The X-Men are on the hunt for Mesmero…and it’s time for some payback and then some much long awaited down time.
X-MEN GOLD #26
Author: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Michele Bandini
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:
After saving Paris from the threat of Scythian the X-Men have been absolved of the crimes they were recently accused of and are currently facing a swell in numbers thanks to Iceman and Rogue forming a replacement team in their absence. Meanwhile, unhappy with the crushing defeat this has brought to her Mutant Deportation Bill Lydia Nance has formed an alliance with the A.I. Sentinel Alpha, also recently tackled by the X-Men.
What You’ll Find Out:
A brief flashback to the day Kitty first meets the X-Men and particularly Colossus, the man to whom she is inexorably linked for the rest of her life, gives way to the present and the two lovebirds in question as they sit in an open-air restaurant in Santo Marco discussing their situation and the delay to their plans. What Kitty suspects are cold feet Peter puts down to just the fact they have been so busy recently. Suddenly it becomes apparent they aren’t there for pleasure but on a stakeout, as Rogue and Gambit interrupt their musings to talk through the possibility that the old woman they spy is actually none other than Mesmero. Remy is convinced but due to the way it could look to the public Rogue advises caution.
Prestige breaks into the chatter and insists she can suss out the truth of the situation as Kitty warns her to take care. As Rachel moves in Colossus asks Kitty if it’s wise given her recent troubles, but Kitty says she has faith. As if to give weight to Peter’s worries Mesmero announces himself to Rachel as she bumps into the ‘old lady’ and it seems he’s been relishing the opportunity of a meeting of the minds again. As Rachel recoils from his psychic attack Kitty barks the order for Nightcrawler to port in and take him out of the running. Not only does Kurt teleport him upwards, but introduces him to Rogue who makes short work of him with a swift right hook. Diving to catch him as he falls she threatens to drop him if he tries anything and asks Storm to put him out of their misery, who obliges with a well-placed lightning bolt. As she makes her presence known in true Storm style Rogue commends her on her new outfit. Kurt leaps to Rachel’s aid as she opens her eyes and is faced with yet another future flashback that she’s been prone to of late.
Later as the X-Men hand Mesmero in to the prison warden at the Robert Kelly Correctional Facility, Kitty is forced to face the bigoted warden who still believes they should be locked up as well. At the same time in the Savage Land, someone who plans on making this a reality is Lydia Nance as she shows her new ally around her base of operations, who she chummily calls Alpha. When she makes mention of the fact their very allegiance is what has garnered them the financial support she is met with a sneer as Alpha says money is only a small part of the plan, Colossus seems to feature heavily in their machinations.
Back at Xavier’s and Kitty and Iceman are discussing the situation regarding the newest recruit and she points out that she isn’t happy about the move, reminding him that Simon was part of the very problem they have been facing of late. Bobby turns it around, reminding her that he isn’t the first member of the Brotherhood the X-Men have taken in, pointing out Rogue’s picture on the wall for emphasis. Kitty lets that sink in then comes to the very conclusion Bobby did not so long ago. Below them, a more physical confrontation is taking place as Nightcrawler watches Colossus take out some frustration in a Dr. Doom simulation courtesy of the Danger Room. Kurt is fully aware of what is bothering him as Rachel seems to have sensed it and told him and so he takes it upon himself to plan a night out and says it’s time for a bachelor party. Peter isn’t so sure but Kurt is having none of it.
As Kitty visits her mother in Deerfield she also faces her past as she stares at a picture of her father and wishes he could be there, stating that without Cameron there she has decided her mother should be the one to walk her down the aisle. As Terri declares it should be a man, Kitty reminds her it’s the twenty-first century and given that she is the leader of a team of mutants, traditional gender roles are a tad passé, which seems to convince her mother. As they have a nice relaxed heart to hear the boys are out in Las Vegas celebrating and Simon shows his appreciation for being included, despite Peters concern about his age. Kurt brings up another recent event in a casino (as yet unseen in the upcoming X-Men Wedding Special) which Peter seems to regret and Kurt tells them all to ignore, before telling Remy he is next. Gambit insists Nightcrawler couldn’t manage his bachelor party which Kurt sees as a challenge, but Remy isn’t so convinced it will happen. This causes Bobby to bring up Kurt and Rachels relationship and Kurt jokes that aside from her comas and inner demons it’s been going great. As Peter makes his excuses and goes to the bathroom Remy makes mention he doesn’t look happy. Believing himself to be alone Peter asks himself what he is doing there in Russian and a voice behind him lets him know that he’s not alone.
