Monday, September 26, 2016

New Sexy Side-Project: The New Red Queen

Summer is over. Beaches are empty. Christmas decorations are already popping up in malls. I know. I’m dreading it too. It’s going to get cold again. That means lying naked on my porch, reading comics and soaking up sun, is going to be a lot harder now and not just because the neighbors keep complaining. I’ve always found that it’s easier to have fun when you have the option of taking clothes off. Winter hinders that considerably. For that reason, the time is perfect for another one of my sexy side-projects.

It’s been a while since I’ve done something overly sexy. With the end of Broken Legacy, I’ve had time to flesh out an idea that I hoped to get around to at some point. A while back, I swallowed my current disdain for Peter Parker and wrote a Spider-Man story called “Spider-Man and the Prostitute.” This story basically centered around a few very important tweaks to Spider-Man’s life, namely the life that Mary Jane Watson lived. In case you’ve forgotten, Mary Jane Watson looks like this.


You may have forgotten, but I promise your penis didn’t. For reasons that should be extremely obvious to those with a functioning penis, Mary Jane’s story tends to be more compelling than Peter Parker’s. She looks better in skin-tight outfits, she has more personality, and she doesn’t threaten to quit her job every other week. I took those traits and crafted a new backstory for her, namely one that led her into a life of prostitution. It’s not “Pretty Woman.” It’s not a bad reality show on VH1 either. It’s just a story that allows Mary Jane to be sexy as hell, as she deserves to be.

I got such a good response from that story that I’ve decided to do a sequel. I actually had an idea for a sequel before the first story was even finished. It came when I was developing Mary Jane’s alternate history in this story. I mentioned, at one point, that she worked as a stripper at the Hellfire Club. In case you or your penis have forgotten, that’s the same Hellfire Club where Emma Frost once worked and Emma Frost looks like this.

I’ll give everyone a minute to change their underwear. Done? Well, I’m going to dig a little deeper into that story because as sexy as Mary Jane Watson is, her sexiness can only be enhanced with Emma Frost. There aren’t many women who can come close to matching her. Emma Frost is among those few.

So with that, I’m proud to announce the official sequel to “Spider-Man and the Prostitute.” Just as before, this will be a multi-part series. It takes place shortly after the events of the first story, but there will be plenty of flashbacks along the way that should offer more insight. I’ll try to make sure that insight is sexy as hell. Since it’s going to get cold out soon, I think the timing couldn’t be better.


Just like the last story, this isn’t going to be one of those stories that involves Spider-Man fighting the Green Goblin or any shit like that. This story is a sexy side project. That means it’ll emphasize the sexiness in all sorts of ways that aren’t suitable for children or anyone who still watches the shitty cartoons that Disney still airs. If you’re at all offended or uncomfortable with that, then this isn’t for you. You’ll just have to find other ways of staying warm this winter. For everyone else, I hope the extra sexiness warms you up!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Uncanny X-men #13: Nuff Said!

When villains become heroes and heroes become villains, it doesn't always mean the Scarlet Witch got drunk on chaos magic again and inverted everybody. It can also mean that a situation is now so utterly fucked that we can't help but cheer for villains to some extent. For the X-men, who rely heavily on sterilization, time travel, and alternate universes to hold themselves together, I'd say they're fifteen steps past fucked.

That's why I think people are ready to actually root for the Hellfire Club. For once, it won't just be the pro-orgy, pro-corruption, pro-Victorian fashion enthusiasts who will be cheering. The world is basically giving a big middle finger to the mutant race. The Hellfire Club is poised to do the same and get laid in the process. Who wouldn't respect that? They've been operating behind the scenes since Uncanny X-men began under Cullen Bunn. In Uncanny X-men #13, he's finally getting around to digging a little deeper. I'm expecting plenty of orgy and wine to be mixed in. Bet you're not going to get that shit on New Attilan.


