X-Men: Gold #24

Issue Date: 
May 2018
Story Title: 
Cruel and Unusual – part 2

Marc Guggenheim (writer), Thony Silas (artist), Arif Prianot & Marcio Menyz (colorists), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Nakayama (cover artist),  Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Christina Harrington & Chris Robinson (assistant editors), Mark Paniccia & Darren Shan (editors), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The substitute X-Men team have their baptism of fire as Inhuman ecoterrorist “the Shredded Man” threatens Manhattan. Rogue has fought him before alongside the Avengers Unity team and they used an anti-toxin created by Cable to neutralize his powers. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. The new Pyro analyzes the growth patterns of his spores and feels reminded of his mother’s cancer. Dr. Reyes is asked for advice and agrees that the Shredded Man has cancer and his power is mirroring this. Rogue absorbs his power and manages to stop the rampage. In the Box, the female X-Men are attacked by a few prisoners out to make their rep. They easily hold their own, but get blamed for the fight as well, meaning spending some time in solitary, something to which the claustrophobe Storm does not take well.

Full Summary: 

The Box:
In the Yard, the three female captive X-Men (Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey and Ororo Munroe) have just been challenged by Crazy Masie – a huge, green-haired mutant and her crew. She spent five packs of cigarettes to get five minutes alone with them, she states darkly.

Storm identifies her cronies as Bliss, Electric Eve and Animax. Masie figures that beating the three of them will cement her status. Kitty fairly warns that they have had lots of combat training. Crazy Masie doesn’t care and the fight begins. Callisto stays neutral and watches.

Storm is hit by Bliss. Dodging her attacker’s blows, Rachel jokes that she can cross a prison yard fight off her bucket list, right after adding it to her bucket list. She and Storm quickly take care of the three cronies. Kitty, in the meantime, points out to Maisie that she is also a ninja and kicks her ass.

Of course, that moment, armored and armed guards come and order them to the ground. When the warden comes, Kitty explains the situation. The warden asks Callisto what she saw. She claims she was just here for the fresh air and saw nothing. The warden orders three days of solitary confinement for all combatants. That moment, a guard comes shouting there is a problem in Manhattan.

In Manhattan, steel tentacles emerge from the ground, throwing cars and other objects around and terrorizing the people. In the midst of that storm is the Shredded Man, musing how strange and beautiful this is. And how different from Boston. Out of his control. Still, he should dress for the occasion. He dons a mask.

That moment, the substitute X-Men team arrives. Rogue recognizes their foe as the Inhuman Ivan Guerrero, whom she recently fought with the Avengers Unity team. Inhuman and environmental nut job. Magik adds that, according to his file, he can generate spores he can control. Iceman announces that’s why they brought along Cable’s anti-toxin. Rogue recalls it worked spiffy last time.

Iceman orders Armor to light him up and Magik to back her up, while Magma is to protect Pyro. Armor raises her weapon and orders Guerrero to stand down. Unsurprisingly, he does not comply and Armor fires the toxin at him. Unfortunately, he shakes it off. He remembers that sensation. But things are different now, he is afraid. They should be afraid too. As he takes out Armor and Magik with his tentacles, the others realize that Cable’s cure doesn’t work.

Guerrero grows himself a cocoon. New plan! Iceman announces. He orders Pyro and Magma to burn up the vines that come from underground. In the meantime, he freezes the vines, so Ink and Rogue can smash them. But the vines still hold persist. What’s plan C? Rogue asks. Magma and Pyro, is the reply. They’re gonna burn this thing at the source.

Below, Pyro wonders where all these vines come from. Magma figures they are as old as the city, older even. He notices her giving him the cold shoulder and reminds her if it’s got anything to do with the Brotherhood; she was in it too. She snaps back that she was mind-controlled. And when she went back for revenge, she was taken out and her friends taken to jail. Pyro apologizes for his role in this. Mesmero sure likes his fire buddies, doesn’t he? Amara agrees and shifts to her lava form as she begins burning the vines and suggests they be fire buddies.

They try to burn the vines, but the Shredded Man thinks to himself that they are something more now… they have mutated. The X-Men’s attempt doesn’t work properly and Magma figures she has never seen anything like this before. Simon has. In the MRI images the doctors showed him of his mother’s lungs. Is there a doctor they can speak to?

Magma calls Dr. Cecilia Reyes at the Institute and shows her the scene. Cecilia agrees with Simon. The growth pattern is consistent with what she has seen in tumors. This is like cancer. Amara tells Dr. Reyes there is a mutant at the institute called Hijack. He needs to access the medical files on Ivan Guerrero. She thinks what’s really going on here is different than they think.

Further above, the others are still battling the vines. Iceman orders Ink to get Armor and Magik to safety. Rogue hits Guerrero.

Cecila announces she is sending them the medical records and adds this is very serious.

Magma contacts Rogue who is busy battling the Shredded Man. Amara explains that this isn’t like Boston. This isn’t under his control. Rogue listens carefully and Magma begins to explain…

Rogue stops fighting. She addresses Igor, asking what’s happening to his vines. That’s his cancer isn’t it? It’s not, he replies but then amends they mirror what the cancer is doing in his body though. Humanity is a cancer on the world. His dying wish is to see as much of humanity destroyed as he can before he expires. Rogue pleads it doesn’t have to be this way. He reminds her this is out of his control. Not out of hers, Rogue bets. She explains she can take his power temporarily and revert all this. He can try to take another city down with him. Or make a different choice. He can choose life. Life for the humanity he hates so much, yes. But life for himself as well. She touches him and he shouts in pain that he will never stop trying to save the planet from the humans that infest it. Rogue focuses and gets the vines under control.

The Box:
The guards put Storm into a tiny solitary cell. Frightened, she pleads that she is a claustrophobic but is ignored and finds herself all alone in the tiny space…

Characters Involved: 

Armor, Dr. Cecilia Reyes, Colossus, Kitty Pryde Iceman, Magik, Magma, Ink, Nightcrawler, Prestige, Pyro II, Rogue, Storm (all X-Men)

Animax, Bliss, Crazy Masie, Electric Eve

Shredded Man


Story Notes: 

The Avengers Unity Team fought Ivan Guerrero in Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #1-4.

Kitty became a ninja in the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine series.

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