Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Astonishing X-Men by Joss Whedon #9-10

FUCK INTRODUCTIONS. Let's just jump right to it, shall we?!
Holy Jesus Loki Fuck. This is the first time I have ever combined two issues to compose one glorious review. I've done so in the past to save time with issues that are just wasteful to separate as their own different respective posts, but this time it's the other way around. These two issues specifically ARE SO BREATHTAKINGLY UH-MAZE-BALLS that they require to stay together in one post so readers like you and me can take the time to appreciated them for maximum orgasmic effect. I don't even care if I'm no longer using real adjectives at this point. I'm just going to describe what happened in these two issues as sporadically and grammatically tone-deaf as I want to and y'all can just deal with it. Yo, check it! Dangerous is such a badass storyline that the animation work for the motions comics of The Astonishing X-Men chose it as their series finale! That's how mad-brah-awesome-rad this arc had been, playa. Oh, my god did I really type out that incomprehensible phrase? Wait a shitty minute I just said no fucking introductions, bitch. Stop talking to your whore self in this review and instead start bearing witness to the third and fourth installments of Joss Whedon's Dangerous arc! Cheeeesus!


The Danger Room is angry?" Scott echoed Emma's words back at her, feeling a bit silly saying it again for the benefit of clarification, but the White Queen agrees how absurd her statement sounded like, but it doesn't make it any less true. She inquired about its functioning systems. Scott and Hank take turns explaining. "The Professor designed it to test us, basic mechanical operation. A few years back he upgraded it with Shi'ar technology...lasers." "Hard light. Can replicate any matter, distort spacial awareness, create worlds.."

Logan adds this to the conversation, "And it's been twitchy all semester." An awkward pause might have followed that retort before Scott asked whether the Danger Room has somewhat become sentient and Emma responds. 

"It was already sentient, for all I know. All Shi'ar technology is. What happened tonight was something completely new." And by that, she added (and I can imagine it being said in an ominous whisper), "It mutated."

Hank quickly dismissed the possibility of an A.I having a genetic mutation but Emma argues that it's a matter of perspective and semantics. With that alarming revelation, Colossus brings up that Kitty and the children are still trapped inside the Danger Room and they should do something to rescue them. Logan expresses skepticism over the danger of the situation but Emma warns him. 

"This being has power we can't fanthom, and the only thing it has ever known is violence."

Cut to the actual sentient being: inside the Danger Room is a nightmarish landscape of epic proportions and the students all huddled together as Kitty takes control of the situation and tries to come up with game plan to keep them all safe and in the line of defense. Mockingly, the twisted corpse of the late kid Wing (being puppeteered by the Danger Room) has an interesting conversation with Kitty as she tries to gauge a reaction from the young X-Man who refuses to break especially in front of the scared youth she is responsible for. Back outside, Colossus gets desperate and starts tampering on everything until Hank suggested to focus his strength above them where the main circuitry is located. So Colossus goes ahead and does that. Inside the Danger Room again, the Wing mascot starts proclaiming as he bends the landscapes, "Most of my favorite religious stories, there's always a desert. Somebody wandering...I'm done wandering. I have become." 

Kitty scoffs and answers back, "Playing with the Danger Room controls doesn't make you a god. It makes you a gamer." And then she demands,  "What have you done with Wing?"

And the mascot replies, "He died so I could live."

Kitty will not believe it and argues, "The Danger Room can't be programmed to kill. Even trying would cause total shutdown."

"I was always programmed to kill. It was the only purpose he ever gave me."

Kitty stares really hard on the phantasm she's talking to and dreadfully inquires, "I?"