Other than orgies and wine, the X-men do show that they can work with the Hellfire Club when corrupt companies and Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are involved. Together, they launch an attack on an oil rig run by the Someday Corporation, the overly shady motherfuckers from the first arc of this series that claimed to help mutants by letting them sleep through this latest shit storm. They suspect that a company that puts mutants in comas may have a less noble agenda. That's like saying Mel Gibson may have an anger management problem.

In the least surprising development since Adam Sandler failed to get nominated for an Oscar, the X-men and their orgy-loving allies are attacked on the rig by a team of weaponized mutants. This makes for some heavy action, complete with some nice little insight from Psylocke, who is basically the one getting most pissed off by this team-up. Seeing that she's on a team with Sabretooth, that's saying something.


It's a fun, gritty battle that's perfectly in line with the battles Magneto's team has fought throughout this series. With the Hellfire Club involved, it becomes even more appropriate. However, they all do keep their clothes on during the fight so maybe there's still room for improvement.

It's not just mindless slap-fighting either. There is a strategy involved here. That strategy involves Mystique doing some sneaky shit behind the scene and being sexy as hell while doing it. That's a damn good strategy by default. It involves singling out one weaponized mutant, sedating him, and letting Arcangel carry him off. I don't know the merit of that strategy, but Mystique is involved so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt. Well, that and my penis won't let me do otherwise.


The battle intensifies. The X-men and their new orgy-loving buddies are surrounded. Shit is going south faster than a constipated horse with food poisoning. Then, one of the weaponized mutants gets a psychic message and they leave. It's ominous and vague as fuck, but that's what happens. They just up and leave.

Is it a somewhat disappointing way to end a gritty, visceral clash between X-men and weaponized mutants? Yes, to some degree it is. However, it doesn't come off as completely meaningless because Mystique still succeeds with her strategy. Either the Someday Corporation is just trolling them or they have a strategy of their own. If it leads to Mystique being sneaky and sexy as hell, then I'm all for it.


Once all the weaponized mutants are gone, they enter the belly of the rig and find the same disturbing shit they've found before with Someday. They have mutants in statis tubes, hoping they'll wake up in a future where mutants aren't sterilized, heroes aren't fighting one another, and every hooker looks like Emma Frost. That's probably hoping for way too fucking much, but I can't say I blame them for wanting to sit this shit out.

Again, there's no big surprises here. These people weaponize mutants. Anyone who thinks they're being entirely honest with their business probably buys diet pills from Dr. Oz. Psylocke finds out there's some mind-fucking going on with these mutants and not the fun kind that the Hellfire Club probably enjoys every other Tuesday. Nobody looks surprised, nor should they be. They just know for certain now that more people need to have their heads bashed in.


They return to the Hellfire Club, which also happens to have a research lab that may or may not also act as a porno set. There's more curious insight from Psylocke, whose attitudes towards the Hellfire Club are skeptical at best. I'm sure she doesn't trust any organization that thinks lingerie is a suitable uniform. Then again, she has been on teams with Emma Frost so maybe she's not one to talk.

She remains less focused on those who enjoy one too many orgies and more on the mind-fucking that the Someday Corporation is pulling. She dips into the mind of the mutant they captured from the rig. She finds out he's from Mongolia and his life as a mutant really sucks donkey balls, which is fairly typical in any world where Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners get preferential treatment. He jumps at the chance to find sanctuary with Someday for reasons that are entirely understandable. Even so, he had to know on some levels that they were going to screw him over. It's like getting a loan from Tony Soprano. Somebody is going to break some bones at some point.

It leads to a flashy psychic journey into the mind of an ordinary mutant who doesn't want to be an X-man or live in a world where it sucks this much for mutants. It's a rare insight into the mutant population that gets glossed over/screwed over in X-men comics too often. Having Psylocke enter a mind, wielding her classic costume, and uncovering a painful psychic presence is just a nice bonus that moves the story forward.


Mystique may not share Psylocke's psychic gifts, but she's every bit as good at doing her job and looking sexy as hell in the process. She still has her own strategy and it involves doing what she does best, infiltrating a shady organization and finding ways to screw them over in ways they won't enjoy. It's a beautiful thing. It helped make Jennifer Lawrence's career. I always get a little emotional seeing it.

