Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roll 'em! My Top 10 Horror Films

It's Halloween once again, but as usual, I haven't seen a single trick-or-treater. Because I have nothing better to do, here's a quick rundown of some of my all-time favorite horror movies. Watch them all . . . if you dare.


(Was that over the top? I can never tell . . .)

The Crazies (2010)
-This was the first film to ever make me jump out of my skin in the middle of a theater. I'm serious here. The scene with the deranged father--so full of red herrings--is disturbing and awesome at the same time, and the morgue scene is absolutely terrifying. The ending is a little cliche, but it's still an excellent film that I recommend to anybody in need of a good scare.

-Oh, baby. This M. Night Shyamalan-produced thriller does the impossible: it makes a compelling story out of a small group of people stuck in an elevator. There aren't any known actors or classic horror tropes, but what you get instead is a very unique film with a very unexpected ending (but from Shyamalan, could you expect any less? Good or bad, you're going to be surprised). What a twist!

Drag Me to Hell
-Wonderfully trashy, this is a Sam Raimi film through and through. Alison Lohman embraces her inner Bruce Campbell in this one, going from her normal, prim self to a leering, grave-digging madwoman as her demon tormentor keeps screwing with her life. The gore is ridiculous but also quite epic, and the film features the absolute most incredible parking lot brawl ever shown on camera. I hope (WWE chairman) Vince McMahon was taking notes. 

-This one flips the classic "haunted house" story completely upside down, primarily because the film's protagonists aren't idiots. When they realize there's something wrong with the house, they don't decide to suffer through it; they get the heck out of there! Unfortunately, the ghost comes with them, which leads to the startling revelation that it's not the house that's haunted, but . . . eh, go watch it yourself. It is, in the words of one Ned Flanders, spine-tingly-dingly.

Storm of the Century
-"Born in sin . . . come on in!" Stephen King films are kind of a mixed bag. More often than not, he'll have a great idea, run with it as hard as he can and then tucker the f*** out at the home stretch, leaving everyone in the audience wondering what the heck just happened. Seriously--that's what his movies are like; if he can't come up with a conclusion, he settles for confusion.
Storm of the Century gets it right, and it keeps the audience in a vise-like grip from start to finish. This is no easy task, considering it's four freaking hours long, but it's absolutely brilliant. Plus, mega props to Colm Feore's bone-chilling portrayal of antagonist Andre Linoge. Linoge is smug and perpetually cool as a cucumber, providing an excellent foil for Tim Daly's character, Michael Anderson, who is the brave, honest sheriff who stands against him. And as film climaxes go, this one is excellent. 

The Invisible Man
-I do love the classics, particularly Dracula and the rather goofy Phantom of the Opera starring Claude Rains. But it's Rains' performance in The Invisible Man that stands out as the most chilling of all '30s horror films. Why? Because he's not a monster. He's not a soulless bloodsucker, nor is he a stitched-together, id-obeying corpse. Jack Griffin is a human being, and he is seriously unhinged as a result of being invisible for too long. Rains plays the role for campy laughs at times, but he's stone cold when he needs to be. The scene in which Dr. Kemp is driving away and realizes he's not alone is absolutely superb, and it shows just how creepy an invisible adversary could be. This is my favorite old-school horror film, bar none. 

Sleepy Hollow
-My favorite Tim Burton film (yes, even above Batman), Sleepy Hollow perfectly mixes gruesome violence with gallows humor to create a stylistic masterpiece. Johnny Depp is perfectly cast as the quirky police inspector (as opposed to schoolteacher in the original tale) Ichabod Crane. He's methodical, arrogant and prone to fainting, but his sharpness as a detective makes him an engaging character to watch. Better still is Christopher Walken (plus the wonderful Ray Park in fight scenes) as the Headless Horseman. With teeth filed down to points and his trademark hair greased up and wild, he's a frightening sight even in the pre-decapitation flashback scenes. 

Cabin in the Woods
-Joss Whedon, you've done it again. This movie takes literally every horror movie trope we've ever loved (or hated) and crams them all into one truly original horror/comedy experience. Now, even though I said "comedy," don't watch this movie thinking it's all laughs. It is dark. It is brutal. It is unfair. It will make you jump. But it also has that trademark Joss Whedon charm about it--that snarky wit driving the plot along and keeping your eyes open when you'd ordinarily be scrunching them tightly shut. Easily the best horror film I've seen since . . .

