Review: Uncanny X-Men #543

Colossus has become the Juggernaut.  This should be awesome.  Why isn't it awesome?  Greg Land isn't the only reason.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Uncanny X-Men #543

It's so rare that Colossus gets a starring role in a major story, so I was excited to see the above image of Piotr Rasputin donning the helmet of the Juggernaut months in advance.  It meant there was some kind of cool and interesting plan in place that would signify a huge development in his life, and I made the painful decision to tolerate the unpleasant output of Greg Land in order to experience what Kieron Gillen had in store for Uncanny X-Men #523.  Of all the things that transpired in this issue, the most surprising and least appealing is the fact that apparently Kitty Pryde has suddenly become an unbelievable asshole. 

Or maybe that just means that writer Kieron Gillen has seriously dropped the ball here.  Or he did the best he could with some editorial mandate to break up Piotr and Kitty to service the X-Men: Schism/Regenesis schtick where they wind up on different teams. 

So here's the story.  We're still in the midst of Fear Itself here, and the O.G. Juggernaut Cain Marko has been possessed by The Serpent's goon to be one of his Worthy, and last issue, the X-Men threw everything but the kitchen sink at him to try to halt his advance towards San Francisco, which he is determined to murder violently.  So one desperate plan was for Piotr's magical sister Illyana to bring Piotr and Kitty to Cytorrak and get him to take his power away from Marko.  Illyana, who has been on he outs with the X-Men after some deal where she risked her friends for revenge, was set to take Marko's place as Cytorrak's avatar of destruction, but as always, Piotr stepped in to take that bullet for his baby sister, who's been through hell and is apparently missing her soul.  So he takes on this burden – a corrupting power that would have certainly sent the already morally-challenged Magik into a much more dangerous place – and then proceeds to get the hell beat out of him by Worthy Marko until he uses the 'nothing stops the Juggernaut' clause and just rams into him, driving him away and saving more cities from catastrophic death.

And Kitty Pryde breaks up with him for that.  Because she thinks she should have let Illyana do it instead because she's been a jerk lately, even though every super-hero ever has been the kind of person to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, especially their own families.  Somehow, Piotr Rasputin doing what all heroes do, including Kitty Pryde, is reason enough to be dumped right when he needs her help and steadying influence the most.  "You sacrificed yourself rather than risking anyone else, because that's what you do, Peter.  And that's why we can't be together anymore."  What the hell?  What the hell are you talking about, Pryde?  You can't berate Illyana for risking her friends and then dump Peter for not risking his!  That is just stupid.

It's possible I have some Piotr/Kitty shipper issues going on here, but Gillen had so much room to do something that made sense in this situation.  Colossus is possessed of all these destructive urges thanks to Cytorrak's influence, and this warping of his once peaceful mind could easily have caused a lot of problems and drove a wedge between them, but no, instead he turns Kitty into a complete asshat.   Tossing aside everything that had been built over the last several years in one completely nonsensical moment.  Perhaps the brain-dead nature of Fear Itself is contagious.

What else is Gillen doing here?  Putting Namor in the exact same position with the X-Men that he was always in with the Fantastic Four – trying to bang their leader's hot blonde significant other.  The long-ago teased make-out between the two comes when Emma's under some weird mental fear ju-ju and trying to murder Hope.   Piotr's actual fight with Cain is kinda cool, but there's some more stupid stuff about Marko's runes backtracking on themselves will equal an explosion that's just kind of a pointless way to add more drama to a fight that already has ridiculously high stakes.

I ranted enough about artist Greg Land in last issue's review, so no need to rehash it all here.  So, Uncanny X-Men #543 is just a complete disappointment all the way around.