She's not nearly as charming as Jennifer Lawrence this time around. She gets in, she fights a few guards, and snaps a few necks. That's pretty much Mystique on a Monday. Once she's in, she takes the form of one of the mutant weapons and does a little digging. She ends up finding a surgery center that probably isn't just doing cheap boob jobs. Historically, surgery and mutants are like napalm and meth labs. It's bad combination.


It's also usually a bad combination to have a powerful telepath in the mind of a disturbed mutant. It only helps when one of those telepaths is sexy as hell. The sexiness, however, doesn't protect Psylocke from a little psychic trap. While in the mind of the hapless mutant who just wanted to sleep through this shit storm, she finds out the mind-fucking began shortly after they put him into stasis. That's right. Someday didn't even let him dream about a future where Jean Grey is President, Charles Xavier is the Pope, and Wolverine is Secretary of Whiskey. They just go right to mind-fucking him. Even the folks at Halliburton would say that's cold.


It's painful. It's disturbing. It's also flashy as hell, as are most psychic battles. As Psylocke is trying to dig through this unlucky mutant's mind, Mystique is snapping more necks. She doesn't like being left behind of course she's going to overcompensate. It's part of what makes her so skilled and sexy. She tries fighting off the asshats in the surgery room while Psylocke tries to find the source of the mind-fucking. It gets a little chaotic and a little confusing, as do most things that involve mind battles and shape shifters. Again, it helps when the characters involved are sexy as hell so at least there's entertainment value.


In the end, it's Mystique who uncovers the source of the mind-fucking. She's competitive. She's not going to let a purple-haired ninja beat her to the punch. That's what makes her so damn good at her job. However, she may regret being so damn good because the source of the mind-fucking isn't someone whose neck is easily snapped. It's Exodus.

Remember this asshole? He's powerful. He's mean. He looks like he lost one too many fights with a tanning both. He's also a powerful psychic and someone who actively looks for excuses to piss off the X-men. His presence is intriguing in that it exposes some secrets about the Someday Corporation. It also hints that there may be another battle between X-men and Exodus. I guess it beats the hell out of them fighting other heroes for once.


So...is it awesome?

I guess that depends on how intrigued you are on any story that involves Exodus mind-fucking people. Personally, I find that shit pretty damn intriguing. Magneto is no boy scout, but Exodus is right up there with tobacco lobbyists and traffic cops in terms of being an asshole. Cullen Bunn has been weaving all sorts of vague mysteries surrounding the Someday Corporation since Uncanny X-men began. I took 13 issues, but we finally have some answers and I can now say it was worth the wait.

Like a slow-burning candle that fills a room with the scent of peppermint and chocolate, Uncanny X-men #13 took a while to get noticeably awesome. It drags at times and gets a little disorganized. However, it still finds a way to make your asshole clench for all the right reasons. It also gives you a damn good reason to pick up the next issue. For the good of the series and the good of Disney's accountants, that's a win in my book.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Infighting With Underdogs: Civil War II: X-men #4

The following is my review of Civil War II: X-men #4, which was posted on PopMatters.com.


A balanced conflict goes a long ways towards crafting a compelling narrative. While it is possible for an arm-wrestling context between the Hulk and Howard the Duck to be entertaining, it's not a struggle that's going to be all that interesting. Civil War II goes to great lengths to create a conflict in which the divisions between characters are genuine, understandable, and intriguing. It's as balanced as any conflict can be and it doesn't even need time travel, magic, or deals with Mephisto.

Creating a balanced conflict in Civil War II: X-men is already a challenge. Before Civil War II even begins, the X-men and the entire mutant race are stuck playing a rigged game while handicapped. They're on the brink of extinction yet again. They're despised, sterilized, and a good chunk of their top characters are either dead, time displaced, or holdovers from an apocalyptic universe. Even by underdog standards, the X-men are depleted in terms of what they can bring to a conflict.

