X-Men (2nd series) #169

Issue Date: 
June 2005
Story Title: 
Golgotha - part 4: Quarantine

Peter Milligan (Writer), Salvador Larroca (Penciler), Danny Miki & Allen Martinez (Inkers), Liquid! (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men are under quarantine, and are searching for the real Golgotha, which is smaller than a pea, but grows as it feeds on peoples fears and demons. As the X-Men search for Golgotha, they all deal with their own fears: Polaris deals with insanity, Iceman has to contend with everything around him turning to ice. Gambit and Rogue are forced to confront not only their feelings for each other, but Rogue kisses Wolverine and absorbs his life energies, believing that she is actually Wolverine. Gambit also fights an imaginary Mr. Sinister. Wolverine is confronted by his age and whether he still belongs with the X-Men, as Havok is compared to Cyclops and must deal with Polaris and Iceman being an item. The White Queen meanwhile looks into a mirror and sees herself old, and is about to perform plastic surgery on herself, until Havok stops her. Believing him to by Cyclops she attacks him, believing that he has feelings for Polaris. Eventually, Polaris rises above the madness and after seeing Golgotha on the x-jet which she apparently checked, she knows she is not insane. The X-Men regroup and destroy Golgotha. However it is not all over, as a mutant known as Gazer who lives aboard a space station informs Emma that there is some kind of space storm headed for Earth, and indeed, hundreds of Golgotha are making their way to Earth.

Full Summary: 

Salem Centre, Westchester, New York. Specifically, the Xavier Institute, which is now under quarantine. The school Headmistress and member of the X-Men, Emma “the White Queen” Frost declares that all the students are safely locked in their rooms, so it is up to the elders now. She speaks into a recording device, explaining that they will stay in this building for twenty-four hours, no matter what horror or madness awaits them - either they die, or Golgotha dies. Emma adds that while she has the chance, she wants to say something about the life-cycle of Golgotha, and reveals that she has learned the monstrous things in the observations tanks are just the shells left behind by the real Golgotha, albeit with some sluggish consciousness.

Emma continues her knowledge, revealing that the creature itself will be small, maybe no bigger than a pea, and for twenty-four hours, it feeds telepathically on anyone within its range, and after this time, flies off and begins its cycle again. Emma boasts that naturally, as she is a powerful telepath herself, she expects to be immune from Golgotha’s rapacious appetite. Otherwise, explains Emma, Golgotha gorges itself on its victims demons, sucking out the craziness and grows fat, and ugly. Turning to a mirror, Emma herself is looking less glamorous than usual….

In the cafeteria freezer, Bobby “Iceman” Drake asks the lovely Lorna Dane also known as Polaris if she heard what he did. Bobby explains that it sounded like a scream - Emma’s in fact. Lorna tells Bobby that he must have imagined it, and points out that if anyone is okay with all of this it is Emma. Lorna asks Bobby if he is feeling all right, if anything is happening to him. Bobby, who sees a frozen Polaris before him, replies that he is fine, but that searching through all of this frozen food might drive him nuts. Lorna tells her friend to count himself lucky then, as they could have had Gambit and Rogue’s assignment.

Beneath the Institute, in the sewers, Rogue tells her lover and teammate Remy “Gambit” LeBeau that this thing is supposed to burrow down into the darkest corners of their minds, dragging out their deepest fears and demons, before asking him what he is scared of. ‘Right now?’ asks Remy, ‘What I might tread in’. Walking through the water, Gambit suggests to Rogue that when this is over, they should take a closer look at their diet, and maybe turn the cafeteria vegan and organic - Cajun style of course. Rogue replies that she knows this is not a bed of roses, but points out someone has to search down here. Gambit asks how they will know if they are getting warm, to which Rogue explains that as Emma said, the closer they get to it, its telepathy will be stronger - so they might feel crazier. Suddenly, Rogue thinks she feels something ahead of them in the tunnel - and indeed, something is crouching down a few meters in front of them.

