Friday, December 2, 2016

X-men Supreme Issue 145: Proactive Regression Part 3 PREVIEW!


I hope everyone had a fun, filling Thanksgiving holiday because you’re going to need your appetite for X-men Supreme. This fanfiction series is nearing the world-shaking conclusion of X-men Supreme Volume 6: Liberation Decimation. The world of X-men has been significantly upended in the recent X-men comics with the death of Cyclops and the ongoing war with the Inhumans. Well, X-men Supreme is not going to resort to killing characters or warring with other heroes. Instead, this fanfiction series will upend the X-men in a very different way.

The X-men are still trying to undo the damage they did after they left the planet during the Outer Limits arc. They were gone for six weeks. In that time, Havok took on a greater leadership role in the Brotherhood of Mutants and the Mutant Liberation Front reared its ugly head again, thanks to Stryfe. This time, President Kelly and General Grimshaw are not willing to wait for the X-men to save the day. After all the damage the Mutant Liberation Front did under Toad, especially after the near-catastrophe they faced in the Natural Disorder arc, they’re prepared to resort to extremes.

The X-men are trying to do their part to stop this madness and preserve some semblance of peace, but they’re already facing major obstacles. Charles Xavier may have his legs back, thanks to the Shi’ar in the Outer Limits arc, but he’ll need more than his legs this time. He boldly, and foolishly, led a team of X-men to Genosha in hopes of talking sense into Havok and the Scarlet Witch. They were met with a cold, hostile welcome to say the least. The Brotherhood of Mutants have tried to work with Charles Xavier before. Their capacity to trust him and his X-men at this point is limited at best.

Moreover, they have good reasons not to trust the X-men. The X-men were the ones that encouraged Genosha to work with General Grimshaw and President Kelly. They helped foster a fragile peace in wake of Magneto’s hostile actions during the Cambrian Explosion and the Time Bomb arc. For a time, this peace worked. Under the Scarlet Witch’s leadership, Genosha used its alien Warlock technology as an economic bargaining chip to maintain peace. Then, a good chunk of that technology got destroyed thanks to the Starjammers in the Outer Limits arc.

Now, the peace is broken. There are no incentives for Genosha to get along with the rest of the world. President Kelly has no incentive to be reasonable with Genosha either. On top of it all, the Mutant Liberation Front is ready to shove both sides into a state of human/mutant war. They’ve hijacked a nuclear submarine, complete with nuclear weapons, and Stryfe is ready to use it. Somehow, Charles Xavier and his X-men need to find a way to stop this madness before it’s too late. The odds are against them, but the X-men do have a few tricks up their sleeve, as the conclusion to the Proactive Regression arc will reveal. As always, I’ve prepared a preview that should offer some tantalizing clues to that world-shaking conclusion.

“That’s enough, Xavier. You had your chance. They’re not buying it,” he said flatly.

“They were never even given a chance!” retorted Xavier, “I trusted you to be reasonable, Alex. I don’t think you even tried. Losing Lorna has left you an empty shell.”

“Don’t you dare bring her into this! You don’t understand! You never did!”

“I understand better than you think. That’s how I know you’re making the wrong decision. Even without my telepathy, I can see that you’ve lost all hope and your people will suffer because it.”

The Professor’s words struck deep. Havok’s expression tensed as he hid the pain and anger dwelling within. He was a bit rough with Xavier as he shoved him down the stairs from the stage. He was even rougher when he reached the ring of fire that surrounded his X-men. He forced Xavier onto his knees and stood over him. The rest of the Brotherhood joined him as he stood in triumph over the X-men.

“It doesn’t matter what you think of us, X-men,” said Havok sternly, “We gave you a chance to state your case and you blew it.”

“Some chance,” scoffed Cyclops, “You were never going to listen. You probably rehearsed this scenario at least a hundred times.”

“Shut up, brother! You don’t get to pass judgment this time!” spat Havok.

“Face it, Professor Xavier. Your methods are obsolete. The world changed too much while you were gone,” said the Scarlet Witch, “Now the Brotherhood will be the one to make decisions for our kind. Not the X-men.”

