Monday, 23 February 2009

X-MEN #169

X-MEN #169
Golgotha Part 4: Quarantine!”

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

Emma Frost finally explains what’s going on for us poor readers. The Institute is being locked down for twenty-four hours because Golgotha has escaped. Emma has realised that the giant fungus things were just a shell for the little Golgotha pod that lives inside, and has now escaped and is somewhere in the building. If they don’t destroy it within twenty-four hours, it’ll reproduce and cause a whole mess of other troubles. The students have been locked in their rooms (must be strong doors then) so they won’t be a problem, and Emma doesn’t expect to be affected herself by the telepathic waves of crazy Golgotha emits. But then she looks in the mirror and sees her reflection has begun to age. She’s growing fat… and ugly. Oh dear, Emma.

The rest of the team are out investigating, with Polaris and Iceman searching through the kitchens and Gambit and Rogue investigating the tunnels. Ha! Brilliant. A creature which makes you go crazy and visualise your fears is in the building, and then send Gambit to the tunnels. They talk for a bit, but then sense that something is in the tunnels with them… Back with the other pair, and Lorna asks Bobby how he’s feeling. He’s says that he’s fine, but we get a look at the world through his ice-o-vision. He’s losing it. They go to the hangar and Lorna says they should check the jet. Straight away, Iceman says “Okay. That bird’s cleaner than Scott Summer’s underwear. Let’s go”. Lorna is understandably confused by Iceman, seeing how they never went into the jet, but believes Bobby and decides she must’ve had a blackout. She’s not helped by Bobby forcing his opinion on Lorna, and he then starts patronising her – “Don’t do that again, Lorna. It scares me” he tells her, so she blasts him away. He’s really irritating in this scene. She asks one more time if they did check the jet, and he assures her that they did.

We cut to a splash page of the pod sat in the jet. It looks adorable!

The something which is in the tunnels with Rogue and Gambit turns out to be Wolverine. He’s gone mad and paranoid on his own and is scratching up the walls something proper. You teach those walls, Logan! Before they can do anything, Logan grabs Gambit and accuses Remy of treating him like a silly old man. Rogue isn’t happy about this, and touches Logan on the back of the neck and takes him down. Instead of being happy though, Gambit is annoyed that Rogue fought his battle for him, and starts complaining about their “pretend” relationship. He says that if they could touch, they wouldn’t stay together and she’d have been just another one-night stand. He leaves her with Wolverine, saying that they always had a thing for each other anyway. Rogue is shocked, and this gives Wolverine a chance to take advantage of her – he says “is it craziness to say we always had a thing for each other?” and kisses her. Letch. And then, of course, Rogue’s powers sucks his life away. Before she finishes killing him, Emma telepathically breaks them up. She needs Rogue’s help, because her reflection has grown even more old and unattractive.

Gambit now has some time to himself, and convinces himself that he was right – he shouldn’t be with Rogue. Not because he’s a dick, though. Because she’s emotionally unavailable as a result of being unable to touch anyone. Naturally. He stops dead, as someone confronts him...

Emma is in her room, worrying about her looks. The only option for her is a face-life, she decides. She could even do it herself, so she picks up a pair of scissors and holds it up to her face… but she’s interrupted by Cyclops. “What’s wrong?” he asks, and she unloads. She’s terrified that if she ever lost her looks, Scott would leave her forever, and as she reveals all her fears we see that she’s talking not to Scott, but to a very confused Havok. He tries to explain but she knocks him down and reads his mind – and oh dear, sees that ‘Scott’ is in love with Polaris. Emma does not take this well at all, and starts psychically crippling Havok in revenge. Luckily Rogue turns up and breaks up the fight, and Emma realises the illusion she’s in. “Glad to be of assistance, bub”, she says, and Emma asks her why she’s acting like Wolverine. This leads to a brilliant scene of Rogue claiming that she is Wolverine – and to prove it, tries to pop out her claws. When she fails, she sits on the floor on her own, scared. Poor Rogue.

Lorna and Iceman have found Gambit, who is fighting an illusionary Mr Sinister. It’s hilarious. They stand there and wonder if they should break up the psychosis or not, and Lorna leaves this problem for Iceman to solve, seeing how she’s just had an idea. Once she leaves, Iceman freezes the entire sewers in fear. Polaris’ plan involves not believing Bobby and re-checking the jet. Which, naturally, is now covered in a gigantic spawn thing. She goes to tell the team, and they reassemble before the jet. Havok complains at the failure of the Polaris/Iceman team to spot the pod first time round, and gets into a hissy fit with Iceman where they fight for the attentions of Lorna while she wears a pained expression of “leave me the hell alone you childish losers”. Okay, I’m probably reading too much into it, but still. Alex and Bobby both make very clear their intentions with Lorna, and Emma breaks it up, disgusted by both of them for being so rubbish.

Emma sums up the issue, just as she began it, into her Dictaphone. She let Havok kill the Golgotha pod, even though she wanted to study it, and the X-Men sent the ashes into space. She sits back and relaxes at the end of the mission, but gets a message from Gazer, a mutant stationed in space. He has something to show her – a swarm of Golgotha are heading towards Earth, looking for vengeance…

To be continued!


This was the best issue of the arc, by far. On top of a series of fascinating and imaginative twists into the psyche of many of the main characters, Milligan also fleshed out Emma's character and is doing a great job with the various love entanglements he's been handed. After a few shaky issues, he's got a grip on all his characters. The plotting is still a little haphazard, but within the context of the story that's a little understandable. He's not being as weird as you'd expect, but he's not playing the X-Men straight, either. It's a fun compromise, and Salvador Larocca's artwork is showing signs of promise.

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