If there’s one thing I get on the writers of X-Men: Gold about (note: There is far more than one thing I get on the writers of X-Men: Gold about) it’s the creation of and subsequent abandonment of new or interesting ideas. Are you interested in the revival of Pyro and Avalanche? Too bad. Did the romantic makeout session between Storm and Gambit create intrigue for you? Not with Marc Guggenheim! Want to know the ramifications of Nightcrawler being unable to die? Keep wanting!
As such, you’d think I’d be excited when the book actually takes the time to go back and flesh out one of its ill-defined and mysterious machinations – and conceptually, sure. I want to be. Unfortunately, this is Guggenheim we’re dealing with here, so it means that what we do get is poorly written, inconsequential, half-assed and – at points – offensive – and hey, the only X-Men in it are in a flashback. Super!
So issue #12 delves into Kologoth, the weird green lizard dude that appeared as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that was so easily trounced by our heroes in the book’s first arc. I know, I know – we were all dying to learn the backstory of the mute ersatz version of Spider-Man’s Lizard that had (until this issue) been known only as “Creepy New Guy,” yet finding out that he was a sociopathic space Nazi was maybe not what we were expecting. Yep, over the course of this issue we learn all about Kologoth, from his infancy as an abandoned feral beast child on some weird alien world to his rise to power of a zealotted mercenary organization built out of ….fight clubs. Yeah, it’s as stupid as it sounds.
So, as hinted, Kologoth enters life as a spiney green baby version of what he is now – seriously, he looks exactly the same, just smaller. The problem here is that his parents are blue, not spiney and don’t have any tails, so they do what any rational parents would do in this situation and drag him out in the woods to kill him. Furthermore his mom, who seemingly speaks English most of the time, utters the word ‘Kelteth’ upon seeing her deformed child – something the monster claims is nearly untranslatable! He then immediately translates it, because the phrase “get rid of it” is fairly common no matter what language you’re speaking, and this book is badly written. Kologoth’s father can’t bring himself to kill the baby, even if it looks like a heavy metal version of the Philly Phanatic, so he drops his wife’s treasured family knife at the baby’s side and runs away. Now I don’t know what it says about your family that it has a special baby murdering knife that is passed down for generations, but it’s kind of hard to have sympathy for Kologoth’s parents when he inevitably exacts his revenge.
But it’s not all sad news and relatable trauma, as Kologoth makes a friend while he’s out in the wild…by killing his travel mates and taking him on on as his minister of propaganda. Yes, with the help of Augor, his hetero life mate, a post-parenticide Kologoth sets out to conquer the world, figuratively and literally! He starts out modestly, tying himself to some fringe religious group and speaking to small, but passionate crowds. Next step? You guessed it. Fight Club. Despite the first (and technically second) rule of Fight Club suggesting that recruiting new members would be difficult, the K-Man goes on to amass quite a large following by brawling in big crowds. I guess I have to give Guggenheim credit for getting the satire element of Palahniuk’s work, because once K-Dilla’s punching club starts clashing with the government, he goes full fascist. It’s not even subtle. Kologoth and his followers are literally wearing Nazi uniforms and marching in the streets holding banners that look a little too close to some of the white nationalist symbols seen in the recent clashes in Charlottesville (and sadly other places). Now given the nature of comics, I think this was scripted well before those events, but MAN, was there some kind of company-wide initiative to have Nazis in every book? Even when they’re in space?
Naturally all good things (using the term ‘good’ really liberally here) must come to an end, and K-Goth is captured and, for some reason, exiled to the Earth instead of being executed as an enemy of the state. Once on earth, he wakes up nude on the Jersey Shore and is summarily arrested – a move formerly known as the “Snooki.” Yes that joke is about five years out of date. Moving right along, it is in prison that he is approached by anti-mutant nutjob and mutant terrorism exploiter Lydia Nance and forced onto her D-list roster of brainwashed baddies to give this book its terrible, terrible start. After that, it’s just a matter of letting himself be beaten up by Kitty, letting himself be beaten up by Colossus, being held prisoner against his will and being freed on a lark by the X-Cutioner that allows this murderous ET to finally phone home. Augor says their revolution is still going strong and promises to send a ship to pick up Positive K. The…..the end? I…I guess that’s a wrap on Kologoth? So…yeah. Giant green patricidal lizard starts a Fight Club revolution and becomes a space Nazi only to be exiled to an alien world, get decidedly stomped by local heroes, luck into freedom and eventually return to lead the fascist revolution alongside the hatchet-wielding grand poobah cosplayer who gave him his name. Tale as old as time.
Like, what the hell? I almost applaud how ridiculously convoluted this all is, but who was this issue for? Who was crying out for the backstory of the Creepy New Guy? Who thought that it was a good idea to then make him a space Nazi? If this is all that we are going to see of Kologoth, why include him at all? There are plenty of muscle-bound mutant villains that could have filled this slot. What was the point of Kitty keeping him hostage at the mansion? Was this issue just a placeholder before the forthcoming Mojo-centric crossover happening next month?
The answers to the above questions are: 1. I don’t know man; 2. Me, I guess technically; 3. I’m going to assume Nick Spencer incepted the idea into Guggenheim’s head; 4. The writers couldn’t remember who Frenzy was so they came up with this nonsense; 5. ….?; 6. Yes, absolutely.
On the bright side, the artwork from Luke Ross isn’t bad, all things considered. That’s…uh…That’s kind of it. See you next month for Mojo-world madness – ooh, and it looks like the titular villain is going to be breaking the fourth wall and making meta in-jokes. Yay.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!