“Lucky for you, we’re not without mercy,” said Havok, “Since you’ll be on our turf when the bombs start going off, we’ll give you shelter. You’ll stay with us under a Warlock bunker and witness the beginning of a new fight.”

“I’d rather be locked in a cell with Toad and no air freshener,” said Iceman.

“I don’t care what you’d rather do! This is bigger than the X-men or the Brotherhood. This is a turning point for every mutant on this planet. Since you can’t fight, you’re going to be witnesses. You and everyone else that thought they could fight our battles for us!”

There was burning intent in the tone of Alex Summers. He put the X-men in the same position he had been in all his life. He made it so they had no power to decide their fate. He and the Brotherhood were prepared to drag them into the bunkers if they had to. This time, they would see just how wrong they were.

Just as the Brotherhood seemed ready to serve Xavier his ultimate humiliation, a strange shadow passed over them from above. Before they could look up, a series of metal blades reigned down and struck in the area between Havok and the Professor.

“Hey Brotherhood! Ready for a little air mail?” said the angry voice of Angel.

“I’m assuming you sods did something to piss me off so we can skip the small talk!” said an equally angry Psylocke, who was riding with Angel in his arms.

The Brotherhood was caught completely off guard. Angel swooped down at them at high speeds, leading with his metal wings and using them to ram Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. This sent them tumbling through the dirt, rendering them stunned. Psylocke rolled off as well, landing right behind Pyro and using her psionic blades to sever the fuel lines in his flame thrower. This caused the flames encircling Professor Xavier and the X-men to fade.

“Crikey! Please tell me we prepared for this!” exclaimed Pyro as his flames sputtered out.

“The X-men pulling a few dirty tricks? Isn’t that given?” said Havok, his frustration boiling over.

“Trust me! You’ve never seen a trick like this!” grinned Angel.

Havok tried to fire off an energy burst to take down Angel before he flew around for another attack. His aim was dead on, but he did not expect Angel to counter it so effectively. Using his wings as a shield, he was able to fully deflect the incoming blast. He directed it right towards Quentin Quere, who was preparing for a telepathic attack.

“I swear your brain will-AUGH!” was all Quentin got out before he was hit.

“Ooh, that’ll give him a hell of headache!” grinned Shadowcat.

“Angel. you couldn’t have picked a better time to dust off the old uniform,” said a jubilant Iceman as he and the others emerged from the dying flames.

“I see you worked some metal into your new attire as well,” commented Colossus.

“What? You think you’re the only one who can use metal to kick ass?” he said with newfound confidence.

Angel flew in lower again, causing Havok to stumble back as he fired another round of energy blasts. This gave Psylocke the room she needed to move in use her psionic blades to skillfully slice off the power-inhibiting collars. She started with Professor Xavier, knowing that having the world’s most powerful psychic back at full strength would be a major advantage. Blob seemed to understand this as well and tried to attack.

“Oh no you don’t! You’re not weaseling out of this, X-men!” roared Blob as he charged the two psychics.

“Professor, do you mind?” said Psylocke dryly, “I can smell his breath from here.”

“Now that their psychic is down, this will be considerably easier,” said the Professor.


I know these past few weeks have been hard on X-men fans. Between the events of Death of X and Inhumans vs. X-men, I understand a lot of X-men fans are upset or anxious about the future of the X-men. Well, it’s during these anxious times that I sincerely hope that the X-men Supreme fanfiction series can provide a reprieve of sorts. I want X-men Supreme to be an outlet for X-men fans that want a world where the X-men aren’t killing too many characters off-panel or resorting to time travel to fill the void. I want X-men Supreme to be a simple outlet of quality X-men stories for X-men fans of all types to enjoy.

To ensure that quality, it’s very important that I continue to get feedback. So please take the time to tell me what you think of X-men Supreme and help me make it as awesome as it deserves to be. Either post your comments directly in the issue or contact me directly. Either way is fine. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Xcelsior!