Jeepers Creepers
-I loved this movie as soon as I saw the trailer. It's fun, it's thrilling and it's extremely gory. It also features very strong performances from its two main protagonists, played by Justin Long and Gina Philips. From the license plate game they play at the beginning to the self-sacrifice at the end, they come across as authentic siblings. Also of note is "The Creeper," a truly loathsome movie monster who is nonetheless enjoyable to watch, especially due to his awesome truck and even more awesome license plates ("BEATINGU").

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn
-"I'll swallow your soul!" Or, better yet, I'll watch this movie again and again. I'm watching it right now, actually; it's that good. Evil Dead II is campy to the point of being epic, and sharp-chinned leading man Bruce Campbell chews the scenery and spits it back out like a pro. The first Evil Dead was so bad it was funny, but this one? This one is just plain funny. And gory. Very gory. "You bastards--give me back my hand!"

Honorable mentions: Psycho, Pet Sematary, Halloween (1978 AND 2007--don't judge me), 1408, Red Eye, 'Salem's Lot (1979), The Mist, It, Let Me In, Alien . . . these are all great movies, and it was hard cutting them out of my top 10. But, alas, it had to be done. I heartily recommend any of these films, fo'shizzle.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

And, while I'm at it . . .

I wish I could say my decision to start drinking was all about peer pressure. To tell the truth, I purposely chose to drink when I did just so I could use that excuse. But that's not entirely true. I started drinking for the same reason we as human beings make any big lifestyle decision: I wanted to be different.

Why did I want to be different? Well, frankly, it's because I was dissatisfied with who I was (am, and ever shall be). I never wanted to be a drinker, but I was sick and tired of being who I was, because who I was simply wasn't satisfying. I wanted to be good enough so badly . . . I wanted to be the type of person who could fit in instead of hanging around awkwardly. I wanted to be the type of person who could cut loose and have fun. I wanted to be somebody different because the person I was (am, and ever shall be) . . . was the type of person who was a great friend, dependable, loyal, predictable, and absolutely undesirable otherwise. I drank to be different, in hopes that maybe another side of me--the spontaneous party animal that surely was locked in there somewhere--might be enough. But a drunk me is still me, only more annoying. It didn't work out the way I had hoped.

The worst part is that even though I certainly don't drink often, I find myself craving alcohol from time to time. I never had these cravings before, and the fear of such a need is exactly why I avoided alcohol for so long. I actually want to drink when I go out now, whether I'm alone or with friends, and that bothers me. I'm not drinking to have fun; I'm drinking to numb my pain--to alleviate my stress--to forget about life for a while, if I might borrow from Mr. Joel.

I can't take it back, but I wish I could. I wish I could pour the vodka, the whiskey, the Smirnoff Ice and the Rumple Minze back into the bottles from which they came. I can't say "I don't drink" anymore with a clear conscience--not without adding the word "much." Y'know, what's crazy is that I thought drinking would make me different, but really, not drinking is what made me different. Now I'm just another college guy, and why in the world would anybody find that appealing?

Again, as I've said in previous posts, I'm okay with who I am now. I know I've got a lot of neat possibilities yet to be explored, and I have no doubt I'll find what I'm looking for at some point, but I'm still cheesed that I can't have what I want (or at least what I think I want) so badly. Nevertheless, if I don't have it, I wasn't meant to have it. I'll get over it.

Good night, all!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Another spot of introspective rubbish . . .

I guess I just wasn't good enough. I thought maybe--just maybe--there was a chance this would work . . . that maybe I'd be seen for what I am and what I have to offer, but it didn't happen. I am unworthy.

That's how I felt at first. But you know what? It's sunshine and lollipops now. Okay, maybe not exactly--I'm still wrapping my head around things for the time being, so I don't know what the heck it is that I'm feeling--but I feel better about this than I thought I would. I may still have a lot of uncertain emotions to deal with in the days to come, but here's what I do know:

     First, I still hate the fact that I'm still a chubby, awkward dork. It stings so much to think how different things could have been if I weren't . . . me. But even though I want to hate myself, I know that won't get me anywhere, because . . .

     It's not me. 

