Vengeance: Pure And Simple.
Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Wagner (artist), Mike Witherby (inker), Janice Chiang (letterer), Gregory Wright (colorist)
The X-Men recover the children of the Thieves and Assassin Guilds in the tunnels underneath New Orleans (yes, I know). Ghost Rider, Gambit, and Wolverine leave the others to track down the Brood Queen. After facing the Assassin from the last issue, John Blaze arrives and helps Ghost Rider decapitate the Brood Queen, and the X-Men help to destroy its head. After their victory, the Assassin watches overhead, promising that this isn’t over.
It’s always amusing during crossovers when the most popular characters break off from everyone else and have their own adventure. This comic is definitely from the “because you demanded it!” school with Wolverine, Ghost Rider, and Gambit facing the Brood Queen on their own. It’s a good thing this wasn’t a team-up with Slapstick and Nightwatch or else nothing would’ve gotten done. It’s hard to believe that Gambit and Ghost Rider were once almost as popular as Wolverine. It’s ironic that a crossover designed to capitalize on Gambit’s popularity would introduce so many elements that would end up damaging the character.
For no real reason, the Ghost Rider/Brood story keeps on going. The X-Men already fought the Brood for an entire issue and freed Ghost Rider in the last installment. I suppose this is the “vengeance” issue where Ghost Rider repays the Brood for possessing him, and Gambit avenges Bella Donna’s death. There’s no attempt to make you care about what happened to either of them, though, so you get a pointless, repetitive issue with a predictable ending. The last Ghost Rider installment was okay, but this one is just boring.