Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Trade Tales! - Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2: Dangerous

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at any X-Men related material here. While I like the X-Men, I don’t own too many of their comics. It looks like my X-List is getting shorter since it looks like someone decided to pilfer another Essential X-Men volume...Ugh. Besides, I’m mostly a DC guy to begin with.

I guess it’s time to see what the Not-So-Merry Mutants got up to in Astonishing X-Men again. I really liked the first storyline that Joss Whedon and John Cassaday cooked up, so it’s time to move to the next one. Besides, I think their next story feels right since we’ve had a lot of movies and TV shows featuring A.I. in some capacity. Even Avengers: Age of Ultron is still a little fresh in my mind. "Dangerous" was the next storyline for this series. It ran through Astonishing X-Men #7-#12. The creative team is still the same with Whedon writing and Cassaday doing the art.

We start out everyone dealing with the ramifications of the last volume. The X-Men are getting used to having Colossus back, Agent Brand is getting yelled at by her higher-ups for being an unlikable… insert word here, and Wing (the kid who lost his powers last volume) is sulking. While the X-Men are off being assisted by the Fantastic Four, Wing is contemplating suicide by jumping off a cliff. He then does it when prodded he’s by Hisako (Armour). Later, Hisako comes to the X-Men wondering where Wing is. It’s revealed to us that Wing is actually in the Danger Room dead and that the Hisako he interacted with was part of the exercise.
Colossus: Man of action and shockingly a Beach Boys fan.

Things start to go bad for the Mansion when something knocks out all of the telepathic mutants (including Emma) and disables all communication with the outside world. Worst, a damaged Sentinel shows up on the lawn and starts to attack the school. Kitty takes all of the students to the Danger Room while the rest take care of the Sentinel. After the Sentinel is beaten in awesome style by Cyclops, the team finds that they can’t open the Danger Room. Emma (who’s now conscious) tells them that the Danger Room is the cause behind everything happening and that it’s angry.
If anyone says that Cyclops is lame, do two things:
1. Show them these pages.
2. Tell them to apologize for their ignorance.
(yes, I'm joking... sort of)

The Danger Room does its best to torture Kitty and the students while the team tries to find a way to shut it down. The Room runs off on Shi’ar technology that Prof. Xavier set up years ago and it has now gained sentience and is mad about its constraints. The Danger Room also takes control of the Blackbird and uses it to attack the team. Luckily, the team is able to find the core and dismantle it. Unfortunately, all this does is make the Danger Room free itself from its constraints and create its own body. Oops. The Danger Room (now called “Danger”) attacks the X-Men and pretty much dismantles them. Danger then heads to Genosha to find her “father,” Prof. Xavier. At this time, Xavier was in Genosha trying to help rebuild it.
Man, Danger really is Xavier's daughter! Look at those weird eye lashes!

When Danger makes it to Genosha, Xavier is ready to take her down. While they battle, the X-Men heal up and head to Genosha to save their former teacher. When they make it there, they find that Xavier has momentarily taken care of Danger. Unfortunately, she regroups and awakens a Wild Sentinel to destroy the X-Men. The Wild Sentinel is what decimated Genosha.  A big battle breaks out between the team and the big robot. While all of this is going down, Emma heads off the battlefield and has a conversation with someone. She does head back and help out though. Since the robot is too powerful to beat from the outside, Kitty gets thrown into the thing to take it out from the inside.

Through her computer skills, she finds out that Danger is keeping something from the Sentinel. Somehow, this revelation ends the battle and the Sentinel heads into space carrying Danger with it. While the danger (no pun intended) is over, Colossus reveals to the team that Danger told him that Xavier knew that Danger was sentient when he installed it years ago. Xavier tries to excuse it, but the team rebuffs him. Cyclops is also miffed at Emma for leaving when she did.  The trade ends as a new Hellfire Club (Sebastian Shaw, Cassandra Nova, some Goth chick, and a hooded figure) look from the darkness and plot to help Emma take down the team.
I don't know Scott, I think Xavier ____________ is much worse than this.

This storyline was fine as a whole, but I didn’t enjoy it like I did the first one. It does have a lot of good points. The X-Men themselves carry the story with their personalities and various subplots. Here, we have Kitty and Peter getting used to each other again. We also have a potential mole in Emma and all I’ll say is that gets weird later. Just wait on it. The whole team gets moments to shine. The artwork is good as ever too and I have no complaints with it. I will say that it was a little unsettling that we kept seeing the broken body of Wing pop up and talk.

I don’t know how to feel about the revelation with Xavier. While he is mostly a good man, he has done stuff in the past that makes that position questionable. I don’t know if this revelation is one of those though I get why the team would be mad at him. Danger almost killed them. Apparently, there was some sort of move to turn Xavier into more of a douche in the mid-2000’s. If you don’t believe me, then check out X-Men: Deadly Genesis where… well, just read it for yourself.

The story also feels like it we’ve been there and done that. An A.I. going bad was probably cliché even when Whedon wrote this. Still, it’s not a bad story at all. I do think this is the first time the Danger Room has actually tried to kill the X-Men by itself. If I’m wrong, let me know. I thought Danger herself was a formidable villain. She literally knows the X-Men’s moves since she’s viewed them for years. Just know that she does stick around in the X-Men universe after this.

Overall, this was a nice storyline but not my favorite from this run. While the story is formulaic, the characters and subplots keep it interesting. Well, I think it’s time for me to head back to DC for a post. It’s either going to involve a funeral for some Man of Steel or something of a “Gothic” nature. You’ll find out later. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and don’t inadvertently create evil A.I. I guess I’m going to keep saying that since folk are just so A.I. crazy today.

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