Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Andy Kubert & Ron Garney (pencilers), Matt Ryan (inks/finishes), Bill Oakley & NJQ (letterers), Kevin Somers & Digital Chameleon (colors)
The time-displaced X-Men witness Magneto’s battle with Legion. Psylocke uses her telepathic powers to find Professor Xavier, who is recovering from Legion’s attack with Gabrielle Haller. When Xavier overhears Legion’s conversation with Magneto, he figures out that Legion is his future son. Iceman temporarily freezes Legion, but he manages to free himself and incapacitate the X-Men. When Legion prepares to kill Magneto, Xavier jumps in the path of the blast. With Xavier dead, Legion and the X-Men disappear. Bishop, however, does not fade away. Meanwhile, Apocalypse witnesses the public display of mutant powers and decides to start his survival of the fittest challenge. In the present, the crystallization wave begins to hit Earth. Realizing that her time is almost up, Rogue kisses Gambit. Finally, reality crystallizes and shatters.
This issue has a metallic ink cover, while maintaining the normal cover price.
In the altered timeline Legion creates, Apocalypse emerges earlier than he did in the original timeline because he sees that mutants are already surfacing. I assume that this scene was written to explain why Apocalypse encountered the X-Men so much earlier in the AoA timeline than he did in the original continuity.
Iceman uses his powers to freeze every molecule in Legion’s body, which the story acknowledges as a new use of his powers. This fits in with the attempt at the time to power him up, but it doesn’t seem like he ever used this power again. Also, Storm’s team of X-Men seem to have found the time to change back into their costumes in-between chapters of the crossover.
Even though it’s a very nice-looking comic, this is the weakest chapter of the crossover. Legion’s just generically nutty at this point, and the ending with Xavier’s death had already been spoiled by months of advance promotion. There’s also some odd plotting that has Xavier recovering from Legion’s attack against him. The whole point of this story is that Legion is going back in time to kill Magneto in order to prove his love to his father. Why exactly is Legion attacking Xavier now? It makes about as much sense as the incest/rape scene from the last chapter. Those complaints aside, Nicieza does do a convincing job of making this all feel very important, rather than the set up for just another crossover. He goes back to a more dramatic narrative style, which he manages to pull off much more effectively than the faux-Claremont purple prose from earlier in his run. The scenes where the X-Men witness the end of the world aren’t bad, even if they’re not given a lot of room. Even if it doesn’t hold up to the previous chapters, it does have its moments.