With the main X-Men team behind bars, a new X-Men squad has been formed to pick up the slack.
SPOILERS for X-Men Gold #23 follow.
X-Men Gold #23 kicks off the new “Cruel & Unusual” story arc. The story picks up where the “Brotherhood” arc left off. After anti-mutant activist Lydia Nance staged a battle between the X-Men and the Mesmero’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Kitty Pryde's X-Men team – Kitty, Colossus, Storm, Prestige, and Nightcrawler – were sent to a prison built specifically for mutant criminals.
While Kitty’s team may be incarcerated, the world still needs X-Men. In the pages of Iceman, Bobby Drake considered leaving the Xavier Mansion to move to Los Angeles since he wasn’t on any X-Men teams or teaching classes. Eventually, he and Kitty both realized that Iceman was being underutilized and Kitty offered Iceman an X-Men team of his own to lead.
X-Men Gold #23 follows through on that promise. Bobby returns to the Xavier Mansion and is greeted by Rogue, who has apparently returned home after her time leading the Avengers Unity Squad. Rogue introduces Bobby to his X-Men “B-squad”:
Along with Iceman and Rogue, the new team includes Armor, Ink, Magma, and Magik.
Armor has been a longtime student at the Xavier Institute but fought alongside the X-Men in Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men run and more recently went on a time-travel mission after being recruited by Cable into the “Newer Mutants.” Armor can project a suit of psychic armor powered by the strength of her ancestors.
Ink was co-created by X-Men Gold writer Marc Guggenheim in the pages of Young X-Men in 2008. Ink isn’t actually a mutant himself but was given powers by a mutant tattoo artist named Leon Nunez. He’s still a student at the Xavier Institute but joined the X-Men Gold team on their mission to the Negative Zone.
Magma is a former New Mutant from the hidden Roman colony of Nova Roma. She possesses the ability to control the Earth and fire, create magma, and take on a magma form. She was mind-controlled by Mesmero into joining his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants but was rescued by Kitty’s team. She was with Kitty when the X-Men fought the Brotherhood, but was brought back to the mansion after being injured, thereby avoiding arrest.
Magik is another mutant back at the Xavier Institute after being on loan to another team, Daisy Johnson’s Secret Warriors, as well as another former New Mutant. She possesses teleportation powers and is also a gifted sorceress in possession of the powerful weapon called the Soulsword.
However, this isn’t the entire team. After a less than stellar first team practice in the Danger Room, another mutant shows up at the Xavier school’s doorstep: Simon Lasker, the new Pyro who was a member of Mesmero’s Brotherhood. Lasker was at first mind-controlled by Mesmero, like Magma was, and then manipulated into the staged battle against the X-Men. Lasker is hoping to make things right by coming to the X-Men now. Iceman is at first hesitant to allow Lasker into the X-Men’s ranks, but Rogue reminds Iceman that she too was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants before the X-Men took her in. Iceman agrees to give Pyro a shot on the team.
The issue also teases the return of the Negative Zone god Scythian and the mad Inhuman villain known as the Shredded Man, which means Iceman’s new X-Men “B-squad” may have its work cut out for them in future issues.
X-Men Gold #23 is on sale now.4comments
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