X-Men: Gold #7

Issue Date: 
September 2017
Story Title: 
Secret Empire – part 1
Staff: 

Marc Guggenheim (writer), Ken Lashley (artist) Frank Martin (colorist), VC’s Joe Sabino (letterer), Ken Lashley & David Curiel (cover artists), Jim Lee & Israel Silva with Michael Kelleher (X-Men trading card cover variant), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mark Paniccia (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (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 X-Men and their students are enjoying a nice baseball game. Kitty and Colossus discuss his current inability to access his powers, while Rachel and Nightcrawler discuss her new power level and their mutual attraction. Suddenly, the sky turns dark. They learn from Dr. Strange that New York is trapped in the Darkforce dimension. Kitty sends some X-Men to help the New Yorkers, however a little later they find first one, then two, students dead. A killer is moving around in the mansion and the telepaths cannot pick him up. The X-cutioner releases the alien Brotherhood member, then attacks and injures Eye-Boy. Before he can kill him, the X-Men find the culprit. However, his armor and weapons make him a match for them and finally he fires his gun at the powerless Colossus. Meanwhile, Rockslide and Dust have found several explosives, all set to go off soon.

Full Summary: 

Flashback:
Central Park, then:
Magneto (or more to the point, Kuan-Yin Xorn in his guise) uses his power to terrorize and kill humans. Helpless, a man has to watch as his wife and son are killed by the metal spikes “Magneto” is controlling.

Today:
Central Park is now home to the Xavier Institute. Today, senior X-Men and students both are playing a game of softball. On the sidelines sit Kitty Pryde and Colossus, the latter of whom is still recovering from the injuries he received fighting against the nano Sentinel swarm. Kitty asks Piotr how he is feeling. Like Ororo shouldn’t have shifted her infield, he jokes, referring to the game. He tells her that Dr. Reyes said the wounds will heal in time. His mutant genome has not been altered. He is still in possession of his powers. And yet he cannot turn to steel anymore. Kitty assures him it’s temporary and reminds him of the time when he couldn’t turn from steel to human. That is what concerns him, he continues, but then they are both distracted by a strange sight in the sky.

Inside the school, Rachel kisses a confused Kurt Wagner. She admits that was a bit forward. When she was unconscious, she could feel his concern psychically. And it wasn’t platonic concern for a teammate or friend. And then, to take out the nanoswarm, she had to reach for a power level she had never accessed before. Because she’d been afraid to. And in that moment, she became attuned to everyone in Manhattan. And she knows he is attracted to her.

Is she still attuned? Kurt asks. She accuses him of changing the subject. Is it working? he asks. She’s not still reading everyone’s mind 24/7. But she hasn’t felt her psychic power so acutely since… she hesitates and he presses on. Rachel silently recalls her days as a Hound but replies since never.

Anole bursts in to inform them something really strange is going on outside. They look at the swirling darkness in the sky. Kitty orders lockdown.

The X-Men meet in the briefing room, where a hologram of Dr. Strange informs them it’s called the Darkforce Dimension. A plane of reality wrapped in darkness and populated by demons. He continues that there is no leaving Manhattan, not even via teleportation.

Kitty gives orders to put small teams together and hit the streets to help out, however they can. Rachel warns there is a lot of panic, especially from the younger students. Suddenly, an agitated Anole informs them he has found the new girl – dead!

Soon, Kitty kneels next to her dead body, an X carved on her face. Her name was Belen, she announces. Jean Grey brought her here. She asks Anole if anyone else has seen this. He doesn’t think so; he came down to do a load of laundry and found her. She asks him to keep this quiet for the moment. Colossus and Rachel are with her.

Colossus asks what they are dealing with here. Kitty reminds him, Ororo and Logan have been investigating a series of mutant killings. The X is new, but the gunshot fits the killer’s MO. They realize they have an anti-mutant serial killer lose in the school.

