Lo, we come to the end of Uncanny X-Men Volume 2, the end of this particular use of the word 'uncanny' before it's completely handed over to Avengers and X-Force. With issue #20, writer Kieron Gillen wraps up three of his biggest ongoing plot threads – Mr. Sinister, Juggernautovich and mystery science alien manipulating Danger. This is likely a consequence of my reading this series too intermittently (which I blame on Greg Land), but I still don't know who the hell this floating phallic-symbol robot jerkhole is that they've been keeping prisoner and who's been getting all up in Danger's head for every issue.
That question is not answered here. His name is just given as Unit. He's an entertaining kind of cad, delighting in treating folks like playthings, which pisses Danger off that she seems helplessly submissive to him and his machinations – to the point where she just casually frees him from his holding cell so he can split the planet. Leaving Danger to decide to free every other prisoner in the X-Brig. That'll likely have repercussions.
The next revelation comes when P.R.-whiz Kate Kildare comes to visit Scott Summers in prison, thinking he could use some public relations. However, when Kildare's schpiel seems to devolve into oddly misplaced gloating, it's quickly shown that it's not misplaced at all. Rather, Kildare is misplaced for the rest of her life, and Mr. Sinister has taken that vacancy. Yes, he's escaped the purging at the hands of Scotty Jive and the Phoenix Five, and has come just to rub Scott's face in his failures, and then taunt him into perhaps doing more than suffering his burden in silent captivity. Because Scott knows Sinister is out there, and Scott might just be the only one that can stop him. I've grown to like the new smug asshole fop Sinister of Gillen's, and I'd like to see where this would go if he had his druthers, but no. NOW, Brian Michael Bendis will retrieve some THEN and bring it to NOW in All-New Yet Mostly Old X-Men.
The third development is the most interesting one to me, because it involves the Juggernautovich. AKA Piotr Nikolievitch Rasputin. In UXM #18, we saw tensions flare between the Rasputin siblings when Piotr's beloved snowflake Illyana revealed that, as she puts it in #20, she's "a snowflake who melted long ago." Since her most recent resurrection, it seems she's been more of her Darkchylde persona rather than the lovely Illyana that Piotr would always sacrifice himself for, and she played on that, manipulating him into taking on the burden of being Cyttorak's Juggernaut and destroying his life in the process, which was only made worse by his Phoenix corruption. When he came to the realization that he no longer deserved to live, Illyana revealed that she'd engineered all this to get Piotr to understand that she was in the very same place all along. Illyana has corrupted him and removed Piotr's last connection to his humanity.
In this issue, she brings that point home by following him to his mourning place in Siberia and picking a fight with him – a fight Peter's now more than willing to have, completely Juggin' out and threatening to kill her without regret, which seems so head-screamingly wrong for the Colossus I grew up with. But Gillen has completely redefined this relationship now, the most important one in Peter's life, and done it much more artfully than I'd expected back when he and Kitty Pryde were broken up abruptly for editorial Schism purposes. That's illustrated by Magik sucking Pete to Limbo with her, bopping him with her Soulsword a few times, and instantly breaking Cyttorak's hold on him. Which she could have done at ANY TIME since the curse began, but didn't just so her brother would understand just how shitty she feels all the time. Illyana essentially twisted Piotr's soul beyond recognition out of love, but to get him to realize that he should not love nor care for her anymore.
Their final exchange just floored me.
Colossus: "If we ever meet again, I'll kill you."
Magik: "There you go. Lesson learned."
Bozshe moi, that's chilling.
The twisted motivations here are fascinating – "I wanted to break your habit of sacrificing yourself for me, because I hate myself, so I manipulated you into doing it one more time, and then let you get twisted into some piece of awful as bad as myself just so you could understand why I hate myself, so you would hate me, too, because it's better for you if you do and I love you." This is beyond 'tough love.' This is some gnarled, hellish kind of evil scurvy love.
I have no idea where this leaves my favorite X-Man, and I don't imagine this will get much play when he joines Dennis Hopeless' Cable & X-Force book, either. But this is no longer a nice-guy Colossus that can be relegated to the back row of the X-Men class photo anymore. This is a very broken and completely morally compromised man full of anger and loss. So much loss, as detailed in my review of UXM #18. He's not the naive farm boy anymore. I feel really bad for the guy, and I wish Gillen could be the guy showing us what's next for him.