Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Uncanny X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis, Volume 6

Much like its previous third volume, this was a collected series of standalone issues. I'm not really sure whether this volume is entitled The Revolution or Storyville. There are conflicting sources that say it's one or the other. Maybe the collection is yet to be finalized? I don't know. But this one does feature the fifty-two-paged special #600th issue of The Uncanny X-Men which effectively ends Brian Michael Bendis' run of UXM (and even ANXM). But before we discuss that prominent issue, let's get on with the other four first and how I thought about their content.

Now the only issue that actually had a solid tether to the actual ongoing plot was issue #32 which was a Scott-centered story that I did not like reading at all, mostly because I hated, JUST HATED, how Scott was characterized. After the fiasco concerning the powerful mutant Matthew Malloy whose very existence was stopped by time-traveling Eva Bell as she assisted a young Charles Xavier in doing so, Scott was bequeathed the Westchester place in Xavier's last will and testament--which he then refused and gave to Storm. 

Afterwards, he went back to tell his students--the recruits--that he is closing down their secret school for good which means they are effectively disbanned as a team. Emma and Ilyana (especially Ilyana) is not pleased about this very inconsiderate and abrupt decision. She teleports herself and Kitty out there. Meanwhile, the recruits were just as angry. As far as I'm concerned, they have every right to be, and Scott clearly deserved that goldball in the face. This issue was told in a flashback perspective, with Scott telling (yet also not disclosing) the story to his brother Alex who had just resigned from the Uncanny Avengers team. So the two talked about the future.

This issue also dealt with the final break-up between Scott and Emma which is a darn shame because I've rooted for this couple to stay together since Whedon's Astonishing run. But with the way things have gone down after they got messed up by the Phoenix force, and the track record of Scott's unpredictable decision-making, they both need to end whatever lingering feelings they may have for each other because it's apparent they want so many different things now. I didn't like Scott in this issue because I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND HIM ANYMORE. I have a soft spot for Scott from the very beginning. I never truly despised him or liked him so much either. Now---I don't know! I can totally relate to everyone here because I also feel like I've been ain emotionally abusive relationship with a so-called man of principle who doesn't seem to give a damn about how his choices affect the people around him who believe in him every step of the way---especially Ilyana who showed her devotion to him, out of all his comrades, by always being there to be the supportive brawn or willing sounding board. I was surprised she didn't punch him the face because she deserved that. Instead, she walked away and had her bestie with her which was timely because those two have issues to resolve by themselves too.

Ilyana and Kitty's issue was a very nice break from the craziness that was Scott Summers' volatile flip-flop characterization. The besties found themselves in Monster Island and ended up rescuing a mutant child named Bo who was abandoned by her own father to die after she accidentally killed her mother. They succeeded in bringing her back to the Jean Grey school and Storm was glad to take her and enroll her there on the spot. The girl's powers could be something deadly, especially since she seemed to have easily attacked Kitty even when the latter was on phase mode. I certainly hope young Bo will make it and that she will grow up stronger once she has learned to control her abilities. The next issue was about the inevitable confrontation between Mystique and Dazzler which was...underwhelming somehow. It turns out that Mystique was probably still married to Xavier before he died (although thanks to Eva's intrusion, Xavier's will never mentioned the marriage anymore), and that Mystique still did those horrible things to Dazzler (pretty much used her a drug experiment). Dazzler (who is not so dazzling anymore with her new goth look) showed some compassion for Mystique and did not kill her, but instead she vowed to teach her a lesson--and then the issue just ends there. I don't fucking care what they do to Mystique anymore. I've lost any kind of investment on her character a long time ago. Like since she and Irene were finished. There are only so many times she can break my heart. MOVING ON!

Literally all I would say every time Mystique is on a page

The last issue was about the abandoned students of Scott's short-lived school program/revolution mission. These youngsters (plus the adult Hijack) decided to form their own team instead because no one said that they should be the new X-Men anyway. None of their previous mentors were there so they went on missions on their own to fight mutants who are causing trouble with the civilians. At first it worked out just swell--Goldballs even became an internet sensation (since he really learned to own his superhero name to the point where he screams it whenever he attacks, like a goddamn Pokemon or some shit). But the taste of freedom and fame have a price and during one mission, a few humans start egging on them, literally hitting Goldballs in the throat with a freaking glass shard of some sort, and the Steford sisters almost telepathically killed the attacker on the spot. They have never been faced with such a heated hatemongering assault from rabid anti-mutant assholes and of course they got scared shitless about it! The life of a mutant crime fighter is never glamorous. After realizing this, they all went to the Jean Grey school and Storm was only so willing to take them in because, OF COURSE WHY WOULDN'T SHE, THE MERCIFUL GODDESS THAT SHE IS?! All these standalone stories were enjoyable to read, except for the Scott one because GODDAMMIT, SUMMERS!