Jack

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Setting Up An Ominous (And Overdue) Conflict: Inhumans vs. X-men #0

The following is my review of Inhumans vs. X-men #0, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


Some epic struggles need no setup or backstory. If the story involves a knight and a dragon, then it's usually fairly clear who must be slayed and who is doing the slaying. There is certainly a need to establish the setting for such a struggle. Sometimes that setting is as big a part of the story as the proverbial dragon-slaying. When it comes to the X-men and the Inhumans, the setting for a conflict is basically a formality at this point.

This is a setup that doesn't need to be belabored. The events of Death of X, as well as the various events that unfolded in the pages of Extraordinary X-men and Uncanny X-men, make it abundantly clear that these two teams are going to try and kill each other at some point. It's just a matter of when, where, in what circumstances, and how unbalanced it's going to be.

Since the conclusion of Secret Wars, the tension between the X-men and Inhumans is anything but balanced. Once side has the benefit of movie rights and an ongoing TV show. The other side's movie rights are being held hostage by a rival company who managed to help Josh Trank ruin his directing career. Logistically speaking, there's no way this conflict can ever be balanced.

Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule have an impossible task with the Inhumans vs. X-men event. With Inhumans vs. X-men #0, they can at least put the pieces in place on the proverbial chessboard. The first shot isn't fired. The first ultimatum isn't issued. Nobody from the X-men or Inhumans even starts trash talking one another on social media. However, the story makes clear that these two teams are on a collision course and Emma Frost has her foot on the gas petal.

In essence, Inhumans vs. X-men #0 is both a setup issue for a larger conflict and an Emma Frost story. It acts as a continuation of the events that unfolded in Death of X. In wake of Cyclops' death, she is the one who carries on the fight that he began. However, this is not one of those conflicts where a few extra hours in the Danger Room and a few team-ups with Deadpool can will equip the X-men for the coming battle.


Emma Frost doesn't try to be Cyclops in this story. She's going to fight his battles, but she's going to do it her way. That means using her wit, her cunning, and her willingness to do immoral things for moral reasons. It's what makes her the White Queen. It's what makes her a dangerous enemy and a questionable ally. Most importantly, though, it helps add some level of balance to the coming conflict.

It's still not balanced by any objective measure, but Emma Frost navigates this narrative in a manner that makes clear this won't be a simple shouting match between Storm and Medusa. This won't be a battle that Black Bolt can end just by whispering either. She gathers allies, makes deals with shady characters, and even trains herself to be ready in case her cunning and deceit just isn't enough. In the grand scheme of things, Emma Frost is the only one in the X-men who is actually prepared for a battle with the Inhumans.

Her story in Inhumans vs. X-men #0 carries the bulk of the dramatic weight and provides most of the substance. The role of the other characters involved, however, aren't quite as engaging. If anything, they reinforce the ongoing imbalance between the X-men and the Inhumans. It gives the ominous impression that one side still has way too many advantages for this to be a fair fight.

Throughout the narrative, the Inhumans carry themselves with an aura of selfish arrogance. They seem less concerned about helping an entire population of innocent mutants and more concerned about the possibility that they might have to fight a larger war with the X-men. They give the impression that they're more worried about being inconvenienced than saving lives. Even without the inherent imbalance between the two sides, it's hard to root for the Inhumans, given how they conduct themselves.

That's not to say the X-men are any easier to root for. Other than Emma Frost, Beast plays a major role in setting up the conflict, albeit indirectly. He's the only other character besides Emma who contributes to the drama, but his story is far less effective. His efforts to work with the Inhumans to resolve this conflict without violence are entirely noble in terms of intentions. Those intentions, however, clash with the unforgiving imbalance between the two sides. He's not the only one realizes that either.


Medusa, the current ruler of the Inhumans, goes so far as to adopt some of Emma Frost's tactics. She also understands that a conflict between the Inhumans and X-men is inevitable and that concerns her far more than any suffering the Terrigen Mists are inflicting. Even if her intentions are ethically suspect, her understanding of the situation is every bit as pragmatic as Emma's. Whether or not she can be as cunning as the former White Queen remains to be seen, but it definitely adds some intrigue to the coming conflict.

Inhumans vs. X-men #0 does succeed, albeit in a limited capacity, in creating some compelling stakes for the coming conflict. Both sides are preparing. Neither side wants to be caught off-guard. However, the issues that manifested in Death of X remain.

