X-Men Gold #34
After hearing of the death of her foster mother Ainet, Storm returns to the home of her youth to pay her respects. However, on learning of a new death cult leader has proclaimed himself God she feels personally challenged. When he presents her with her parents, apparently returned from the dead, in an effort to sway her to his cause, she is at first overjoyed. But on further investigation she discovers he is holding the bodies of every previously deceased inhabitant of the whole village, including her foster mother, within catacombs. Realising she will not accept him Uovu reanimates the corpses and sets them all upon her, including her parents and she feels helpless to attack them. Meanwhile Stormcaster fails to return to her and flies off who knows where.
Writing: What is Marc Guggenheim thinking here? Stormcaster is returned to Storm by Ainet and some fateful manipulation by unknown gods, she uses it for months and then the very reason it was returned to her is when it decides to turn tail and fly off? Where is it going? Why did it even bother coming in the first place? We know the X-Men are set to appear next issue, so then does that mean it’s going to get them and it’s now nothing more than… Lassie? Will we have it go to Kitty and she says “Is Storm trapped in the well and can’t get out?” The only logical bit of writing this whole issue was the conversation between Kitty and Illyana and the reaffirmation of their friendship, something that no writer can really screw up.
I even had a chuckle at the disbelief of the criminals, complaining that the girls aren’t focusing on them and chatting about personal issues while tackling them. That was typical of the scenario and a little demeaning for them. Which just goes to show their position in things. But that was the only smile this whole issue raised.
Art: Okay, sorry girls, you’re right… let’s get to the positives. Phil Noto’s cover again narrates the story and the impetus of the drama, giving a visual slant to the prose, without actually taking anything from what goes on inside or giving anything away. He always manages to give the feel of the drama and yet never actually snapshots a scene, which is how it should be. Michele Bandini delivers some much-needed gravitas to the proceedings here with his depiction of the death of Ororo’s parents. A very painful moment and very well rendered, true to the original story in Uncanny X-Men #102. Kitty and Magik fighting men in Mandroid armor in New York while posters advertise “Thanos and The Black Order, Live in concert” and “Civil War The Musical” was heartwarming to see these two fighting side by side so well and was hilarious, as was the dialogue between them.
Erick Arciniege’s coloring of the fight scene and the image of Kitty phasing to cause one mandroid to hit another was a sight for sore eyes. His coloring is a perfect match for the style of Michele, the two give such a polished look to the page and the shading of the art matched the shade Kitty threw at the suited man.
Storm facing off against Uovu was similarly a treat to look at. When she invokes the lightning and it crackles around her clenched fist I thought “this is it, she is showing her true strength here, finally!” Much like that moment she fought the alien that was out to get her when the ship crashed during the Dartayan affair, I knew she was going to rock. When she battled her claustrophobia in prison and broke free of the power dampening collar I knew our girl was mad as hell. And here we could see that she was getting ready to take down some names and kick some ass.
But that’s where it all ended. No sooner does she confront Uovu than he absorbs her furious display of lightning and does exactly what Sabretooth did in “that” movie….but we all know how that went for HIM, don’t we? Not so much here. He simply tells her of the reaping to come while she looks on in shock. Suddenly inspired by his talk of gods she remembers Stormcaster, but to no avail. Again she channels the lightning into the ground beneath them and this time he feels the effect (why not the first time when it was actually targeted directly at him, I ask myself?) but he swiftly delivers a roundhouse that sends her flying.
Characters: And I went through the roof with her. I’m sorry, I’ve tried, I really have. But this affront to the Windrider is the final straw. I’m tempted to call her Donald Blake because ever since the hammer returned to her she has used it as a crutch. It hasn’t helped much but simply been her go-to weapon of choice like it’s He-Man’s Power Sword or, more accurately given her appearance, She-Ra’s Sword of Protection. This is the woman who led the X-Men WITHOUT powers for years. Who went primal on Doom when he encased her in metal. Who defeated a Brood egg infection. Who took leadership of the Morlocks from a woman who’s mutant power is fighting… I could go on but I think we all get the point. This woman is not for bending. The hammer added a little at first and gave her an edge (one she didn’t even really need) but this is absolutely not on. Storm has far more strength in her than to fall to this pretender without the hammer to rely on. Even without it she should have easily been able to wipe the floor with him in a one to one confrontation. Yes, she may have upset the balance of nature, as Ainet was the one who taught her the overextension of her power would do, but that didn’t even occur to her, despite her so-called rage at the abomination to nature he has perpetrated upon her kin. She used one or two bolts of lightning and then he punches her through the roof to land in the throng of Walking Dead wannabes? The whole scenario reminded me more of the Animated episode where she fights the Shadow King who possessed her “son” and didn’t even come close to the events of Psi War, by which I mean the one from X-Men #78, not the Uncanny #117 original by the way. Last time we were here it was “Psylocke’s Last Stand” and now we are being asked to believe it may be Storm’s Last Battle? And this is the main problem here, it’s all been done before. So many times. And so much better. Storm is far better than this and I feel this is a worse disservice to any of the characters, more so than even has been done to both Rachel and Kitty lately within Gold.
COMING NEXT: SEVERE STORM WARNING: The X-Men versus the undead! Goddess versus god! Storm’s final battle?…Okay, right.
X-Men Gold #35 On Sale 5th September 2018!
As a finale to the series, this is becoming sadly lacking. There was some improvement in recent months in this title for Storm, but this is not the woman we know. The penultimate issue coming next and Guggenheim is really going to have his work cut out for him to dig himself out of the hole he’s created.
X-Men Gold #34 (Always Take The Weather With You)
Writing - 4/104/10
Storyline - 4/104/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 6/106/10
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