X-Men (2nd series) #170

Issue Date: 
July 2005
Story Title: 
Golgotha - conclusion: Fall-Out

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 try to convince General O’Shea to let them go into space to deal with the Golgotha, but he doesn’t like the idea - until, as Emma Frost later reveals, he realizes that they probably wont survive, which suits his anti-mutant agenda. After taking a NASA space ship to a space station, the X-Men prepare for the battle against over three hundred Golgotha, while dealing with all the emotions and events that Golgotha has recently caused them. Havok suggests to everyone that they pretend what Golgotha did to them never happened. Everyone has mixed feelings about that, before they don their space suits and head into space for the battle, where Havok and Polaris, the two most powerful X-Men, will be using their powers to tear through the Golgotha, and the others are to pick up any they miss. Iceman is annoyed about Lorna having to work with Havok, and soon Alex and Lorna are separated from the others after a large power surge from Havok. While Wolverine, Emma, Iceman and the others discuss what to do, Alex and Lorna soon return, with Havok deciding that perhaps they shouldn’t pretend what Golgotha did never happened. Polaris is acting rather strangely, before suddenly unleashing a powerful blast which kills the remaining Golgotha after she whispers that it looked right at her. Afterwards though, Lorna reveals that she cannot remember what happened. Later, O’Shea and the President discuss what happened, with the President stating that he doesn’t want the world to know that the world was saved by mutants, not that he has anything against them, but because he doesn’t want them turned into heroes.

Full Summary: 

‘I do not want a bunch of mutants flying into outer space!’ declares General O-Shea at the NASA HQ in Houston to the seven members of the X-Men standing before him. Emma Frost a.k.a. the sultry White Queen informs the General that they have run into “these things” before, so can handle this. O’Shea replies that he can handle this, and admits that the President is rather excited by this, as what is heading to Earth is another enemy, something one cannot have too many of these days.

‘You mean…America’s war against Alien Mushroom Creatures?’ asks the jovial Bobby “Iceman” Drake. ‘The Axis of Fruiting Bodies?’ suggests the beautiful Lorna “Polaris” Dane. O’Shea informs the X-Men that America has nuclear missiles aimed at the heavens for just this kind of eventuality. The General thanks the X-Men for their patriotic offer of help, and informs them that security will escort them from the building.

But the X-Men are not through yet, and Emma informs O’Shea that these are highly evolved sentient begins, and she believes they will give his clumsy warheads the slip, before landing and turning half the planet into a Hieronymus Bosch painting. O’Shea turns to a photograph of himself before clearing up whether the X-Men have had dealings with the aliens before. ‘Almost on first-name terms’ exclaims Polaris.

Emma informs the General that the aliens have given them a lot of trouble, and she wants to see with her own eyes that they will not be coming back. The General smiles, and he jokes that he doesn’t want it said that Micky O’Shea never gave ‘Our mutant friends a fair crack of the whip’ before telling them that they have a week to clear the skies. The rugged X-Man known as Wolverine a.k.a. Logan has one small point to make: ‘How exactly do we get up there?’

Later, in a NASA space ship, as the X-Men are about to take off to space, Bobby asks Emma who this Hieronymus Bosch guy is, but Emma replies that she will tell him later, as right now she is going to concentrate on not losing her breakfast. Remy “Gambit” LeBeau points out that he is sitting right in front of Emma, and tells her to keep her food to herself.

After docking aboard a space station, someone remarks that space didn’t seem so crowded the last time they were here. Emma replies that she thinks the Fantastic Four can make anywhere feel a little cramped. Gazing out a window, Bobby points out that there are hundreds of them, ‘Three hundred and sixty-two, to be precise, Robert’ Emma reveals, clad in a orange jumpsuit like the rest of the X-Men are.

Afterwards, the X-Men have made themselves as comfortable as can be aboard the space station. Lorna and Bobby are looking out the window together, and Lorna remarks that there are three hundred and sixty-two ugly balls of violent psychological turmoil. ‘Of madness-over-the-edge screaming, unhinged tongue-biting…’ her voice trails off, so Bobby puts an arm around her, telling her to chill as she is shaking.

Polaris apologizes and explains that being so close to those things again brings it all back. Bobby asks Lorna if she is up to this, and suggests that she could stay back here while the rest of them rock Golgotha’s world. Alex “Havok” Summers interrupts the couple, reminding them that Lorna is a vital part of this operation, as he and she will form the main thrust of the attack, and remarks that she will be fine. ‘Won’t you, Polaris?’ ‘I’ll be fine,’ Lorna replies.

As he watches the silent Rogue and Gambit with their backs to one another, Wolverine mutters that blowing up the Golgotha things has got to be easier than fighting all their inner demons, or at least a lot less complicated. Havok agrees, and while on the subject, reminds everyone that they have all done and said some pretty hair-raising things recently - things they wouldn’t normally allow themselves to think about let alone reveal. ‘Crazy things’ agrees a nervous Lorna.

