Monday, 12 January 2009

X-MEN #166

Previously For The X-Men…

  • Former villainess Emma Frost joined the X-Men and immediately had Magneto kill Jean Grey for her, so she could move in with Cyclops. She is now headmistress of the institute.
  • Polaris experienced the Genoshan Massacre, and is suffering from trauma as a result
  • Havok helped her out by jilting her on their wedding day
  • To add to her misery, now she has to date Iceman
  • Iceman is a tosspot
  • Gambit was blinded by Rogue in an ‘accident’, but had his sight restored to him by the miraculous Sage. Naturally, this happened in a Chris Claremont comic because nobody else will feature Sage in their work.
  • Wolverine likes stabbing people.
And now...

X-MEN #166
“Golgotha Part 1: And What Dark Beast…”

Featuring: Havok, Rogue, Polaris, Emma Frost, Gambit and Iceman.

Our band of heroes (and Iceman) have gone to the South Pole after receiving a distress call from some mutants who were trying to build “a mutant utopia” away from Magneto and the X-Men and all that political nonsense. Obviously, this plan has not gone well. Iceman has not read the case notes he was given by Havok, so Polaris tells him off for being such a child. After blasting a way in, Havok leads them into the compound and finds that all the mutants inside are dead. Gambit makes a sadistic joke about the poor structuring of the building, and Rogue rolls her eyes. It appears, however, that the mutants weren’t attacked by an outside force, but instead turned on each other for some reason. Iceman recognises one of the dead – Butterfly – and calls him a “z-list mutant, X-Men wannabe”, but Rogue ignores him and goes to check the bodies instead. This is because Milligan’s X-women are much smarter than the men. The body she kneels over has only just passed, and it appears that he killed himself by ripping his own heart out. On the wall is one word: Golgotha. Written in blood!

Rogue starts to explain what the word means – “Also known as Mount Cavalry, the place of the crucifixion of Christ.” She starts to explain the Latin terminology of the word, which leads the rest of the team to realise that Rogue is merely repeating what Emma Frost is telling her telepathically. Iceman asks her for the football scores, and Emma gives him the derision he deserves. In fact, she goes on better then that and tells him that his remark was so stupid that it deserves disdain. Remember the days when Emma Frost was the most fun X-Character? She tells Rogue about some other attacks – including one which has taken over the whole of Los Angeles - which may be linked to this one, but Rogue doesn’t have time to tell any of the others because a stranger appears. He calls himself “the sinner”, and then he then shoots himself in the head for no apparent reason at all.

Rogue gives us some monologue about how much she wants to hold Gambit’s hand for reassurance after seeing something so horrible, so obviously the poor girl is in shock and has started lying to herself. Lorna also has a reaction to the violence, although it is less ridiculous – she starts reliving the genocide she was witness to and starts shaking. “This is all my fault…” she begins, and Iceman goes over to comfort her by telling her that this isn’t Genosha. And in doing so, he has implied that she was responsible for Genosha. Oh, Iceman. Havok gets very clingy when he sees Iceman hug Polaris, and shouts at him for breaking defensive formation. While the two of them argue, another mutant appears and utters the immortal line “I’m gonna love you like only a mutant with superhuman explosive bone marrow, infrared eyes and low-level paranoid schizophrenia can love you…” Ooh! I love this character! Lorna does not, however, and she blasts him away. There’s a fight, but Lorna quickly ends it by choking the mutant to death with some metal tubing. Slight overreaction there, but fair enough.

Later on, Havok has a chat with Lorna about how killing is bad, and that true X-Men don’t do it ever. Well, sometimes. He’s interrupted by the arrival of some zombified mutants. I’m not sure the X-Men even move for the majority of this issue. The problems always seem to come to them. Anyway, Havok tries talking to the zombies but gets nowhere. This is probably because they are zombies, Havok. Rogue has another idea, and takes off her glove… Havok tries to stop her, but she says “what’s the point of having these ridiculous ideas if I don’t use them once in a while”, which tells us that Milligan’s going to write the first interesting portrayal of Rogue in a long while. She touches a woman and instantly relives all of her life – in reverse order, which means she ends up as a foetus. A Rogue-foetus. It’s an odd image, and Emma immediately goes in after Rogue in order to save her from regressing back into someone else’s testicles.

When Rogue wakes up again, she finds herself in the middle of an attack from some crazed mutants, and has to go on the offensive. While fighting, Havok asks her what happened, and she replied “I got weirded out.” It turns out that the memories had been wiped by someone, leaving blank holes of memory for her to get trapped in. Once the battle is over, Havok interrogates one of the attackers, but gets only babble in return. “You’ll be next!” cries the attacker, before he bites off his own tongue. Yikes. Rogue sighs, because she knows that she’ll have to touch this psycho in order to find out what’s going on, but Havok blocks her yet again. Before he can do anything, though, Emma turns up and immediately takes over, which says more about Havok’s leadership skills than I ever can. She takes the piss out of Alex and Rogue for a bit, and then watches on with a smirk whilst the tongue-biting mutant suffers a heart attack and dies.

Emma is smirking because she managed to quickly read the mutant’s mind before he died. “I know who Golgotha is,” she tells the group. “Or more to the point… I know where Golgotha is…”

To Be Continued!


This was a solid first issue, although there are some jarring scene changes throughout. The way in which the creatures all came to find the X-Men one after another was a bit silly, and the artwork by Salvador Larocca – although solid, and with great emphasis on the characters – sometimes grows confusing and hard to follow. Milligan is having to deal with several old plotlines as he starts off, most notably that of Polaris/Havok/Iceman, and at the moment it seems that both Havok and Iceman are going to behave childishly as a result of their feelings for Lorna, so hopefully this is leading to a payoff later on. Lorna herself is far more broken than she was during Austen’s run, and seems to be reacting more realistically to the trauma she’s meant to be suffering from. The relationship between Rogue and Gambit seems forced, and they both seem quite bored of one another.

1 comment:

  1. I liked your analysis of X-Men #166. The Golgotha arc is one of my favorites. I agree with you that the love between Rogue and Gambit seems awkward here.