Tuesday, September 22, 2015

All-New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis Volume 5

Previously in All-New X-Men...

Composed of issues #25-30, the sixth volume of this series is officially my LEAST FAVORED collection because of the unbelievably irritating bullshit that occupied its wasteful space. I was just coming around from that equally unsatisfying crossover story with Guardians of the Galaxy entitled The Trial of Jean Grey, which is also an obvious rip-off from Claremont's stellar Magneto issue in the eighties that has the same concept, but Bendis simply just failed to deliver something just as memorable and purposeful as the former. It's heartbreaking in a sense.

But whatever, let bygones be bygones. And yet this volume was just...subpar. Clearly, I have a lot of respect and talent for Bendis and I've instantly fallen in love with All-New X-Men from the start. But, like most whirlwind romances, I'm just not content with the cheap thrills and mercurial pace and direction of the narrative at this point. It was captivating in the beginning but now that it's time settle down, I would like something more substantial than what I was served with this volume. It was downright insulting, actually, for a reader like me who only expected all the best from Bendis' solid line-up concerning the original X-Men. Somewhere along the way in the aftermath of Battle of the Atom, this series started losing some of its magic touch. With the exception of the special issue #25, the remaining issues were just...stale.

Yes, that's the best adjective to describe everything about the sixth volume. I think the failure stems from the fact that after several issues of focusing too much on Jean Grey (SEE PIE CHART FOR EVIDENCE), Bendis neglected other characters in the OCF like Warren, Bobby and Hank who became supporting background characters, depressingly fiddling their sad violins while Jean relentlessly takes the center-stage with a few moments of Scott actually having some important scenes here and there. But now Bendis dropped Scott, opting to make him travel with his space dad instead, and I can only hope this will allow other OCF members to step forward and start having more assertive roles in the story than just passive spectators or occasional pawns during fight scenes and whatnot. From what I've seen in this volume, it looks like Bendis is re-calibrating his priorities so what we got instead is a rehash about the fucking Brotherhood from the future which was a really drawn out arc that I can't count how many times I rolled my eyes as I pushed through finishing it.

It made me uncomfortably upset that I had to pour all my frustrations in this scintillating piece of review which unearthed negative feelings I never thought I've been suppressing since issue #26 began.Is it possible to love something you're also beginning to hate just a teensy bit because the relationship you have with is is stuck in a certain place you don't want to be in? Well, All-New X-Men has answered that question with a resounding, "Fuck, yes, bub" since it made me endure that useless crossover story of The Trial of Jean Grey. Once I've opened my eyes to its weaknesses, I can never close them again, not when it hasn't improved with its current arc about the Brotherhood from the future making yet another strenuous comeback....TO KILL JEAN GREY.

Honestly, I never thought I'd say this but...AGAIN WITH JEAN GREY? Anyway, I've stated before that we need to focus on Bobby, Warren and Hank next time and just put Jean in a corner somewhere, preferably in a self-imposed comatose, if that's the only way we can have access to the other OCF members who should have their own character-centered issues by this point in this series. This is, after all, All-New X-Men and not All-New Jean Grey. It's bad enough teen Scott left and we will never find out the adventures he's having with his dad Corsair. Other than Jean, he gets some character time at least and I'm really going to miss him. He hasn't interacted meaningfully with his older self yet which defeated the purpose of putting him in the same timeline as radically changed adult Cyclops. I was expecting some great moments between these two dorks and I got nothing in the end. Instead, we got that creepy moment with adult Cyke and teen Jean which was uncomfortably AND NO ONE ASKED FOR since it was almost crossed that line. Thankfully, adult Scott didn't let his lust get the better of him or he may have just ended up making out with a sixteen-year-old version of his dead wife. Thank god this isn't Ultimate X-Men or anything because we all know that shit would probably happen in Ultimate. I mean, in Ultimate, the Maximoff twins got their incest on as their bio-dad Wolverine watched in the shadows...so it won't be a leap if that title got a thirty-something Scott hooking up with sixteen-year old Jean. So, basically, what I'm saying is FUCK ULTIMATE X-MEN.

