Monday, December 14, 2015

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron issues #15-16

Oh dear gods of Asgard, when will the crossover story of the Phoenix Five vs. Avengers story ever going to end and stop messing with Aaron's WAXM issues? Fortunately, the previous issues #13-14 were standalone pieces that focused on character dynamics with Warbird and Kitty/Colossus respectively. With issue #15, we get yet another Phoenix-related sidestory which wasn't awful, actually, unlike the last two has which (#11-12) which were so confusing and all over the place. Here we get Hope Summers finally stepping up to that plate, ready to fight with Wolverine and the Avengers as they all face the music with hopefully a final showdown with the Phoenix Five. Well, I know damn well it's the last, considering we get Professor Xavier joining the troops here and we all know he might as well be walking to his death.

The issue did a fine job establishing suspense for the inevitable confrontation by highlight some important conversations between and among certain characters. It opens with Wolverine and Hope talking about the gravity of her choice, and the disastrous power the Phoenix brings that she may not be ready for. Wolverine maintains his position that if it were up to him, Hope will just be another student in his school, studying for exams instead of sacrificing herself in battle. That being said, he also acknowledges that she's her own person, and that her actions from this point forward are out of his control--nor does he have to feel responsible for her if things go wrong. Hope essentially absolves him of this while Wolverine warns her not to become a martyr. Hope asks him whether Jean Grey was a martyr too, and Wolverine answers truthfully that she was also more than that, just like Hope she would be. He expresses that he wished Jean was here so none of this would happen, but Hope slaps him with the truth that Jean is gone forever, and there's only her now and she needs him to trust her. And he does--even when it's the last thing he feels he should do. The alternative, after all, is a line he cannot cross; which is to kill her.

Meanwhile, Beast and the Avengers together with S.W.O.R.D special agent Abigail Brand try to come up with a plan on what to do with the Phoenix Force once they are able to drain it out of the chosen five. Iron Man suggests putting it somewhere, a deserted, large space or something, but none of them can come up with a viable location. Broo was there and he was happy enough to help them with his alien intelligence which impressed Tony Stark that he offered to do something in return for Broo. All that Broo ever wanted was to meet his superhero idol Nova whom Stark knows so that was a nice arrangement. On the other hand, we have Rachel Grey and Professor X walking down the school hallways, trying to figure out their roles in defeating the Phoenix as the world's greatest telepaths. Quentin Quire joins in their telepathic exchange and argues he is a strong contender who can match them in powers, and he made some remarks about how Xavier is already forgotten and irrelevant. Rachel was about to put him in detention but Charles--being the unrivaled king of passive-aggressive--knew there was a better way to 'punish' Q and then goes ahead and publicly endorses him for the student council president position which he knew Q will hate because he takes pride in being an anarchist outsider--and not as a groomed golden boy. It was hilarious!

Other amusing stuff happened in the sidelines as well: Angel officially graduates and , to celebrate, he strips off his clothes as he flies into the sky, Bobby and Kitty agree to pick up things and date for real once the war is over, the Cuckoo triplets have enrolled in the Jean Grey school, and Husk and Toad are totes lovers now. The issue ends with the selected troop of Wolverine, Hope Summers, Rachel Grey, Angel, Beast,  and Professor X go into battle with the Avengers to face the Phoenix Five.

Issue #16, however, is a deviation from the main events and we get a sideshow attraction concerning the tween Hellfire Club, focusing on the self-appointed leader: twelve-year old billionaire Kade Kilgore and his rise to evil stardom. His backstory was compelling enough, showcasing his brutality in spite of his youth and inexperience. He has ambition, charisma and the resourcefulness it takes to become a formidable villain so good for him. He had an amusing encounter with the Phoenix Five in the opening pages and Emma even insisted that they slay him and the rest of his tween goons but Scott still thought him a child so he sent him to prison instead. Big mistake, because Kade found a way to convince the inmates to fight for him in exchange for money once escapes. He wasn't a man of his word, however, and had the inmates killed while he flew off to safety with his bloodthirsty tween compatriots. Now they are headed to bigger things, and they will hopefully take centerstage once the AVX shite ends somewhere. We can finally get back to form for Aaron's WAXM, and Kade Kilgore shows a lot of promise and he is not to be underestimated after all.


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