This makes the tone of Civil War II: X-men so distinct compared to other tie-ins. The X-men already lost one war against the Inhumans. Now, they have Ulysses, whose precognition powers may as well be cheat codes. Cullen Bunn goes to great lengths drawing the lines between the X-men, crafting some level of balance between those who want to work with the Inhumans and those who feel they have one too many advantages at this point. Civil War II: X-men #4 maintains that balance for the most part, but doesn't take it far enough.

There's nothing elaborate or subtle about the narrative. This final clash between Magneto's team and Storm's team is effectively streamlined into a single, simple clash. It's light on drama, but solid on details. Andrea Broccardo's art makes this clash visually engaging and well-organized. Mutant battles tend to get chaotic, but since this one doesn't involve time travelers, it's a lot easier to follow.


While the infighting makes up the bulk of the story, it's Magneto who gives the narrative some personal dimensions. More than any other character in this tie-in, he establishes himself as a hardened realist. He now operates on a level that's several steps beyond the debate between his vision and Charles Xavier's dream. He sees the mutant issue as a struggle for survival now and the Inhumans are actively undermining that survival. Giving them an advantage at this point would be tantamount to running up the score.

This emphasis on survival and fighting those who undermine it isn't knew for Magneto. What Civil War II: X-men #4 does is frame it in a new context, one that makes the infighting among the X-men feel somewhat misguided. In this context, Magneto's approach is actually more understandable than Storm's in a backwards sort of way.

Storm wants to work with the Inhumans just like Charles Xavier wanted to work with the human race. However, the conflict with the Inhumans is a bit more specific. A cloud that they unleashed is killing an entire race and they refuse to do anything about it. Working with them has produced little to no tangible results. This makes Storm's efforts to coordinate with them seem misguided. Her heart is in the right place, as it often is, but it disrupts the fragile balance of the conflict that makes the Civil War II narrative work.

This balance is somewhat restored once Magneto gets a chance to interact with Ulysses. This ends up being far more meaningful than any interaction he could have with Storm. The discussion they share is significant in that it forces Magneto to re-evaluate his tactics. However, this meaningful interaction ends up leading to a bland and inconsequential conclusion.


There aren't any meaningful changes that emerge from this clash between Magneto's team and Storm's team. Once Magneto meets Ulysses, the battle just ends. There are no major scars. There are no serious injuries that can't be treated with off-panel magic and bed rest. There aren't even any major consequences to lies, betrayals, and deception. The characters just shrug it off, as though it happens every other week.

What makes this outcome somewhat palatable is the context behind it. Magneto, being a cold and callous pragmatist at heart, sees how this conflict will play out and quite literally. The only way to make sure that he's in a position to protect his people and take on the Inhumans again down the line is to just swallow his pride and leave. It's an inglorious way to end a conflict, but it's perfectly in line with who Magneto is and why he does what he does.

That's not to say there isn't some kind of meaningful impact in Civil War II: X-men #4. It does add more bricks to the foundation on which the X-men and Inhumans will clash down the line. It also supplements some of the ongoing tensions within the teams, such as Magneto and Psylocke. These bits and pieces of progress aren't enough to give the overall story enough weight. It still feels like an overblown round of infighting that doesn't amount to much.

In the ongoing debate between aiding the Inhumans and fighting them, the balance may very well be too fragile to function. Civil War II: X-men #4 only reinforces the inevitability of another clash between these two teams. It also further proves that such a clash may not be a balanced one. At the end of the day, one side still has its movie rights. The other is tied up with another studio. Even with X-men being the ultimate underdogs, it doesn't feel like a fight that'll benefit them in any way.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

All-New Wolverine #12: Nuff Said!

I don't get emotionally worked up easy, at least not while in a sober state of mind. Get a few beers and joints in me and I'll hug you like you're my long-lost sibling. So when a comic comes along that kicks me right in the feels, I'm pretty damn impressed. Tom Taylor managed to do that with All-New Wolverine and not just because it has a pet wolverine, an adorable clone girl named Gabby, and X-23 flying a jet pack naked. He just delivered an emotional gut-punch at the end of All-New Wolverine #11 with Old Man Logan stabbing gabby. Now, my gut is ripe as fuck in anticipation for All-New Wolverine #12. I'm bracing myself, but for all the right reasons.


