from the X-Axis:
NEW AVENGERS #20 - Worth mentioning because it actually attempts to
explain away the Xorn mess. Unfortunately, it doesn't explain it in a remotely comprehensible fashion, and Joe Quesada's attempt to explain the story over at Newsarama just makes matters worse, because his explanation certainly doesn't seem to match the story Brian Bendis appears to think he's writing. It's at this point that I put the comic down, switch off the computer, and head to a quiet room to bang my head against the wall. Really, is it that hard to explain basic plot points? I don't want to sound arrogant, but I'm a reasonably intelligent and passably attentive reader. If I don't understand the plot, even after you've explained it, then it's your fault, not mine, because it means
you don't know how to communicate your ideas in a remotely effective way. This is neither meaningful nor comprehensible - frankly, it's downright impenetrable - and that's really inexcusable in a mainstream superhero book. D+
It's these kind of posts that make me feel good about fandom. We're not talking about 'Oh, Spider-Man's new costume is so weak', no. This is 'You're not communicating your ideas effectively, Marvel'. One is fanboy based and can be debated from both sides, the other is just basic writing fact.
Now, I'm not sure what Quesada said about New Avengers #20, but I'm certainly going to find out now. Because if even he and Bendis aren't seeing eye to eye, it really is time to do something. Hey, look what I found on the New Joe Fridays...
NRAMA: Gotcha. Moving to other topics - this week saw Brian Bendis (hopefully) explain or close the book on Xorn in New Avengers #20. Okay – honestly now – can you explain to us what he was/is? And Magneto has powers again? Depowered isn’t depowered, is it?
JQ: Kuan-Yen Xorn and Shen Xorn were twin brothers from China, both mutants, one with the power of a star in his head, one the power of a black hole. Kuan-Yen Xorn came under the influence of as-yet-to-be-revealed entity that forced him to assume the identity of Magneto, battle the X-Men and destroy Manhattan. He was subsequently killed by Wolverine near the end of that battle, in the Planet X storyline.
Soon thereafter, his twin brother Shen surfaced and briefly joined the X-Men. This Xorn brother was de-powered during M-Day.
Because Xorn's powers were psychokinetic, and his personality was so strong, it basically remained an almost disembodied sentient thing among the big ball of mutant energy. When that energy got sucked down to Earth by Michael and all absorbed by him, Xorn was the dominant personality in the mix, and that's what drove him towards Genosha and Magneto.
That's a lot of information that wasn't well told and, idea of having a star/black hole in your head aside, leaves me with a very important question: So the Xorn that went and got Magneto was Kwan-Yen Xorn (now called Star Xorn for context), not Shen Xorn (Black Hole Xorn). So that means his 'mutant energy' was just floating around all that time since Morrison's run? It didn't disspate, try and contact his brother, wasn't detectable on Cerebro, wasn't mentioned, wasn't heard of until Decimation when it was ... I guess, collected into all the mutant-less powers and ... floated around in space when Michael somehow absorbed it from there and brought it to him ... in Antartica, when he laid a swath of destruction that took out Alpha Flight, fought the New Avengers and then went and got Magneto up and running?
Though by the way Quesada says it, there's a lot of similarities between Magneto in Quicksilver in that one was given their powers back by a bunch of mutant energy and the other was given his powers back by what could be considered a bunch of mutant energy as well. Does this mean both might be able to give powers back? I digress.
But all of that, all of that New Avengers nonesense was the result of a character who died ages ago, pre-HoM? Or was Black Hole Xorn just as influenced by Something We'll Get To Later, No Really? There's withholding information from you in order to create suspence and interest, and then there is near lying and dragging you along for an incomprehensible ride.
I'm going to go read Nextwave.
I like Quicksilver. I think he's one of the most underused story hooks to exist in the Marvel Universe. There is so much already there that you don't have to change, just talk about. In fact, he'd almost make a better DC character, considering their attention to legacy. And I have just come to the realization that I need to learn that Marvel? They will never write the Quicksilver I want to see.