There are still inconsistencies between the events surrounding this conflict and the events that have unfolded in other X-books since Secret Wars. The strange and unwarranted hatred of Cyclops that seemed to fuel the X-men's narrative remains unexplained, which makes the conflict and the setup surrounding it feel incomplete and lacking in context.

In addition, characters not named Emma Frost do little to stand out. As a result, the impact of Inhumans vs. X-men #0 doesn't offer anything novel or groundbreaking. It just reinforces the inevitability and imbalance of a clash between the X-men and the Inhumans. One is poised to thrive. One is poised to die. One has Marvel's unconditional support with movie rights. One remains stuck under the thumb of Rupert Murdoch. At this point, it a sentiment that need not be reinforced.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Incomplete Moments With Shallow Revelations: Death of X #4

The following is my review of Death of X #4, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


If a fight is rigged and rigged well, then it's usually hard to tell which side has the advantage. Those fights can be quite entertaining, as the success of WWE wrestling routinely demonstrates.  When the rigging is too obvious though, the entertainment value suffers. It's just not very fun or interesting when it's easy to tell who is getting an extra shot of Hulk blood on the side.

This is the biggest flaw in the Death of X narrative. It isn't a passionate disagreement between Iron Man and Captain America over methods for administering justice. It's a cage match between one side that has the unconditional backing of Disney's lawyers and another that remains under the boot of a rival company. The X-men and the Inhumans are not on a level playing field and haven't been since Marvel Studios began churning out billion-dollar blockbusters on a regular basis.

This means there's little to no suspense in the outcome of Death of X #4. It's a foregone conclusion that the X-men will lose, the Inhumans will come out on top, and the lawyers negotiating movie rights will keep getting billed by the hour. It gives Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire a poor foundation to build on, but it's a foundation that can still fill in some unresolved issues. They just have to build carefully because they don't want to give the X-men more reasons to resort to clones and time travel.

There's a genuine effort to extract every ounce of drama from this final issue, but there's not much worth extracting here. There's a distinct absence of detail and polish to the overall story. It does not complete the narrative that began in the first issue, nor does it fill in the blanks left by the various X-men titles that spun out of Secret Wars. There is some intrigue. There are some heated, passionate moments. It doesn't fall flat, but it does feel distinctly incomplete.

If there is a defining moment in Death of X #4, it manifests during the confrontation between Cyclops and the Inhumans royal family. This moment feels very much like a trailer of sorts, complete with ominous warnings and angry pleas. The trailer may lack the star power of Hugh Jackman or Sir Patrick Stewart, but it effectively ensures that there will be a war between the Inhumans and the X-men. It's not just inevitable at this point. It's overdue.


While this moment is vital in giving Death of X #4 the necessary impact, it's pretty much the only moment that's memorable or impactful in any way. Every other moment throughout the narrative is either lacking in substance or devoid of style. There's little else in terms of drama. None of that drama feels like an emotional gut punch either. For a comic where a major character dies, that's pretty telling.

It's also the most frustrating aspect about Death of X #4 and the X-men comics as a whole since Secret Wars. The lack of drama and the lack of details ensures this story adds little context to the overall narrative surrounding the X-men. Much of that narrative is crafted around this idea that Cyclops did something so horrific and so despicable that it would make James Marsden violently ill if someone said it out loud. That idea, however, becomes exceedingly complicated here.

It's not just because Soule and Lemire try to throw in a twist at the end that effectively ensures that Cyclops can die with some credibility intact. It's also because the sequence of events that unfold throughout Death of X do little to warrant such an idea. There's no overt atrocity here. Cyclops doesn't suddenly become Thanos, Victor Von Doom, or whoever canceled the last X-men cartoon. He does what he and the X-men always do and tries to protect innocent mutants.

Now this does draw the ire of the Inhuman royal family for reasons that are understandable, albeit petty. However, it's worth emphasizing here that what Cyclops does, be it overt or indirect, can't qualify as an atrocity. He doesn't kill anyone. He doesn't destroy anything. He doesn't even make a joke about Medusa's hair. There really is nothing here that warrants the hatred and disdain that is so prominent in the current X-men comics.

