Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Art Thibert (artist), Dan Panosian and Trevor Scott (art assist), Tom Orzechowski (letters), Joe Rosas and Marie Javins (colors)
Carter Ryking sees a news report about his father’s death, triggering a super-powered seizure. Ryking is a childhood friend of Professor Xavier’s; their fathers worked together at the Almagordo Nuclear Research Facility. Wolverine has discovered a file in Xavier’s office that claims that Almagordo was actually a front for studies in genetic mutation. Wolverine suspects that Xavier’s father might be involved with his past because he endured similar experimentations. Ryking breaks out of the hospital and crashes his father’s funeral, claiming that he is going to expose his father’s lies. Xavier is there, and he asks Ryking why he’s doing this. Ryking takes Xavier to Almagordo so they can learn the truth about their fathers.
I Love the ‘90s
One of the nurses on page one is named “Nurse Stimpy”.
A different letterer does the second panel of page twenty-seven. The thought balloons display Xavier’s concern for the three people Ryking has killed, and show that he’s trying to contain the situation. I don’t know what these thought balloons took the place of, but I’m guessing that this panel was redone to emphasize Xavier’s concern about the people around him.
This issue marks the start of Fabian Nicieza’s run. He contributes to all of the major storylines during this era before leaving at the end of 1995. This storyline isn’t exactly a great start since it falls under the category of “mystery character appears, makes cryptic comments that are never resolved, and then disappears.” Ryking is yet another mentally unstable antagonist, an idea that must’ve been in style at the time. After reading so many stories about crazy Mystique, crazy Mikhail, crazy Morlocks, and crazy Callisto in Uncanny X-Men in such a short amount of time, I’m a little sick of it. Ryking, at least, isn’t an established character who suddenly goes insane. His treatment as a child lead to his insanity and it’s an important part of this storyline. That’s fine, but he’s still another ranting lunatic I’m supposed to take seriously as a character, which is very old at this point.
Art Thibert fills in as artist, pulling off a Jim Lee impression for the entire issue. It actually looks better than a lot of the actual Jim Lee issues from this era. As a kid, I was really excited at the prospect of Thibert permanently replacing Lee, but it didn’t happen. Thibert stuck around the X-office for a little while before leaving to do a short-lived Image series. He was the original artist of the Cable solo series, but left after just a few issues (I vaguely remember Nicieza criticizing his inability to meet a deadline in an issue of Wizard). He still works as an inker, but I don’t think I’ve seen him pencil anything in about ten years. His work here isn’t very original, but most of it isn’t bad.