Lydia Nance and Alpha step up the campaign in their goal of the destruction of mutant-kind and Kitty faces the fallout of Peter’s bachelor party and must race to the Savage Land to save him.
X-MEN GOLD #27
Author: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Geraldo Borges
Colorist: Arif Prianto
Flashback Artist: David Marquez
Flashback Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Phil Noto
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
In a bid to let their hair down the guys head to Vegas on a bachelor night, but as is always the case, Colossus and bars don’t mix. Alpha ambushes him and takes him to Lydia Nance’s Savage Land base to prepare him for their latest nefarious plan, using him to kill all mutants, which relies heavily on Peters specific genetic make-up.
What You’ll Find Out:
As with the last issue we begin with a flashback relating to Kitty and Peter. This time it is the memory of her Christmas kiss shortly before her trial by fire night facing the N’Garai demon. This tender moment gives way to the present and the all too dire consequences of Peter’s bachelor party. As Bobby recovers from his confrontation with Alpha the others arrive to survey the damage and Bobby makes the understatement of the year.
Back at Xavier’s and Rachel finds Ororo attempting to send Stormcaster back to Asgardia, but with little success. Rachel is puzzled at her actions, reminding her that it came to her when she needed it. But after the last time she had possession of it, or more accurately it had possession of her, Ororo clearly doesn’t trust it. Storm goes on to say that Rachel herself is having a boost in power and since the coma her powers are amplified, which is a worry. Despite Rachels assertion that Kurt talks too much Ororo assures her it’s because he, like everyone else, is concerned for her. Rachel abruptly insists she’s fine and before it can get uncomfortable Rogue interrupts with some bad news.
As the girls head to Vegas in the jet Prestige senses the culprit from Bobby’s memories and feeds the info to everyone on board. Rogue is surprised she can read Bobby from so far away and Storm uses this to drive home the point to Rachel of what she has already said. Meanwhile, Kitty identifies Alpha from the information as being the A.I. Sentinel they recently faced and wonders aloud what he is up to and where he has taken Colossus. The answer to both those questions is made all too clear to Peter himself as he finds he is manacled to some monitoring equipment at the mercy of Alpha and Lydia.
She informs him of her belief that Alpha can re-engineer the virus from his blood to target all mutants, ensuring humans will no longer need to fear them. In disgust, Peter declares she isn’t the first bigoted person to play this card, but Alpha interrupts and declares that he is as he’s not a person. Back in Vegas and the team arrive to help and Rogue finds Iceman has sent the others to check for more hostiles. Kitty is about to hack security cameras to check the trajectory of their target when Prestige says there is no need, she can track him. This time it’s Bobby’s turn to be shocked at the new ease with which she flaunts her power and she reminds him she was a mutant Hunter and as Storm already mentioned…
Kitty tells her to do whatever it takes and walks off and Rogue follows sensing her tension. Kitty admits she was worried about the bachelor party but this result was nothing she had foreseen. Rogue reassures her they will get him back and attempts to distract her by mentioning a bachelorette party, in hopes of taking her mind off her fears. But Kitty sees through the thinly disguised attempt, claiming the events are a sign. Rogue puts it down to nerves and points out that it’s a big deal and second guesses are natural, just as Bobby arrives with news.
Arriving in the Savage Land some distance away from their target Kitty has to point out to Prestige the reason is so as to avoid tipping off the enemy, before giving everyone their mission parameters. Flyers carry the others and split up to cover more ground. Storm, Iceman and Pyro head west leaving Rogue and Gambit to go east, which delights Gambit no end and he has to be reminded to stay on the mission by Rogue, as Kitty takes Nightcrawler and Prestige south. Despite the sneak attack Alpha knows they are coming and informs Peter, who asks why he is doing this.
But Alpha sees the questioning as a distraction to sow doubt in his mind. He insists he has mutated, which means he knows the danger mutants represent and must be eradicated. When Peter points out that includes him, he simply agrees and says when he has succeeded he will self-terminate. Meanwhile as Storms team comb the bowels of the complex Pyro notes the conduits are functional, something is off about this evil hideout. Before they have time to figure it out though they are attacked by a phalanx of Alphas drones and Storm readies for action and twirls Stormcaster.
