Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon #7

When you're an adolescent who also happened to be dealing with awakened mutant abilities alongside puberty, you're looking for a place to belong and people to trust because you, my friend, get to have cool powers but at the price of having lots of haters. Chances are, you've also been ostracized and bullied as long as you stay around the normal folk, and must have developed bitter feelings towards humanity in general. If you consider yourself a good person, you would strive to find a way to co-exist with humans because the X-Men have showed you a more dignified way to live your life. But if you're simply fed up with the bigots that are your homo sapiens counterparts who deserve no mercy, then you will put on the MAGNETO WAS RIGHT shirt and join the revolution to overthrow the less evolved humans. There's an amusing infographic from College Humor called The X-Men Guide to Puberty that basically covers these concerns. "You are the future that nobody wanted", that's the tragedy. The X-Men themselves protect and serve a world that fears and hates them. It's such an easy route to say, "Fuck y'all, Magneto was right!" but for Joss Whedon's writing in The Astonishing X-Men, we see Scott Summers (Cyclops) still trying to establish a more positive spin on the X-Men and mutants in general. For this issue, aside from getting a brand new story arc, we also see the X-Men's efforts to contribute to society as upstanding do-gooders...and how it completely falls apart anyway.

Because Magneto was right. Most of humanity suck all kinds of balls and bags of dick. The are people who fear uniquenes and diversity and use religion to justify their hatemongering propaganda while others exploit minorities in the name of greed or scientific progress.

So, here we are with a brand new story arc entitled Dangerous. I think it's safe to say that I will be making one Freytag's pyramid for each arc in this series. I forgot to post the complete one from Gifted so I plan on editing the previous post to include that one. However, I don't think the pyramid of dramatic structure works for everything. The first two installments of Dangerous arc had a lot of climactic moments (particularly for the next issue) that it's hard to pin down which one is the one exciting of all. I might have to adjust the pyramid a little. The shape might get warped and maimed along the way but hey, even geometric figures can have mutations too.


The Daring Five led by Cyclops decided to overtake a supposedly Fantastic-Four mission when a Godzilla rip-off monster popped out of nowhere in the middle of the city. As expected from an enthusiastic team established by the most golden of all the boy scouts, the DF arrived more punctually than the FF which is totes awesome since they got to fight the monster by themselves. I liked the nostalgic vibe of the entire arrangement. It reminded me of the sixties with the Original Core Five who really just go out there to save people and people actually acknowledge their help and thank them for it. Such were the idyllic times of the sixties. That can't be said for the more contemporary times, however. At the height of the negative biased phenomenon known as the 'mutant menace,' the general public does not give a tight and wet fuck if the X-Men are risking their lives to save their sorry asses. They're freaks of nature who have cool powers so they deserve all the hatred coming toward their way. 

"The same thing cannot be said for Fantastic Four, those poor souls. They never asked to be heroes. They were in a radioactive accident and instead of giving up hope or hiding from the rest of the world, they decided to do the noble thing and use their gifts to help people. The same thing can also be said about Spider-Man who didn't ask for that spider bite, and Captain America who was only being a good soldier when he volunteered his corporal vessel for science and to fight the Nazis. How are they more revered and respected than the X-Men?" 

"Well--and this is important so listen up--those mentioned heroes received their powers due to unfortunate events or out of self-sacrifice. The X-Men, however, are just privileged dicks who got lucky in the genetic lottery. Of course, we should hate them. How dare they parade how special and powerful they are? The freaks!"

That's the kind of mentality that a great number of people whom I will not collectively call as the "douchebags of humanity" agree upon. So here are the Daring Five of the new X-Men group, doing their very best to be good, upstanding superheroes (even though they have personal issues among them) giving all their best as they struggle to put down a gigantic mass of ugly and violent, and ultimately it wouldn't matter. BECAUSE MAGNETO WAS RIGHT, DAMMIT! Anyway, Colossus joins the Daring Five officially, making them the Kickass Six (KS) from now on. I'll be dropping lots of abbreviations in my reviews and if you can't keep up then whatever. After being cooped up as a science experiment in BeneTech Labs issues ago, Colossus feels like wind-surfing on top of the Blackbird and they let him because PTSD is a serious thing, guys. Meanwhile, Kitty busies herself saving citizens who are about to be crushed by the monster thing and takes the time to think about her unresolved deal with Peter. Are they getting back together? Is he going to be okay? Will she be able to help him? She was conscientious enough to know that she should be focusing on the task at hand and stop moping about her ex-boyfriend who is literally preoccupied punching the monster as she's down there, pulling out survivors.

Meanwhile, Wolverine proves that if you're going to start daydreaming during rescue missions, then it must be about something random and significant. Hence this gem of contemplation courtesy of fan-favorite Wolverine:

Halfway through the gruesome battle, the Fantastic Four makes their timely appearance, expressing different reactions over the fact that the mutants took over their jobs while they weren't paying attention. The Richards were fine making nice with the help, but the Thing makes a snide, dangerously mutant-hating remark he thankfully managed to turn around into something pretty hilarious, actually:

Apparently this is everyone's go-to racist joke..

Meanwhile, in some secluded judging room somewhere with a bunch of high-profile leaders of the world agencies (I think), Agent Brand, leader of S.H.I.E.L.D's alien watchtower S.W.O.R.D was unrepentant for all the help she gave Ord the Dumb-Dumb in trying to destroy mutantkind ironically through a medicinal cure, and was the most unapologetic asshole right now. Here is her moving speech of assholery terrific-ness. 

Shut up, you asshole.

The Kickass Six, tired yet happy for all the good they've done, heads back to the Xavier School to check out the media coverage of their heroism only to find out that it was only reported for 20 SECONDS during primetime or something. Emma even commented that Spider-Man tongue-kissing a Jonas brother would get more coverage than what they did earlier. That's how unfair the world is for struggling, good-hearted mutants who want to make a difference BECAUSE MAGNETO WAS RIGHT, DAMMIT!

It's no wonder Cyclops of current MARVEL NOW! got sick of the 'save-the-humans-because-it's-the-right-thing-to-do' and just decided to go ahead and claim that 'if-humans-got-killed-while-I'm-doing-my-thing-then-tough-titty'

Like all good A stories, there is a complementary B story which is about the young boy Wing. We knew Wing from the time when he asked if Kitty Pryde was 'fucking retarded' (it makes sense better in context), and then was revealed to secretly want to join the X-Men but, thanks to Ord the Dumb-Dumb, he will never get that chance because he was forced (literally stabbed at the back with an injection) of the cure and now his mutation has been erased for good. His monologues in the opening pages were really sad:

Especially when we see him at the last page, committing suicide after attempting to fly again D:

And the fact that he is INSIDE A SIMULATION OF THE DANGER ROOM when this went down. I know about the Danger Room being sentient so HOLY SHIT WE'RE GETTING THE STORYLINE IN  WHICH D.R AWAKENS AND DOWNRIGHT PUNISHES ALL OF THEM FOR WHAT XAVIER HAD DONE TO IT/HER. Poor Wing had to be the first casualty of that quest of vengeance. This made me very angry after reading it. I thought the poor kid is going to get his shot and perhaps have the cure in his system reversed somehow. He didn't have to die, Danger Room! But it wouldn't be a good Whedon story without a nice character horribly dying in the background. 

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