Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Steve Skroce (penciler), Bud LaRosa & Mike Sellers (inkers), Mike Thomas & Digital Chameleon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)
Forge escapes from Domino, Grizzly, and Caliban and finds his allies, Mastermind and Toad, nearby. He sends a mental message to Nate Grey to stay away from the fight, which only encourages Nate to run towards it. During the fight, Mastermind, Caliban, Toad, and Grizzly are killed. Nate finally stops Domino by mentally forcing her to reflect on every death she’s caused. When he reunites with Forge, Nate tells him that he doesn’t like what his power does to him, and asks for more training before he faces Apocalypse. As Forge prepares to bury the bodies, he discovers Brute’s corpse in their barn. Essex tries to blame Domino, but Forge doesn’t believe him. Nate feels psychic pain through his link with Forge, and runs to the barn to discover that he’s near death. Forge tells Nate to seek out Magneto, as his memories flood Nate’s mind. When Forge dies, Nate explodes in anger, destroying the barn. Essex appears and Nate attacks him. His façade burns away, revealing Essex to be Mr. Sinister.
According to Forge’s final flashback, he once worked with Magneto and had a relationship with Storm.
Sonique calls “Soaron” by his original name “Sauron”, which shows that not even the creative team cared enough about the ridiculous altered spelling of his name to be consistent with it.
When Domino fights Mastermind, she has an added thought balloon that emphasizes that he’s creating illusions. It’s another one of the hand-lettered edits that sticks out amongst the computer fonts.
Loeb seems to have decided to cram every issue of X-Man with a lot of action, which suits Skroce’s artwork and helps to distract from the dullness of the lead character. The big fight scene between Domino and Forge’s factions has its moments, taking advantage of the new reality’s brief future by killing off a lot of characters that won’t be needed anymore. Nate’s final moment with Forge works well, and it’s as close as the series comes to making their relationship feel genuine. There’s some slightly pretentious narration about the nature of evil throughout the issue, but it’s not as overblown or ridiculous as you might expect. I can’t say any issue of this series so far has been truly bad, but I still don’t understand what Marvel saw in this title that made them want to turn it into a regular series. I know that the comic book industry was starting to enter its slump during this time, but were they really so desperate for another X-title?