Welcome to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly multi-part recap column that answers the question: "What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?"
This week there are five regular-priced X-Books on the stands, which will run you a total of twenty bucks to buy and, thanks to modern comic book decompression techniques, probably take about ten minutes to read in total (if you read slowly). If that seems like a waste of time and money though, you can keep your money by reading our recaps for free. We make no promises about the use of your time, however, which will still be poorly spent.
This week, the X-books are: Generation X #87, X-Men Gold #22, Astonishing X-Men #8, Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #5, and… *shudders*… Venom #162, which we have to read because it's crossing over with X-Men Blue for the Poison X crossover. We might as well get it over with and recap X-Men Gold…
X-Men Gold #22
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Penciler: Diego Bernard
Inker: JP Mayer
Colorists: Arif Prianto and Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Cory Petit
Cover: Dan Mora and Juan Fernandez
It's time for the most boring of all the X-Books, X-Men Gold. We've discussed at length why this book is so bad. It has ideas that sound good on paper, and which touch on elements of the X-Men's past glories, but the execution is so painful, the pace so slow, and the relationships so lacking in any emotional depth that the whole book falls flat. X-Men Gold looks like it will be at the forefront of the X-books for the foreseeable future as we build to the big wedding between Kitty Pryde and Colossus, so we're stuck with it for now, but if this book were one of the casualties when Uncanny X-Men makes its triumphant return, we wouldn't shed any tears over it.
We're almost looking forward to reading this week's Venom comic more than this. Almost.
And with that ringing endorsement, let's get started.
We pick up with the story from last issue. The Nu-Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, led by Mesmero, were attacking generic anti-mutant leader Lydia Nance on a boat when the X-Men — Kitty, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Rachel, and Amara — arrived to save the day. Unfortunately, the X-Men got their asses handed to them, and only Kitty is conscious, and she's being held by Nu-Avalanche and Nu-Pyro. But before we check in on that, we start with a flashback to Lydia's childhood to show us that she came from a generic broken home with a generic physically abusive father (who looks like he may be a mutant). Now she has some generic motivation for her generic anti-mutant hatemongering. Cool.
Back on the boat, Kitty communicated telepathically with Rachel. Rachel says everyone but Amara is awake and ready to jump up and join the fight. Kitty lays out a quick plan of attack and then kicks and elbows Nu-Pyro and Nu-Avalanche respectively. The X-Men spring into action. Rachel takes on Mesmero, while Kitty and Colossus take on Nu-Avalanche. While the battle is happening, Nu-Pyro asks Mesmero why they are killing Lydia Nance. Mesmero says he has other plans, and a helicopter is coming to extract them.
Mesmero makes his Nu-Brotherhood disappear, and Kitty phases her hand through his head and threatens to solidify if he doesn't surrender. But Mesmero calls her bluff, and reveals the rest of his Nu-Brotherhood, which consists of… uh… Omega Red, Deathstroke, Sebastian Shaw, and slightly off-color Iron Man? You tell us.
Back at Mesmero's headquarters, Mesmero debriefs Nu-Avalanche and Nu-Pyro. It turns out Lydia Nance was generically bankrolling the whole plot, including breaking the Nu-Brotherhood out of jail. Pyro is upset at being tricked and leaves. Avalanche keeps his cut of the money Nance paid them.
At the police precinct, Kitty is visited by her lawyer, She-Hulk. Jennifer explains that Mesmero mind-wiped everyone so they have no evidence he was ever there. She can't get the X-Men out of jail just yet. Kitty is afraid of what might happen while they're locked up. On cue, we change scenes to the Negative Zone, where Anihilus is watching The Scythian, the space-god the X-Men imprisoned in the negative during the last story arc, escaping, and he wants revenge on the X-Men.
But not until next issue.
X-Men Gold continues to hit play the correct notes in the X-Men melody, but without any passion, resulting in technically acceptable but ultimately empty and unsatisfying experience. There really isn't much more to say.