But Quicksilver is a jerk!, you say. He caused House of M! Look at Son of M and see what a washed up loser he is! He's just a rip off of the Flash and even Bart's totally faster!
And there's where I differ completely.
All 'of M' books aside, not to mention the usual power level arguement, Quicksilver's history is rich and involved and connected to nearly every character we call hero. His backstory involves more than just the X-Men and (here's where it gets to me), tells a story of a guy with all the wrong starts trying to be more than who he is. Never stopped, always doing something (despite... reading in Greenland during a major crisis in Avengers: Disassembled. Bendis just has it out for me). His moral compass may be a little wonky at times but he continues to try to point North as much as possible.
X-Factor #83 clinched it for me. Peter David has been credited for giving Quicksilver the depth (so greatly deserved) in a matter of panels as he explains to psychiatrist Doc Samson after the X-Cutioner's Song why he is so insufferable. In beautiful artwork by Quesada and honest words by David, we learn that nothing is good enough for this man, especially himself. Like the Hulk in a way, he's got a lot of anger built up inside, he just does care to hide it all the time.
Pietro Maximoff was born to Magda at Wundagore Mountain after she fled from her husband in a state of panic. So scared was she that going to a HIGH SPOOKY MOUNTAIN and being taken into the care of a COW WOMAN was preferable. He and his twin sister were the only family to survive up until their late teens/early twenties. They went through four parental figures (Magda, Bova, Django and Marya and I know the Whizzer fits in here somewhere). Each one was either lost through rejection or fear, sometimes both. Chased away by gypsies (not the most beloved figures themselves), they were taken in by Magneto, a man who was simply raising forces having seen his former friend do the same. They were the youngest and probably the most moldable into what he wanted and he certainly threw them at the enemy any chance he got. They were good kids for the most part, they just didn't have anywhere else to go.
Eventually, they did. Leaving the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (and really, wouldn't you?) they were accepted into America and into the Avengers led by Captain America. Talk about your prime time. This wasn't just the other side as the X-Men were and are still 'hated and feared' no matter how much good they do, no. This was honest-to-God, nationally recognized heroing. The kind of heroing that gets you to stand next to national icons and wave to fans. They weren't slouches, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch paid their dues and were certainly well-respected members of their team. It was a healthy environment. With the Avengers, they had friends and surrogate family to some extent. They were happy and felt a little more normal, certainly a lot more appreciated.
Then came Crystal. Now growing up with the gypsies, he was certainly used to the idea of being an outcast. Being a mutant, he could certainly respect the idea of super-powered people with no fear. And being marched into adulthood by Magneto, there are certain philosophies that don't exactly go away. One can grow up in a racist home and learn to look past those biases, but they will still already be there. Crystal couldn't have possibly been the more perfect woman. She was so far removed from humanity as to be an 'Inhuman' and live on the moon, pretty appealing to a guy who probably never fit in all that well. She also came from an advanced society where being mutated wasn't something 'hated or feared', it was a privilege. Things moved faster for her, she was noble of birth and bearing and certainly not bad to look at. Growing up as leftovers and treasuring your only family as the rarest and most expensive jewel, the idea of staring a family of your own is practically an imperative, let alone a forgone conclusion. I know people who came from broken homes who have that idealized notion of what the nuclear family should be and try to recreate it, often jumping head first into relationships or marriages without thinking it through and well, let's just say this is a very human reaction.
He marries the woman of his dreams and goes to paradise. I'm sure he got a little bit of the evil eye from the in-laws, but not for long apparently. He was the captain of their Royal Militia, not exactly a position you give to just anyone. And boy, did he love it. He threw himself into his work, proud to be accepted into Inhuman society. And why wouldn't he? This is right along the lines of what Magneto wanted for Earth (if you distill all the crazy out of his plans and get to the nuts and bolts of things): an advanced and enlightened society that reveres the uniqueness of the individual, the most powerful set on a council to rule what looks to be a utopia. Like a kid with a free ride in a candy store, he gobbled it up and got sick.