     Really, it's not. I've come to realize that I actually do have a lot of things going for me. I'm actually a pretty talented guy, and even though my skills aren't especially marketable or "radically kewl," I've found my niche. When I am in my element, I am able to steal the spotlight, and I'll admit that I do enjoy the attention. I can write. I can draw. I can sing. I'm gradually getting better at all of these things, and at long last, I've been able to apply those skills not just to professional endeavors but to personal interactions as well. People are starting to notice me, and not just in terms of pointing and laughing. For the first time in my life, my eccentric qualities are actually making me more popular instead of serving to further isolate me from "the normal people." And even though part of me is still tearing itself apart because the right people--the right person--still hasn't noticed, I'm still okay. The sun will still rise in the east tomorrow morning, and I will get through my day, simple as that. 



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The 10 Best (and 10 worst) Comic Book Movie Villains

I love super-heroes, therefore I tend to love super-hero movies. But if a hero is only as good as his or her villain, then I figure I should pay tribute to my personal favorite comic book movie villains. Feel free to comment, discuss or debate, but remember that these are just based on my personal opinions.


10- Whiplash (Iron Man 2)
     Wow. As soon as Mickey Rourke shows up on screen, you know he means business. Although he's taken out a bit too quickly in the end (by crossing the streams, no less!), there's no denying the scene at the racetrack gave a lot of audience members serious goosebumps.

9- Mr. Rooney (The Road to Perdition)
     Exuding fatherly endearment as well as calculating evil, I honestly don't understand why Paul Newman didn't get an Oscar for this performance. Even his death scene is carried out with perfectly poignant grace and power.

8- Ra's Al Ghul (Batman Begins)
     Maybe I'm biased . . . I do love me some Liam Neeson. But he threw everybody for a loop in Batman Begins, making us think he was merely mercenary Henri Ducard, Bruce Wayne's mentor and friend. Alas, he was Ra's Al Ghul the whole time, waiting in the wings until Gotham was ready to burn. My only complaint? His big reveal needed an Ed Norton slow clap.

7- The Kingpin (Daredevil)
     Nothing against Colin Farrell's excellently evil turn as Bullseye (after playing wimpy, confused-looking heroes in all his big movies up to that point), but the late, brilliant Michael Clarke Duncan stole the show as the Kingpin of Crime. The first time you see him standing in the window of Fisk Tower says it all: this man is large and in charge, and smokin' stogies like a pimp.    

6- Obadiah Stane (Iron Man)
     With a name like Obadiah Stane, he has to be evil, right? But for most of Iron Man, he's just harmless old Obie, zipping around on his Segway scooter and being generally supportive of the injured Tony Stark. Then, next thing you know, he's full-on mustache-twirling evil, and it's awesome. Jeff Bridges, ladies and gentlemen.

5- The Joker (Batman)
     Two words: Jack Nicholson. He absolutely nails the role of the Joker, mixing outrageous comical antics (dancing to Prince while defacing timeless artwork is strange but somehow works) with some truly terrifying violence. But it's the scenes between the action that show how chilling Jack Napier really is. Frying one of his mob goons is disturbing enough; what happens after takes the cake.

4- Two-Face (Batman Forever)
     This is a man who had simply too much fun playing a maniacal villain. And that, my friends, is what makes Two-Face #4 on this list (because TWO-Face is DOUBLY awesome, and 2 x 2 = 4, and . . . oh, forget it). True, Aaron Eckhart showed us the subtler side, and certainly gave us a standout performance as D.A. Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, and Billy Dee Williams (Batman) is who he is, but Jones' raw energy and charisma makes him the best live incarnation of the character to date.

3- Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)
     "What a lovely, lovely voice!"
     Bane was a pretty big gamble for the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. He is a lesser known villain, half of his face is covered for 96 percent of the movie, and he's a huge bruiser of a man who is being played by . . . a 5'9", 200-lb. Tom Hardy. Plus, he sounds like this.
     Despite all these factors, however, there is something special about this version of Bane (not this version--good GOD, not this version!). Because his face is covered, Hardy must convey so much more emotion using only his eyes and his body. Somehow it works. Every time Bane steps forward, tugging at his lapels Kurt Angle-style as though he's about to throw down, the collective heart rate of the audience shoots up. When he leers down at Daggett, his meaty hand resting on the slimy businessman's shoulder, neither Daggett nor anyone else in the audience feels in control. And when Bane speaks, we all listen . . . mainly because we can't understand him, but also because he is saying something worth listening to. And to think . . . he was just the muscle.

2- Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2)
     Machiavellian and smooth, Doctor Octopus is a super-villain with class. He's out of his mind, of course, but that doesn't stop him from wearing vintage shades and a dark-green overcoat that never goes out of style with the bad guy crowd. What I enjoyed most about Doc Ock was that he blamed his arms for everything, even though most of the rotten things he did were his idea ("Butterfingers!"). Also, if you have any doubts at all that Doc Ock belongs among the top echelon of movie super-villains, check this out. After watching that clip again, I feel badly about not giving him the top spot. But, alas, that honor absolutely must go to . . .

1- Loki (The Avengers)
     I already said in a previous post that The Avengers is my favorite comic book movie, and as you may recall, I felt kind of badly about saying that because it's been out for less than a year. Nevertheless, I honestly believe it will stand the test of time just as my other favorites have, and so will its primary villain, Loki. This guy is everything a villain should be: he's both physically threatening and a criminal mastermind, plus his arrogance makes his ultimate defeat all the more satisfying. Most important, though, is that we can still feel for him and understand why he's doing the awful and occasionally quite stupid things he's doing. Loki is a villain with depth, visual appeal and humor, and that is why he's top dog on this list. Even when he's briefly imprisoned, it's obvious he's a few steps ahead of the good guys.


Who could ever forget Gene Hackman's epic, over-the-top portrayal of Lex Luthor? Or Liev Schreiber's sinister turn as the burly Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine? And in Superman II, how could we not kneel before Zod? Mystique, Toad and Sabretooth all brought their A-game to the first X-Men. Thomas Haden Church brought a surprisingly poignant touch to the brutish Sandman. Bullseye was giddily, murderously delightful in Daredevil. Jim Carrey redefined the Riddler for a new generation in Batman Forever, just as Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito redefined Catwoman and the Penguin (Batman Returns), and of course, there is Heath Ledger's brilliant incarnation of the Joker (The Dark Knight). But as much as I love these memorable super-villains, they didn't quite make the cut.


10- Parallax (Green Lantern)
     Behold . . . space diarrhea! Voiced by Clancy Brown, no less! Ummmm . . . what? Where is the creepy, insectoid fear demon? Is this doofy-looking puff of intergalactic flatulence really supposed to scare anyone? At least secondary villain Hector Hammond had the whole creeper thing going for him.

9- Jigsaw (Punisher: War Zone)
     Dominic West as Jigsaw . . . he's big, intense and scary-looking, plus he's not a bad actor--what could go wrong? Oh, wait . . .
     Seriously, it looks like WWE Chairman Vince McMahon wearing the puffy shirt from Seinfeld.

8- Poison Ivy (Batman and Robin)
     "My vines have a crush on you!"
     Oh, if only that had been her worst line . . . Uma Thurman completely dropped the ball in this one, although I enjoyed her early scenes as the nerdy Dr. Isley. Watching Batman and Robin fall head-over-heels for her to the point of absolute incompetence? Just painful to watch.

7- The Dark Phoenix (X-Men: The Last Stand)
     The Phoenix is fire and power and life incarnate and all that happy crap. Even when she goes dark in the comics, she only seems to get hotter and happier (especially as she's snuffing out entire planets full of Asparagus People). So why did we get this veiny, frumpy thing in the movie? Ick.
I sure hope there's a Visine for that . . .

6- The Devil/Roark (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance)
     One, it's not Peter Fonda. Two, he's a pudgy, older gentleman who is scary, perhaps, in the "Old Mr. Potter's going to shut down the old Savings and Loan" kind of way but not the "I'll swallow your SOUL!" way. Three, he drives a very, very boring vehicle. The Devil I know, he of the sex and the drugs and the rock and roll and the Oprah Channel, drives a hot rod.

5- Venom (Spider-Man 3)
     VENOM was actually quite cool in Spider-Man 3. Eddie Brock, on the other hand, was Topher Grace. Not that there's anything wrong with Topher Grace, mind you. Frankly, he might have been a very good Spider-Man had Tobey Maguire not been cast. And the film was going for a "Peter Parker's dark reflection" look, but it just didn't work. Topher was tiny, and although the comic book version of Venom had a twisted sense of honor, Topher-Venom was, to put it bluntly, just a douchebag.