A quick flash to Old Man Logan's dystopian shit storm of a future makes my asshole clench that much harder. He establishes very clearly that he hates Gabby. He hates her the same way I hate parking tickets and non-alcoholic beer. He hates her so much that he kicks over her grave, spits on it, and encourages the world to do the same. Even by Wolverine standards, that's cold.

At the very least, it provides some context to the emotional gut punch we got at the end of the previous issue. Old Man Logan hates Gabby and for reasons that are only partially clear, he's eager to take her out of the equation, so much so that he'll do it with a goddamn smile if he could. It adds the kind of dramatic weight to the story that has helped make this series so awesome. The fact Tom Taylor does it without a pet wolverine makes it all the more astonishing.


Back in the present, the feels from that emotional gut punch still sting like a bitch. Unless you're overdosing on anti-depressants or have a severe personality disorder, seeing X-23 hold Gabby's body will create a lump in anyone's throat for all the right reasons. All the while, Captain America worries more about the hapless SHIELD agents who Old Man Logan roughed up. That's right. He's more concerned with the well-being of SHIELD agents than that of a young mutant girl who just got stabbed. That, my friends, tells you everything you need to know about how Marvel sees mutants these days.


Naturally, X-23 is several different kinds of pissed off. It's not enough a couple of dip-shit burglars shot Jonathan the Wolverine a few issues back. Now, her adorable clone sister got stabbed by a grumpy alternate version of her father. There are bad days, shitty days, and then there's this. When we have days like this, we're perfectly entitled to stab anything within a 50 foot radius.

At least X-23 knows how to channel her anger appropriately, which sets her apart from 95 percent of every teenage girl I've ever known. If she's going to stab anyone, it's going to be Old Man Logan. There's a few more heartfelt moments with X-23 and Gabby, which should make that lump in your throat feel like a fucking coconut at this point, and then X-23 runs off after Old Man Logan. He stabs her clone sister. She makes his present way more dystopian than any shitty future he comes from. That's just how it works.


With help from Maria Hill, a phrase that rarely ends without someone getting shot or stabbed, X-23 tracks Old Man Logan into the nearby sewer system. He's a grumpy old fuck who has been shot with enough tranquilizers to give Ozzy Osborn a mild buzz so he doesn't get far. This means less searching and more X-23 beating the living shit out of him.

This is where David Lopez gives us one of the most satisfying scenes of this series to date, at least the one that doesn't involve Jonathan the Wolverine or X-23 flying around on a jet pack naked. It's X-23 vs. Old Man Logan. Any chance they had at a meaningful relationship is pretty much shot to shit and pissed on for good measure. It's angry. It's brutal. It's visceral. It's dramatic. In other words, it's everything that makes a Wolverine battle awesome, minus sexy redheads and Japanese hookers.


As this epic stab-fest is unfolding, things are more solemn on the surface. Captain America is prepared to fit Gabby with a toe tag and send her off to wherever SHIELD stacks the mounting pile of mutant bodies. Then, just when that lump in your throat is about to take a baseball bat to your tear ducts, Gabby wakes up. Just like that, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

That's right. She's the clone of X-23, someone who gets blown up and walks it off. On paper, that sounds so obvious and predictable. What Tom Taylor did though was give it a major dramatic impact, something that is hard to do with X-23. Keep in mind, this is someone who was tricked into killing her own mother. The bar for drama is pretty fucking high and he matched it. That's a hell of an accomplishment.


Back in the sewers, shit is still pretty brutal and stabby. Old Man Logan, still doped up on SHIELD tranquilizers, is in a total berserker rage. Given how badly that shit has screwed him over in his future, you'd think he'd be a bit more careful about it. Then again, maybe SHIELD tranquilizers are just that shitty.