His wife, feeling neglected, started an affair. He had time for this wonderful new world now that he was here, just not enough for her. Think about how amazing and unique she would have seemed on Earth, how he fought for her hand and how dashing and exciting he must have been. They you take him home and he doesn't keep up the same level of attention or romance, not to mention the expection level of nigh-princess from a very powerful royal house, you can see how things can go. Infidelity might not even be that big of a deal in Attillan, you never know.
But for Quicksilver, it was a big deal. it was huge. It was the destruction of his idealized family. He gave up Earth, his last blood relative (at that time) and the Avengers to be with someone who he had idealized as the perfect woman in the perfect society that loved him and it turns out... he wasn't good enough. He failed. Then again, so did she but later on we'd come to learn that Pietro was rather used to holding himself up to impeccably high standards. Gypsy culture really does revolve around the man and it stands to reason he would want to take it upon himself to punish the woman who hurt him. But at the same time... LOOK AT ALL HER STUFF! She lives in a utopia and if he shuns her, he's going to have to leave the first place he's really flourished.
What's a guy to do? Well, go crazy seems to be the option. The 'House of M' has a history of mental illness, from Magneto to probably Magda herself considering her paranoia over her husband drove her out into the snow to die from exposure (or... DID SHE?! Ah, off screen death...) to Wanda having her own issues, I mean it's a forgone conclusion that Pietro wasn't going to make it out clean and clear. A fact Maximus the Mad probably took note of the moment the speedster landed on Atillan. As to better explain how Pietro went from Looney back to Avengers, it's been said that Maximus the Mad controlled him to do all the things he did (rather like Kang controlling Hank Pym during all his issues, but that's another story). So, here's a man at his lowest and here's a manipulative psycho they keep in the basement. Next thing you know, Pietro has had it up to HERE with you people and is declaring himself the next Ruler of Mankind. When you've been jilted at what you might see as your last chance at happiness, then all bets are really off, especially when you have a madman at your back.
Eventually, Maximus the Mad got bored and/or tired of manipulating him and Quicksilver came to his senses. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly happened here, but it's not like we've had a hero-turn-villain-turn-hero before (Dear Ol' Dad did the reverse with his villain-turn-hero-turn-villain when he led the New Mutants). He went back to the Avengers, then with X-Factor, his first all mutant group. And he hated it. He never dresses in a 'team' uniform in an official sense, openly mocks the rest of his teammates and when plot devises a problem for him, he waves off the attempt at help. It's a love/hate relationship with this group, but it's probably the most singular attention he's gotten from a book since he first appeared.
X-Factor truly ended with the 'Death' of Jamie Madrox. Sure, there were issues after it, but the team was never ever the same. Quicksilver left, went back to the Avengers and fell into the same old problems. Crystal was torn between her husband and the Black Knight. Note that they've never gotten divorced. Maybe they don't have divorce on Atillan, but Crystal's hip enough to the human world that she would have dumped Quickie's butt if she wanted to. Pietro could have even considered them splitsville if he wanted to. But no, they continually refer to each other as husband and wife, respectively, so this isn't a marriage gone bad or people who don't belong together, it's some very strong personalities who deep down... want what started their relationship. Also note they've never really showed split custody (a safe thing when your husband has had a history of crazy). They have a daughter and never has there been 'vindictive mom' syndrome with Crystal; Luna is always happy to see her father every time the books let them hang.
Also also note that Quicksilver has never been an official member of the X-Men. I still say this is by choice as racial beliefs run deep and in his heart of hearts, Magneto is right by Quicksilver's logic. Sure, the guy might be a megalomaniacal lunatic at times, but that doesn't mean his philosophy on mutant/human isn't sound at it's base. I like to think this, paired with a chaffing at the nature and relationship of X-Teams in general (like Quicksilver would stand for being feared and hated), is why we didn't see him all that much in mutant books. In his own series, he stayed clear of the entire affair and hit on his own rich and interesting backstory, from the Inhumans to Wundagore.
