Credits: J. M. DeMatteis & Todd Dezago (plot), Todd Dezago (script), Jan Duursema (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Starkings/Comicraft (lettering), Glynis Oliver (colorist)
Havok, possessed by Malice, fights Polaris in Hawaii. Malice tells Polaris that she can feel Mr. Sinister calling her back again, but she refuses to give in to it. She tells Polaris that she’d rather see her die than possess her again. Polaris is able to briefly contain Havok and go back to their hotel room to call for help. There, she finds Beatrice Conners, the government agent Malice possessed months ago. Polaris calls for help, but Havok shows up unexpectedly and blasts the phone. Malice, through Havok, tells Polaris that if she doesn’t surrender, she’ll kill Conners. Meanwhile, Guido has dinner with his childhood girlfriend. She tells him that their relationship was just a childhood crush, and admits that she couldn’t be involved with a mutant. Wolfsbane comforts Guido’s cousin Anthony about the possibility that he might be a mutant, then consoles Guido when he returns from his date. Val Cooper arrives to take the pair to Hawaii to help Polaris. Back in Hawaii, Malice prepares to kill Polaris when Mr. Sinister arrives with the Nasty Boys.
Malice possessed Polaris back in Uncanny X-Men #219, working for Mr. Sinister as a Marauder. She controlled her body for years, and at one point Sinister claimed that the two were permanently linked. In this issue, Malice says that it took months for her to escape Polaris’ body and that she’s been hiding from Sinister ever since.
This is another installment of X-Factor that just moves too slowly. The story is mostly dedicated to a possessed Havok fighting Polaris, with a few brief scenes to set up the next issue. There are some attempts at characterization with the Guido/Wolfsbane subplot, but they feel a little thin. Duursema does a decent job with the action sequences, but they drag on for too long. Bringing back Malice isn’t a bad idea, and seeing a forgotten character from the Silvestri era delighted me as a kid, but the events of the previous issue and this one just don’t deserve forty-four pages. All that’s essentially happened is that Polaris comforts Havok in Hawaii, Guido and Rahne visit his hometown, then Malice possesses Havok and fights Polaris. The storyline isn’t even over yet, as it drags on for at least another issue. With the regular writer leaving and a crossover looming, it feels as if the book’s just killing time.