X-Men: Gold #25

Issue Date: 
June 2018
Story Title: 
Cruel and Unusual – part 3

Marc Guggenheim (writer), Paulo Siqueira & Jose Luis (pencilers), Cam Smith & Victor Olazaba (inkers), Arif Prianto, Java Tartaglia & Jaun Fernandez (colorists), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Ryan Stegman & Edward Delgado (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 mad god Scythian attacks Paris and is met by Captain Britain and Meggan, who are vacationing here. The substitute X-Men learn of this and fly to Paris, while Magik tries to get the main team free. The warden proves recalcitrant, however. In the meantime, Storm snaps due to her claustrophobia and overcomes the power dampening collar she is wearing. She confronts the warden angrily. The team is freed and teleported to Paris as well, where their teammates are already battling Scythian. At the height of battle, Storm is suddenly joined by her Asgardian hammer Stormcaster, which heightens her power immeasurably. Together they manage to partially teleport Scythian to Limbo and then kill him with the X-jet. In the wake of their success, the Mutant Deportation Act is no longer viable. Lydia Nance, in the meantime, has joined with the nano-sentinel Alpha and together they plot mutantkind’s demise…

Full Summary: 

Paris, France:
Currently, the city is terrorized by the giant evil God Scythian, who has freed himself from the Negative Zone.

In the meantime, two of the substitute X-Men, Armor and Magik, are currently facing the Rhino on Times Square. However, it is not the Rhino who causes Armor to cry out. She points to the jumbotron, where images of Scythian’s attack on Paris are shown. She recognizes Scythian. Magik makes short work of Rhino by teleporting him to Limbo.

The Box:
In the male general population, Colossus and Nightcrawler also learn of Scythian’s return from the news. Colossus fears the world will not be able to stop him, while they are there in this concrete cage. Sullenly, he adds he should be planning his wedding. Kurt points out Kitty would be the one to do the planning. But he agrees things could not be more dire.

They are more dire for Storm. She, like Rachel and Kitty, has been put into solitary. However, unlike the others, she is a claustrophobe and being alone in a small room is hellish for her. She lies on the ground almost catatonic, reliving the trauma of losing her parents and being buried alive by rubble when she was six.

However, she chooses rage over fear. She stands up and reminds herself who she is. She will not lose her mind to a cage! And that rage is so great that it overwhelms the technology of her inhibitor collar, literally shorting it out as lightning hits the cell.

Armed guards come running and order her to lie down on the floor.

In the ruins of old Asgard, former home of the Norse gods, something stirs on the ground. Storm’s pain and strength are felt by Stormcaster, the enchanted hammer forged by the dwarven weaponsmith Eitri at the behest of Loki. It feels its mistress pain and anger and is compelled to answer.

In Paris, Captain Britain and his wife Meggan (who were on a romantic vacation) battle against Scythian. When Meggan complains this is not what she expected from a holiday in Paris, Brian retorts everything in Paris is romantic. He adds that the creature’s presence affects the weather.

Using her elemental control, Meggan blasts the angry god who swats her away. Cap flies after his wife and catches her. As they wonder what the thing is, they receive a reply courtesy of Ink’s telepathy, as the substitute X-Men’s jet nears Paris. He gives them all the knowledge they have of Scythian and Iceman asks them to keep the mad god busy until they arrive at their position.

Meanwhile, at the Box, Magik is in the Warden’s office making her case for the release of her teammates, due to the emergency in Paris. The Warden doesn’t much care. Besides, the world has enough superheroes to stop that creature. Magik shoots back that he has five heroes who have already stopped him within in his jail. And one of them just blasted a hole in his prison! he retorts.

Suddenly, a gust of wind rises and Storm enters, announcing she needs a word. The Warden calls for his guards. Storm points out that she already talked to them… they are having a little nap. She turns to the warden. They have been patient. Because it was the right thing to do. They agreed to let justice run its course, because it was the right thing to do. Her eyes aglow she hisses, and then he put her in a cage!

Illyana interrupts, pointing out they have a situation here. She points to the TV screen showing Scythian running amok in Paris. Storm informs the warden that the X-Men are leaving this place and threatens him a bit for good.

In the meantime in the jet, Iceman gives orders to his team. Their fliers – Ink and Rogue – will take Magma and Armor. Let’s fastball special this barfbag!

What about him? Pyro asks. Iceman replies that the X-jet can run on autopilot. He will stay in it. Pyro accuses him of benching him because he was in the Brotherhood. Bobby corrects him that he is keeping him safe. Pyro is the least trained, least battle-tested person here. He’ll only get into the game if things get really bad. And how does he know things are really bad? Pyro insists. That moment, the furious giant Scythian grabs the jet. He just had to ask! Magma shouts.