All in all, Quicksilver has way too much history and characterization to be an X-Character (there, I said it). Mind you, this characterization is rarely used because most people want to lump him in with a group largely shown as a rotating list of stereotypes. Again, I love the X-Men like a brother, but that doesn't mean I can't recognize it's flaws. Just like Quicksilver.
He has been shown a variety of different ways, from confused villain to reluctant hero to anti-hero team member to jilted husband, someone who both longs for a sense of family and rejects a father just as much as the father rejects him. This is the guy I want to see, someone who wants to do right and is compelled to do so out of some tattered sense of dignity. Son of M had him fail too much without letting the man look at what he's become and rail against it. If he's so vain or self-critizing, why did he suddenly stop when he lost his powers? Why the sudden shift from aloof, hot tempered know-it-all to washed out loser? In fact, his dad kind of went through the same problem didn't he? With the constant pyjamas and shuffling about feeling sorry for himself. The House of M just sort of sucked out all their pride, which is a huge part of their characters.
Quicksilver doesn't always get it right, he's been known to make some horrible mistakes and set himself back more than anyone else, but there is no giving up. There's only a self-entitled sense of arrogance that hides someone just looking for acceptance in a continuous amount of motion.
But maybe I'm the only one who would want to see this.
Another New Avengers, go fig. I guess the 'Disassembling' is this whole Superhero Registration Act and that the slap dash group of heroes they put in the book don't.. really think alike. Especially when one of them is a megalomaniac in denial. Who knew they wouldn't all just get along like marketing wanted them to?
Cap is shown at a drawing board in an abandoned warehouse indulging in a small pity party. 'They should have left me in the ice,' he says and complains that more people get thier news from the Daily Show than anywhere else. This inner fairly self-indulgent monologue allows a squad of SHIELD agents to get with in arms reach of him with weapons drawn. Oh, sure, Cap says it's because they are trained 'Cape Killers', trained to sneak up on him and have a lot of training, but they still all fall pretty well as he takes them out single handedly. Good 'training' there, guys.
Thankfully, good ol' Dum Dum Dugan gives Cap an out in the raid, Cap runs, blacks out and is woken up by Falcon in a secret hideout set by Nick Fury long ago. When Cap comes to, his first word is 'Murf' and it took me a minute to realize that just might be a onomatopoeia of the kind of thing someone might say when they wake up. I spent an afternood wondering who 'Murf' was. Ah well. The Falcon (wait, after Priest's book, he's not dead, right? They cleared that up? I'm going to go with Yes because I'm a hopeful kind of gal) finally knocks some sense in to Captain America, reminding him that OF COURSE, he's on Cap's side in this and OF COURSE the Superhero Registration Act is a bad idea! The Falcon calls Iron Man on being a sellout, which is fairly righteous, but the use of the word 'brotha'' and 'Ya dig?' sound a little too phoney to me.
So they hook themselves up with Fury's leftovers at the Hideout in the sewers (where everything cool is kept) and go to collect some Avengers for avenging. First stop?
And the best part is, he's just as surprised at you are. Captain America apparently holds some respect for the guy, enough to seek him out first when assembling a team to go against everyone else and their mom. But you see, Cap wasn't listening when Civil War #1 was around and didn't know Pym followed party line. Because he's a joiner, really. He even contacted the authorities to send more 'Cape Killers' to come get the two, because he'd just go along quietly. Cap throws his shield at his nose and they both jump out the window, leaving the SHIELD dragon lady to soothe Pym's poor ego over the affair. 'Don't kick yourself, Pym. You did good,' she tells him. 'Shut up,' he tells her off screen.
More Assembling/Disassembling to follow.
All you need to know? Captain America is really discouraged with the American public, Falcon's totally on his side and they are looking for likeminded heroes while SHIELD has 'Cape Killers' on their trail.
Shorter than the last one because, thankfully, more things got done.