No, wait. That's not my point. Jesus fuck, I'm too irritated to type a review logically at this point. All you need to know is that ''baby Xavier" is an asshole who wanted to avenge his father's death and...I don't know. I'm not really sure I understood his character motivation and twisted intentions. I cared little about his internal struggle because it was barely nuanced. All I really know about him is that he looks exactly like Charles Xavier, he's a powerful telepath too, he has daddy issues, he hates the X-Men and he wants to kill Jean Grey. That's as one-dimensional and cliché as you can get from a villain. In Battle of the Atom, Jean Grey and Xorn Jean from the future where zeroed in amidst the chaotic battles around them, and it was great. Now we have Charles Xavier II as the lead villain of the story arc, with events told from his perspectives and flashbacks, and he is everything that was wrong about Professor X in those off moments that X is an asshole himself. So far, Charlie II possessed grand posturing and self-entitlement that are only rivaled by his half-brother, the shape-shifting, and Wolverine-clawed Raze who is the love child of Logan and Raven, understandably. That was weird but not entirely impossible. I can totes see them having angry, cathartic sex, then never speaking about it. What did shake me to my core is how this arc opened with a pregnant Moira MacTaggert about to give birth. Only it wasn't Moira. It was Mystique disguised as Moira. And she was impregnated by Xavier himself. I had to stop reading for a couple of minutes just to wrap my head around that revelation. In an earlier issue, Mystique told teen Scott that she respected and admired Charles and that in his death, she felt there was no purpose to fight for mutantkind. So I know she has developed fond feelings for Chuck somewhere along a comic book I have never read. Besides, I like the movie-canon version of the two of them being stepsiblings and growing up together. I really thought Bendis was going for that angle too. But nooooo. Apparently, Mystique became Moira and fucked Charles, and now she had his baby but she has to give away because it hurt too much to see the kid because Charles is dead and she was in love with him all this time. Whut? Whut? Really, WHUT? 

Worst of all, I DON'T EVEN SEE MAGNETO AROUND FOR THIS STORY ARC to react to the fact that his late best friend had a son who looked exactly like him and is now in murder rampage. Goddamn you, Marvel and Bendis. Wasn't there a memo since Claremont days that specifically dictates that Professor X and Magneto and anything related to their relationship must have some page time allotted to their piles and piles of angst and unrequited "friendship"? It's a crime not to sprinkle some Cherik when it's a necessary ingredient. 

It just doesn't make sense why Magneto is not a part of this arc! He's the only member missing from Cyke's Dream Team. Where the hell is he? What X-title did you conveniently put him in while this attack on the secret bunker is happening? It would have been so interesting to see him react to the second-rated version of Xavier. The more I type out my opinion in this review regarding what I just read, the more annoyed I getting by now. Look, the issue wrapped up some glaring plotholes from Battle of the Atom by revealing that Xavier II was behind all this. Jean (OF COURSE IT HAD TO BE JEAN) managed to knock him out long enough for them to send him to S.H.I.E.L.D (but oh no, that wouldn't be the end of it yet because his version from the future will time travel again and again and again and again....). And then they sent back the rest of the future X-Men to their own timeline. Wait...how are they able to do that AND NOT SEND BACK OCF to their own timeline as well? Why is the time-space continuum suddenly showing favoritism over which group of mutants get to go home and which ones can stay? IT DOESN'T MAKE FUCKING SENSE!!! How come they're not stuck in the present timeline like the OCF either? They time-traveled multiple times already and that should leave not just a tear but a gaping wound in the continuum--
fuck this! I'm done trying to analyze crap. At least Doctor Who tries to come up with a creative explanation for their time paradoxes! I have nothing more to say. Read this with caution.


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