that since meeting him and reading his mind as he treated the murder ever so casually while also lusting over you at the same line of thought. And you threw him across the other side of the land just to get away from how disgusted he made you feel about him. And afterwards you never interacted with him. THIS is the first real conversation you ever had with him. So how, HOW IN THE HELL are you suddenly admiring the man he has become when the man he has become is such a shitty piece of asshole right now?! And why are you making this very first genuine moment of connection unnecessarily suggestive, baby girl? The man is in his late thirties or early forties and YOU'RE FREAKING SIXTEEN. Just...don't do that. Don't tempt him. You're a teenager! But does that also mean I have to overlook this because Jean's a teenager who is undergoing stress and feels alone and trapped? Her mild come-on for Scott has made me very uncomfortable. And maybe a teensy bit of a hypocrite? It's not like I never had experiences of heat and wanton craze when I was her age that I sorta tried to engage much older men in comforting me...well, TMI. Let's...back up for a sec there.

My personal life is not a need-to-know basis for you, guys, soo...

ANYWAY. I didn't screencap the next page because I was so weirded out that Scott even CONSIDERED FOR A MOMENT that they will hook up and be a couple. It lasted a second but he was so transparent. HE WANTED HER. Of course he did. I mean, sure, he eventually brushed off Jean by saying that they should never get together but it sounded as if he HAD CONTEMPLATED ABOUT IT. And I won't judge him too harshly on that because Jean is his first love and his first love is sitting across him ON HER BED, all vulnerable and wide-eyed and holding his hand, and of course he feels a pang of nostalgia and want and weakness. Thank freaking Loki he snapped out of it within seconds, or he and Kitty (who was just outside) will have a different conversation altogether:

Kitty: Goodness gracious, Scott. She's sixteen. You loved her way back but don't be a creeper for her young self now.

So other stuff happened. Like the one with Warren and Laura. X-23 decided to leave the bunker  for good now because Scott is gone and he was the only one she formed a  bond with and she genuinely liked his company (and may have even fallen in love with him if only he stuck around longer for her to start feeling that way). Warren was ineffective in convincing her to stay, and Bobby was a jerk that he doesn't even refer to her by name when talking about her among the other recruits. No wonder she left. Kitty was adamant to get her back but the moment she was about to deploy the OCF to search for her, Laura appeared, deeply wounded and bleeding from her encounter with a shapeshifter outside (who was totally Raze). And now the future Brotherhood of Mutants are BACK AGAIN...for some reason. Probably to kill them all.

Rest assured that all your questions will be answered in the next issue.


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