Entering the hangar bay, Bobby reminds Lorna that they heard Havok, “Master of all-he-surveys”, they have to check the X-Jet for unwanted mushrooms from outer space. Lorna tells Bobby to take the fore while she takes the aft. Iceman then tells Lorna that the jet is cleaner than Scott Summers’ underwear, so they should leave. Lorna asks Bobby what he is talking about, to which Bobby points out that they just checked the X-jet and it was clean, so they should go. Lorna tells Bobby that they just got here, so when did they check it?

Iceman tells Polaris that they checked it right now, he took the aft and she took the fore, and urges her to remember. Lorna touches her forehead and declares that the last thing she remembers is they were about to go in, she was going to check the aft…Lorna exclaims that she remembers now, she checked the fore, Bobby took the back, but they didn’t find a thing. ‘Right, don’t do that Lorna, it scares me’ Bobby tells her.

Suddenly, Polaris shoves Bobby back with a magnetic pulse, asking him what he thinks it does to her, ‘Do you think I enjoy fugue states? It makes me happy to imagine myself slipping inexorably into insanity?’ Bobby gets to his feet and tells Lorna that he doesn’t know if she is supposed to be on medication, but if it is then he doesn’t think it is hitting the spot. Lorna puts her arms around Bobby and apologizes, claiming that she doesn’t know what happened, that she just snapped. Bobby tells Lorna to forget it, that they are all under pressure, and suggests they go get something to eat.

Walking out of the hangar bay, Polaris asks Bobby if he is really sure they checked the x-jet. ‘One hundred percent, totally and absolutely’ Bobby replies. However, sitting on a chair in the x-jet, twelve hours into the quarantine, twelve hours remaining, is Golgotha, about the size of a small shrub.

Back in the sewer, Wolverine thrashes about in the water, growling and scraping his claws against the walls. Gambit tells the savage X-Man to calm down, and points out that there is no one here except them. ‘Your friends’ adds Rogue. Logan turns to them, ‘No’ he says, declaring that they have been hiding all this time, stalking him with their traps and guns - he can smell them - running him down like a dog, that is all he is to them.

Logan grabs Gambit’s neck and shoves him against a wall, asking him if he is laughing at him. ‘Think this dog is too old to be hanging with you kids?’ Gambit replies that he doesn’t, as Wolverine asks if he thinks he should be tied up in the back-yard, a sick, crazy old mutt. Rogue comes up Logan and touches his skin, ‘Get you hands off him!’ she exclaims, draining Logan’s energies before telling Remy to move away nice and slow.

Gambit tells Rogue to stop telling him what to do as he can look after himself, ‘I don’t need you!’ Rogue puts her glove back on and tells Remy to listen carefully, that this isn’t him talking, but that thing. Gambit turns his back on Rogue, declaring that for once it is him, and now he is glad that they cannot touch. ‘I’m thankful that we’re non-tactile pretend lovers’. Rogue tells Remy to please not do this, but Gambit points out that not touching is the only thing that keeps the two of them together - it is what adds the sparkle, and without it they would be bored with each other.

‘You’d just be another one night stand’. Wolverine whispers to Rogue that once he gets his strength back he will hit Gambit. Leaving the tunnel, Remy tells Wolverine and Rogue that he will leave them alone, as he has always known they have had a thing for each other. ‘You make the perfect couple - the old letch and the maiden’.

Logan asks Rogue to let him go after Gambit, but Rogue asks Wolverine to leave him, as Gambit doesn’t mean anything he said, as it is all the craziness talking. ‘Is it?’ asks Logan. Rogue tries to change the subject, but Logan asks her if it is craziness to say they have always had a thing for each other. ‘Craziness to say I always wanted to do…this?’ he asks as he touches her cheek. Rogue remarks that this is crazy. Wolverine replies that he doesn’t care. ‘Darling…’ utters Rogue before they kiss.

