Positions

While I work on longer entries, I considered posting something about Chris Claremont’s latest masterpiece, New Exiles #5 — the issue where Sage gets drunk, takes a bath and (seriously) wonders where her vibrator went.

With two sexually aggressive shape-shifters on the team, I’d make sure to double-check that vibrator if I were you, Sage. Fortunately for me, other bloggers have already addressed this issue in detail, from Sage throwing her bath towel aside and diving into a fight, to Captain (Kitty) America, to bestiality and black-face Kitty Pryde. I will forgo exploring the real question New Exiles #5 poses for Art History; whether Chris Claremont’s work should now be treated as an extreme form of Outsider Art — beyond the normal confines of social normativity — aside the likes of Henry Darger and Michael Jackson? I’ll leave that question to simmer, but in the meantime, let’s see what Claremont’s successor on the X-titles has been up to.

Has it really been an entire month since Mike Carey saved me money on my ambien prescription? Today, I’d like to revisit X:Men Legacy to see how Professor Xavier and Co., are faring. I know you’re wondering if the pace has stepped up. And to your query, I will respond that you clearly know nothing about modernist, avant-garde, “comix.” This issue, even though Charles has taken a bullet to the brain, a silver-age icon refuses to be kept down. With his brain repaired and memories shattered and splintered, Charles steps in just in time to save a de-powered Magneto from Exodus. If you’ll recall, last month Magneto blinded Frenzy in her attempt to execute pacifist Charles Xavier before he could wake up (presumably, Frenzy is still writhing around on the ground. We don’t see her). For this crime, leader of the Acolytes and former magnetic-obsessive and toadie, Exodus, decides to execute Magneto for the “human” crime of harming a mutant. This issue is the psychic battle between Charles and Exodus. Basically, it consists of page after page of Exodus trying to guilt Xavier into submission by throwing one bad memory after another at Charles. Yeah, so nothing really happens. All this is a re-mix of fragmentary moments from over the years, as we’ve been getting for the past few issues.

This socio-political analysis rivets me

Clearly, the editors knew this schtick would be wearing on readers, so to spice things up, they mixed shitty Scott Eaton art of the present-day moments with Greg Land art on the memories. If you don’t know Land, you should. His work is a testament to Post-Modern Porn. Land has made a name for himself by working on high profile comic books by tracing images for his photo-realistic art. Sure, I know that artists trace. They have always traced and no modern day artist works without some form of photo-reference. I hang out in an animation firm where one of the guys specializes in 2D. He once brought me to his desk after proudly showing me his reel and book. He wanted me to know that the Victoria Secret catalogs “are there for a reason,” and to assure me “I’m not a pervert. These are just so that I draw women anatomically correctly.” He was so proud of his research efforts that I couldn’t burst his bubble. Land is different. He doesn’t just trace other people’s images. He’s been shown to have traced other artist’s work in the most shameless fashion. He also traces porn.

Yes. He traces.porn.for.comic.books. Just think about that for a second, because it blows my mind. Clearly, his work is in-demand for specific demographic comic book marketers have in mind. New readers are the goal, but these readers are to be the same straight dudes in their early 20s, probably who work in IT, and who have some spare cash lying around after buying the latest Grand Theft Auto release. When I say he traces porn, I mean something beyond the Disneyfied fauxrotica of Sage shaving her legs in the tub and looking around for her dildo. When I look at Greg Land art, I no longer see the story. I only see the positions.

Here Charles recalls the brutal death of his student Suzanne Chan, also known as Sway.

Deep-Throated to Death

The in-story reason for her existence was that before recruiting the All-New, All Racist and National Stereotyped X-Men, such as Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, etc., — all of whom have become iconic — to save the original X-Men on the living island of Krakoa, Xavier sent a team of untrained teenagers into action. This led to a massacre. Sway’s death, along with her team-mate, Petra, is supposed to be a tragic moment in Charles’ life. The way it’s depicted here, though, all gravitas is lost when laminated to this moment of blatant cock-sucking. Charles also sees a vision of Petra and Sway accusing him of murder.

Death by fire is orgasmic!