If there are any unforeseen consequences to Cyclops' actions, they aren't revealed. They aren't even hinted at. What Cyclops does simply prevents a cloud of Terrigen Mist from descending upon a populated area and killing every innocent mutant in its path. No human or Inhuman dies as a result. In fact, only one other person dies and that person dies willingly in a heroic sacrifice that the Inhuman royal family tried to prevent.


In terms of a balanced, albeit rigged, conflict, the entertainment value really suffers here. Death of X does little to create even the illusion of balance between mutants and Inhumans. If anything, it only shows that the Inhuman royal family is disturbingly comfortable letting an entire minority suffer horribly so their race can propagate. While Cyclops did make clear to them that he was just as comfortable letting the Inhumans stagnate, there's little effort to have a passionate, balanced discussion.

In terms of the bigger picture surrounding the X-men/Inhuman conflict, Death of X #4 has too many blanks to fill and not nearly enough ink to make a concerted effort. It does what it can, but not much else. There is a sense of rhythm and flow to the narrative. It never becomes too chaotic and it avoids completely denigrating certain characters, although there will likely be a certain segment of fans that will passionately disagree on message boards. There is a sense that this story is part of a much larger narrative that has yet to unfold.

Death of X #4 doesn't read like the end of an event so it's not going to check every box before the final page. While it manages to be coherent and revealing in some respects, it still comes off as woefully incomplete. If it were a school project, it couldn't be adequately graded because it doesn't present a finished product. This may be okay for a movie trailer, but for a complete story that kills off one of the most iconic X-men in history, it's not even close to being enough.

Final Score: 4 out of 10

Friday, November 25, 2016

The New Red Queen Chapter 4: Jackpots and Dreams is LIVE!

There was once a time when I really rooted for Peter Parker. That has always been part of his appeal. He was crafted as one of those guys you just want to see succeed. He’s always an underdog, getting screwed over at every turn, but still finding a way to fight through. I certainly embraced that appeal. I certainly rooted for him for many years in the comics, cartoons, and movies.

In many respects, this helped make his relationship with Mary Jane Watson so meaningful. After all his struggles and shitty luck, he manages to fall in love with a sexy, charismatic supermodel. It isn’t just that he deserves her. He fucking earned this woman’s love and she fights tooth and nail to cherish it. That’s what made their relationship so strong and endearing. That’s why it ranked as one of my favorite comic book romances for many years.

Sadly, we all know how this iconic relationship ended. We also know how Spider-Man’s story played out after. I could spend a dozen or so blog posts ranting about all the reasons why Peter Parker is total fucking asshat now, but I’ll save that for another time. The point is that it’s just too damn hard to root for Peter Parker. The man now just feels like a glorified man-child who screws himself over so the universe doesn’t have to. That’s not someone you root for. That’s someone you pity.

I still haven’t forgotten about that version of Peter Parker that I so eagerly rooted for. With the recent release of Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, I’ve gotten a powerful reminder of just how lovable someone like Peter can be. As such, I’m doing my best to capture that lovability in The New Red Queen, all while making Mary Jane Watson sexy as hell. Then again, it’s not like you need to try too hard to make Mary Jane that sexy.


This story continues to exceed my expectation in terms of feedback. I’m still amazed at just how many people enjoy reading about an overtly sexy Mary Jane, but then again maybe I shouldn’t. The past few chapters have given Mary Jane some opportunities to flaunt her sex appeal, as only she can. The final chapters will give Peter Parker a chance to participate. Also, expect Emma Frost to contribute as well. That’s a lot of sex appeal in one story, but there can never be too much in a story with Mary Jane Watson. This next chapter should make that abundantly clear.


This latest sexy side-project of mine is almost complete. Again, I’m really amazed and honored that it’s gotten such a great response. I really do appreciate it. I’m certainly open to crafting another spin-off, but I want to first make sure that this story ends in as awesome and sexy a way possible. As always, please take the time to write me or comment. I’m certainly happy to chat, especially about the sexiness of Mary Jane Watson and Emma Frost. Nuff said!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Death of X #4: Nuff Said!