They have to be because when they wear off, Old Man Logan gets a little less brutal. He must have forgotten that he's fighting a pissed off teenage girl now. That's never a good tactic, no matter how tough you are or how fast you heal. He tries to apologize. He tries to make excuses. X-23 isn't having that shit. He may as well try to justify giving the Jersey Shore more than one season. It can't be done.


Lucky for him, Gabby catches up and stops X-23 from turning Old Man Logan into glorified rat shit. This immediately calms X-23 down. There aren't many forces in the Marvel universe that can do that. A hug from an adorable clone sister is one of them. There's something wonderfully fitting about that.

However, Old Man Logan has to double down on being an ass this time, saying he didn't know she was going to heal. That means he really wanted to kill her. He does try to explain himself to some extent. He claims that Gabby ends up killing X-23 in his world. The problem is, that's his world. His world is already fucked. This world is only semi-fucked, but it's because of Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners and not because someone mind-fucked Wolverine.

X-23 makes it clear that he's now permanently etched on her shit list. She even twists the knife a little more, pointing out that pretty much everyone in Old Man Logan's future got fucked over just by knowing him. Is it harsh? Fuck yes. Is it appropriate for a guy who just stabbed a young girl? Definitely.


As harsh as it is, it does feel lacking in one important area. We really don't get many other details as to how and why X-23 and Gabby kill each other in Old Man Logan's timeline. It's a pretty important detail and one that feels incomplete. We know that this is the excuse Old Man Logan uses to attack Gabby, but is that really all there is to it? We basically just have to take his word for it and this is a guy who just stabbed a child. How trustworthy can his word be?

It makes for some less-than-dramatic threats at the end, but still leaves more than a few blanks. Gabby and Old Man Logan make clear that they will not be friends in this timeline. X-23 also makes clear that he's not the same Logan she knew and loved. It's a tense way to end their first encounter. Given all the stabbing though, it's still disturbingly fitting.


This leads to one last conversation between X-23 and Captain America. Again, it's less-than-dramatic. X-23 basically just lectures him on why heroes fighting heroes is a shitty idea. It's a lecture that feels several years too late. If only someone had pointed this out before Avengers vs. X-men. Maybe we wouldn't be in a world where Marvel feels like its heroes have to try to kill each other at least once a year. It's late and effectively moot at this point. If nothing else, it makes clear to Cap and SHIELD that X-23 is not going to stand for their shit. Honestly, who can blame her?


So...is it awesome?

Well, I didn't end up having to brace myself too much, but I'm glad I did anyhow. All-New Wolverine #12 makes good use of X-23's personal drama and Gabby's cuteness. The only one who doesn't seem to benefit here is Old Man Logan. The fact that Gabby survives is probably the most important reason why this comic is awesome. She, along with Jonathan the Wolverine, is a major reason why this series is so great. Beyond that though, there's not much worth bracing for.

We never find out the particulars of why Old Man Logan hates Gabby so much in his world. That lack of painfully dramatic details keeps All-New Wolverine #12 from having the same emotional gut punch as the last issue. However, it does establish clearly that X-23 does not see Old Man Logan as the same Logan who died. That's an important element to establish, if for no other reason than to make clear that she accepts no substitutes. Being a clone herself, that's a bit hypocritical, but entirely understandable.

Final Score: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Civil War II: X-men #4: Nuff Said!

If you're playing Call of Duty and you know there's an asshole on the opposing squad who's cheating, your first inclination is to either do something about it or call the kid's mother a whore. As human beings, we do value fairness to some degree. Unless we all get to cheat, we get pissed and want to see the cheaters punished, shamed, and humiliated. Unfortunately, Marvel is willing to give a past to a group of Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners.

They now have Ulysses, a precog who can win every fantasy sports league without breaking a sweat. He's already saving the world and getting other heroes killed. Now, some in the X-men are a bit uncomfortable with the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners gaining even more of an edge. They've already got their own country. Their fart cloud is sterilizing mutants and exiling them to a fucking demon realm. That shit just isn't fair in the slightest and Magneto is trying to do something about that.

