Pig Pen Part 2 - Dirty Troughs
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (co-plot/script), Steve Skroce (co-plot/pencils), Rob Stull, Scott Hanna, & Scott Elmer (inks), Shannon Blanchard (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)
Summary: The pig extracts Shirow’s mind-control gas, while Gambit and Zoe are interrogated by the Mengo Brothers. When Zoe is brought to Pig’s torturer Hole, she manages to escape by tricking the guards into shooting at combustible machinery. As the Pig’s complex collapses, Zoe rescues Pig’s child-slaves while Gambit confronts the Pig. Using a portion of Shirow’s gas, Gambit forces Pig to follow his orders and walk off the top floor. He rescues Shirow and escapes with Zoe inside the Mengo Brothers’ ship. Meanwhile, Fontanelle “scrapes” the dreams of Scalphunter, revisiting Gambit’s role in the Morlock Massacre.
Continuity Notes: Scalphunter’s dream shows Gambit rescuing a young Marrow from Sabretooth (an expanded version of the flashback in Uncanny X-Men #350). The colorist has so badly mis-colored Marrow, with blonde hair and white skin, she’s almost unrecognizable. A brief conversation between Gambit and Scalphunter establishes that they know each another.
Review: The initial Pig storyline wraps us, as Nicieza establishes Pig’s motivation of orderly, clean control -- an obvious contrast to his hideous appearance. The Pig wants to eliminate all divisions amongst humanity and impose his discipline on the public, confident that he’s not motivated by ego but a benevolent desire to clean up the messes left by other leaders. It’s not the most original motivation in the world (Nicieza will go on to explore these themes in Cable & Deadpool), but it does make Pig more than just a generic crimelord. The creators could’ve just coasted on the villain’s horrific appearance, so I’ll give them credit for adding some layer of complexity to the Pig.
Meanwhile, the Mengo Brothers are still decent comedic relief, Gambit is given some cool action sequences, and Skroce gets to draw more explosions and collapsing buildings. The subplots are also building real tension for the upcoming storylines, as we learn that Nicieza isn’t going to be shying away from the Gambit/Marauders retcon at all. Nicieza’s willingness to broach these touchy issues head-on was one of my favorite aspects of this series during its run.