Credits: Fabian Nicieza (plot), Andy Kubert (penciler), Matt Ryan (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Kevin Somers & Digital Chameleon (colors)
The Madri continue to torture Bishop, as Storm arrives to rescue him. Nearby, Quicksilver and Banshee break into the hidden room of Jamie Madrox, the originator of all of the Madri. They’re shocked to learn that the experiments used to enhance his powers have left him mentally handicapped. At the X-Men’s headquarters, Rogue’s team returns from their mission. They’re greeted by Colossus and Shadowcat, who tells Rogue that Quicksilver left a note saying that her son is still in the Morlock Tunnels. She goes underground to find him, and is reunited with Dazzler, Exodus, Lila Cheney, and Gambit. Rogue hysterically punches Gambit, asking him where her son is. Meanwhile, Banshee and Quicksilver are ambushed by Abyss. He taunts Banshee for being a coward, which leads Banshee to confront Abyss while Quicksilver escapes with Madrox. Banshee is absorbed into Abyss’ body, but his sonic scream is enough to tear Abyss and the temple apart. Madrox knows that Quicksilver is too good a man to kill him, so he willingly shuts down the Madri. The strain kills him, leaving the Madri empty husks. Mourning the loss of Banshee and Madrox, Quicksilver and Storm return home with Bishop. Nightcrawler and Destiny also arrive at the mansion. With most of Magneto’s plan falling into place, Quicksilver vows that Apocalypse will fall.
Notice that Fabian Nicieza is only credited with “plot”, with no credit for a scripter listed. It’s possible that I’m reading too much into this, but considering the fact that Nicieza was open about the fact that his work was being rewritten at this point, I wonder if he asked not to be credited for the script in this issue.
Like the rest of the AoA finale issues, this is an action-heavy story that at least resolves one of the plotlines. Amazing X-Men wasn’t given a specific goal like most of the other AoA books, as it shifted from having the X-Men herd refugees, to a Magneto/Apocalypse fight, to a rescue mission for Bishop. The multiple storylines prevent the final issue from feeling like much of a climax since Bishop’s kidnapping only happened one issue ago (and Bishop barely had a role in this specific series anyway). The story really relies on the action to work, and while Kubert’s figure drawing is sound, the action just seems stiff, with a lot of posing and not a lot of movement.
Quicksilver and Banshee’s moral dilemma over whether or not to kill Madrox has potential, but the script never sells the drama. At no point do you honestly think they’ll actually murder Madrox in order to complete the mission. And since this reality’s X-Men have previoiusly been shown to cross ethical lines, this is a scenario that could’ve worked with the proper scripting. The majority of the dialogue in this issue is dull and generic, which gives me more reason to believe that it’s not Nicieza’s work (And in some cases, the dialogue is just terrible, as Gambit actually says, “(Guido) was de only one who coulda brought ya baby outta dat mess alive!” This leads me to wonder how much knowledge Gambit has on the art of “birthin’ no babies.”). That snippet of Gambit’s dialogue is another clue, since it contradicts what actually happened in Gambit and the X-Ternals #4, which Nicieza did script. The climax in that story involved Gambit choosing to save Lila instead of taking baby Charles from Guido; not him leaving the baby with Guido for his own safety (although I guess it’s possible that Gambit’s just lying to Rogue to cover himself). The only character given any real personality in this issue is Abyss, who’s given some convincingly nasty dialogue. The rest of the issue is pretty boring, since the plot isn’t that interesting and the characters don’t have a lot of personality.