Welcome, dear readers, to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly multi-part recap column that strives to answer the question: “What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?”
Each week, we aim to recap what happened in all of the X-books that come out that week, praise the things we like about them, and complain about the things we don’t. It’s almost like a review, but without any worthwhile critical insight! This week, there are just three X-books in stores, which we’re gonna say is the first time there’s been less than four since 1989.
Let’s check out X-Men Gold #24…
X-MEN GOLD #24
MARC GUGGENHEIM (W)
Thony Silas (A)
Cover by David Nakayama
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL Part 2
• The NEW X-MEN GOLD are doing their best to protect people from the likes of The Shredded Man and other baddies…
• …but pretty soon a threat bigger than they can imagine will be on their doorstep.
• Something has survived the Negative Zone, and it wants revenge.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
The second part of the Cruel and Unusual storyline sees Kitty Pryde and the regular X-Men Gold team in jail thanks to the manipulations of Mesmero and Lydia Nance, leaving Iceman and Rogue to form a replacement squad featuring Magma, Magik, Armor, Ink, and the newly repentant Pyro. This issue picks up where the previous one left off, with Kitty, Storm, and Rachel in the middle of a prison yard faceoff with Crazy Maise and her crew of criminals: Bliss, Electriv Eve, and Animax. The X-ladies handily defeat their opponents, but the guards show up. Kitty tries to rat out Maise for bribing the guards and starting the fight, but Callisto, who was chilling by the fence and watching the whole thing go down, refuses to back up her story. Everyone earns three days in solitary.
Meanwhile, on the outside, Manhattan is under attack by The Shredded Man, an Inhuman with plant control powers. The X-Men have read their own back issues, so they bring along Cable’s Anti-Toxin to stop the Shredded Man, which, as a caption box notes, they used to defeat him in Uncanny X-Men (the 2016 series) #4. Unfortunately, he’s developed an immunity to it, so it looks like a new plan is in order. Iceman tries his ice powers, but that doesn’t work either, so Magma and Pyro head underground, where Shredded Man is being supplied by a bunch of vines, to burn them out from underneath him.
Magma and Pyro discover that the vines seem to run all underneath Manhattan. They argue about their time in the Nu Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Magma was being mind-controlled, but Pyro was just being regular-manipulated. She decides to put aside her mistrust and they burn a bunch of vines, but it has no effect. Pyro is reminded of MRI images of his mother’s cancerous lungs, so the X-Men call up Dr. Cecilia Reyes, who confirms that the growth pattern is consistent with tumors. It’s underground mutant plant cancer.
As the X-Men battle the Shredded Man in the field, X-Men back at the mansion access his medical records and confirm that he has cancer. Shredded Man tells Rogue that the vines outwardly reflect the cancer in his body, and he says he can’t control them. Rogue offers him a choice: she can use her powers to take away his powers, and he can therefore choose life (not sure how that’s gonna save him from cancer though). He agrees, Rogue takes his powers, and shuts down the plant problem.
Back in jail, Storm gets thrown in solitary… but we know how Storm feels about enclosed spaces…
Unfortunately, Storm is wearing a power dampening collar in prison, so she can’t pull one of those maneuvers.
The issue ends on that cliffhanger.
We’ve been pretty harsh on X-Men Gold, which has been without question the worst of all the current ongoing X-books, but this issue wasn’t so bad. Is the book turning over a new leaf? Sorry. That was a poorly timed pun, given all the mutant plant cancer in this issue.
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