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Aug 24

X-Men Gold #9: “Kitty Goes To Washington”

Posted on Thursday, August 24, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

This came out two weeks ago.  It’s labelled as “Kitty Goes To Washington, Part 1”, which I figured meant there would be a part two.  But X-Men Gold #10 turns out to be “En’Kane, Part 1”.  So apparently issue #9 was “Kitty Goes To Washington, Part 1 of 1”.  So… okay then.  Let’s run through it.

In fact, these divisions aren’t as hard and fast as they once were.  Despite the story titles, Marc Guggenheim is writing X-Men Gold much more in the style of an 80s or 90s team book, with subplots fading in and out as they take their turn to come to the foreground.  So “Kitty Goes To Washington” actually starts and finishes with subplot pages setting up the return of Omega Red, which is the next arc.  Let’s leave them aside and worry about this one.

Mainly, we’re interested here in the thread about the proposed Mutant Deportation Act.  Kitty is going to Washington to tell Congress that this is a bad idea.  She decides to bring Peter along with her as a bodyguard, even though his powers aren’t working right now, and this is obviously part of a subplot designed to bring them back together again.  There’s a cute idea that Peter moved in to Kitty’s old room while she was away, and is unconvincingly trying to insist that this is just a coincidence.

Stevie Hunter, of all people, is now a Congresswoman, because this is comics and all roles must be filled by existing characters.  For some reason Kitty is completely unaware of this until showing up in New York, which speaks poorly of her lobbying skills.  We get a scene with Kitty giving a speech to a commission where she makes the obvious points about human rights and a Republican says that mutants aren’t human, and she says they are.  Somehow this entire conversation manages to avoid mentioning the fact that the previous issue was part of a crossover where fascists take over America, which is fine if that story ends with the cosmic reset button, but downright bizarre if it doesn’t.

Rachel and Kurt are set up as a potential couple as well, and we get parallel date scenes bringing them both together.  The idea seems to be to have Peter trying to push Kitty towards a future together (he proposes, she wants to think about it) while the less star-crossed duo of Rachel and Kurt actually come across as the more healthy potential couple, essentially long-time friends drifting together instead of clinging on to some defining relationship from their past.  It’s the best idea in the book.

Ken Lashley, not the subtlest of artists, is patchy at this sort of character work.  There are some good bit; his Kurt is pretty subtle at times.  But there’s a really overdramatic response from Peter at the start, and Rachel is often blandly angular.  And he can’t draw suits, which is not good when you’re doing a Washington story.  Kitty’s supposed to be in officewear when she’s fighting Whiplash, but in some panels it looks more like a prison jumpsuit.

There has to be a fight, so on day two of Kitty’s testimony, Whiplash, of all people, shows up for a token fight.  And it’s a very token fight, lasting about a page and a half.  The pay-off is that this has no effect whatsoever on the vote, and the bill passes the House.  Some wittering then follows about, well, if it passes the Senate, and if the President doesn’t veto it…

This is all very bloodless.  The hook is meant to be that displays of heroism don’t make a difference to the politicians.  Fair enough; the X-Men’s original set-up is basically “we will change attitudes by being publicly nice”, and there’s nothing wrong with a story which challenges whether that really works (and maybe prompts the X-Men to move in a more contemporary direction when it comes to promoting their agenda).

But this is a story about the potential deportation of a chunk of the American population where the politics seems completely disconnected from any sense of a public demand.  Yes, we’ve had the Heritage Foundation stand-in woman arguing for it on talk shows, but we’ve seen nothing to suggest that something so drastic has real public support.  We’re in a void, floating free of any sense of the public mood, unrelated to the X-Men living openly in Central Park.  The entire campaign against the bill seems to consist of Kitty speaking to some people in a room.

It’s almost surreally detached both from the storyline context of Secret Empire and from the real-world context of Donald Trump.  There’s a sense that we’re doing this because it’s an X-Men trope rather than because the story is actually about anything in particular.  This storyline needs serious work going forward.

Bring on the comments

  1. Rich Larson says:

    For what its worth, I HATE the idea of putting Kitty and Peter back together. It’s boring to start with to just re-hash an old relationship with nothing really beyond nostalgia. But it makes little sense in-story. Kitty joined the X-Men and found out she was a warrior and suited to their life of constant combat. Peter was always ambivalent about being an X-Man and over the years has gone crazy or lost faith more times than I can count. In fact, you could make a strong case that he’s suicidal and his behavior in these issues (he’s now thrown his unarmored self in front of a bullet and an electrified whip) doesn’t make him seem he’s improved. His renewed interest in Kitty is coming across as weird and obsessive. Unless they are going towards a much darker story than I think they are, this central part of the X-Men Gold is not charming and is not working at all.

  2. Brendan says:

    I’m hoping Colossus’ story is going down a darker path. While the character has endured his share of tragedy, I always felt there should have been a bigger fallout for being possessed by the Cyttorak and the Phoenix. Pitor is the perfect x-character to be having a breakdown, rather than Emma. With her, it’s yet another telepathic woman going ‘crazy’ over Cyclops. With Colossus, it’s the sensitive strong man failing to cope with his PTSD, trying to grab ahold of a relationship from a happier time, with his team mates unwilling or unable to help because they have become so desensitized to the trauma.

