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X-Men #169

Posted: Monday, May 9, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"Golgotha, Part 4: Quarantine!"

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artists: Salvador Larroca (p), Danny Miki with Allen Martinez (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: With the Mansion locked down under quarantine, the X-Men busily search the various levels of the sprawling complex for the Golgotha entity whose mere presence is causing their baser emotions to rise to the surface, which in turn generates some considerable tensions among the cast. However, in the end it is Lorna and her unstable nature who manages to locate the entity and the X-Men are able to destroy the creature. But their happy ending looks to be short-lived.

Comments: I didn't pick up any of the "X-Treme X-Men" issues so Rogue dropped off my radar for the better part of that title's run. As such, there could have been some developments that would justify the sudden romantic embrace with Wolverine. Still Logan does have an established pattern of pursuing women who are involved in relationships with other men, so Rogue looks to be a pretty good candidate for his attentions. Truth be told though, this plot development feels like one that was simply introduced by Peter Milligan so that he could stir the plot, and hopefully generate buzz among the readers. Now I will concede I'm so bored of the never ending cycle of the Rogue/Gambit on again-off again relationship that I welcome any new development, but their relationship has been going on for such a long time that it's already out lasted a couple love triangles, and even the big plot device where it was revealed that Gambit was a married man. In any event, getting back to the story at hand, most of this issue involves this book's collection of cast-offs acting in a highly irrational manner, as the White Queen came up with an incredibly dubious plan that involved locking down the school and trusting that the entire situation won't become a repeat performance of the crazed killing spree in Antarctica. This in turn results in some pretty engaging character moments where these various characters are confronted by their darkest fears, and some of these scenes are actually quite effective, from the scene where Emma looks ready to perform a little plastic surgery, to the equally interesting display of jealousy where her confused state has her mistaking Alex for his brother. In the end, while the foundation for this story is a little weak, the conflicts that result were quite entertaining, and it does bode well for this title's future.

Salvador Larroca certainly earned his pay cheque with his cover, as while it does serve to spoil one of the big surprises inside the issue, it does the job that every good cover should in that it grabs the full attention of every passing X-fan. As for the interior work, the art presents well the idea that the X-Men are seriously messed up due to the influence of the Golgotha entity, as there's a wonderfully chilling moment where Emma gets ready to repair the damage to her face with a pair of scissors, and Gambit's plight in the tunnels under the mansion was nicely reflected by the art, which cleverly used shadows to sell the presence of an unseen threat. There's also a lovely little moment where a fearful Lorna works to shatter the illusion of the Golgotha which is nicely feeding off her tentative grasp on her sanity. The last page image was also a great visual to close out the issue, as it perfectly opens up the threat level of the story.



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