THE ASTONISHING X-MEN ISSUES #17-18 "TORN" parts 5 & 6
TORN is essentially a story about Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde, both as individual characters and as rivals. The men are merely players in the background and the true main attraction is the traitorous game that Emma played against her teammates, and how the ever resourceful Kitty might be the only key in undoing all that damage, as long as she is strong enough to fight her way through the deceptions and the illusions. Unfortunately for her, battling a telepath is always going to be too much or anyone's plate especially a formidable one who will stop at nothing until she is reduced into an emotional mess. That's exactly the greatest threat and challenge for Kitty Pryde.
Issue #17 opens with Kitty inside a well-crafted telepathic mirage where she believes that she and Peter are married and has just given birth to a baby boy named Michael. The entire illusion lasted only for a few minutes in the real time but inside Kitty's head, she had three years with her fake life and fake family. The one responsible for such a cruel mind trick is the original White Queen (the seventies-costumed villainess we were first introduced to during Dark Phoenix) while the other Emma was still buried underneath the school thanks to Kitty back in the previous issue. So while Kitty is busy living an illusion she much believes is real and urgent, a pussified and petrified Logan can only watch in horror and helplessness as she gets tricked into thinking that Xavier's most guarded vessel called only as "the manger" is where her fake son Michael is trapped in. Last issue, the Hellfire Club talked about the fact that they can never open the damn thing because it's sealed with all kinds of protective measurements as reinforced by Charles himself, and only Kitty's physics-defying phasing mutant power can penetrate through. In doing so, the White Queen wisely realized that she has to give Kitty a proper motivation to break through it, and what better way to do that than make her think that the life of her imaginary three-year-old son depends on it?
|Kitty's state of mind right now|
It was chilling and all kinds of infuriating to see such a desperate and vulnerable Kitty phase her way through something incredibly painful, all because of a telepathic mind trick courtesy of this original White Queen whose very appearance in this story has made me incredibly suspicious as to what is really going on with this new Hellfire Club. Suddenly, I'm not sure what to trust. None of this is making sense--until we find out what's inside that goddamn manger anyway. It's the disgusting, filthy larvae of Cassandra Nova who is foremost a parasite who needs a host, and as soon as Kitty was successful in taking out that the larvae from the container, and happily shows it to Peter, claiming it as their son, he is just what-the-fuck-ing in his confused state right now, and the two were easily knocked out by Emma as Cassandra whispers into her mind to get Kitty's unconscious body prepared because she is about to become the host. But before Emma could get the transference ready, Scott--bloody de-powered Scott--rises to the occasion, brandishing a gun, and shooting the fuck out the original White Queen. That's how Issue #17 ends; with this heroic panel of Scott being awesome. He looks so hot without that fucking visor hiding his beautiful brown eyes.
|Me, panicking for everyone else|
The great reveal is that THERE IS NO HELLFIRE CLUB. There never was. It was only Cassandra Nova...or at least a splinter of her inside Emma Frost's mind, taking root and slowly growing, driving her to act accordingly to what the cunt has planned which is her escape from that container. Everything had been a grand illusion which Frost was able to sustain enough with Nova's guiding force so intricately imprinted in her psyche, controlling her and influencing her actions. Sebastian, Perfection, Negasonic, even that physical manifestation of Cassandra---they're all false and it was just Emma and her guilt which Cassandra Nova feasted on. Scott and Hank expound:
"It was Emma who stuck Cassandra Nova's consciousness inside that blob in the first place. And Nova does a 'hail mary' into Emma's brain before she fades. One tiny suggestion, too small to notice, but clamped on to Emma's greatest weakness, feeding, growing, creating an alternate reality for Emma."
Really heavy and riveting stuff. Emma Frost is losing her mind to a brain worm courtesy of Cassandra Nova, and her last plea out of it is by recruiting Kitty back in the team as her failsafe. She knows Kitty won't hesitate to take her out and Scott is right to say that Kitty is doing exactly what Emma expected for her to do...which is to kill her. Horrified, disgusted and very vulnerable, Kitty doesn't go through it but it doesn't mean she's ready to forgive Emma for the deception and that cruel mind trick about her imaginary three-year-old son. Who could ever move on from that? I feel for Kitty. But I also feel for Emma. And I am very, very proud of Scott! I just confirmed that Scott was not injected with the mutant cure, so we can all stop freaking out about that. False alarm, my bad.
|The collective reaction of my readers concerning that|
The issue ends by Whedon picking right up on the B-story concerning the Breakworld without a moment's preamble. Not a very smooth transition, I must say. Everyone is still reeling from Emma's betrayal and the Nova brain worm lodged in her consciousness; Kitty is still emotionally wounded from the hurtful mind trick, and Scott is unable to access his powers which means we will get to see more of those beautiful brown eyes. So Agent Brand kidnaps the X-Men, not giving a single fuck of what they have just been through as she readies to throw them in another baptism of fire where chances of survival might be slimmer than expected. That's usually just Wednesdays for X-Men, ain't it?