Except Petra and Sway actually look like their having fun. Perhaps they are singing karaoke? Dying is a party, especially when it involves a faux-lesbian dance. Land’s replay of Jean Grey’s tragic death made me LOL (then again, I have lol’d on the multiple occasions of Jean’s death).

Anal?

LAAAAND!!!! Jean Grey is not a porn-star! Jean Grey is the worst, and it amuses me to think her character “takes it from behind.” However, when I was a little boy reading the original story, this interpretation would not have occurred to me. And, really, a young kid doesn’t need to be prompted into thinking of this. While Jean Grey’s death could give a higher profile to sodomy, plausibly opening a few teenage minds about their closed orifices, I think there are some unhealthy side-effects to this kind of imagery.

Comic books make a mockery of death. Fictional characters come back over and over again. It’s like Nietzsche’s principle of eternal recurrence. The universe, according to Nietzsche, is eternal. We should treat life as if it is something that is going to happen to us in exactly the same way, on repeat. So, get it right the first time, — get out of first gear now — because you’re going to run through this routine infinitely. In the tee vee show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this was actually mined in an interesting way. Buffy was resurrected twice — both times against her will. She felt her sacrifice had been cheapened and that life had become mere show. Comic book resurrections of characters run them through the same dynamics for each new reading generation. Jean Grey has died 11 times? I will have to check some comic book forums to verify that number. Mike Carey is supposed to be writing Charles’ big redemptive wake-up call, but these pastiches of the deaths he’s caused completely undermine the narrative goal. It’s not just that something is lost in the tracing — porn is about faking the “little death,” — but a trace of something passes through the porn. Instead of seeing true death out of the corner of your eye, what comes through the trace is a fetish instead of the real thing. Cheap death passes through.


I actually felt something when I first read the deaths pictured above. Now all I can do is roll my eyes and flip the page a little harder than usual. Also, the story does not mark how ego-centric it is of Charles to blame himself for all these deaths. He’s not the center of the story! He’s just some fat ass who sat in a wheel-chair for twenty years and graded report cards!

No one dares fire THE Greg Land! An editor who refuses to give Land work should fear that he will trace their wife or daughter into his latest porn set-piece.

Back to the comic: Charles ends up winning the fight (as if that was ever in doubt). And nothing else happens. Oh, wait, there’s an epilogue. Rogue shows up again at the end. She’s been missing from comics for an eternity of two months. We close in on Australia, and in this action-packed scene, Rogue pumps gas.

Scott Eaton drew this scene, so all we get are Rogue’s blow-job lips. If Land had been given this page, she’d literally be blowing the guy. But, Rogue, listen to the gas station attendant. You can’t fly anymore. Buy an extra can of gas.

Carey is clearly CC’s successor in that he’s plotting for the long-term and isn’t fearful of boring readers. This epic story-line is plotted out for ‘at least’ the next twelve issues, and might continue onwards if he’s given the thumbs up.

Please, no thanks.

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3 Responses to “Positions”

  1. Zed Says:

    As bad or worse than the cheap deaths are the meaningless lives. Characters never age and “character development” is just a an experiment by a writer who’s going to move on in a little while. A new guy comes, the story gets “rebooted,” the dead come back to life, yadda, yadda.It’s mythic, I suppose, in that the same stories get retold, with variations, again and again. Like Krazy Kat, for a good example. The simpler the story, the more it can be played with. But so much superhero comics goes to soap opera extremes of complexity in order to ring changes on the themes. Great things can be done with incestuous family drama like the X-men, but when you just keep adding more characters — it’s just too damn rococo for me.

  2. Novaya Havoc Says:

    LOL!I love this part:”Rogue shows up again at the end. She’s been missing from comics for an eternity of two months. We close in on Australia, and in this action-packed scene, Rogue pumps gas.”LMFAO.Whole post: hit. nail. head.Those are Land adjectives.

  3. darknessatnoon Says:

    Zed, my problem is I like the rococo. The old X characters were boring. I’m a big fan of the D-Listers. Unfortunately, they are not iconic and therefore often are left by the wayside.

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