Credits: Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell (writers), Larry Stroman (artist, new pages), Jimmy Palmiotti, Al Milgrom, Mark Farmer (inkers, new pages), Kevin Tinsley (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer)
Xavier reviews a disc that Bishop found on Stryfe’s moon base. It contains Stryfe’s profiles on the X-Men, their allies, and their enemies. Xavier decides not to burden the X-Men with this information and purges the disc.
This issue has a metallic ink cover.
A lot of continuity points are established in this one-shot. Holocaust, Threnody, Sienna Blaze, and Graydon Creed all appear for the first time as profiles in Stryfe’s records. All of these characters will soon appear in actual stories in the next few issues, except for Holocaust. He’ll appear with a totally different design years later during the Age of Apocalypse storyline. Graydon Creed and Sienna Blaze are revealed to be members of the Upstarts, while Threnody is hinted to be a player in the Legacy Virus storyline. Graydon Creed is Sabretooth’s son with Mystique. His connection to Sabretooth is established pretty firmly with his profile, but there’s no mention of Mystique yet.
Fabian Cortez of the Acolytes is referred to as a “closet Upstart”. Stryfe also hints at a “voluntary induction” of an X-Man into the Acolytes; this will be Colossus, who will join them in the next crossover.
Gamemaster is given an origin for the first time. He’s described as an omnipath, someone with the ability to read every mind on the planet simultaneously. He oversees the Upstarts competition as a distraction from his overbearing powers. None of the actual stories involving the Upstarts has bothered to reveal any of this so far.
There are excerpts of a Henry Peter Gyrich file on inside back cover, leading me to believe that the X-office had plans for him at this time, but nothing really came of it.
Cannonball’s entry still lists him as an immortal External, and hints at his important role in the history of the mutant race.
“Collectible” is misspelled on the cover
This isn’t a story but a collection of profiles used as springboards for upcoming plotlines. The two storylines that get pushed in almost every entry are the Legacy Virus and the Upstarts competition. Both of these storylines were flops, with the Legacy Virus being ignored for years until being cured during a fill-in issue in 2001, while the Upstarts storyline was just forgotten about within a year. It’s filled with Stryfe’s over-the-top narration, which gets really old over the course of thirty pages. I still can’t figure out if Stryfe’s melodramatic speech patterns are supposed to be amusing or not. Many of the entries are just reprints of the X-Cutioner’s Song trading cards that were packaged with the crossover issues. They have maybe a third of the text of the other entries and stand out like a sore thumb. I remember liking this one-shot, and waiting in anticipation for all of these new characters to actually show up in the actual stories. The X-books were really good at teasing at future stories and building up anticipation for the next event. The actual execution and follow-through never seemed to work, though.