X-Men: Gold #8

Issue Date: 
September 2017
Story Title: 
Secret Empire – part 2
Staff: 

Marc Guggenheim (writer), Ken Lashley (artist) Frank Martin w/ Andrew Crossley (colorists), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Ardian Syaf, Jay Leisten & David Curiel (cover artists), 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: 

Though Prestige prevents the X-Cutioner from killing Colossus, the villain quickly takes her out. Kitty phases the three of them away and learns from Rockslide and Dust that there are timed explosives in the Danger Room. As they aren’t electronic, Kitty cannot disrupt them with her powers. She orders them to evacuate the mansion while she go look for the villain, hoping he has a remote disarming trigger. Kitty searches the mansion and finds the X-cutioner assaulting Pixie. Kitty attacks him with her katana but he uses a power dampener on her. After a brief battle, he trains his gun on her. When she asks why he is doing this, he calls them evil for ignoring all the normal people who die as collateral damage of their battles. She admits that they were negligent but points out that his evil is deliberate. Unimpressed, he fires and hits Colossus in the shoulder, who had returned to help Kitty. Rockslide manages to take care of the struggling X-cutioner. In the meantime in the city, Storm and Logan disperse the mob that attacked Nightcrawler. They find him essentially fine, despite horrible injuries. He reveals that since he left Heaven he cannot die. Sometime later, the police take the X-cutioner away. Afterward, Kitty is invited to speak before the House of Representatives’ subcommittee regarding a pending bill called the Mutant Deportation Act. In Russia, a criminal group sells humans to the Hand in exchange for the corpse of Omega Red.

Full Summary: 

The X-cutioner fires his weapon at Colossus, who currently cannot use his power to transmute into living steel. Luckily, Prestige’s telekinesis stops the bullet and returns it at the X-cutioner. However, he is saved by his armor’s adamantium-laced Kevlar. He fires at the three X-Men, distracting Colossus and Prestige. Kitty phases and runs towards him.

That moment, she receives a call from Rockslide, who informs her of a problem. He and Dust have found explosives with a timer.

Kitty tackles the X-cutioner, who has identified Rachel as the biggest threat and takes her out with some sleeping gas.

Santo keeps insisting that Kitty do something. Dust adds there are enough explosives here to destroy the mansion and kill everyone inside. She cannot disarm them but they are on an electronic trigger, meaning Kitty could disarm them with her phasing power.

No problem, she isn’t really doing anything at the moment, Kitty replies sarcastically. She orders Colossus to get Rachel and then phases the three of them through the ground. She quickly explains that she has to defuse the bomb. Multiple bombs, Santo corrects her and adds they are in the Danger Room.

Kitty joins Rockslide and Dust. After a look at the bombs, she remarks that Santo might have undersold the situation with “a big problem.” They have a massive problem.

In the city, the mob is about to kill Nightcrawler when an enraged Logan threatens them. Storm’s lightning show probably helps as well. As the mob disperses, Storm and Logan are horrified by Nightcrawler’s swollen face. He jokingly assures them it feels much worse than it looks. Logan admits he doesn’t know how it is they didn’t kill him. But they did kill him, Kurt corrects him calmly. However, because he escaped from Heaven, Heaven wouldn’t let him back in.

At the Institute, Santo asks why Kitty’s power cannot disrupt the bombs’ electronics. Because they don’t have electronics, she explains. The housing is all metal and plastic but the innards are cellular. Literal bio-tech. She read a paper on it. Apparently, Stark and DARPA brought it to prototype a year ago. She orders the two of them to help Colossus evacuate the mansion. She’s gonna go find a katana and hope to hell their attacker has a disarming trigger on him.

And if he doesn’t? Dust asks. If she had a nickel for every time the mansion got blown up… Kitty jokes. All she asks is they make sure nobody is inside when it happens.

Soon, the three of them have evacuated the rest. Colossus asks Santo and Dust where Kitty is. Still inside facing their attacker, he is told. Colossus walks to the door. Santo tries to stop him. He has no powers, he reminds Piotr. To go in there he has to be crazy. Colossus corrects him. He’s not crazy. He’s Russian!

Russia, Nemchinovka, outside Moscow:
Two middle-aged men stand outside in the cold. They’re late, one of them, Anatolj, tells the other. To be corrected they are not. They’ve been here for a while, he refers to a group of ninjas.

Do they have the item? he asks the leader, who retorts if they have the merchandise. They do, he refers to a group of prisoners, men, women and children. He can’t imagine what use the Hand would have with them. That is their business, the ninja replies. He cannot imagine what use they would have for the remains of Arkady Rossovitch…

The X-Institute:
Kitty sneaks through the hallways brandishing a katana. There were other weapons, but she doesn’t do guns. She’s a ninja. A Shadowcat, and she’s pissed, she thinks when she finds the X-cutioner manhandling Pixie. Run! she orders. When Pixie hesitates, Kitty snaps that she will have an easier time when she needn’t worry about her.

She attacks him as she shouts she’s got this. Of course that jinxed it, as the X-cutioner uses a power dampener on her. She figures now it’s a fair fight.

He fires his gun but she dodges the bullets and hits the gun out of his hands. He grabs his knife as he attacks. She gets rid of his facemask. For a moment, he seems to be running away but she finds he just got back his gun.

He orders her to shut up and drop the sword. She complies but points out the mansion will blow up in three minutes. Does she think he cares? he snarls. Most people generally do, Kitty retorts, plus the mansion is evacuated by now. Not her, their leader, he points out. Plus, this place is a symbol of the evil of mutanity.

They are not evil, Kitty states. Tell that his wife and son! he shouts. No, she can’t. Because they are dead! They died right here where they dropped their mutant house. Because of mutants. They fight like giants with the power of gods and they don’t care about the ants who get trampled underfoot. How many “evil mutants” have they fought? How many times have they saved the world but never bothered to ask about the people lost to collateral damage?

Too many times, Kitty admits. He’s right. They save the world and move on. They figure whatever they’ve done is enough. That someone else will handle the cleanup. It’s selfish. And it’s negligent. But what he is doing is premeditated. Deliberate. Which makes him more evil than she will ever be. If he’s good with that… if he thinks his wife and son would be good with that… pull the trigger.

Without hesitation, he does .The bullet hits Colossus in the shoulder, as he has thrown himself in front of Kitty.

Rockslide hits the X-cutioner and suggests next time they let the guys made of rock dive in front of the bullet!

Kitty orders Santo to look for the remote trigger. Colossus mumbles he was just trying to impress Katya. Santo finds it and Kitty deactivates it.

Some days later, after Manhattan has been freed from the Darkforce dimension, the police led by Detective Mahoney arrest the X-cutioner. Mahoney commends the X-Men for doing the heavy lifting in this case. As per usual.

That moment, a woman flanked by two men in black arrives and introduces herself as Zully Garcia, congressional staffer in Congresswoman Zelman’s office. She hands Kitty an invitation to testify before Zelman’s subcommittee concerning H.R. 372. Whe Kitty asks what that is, she is told it is a bill currently pending in the House of Representatives. It’s called the Mutant Deportation Act…

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, Prestige, Storm (X-Men)
Dust, Pixie III, Rockslide

X-cutioner

Victor Komorov
Anatoly Rasputin
Hand ninjas

Detective Mahoney
Zully Garcia

Story Notes: 

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

Nightcrawler left heaven in Amazing X-Men (2nd series) #6.

Omega Red was killed by Wolverine in Wolverine Origins #38.

It is unclear how the X-cutioner can get the better of Pixie, who is a teleporter, especially since her teleportation is spell-based and hence cannot be easily neutralized.

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