Despite his life energies being drained, Wolverine tells Rogue that he has wanted her for so long. The kiss is interrupted by Emma, who telepathically asks Rogue to come to her office. Holding Wolverine up so he doesn’t fall to the ground, Rogue asks Emma what is wrong, and mentions that her voice sounds strange. The White Queen tells Rogue that she sounds a little fraught herself. Logan pulls away from Rogue, who is relieved to know that he is alive, but Wolverine tells Rogue not to touch him, that he will be fine. Emma tells Rogue that when she can spare a moment, she needs some assistance, adding that it is something she would rather share with another woman.

Further down the tunnel, Remy wonders what he has just said, what he has just done. He tells himself to think straight, and asks if he really loves her and how much easier life would be without her - with a normal mutant girl, a girl he could roll around in the hay with. Remy tells himself to face it - that he doesn’t love Rogue, and she probably doesn’t love him either. He sits down on the ground and his eyes roll back in his head slightly, thinking that Rogue doesn’t even know what love is - how could she, as not being able to touch has arrested her emotional development. He thinks that Rogue is trapped somewhere in kindergarten ‘It’s puppy-dog love. Make-believe romance’. Suddenly, a shadow spreads over Gambit, and a sinister voice exclaims ‘Gambit…funny meeting you here!’ dreaded fear spreads across Gambit’s face.

In her room, the White Queen continues to stare at herself in the mirror. Examining her wrinkles, she declares that she is clearly beyond Botox, and way beyond feeble collagen implants. She doesn’t like the idea of dermabrasion, so thinks about going “under the knife”, or another nose job. She pulls the skin around her eyes back, pondering a face-life - the opus magnum of cosmetic surgery. Skin is tugged back, incision behind the ears, hack away at the hideous excess skin and fat, snip, cauterize, sew, wait to heal. ‘I could do it myself’.

Emma picks up a pair of scissors, knowing that this could kill or maim a normal woman, but she can use her telepathy to control her cells - deep tissue mind control. ’Is that possible? It must be. I’m an X-Person, everything is…’ Emma’s voice trails off, the scissors are poised at her skin, when suddenly Cyclops cries ’Emma?’ The White Queen turns to the doorway to see Cyclops. Her lover, standing there. Scott asks Emma what is wrong, and a normal-looking Emma marches over to him, exclaiming that she will tell him what is wrong.

But Cyclops isn’t there, it’s Alex “Havok” Summers, his brother. Emma declares that she got old, that is how it is with women, they age faster than men. ‘That’s why you’ve always got one eye on the door…and one eye on the younger woman you’ll eventually dump us for!’ Havok tells Emma that she has this all wrong, but Emma, still thinking she is talking to Scott, tells him not to sully what they had with lies. She reminds him that she can see into his mind, can feel the way he hankers after someone else.

Havok cries out in pain and tries to get away, but Emma tells him that it is no use struggling as she has his filthy unfaithful mind in a telepathic vice, adding that she can make his synapses pop whenever she wants. Suddenly, Emma comes across who it is that “Cyclops” is thinking about. ‘Poor disturbed, unstable Lorna? That’s who you want? Who you dream about possessing?’

“Cyclops” unleashes a optic eye beam while he still can, and so Emma doesn’t end up killing him. The White Queen is knocked back, just as Rogue enters the room, asking her what is going on. Havok tells Rogue to get Emma off him, as he doesn’t want to hurt her, to which Emma declares ‘You’ve already hurt me, Scott! You’ve broken my heart!’

Rogue informs Emma that it isn’t Cyclops, and Havok remarks that of course he isn’t. Emma looks shocked, ‘You’re not Scott?’ she asks before regaining her composure, and seeing Havok, she clears her throat, before admitting that she owes him an apology. Alex mutters to Rogue that she came by at just the right time, as he was on the verge of losing it and might have killed Emma. ‘Glad to be of assistance, Bub’ replies Rogue. The White Queen asks if she is still a little confused, or does Rogue sound just like Wolverine.