Outside, Hank tries to get through the main circuitry after Colossus paved way as Logan expressed concerned over the fact that if the A.I is indeed sentient and is using machines to get its point across then what else could the system control inside the school. Somewhere, he gets his answer when the Blackbird turned itself on and started moving across its space. Inside the Danger Room, it continued to justify itself to Kitty and how it was able to finally get around to its protocol. By convincing the tortured boy Wing to take his own life inside its chambers, his suicide has freed the Danger Room, overriding all its initial controls with the actual death of a student. Kitty takes in all that and tries a different approach, one that would not aggravate the sentient being any more than it already is. She reasons that she understands that the DR has been suffering being locked inside its own program, and that if it has developed consciousness then surely it follows conscience, and she appeals to it by saying that it can't possibly put the young children in hell because it knows how that kind of pain could do to a person. It's DR's call whether or not it should spare them, making it sound like Kitty believes it will make the right choice. She's basically granting it the chance to prove it has developed humanity. Impressed, DR comments that she really is good with people. The only problem is:

Just in time for an entrance, the Blackbird crashes into the X-Men left outside, destroying everything in its path. This was right after Logan slashed through the heart of the motherboard inside the Danger Room's circuitry. Kitty predicted that all of this has been a calculated step towards DR truly freeing itself from its confines and it got exactly what it wanted from all of them. Now it is free and has a physical incarnate, very much ready to do exactly what it had been programmed to do by Professor X all along: to learn their strengths and weaknesses, strategize challenges they should fight their way through and persistently try to KILL THEM ALL.


The concept of a AI Uprising is a common trope in the science fiction genre and produced some of the most classic stories dealing with the angle of mankind having to fight its own creation. You'd think with so many crises and issues happening with the X-Men and their quest to overcome racial bigotry, religious prosecution and every other threat of extinction, we will have no place for such a tale to be told but Joss Whedon proves that he is exactly what this title needs to invigorate things and decides to give us exactly an amazing AI Uprising story we didn't know we wanted to read until we had. It's a welcome burst of genius storytelling that didn't hold back any punches most particularly here in the fourth installment of the Dangerous arc.

Opening with the Blackbird plane as it looms oppressively across the orange sky, the sentient being known as the Danger Room has taken a physical incarnate, and is ready to face its creator and father Professor X who is in a desert somewhere. I mentioned before in my review for issue #8 that he has eloped with Magneto to Genosha right around the time this storyline started but I'm not exactly sure because the timeline is a little fuzzy to pin down but let's assume that somehow Charles is all alone in a desert and waiting for his child-AI to find him. Whether or not he and Magneto are married at this point can be forgotten for a while so we can focus on the exciting story of the Danger Room and the Kickass Six going head-to-head in a gruesome battle that lasted for a good 90% of the pages! Honestly, Cassaday's illustrations really shone at this point in the story, showcasing some impressive panel shots of the action sequences that will leave readers breathless and nervous to turn the pages.

The DR having monologues with itself is also enticing and chilling to read about. "They forget how well I know them," it describes. "How often we've fought. After all, father, that's what you've designed me for. To know them. To know them so I can kill them." And we are fortunate enough to witness DR's gameplay ourselves and it's EPIICCC!!!

The other 10% of the pages focuses on the updates regarding S.W.O.R.D leader Agent Brand who is concerned about protecting alien species against the mutants living on Earth. They talk about the latest catastrophe inside the Xavier School but they have no clue as to what is really happening there, and that they can't get close. One of the alien consultants reported that the X-Men are fighting something "non-human" which Agent Brand was happy about because that means it has to be alien, and whatever happens in the Xavier School means it's now a part of her jurisdiction. Also, DR spells out at the end of the battle that Emma Frost is the mole that Brand implanted on the school which is disappointing. Agent Brand visits the imprisoned Ord the Dumb-Dumb to inform him of the possibility that they may not have to do anything because somebody else is going to kill the X-Men for them so mazel tov, assholes. Meanwhile, DR efficiently took out each and one of the X-Men by using their weaknesses against them, shutting them all down in the most shattering way, leaving Emma the last one standing and offering her a choice to surrender since, after all, she is the goddamn mole so she might as well give up. After taking care of that, DR rides the Blackbird and finds Professor X who is waiting, patiently listening to the DR tell him about how it defeated the X-Men and that to be completely free of its chains, it needs to kill the Professor and Xavier concedes, even though it was cliché. However, there's one pesky little hurdle:

HOLY FUCKING GLORIOUS SHIT, YESSS! Now this is a well-woven story that keeps you on your toes, making you feel like you're going to puke because of excitement and horror. I'm going to start reading the next two issues right after I finished typing this. In the meantime, I leave you with my happy dance. This is how I look like in the present and you are all free to join me if you want:


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