Friday, October 9, 2015

The Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon #13-14

When I first started reviewing this series a week ago, the first two issues only got a 7 out 10 ratings from me because my reasoning was (and I directly quote from my review of issue #1): "I'm going to rate this issue in pragmatic terms. I don't want to start with a high rating already since this is just the introduction and as evenly paced as everything was including the reveal at the end, and as amusing were the interactions among our heroes, I still want to start my review of this series by saving for my high ratings which is why I'm giving this one a seven out of ten because it was better than I expected but not quite there yet." And I WAS FUCKING RIGHT TO DO THAT

It's the greatest reward of delayed gratification one ever received because now my perfect tens actually mean something. Can the same reasoning be equated with saving yourself for marriage? In that case, I missed out. The second story arc Dangerous was EPIC enough, filled with sparkling dialogue, thrilling action scenes and emotionally meaningful conversations among our heroes. This one surpasses the level of epicness already firmly established in that previous arc by further enhancing the aforementioned awesome qualities of Dangerous. I don't know what else to tell you except that I always read my comics before I go to sleep (4 AM which is as late as I could go), and after reading issues #13-15 (I usually limit my readings to two issues but because this is SO DAMN DELICIOUS I cheated and read another one), all I can say is:


I'm going to keep this straight-to-the-point and what better way to accomplish that than using bullet points?

  • So Cassandra Nova has a serious talk with Emma about her important role in the catastrophe that's about to hit the X-Men and even rewarded her with a second mutation which is the ability to turn into diamonds. She knew Emma will not betray them because she deemed Emma a 'predator' who will always look after her best interest. Right now, it's not getting caught in the losing team because Nova and the other members have a solid plan to bring down the X-Men and if she hopes to survive, Emma needs to participate. What was so great about the appearance of Nova is how it all ties up with the previous two arcs about Danger and the mutant cure which will be tackled by issue #14 later on. In the meantime, Emma follows through the game plan and targets her beloved Scott. And I'm not being sarcastic when I said "beloved". Perfection, one of the HC members, confronted Emma seconds before she was about to do serious damage on Scott. "You really do love him," Perfection states. Emma turns to it (him? her? who knows?) and with a deadpan face that underlies whatever agony she might be simply telepathically shutting off, she replies:
  • Meanwhile, Logan had a heartwarming moment with the children after the seriously traumatic internal attack that the Danger Room had inflicted on them the last time. And by 'heartwarming' I meant Logan expressively conveyed to the kids that he couldn't give a shit whether they're grieving or not at this momnet about the loss of a classmate and friend (Wing), all he cares about is getting them ready for combat. With a non-functioning Danger Room, Logan decides to be creative and has the children fight him in the dark. It goes about as well as one would hope when Logan is placed in a room with children. He gives their asses some beating and would have stabbed Hisako for real if it wasn't for her very handy protective body armor (that happened to be passed on in her family's gene pool). Scott would have taken over the training himself but he was too busy hanging out with Hank who was trying to figure out how to build a new Danger Room. The truth is, Scott has been avoiding Emma because he feels there is something wrong with her right now. Oh, boy, he couldn't be more right about that.
  • The same thing cannot be said for Kitty and Peter who are eager to spend every day with each other because you never know when the next storm hits after all. Kitty has been having nightmares about her dead father who has been slain in Genosha so that sort of put a brakes on things. Peter was recently freed from capture and freakish experiments so he gets her deal. However, the heart wants what it wants and they can't keep delaying their relationship just because annoying nuisances like torture, suffering and death get in the way. So fuck it. They totes start making out happily and it made me very giddy for them! THEY ALSO HAD SEX BUT THEN KITTY ACCIDENTALLY PHASES INTO THE LIVING ROOM BELOW AND IT WAS SO FUNNY AND SWEET AND SHE HAD TO RUN BACK TO THE ROOM AND THEN THEY START OVER AGAIN.
  • The issue ends with Emma walking inside the room she shares with Scott, urging him to go to bed but Scott lamely makes excuses about doing their taxes right now (HAHAHA). Emma, undeterred, transforms herself into Jean Grey as the Phoenix which definitely made me speechless as I stared at the page; my mind processing things, mostly the possibility for some kinky shit to happen in Scott and Emma's bedroom next issue. But of course that doesn't happen because Scott is vanilla and his reaction is of course going to be anger. With that said, this issue did a fine job establishing the set pieces that will have great roles to play in the next installment, much like what Whedon has been doing since Dangerous started.
  • Now let's talk about issue #14 where ALL THINGS FALL APART. Emma and Scott have the MOST PAINFUL AND ENLIGHTENING AND SCARRING CONVERSATION A COUPLE COULD EVER HAD. I asked for something Emma-centric in my last post and hopefully something that touches upon her relationship with Scott which I've always been intrigued by. And Whedon granted my wish with this issue and it was ALL KINDS OF GLORIOUS AND ANGSTY. Emma knew Scott through and through his insecure core and she did not hesitate to expose all the dark secrets he even keeps from himself. Unearthing these things made me want to hug Scott so tightly and then pull back and give him a well-deserved slap! Then hug him and make him promise he will never lose his way (WHICH HE DID AS WE HAVE SEEN IN MARVEL NOW!). Emma just destroys him, slices into his insides like a precision instrument, starting from the beginning when Xavier chose him to lead: "Jean was his favorite. He sensed her potential, even then. He's always been partial to psychics. Hank is a genius and terribly good with people. Warren looked like a god. And Xavier picks you to lead. Why? Because you have nothing else". And she's just warming up with that one!
  • "You've seen leaders, Scott. They make themselves known. They can't help it. The one time you had to defend your title, you lost it to Storm. Potentially the most powerful team on earth and Xavier gave you the top position out of pity because he thought you'd washed out if he didn't give you a little boost. But it's so hard to hold onto something you know you don't deserve. The X-Men never cohered, never won the world's approbation. And Jean, god, she wouldn't stop dying on you. You have no control....You couldn't control her. She was out of your league. You held her and wished you could be everything she wished you were...which is Logan. Don't deny it. You've imagined being him, the poster child for mutant cool...the love of her life."
  • "Control what, dear? Your power? It's your great setback, isn't it? The source of all your extraordinary self-doubt. Every great leader revels in their power, however judiciously he uses it. But fear it. You resent it. You've been unable to control it. You've been living in constant, rigid terror of harming someone with it. It's hard to live with...That lack of control, that fear of abandon. It was always in you.The only way to be sure you would always, always hold yourself together was to make it impossible not to." OH MY GOD EMMA STOP TALKING STOP TEARING HIM DOWN!! DON'T YOU LOVE HIM??!! And then she shows him a memory of Scott as a young boy about to get an operation to surgically remove his eyes. She promises it's going to be okay, that he can finally let go now. With her coercion, that's exactly what he did.
  • DID SHE JUST FUCKING INJECT HIM WITH THE MUTANT CURE?!!! That's exactly what happened here. HOLY SHIT!!!!!!


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