Lead Us Not Into The Negative Zone: (X-Men Gold #19 Comic Review)

In the penultimate instalment of the Negative Zone War the fate of Nightcrawler is revealed and the team must go toe to toe with a living, breathing God.

 

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X-MEN GOLD #19
Writer-Marc Guggenheim
Artist-Diego Bernard
Colorist-Chris Sotomayor
Publisher-Marvel Comics

What You Need to Know:
Kologoth has succeeded in his plan to revive the God Scythian and is reveling in the destruction wrought by the mindless leviathan. Meanwhile, Kurt is nowhere to be found after recovering from teleporting blindly onto the solid mass of Scythian shortly before its reanimation, though Kitty has been reunited with the team.

What You’ll Find Out:
Opening with Kologoth remembering his origins and his grand plan to enact revenge for his past mistreatment by ushering in the return of the fallen god Scythian he is laughing in true supervillain style as he watches Scythian mindlessly wade through ships whose firepower seems to glance right off him. Logan is however unimpressed. Ink and Kitty don’t share his optimism that the odds are in their favor and she sends Ink to find their missing ally Kurt while instructing the rest to take down the giant god and directs Logan to deal with Kologoth as she fears what he has planned next. As Kologoth and the commander witness the gods path of destruction the turncoat soldier begins to have doubts about the situation, but Kologoth is unrepentant marvelling at the glory of it all and launches into a full diatribe of how he knew this would be the result of returning the ancient god to life, only to be interrupted by Logan launching his own attack.

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As Kitty, Storm, Armor, and Colossus are engaged in battle with Scythian Ink arrives to inform them he’s found Kurt and it doesn’t look good. Kitty just has time to tell him to get Kurt when she and Storm are blind-sided by Scythian much to the shock of Colossus. Psi linked Ink informs them Kurt is in a bad state and Kitty is now also out of action having phased deep into the ground in the capital. His concern for the odds is backed up as Colossus calls them to pull back. But Logan ignores this and goes on the offensive, attacking Kologoth who remarks he looks tired. Logan admits he’s exhausted but it’s nothing compared to what he plans for his adversary. Kologoth is not shaken however and delivers a roundhouse borne of his anger at being interrupted in his moment of glory. Logan replies his disgust at the petty scheming with a swift kick dropping his opponent then delivering a two-fisted clawing through the skull. This seems to have finished Kologoth and the commander looks on in shock as in the background the giant god strides towards the city.

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Back in the safety of the offices of Parliament the team are finally reunited and await the return of Kitty while discussing their options. They are joined by the traitorous commander who repents his actions claiming he only wanted to free his world from tyranny not destroy it. He is not only unable to clarify how Kologoth revived Scythian in the first place but also doesn’t even know how to return him to his inanimate state. After Logan unsheathes his claws he reveals that he did manage to gather the ancient texts from Kologoths quarters which revealed that ancient magic was used to turn him to stone. This prompts Logan to point out Illyana should have been brought along. Just then Kitty arrives and reminds them all it is too late for second-guessing as Scythian is laying waste to the city and the military is out of their league. Based on the fact he can’t be hurt she decides the best thing to do is imprison him. Ink points out that nothing on the planet will do the job and Kitty calmly informs them she has a plan which involves going off-planet.

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Onboard a ship acquired from the Dartayans Kurt is battling at the controls and in bad shape, he doubts his strength will hold out. Kitty assures him she knows he is tough enough and she has faith in him. As she communicates with Storm to make sure she is keeping the atmosphere on their side she meets up with Ink, Colossus and Logan who are waiting at the cargo door with a tether which Logan attaches to Kitty via a harness. As he informs her that the apparatus was hastily gathered by the Dartayans Kitty wonders if it will even work. Ink reminds her it was her plan and Colossus and Logan talk her through the mechanics and she remarks on the dubious nature of the plan, again reminded it is hers and adds they just need to break orbit as Kurt notes his worries that the ship is bio synched for a stronger operator than he is. As Kitty prepares to jump Colossus has parting words and simply tells her to come back to him. Marvelling at his choice of moments for these sentiments she leaps out of the ship and phases long enough to pass through Scythian and release the harness, leaving the tether behind strung through Scythians torso and instructs Ink to deploy the anchor. As she plummets to the ground her request for someone to catch her is answered by Ink who swoops in to grab her and returns to the ship as Storm clears it a path.

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Kurt pilots the ship up, towing the gargantuan god and thanks Armor for her offer of help but states he would have to teach her to pilot the ship and he doesn’t have time. Colossus informs them the tether is coming loose and to hurry as he holds it desperately in place to the mooring. Kitty instructs Nightcrawler to head for the vortex in the center of the Negative Zone as she goes to help Colossus. As the ship heads for the gravitational pull, they release the cable and let Scythian loose into the vortex and barely escape being pulled in alongside him before the engines give out and Kurt warns them all to prepare for impact as the ship crashes back down planet-side in a massive explosion.

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What Just Happened?
Aside from the implied major drama of the situation the dialogue is coming off a little hokey and almost as tired as Kologoth remarks Logan to be. The fight between Kologoth and Logan is filled with too much textbook talk, full of hands-on-hips laughing, fist shaking and “I may be tired but I’m still gonna stop you”. There is nothing new going on here aside from the fishing expedition. And even that is almost too much an ‘homage’ to the final scene of a certain Alien movie. It’s almost as if Guggenheim is trying to compare Kitty to Ripley here. Comparisons are all well and good but what we love about these people is who they are in their OWN world and not who they mimic in existing media. Also, all the doubting of the final plan by Kitty is not typical of her at all. Once she formulates a plan it isn’t usually her nature to doubt it. Least of all to verbalize her doubts to the whole team who are behind her 100%. Same thing could be said for her lack of concern for the way Logan deals with Kologoth. Though I have no doubt his fate would have been the same at the hands of the Dartayans as they had exiled him with little success, that was for them to decide. Logan’s actions, however, are no shocker, future refugees such as he and Bishop have always ended up doling out their own sense of justice and ignoring the X-credo. What niggles most though is Ink is EVERYWHERE. First, he finds Kurt, flies to tell Kitty then straight away back with Kurt and informing everyone Kitty is phasing through the ground. Then later in the tethering of Scythian, he is the one to release the anchor and straight away by Kitty’s side to save her. I hate to say it but I can’t wait for this to be over and get on with the Brotherhood story. The promise that next issue has a “status quo altering” final page is not going to have a hard act to follow with this arc unless Guggenheim pulls out all the stops. The art is the saving grace this issue and the narrative less so. Logan is looking as grizzled as ever and the toll is clearly taking effect in the last battle with Kologoth.

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Rating: 5/10

Final Thought: The change of artist and colorist is not at all jarring here as the team of Lashley and Prianto hand over to Bernard and Sotomayor who perform admirably mid-arc to keep things smooth. The colors are a little brighter but it doesn’t distract from the story at all and are in fact its saving grace, which is a shame as, though the plot is a solid one, the pacing and dialogue suffered compared to last issue.


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