Friday, October 19, 2012

Riding the Gravy Train 27 (AVX: Consequences #1-2, Wolverine and the X-Men #18, Uncanny X-Men #20, and Uncanny Avengers #1)

It's hard to get off the topic of Cyclops, isn't it? Somehow, he became the character that just took over Avengers vs. X-Men, particularly the second half. Obviously, he's meant to, because of his central role, in a similar way that Captain America dominated the end of Civil War and the ensuing fallout (Iron Man shared that spotlight, though, in a way that Captain America doesn't here). He is the Loser, the Fallen Hero, the Villain, and, now, he's stuck in a position where he switches between gloating over being right and realising that no one cares. What a depressing mess that is, don't you think? How completely soul-crushing to read about a hero who set out to do something, was called crazy for it, villified for it, and, then, saw his cause coopted by those that villified him as they condemn him...

But, I'm a little sick of Cyclops. He was right. We get it. Now, he's being treated unfairly and we get that. I mean, they even had Captain America go out and get his douchebag brother to lead the new Avengers/X-Men team that's come about as a way to bridge the human/mutant relationship. You don't get much lower than that, because no one likes Havok (aside from his costume). (Okay, some people like Havok...) Has Captain America even met Havok before? He immediately turns on Cyclops, but welcomes his jackass little brother into the Avengers fold with open arms, seemingly as a dig at Scott? Goddamn, Cap is an asshole. He comes off like the sort of guy who would fuck a woman he doesn't like just because it would piss an enemy off.

The issue that I keep coming around to is one of fairness -- which is completely stupid. Why should this be fair? No reason.

But, reading these post-Avengers vs. X-Men comics, it becomes continually apparent that there is no sense of fairness or justice in what the Avengers and X-Men are doing now. Cyclops is imprisoned despite being right, despite being continually provoked with no justification, despite being possessed by a cosmic force... And the rest of the Extinction Team (not just the Phoenix Five) are being hunted, too? (Except for Hope...) Why? "Because..." That's all. Because they were on Cyclops's team. Nevermind all of the other mutants who joined up with him and, then, abandoned him... Why is Magneto any different from Iceman? When it came to fighting the Avengers and, then, fighting Cyclops, those two were completely in line. Same with Rogue and many other X-Men who aren't wanted criminals. Why? "Because..." That's it.

No, the problem isn't a lack of fairness. Within the world of these characters, sure, that's the problem. But, these aren't real people. They're fictional constructs whose sense of fairness and justice are determined by outside forces. The problem here is that the writers and editors behind these comics have specific stories they want to tell, whether or not those stories actually 'work' with the characters. I've said before that a big problem with Avengers vs. X-Men is that the story they wanted to tell and the story they told weren't the same things, and that's a problem that's continuing here. Is Cyclops meant to come off as genuinely more sympathic, likeable, and relatable than every other character? I doubt it, because why would you structure your entire line of books around a bunch of hypocrites and cowards who are too thick to admit that they were wrong, while the one guy who was right is portrayed as the villain? You wouldn't. And, yet, here we are.

Cyclops spends much of AVX: Consequences #2 being lectured by a man who nearly doomed the human race, has a long history of brainwashing and possessions, and a complete willingness to kill, sometimes losing all control of himself in a rage. Obviously, there's meant to be a bit of irony, but the entire thing is so lopsided that Wolverine is pathetic, truly pathetic, in his determination to push the narrative Marvel has decided upon that it's all bad comedy.

The hypocrisy and randomness of the whole thing is embodied in the Scarlet Witch. She did far worse things than Cyclops under far less provocation and, yet, she's back with a few token arguments about her wrongdoings. She basically committed genocide only for there to be justification and rationalisations later that allows everyone to feel okay about her being back in the fold... and the man who undoes her actions is thrown in prison? Sure, there may be adjustments made down the line, but it all rings a bit false, don't you think?

They wound up writing a story where the 'bad guy' was right and the 'good guys' were assholes about it and are stuck having to move ahead with their plans. The alternative is that the way I'm reacting to the comics they're putting out is what they intended and, then, I have to wonder why. After all, I don't see Cyclops advertised for many titles after October, but Captain America and Wolverine are all over the place...

Next week: AVX: Consequences #3 (plus A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1... maybe... it keeps popping up on different shipping lists, so I have no idea when/if this is coming out... did it ship already... my shop didn't get any copies... they were shorted on New Avengers this week, though, so maybe they were shorted on that, too... I don't know...)