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?”
It’s been a rough decade or so for X-Men fans. As part of Ike Perlmutter‘s feud with Fox over the Fantastic Four movie rights, Marvel’s greatest franchise has suffered many an indignity. Cyclops turned into a villain by writers and editors with a Wolverine fetish. The worst crossover of all time, Avengers vs. X-Men. A serious attempt to replace mutants with the Inhumans, thankfully killed by the god-awful Inhumans TV show. Greg Land. But that’s all over now (except for Land). With a Marvel/Fox deal on the horizon, the Fantastic Four can return, but more importantly, Marvel can give a crap about the X-Men again!
Each week, we aim to recap what happened in all of the X-books, make a few jokes, and struggle to survive the experience as we reckon our love for our favorite characters with what can often feel like a “quantity-over-quality” approach to comic booking.
Last week, we didn’t have time to recap the X-books due to all the C2E2 news we had to cover, which means we’ve got to catch up. To do that, we’ve got to read and recap 13 — yes, 13 — X-books in one weekend. Is that even possible? We’re about to find out!
X-MEN GOLD #25
MARC GUGGENHEIM (W) • PAULO SIQUEIRA (A)
Cover by RYAN STEGMAN
VENOM 30TH VARIANT COVER BY TBA
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL Part 3
SCYTHIAN has come to Earth to take vengeance on the X-Men!
But how can the X-Men save the Earth from a vengeful god while they’re stuck in prison?
Guest-starring a whole lot of other super heroes!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99
In X-Men Gold, the book’s main cast is in jail, so Iceman and Rogue have formed a new team to take care of mutant business in their absence. Wait, isn’t Rogue currently on a tropical island with Gambit in the Rogue and Gambit mini-series? Don’t think too hard about it.
The issue opens with space god Scythian, tossed into a Negative Zone black hole several issues ago, rampaging through Paris. He must not know about the no-go zones. In New York, Magik and Armor are battling the Rhyno when they see Scythian on all the outdoor TV screens. Wait, isn’t Magik currently fighting a frost giant in Russia in New Mutants: Dead Souls? Magik traps Rhyno in limbo so they can go to Paris.
In The Box, a prison for mutants, Nightcrawler and Colossus are watching Scythian on television, powerless to do anything about it. Meanwhile, Storm is having a claustrophobia attack in her cell. We know this sort of thing always ends with Storm busting out of wherever she’s trapped and shouting about how she shall be free. Right on cue, she calls down a massive lightning bolt to smash the prison.
In “Old Asgard,” which has apparently been abandoned, we’re treated to a very special guest appearance. Stormcaster, the hammer forged by Loki for Storm when he had the hots for her back in X-Men Annual #9, stirs.
Back in Paris, Meggan and Captain Britain have joined the battle against Scythian. They’re not doing so hot.
Thankfully, Rogue’s team of X-Men is on its way. But can even the combined might of Excalibur and the X-Men E-team stop Scythian without the help of the book’s main cast?
To answer that question, we head back to prison where Magik is trying to convince the warden to let the X-Men out of jail so they can stop a space god from destroying the planet. The Warden isn’t budging, but Storm barges in, having removed her power-inhibiting collar and roughed up some prison guards. Storm says enough is enough — it’s time for the X-Men to bust out of there.
In Paris, the Rogue/Iceman team, which also includes Armor, Magma, a fake Pyro, and Ink, a mutant whose powers are derived from his tattoos, have arrived in the blackbird. Shockingly, it’s not Ink, possibly the lamest mutant ever, but Pyro who Iceman makes stay behind on the jet in reserve. It’s a moot point though, because…
Rogue shoots Scythian in the face to free the jet, and the X-Men attack. Rogue tries to use her powers to absorb Scythian’s, not learning from the approximately 8000 times in the past she’s tried to absorb someone with too much power and ended up knocking herself out. Armor saves Rogue as Iceman, Captain Britain, Meggan, and Ink save some civilians.
Back at the prison, Magik gives the X-Men their costumes and opens up some portals through Limbo to teleport Kitty, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Rachel, and herself to Paris. Back in Paris, Meggan uses her powers to siphon off some of the energy Rogue absorbed, waking her up. All of the X-Men are together again, and Kitty takes command. She orders the X-Men to attack Scythian while Magik gets a teleport disc ready big enough to transport Scythian. And just for good measure…
The super-sized team of overpowered X-Men pummel the crap out of Scythian and Kitt crashes the blackbird into him, smashing what’s left of him through the portal into Limbo. The day has been saved, but Kitty notes a problem: what are they going to do with 12 X-Men? Clearly, they need to launch a fifth ongoing core X-title.
For an epilogue, we get Lydia Nance and her friend, the mutant sentinel, chilling in her pad watching cable news. They learn the Mutant Deportation Act has stalled as a result of the X-Men saving the world on TV again. Sentinel has an idea though: Lydia should use Colossus to kill all mutants. It’s poetically fitting that Marvel’s Legacy reboot would actually infect the Marvel Universe with the Legacy Virus again.