The Currents Shift
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Andy Kubert (penciler), Ryan/Sellers (inkers), Bill Oakley (letterer), Kevin Somers (colorist)
The mutant teenagers fight against the Phalanx, as Harvest reappears. He doesn’t know why his connection to the Phalanx hive has been severed, but he’s still determined to kill mutants. Banshee, Everett Thomas, Jubilee and Emma Frost track the Phalanx to their decommissioned ship, but before they can rescue the teens, Sabretooth appears. Sabretooth saves the mutants from Harvest, much to Banshee’s surprise. He sniffs out the transmode virus on Paige’s body and rips her open. Paige finishes the job and takes off the rest of her skin, revealing a new, silver-coated body inside. Sabretooth brags that he saved her life as Paige removes the skin infected with the transmode virus. Harvest returns again, injuring Sabretooth and fighting the team to a standstill. Blink decides to end the fight before anyone is killed, using her powers to force the other teens to escape. Banshee watches in horror as Blink tries to teleport Harvest out of existence, and ends up disappearing with the rest of the ship. After witnessing her sacrifice, the young mutants realize that they have a responsibility to make the world a safer place.
The Generation X characters are given codenames, mostly in the narrative captions. Unlike her later appearances, Blink doesn’t create teleportation portals, but instead releases a “phasing pulse” that appears to rip someone’s body in and out of existence.
According to the editor’s note, Harvest is supposed to be the ordinary family man who joined the Phalanx in Uncanny X-Men #308.
The Phalanx crossover continues, ending the first “book” of the event. The Phalanx threat isn’t defeated at all, but the mutant teenagers are saved and Sabretooth returns to the X-Men. There is a feeling that it’s not much of a climax, but Nicieza sells Blink’s death well enough. Sabretooth’s return makes no sense at all, unless this was a serious attempt to show that he’s starting to reform. Not only does Sabretooth have no motivation to return to the X-Men so soon after escaping, but the idea that he was able to secretly follow the mutants cross country and find their specific location on the ship is stretching credibility (I realize that he has tracking powers, but wouldn’t Emma Frost have known what he was up to? Wouldn’t she try to force him to use his tracking powers to help them out?). It kind of reads like an action movie, when the character who went missing in the second act suddenly returns at the very end to help save the day. As a story, most of this doesn’t really work, but Kubert does a fine job on the Phalanx visuals and action scenes. It’s one of his strongest issues so far, and doesn’t have some of the awkwardness of the previous issue.