Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Steve Epting w/Terry Dodson (pencilers), Al Milgrom (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Glynis Oliver (colorist)
Jean Grey sneaks into the Pens in New York, hoping to evacuate the prisoners before the Council’s nuclear strike. She’s soon captured by Havok. Meanwhile, inside Angel’s nightclub, Scarlet is arrested by the Bedlam Brothers for secretly working as a spy for the Human High Council. They warn Angel that his claims of neutrality are suspect now that both Karma and Scarlet have been arrested. In the Pens, Havok reveals to Cyclops that he’s captured Jean Grey. He tells Cyclops that he knows that he’s responsible for the recent series of breakouts, and wants him to kill Jean in order to prove his loyalty. When Cyclops refuses, he’s attacked from behind by the Guthrie siblings. McCoy takes his unconscious body away for genetic experimentation. Jean manages to remove her power inhibitor and free Cyclops. They escape from McCoy and leave to liberate the Pens. Elsewhere, Rex informs Apocalypse that Havok has replaced Cyclops as commander of the Pens. Apocalypse tells him to inform Havok that the Pens only existed to placate Sinister. He’s shutting them down and culling all of the prisoners.
Three years ago, Jean Grey was kidnapped by Apocalypse’s forces. She was well treated as an “Alpha Elite” due to Sinister’s interest in her DNA, yet she still resisted. Jean’s resistance inspired Cyclops to question Apocalypse’s rule for the first time. He was prepared to help her escape, when Weapon X returned to free her. Through some confusion, a fight ensued with cost Cyclops his eye and Weapon X his hand.
Jean is attacked in the Pens by a wolf that appears to have a buried human consciousness. This is presumably the AoA version of Wolfsbane.
Weapon X is referred to as “Wolverine” in Jean’s flashback, which of course isn’t his name in this reality. It’s surprising that none of the other writers made that mistake sooner, actually.
Some of the subplots begin to be pay off with this issue, as Havok finally moves against Cyclops and Scarlet is exposed. Jean Grey is introduced to the story in a slightly contrived manner, but her presence does at least advance the ongoing plotline with Cyclops and Havok. I like the idea that Jean is Cyclops’ inspiration to turn against Apocalypse in this world, but the way Cyclops suddenly falls in love with her feels forced. This is the most action-heavy issue of the series so far, and while Epting does a capable job on the fight scenes, you do get the feeling that this is a much lighter read than the previous issues. It doesn’t feel like the story’s stalling, but it seems like it’s more predictable than the previous chapters. The fight scenes aren’t bad, but I miss the scheming and maneuvering of the earlier issues.