4-The Green Goblin (Spider-Man)
     -The exact opposite of Venom, Willem Dafoe was actually perfect as Norman Osborn. His freak-out in the board room was exactly what I wish he could have been like as the Goblin. UNFORTUNATELY, what we got was a Power Ranger villain on a flying sled. Just . . . no. No. His worst line? "Sleeeeeeeeeep, ha-haaaa."

3- Magneto (X-Men)
     Bear with me here. Ian McKellen is a great actor. He was perfect as Gandalf. But he was absolutely weaksauce as Magneto. It's not all his fault, mind you--he's old, frail and a bit light in the loafers, if you get my drift--and none of these things describe Magneto (except the "old" part, but he aged better in the comics). To his credit, he got steadily better with each film in the series, to the point that he's doing WICKED epic stuff (like this, for instance), but still . . . where's Alan Rickman when you need him?

2- Galactus (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
     Soooooo . . . instead of the giant, purple-clad, horned humanoid we all know and love, we get . . . a cloud. And a horned shadow, to the film's credit, but . . . a cloud? It's Parallax without a voice--and Parallax was dull as paint drying in the Green Lantern film. Obviously Fox didn't want to expend its budget when clearly the plan was to make a Silver Surfer film with Galactus as the main villain, but I would have settled for a lowly stuntman (or Mel Gibson, ideally) traipsing across the screen in the Galactus get-up--the cheesier, the better! Anything but . . . a cloud.

1- Doctor Doom (Fantastic Four)
      I honestly don't know what they were going for here. Julian McMahon had the right look for Doom, but he seemed confused by his awful, indecisive script. His Doom wasn't exactly the comic-bookish Latverian dictator we were hoping for, but he wasn't quite right as a diabolical businessman, either. The whole bit where he has actual super powers instead of a suit of armor seemed forced, as well, as were his ill-defined electro-metal powers. Fox fixed this with the sequel, but unfortunately, the damage was done; Doom will go down in infamy as the absolute worst film portrayal of a super-villain.


Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor in Superman III) and Mr. Freeze (Batman and Robin) were silly, but I enjoyed their hammy acting regardless (honestly, Ah-nuld was the only thing in Batman and Robin even worth remembering). And, as much as I love Hugo Weaving, it was obvious in his portrayal of the Red Skull that his heart just wasn't in it. Also, I loved X-Men: First Class, but all I cared about was the dynamic between Xavier and Magneto. I couldn't have cared less about Emma Frost or the overly-Bacony Sebastian Shaw. As for the Abomination (The Incredible Hulk), Tim Roth was fine; it was the Swamp Thing ripoff he turned into that failed to impress. Finally, I love Watchmen, and frankly, Matthew Goode's Ozymandias was a very good villain. The only problem (and it's a big one) is that it is obvious from the very start that he is the one behind everything. Subtle Goode isn't; he looked evil AT ALL TIMES.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Post "AvX," is Cyclops more of an Angel than ever?

For better or worse, the biggest comics event of the year was "Avengers vs. X-Men." It was, frankly, everything dedicated comic fans know they are supposed to hate and yet they buy it anyway, simply because they want to see what will happen.

The premise of "AvX" is pretty straightforward. The Phoenix Force is the "Big Bad" of the series, and it's COMING TO EARTH!!!! The Avengers, Earth's Mightiest Heroes, are panicked. They recognize the Phoenix as a potentially planet-destroying threat and are desperate to keep it away. The X-Men, on the other hand, specifically Cyclops' uber-powerful Extinction Team (the most misunderstood of the misunderstood, and also the most dangerous), see the Phoenix as a chance to reignite the mutant gene that was snuffed out by former Avenger (and Extinction Team member Magneto's daughter) the Scarlet Witch. Plus, Cyclops has it on good authority (Cable, his son from the future) that Extinction Team member Hope is destined to host the Phoenix, and Cable typically knows what he's talking about.

