Monday, 9 March 2009

X-MEN #170

X-MEN #170
Golgotha Part 5: Fall-Out”

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

This issue is going to be a pain to recap(itulate? ture? I don’t know what recap is short for), because it’s almost definitely the single worst issue Milligan wrote for the X-Men. If you remember the team were recently besieged by giant fungus creatures called ‘Golgotha’ which fed off thoughts and made them realise their worst fears. Well, just as they managed to kill off the last Golgotha on Earth, a whole herd of them began to swarn towards Earth from space. We start the issue with Emma Frost trying to persuade a US general to let the X-Men deal with the swarm, but the president is apparently very happy about the idea of having a war – I’m guessing this was written during Bush’s time in power. Good ol’ Blighty writers! – with aliens, and rejects them. Polaris and Emma start complaining at him until he gives in, and gives them a week to stop the Golgotha. Cut to a splash of a space shuttle taking off.

So now we’re in space, Emma counts the number of aliens to be destroyed – three hundred and sixty two! Lorna starts feeling a bit uncomfortable with the mission, and Iceman tells her that she can stay back if she wants. Havok, of course, is a prick about it and insists she forms the main part of the attack, along with himself. Meanwhile, Wolverine stands back and mutters darkly to himself. Havok sees this as the perfect time for an inspirational speech, and discusses all the slightly mad things (“crazy” says Lorna) they’ve done over the past few days. He thinks they should pretend that none of it ever happened. Way to go, Havok.

Rogue and Gambit, who in this issue are actually quite sweet together, are standing by a big window. She asks him for a glass of water, and he vanishes for a page – therefore getting to miss all of Havok’s speech. The rest of the team agree that it would be for the best to forget everything – apart from Wolverine, who just grunts. Perhaps he’s devolving. Iceman says “Compared to you guys, I’m like a picture of mental health,” which seems a bit cruel with Lorna standing next to him. I wish Iceman would die. Gazer, who lives on the satellite they’re currently in, appears and Emma introduces him to the others. Gambit reappears with a glass of water for Rogue. Aww. Gazer tells them about the satellite, and how his mutant power allows him to withstand the massive amounts of radiation which is prevalent on the satellite. Havok starts to complain, but Gazer cuts him off, and asks if anyone wants to play chess. Gazer is amusingly befuddled. The team decide to put on their suits and get on with it.

As they do so, Gambit apologises to Rogue, and she accepts it. They put on their helmets and blow kisses to each other. Wolverine, on the other hand, isn’t sure why he’s there – the claws aren’t much use in space, really. Havok tells him that it’s because he is a born leader, and has experience. Logan worries is that’s just another word for “senior citizen”, but Alex assures him that Wolverine can’t ever grow old. He’s always going to be The Wolverine. He then tells Rogue to absorb some of his powers in prep for the fight, and with that they leave the satellite. Havok leads the way, and tells them all not to think too much – “should be second nature to you, Iceman”, brilliant – but Lorna tells him off for being too hard on Bobby. You can never be too hard on Bobby, Lorna. He’s an idiot.

Iceman, Polaris and Lorna start bickering and it’s quite confusing to tell what’s going on, but Gambit gets irritated at Iceman for shirking his duty, so all is as you’d expect. The Golgotha swarm, but the team see them off without too much difficulty. Suddenly Havok and Lorna vanish. Iceman panics, and even Wolverine starts to get nervous at their absence, and wonders if this is part of Havok’s plan to get her on her own. Wolverine and Iceman continue explaining their theory to Emma, who gets very irritated with the pair of them, but then Wolverine decides to make a break for it and see if he can find them. Again, it’s next to impossible to work out what’s actually going on in at the moment. Before Logan can go anywhere though, the Golgotha all explode simultaneously. Emma guesses this must be some kind of hive mentality, and Wolverine calls her on making up her theories as she goes along. She smiles and agrees.

From out of the massive explosion come Polaris and Havok, and the X-Men all float together in a circle. Havok is mad that the rest of the team all thought he was trying to take Lorna for himself in a suicide pact, Wolverine tells him to forget about it. Giant space fear-monsters, and all that. The last Golgotha starts to sneak away. Iceman asks Lorna is she’s alright, but she seems traumatised. “It looked right at me…” she mutters, before she blasts the last Golgotha to pieces. Iceman pushes her on what she saw, but sh shrugs him off. She doesn’t want to talk about it. With a smile, she asks if they can get back indoors now.

On the way back home, Emma reveals that the only reason they were allowed into space in the first place is because the General assumed they’d all get killed, and thus there’d be seven less mutants to worry about. “You chose not to share this with us?” Wolverine asks. Emma says that she didn’t want them having negative thoughts before they went into battle. That made me laugh.

Back at the White House, the mutant-hating general has been impressed by the team’s work. He asks the President if they should really keep this a secret from the World. The President replies “I got nothing against these people personally… but that doesn’t mean I want to turn them into heroes.” Oh, George!


The character stuff at the start was really fun, but the scenes of battle were utterly confusing and impossible to understand. This is probably the fault of both Milligan and Larocca, but Larocca doesn’t make any real attempt to differentiate the X-Men spacesuits, so it’s hard to see who is saying what. It’s a silly, overdone ending to a story which probably never needed to exist. This should’ve been dedicated to clearing up the last issue, but instead we got a space story that didn’t work. Shame, that.

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