Well, it's here. The (unofficial) final review of nuff said. I've been looking at it the same way a cow looks at an oncoming train. I know it's coming. I know it's close. I'm just too bloated with hormones, illegal chemicals, and fatty foods to give enough shits. I want to say it's fitting that a series called Death of X is the final review for nuff said. However, with a title like Death of X, it's only fitting in the same way that a colonoscopy is a fitting way to end taco eating contest.

This is it. This is where we find out what the fuck Cyclops did that made him more hated than Chuck Austin, Brett Ratner, and the assholes that canceled Wolverine and the X-men after just one season. We know he's trying to stop the big green fart cloud that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners refuse to do jack shit about. We know he's trying to save his species from extinction and sterilization yet again after having already gone through that shit before. At this point, who can blame him for losing his fucking mind and going evil?

It's still a big fucking blank to fill into just one issue. Death of X #4 has a fuckton of questions to answer if the events of Extraordinary X-men, Uncanny X-men, and All-New X-men are to make half a piece of dog shit worth of sense. I'm skeptical that it can do this in a way that won't piss off X-men fans, Cyclops fans, and fans of anything that actually makes sense. This being my last review for nuff said, I'll either have to be extra drunk or extra sober to get through it.


I get the feeling that Storm could use a few shots of bourbon on her end because she now has to contend with a determined and pissed off Magneto. She, and everyone else in the entire fucking Marvel universe, should know by now that he's not a fan of genocide by toxic gas. That shit is kind of a sensitive issue for him. Even those on the alt-right wouldn't push his buttons when there's a big green mutant-killing cloud on the loose.

He effectively ends the little spat between the X-men and the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners in Madrid. He doesn't kill or maim anyone, which for Magneto requires a level of self-restraint that would allow a guy like me to walk through a whiskey distillery and come out sober. Crystal and her genocide-enabling people better fucking count their blessings. The fact they have intact assholes in this situation should make them want to go out and buy an extra lotto ticket.


With Crystal's crew of Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners neutralized, Cyclops and his team go to work stopping the big green cloud of death that's going to maim countless innocent mutants. Yet somehow, he's going to become the monster? No, it still doesn't make sense and spoiler alert, it's not going to no matter how much weed you smoke. If you have some though, fill your bong because you're going to need it.

Cyclops' plan doesn't involve genocide, bloodshed, or anything that may make Wolverine horny. It involves using Alchemy, the nerdy D-list mutant he recruited in the last issue, to turn the big green fart cloud into something that won't horribly maim innocent mutants. For some reason, the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners don't like the idea of their big green fart cloud NOT killing innocent mutants so they shoot him right out of the sky before he can read the cloud. Yes, a team of super-powered racist, xenophobic, slave-owners is pro-genocide and Marvel wants to give them a fucking TV show. Even the most bigoted neo-Nazi skin-head would be paralyzed by the WTF on display here.


However, an attack by a group of racist, xenophobic slave-owners who are okay with the idea of gassing an entire minority to death has never stopped the X-men before. Cyclops manages to find Alchemy, who now has a broken arm and no whiskey to dull the pain. He then gives him the kind of pep talk that would make high school football coaches envious, which helps Alchemy's balls grow ten times bigger so he can get another shot at giving a big middle finger to the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. If I were a woman, I'd have jumped Alchemy's bone on the spot.

The Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are decidedly less horny. They somehow think in their racist, xenophobic, slave-owning minds that they've won. They've saved their big green fart cloud of mutant-killing death. They're fucking wrong. With Sunfire's help, Alchemy gets another shot. I assume he gave them all the finger somewhere along the way.


With help from Magik and the Stepford Cuckoos, the royal family of Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners remains distracted. They can't take Alchemy down this time. Instead, he makes it into the big green fart cloud and uses his powers to turn it into a big red fart cloud, but it's a cloud that doesn't kill or maim anyone. To the rest of the non-racist, xenophobic, slave-owning population of the planet, that's a good thing. To the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners, it may as well be one big kick in the dick. Now I'd definitely jump Alchemy's bone, even if I'm not a woman.