The problem starts when Captain America decides to consult Wolverine about how to approach the Phoenix situation. Wolverine has just recently reopened the Xavier Institute (renamed the Jean Grey Institute) after a violent disagreement with Cyclops. There is a lot of bad blood between the two, and Wolverine is all-too-eager to tell Cap how irrational and militant Cyclops is now. It makes sense for Captain America to ask Wolverine for advice, considering Wolverine is doing double-time as headmaster of the Institute and as an Avenger, but he should have known to take it with a grain of salt. Instead, he decides to storm the X-Men's island headquarters and home, Utopia, and take Hope by force. Because, y'know, all they have to do is hide Hope somewhere where an omniscient being of psychic energy can't find her . . . riiiiiiight. Cyclops tells Cap to get off his lawn and this happens:


Now, thanks to Cyke's slammin'-hot telepathic girlfriend Emma Frost, the X-Men knew going into it that Cap wasn't going to take "no" for an answer, so skipping straight to the fisticuffs actually makes sense. The Avengers, however, see the X-Men as the aggressors and begin a full-scale invasion. Meanwhile, a separate team is sent into space in an attempt to stop the Phoenix from reaching Earth in the first place. Thor even throws his hammer at the massive energy-raptor, which is pretty hilarious, actually (did he really think that was going to work?). It doesn't work, so Tony Stark, in his infinite wisdom, creates a device that will absolutely, positively destroy the Phoenix.

That doesn't work, either.

This happens:

Yeah, great job, Tony. You and Wolverine could have just gone out drinking instead and this whole thing could have been avoided. But no. Excellent work, sir; now instead of ONE Phoenix host, who was actually meant to have it, we have five. Four of them, by the way, are dealing with some very serious personal demons that make them very bad choices to possess nigh-unlimited power. And then there's Cyclops, who actually handles it pretty well.

The Phoenix Five, as they're called, actually do great things with their power. They feed the hungry, abolish war, help the helpless, punish the guilty--all kinds of good stuff. But to the Avengers (and President Obama, oddly enough), it just doesn't seem kosher. After all, Wolverine tells them at every possible opportunity that Cyclops is a nutjob, and even though Rachel Grey did a pretty darn good job keeping the Phoenix under control, for some reason everyone assumes it's an uncontrollable force. So the Avengers keep antagonizing the Phoenix Five . . . pushing them, treating them like they're any other super-villains, and one by one, each starts to crack. Namor attacks Wakanda, causing unimaginable damage before the Avengers take him out. Colossus breaks stuff. Magik traps various Avengers in a hell dimension. Emma Frost mindwipes anybody who strikes her as particularly deserving of it. And Cyclops does nothing crazy at all, but he's still the one the Avengers (and many of Wolverine's "X-Men" at this point) see as the root of the problem. Professor Charles Xavier himself, too, is particularly disconcerted by Scott Summers' newfound power, and seems convinced that it will lead to no good. So he joins with the coalition of "X-Men" and Avengers and decides to put his former prize student down like a rabid dog.

The story culminates in the "shocking death" of Professor X at the hands of his first X-Man, Cyclops, who then turns into the Dark Phoenix and causes the excrement to hit the fan. Everybody is shocked. Cyclops is now, irrevocably, the villain fore'ermore. Take a look:

Hardcore, Cyke.
From there, Hope and the Scarlet Witch proceed to beat the Phoenix out of Scott and then declare, "No more Phoenix," dispersing the energy to restart the mutant population. So . . . yay. And yes, this is pretty much exactly what Cyclops' plan had been from the get-go, sooooo . . . instead of admitting he was right, the Avengers lock him away for his many "crimes," even fitting him with a ruby-quartz shock-helmet so he can't use his powers. And he deserves it for killing a defenseless Xavier--after all, it's not like Xavier stood any chance against the Phoenix . . . it was like shooting an unarmed man!

But wait . . . wasn't Xavier trying to completely mindwipe Scott? Hadn't he been goading him, prodding him, deriding him up to that point? He even snarls, "Down, boy!" at one point. Plus, Cyclops is under the corrupting influence of a cosmic entity. How is he entirely responsible for his actions? That "Get Out of Jail Free" card worked like a charm for Hal Jordan, so why shouldn't Scott Summers be similarly absolved? Wolverine has killed and killed again with no remorse whatsoever, and yet he's a staple of just about every team in the Marvel universe (if he joins the Fantastic Four, I'm giving up comics . . . but not really). Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch) nearly rendered mutants extinct, and killed countless mutants whose lives depended on their powers working (mutants who could fly, mutants who could breathe underwater, etc.). And yet she's a starring member of the new Uncanny Avengers series, which merges the Avengers with Wolverine's team of merry mutants.

