Fire in the Sky!
Credits: Larry Hama (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Pat Brosseau (letterer), Joe Rosas (colorist)
Weapon X wakes up and discovers Jean Grey is missing. He follows a trace of his psi-link with Jean to Bristol, where she’s helping the humans being brought to England by the Sentinels. They discuss the upcoming nuclear strike against North America, which Jean is trying to prevent. Suddenly, Box and Copycat emerge from the crowd of humans and attack. The sound of screaming children triggers a flash of horrific memories in Jean, which Weapon X feels through their psychic connection. In a rage, he guts Box while Jean stops Copycat. She tries to calm him down, but he’s angry that she doesn’t realize that they’re fighting a war. He heads off to brief the High Council, leaving her alone. Later, before he can speak to the Council on one of their dirigibles, the altered human Pierce attacks a nearby airship. The giant explosion has sent the ship off-course, and it’s about to crash into the airship with the Doomsday Attack’s guidance system. Mariko tells Weapon X that the system is irreplaceable, motivating him to jump off his airship onto the one Pierce has boarded. He fights Pierce and his men, but isn't able to stop the ship from crashing into the airship with the guidance system. He emerges from the explosion, thinking of Jean. He follows their psi-link to an airstrip in Cornwall. She’s taking off for America to warn about the Doomsday Attack. He has an opportunity to kill her before she leaves, but can’t bring himself to do it.
According to Weapon X, Braddock Industries manufactures the Sentinels. Mariko’s afraid that he has a vested interest in escalating the human/mutant war.
The humans fleeing America are riding on top of the Sentinels without any type of harnesses or straps (not to mention protection from the elements). The first issue showed Weapon X and Jean riding on top of a Sentinel, but at least Jean’s telekinetic powers could be used to explain the wonky physics there.
Like the first issue, this one’s filled with action, but it also some has some nice character moments that take advantage of the new reality created by the AoA event. Hama’s able to persuasively convey Logan’s feelings for Jean through his inner monologues, and the conflict between them feels real, since both characters have legitimate points of view. The creators didn’t leave a lot of room for nuance when they developed the AoA’s dystopian world, but there’s at least an attempt here to show that both Jean and Logan have justifiable arguments to make about the nuclear strike. The final silent page with Logan and Jean is very effective, helping to convey Logan’s conflicting loyalties between his love for Jean and his determination to stop Apocalypse. Some of the mechanics of the final fight scene don’t work (what exactly is Logan hoping to do on an airship that’s already off-course?), but the energetic pencils help to pull it off. Kubert’s work is strong throughout the entire issue, once again blending cartoony exaggeration with aggressive fight scenes. His ability to create such expressive acting for his characters also helps the conversation scenes feel more authentic and real.