‘Why the Hell shouldn’t I sound like Logan? Seeing as that’s who I am!’ declares Rogue. Havok tells Rogue that it is insane, but Rogue replies ‘Rogue? Me? That’s the dumbest thin I ever heard, you must a flipped!’ and asks if she wasn’t Logan could she do this - ‘Ahhhhhh AHHHHH!’ she screams as she tries to unsheathe her claws, before falling to the ground and declaring that she is scared.

In the tunnels, Polaris and Iceman have stumbled across Gambit. Lorna suggests that they shouldn’t disturb him in the same way that it has been said you shouldn’t wake somnambulists. ‘Some-what-ulists?’ asks Bobby. ‘Sleepwalkers, Bobby,’ Lorna informs him. Watching Remy as he fights with a shadow of his nemesis Mr. Sinister, Bobby points out that Remy is not sleep walking. “Sinister” tells Gambit that it is a kind of love, this degree of hate, the desire to be your one and only killer. Always ready with a witty remark, Gambit tells Sinister to bite him.

Lorna tells Bobby that she has just remembered something she has to do and asks Bobby if he can take care of Remy alone. Bobby replies that he can do it alone, but when Lorna leaves, everything turns frozen solid.

Elsewhere, Polaris has both hands covering her eyes. ‘One more look. Just one more look, remember - this might all be in my head,’ she thinks to herself. She tells herself to have one more look, and if it is still here, she will say it is real - that she is not imagining it. ‘I’ll say I’m not totally insane. Lorna parts her fingers on one hand so that she can see through them - and she goes wide-eyed with horror. Then perfectly calm. ‘Okay. I’d better go tell the others’ she decides, before leaving.

Soon, Polaris has gathered Havok, Wolverine, Iceman, the White Queen, Rogue and Gambit and they stand in the hangar bay, before the x-jet, which now has a giant Golgotha sitting on it. Wolverine asks how they could miss something has big as this, as Havok states he wants to know who is to blame, as he did ask Polaris and Iceman to check the x-jet. Bobby claims that they did, and it was clean. Polaris exclaims that she thinks she knows what happened, but before she can explain, Havok interrupts, declaring that he knows what happened - Polaris and Bobby were too busy making out to do their jobs properly.

Iceman tells him that it isn’t true, and Lorna tells her former fiancée to listen to her. Lorna explains that she believes the creature made everyone see what it wanted them to see, or what it wanted them not to see. Havok replies that maybe it did, before asking Lorna how she could be interested in a dolt like Iceman he starts to say ‘When I…’ but his voice trail off, enabling Lorna to cut in and exclaim ‘When you what, Alex?’ before telling him that he has got no right to tell her who she should or shouldn’t be interested in, not after the way he -.

Iceman cuts in now, asking Havok who he thinks he is calling him a dolt. ‘Just because you’re half the man your brother is, doesn’t mean you have to take it out on the rest of us!’ Havok tells Bobby that that is it and he wants him off this team. Emma pushes the men aside, reminding everyone that they are twenty-three hours and eighteen seconds into this, and that the pod, the real Golgotha is somewhere inside that thing on the jet. So that still gives them eighty-two seconds to find and destroy it, before the next cycle begins.

Later, Havok persuades Emma into destroying the Golgotha pod, she thinks he is probably right, as something so dangerous has to be annihilated. They put its ashes into a capsule and send it on one last journey.

Later still, Emma continues her recording, wondering how many cycles this pod has had, how many of man kinds ills throughout the ages have been started by this small creature. Suddenly, a strange looking person appears on the monitor before Emma, informing her that he is Gazer from Space Station Eight, who has got to show her something that they are picking up - some kind of space storm headed for Earth. Emma puts Gazer onto the big screen as she realizes she feels tired, though she is thankful that the recent craziness has come to an end…except for the fact that hundreds of Golgotha are descending through space towards Earth.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Havok, Iceman, Polaris, Rogue, White Queen, Wolverine (all X-Men)



In White Queen’s hallucination


In Gambit’s hallucination

Mr. Sinister

Story Notes: 


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