September 15th, 2012
Not: Night of the Weirwolf
Do you remember that Wolverine story where he goes all edgy and kills some superheroes, and the only ones he in fact murders are disabled or gay? It was written by staunch defender-of-women / rape profiteer Mark Millar. Is this like that? Or is this latest casual extermination of the bald, wheelchair-bound one something different, serious, and maybe even Real this time?
Whatever – it’s clearly a great time to be killing off your disabled characters Marvel.
(Are you actually going to sit there and say ‘Hey smartarse he got his legs back and working again this time? Are you actually going to do that? Are you going to deny that Charles Xavier is disabled? Did he bring a wig back from space with him this time too?)
‘The franchise, [Brian Michael] said, had outgrown the bald telepath who founded the X-Men in 1963, and “all of the characters had moved on to a place where Charles himself wasn’t really needed anymore”’.
‘wasn’t really needed anymore’
In this scheme, if you’re interested, Malcolm X has given up, because all but a few hundred or so of the black people on planet Earth were killed by his insane redheaded stepchild. A lot of white people said this would happen, and are openly relieved.
But what’s all this got to do with Grant Morrison anyway?
Bald – Dapper – Psychic powers? Keep up.
Having built the current proto-template but since the failure of the Seven Soldiers project to provide a solid sustainable model for superhero innovation, the remnant scraps of Morrisonism have been thoroughly eaten up and shat back out the corporate franchise comic’s interior superstructure. Attempts to innovate are unwelcome, bigger forces are at work. Zombies shuffle on. The symbolic, ritualised sacrifice at the close of AVX#11 is a final legal formality, permanent handover of the power of the superhero imaginary to The Mouse.
(Real life is not to be redeemed by contact with the super-fantastic. Cartoon energies are treacherous and slide inevitably towards corruption and collapse: The Mouse. The hand-drawn rodent everyman of dreams and his degradation through the pressure of history and capital is as perfect an example one could need of the threat of supervillainy, made possible we learn only through the taint of the fantastic by reality. Six billion USD and counting from the movie proceeds of recycled product, an entire nothing for anyone bearing the Kirby name today.)
Scott Summers has conspicuously not been killing Professor X for years. Signature baddies Mister Sinister and Apocalypse/En Sabah-Nur have always been minimally disguised transferences of oedipal resentment. Magneto’s war with Xavier was always at a significant remove, with Scott as the medium – always bearing directly the struggle and pain, it was his intimately desiring gaze that repeatedly failed to pierce the electromagnetic bubbles of repression and ideology the bad uncle would drape about himself. Scott’s efforts to form an autonomous and integrated personality for himself were destroyed forever when he witnessed the death of his lover. He became an asshole immediately, abandoning his lookey-likey bad-replacement wife and his own son as soon as the deadhead redhead returned.
mammoth skull – flaming shaft - he wasn’t really a cyclops until Jean died
In this regard his possession of the Dark Phoenix mantle is a calamitous psychodramatic re-enactment of Cyclops’ Whole Fucking Problem. Presumably a deliberate move to dust a patina of sense and symmetry upon the idiot disorder of the zone they currently oversee, the Architects of the Marvel Universe – rather exactly like the DIY-lobotomised, self-soiling demiurge of quasi-Masonic lore they curiously chose to style themselves after – have arranged for the Dark Cyclops event to reach backwards in time and radically reorient the 50-year story of the Universe. Now that it’s happened, it was always going to happen this way. By mirroring and embodying Dark Phoenix – his greatest personal tragedy – Scott’s twisted and tortuous history reveals a de facto coherence of design.
But there will still be mutant X-Men comics next month, and the month after*, so the temporary elegance this theatrical conceit allows will start to decay almost instantly. The entropic drift of serial narrative abhors such neatness and constantly works to undermine it.
[*Or NOW! as we’re being asked to call it. NOW! does not represent a break from the garbled linearity of the Universe’s evolution, but rather a permanent surrender to / forced imposition of postmodern un-time, the frozen lifeless moment of the advert and the marketing slogan, where the liberating potential of the future may not happen unless through the hostage demands of the existing present, and the past is a shambling, deceitful monster to be shackled, denied, and occasionally milked when needed.]
That the pattern of recapitulation and sensationally attractive drama can be resurrected a further thirty years hence is mathematically and depressingly predictable: Dark Cable Phoenix, Dark Nth Summer’s Brother Phoenix, Dark Hope Phoenix – retroactive and temporary glosses imposed upon the chaos again and again.
And Xavier was always there. His avowedly miraculous psychotherapy techniques were little help with the grief, with the hasty attempts to plaster over the wounds and ‘move on’. Perhaps any honest effort at X-intervention would have been fruitless in any case. The distrust is too deep, too primally affecting: Scott knows he was there in their heads when he and Jean shared their supposedly private moments, furtive and sweating, involuntary and intrusive ménages-a-trois beneath the covers in the dorm rooms.
To give some credence to Scott’s confused feelings on the matter, it’s probably worth pointing out Professor X fucked over his real son too. Davey Xavier, Legion, is a(nother) planet-killing MPD case whose early rejection by his obsessive, messianic father caused his insanity. A recent reconciliation between the two is a heavily-scripted setup for further pain and disaster, as Legion becomes just a forgotten witness while X-Dad is murdered by the surrogate he always preferred.
Actually I have a great relationship with my dad. He’s a space pirate actually, mad for intergalactic dark matter rum, alien sodomies, the laser lash, the loot, the lot. Actually, whenever we hang out it’s always space chicks, super-crystal treasure, Skrull raids and wormhole escapes to the space disco. I haven’t heard from him for a while actually. He’ll slingshot by any day now, bet you.
Actually Scotty, your dad was a prick and never gave a shit about you. None of them did. Any of you.