Rogue revs up the engines, leaving exhaust flames in Scythian’s face and allowing the jet to break free.

Iceman reminds everyone of his order. He joins the others on an iceslide. Ink points out they had to throw the guy into the equivalent of a black hole before. And even that didn’t stop him, Armor adds. Bobby replies they don’t have any black holes around, so they’ll beat the #%&$ out of him.

Captain Britain and Meggan join them, and Cap warns them brute force won’t get this done. Give them a chance, Iceman quips. He brought along some pretty good brutes. Cue for the others to attack Scythian. And they are just the warm-up act.

Rogue touches Scytian with her bare skin. She finds herself overcome by the power she absorbs and falls. Armor jumps after her, while Magma shouts that she cannot fly. Now she tells her, Armor mutters. She jokingly hopes for a secondary mutation as she uses her armor to cushion both herself and Rogue from the landing.

Meanwhile, Iceman, Captain Britain and Meggan try to evacuate people. Iceman orders Ink to help the wounded. He wonders where the cavalry is.

Speaking of: On the roof of the Box, Magik hands her freed teammates fresh uniforms. Nightcrawler complains that he cannot teleport them halfway across the world, apparently forgetting that Magik using a detour via Limbo can and does, ignoring any protest. Moments later, they arrive in Paris.

In the building through whose roof they crashed, Armor cradles the unconscious Rogue, pleading for her to wake up. Meggan joins them and siphons off the excess energy Rogue absorbed from Scythian. She is successful as Rogue wakes up with a start, some of Scythian’s power still within her. They join Magma, as do Kitty’s group. Kitty asks Storm to take care of the crazy weather and everyone else to soften up Scythian.

In the meantime, some distance away, Rachel is protecting Magik, who in turn is concentrating on creating the mother of all stepping discs. Kitty explains their plan: they hurt him, trap him and hope it’s enough for the KO. Colossus asks what the KO is but Kitty warns him he wouldn’t like it if she told him. She asks Kurt to ‘port her into the X-jet, where they are surprised to find the waiting Pyro.

Assuming a defensive stance, Pyro shouts he is on their side. Iceman and Rogue made him a part of the team! Kitty and Kurt exchange a look, then admit that sounds depressingly like them. Simon offers his help. Kitty suggests he help by not being here and has Nightcrawler teleport him away.

The others are still attacking Scythian. Storm concentrates and finds the enchanted Uru Hammer Stormcaster flying towards her. She touches it and is once again transformed. She recalls that, the last time she wielded it, it nearly took her mind. But she needs its power now.

Rachel transmits to Kitty that she and Magik are in position. The fliers evacuate the other X-Men, save for Colossus. While Magik traps Scythian’s leg with a Stepping Disc, he and Storm keep on attacking. She flies him away as Kitty steers the X-jet on collision course with Scythian.

A huge detonation follows, killing Scythian. Colossus runs toward the crater, shouting Kitty’s name. She phases upward from the ground, telling him she didn’t forget to phase. She asks Storm to do something about the smoke and fire, and Storm calls a downpour. The others gather. Magik informs them that most of Scythian is stuck in Limbo but she is covered in the rest.

That brings them to their next problem, Kitty jokes. What are they going to do with twelve X-Men?

Sands Point, New York, the home of Lydia Nance:
Nance watches the news and is displeased to learn that, in the wake of the X-Men’s heroics, forward movement of the Mutant Deportation Act in the Senate has stalled. Spineless idiots! she mutters.

A new voice announces that it doesn’t matter. Human laws don’t matter. They must be stamped out; utterly destroyed. Mutants are a problem that cannot be legislated away. It is the Sentinel / nanoswarm Alpha. Nance reminds him he failed before. Alpha replies he has evolved since then, mutated, if she will. Nance frowns not caring for the term. He tells her to focus on the task at hand. He shows her an image of Colossus and promises that, using this mutant, they will kill every living thing on the planet that carries an X-gene.

Characters Involved: 

Armor, Colossus, Iceman, Ink, Kitty Pryde, Magik, Magma, Nightcrawler, Prestige, Pyro II, Rogue, Storm (all X-Men)
Captain Britain, Meggan


Lydia Nance

Warden Cashman

Story Notes: 

Stormcaster was last seen and actually destroyed in X-Men: To Save and Protect #3.

Stormcaster was originally created at Loki’s behest during the Asgardian Wars storyline.

The Mutant Deportation Act was introduced in issues #9-10

The X-Men fought Alpha (then 0101) in issues #4-6.

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