Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Brandon Peterson (penciler), Dan Panosian (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Marie Javins (colors)
In Kuwait, the remains of Asteroid M are discovered. Forge and Henry Gyrich search inside and find that a chrome replica of Magneto has been broken open. Professor Xavier goes on a late night talk show to discuss the mutant issue with Senator Kelly and Graydon Creed. Kelly is revealed to have reasonable thoughts on the mutant issue, while Creed is vocally anti-mutant. After the show, Professor Xavier leaves with the X-Men to travel to France to face the Acolytes.
Professor X and Senator Kelly meet for the first time. Kelly has a telepathic mutant aid working for him, later retconned into being an agent of Landau, Luckman, and Lake.
Graydon Creed appears for the first time in an actual story. His group, the Friends of Humanity, is referenced but don’t appear. The members of the Upstarts are revealed to be Fabian Cortez, Fitzroy, Shinobi Shaw, Graydon Creed, and one mystery member.
The Gamemaster says that the winner of the Upstarts competition will inherit the “resources and servitude of all four of his fellow Upstarts”, claiming that this is close to “omnipotence”.
Bishop recognizes a waitress in a bar from his own timeline, but doesn’t know why. This mystery is ignored for years, until it’s revealed that the woman is Fatale, an agent of the Dark Beast (two characters who haven’t been created yet).
Another issue that’s light on plot, as Magneto’s return is teased for the 300th issue (even though it didn’t actually happen until a few issues later). Senator Kelly returns, with a surprisingly thoughtful portrayal. I like the idea of Kelly as a more sympathetic character with a legitimate concern about rogue mutants. It probably doesn’t fully reconcile with his earlier appearances, but it’s conceivable that his beliefs have mellowed over time. Claremont was always very good at showing various points of view in the title, often making the villains sympathetic, so it’s a nice reminder of the philosophical debates from his run. Having a human that isn’t rabidly anti-mutant, but also willing to address the real problems mutants would cause, is a surprising move for an era not known for subtlety. Graydon Creed takes the place of Sen. Kelly as a human foil for the X-Men, with a harsh stance against mutants and his own paramilitary organization. Creed is portrayed as such an idiot in this issue, though, that it’s hard to buy him as a credible threat. I always thought the Friends of Humanity had potential as villains, even though the group never caught on. It’s an idea that’s grounded in reality and fits into the title’s central concept very well. I’d rather see the FoH as villains than Mojo, really.