Unfortunately, Alchemy isn't very bonable after this stunt. After turning the big green fart cloud into a harmless red fart cloud, he returns just in time to find out he's now dying of M-pox. That means he sacrificed himself to stop a big cloud of mutant-killing death. That's objectively awesome on every level. Again, this a D-list X-men character who hasn't been relevant since the Regan administration and he just gave the finger to the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners.

This issue is to Alchemy what the Dark Phoenix Saga is to Jean Grey. He sacrifices himself to save countless innocents. Alchemy, you are a true hero. May the next life be filled with endless pools of whiskey and endless hordes of naked Emma Frost clones. You've earned it.


It's a true hero's end for Alchemy. For Cyclops, however, it's not so noble, but it's every bit as heroic. He calls out the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners and the royal family responds. They're still shocked and appalled that someone would stop their big green fart cloud from maiming innocent mutants. I guess genocide and the suffering of minorities is important to the culture of the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. Even the most ardent Bernie Sanders supporter would call bullshit on this and so does Cyclops.

The Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners do and say nothing to justify their bullshit. They still act all appalled and offended that someone would dare to stop their big green fart cloud from killing innocent mutants. Cyclops boldly confronts them, flexes his nuts, presumably makes the red-headed Medusa extremely horny, and tells the royal family to fuck off. He makes clear that he's going to keep fighting these big green fart clouds of mutant-killing mayhem and if they don't like it, then they and their shitty movie rights can just go fuck themselves.

Naturally, the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners' first instinct is to just kill him. Yes, that's how Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners solve problems. They kill those who want to stop an ongoing genocide. Hell, even racist skin-heads have the decency to just beat the shit out of minorities and say shitty things on message boards. For the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners, they don't even try to see things from Cyclops' side. They just let Black Bolt kill Cyclops so their big green fart clouds can continue maiming mutants.

Cyclops doesn't do anything to fight back. He just lets it happen. He doesn't really need to do anything. He claims that he's not just a leader now. He's an idea. He's an idea that inspires mutants and makes beautiful telepathic women horny. That idea can't die, no matter how much Black Bolt whines about it. It's one last epic middle finger that should make all the telpepaths, blondes, and redheads both proud and horny. It may be a somewhat inglorious way for Cyclops to die, but he dies giving the finger to Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. That means he dies with a hell of a boner.


A week later, the shit storm is settled. The big green mutant-killing fart clouds are still out there and the X-men bury their leader. There's a small ceremony on Muir Island. They even have the decency to give Cyclops a gravestone. Nobody spits on that gravestone though. Nobody shows any of the vehement Cyclops hatred we've seen in the post-Secret Wars X-men comics. It's almost like Cyclops didn't do anything that shitty. He just tried to destroy a mutant-killing gas cloud. So how the fuck is he now the most hated mutant that didn't appear in the Wolverine Origins movie?

That's not just a drunken remark. That's an honest fucking question and it's a question that doesn't get answered. That's a big fucking deal too because that means all this Cyclops-hatred that fueled so many shit storms still makes no fucking sense. It also means that everybody just agreed to let the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners keep their mutant-killing gas cloud. They're all suddenly okay with mutant genocide and yet Cyclops is the asshole? Seriously, what the everloving fuck?


Still confused? Well sit back and tuck your nuts in people because it's about to get even more fucked up. Remember all the nut-flexing and bravado that Cyclops had been demonstrating for the past few issues? Well, it turns out that Cyclops isn't the one doing the flexing. In fact, he was never even in a position to. Instead, that shit was all an illusion. I'm not talking about a David Blain/David Copperfield type of illusion that makes people pay several hundred bucks for a glorified stage show. I'm talking about a real actual mass delusion the likes of which would give British tabloids multiple orgasms.

Emma Frost, right after Cyclops' funeral no less, meets up with Havok, who was apparently too busy to participate in stopping mutant genocide. She reveals that Cyclops did pretty much none of the shit that has transpired in this series. He actually died in the first issue the second he entered Muir Island. There was no epic sacrifice. There was no final message from Jean Grey. He just took a whiff of the big Inhuman fart cloud and died. That's it. It's as inglorious and unfitting as it sounds.