Alex tells everyone that it is probably best all around if they pretend that none of it ever happened - they draw a line, it is erased and forgotten. Rogue turns to Gambit and says that she would love a glass of water. Remy replies that he will go and look for one. Gazing at her reflection in some glass, Emma agrees that some things are best not dwelt on. Bobby boasts that he is cool, that compared to everyone else he is like a picture of mental health. ‘Very debatable, Iceman’ mumbles Havok before turning to Wolverine and asks him if they should airbrush all that madness from their recent history. Logan just grunts.

‘Madness? What madness? Have I missed a party? asks the mutant Gazer as he enters the room. Gazer remarks that that is the downside of being stuck on a NASA observation station, although you might be closer to the stars and able to see them without all the pollution which is nice, but the part scene up here…. Gazer is interrupted by the White Queen who introduces him to everyone, explaining that he is permanently station here. ‘He’s also incredibly irritating and won’t shut up’.

Wolverine asks how NASA allows someone like him to man this station. Gazer reveals that they are bathed in ridiculously high levels of radiation. A furious Havok asks Emma if she knew about this, but Gazer calms him down by explaining that the short time they will be here is no problem, while revealing that as for him, his body has a tremendous ability to absorb radiation and process it as photosynthesis, something to do with the unique quinone’s in his body. He adds that radiation doesn’t hurt him, he thrives on it.

Gazer turns to a chess board and asks if anyone else plays, he remarks that he locks horns with the on-board computer sometimes but she cheats. ‘Just show us the disembarking bay’ mutters Emma. Gazer mentions that he can show them some suits too, but Emma tells him that there is no need, as they brought their own.

The X-Men are all suited up and Rogue sees what Remy has in his hands, so queries his decision to go into battle with a bag of ball bearings. Remy informs Rogue that he will be working with Iceman, and not to worry as it will all make sense, before telling Rogue that this is going to be dangerous, he admits that he would hate to go out there with a cloud still hanging over them. Rogue asks Gambit if he is saying he is sorry, but Gambit asks how he can be sorry for something that he didn’t mean to say.

Rogue tells Gambit that the words came from somewhere, to which Remy asks about the kiss between her and Wolverine, where that came from. Havok announces that they have two minutes, so it is time to move on. Rogue tells Gambit to take care, and they both press their lips up to their space suit helmets.

Wolverine turns to Havok and admits that he still isn’t sure why he wanted him up here, and while he might be able to puncture a few of those yo-yo’s with his claws, that is about all. Alex reminds Logan that this squad is still rather young, and points out it is likely to get messy out there, so he figured with Logan’s experience and cool head he would be invaluable. ‘Experience? Ain’t that another word for Senior Citizen?’ asks Logan.

Havok smiles and tells Logan to remember that all the craziness is behind them, before joking that he will never be old, as he is Wolverine. ‘Thanks, kid’ mumbles Logan, before motioning to Rogue and Gambit and joking that there isn’t a dry eye in the house. Havok gives Rogue permission to absorb some of his power, but just enough to get boosted, as she needs to leave them with something to fight with out there.

Moments later, Havok and Polaris are in the thick of the battle with the Golgotha, using their phenomenal powers to blast away at the creatures. Emma informs everyone that she doesn’t know how strong the Golgotha’s telepathy is out here, so they should all try to keep busy and not think too much. ‘Should be second nature to you, Iceman’ snaps Havok. Lorna informs her former fiancée that what he said was not necessary.

Through the space suits, the X-Men are able to communicate with each other, and Bobby tells Havok that he hopes he knows what he is doing with Polaris. Havok replies ‘completely’ before reminding everyone that the plan is for he and Polaris to cut a swathe through the Golgotha, and the rest of them pick off the ones that scatter. Bobby mutters that it sounds pretty reckless to him, before telling Havok that just so long as he is not on some kind of “If-I-cant-have-Lorna-no-one-can-have-her” trip. Lorna starts to ask Alex exactly how upset he is about her and Bobby, before Emma interrupts, reminding Iceman that she told him not to think, as the more he dwells on this, the greater the chance is that the Golgotha will get their mental claws into him.

Iceman calls out to Lorna, as Gambit tries to get his attention by pointing out that he still has some ball bearings left but needs some more ice. Bobby asks if anyone can see Lorna or Havok, before Rogue declares that she can hardly see a thing, not to mention that whatever powers she has absorbed from Alex and Polaris have pretty much run out, meaning from now on, she isn’t much more than a spectator, and with that Rogue stops blasting at one of the Golgotha and floats around in space.

As Gambit uses his powers to charge a bearing through a frozen Golgotha he warns everyone to keep an eye out for frozen splinters, as they might be sharp enough to tear through a suit. Iceman however is more concerned with why Lorna and Alex are no answering when they are called. Wolverine calls to Alex and Lorna now, asking them if they are out there, to give them a sign.