    I mean, I don’t want the whole x-line to go bleak. But having it happen to Colossus while everyone else is moving on is a good angle.

  3. David Goldfarb says:

    Didn’t it become obvious that Secret Empire was going to end with a cosmic reset when Las Vegas got blown up? That’s too large to just say “Damage Control came in and rebuilt”, and they’re not going to leave the Marvel Universe without a major city. (Hell, there’s a series going on right now – David and Bagley’s Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider – set there. And nobody in it has mentioned the city recently having been destroyed and rebuilt.)

  4. Luis Dantas says:

    I take it that Kurt is no longer tied to Jimaine / Amanda?

  5. Bob says:

    Amanda Sefton’s dead-ish.

  6. Taibak says:

    Hmmm. It might be interesting to do a series of X-Men who aren’t combatants trying to actively avoid being superheroes. Send Dazzler on tour, have Chamber running the sound board, Colossus painting publicity posters….

    Wouldn’t work long term, but might make a worthwhile miniseries.

  7. IainC says:

    … Whiplash?

  8. Si says:

    “… Whiplash?”

    I just hope he spent a good chunk of time making a huge point about his plot-irrelevant cockatoo.

  9. SanityOrMadness says:

    David Goldfarb> Didn’t it become obvious that Secret Empire was going to end with a cosmic reset when Las Vegas got blown up? That’s too large to just say “Damage Control came in and rebuilt”, and they’re not going to leave the Marvel Universe without a major city.

    Didn’t stop them when Busiek blew up Washington DC in his Avengers run. It didn’t magically unhappen, but the city was still back-to-normal by the first issue of the next writer’s run (Geoff Johns, FTR) with no significant acknowledgement that the city had been flattened and millions of people got killed recently.

  10. wwk5d says:

    “Rachel and Kurt are set up as a potential couple as well”

    I remember CC hinted at that during his second return to the X-titles (when he and Alan Davis were doing Uncanny together).

  11. Rich Larson says:


    Your story makes sense and could be a good one for all the team. (I like the focus of them collectively being in denial about the PTSD.) And I like Guggenheim, so maybe he is moving towards a darker angle on Colossus. But, all indications so far are that he’s looking to restore a piece of the X-Men’s glory days. Maybe I’ll be surprised…..

  12. jpw says:

    I still don’t understand the mutant deportation thing. Where are they deporting them to? It doesn’t make sense as an analogue to immigration policy because immigrants, you know, came from somewhere else.

  13. jpw says:

    Deport undocumented mutant aliens maybe? I don’t know if Kurt and Piotr’s immigration status has ever been addressed. I’m sure their student visas expired sometime in the late 1970s

  14. Rusty says:

    But seriously…Whiplash?

  15. Chris V says:

    They said that they plan to deport them to Genosha in the story, I do believe.

    Yeah, it’s not even the original Whiplash from Iron Man.
    This version of Whiplash is a Russian nationalist, or something.
    For some reason, he just happens to also have green hair.

  16. jpw says:

    Wouldn’t the Genoshan government have to consent if they are non-Genoshan citizens? And isn’t Genosha a smoldering wasteland, anyway?

    Aside from not making sense legally, it also seems like a bad idea to forcibly relocate hundreds of super-powered individuals into a country of more super-powered individuals. It’d be like the Trail of Tears except that, instead of sending the Native Americans to Oklahoma, the U.S. government sent them to their friends who operated a munitions factory.

  17. Bob says:

    I don’t think that the mutant deportation story is supposed to make sense.

    Any more than its real-life analogue made sense. Trump wanted to deport ALL illegal immigrants, Mexican or otherwise, to Mexico.

  18. Chris V says:

    Yeah, Genosha is a wasteland. I think the intent was sort of that they were sending them there to die.
    The fact that Genosha is a wasteland probably means there is no Genoshan government. I think it’s just an abandoned island, at this point.
    Wasn’t the last Genoshan government the one headed by Magneto?

    It probably would be a bad idea to force all these people with super-powers together in one place, where they are probably going to be really angry at the people who just stole their property and sent them packing….So, yeah, it doesn’t make much sense.

  19. Paul says:

    In an earlier arc, the Heritage Foundation woman seemed to be pushing the idea of finding an island and sticking all the mutants there. Her argument seemed to be that Genosha and Utopia had set a precedent of giving the mutants a nation of their own, which obviously ignores the fact that mutants went to those islands voluntarily, but I guess isn’t too far beyond the bounds of actual political dissembling.

    Plainly it would have to be a purpose-built island or one that the US already owned, since they couldn’t compel any other nation to take a bunch of mutant deportees.

  20. Tom Galloway says:

    I’ve honestly completely lost track given all the various worldwide mutant powerdowns, powerups, plagues, cures, etc. Roughly how many mutants are there supposed to be in the U.S. these days?

  21. Luis Dantas says:

    Mutants are like Wolverines. Having them die just means that we will see several others take their place.

  22. JD says:

    Didn’t Magneto outright sink Genosha in the latest run of Uncanny, anyway ?

  23. Chris says:

    Did he sink it next to that Russian submarine?

    That he raised anyway to steal missiles?

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