X-Men: Gold #33 by Marc Guggenheim doesn’t open with a continuation of last issues events, but with the home village of Ororo, called Uzuri, in Kenya. I’m going to let the page speak for itself before tearing it apart.
A Return To Kenya
It is mildly irritating that in about 70+ years publishing depictions of Africa have remained largely the same. They consist of generic tribes, outdated looking structures, and there may well be places like this, but also, this is Nairobi:
Granted Storm is from a rural area, and her history as a goddess is well established. But surely in the age of the internet, we can do a little bit better than this? Following this very stereotypical village trope, there’s a scene wherein Mjolnir stirs, and we move on.
The book brings us to Rachel and Jean, who’s making sure Rachel checks out after all the Mesero junk from the last couple issues. With no hoopla or fuss we are neatly told to move along and that there is no permanent damage. Which I highly doubt will last. Also notable is I really like the way this artist draws Jean. Michele Bandini is handling pencils and she has a memorable face here for Jean. For these moments of quiet conversation, I think Bandini is doing stellar.
True to Guggenheim’s decompressed style Storm finds out about the death of her surrogate mother about halfway through the book and won’t arrive for a few pages. I am glad to see Storm leading this particular story, she’s a rich character deserving of it, but I have to wonder: why in this manner? Why kill Ainet? To what end? Regardless of my thoughts on the matter it at least kept me engages enough to keep reading.
X-Men Aren’t Allowed To Be Happy In X-Men: Gold #33
Once more we return to the arguable B-plot of X-Men: Gold #33: Rachel dealing with her brief bout of insanity. Convinced she needs some time to herself, she breaks up with Kurt.
I’m going to be honest, I never understood the Kurt/Rachel relationship but I’d be lying if I said I thought this was a good move. They seemed to be in a healthy, fulfilling relationship. And damn it I want Kurt to be happy already. Also, this mommy angst is getting old, fast.
An Abrupt End
Finally back to the main plot, Ororo and the death cult who killed her mom. There are a few more pages after this where Ororo unceremoniously barges in on the supposed god in town, but the book ends before he does anything other than show her an image of her supposedly dead parents.
The scene then cuts and we’ll have to wait until next time.
Marvel’s Astonishing Lack Of Research
Before I wrap up this review, however, some quick fun facts. I spent about twenty minutes on Google to prove a point, and here’s what I found…
There are dozens of ethnic groups in Kenya; they never name Uzuri’s and based on the dress, I can’t tell. It might be loosely based on the Luo (as they can be found in Western Kenya) but it also might just be they Google: “Kenyan Village” and left it at that. Swahili is spoken in Kenya, but many people also speak their native language. Dholuo is the language spoken by the Luo. And, about 80% of Kenya is some form of Christian.
I realize lack of research shouldn’t shock me in a Marvel comic, but here I am. The lack of research creates a lack of depth and that lack of depth reverberates through this comic, making the story feel shallow in a way itshouldn’t. I can see the kernels of a story about Ororo dealing with legacy and parentage but, unfortunately, got distracted by the utter vagueness of the customs and people of her homes.
X-Men: Gold #33 overall had sound if disappointing writing, and I really enjoyed Michele Bandin’s art. I think it was a good move and an excellent fit for Guggenheim.
Rachel Confront’s Her Past in X-Men: Gold #32 – The Daily Fandom
Rachel confronts her past, her legacy, and her family in X-Men: Gold #32. But only time will tell if she can come to terms with it.