Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lame Mutant Powers

Hollywood has been responsible for plenty of atrocities over the last decade, but there was no trend more tragic than the Hindenberg Trilogy. Put simply, this is the practice of establishing a promising new franchise or intellectual property--and then plowing it into the ground with overwrought abominations of sequels. The Matrix. Star Wars and Pirates. Few trilogies were as ultimately foul as Marvel's Spider-Man, which survived a wobbly Christ-imagery-filled second outing but murdered itself so thoroughly in the third that I'm pretty sure they had to take Tobey Maguire out behind the shed. I don't recall seeing him lately.

Hindenberg trilogies are not simply film franchises that had poor entries or headed south; they must be gigantic mega-blockbusters loaded with stars, and when they crash and burn they must do so in a uniquely teeth-grindingly atrocious way. Remember, this isn't just a thing blowing up; it's a zeppelin, the biggest slowest most cumbersome invention in human history, which we also saw fit to fill with flammable gas.

The second X-Men movie faked us out by being better than the first, but the third was wretched all the same. The silver lining? Confirming the comedy potential in mutant powers. Magneto's army of mutant rabble contained the most ill-conceived specimens imaginable. Hell, they even made that Asian human porcupine guy a real character. His power has absolutely no utility, combat or otherwise, yet he's part of Magneto's inner circle and one of his primary henchmen? Really? Given the limited openings for these prime henching positions in today's economy, you'd imagine the competition would be a little tighter. Be that as it may, Spiny comes up huge when Magneto needs a kindly old nurse murdered. Spiny gives her a comforting hug, and...shank! This was the ultimate contest for him, something he'd trained years for, the greatest challenge to which he could aspire: killing a defenseless old woman with a hug. Inspired by Spiny Asian Mutant, I've created a few henchman mutants for the next X-Men. Because there's no way in hell they're not making another one; you know it and I know it. Let's turn the rage to constructive ends and move on.

At all times and places, from the searing desert to the numbing cold of the Siberian tundra, he is uncomfortably warm. His costume is made from dry-fit athletic material so he can maintain adequate ventilation. He specializes in rescue and recon, as he can exist with manageable discomfort in any location on Earth. Catchphrases include, "You know where there's a Jamba Juice around here?" and "Is it cool if I open a window?" He is strong against elemental-based opponents like Iceman, but weak against injury-based opponents like Wolverine. Rumored to suffer from a severe case of Athlete's Foot, as a result of sticky sweaty conditions in his socks. Ewww.

His mutant power allows him to extract wares from and generally manipulate any vending machine known to man. Many years ago he attempted to shake loose a bag of Doritos that was stuck on the little coil and ended up trapped beneath a radioactive vending machine! Doctors were able to save his life, but not before the radiation had permanently altered his DNA! Like Spider-Man, Vend's powers were not granted from birth and because of this his guilt gnaws at him. Magneto uses Vend to gather supplies for the mutant army he is constructing; not only do they feast nightly on granola bars and Twix, but the evil genius's coffers are kept overflowing with spare change! His powers extend to any machine that holds transactions, so ATMs and gas pumps alike have been known to bend to his will.

This man's skin cells can secrete a special chemical that, when mixed with oxygen, rapidly disperses in the surrounding environment and makes animals really, really horny. He is truly a force of nature when engaged in forest combat--even the mighty Wolverine cannot pursue his enemies when his legs are heavy with actual live wolverines humping furiously away. The forest hideout used by the rebel mutants in X-Men 3 will be nothing compared to the giant fortress they've built for the next blockbuster hit (starring Thomas Jane as Wolverine and Eugene Levy as Beast)! They're planning a giant 30-minute battle scene as the X-Men battle the forces of Magneto knee-deep in fornicating wildlife.

Game Genie
This mutant will be a big hit in Magneto's secret army, because with a touch of his hand he can deploy all the myriad powers of the consumer electronics classic! Any video game you could possibly play can be modified by his gift, and you can get more lives or infinite ammo or anything you want, provided you have the little booklet with the codes for whatever game you want to play. Oh, and his power only works on the gaming systems for which actual Game Genie products were created, so nothing after the Sega Game Gear. But if you want to just rock the holy shit out of the original Mortal Kombat, you go right ahead and show those Enduro rounds what's up. Game Genie will survive the fourth X-Men movie, because during the final battle he'll challenge Wolverine to Contra 3 but he'll cheat so he gets those blue C missiles (what does that stand for, anyway? Cold? Crush?) that blow away everything. Wolverine only realizes afterwards that he's been duped, and he gets all mad and he yells up at the camera with his claws out like RRRAAAAAAA.

The Observer
This guy's powers single-handedly put Jerry Seinfeld out of business. Considered the greatest observational humor comic alive, The Observer is revealed as a closeted mutant by Magneto and recruited into his army. He has no real combat abilities, though that never really held Spiny back. Rather, his mutant powers allow him to scan his surroundings for quirky or ironic details and explain them with maximum humor value. He's essentially the Bob Hope of the mutant army, entertaining them nightly with jokes that start with the phrases "Have you ever noticed..." and "What's the DEAL...." It doesn't go over too well, since these social outcasts have spent most of their lives in hiding; not traveling on those commercial airliners with the special bathrooms just for first class. What is UP with those? Are they nicer than the other bathrooms? And why the curtain? Like Bob Hope, The Observer is a tired act from his first show; like Hope, he's kept aloft by the fact that his audience is an army. They spend 90% of their time sitting around bored, and the other 10% trying not to die. In the movie's climactic scene, The Observer is cut in half by Wolverine after remarking that he should just be called Claw Man.

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