X-Men Gold #35
As the might of Uovu is challenged the X-Men join Storm in battle and finally he is defeated, but the cost is again losing her parents and finally the power of Stormcaster.
Okay, so in my last review, I seem to remember making some off the cuff remark about Stormcaster being reduced to the role of Lassie and warning Kitty that Storm was in danger…..I was JOKING Guggenheim. I wasn’t expecting it to happen…Well, I was, but it doesn’t make me any happier to realize it would be so obvious. Storm was inexplicably given an accessory hinted to be of the highest importance and, while many readers riled and complained that it was an insult and she didn’t need it, I tried to be positive and I said: “hold on, let’s see where he’s going with this”. Only to have it become a plot device that basically meant absolutely nothing, right when it became necessary. Or so we were told with the twist that her foster mother willed it back into existence in the first place. And so it would seem he can only write Storm if she has a trinket to fall back on and I am now like everyone else. But let’s be honest, that wasn’t the most ridiculous thing to happen this issue.
As the battle opens and Storm strikes Uovu with lightning, he insists he feels nothing and shrugs it off. Which is true, her power has no effect at all. Except for when it did. Once last issue she did precisely the same thing she has done here and it worked. But then it didn’t and for no discernible reason. He didn’t take the measure of her power, he didn’t gain any more strength. It just didn’t result in any damage to him, when once it had. Oooookay.
Then a magic portal opens thanks to her hammer….right….and she interrupts the X-Men in New York, who are in mid-battle with X-Cutioner, to tell them that the villagers need evacuating and the dead are controlled by Uovu. So they somehow appear suddenly, leaving X-Cutioner to whatever it was he was doing, to roll up their sleeves and help. And so Pyro scares them with fire, Iceman corrals them with an ice barrier, Nightcrawler evacuates the living villagers and Rachel puts his one devout follower to sleep, thus removing the source of his power. Oh, and Kitty does….. And Storm realizes it’s not as easy as that, it’s about God versus God and she uses the last of her ‘godpower’ to defeat him.
And just like that, it’s over. The villain is defeated and Storm also gets a Harry Potter-esque moment of affirmation from her dead parents which cement their love for her. Then again the same from Ainet, just in case we didn’t feel the emotion was heartfelt enough the first time with David and N’Dare. Then she vows on all of their graves to return to the village regularly, which totally negates the fact she has done already so in the past. Kitty looked as unconvinced as I was.
I have so many problems with all of this. Starting with the slight racist overtones of the necessity of having the white power come and save her from her small African village, who stopped believing in her in favor of a death cult. Okay, let’s start with the people turning to a death cult because she abandoned them. When exactly was this? As already mentioned, in recent years she returned to the village and saved them from Ananasi (Shadow King) in X-Men #76. Then more recently she has again anointed a god by Black Panther after her battle with the Adversary just a stone’s throw away no more than a few months ago. So in that short time, the village forgot her existence already or simply stopped believing in her? Can you say convoluted? I can. Also vaguely insulting to the people of the village and quite possibly a whole race of people.
And of course the old conundrum of not being able to fight those who are pitted against the hero, because they are just mind controlled loved ones. Oh, the trauma and peril, what can our hero do? Like that is something of a turn up for the books. Then we have the Great White Hope scenario that he deftly avoided in the opening arc by having Storm go it alone to resolve the issue, but compounded by making her completely fail and need the help anyway. I can only imagine the result had Cyclops been in charge and not Kitty. The shame and denigration of having him come to her aid after she bested him in battle for the role of leader all those years ago would have been tantamount to character assassination. The total disregard for any of the character strengths of Storm has been on the decline from the start of the series, but then that has been the case of ALL of the women on this team. Some of the most powerful women in x-lore and he has made them the brunt of the joke from the start, with Rachel in a coma every five minutes, with Kitty becoming a ball busting biotch. And also made them totally disregard the feelings of the men around them that they profess to love…but that’s a totally separate issue and I will go into that in my final review. And so what of X-Cutioner? Are we to believe the X-Men left him there to carry on whatever it was he was doing? That ice won’t hold forever.
But it’s okay, Rachel suddenly fills them in on what’s going on and needless exposition is avoided. It’s true, it happened, because she told us. Like we would never have figured that ourselves had the lettering been utilized to show the psychic link, as has been done in comics since time immemorial. Phew, that means we can get right into the action and story. And just how DID they suddenly appear in Uzuri? Cross through the weird gateway the hammer created? We didn’t see it happen, they just appeared. Very disjointed and not at all a smooth transition. On top of all this is the laughable plot device of having Stormcaster go tell the X-Men she is in trouble in the first place. Well, my feelings on the Lassie scenario have already been laid out, so I won’t even grace that little conundrum with a response. Suffice to say now that it’s over and “Stormcasters power is spent” that little travesty can finally be over. When the title ends and a new writer picks up the characters let’s hear no more about it, shall we? As a plot device, it was barely even that. Totally not worth the build-up or even the inclusion. Still, at least Storm looked very pretty as She-Ra for a little while eh, maybe she can drag it out for Halloween parties? Speaking of dragging out, shall we go into the fight that took two issues and amounted to nothing more than some posturing and talk of godhood and came to absolutely nothing? Where was the peril? Where was the drama? The intrigue? No there was simply none at all. As before when the Dartayan forces attacked the school the action sequences were lacking any cohesive meaning or substance. Kudos to Cory Petit by the way, for his far more admirable effort than with the actual writing, in showing the vast difference between Storm and Uovu and for actually managing to inject some emotion into the whole debacle.
And who WAS Uovu even? No characterization other than a grinning buffoon. No telling of his origin and how he obtained his power, motivation or even the remotest inkling of who he was. Another plot device that failed to impress. And that is the whole problem with this arc. To make a story work and have the readers suspend disbelief it is vital to make the characters real, with some intrinsic depth and history and some substance. This was a cardboard plot and an asinine villain not even suited to a Saturday morning cartoon.
The art in this issue was, as in the previous issues in this arc, beautifully done and depicted the story well. But when the story has no depth or substance it is just so many pretty pictures of no importance. And this was a total disservice to the lore of the X-Men as well as the stunning efforts put in by both Simone Buonfantino and Giovanni Valletta as well as the colors of Erick Arciniega. The only other good thing in this issue aside from the beautiful cover by Phil Noto (as usual) was the fact there was no more opening of the narrative with a flashback like this was some Netflix special. I have been getting a little tired of the constant flashback openings, it is a crutch Guggenheim uses to death to pad the issue out and fill backstory and it killed Arrow for me and has done so again here. I for one am so relieved this saga is nearly over.
COMING NEXT: A special look into the life of the headmistress of the Xavier Institute. Okay.
X-Men Gold #36 On Sale 19th September 2018!
A very unsatisfying finale to a disjointed and clumsy arc, with no forethought or feel for the characters, hero or villain. It’s as though Marc Guggenheim has decided as it’s ending he doesn’t need to even bother.
X-Men Gold #35 Hammering The Final Nail in the Coffin
- Writing - 3/103/10
- Storyline - 2/102/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
User Review( vote)