On a rooftop, Logan informs Storm that Nightcrawler broke up a group of looters. He muses that things like this reveal people’s true natures and is reminded of his own, as he remembers killing his timeline’s X-Men.

She asks if he is all right. He is never not all right, but he is tired, he admits. He looks at Kitty doing so well running this outfit and wonders maybe he won’t have to do this for much longer. She tells him he has no choice. The X-Men wouldn’t be the same without him. He notices a demon attacking an old woman on the street below and leaps into the fray. The woman is shocked and Logan suggests she get out. He admits that he feels good. Been a while since he gutted a demon.

Another, bigger demon says something to them in a strange language. So, on a scale of 1 to 10 how dangerous does she figure that guy is? Logan asks Storm. The next moment, the creature claws at him. He just hadda ask, Logan mutters. Storm takes the monster out with lightning but it soon recovers.

Elsewhere, Nightcrawler finds himself chased by a mob, who believe him to be another demon despite his assurances. They trap him and get ready to kill him.

The Xavier Institute:
Laboratory level:
The X-cutioner stands in front of the cage holding the alien Brotherhood of Evil Mutants member. C.N.G., he reads. That’s what they call him. Creepy new guy. He hacked their files, leaned the truth. He is not a mutant. The X-cutioner presses a button and the cage opens. He doesn’t even understand a word he is saying, does he? The alien answers in his own, alien language.

On another level, Kitty, Rachel and Piotr find the body of another dead mutant kid, Oscar, strung up. Kitty asks how the killer can be running around free, with all the psychics they have. Psi-shield? Rachel suggests. She thought her power had found a new gear? Kitty reminds Rachel. Intermittently and without control, Rachel points out. But she can feel him here. Rage. Pure rage.

In yet another part of the building:
Unaware of the X-cutioner’s presence, Trevor Hawkins aka Eye-Boy walks past. The killer grabs him and slams him against the wall, then draws his machete. Because of his kind, his boy is dead, he hisses. Wasn’t even ten years old. Never got a chance. He begins cutting and Trevor screams.

Elsewhere, Rockslide and Dust search the hallways and are shocked to find explosives with a tamper-proof timer set at twenty-nine minutes.

Trevor begs him not to hurt him, as he has already cut out one of his eyes. That’s what his boy said, the X-cutioner replies. Or what he would have said. Wasn’t even given the chance. He raises his gun at Trevor’s head. Please! Trevor begs.

Suddenly, Kitty attacks the X-cutioner. Didn’t he hear? she quips. He said please. She kicks him in the face and orders Colossus to get Trevor to safety. She tells Rachel to take this loser out. However, his facemask protects him against telepathy. Working on it, Kitty states as she tries to get rid of the facemask. Could use a little help, though. He swats her away. Rachel hits him in the face. Colossus strikes at him from behind, momentarily stunning him.

The next moment, the X-cutioner fires his gun at him.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, Prestige, Storm (X-Men)
Chamber, Iceman, Jubilee, Moonstar (other X-Men)
Anole, Belen, Dust, Eye-Boy, Oscar, Pixie III, Rockslide, Stepford Cuckoos (Students)

X-cutioner
Kologoth (unnamed)

In flashback:
X-cutioner
His wife and son Alex
Kuan-yin Xorn (disguised as Magneto)

As hologram:
Dr. Strange

Story Notes: 

The X-cutioner lost his family when “Magneto” / Xorn terrorized New York in New X-Men (1st series) #146-150.

The events this issue are related to the Secret Empire limited series

As a result of the injuries he received during the Mutant Massacre, Colossus for some time had difficulty changing from steel to his human form. The problem was solved after he walked through the Siege Perilous.

Rachel and Nightcrawler once shared a kiss. However, that didn’t happen during their time on Excalibur but much later in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #450.

Storm and Logan started investigating the mutant killings in issue #4.

The time-displaced, original X-Men brought Belen to the Xavier institute in X-Men: Blue #3.

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