Naturally, Emma Frost had a big fucking problem with this. She let this man see her naked without paying, damn it. He deserves better than that. So with the help of the Stepford Cuckoos, she projected a psychic image of Cyclops and that image is the one that did all the crazy shit that everyone in the world hates him for, even though there's no fucking reason given for that hatred. Even if there was, it still wouldn't be warranted because Cyclops still didn't do anything. He just went to Muir Island looking to help mutants and died, all because the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners didn't know their big fucking fart cloud maimed innocent mutants.

It's a big fucking blow to Emma Frost. Even though they broke up, she still makes clear that she cares about Cyclops more than she does most men who see her naked. The idea that an ex-lover of her's dies and it has nothing to do with her being pissed off and vindictive really fucks with her. She knows better than most that Cyclops is the only X-man with the balls to lead mutants against pro-genocide racist xenophobic slave-owners. Hell, she's probably licked them so she knows their power. Now, he's dead and she has to have the biggest balls in the X-men from now on. I guess she accepts that challenge.


It still makes for an unsatisfying, callous end for Cyclops. He doesn't die fighting to save his people. He dies because of some big green fart cloud. It's the kind of end that seriously fucks with Emma Frost's head because now she's intent on carrying on this idea she's created. She makes clear that without Cyclops, someone needs to have the balls to take on the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners and their big green fart cloud. It might as well be her. She knows how to bust balls. Now, she gets to flex them. In that sense, the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are truly fucked in the long run. It's one thing to kill Cyclops and protect mutant-killing fart clouds. It's quite another to piss off Emma Frost.


So...is it awesome?

Short answer? Not really. Shorter answer. Not fucking close. Is it terrible? Well, that actually requires a longer answer because I can't just spit out my whiskey and say fuck yes. Even at my most drunk, that wouldn't recognize the full context of the story here. I can't say Death of X #4 is fucking awful because it isn't. It doesn't horribly butcher Cyclops' character like it promised. Hell, it makes him a victim of shitty luck, which is kind of appropriate for the guy who was lucky enough to see Emma Frost and Jean Grey naked in his lifetime.

Even if Cyclops doesn't go down in history as the worst thing to happen to the X-men since Chuck Austin and Brett Ratner, Death of X #4 is still an incomplete issue at best. It does set the stage for a future clash between the X-men and the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. It even raises the personal stakes of that clash. It just doesn't fill in enough blanks in a satisfying way. Like a porn star using a dildo that's too small and doesn't vibrate, it just doesn't get the job done.

It doesn't shit all over the job and light it on fire either. These days, that's the best the X-men can hope for. Death of X #4's biggest shortcoming is that it doesn't give a damn good reason for why Cyclops is so hated. He didn't kill anybody. He did cause panic, but he didn't kill anyone. Hell, he wasn't even in a position to kill anyone. None of his fellow X-men came out and spit on his grave. Nobody was so disgusted by what he did that they wanted to vomit violently into the nearest trash can. All he did was turn a big green fart cloud into this creepy red mist. The worst he did was make it too easy to film a shitty horror movie.

Death of X #4 isn't going to traumatize X-men fans, but it's not going to get anyone's heart racing like the death of Jean Grey, the death of Charles Xavier, or the realization that X3 is officially retconned now. It is going to confuse the fuck out of many of them. It's also going to annoy the fuck out of Emma Frost fans and make the Cyclops-hating shit show that emerged after Secret Wars all the more confusing. Then again, if that's the worst that X-men fans have to endure these days, then that in and of itself is a win.

Final Score: 4 out of 10

PS: I really wish I could make my last profanity-laced, drunken rant of a review more uplifting. At the very least, it's not overly depressing, but I still feel like this is a good way to cap this off. I've enjoyed writing these reviews and I hope you've all enjoyed reading them, hopefully while both drunk and sober. Thanks again to everybody who supported my drunken ramblings. From the bottom of my failing heart, I thank you. Nuff said!