Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Roger Cruz (penciler), Mark Pennington (inker), Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
Banshee dreams about a past encounter with a mutant serial killer. Emma Frost enters his dream, forcing him to wake up. He confronts her about invading his privacy, but she explains that being forced to sleep in cramped quarters (while the girls’ dorm is being repaired) is dragging her into his dreams. He apologizes, as Emma intentionally drops her sheet and exposes herself before shutting her door. Outside, Husk thanks Chamber for not telling anyone about their kiss, which destroyed the girls’ dorm. Jubilee spies on them from her room, and is chastised by M. Jubilee responds by snatching the papers she’s reading, which turn out to be pages from a coloring book. Meanwhile, Skin and Synch build a tree house for Artie and Leech in the Bio-Sphere. Later, M asks Gateway how much longer does she have to stay at the school. Banshee watches as the two meditate over the lake. Emma approaches Banshee and confesses to kicking Leech while she was being held by Gene Nation. Banshee’s pleased that she’s showing signs of a conscious. Jubilee tells Banshee that he has a phone call. The caller is a Missus O’Brien from Ireland, who tells him that his family castle has disappeared.
M refers to Gateway as her “mentor”, and asks him why he can’t train her. He’s able to levitate in this issue, which I don’t remember him doing before this.
The mysterious serial killer Banshee dreams about asks him, “What are you going to do, Irishman? Kill me? Again?” Banshee claims that he resigned from Interpol in order to pursue the serial killer because no one believed him. Banshee also had a hideous ponytail in his past, apparently.
This is the first post-Bachalo issue of the series, which automatically removes a lot of the charm. The story’s similar to the previous issues of the series, as it mainly focuses on character scenes and doesn’t really have a central plot, but Cruz’s artwork doesn’t live up to the standards that have already been set for the title. I can’t say that he totally botches the conversation scenes, since he is able to do basic acting for the characters (so a sad person looks sad, an angry person looks angry, etc.), but he often reverts to just generic faces for many of the characters. After so many issues of creative page designs, his straightforward panel layouts can’t help but to look boring, also. Plus, there’s the fact that he’s doing a brazen imitation of Joe Madureria’s style, which raises some ethical questions about using him in the first place. Even though you can see potential in a few panels, it’s strange that the X-office was so eager to give him jobs he wasn’t ready for. Without the impressive artwork, you’re left with a comic that mainly consists of a couple of people talking to each other. Some of the interactions work, like the pairing of Banshee and Emma Frost, and the unusual dynamic between Husk and Chamber. Other scenes feel like they drag on for too long, like the four pages spent on Skin and Synch building a tree house, which even average out to less than four panels per page. The same material could’ve easily been covered in half the space. It makes the book feel padded, leaving me to wonder why Lobdell didn’t just get on with the Banshee storyline he’s setting up.