Friday, December 11, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #13-14

WARBIRD IS OFFICIALLY MY NEWEST FAVORITE X-MAN! I knew she must have been around for awhile but I only really knew her from Marjorie Liu's run of The Astonishing X-Men. I compared her to Castiel from CW's Supernatural once because of her amusing lack of human social skills that more often than not produce unexpected humorous circumstances. I got to know her in depth during her centric story arc from the same aforementioned title concerning her vicious training as a Shi'ar deathbringer even though she is secretly an artist. As it turns out, Shi'ar will frown upon any of their citizens, especially those who are born and raised in their military, if they possess such talents like being artistic which they perceive as wasteful and stupid. For WAXM issues #13, we get another crossover with the AVX story but unlike the last two which are so alienating, this one (as well as the next) read more as a standalone subplot in the midst of the ongoing wrestling match/extreme fight sports that is AVX. It's a smart move for writer Jason Aaron because the truth for the matter is that because of this AVX debacle, his title's content is sort of suffering in consequence so it's great that he took a step back from all that shite and just wrote something character-centric that still has some part to play in the crossover event itself.

Here we get an expansion of Warbird's backstory when she was still a child in the Shi'ar Imperium, being prepped to become a soldier. She was given the Rorschach test (which played out very much like in the Watchmen graphic novel so I liked that allusion). However, when she was asked what she sees in each inkblot, she replied with the expected answers such as bloodshed and gore when, in fact, we see her inner thoughts in the panels that depict beautiful scenery about nature like butterflies and powers, further emphasizing the point that she's a creative child who wants to be an artist in a society where only war is an accepted way of living and service. We get more flashback scenes about her life as a soldier next, how she was created for the purpose of becoming a warbird and nothing else. In a pivotal moment, she was tasked to slaughter a village and spared the life of an innocent girl just because she saw the child drawing calmly as she readies herself for execution. She helped that child escape but reported her own insubordination later on. As punishment, they made her a bodyguard to Gladiator's son Kid Gladiator to ensure she will start hating children because being a bodyguard to a spoiled brat is embarrassing enough for someone of her breed. The Shi'ar were hoping this will harden her stance against children.

Another enjoyable aspect of this issue is Warbird's infatuation with Bobby Drake a.k.a Iceman. In Marjorie Liu's run for AXM, she established that Warbird has great admiration for Iceman and Aaron expanded on this in WAXM by making her awkwardly try to pick up Iceman using horrendous lines that are supposed to be flirty but only end up creeping out Bobby. They're hilarious together and I want their dynamics to be explored further--which is probably never going to be a full-blown romance, considering Bobby and Kitty will hook up some time later--and then Bobby will come out gay BECAUSE FUCK IT, even though it makes more sense for him to be bisexual. 

ANYWAY, here is a snippet of Warbird once again hilariously propositioning Iceman:

Aren't they adorbs?
As the Phoenix Five (Namor, Magik, Colossus, Cyclops and Emma Frost) continue to hunt down the Avengers and Wolverine who chose to side with the Avengers. Meanwhile, Iceman, Rachel Grey and Angel work for the Phoenix Five and fulfilling their duties accordingly, believing the Phoenix Force can truly help the mutant race populate again (their allegiance will later change by the time issue #14 rolls by). Gladiator of the Shi'ar arrives to earth to protect his son who stubbornly tried to get involved in the AVX shite when Wolverine specifically instructed the faculty of his school (Kitty, Husk, Beast) to never endanger the students during the battles. K.G is a total tool, though, which is tragic because his father--in his wish to save his son from the clutches of the Phoenix--was severely broken by the end of a fight. Warbird felt like she failed in her duty to defend both father and son, especially the son whose heartbreak she most definitely feels responsible for. She knew she should have done everything to get him away from Earth. She should have beat him up and pulled him kicking and screaming the fuck away from there. If she had, both father and son would have been safe in the Shi'ar. This was a sad moment for Warbird, and her last inner monologue just killed me. Not only did she realize she can no longer draw when she attempted it again so many years later, but also she came to terms that the life she had as a warbird was hollow and fulfilling. Just take a look at this heartbreaking epiphany of hers:

Issue #14 was Kitty/Peter-centric but unlike the deceptively happy cover of the long-time pair, the content inside is pretty depressing. Colossus was one of the chosen receptacles of the Phoenix Force, and that much absolute power has changed him into something so incomprehensibly different from the man Kitty fell in love with. He asked Kitty out on a date and they had an enlightening conversation in regards to the status of their lives. Kitty knew that she and Peter can never be again, not particularly when he is still in Phoenix mode, not to mention that Kitty's priorities have changed by now and she is very devoted to her role as headmistress of the Jean Grey school. Colossus will hear none of it; he wants to claim Kitty as his partner, someone to share his power with, and if he had to destroy the school to get what he wants, he will. At this point, I was just shocked and disgusted that he would threaten Kitty's vocation and the children that are under her care. This is not the Peter I knew and admired, and he has been twisted into a very rotten man whom Kitty cannot wait to get away with for good. In a heroic stance that is very much Kitty, she wholeheartedly fought Colossus as he tried to destroy the school. In a timely display, Iceman, Rachel and Angel came back to Kitty and Wolverine's side and were prepared to face Colossus as well but Peter left willingly after realizing that Kitty is beyond his reach now and it's mainly because of his own damn fault. All the power in the universe will not make her love you again, Peter, especially now that you have become less of the hero she had fought alongside with for years. 

Not to mention that Kitty has her sights on Bobby now and she expressed an interest to date him now that she has completely moved on from Peter. It's a damn shame because I really shipped these two so much especially during Whedon's run of Astonishing alongside Emma and Scott. But we all have to move forward some time and Kitty deserves to preserve her dream school and have a new relationship from someone who respects her boundaries and choices in life (who will later on come out as gay but hey, for now he's interested in her), and Peter has stopped being that man for her. Again, a damn shame. Stupid fucking Phoenix Force has ruined my ship!


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