Credits: John Francis Moore (plot), Todd Dezago (script), Jan Duursema (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Starkings/Comicraft (lettering), Glynis Oliver (colorist)
The K’lanti aliens emerge from the ship and take Lila Cheney hostage. They agree to give Lila an hour to retrieve their Harmonium music box, leaving a series of diamond-shaped bombs around Madripoor as incentive. Polaris and Guido go with Lila to find the Harmonium while Forge and the rest of X-Factor try to neutralize the bombs. Meanwhile, Val Cooper spots someone who looks like Jaime Madrox in Washington. On Cygnus Prime, Polaris helps Lila find the Harmonium in an alien junkyard, but Guido is buried under tons of rubble during his fight with an alien guard dog. His body absorbs the energy from the collapse, and the trio teleport back to Madripoor. Lila gives the Harmonium back to the K’lanti, who will use its special music to end their civil war. They disappear, leaving behind one final diamond-bomb to punish Lila. Guido jumps on top of it, absorbing the explosion. The strain of absorbing so much energy gives him a heart attack. Suddenly, reality crystallizes and shatters.
Every X-comic this month ends with the M’Kraan Crystal consuming the Earth and then shattering.
It’s not as bad as the previous issue, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. The story feels like it’s killing time before the big crossover, with a tacked on cliffhanger that’s supposed to make you care about the book’s eventual return. If the alien races depicted weren’t so bland and uninteresting, maybe this story could’ve worked. Instead, we just get a group of gibberish-speaking aliens obsessed with a music box and some type of junkyard dog as the antagonist. The only time any of the characters feel unique is during the scene where Forge uses his mutant powers to figure out a way to stop the bombs. Everything else feels generic and dull. There are some aspects to Duursema’s art that I like, but she doesn’t pull off any of the action scenes in this issue. The big explosion that leads to Guido’s injury (which forces him out of the book for years), is pretty flaccid, and not deserving of a scene that will actually have a large impact on the book’s continuity.