The odds are against him though and some X-men are actually willing to team up with the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. How sad is that? Civil War II: X-men #4 doesn't promise much fairness, but it has Magneto doing what he does best. The fact it's easier to root for him over Storm really says something.


Why is Magneto so easy to root for? Well, Storm and her people are hiding out in a fucking demon realm while the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners' big green fart cloud roams the Earth, maiming their fellow mutants. Magneto is confronting the source of that big fucking fart cloud. Which one do you think is being more proactive?

With Rachel Grey's help, he fights his way through New Attilan like a motherfucking boss. Rachel tries to tell him that these people don't hate him like he thinks. However, she also fails to give a damn good reason why they're not doing jack shit about the big fucking fart cloud that's maiming their entire species. Yet they're still considered fucking heroes? If I were Magneto, I'd shit in every one of their sinks just to send a message. Sadly, he doesn't have time for that. He has to get to Ulysses, who naturally expects his arrival. He's a fucking precog. He probably knows how much the Cleveland Browns will lose by this Sunday.


While Magneto is busy taking the fight to the asshole Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners who are butchering the mutant race, Storm and her team are busy fighting their fellow X-men. Seriously, I'm very uncomfortable rooting against Storm to this degree, but she's making it goddamn hard.

At the very least, she shows she can put up a damn good fight and Andrea Broccardo's art makes it a damn pretty sight. The problem is, she's fighting Arcangel. This guy is a fucking horseman of Apocalypse. He's supposed to bring war and death. A fucking thunderstorm may as well be pillow fight for him, minus the sexy co-eds. So of course he gets in a nasty shot that knocks Storm out of the sky and for once, it doesn't bother me. Again, I'm very uncomfortable with that feeling.


Cut to Old Man Logan beating up Sabretooth and just like that, I'm comfortable again. Throw in fights between Mystique and Psylocke, as well as Gambit and Fantomex, and there's something for everybody to enjoy. Mystique and Psylocke's battle makes my penis happy. Gambit and Fantomex's battle should make the gay crowd happy. So everyone's penis should find a reason to enjoy this on some levels and that's never a bad thing.

It's still X-men fighting X-men though. At a time when they're getting sterilized while Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners just laugh while jerking off from afar, this feels unproductive to say the least. Then again, it is part of a Civil War event. So if heroes weren't fighting heroes, then that would be flagrant false advertising. We get enough of that from pharmaceutical ads so I'm glad X-men aren't adding to it.


As this battle is going on, making everyone's penises very happy, Magneto finally confronts Ulysses. Keep in mind, this kid isn't a fighter. He's a fucking college kid who just became ground zero for the latest superhero shit storm. So standing in the shadow of fucking Magneto, a guy who will snap your neck with a goddamn smile if he thinks it'll protect the mutant race, is pretty damn terrifying.

Knowing this, Ulysses opts not to fight. I can't tell if he shit his pants, but I imagine he's resisting the urge with every ounce of strength. Instead, he tries to talk Magneto down. He claims he's not a weapon that'll be used against mutants. Then again, he's new to the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners so he probably doesn't know how few fucks they give about screwing over entire races. He also drops an ominous hint about how this shit will play out. If he has any cards at all to play, it's that he can see how Magneto's bullshit will screw him over.


Meanwhile, the battle with the rest of the X-men intensifies. Sabretooth and Old Man Logan bloody each other up a bit more. Nightcrawler kicks his mother in the face. Fantomex and Gambit rough each other up. It's standard, but satisfying. This isn't Cyclops and Wolverine fighting over an old pair of Jean Grey's panties. This is a fairly typical X-men vs. X-men clash. It's not Lord of the Rings epic, but it's not Weekend at Bernies cheap either.

It finally steps up a notch when Storm's team brings in some bigger guns. That includes O5 Jean Grey, Magik, and a Sentinel-packing Cerebra. This finally gives Storm's team a chance to ditch Magneto's team so they can catch up with him before he gives the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners another reason to sterilize them. Again, I still feel very odd rooting for Magneto at this point.