Suddenly there is a large explosion in space, reminiscent of Alex’s power from the direction Havok and Polaris were supposed to be in. Logan suggests to Emma that Bobby might be on to something, that maybe Alex has flipped and this is some sick spurned lover-s suicide thing. ‘See? Logan agrees with me! And Logan hardly ever agrees with anything!’
Iceman tells everyone that it is obvious Havok is still hung up on Polaris, and points out that they have all seen the way Alex has been riding him since he knew Lorna and he were an item. Bobby begins to add that between Lorna and trying to live up to his brother, Alex is likely to snap and - Emma cuts him off before he can say something he might regret, and tells him that he is getting on her nerves. Wolverine suddenly declares that he is going in to the area where the explosion came from, but Emma tries to talk him out of it, exclaiming that they cannot lose him too. Wolverine replies that he has to be here for a reason, so maybe this is it, before soaring off past dozens of exploded Golgotha.

A large surge of power is seen, and someone asks if Alex and Lorna are responsible for it. Emma replies that she doesn’t think so, but her guess is that it is some atavistic swarm instinct and that most of the Golgotha are dead or dying, so they’re committing self-annihilation. Wolverine asks Emma if she is making this stuff up. The White Queen smiles and admits ‘Maybe a little’, when suddenly everyone hears ‘…hear…lost…you…’ Wolverine and Emma look at each other as another voice is heard. ‘Where is…crazy…find…no…we…’ Bobby calls out to Polaris, when suddenly Havok and Polaris appear in front of them, Havok explaining that they lost radio contact, before asking Emma if everyone is okay.

Polaris calls out to Bobby, who replies that he lost her back there. Havok exclaims that he could still hear Bobby, and all his hysterics about spurned-lovers suicide, and asks if he thought he was capable of something like that. Logan tells Alex to relax, reminding him that these are excitable times, so who knows what they are capable of, before admitting that he has scared himself these last couple of days.

Havok tells his team that they might have been wrong to try too hard to forget, maybe it just doesn’t work that way. Iceman tells Alex to spare the wise man routine, as it is not his style, before taking a hold of Polaris, and asking her if she is okay, and what happened. Lorna doesn’t reply, so Bobby asks her again what happened. Lorna continues to stare blankly ahead, while Bobby turns to Alex and demands to know what he has done to Lorna. Havok points out that Lorna knew the risks, when suddenly Lorna declares that it looked right at her.

Polaris turns, and unleashes a powerful magnetic pulse, which rips into all the remaining Golgotha, tearing them apart in a spectacle of green and yellow lights. Emma tells Lorna that she has outstanding reflexes, while Iceman asks her what she was saying about it looking right at her - who looked right at her - or rather what looked right at her. Lorna replies that she doesn’t remember, that it has all gone blank, before telling Bobby that it is nice he is concerned, and asking her teammates if they are going to hang around here in space forever.

Later, en route back to Earth, the White Queen replies to Bobby’s earlier question about Hieronymus Bosch, explaining that he was a Dutch painter, probably born around Seventeen-Fifty-Three and most famous for his grotesque images of Hell, or Hell on Earth, full of monstrous demons. Someone exclaims that Bosch obviously did the trick, as mentioning him to General O’Shea obviously seemed to change his mind about sending them up here.

The White Queen reveals otherwise, and reveals that she took the liberty of reading O’Shea’s mind, and discovered that the mutant-hating General thought they had no chance of coming back alive, and the idea of seven pushy mutants dying horribly and floating for all eternity in the black emptiness of space was just too hard to resist. Wolverine asks Emma why she chose not to share this information with them, to which Emma points out that it was such a negative and inauspicious thought, which is why she decided to keep it to herself.

Later, at the White House, the President of the United States tells General O’Shea that he does not want the American public knowing they relied on a bunch of mutants. O’Shea asks the President, with all due respect of course, if it is really so bad that the world finds out about this, and suggests that they will say by the Presidents bold and decisive action, an alien threat has been averted. ’Right, by mutants’ replies the President, before claiming that he has got nothing against those people personally, but that doesn’t mean he wants to turn them into heroes.

At the NASA space station, the sun is setting, and glowing on the heroes as they walk across the tarmac…the White Queen, Wolverine, Rogue, Havok, Gambit, Iceman and Polaris…the X-Men.

Characters Involved: 

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


General Micky O’Shea


President of the United States

Story Notes: 

The X-Men were last in space in the X-Men / Fantastic Four limited series.

Wolverine and Rogue kissed in X-Men (2nd series) #169.

This particular X-squad has essentially been together since X-Men (2nd series) #157, however Wolverine, Havok, Polaris and Iceman were all on the same team before that. Wolverine has worked with all of them in the past, Polaris’ interaction with Rogue and Gambit has been minimal.

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