Alpha has arrived and takes the opportunity to attack. Peter transforms into his armored state and puts his fist through his head, as though continuing his frustration exercise from earlier. Alpha reminds him that his nanotechnology allows him to control his form and sends a swarm of nanites on the attack. Outside Bobby is agreeing with Remy that Peter doesn’t look comfortable and goes to check on him and walks in just in time to find a massive hole in the wall of the bathroom and the A.I. Sentinel dragging the unconscious form of Peter out into the street. He ices up and attempts to defend Pete, but it’s short-lived as Alpha knocks him backward and lets Lydia know he has succeeded and stats ominously they can move onto the next phase.
What Just Happened?
Wow, so Peter and Kitty were in Santo Marco? They narrowly missed bumping into Domino who was there recently with Weapon X. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall if that had gone ahead! However, I’d be equally happy to NEVER hear Gambit call someone “boyo” ever again. Not just once even, but twice! I chortled a little as Kurt discusses the recent trials and tribulations of Rachel and her many comas and fights with inner demons while he’s out with the boys. I also had a thought that it might be some tongue in cheek reference to online chatter recently between fans. Am I imagining it? Similarly, I loved the casual chat between Rogue and Storm as they take out Mesmero with hardly any effort. It was also a breath of fresh air considering the meal the X-Men have made of recent confrontations with him. First the Shredded Man, then Scythian and now Nightcrawler, Rogue and Storm give us this. Like tenpins being knocked over, the villains are falling way easier than in the recent past. Had to give a cheer at that. Finally, about time!
On the subject of Kitty, some good characterization from Guggenheim this issue, as once again it’s Kitty who has to face the bigoted opinions of humanity and stand up against it. From the early days in Uncanny X-Men during Secret Wars II against so-called friend Phil who threw names around as slurs. Later when a young Larry Bodine commits suicide when being bullied in New Mutants #45. Then again in God Loves, Man Kills arguing against the term ‘mutie lover’. And now right up to the present with Lydia Nance on T.V. and again speaking out against the prison wardens insistence they should all be locked up. She calls him out on it and lets him know in no uncertain terms it’s a good thing it isn’t his decision to make. Ever the poster child of the mutant cause. A lot has been said against her since her tenure as leader, mainly from those who feel Storm should naturally be in that position. She may not be everyone’s idea of a suitable leader but it can’t be denied, she definitely has the rights of mutant-kind at the forefront of her thoughts. The chat between Iceman and Kitty regarding Pyro though seemed a bit redundant, considering the whole conversation was practically verbatim to that between Rogue and Iceman last time. Perhaps her concerns needed addressing, but a different viewpoint could have been added, rather than a rehash of the exact same points raised before. A minor point though given the fresh outlook we are offered both in terms of the team relaxing (briefly) as well as the X-Men victorious in battle and the heartwarming family reunion with Kitty and her mum, Terri. Someone we haven’t seen in far too long.
Arif Prianto’s colors are again perfect and suit the new artist style admirably. And yes, of course, the artist changed again this issue and though I really loved the art last issue, Michele offers something new as the atmosphere is starkly different from the last few issues and the battles the team have faced. From the sunny stakeout in South America to the Vegas nightlife…this is AFTER Damnation I assume? Although the continuing change in artists can be a bit jarring, this time it’s a refreshing change in style which actually fits the change in pace. Similarly, the flashback scene looks natural and in keeping with not only the current story and art throughout the issue but is also a smooth link to the good old days when Kitty first came into our lives way back in Uncanny X-Men #129. Also, Phil Noto’s tear-jerker of a cover offers a new dynamic in the romance angle, rather than the constant fight scenes and drama recently showcased and is a great way to prepare readers for the wedding to come in #30.
Final Thought: Colossus never fares well when it comes to clubs and bars. Socialising and nightclubbing just isn’t for him.
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