Behind Closed Doors
Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Adam Pollina (penciler), Mark Pennington (inker), Marie Javins & Electric Crayon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
Mimic attacks X-Force, blaming them for killing the scientists at the research station. Warpath tries to explain that they're innocent, but Mimic behaves even more irrationally when he begins mimicking Warpath’s physical strength. Believing that he has to kill X-Force before they kill him, he punches Warpath through their Pacrat aircraft. Sunspot disobeys Cable’s orders and goes after Mimic. Mimic can’t take being exposed to so much power, and when the solar energy he copies collides with Sunspot’s, it triggers a giant explosion. After Sunspot recovers, he joins Cable and Caliban in their search for Mimic, but he’s disappeared. Meanwhile, Boomer continues to bring Sabretooth milk, which leads Wolverine to warn her to stay away from him. In Vermont, Siryn is going through the patients’ files at the Weisman Institute for the Criminally Insane. When she’s discovered inside Dr. Weisman’s office, Siryn claims that she was sent by Professor Xavier to find out what happened to the doctor after she stopped communicating with him. Siryn’s restrained and drugged by the doctor and her security guards. Later, she tries contacting Cable for help, but he doesn’t respond. Feeling like she doesn’t have any other options, she calls Deadpool.
Two files are shown on Dr. Weisman’s computer. One belongs to 10 year-old Jeremy Stevens, who has been “institutionalized indefinitely”, and the second belongs to Benjamin Russell. Russell looks exactly like Shatterstar, and his file claims that he was born in Boston, Massachusetts and his current whereabouts are unknown. This all ties into Shatterstar’s upcoming, incompressible, origin story. Benjamin Russell’s file comes onscreen while Siryn is ducking down to avoid Dr. Weisman, so she presumably didn’t see it. Siryn claims that Dr. Weisman is a colleague of Xavier’s, and that she was sent by him to find out why she’s been out of touch. Later, she thinks to herself that Cable sent her on the mission and didn’t want Xavier directly involved. I can’t tell if she was supposed to be lying in the earlier scene, or if Loeb got the plot mixed up.
The Mimic is an obscure character from the Silver Age who briefly joined the X-Men. He’s a human who gained the ability to mimic mutant powers after his father experimented on him. He’s somehow been able to retain all of the original X-Men’s powers. He claims that he’s living in Siberia to get away from mutants and be left alone. I believe Onslaught is behind his disappearance at the end, but I don’t know if there was ever an explanation for who killed the scientists at the research station.
Since this issue is setting up two notorious storylines (Onslaught and Shatterstar’s origin), it would be easy to dismiss it as crap also, but that’s not entirely fair. Pollina does a decent job on the fight scene with Mimic, and the hints for the upcoming storylines are so vague they don’t really impact this specific issue. Pollina’s art carries a lot of this issue, and while he’s still inconsistent, he delivers a sound mix of cartooning and realistic art for most of the issue. His redesign of Sunspot is also impressive, even if the cover is a weak example of what he’s doing with the character. Loeb’s story is typical of the passable work he’s doing at this point, and he actually does an admirable job of trying to sell Boomer’s sudden interest in Sabretooth with this issue. Part of it is motivated by rebellion, but she’s also looking for someone who needs to be around her. This might not be entirely consistent with her character, but it’s better than the previous stories that portrayed her as abruptly drawn to him with no explanation. She also questions if she should be doing this at all, which at least makes the storyline a little more plausible. It's not a bad issue, even if some of the threads are heading in a shaky direction.