Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Steve Epting (penciler), Dan Green & Tim Townsend (inkers), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Buccellato/Becton/Hicks (colorists)
On the way to visit his parents, Iceman and Rogue talk about his insecurities and her relationship with Gambit. During dinner, Iceman’s father continues to make racist comments and belittle Rogue. Iceman finally has enough and leaves. Later, Rogue comforts Iceman on their way home. Meanwhile, Archangel and Psylocke have a date in Manhattan. They decide not to hide their feelings and pursue a relationship. At the mansion, Xavier dreams a conversation with Magneto. Magneto tells Xavier that if he hadn’t stood in the way, Xavier’s vision would have been achieved by now. Magneto then turns into Legion, which snaps Xavier out of the dream. Xavier explains to Beast that Legion felt like a whole personality in his dream, which could be dangerous because his powers have never been gauged.
Archangel explains to Psylocke that he still has his family fortune, even if Cameron Hodge took Worthington Enterprises from him (this is a reference to an old X-Factor storyline, although I think the idea that he retained any wealth is a retcon).
The standard logo isn’t used on this cover in order to give the art more room. During the early days of the “Deluxe” revamp, Marvel did experiment with the cover layout a few times (like on the previous X-Factor cover). I liked the variety, but it seems like the experimentation didn’t last for very long.
The last issue was the now-standard “quiet” issue after the crossover, while this one is a “quiet” pre-crossover issue. Knowing that the characters have to be in place for “Legion Quest” in the next issue, and that “Age of Apocalypse” would derail any new storylines for months, I guess Lobdell just decided to go with another talky issue. The scenes with Xavier mainly serve as an extended justification for Legion’s actions in the upcoming storyline, while the rest of the issue is devoted to character moments for a few X-Men. Epting isn’t given a lot of exciting visuals to draw, but he still turns in a decent job. He’s another artist that seemed too bland for me in my early teens, but I can appreciate what he’s doing now.
Iceman and Rogue are paired together again, as the insanely bigoted characterization of Iceman’s father continues. After he continually insults Rogue, Iceman comments that “it’s a wonder” he brings anyone over to meet him. Well, yes, it is. His father is portrayed as such a hateful, rude fool, you’ve got to figure that Iceman is an idiot for ever introducing him to anyone. It’s obvious that Lobdell is making a statement about the stupidity of racism, but when your story’s bigot is such an over-the-top crazy that no one in their right mind would ever want to speak to him, it strains the credibility too far (“Hey, Rogue…want to spend the weekend at my parents’ house, where you’ll be repeatedly insulted and treated like crap?”). The ending redeems this somewhat, as Iceman says that he always thought that his father was his inspiration for accepting people, but now he doesn’t know where that came from. This would imply that either his father’s changed for the worse over the years, or that Iceman is a terrible judge of character. I’m not sure which Lobdell is going for, but I like the scene.
The scenes between Rogue and Iceman aren’t bad. Iceman points out to Rogue that Gambit treats her horribly, which is something someone should’ve told her when the team found out he was already married. It’s also refreshing to see Rogue acting like a true friend and not just angsting over her powers or her relationship with Gambit. Iceman and Rogue play off each other pretty well, and it’s nice to see two of the X-Men who barely know each other interact. I think the creators were trying to set up a potential romance between the characters, but it went nowhere. At the very least, they should’ve maintained a friendship, but it’s been forgotten over the years. The other character subplot involves Archangel and Psylocke, which has the characters poking fun of the various relationship problems of the other X-Men (it’s interesting that Jean Grey’s multiple deaths are already a joke at this point). Having two X-Men pursue normal relationship isn’t a bad idea, but it's ruined in a year or so when the Crimson Dawn storyline emerges.