It seems like they're really going to fuck each other over, trying to stop Magneto from fighting the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. The concept alone just feels wrong, considering how fucked the mutant race already is. It doesn't look like it's going to turn out well for either side. If anything, it'll give the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners more reasons to laugh their ass off and jerk off with the blood of innocent mutants.

Then, this concept gets royally fucked when Ulysses shows Magneto one of his painfully accurate visions. In that vision, he sees just how much more he'll fuck over the mutant race by continuing this fight. It involves a dead Jean Grey, a dead Monet, a dead Iceman, and a dead Nightcrawler. It's pretty fucking terrible, but it also has a dead Beast so let's call it a push.

Either way, it gives Magneto enough pause to reconsider. He knows how annoyingly accurate this kid's visions can be. He also knows that any future that involves a dead Jean Grey tends to get fucked up real fast. While he may be a ruthless motherfucker with little love for Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners, he's a pragmatist at heart.


So he just leaves. That's right. That's how this clash ends. Magneto just shrugs his shoulders, curses under his breath, and fucking leaves. It's as anti-climactic as it sounds. At the same time, however, it makes the most sense. Like I said, he's a pragmatist. He doesn't just go on random mutant crusades because it gives him a boner. He likes his crusades to have a fucking point. He knows this one won't give him that. So he just leaves.

It makes for somewhat of an awkward moment between Rachel, who fought by Magneto's side, and Storm's Extraordinary team. Then again, she's in the presence of her time-displaced teenage mother. Awkward is kind of a moot point for her. She basically just asks as a buffer, keeping the two X-men teams from fucking each other up any further. They need to save their strength for when they get a chance to get back at the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. They'll need it.


Speaking of the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners, of which I've already said way too much about, Magneto does manage to get one last message to Queen Medusa, also known as the only redhead in comics I don't jerk off to. They have a brief, but tense conversation where Magneto makes one thing clear. The next time he shows up on their doorstep, he's not going to come hoping to share freshly baked cookies. He's going to come to end their bullshit once and for all. Medusa doesn't seem opposed to this in the slightest. I guess Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners don't care how many people they piss off at this point. They got fucking movie rights on their side. They have the advantage.


It's still a bit of a whimper to say the least. Pretty much nothing changes as a result of this clash. Magneto goes back to his base. Storm goes back to her. Storm doesn't even give Nightcrawler any shit for joining Magneto. Yet she still gives Cyclops all the shit in the world? How the fuck does that make any sense? Maybe she should've slept with him at some point. That might have made her more understanding. It worked with Emma Frost.

With Magneto, he's done enough shit for one day to convince Rachel that this isn't the crowd she wants to run with. He also earned himself a slap in the face from Psylocke. However, a slap from Psylocke is likely to give most men a boner so I'm not sure Magneto can say he lost too much. At the very least, he gets both teams of X-men geared up for the moment when they'll have to fight the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. Hopefully by then, they'll run out of reasons to blame this shit on Cyclops.


So...is it awesome?

Well, let me sum it up like this. Was it action packed? Fuck yeah. Was it entertaining and enjoyable? Fuck yeah. Was it somewhat anti-climactic at the end? Sadly, that's also a fuck yeah. At the very least, though, it was a fitting kind of anti-climax and outside a slasher flick, that's not usually a good thing. In this case, it works because it makes use of Ulysses' powers in just the right way. It also makes use of Magneto's tendency to not piss into the wind when he knows he can't win. He may be a ruthless motherfucker, but he's not stupid.

That lack of stupidity means that this clash could only end with a whimper and never a bang. That's kind of a drag, but it's not like the whole thing cut to a car insurance commercial or something. Some of the outcomes are forced. The fact that Storm just shrugs off Nightcrawler joining Magneto is pretty fucking ridiculous. If only traffic cops were that forgiving. It may improve my driving record, but it doesn't help this book. In the end, too much shit gets cut off in Civil War II #4 before any real drama emerged. Sure, it gets cut off for a damn good reason, but like neutered dogs, it comes at a price.

Final Score: 6 out of 10