Now, for issue #600: a fifty-two paged loaded story that has one main plot all across the pages while sidestories were branched out across it. The main plot in question was about Present-Day Hank McCoy's intervention--oh, I'm sorry--TRIAL. Yes, his hubris is finally about to begin and take centerstage. Beast has really evolved--or devolved--into something unrecognizable, certainly not the one I love in the nineties cartoons. This erudite, level-headed and quirky scientist was such a warm presence back in the day, able to tickle us with his cleverness and sense of humor; someone who embodies values and principles and becomes the needed voice of reason for his compatriots. He worked both for the X-Men and the Avengers because he wanted to do more; he wanted to help and cure and discover awesome new things that could help the mutant race. And then, somewhere along the way, much like Scott Summers, he has lost that moral compass and he started doing questionable things, hiding behind his brilliance, justifying his atrocities by imposing intellectual superiority while nursing a hurt, envious ego usually directed at his old friend Scott. THOSE TWO DESERVE A PLACE IN INFAMY, I SAY. And it pains me to say it because I love Hank! I also kinda sometimes and often like Scott...on occasion. So seeing these two original X-Men just...being all over the goddamn place is...STRESSFUL! Look, I still feel for these boys but sometimes I just want to tell them off!

Storm alongside everyone like Kitty, Ilyana, Peter, Emma and Kurt all want to help him make amends but Hank is too blinded by rage and cowardice and kept pointing fingers at Scott--that it was all Scott's fault instead of claiming responsibility. Dude, Scott may have murdered Charles Xavier which is inexcusable, but YOU ARE TAINTING THE LEGACY OF YOUR DEAD MENTOR SO MUCH MORE THAN THE MURDER COMMITTED BY SCOTT HIMSELF! GOD! When Ororo Munroe tells you to get your shit together, you better get that shit together or else! So while this riveting discussion of Hank's assholery is going on, we get flashbacks of stuff that happen predating this intervention-trial, such as:

Young Bobby confronts Present-Day Bobby about their sexuality. Young Bobby came out as gay back in the All-New X-Men, thanks to Jean being a telepathic snoop, and now young Bobby feels the need to help his older counterpart deal with the fact that he is closeted. And guess what, Present-Day Bobby is, in fact, also gay! Um...I know I brought this up during that coming-out issue from ANXM but then decided to take it back anyway because I really wasn't ready to argue about it, but I feel like I should bring it up again because Bobby Drake has had relationships with women--a few of them I knew for a fact he genuinely loved. He had sex with those women. He had fallen in love with those women. He loved Kitty too. So, you know, I can buy young Bobby being gay but the current Bobby of this timeline? NO FREAKING WAY. How about he just came out as BISEXUAL? Would that be less of an empowering stance? Would that lessen his courage of coming out of the closet? BECAUSE EVERYONE KNOWS BISEXUALS ARE MYTHICAL CREATURES. You can only either be heterosexual or homosexual. Look, it just doesn't make any sense to me! It's clear that all the relationships Bobby had ever been with were all with females so he at least is capable of sexual and romantic attraction with them. Are you seriously telling me that he managed to fake and pretend his way through sex with them? None of these women were even aware that he is not into them that way at all? SERIOUSLY! I'm trying not to be a dick here but what's so wrong about Bobby Drake just coming out as BISEXUAL because his relationship history proves it?! Goddammit, I'm actually pretty pissed about this. I'm pissed because PD-Bobby just caved in like that and told his younger counterpart, "You're right, I'm a hundred-percent gay too and only like men" never mind the fact that he had been with women genuinely. So...basically, I'm supposed to believe those relationships are invalid then? That means that Bobby is not only lying to himself SO WELL AND EFFECTIVELY but also to these women whom he--you know what, fuck it. Whatever. I'm just...this review is going longer than I expected and I really need to trim my rants now.

My second rant is about young Jean Grey and Hank McCoy becoming the "official couple" while a young Scott looks on, forlorn and sad. I mean...I MEAN, clearly, CLEARLY it was demonstrated that SCOTT WAS THE ONE WHO WAS ALWAYS THERE FOR JEAN during ANXM. She and Hank kissed once, and when shit went down and she asked for Hank to trust her, he didn't help her while Scott fully trusted her and ran away with her all because she asked. That's all she did, she asked and Scott had her back. What the fuck was Hank doing? He decided to stay behind to observe stuff going down because he's such a scientist and all that shit. I mean, really, Jean? REALLY? How can you still like Hank when he's so unreliable and Scott is clearly more able to express his feelings for you? Why do this, Bendis? Because getting Scott and Jean together is too much of a cliché? So for novelty's sake we're doing Jean/Hank now? Again, fuck it. I need to stop ranting or I may start popping blood vessels here from the rate I'm going. *takes a deep, deep breath and releases*

Other nice stuff happened like that Colossus-Kitty-Ilyana friendly reunion. Kitty is getting married in space and joining the Guardians of the Galaxy. PD-Scott did this nice thing at Washington DC where he gathered all the mutants just to be present as a race and THEY DID NOT START ATTACKING HUMANITY AT ALL even though that was what the foolish humans feared, which was a victorious and uplifting show of strength and union for the mutants, especially with Magneto coming in and gracefully calling it a truce with Scott in front of the public. It was nice. Here are the actual scans of those pages. Behold the awesomeness:

Bendis' run does end with some dread and even mild foreshadowing. Eva Bell is still around, traveling through time and whatnot, and I don't know what kind of shit she is capable of stirring up but I am not feeling optimistic at all about it. She vowed to keep an eye on Scott Summers after all, and to judge him accordingly. Meanwhile, Beast has left the school for good and is hiding somewhere and I have no idea what he intends to do next. Is it possible he might become the newest villain for the X-Men?


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