Credits: Scott Lobdell (plot), Jeph Loeb (script), Joe Madureira (penciler), Tim Townsend & Al Milgrom (inkers), Steve Buccellato & Digital Chameleon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
In Chicago, Apocalypse’s Infinite soldiers chase down Wild Child. Morph, disguised as Holocaust, distracts them while Sunfire approaches from behind and kills them. Rogue and Blink teleport by their side when they see the lights Sunfire's power created. Wild Child touches Rogue’s face so that she can absorb the information he learned about the Infinite processing plant in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Sabretooth regains consciousness while he’s in Holocaust’s custody. Sabretooth taunts him, which leads to another beating. Blink flashes back to her first meeting with Sabretooth, as Sunfire carries the team to Indianapolis. They soon sneak into the Infinite processing plant, but Blink is distracted from the mission when she sees Sabretooth chained up outside. Meanwhile in New York, Magneto questions if Bishop has the willpower to kill Legion in order to prevent this reality from happening. The robotic Nanny’s alarm sounds, warning of Apocalypse’s arrival.
Sabretooth rescues Blink from a burning building with Weapon X’s help in a flashback scene. No specifics are given on where and when this happened.
Apparently, Wild Child physically ran from Indianapolis to Chicago in-between issues, even though hardly any time seems to have passed. And when the team goes to Indianapolis, Sunfire carries them on a plank instead of just having Blink teleport them (which is how Sabretooth and Wild Child got there last issue).
I guess this is the awkward middle chapter of the series. It’s essentially an entire issue dedicated to moving the team from one city to the next, while Sabretooth gets another beating from Holocaust. Since Wild Child already gives the X-Men the information they need by page eight, it’s hard not to notice the padding in the rest of the issue. (Considering that the opening eight pages average less than four panels each, it’s hard not to notice the padding there, either). Sunfire and Morph have a few character moments together that aren’t bad, and Morph gets to use his powers creatively towards the end when the team sneaks into the plant, but that’s not enough material to fill up over half of the issue. The story is filled with giant panels and splash pages, which I suspect were used to show off Madureria’s impressive art, but mainly serve to slow the story down to a crawl. There’s one two-panel page that solely consists of Holocaust bragging that his Infinite soldiers will create “death and destruction” that Apocalypse never dreamed of. It comes after a multiple-page sequence of Holocaust bragging about his Infinite soldiers, which already included a splash page devoted to the Infinite processing plant. Why waste another page on this? If Holocaust’s dialogue is supposed to imply that he’s willing to betray Apocalypse, that is an important plot point, but the small amount of dialogue used to convey it doesn’t deserve an entire page. When I first read this issue at fourteen, I was disappointed that it ended the same way the previous one did – with another page hinting that Holocaust possibly killed Sabretooth. That page really calls attention to how little the story’s advanced, and it’s probably the first time I noticed story padding when I was young. Little did I know what awaited the comic book industry.