The sheer commercialism of this comic would make Linus himself kick a beagle. 

The difference between Cyclops and every other character who has ever been put in such a position is that nobody likes Cyclops. Seriously. Many fans don't like him at all due to his straight-laced, conservative, by-the-books persona and even his fellow comic book characters think he's kind of a dick. Adding to the problem is the fact that Cyclops admitted multiple times that although he regrets killing Xavier, he doesn't regret his actions with the Extinction Team or the Phoenix Five because ultimately, his goal was met: more mutants.

The kicker is that even though Cyclops has been vilified (at least for now), even non-Cyclops fans feel that he was in the right throughout "AvX." He was the only member of the Phoenix Five who never flipped his sh!t, and he retained his humanity even to the point of removing Emma Frost's Phoenix powers when she threatened to destroy the earth on a whim (thank you, Kieron Gillen, for writing that excellent issue of Uncanny X-Men). Plus, his reaction when Beast tells him there are indeed new mutants is priceless.
"Get your filthy paws off me, you darn, dirty Beast!"
This whole "estranged son killing his father" motif seems awfully familiar, though. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 ended on pretty much the same note when a possessed Angel (calling himself "Twilight" because . . . ehhhh, why bother) broke Rupert Giles' neck. Does this look familiar?

Actually, Angel's had daddy issues since the 1700s.

This really unnecessary death did have the fortunate side effect of leading to Angel and Faith, which is one of the most enjoyable comics I've read in a while, and certainly the best comic in the Buffy-verse right now.

Angel is almost always penitent about something. He's a character driven by guilt and the hope of redemption. He had issues with his own father and he had issues with Giles (the whole "taking Buffy's virginity, turning evil and killing Giles' girlfriend" thing really lost him some brownie points), but he took that guilt upon his shoulders and he carried it, when he could easily have blamed it all on the demon inside him. And Angel and Faith is all about him redeeming himself in the only way he knows how: trying to resurrect Giles by any means necessary. It's a fool's quest, but Angel's a passionate fool, and passion has a way of making things work.

Passion is also why Angel is in this situation in the first place. Like Cyclops, he embraced the opportunity to take on incredible power in an attempt to make the world a better place, knowing from the start he'd have to make some serious choices and do some questionable things. The power he possessed had to be sacrificed by Buffy just as Hope and the Scarlet Witch sacrificed the Phoenix Force, for better or worse. And while under the influence of that power, he killed a man who was very much a father to him.  

Again, Angel, unlike Cyclops, is a character beloved by most Whedonites and the characters in his universe. This cuts him more slack with fans, but it doesn't make what he did to Giles any less horrifying. In fact, it's worse than what Cyclops did because Giles was not a threat to him. Cyclops acted in self-defense--he overacted, certainly, but his mind was at stake. Nevertheless, although he's playing it cool in his prison setting for the time being, Cyclops is definitely going to take his actions to heart. It's unlikely that he'll be trying to resurrect Xavier anytime soon (the Red Skull having Xavier's brain might be a problem anyway), but Xavier's death will definitely weigh heavily in his mind. And, frankly, it will make him even more fascinating as a hero, just as Giles' death has pushed Angel to new heights and lows alike. Being Cyclops, his outward attitude will likely be, "I don't give a fig--I was right and it all worked out," but that's because he's a lot like Christopher Nolan's version of Batman; he's willing to be seen as the villain if it means accomplishing the greater good. And that's what makes him awesome. 

On the subject of resurrection, if one reads the "AvX" tie-in Uncanny X-Men #18, it is shown that Cyclops very well may have brutally killed and immediately resurrected Beast at one point in the final battle. Sooooo . . . there's a very real chance that, had the Avengers not gone in guns a'blazin' and whatnot, either Xavier would not even have been killed or, alternatively, Cyclops could have resurrected him on the spot. Shoot, Hope could easily have done the same thing, but she didn't. Comic characters are silly, I'm afraid.