Meanwhile, Kitty’s team have made it into the complex and Kitty makes it plain she just wants to find Peter, causing Rachel to state she can feel her concern and she is worried for her friend. Kitty downplays it, telling her she has it under control. As they walk in on a smug welcoming Lydia, Kitty pounces, slamming her against a wall. Rachel pulls her back as Kurt reminds her Lydia is a civilian. It’s obvious Kitty is taking it personally as she phases out of Rachels grip and grabs Lydia again, threatening to give her a legitimate reason to hate mutants and demanding to know where her fiancé is. Lydia smiles and says her place is to distract them, just as Alpha arrives and cold cocks Kitty. As Rachel deals with Lydia Kitty calls the team to rally to their location, but finds he is everywhere at the same time.
To make matters worse an ominous rumbling alerts the team to more trouble and Alpha confirms their worst fears. It isn’t an earthquake, but a launch sequence. As Iceman asks Storm to get them out she clears a path and the whereabouts of Peter become painfully apparent to Kitty.
What Just Happened?
Characters/Story: Okay…The niggles first. Boyo…Gambit…AGAIN. Is he possessed by Banshee?? And speaking of out of character, how can a self-aware A.I. decide to self-terminate once he’s completed his primary programming? Although the original Sentinels did fly off into the sun once they realised they were a mutation too, so that isn’t as much a stretch as ‘Welsh-Rarebit Remy’. Then on to Rogue, who has to tell Kitty to be stubborn and tell the universe to shut up? This is Kitty we are talking about here people, that’s like telling a fish to swim. However, it gets better from there, as seen later with Kitty’s reaction to Lydia. A truly satisfying dénouement, as this has been brewing since the two sparred on the TV debate months ago. All I can say is beware of Bridezilla, or is it Prydezilla? Kitty has always fiercely defended those she loves and here is no different. And that love for Peter is as intrinsic a part of her character as her attitude, which is clearly shown in the flashback scene at the start, hearkening to all the way back in Uncanny X-Men #143 and also seen again in flashback in Astonishing X-Men #1. Although originally it was Kitty who mentioned his blushing and not Kurt, it was still a smart touchstone to the beginnings of what would grow to be a strong relationship between these two and perfectly portrayed once again by David Marquez and Matthew Wilson, as with the last issue. Also an interesting insight into the further exchange between Peter and Kitty before the fight with the N’Garai.
Another nice heart to heart was of that between Rachel and Ororo. These two have been on the same team several times before and way back when in the all female team Storm was a little too hard on her on occasion. Now they seem to share some common ground and it humanises Ororo some. Though it backfires a little (wouldn’t be a redhead without a little fire) and the interruption from Rogue reminds us that until now the girls are totally unaware of the goings on in Vegas. And the little look of helplessness Rachel shows before stating she isn’t her mom and doesn’t need another (OUCH) is a nice human touch as is Rogues discomfort. Also, Pyro is once again actually earning his place in the team and is the one to point out the “bad guy secret hideout” is something more ominous than first glance seems to indicate.
Art: Geraldo Borges takes over art duty this issue from Michele Bandini and while the action scenes are limited to the confrontation with Alpha, which in itself was perfectly ‘Matriculated’ and added to the plight, the personal dilemmas come more to the forefront this issue and are reflected well in the hard lines and grim frowns of the facial expressions. Bobby’s abject sifting through the wreckage showing his obvious disgruntlement at being the fall guy, Rachels determination during her discussion with Ororo, Kitty’s heart to heart with Rogue. It is all spelled out to the Nth degree and every bit of drama is squeezed out of each scene, not to mention Kitty and the payoff of her shock at seeing Peter shot into space, the perfect cliffhanger for the next stage in the drama. Also once again Phil Noto delivers a truly poignant cover detailing the plight of Petey Pureheart.
Writing: In the past Guggenheim has faced much criticism for his lack of characterization. I think he is beginning to address that and were better than in the run-up to the big day? From Gambits light-hearted flirting to Rachels temper, the characterization remains true. And the personal interplay too between Rogue and Kitty, Colossus and Alpha, Ororo and Rachel. It’s all going on in the midst of the action and doesn’t overshadow it or worse, take a back seat to it. The two finally co-exist in a way mutant and human doesn’t seem to manage. There IS some harmony after all. The call of “To me my X-Men” is one not heard in a long while and they rallied to the cause as true X-Men should. Each team member shows their strengths and doesn’t get handicapped in any way….except Peter, who could do with a little rescuing from time to time.
Final Thought: A nice twist to the hero/damsel in distress trope as Kitty comes to the rescue of the Knight in Shining organic steel.
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