Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Adam Pollina (penciler), Mark Pennington (inker), Marie Javins & Electric Crayon (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
Deadpool helps Siryn break out of the Weisman Institute, as ten-year-old Jeremy Stevens watches in the shadows. Siryn confronts Dr. Weisman about betraying Professor Xavier’s trust and abusing the patients, which causes her demeanor to change. Weisman returns to her true personality and tells Siryn that she doesn’t understand what “he” is like. Behind Siryn, Jeremy stands over Deadpool’s unconscious body. Meanwhile, Sunspot helps X-Force’s crippled aircraft land at the Xavier Institute, while Boomer makes a phone call to her father in Pennsylvania. Crying, she doesn’t speak when he answers the phone. Later, Siryn returns to the mansion, claiming that nothing was wrong at the Weisman Institute. Outside, Cable tries to encourage Sunspot after their mission in Siberia. To Cable’s surprise, Sunspot says “thanks” in Askani, although Sunspot doesn’t seem to notice. That night, Boomer visits Sabretooth again in the Danger Room. She’s shocked to learn that he’s regained his ability to speak, although he still has a tamed personality. He convinces her to create a holographic simulation of the woods outside the mansion, although he’s terrified when he sees an image of Wolverine hiding in the trees. Back at the Weisman Institute, young Jeremy watches as Deadpool is strapped to a gurney. His shadow makes an image of the Gamesmaster’s silhouette.
Cable asks Xavier if he knew more about what was going on in Siberia than he let on, which offends him. Xavier claims that the men who died there were members of his Mutant Underground, and the location should’ve been a secret. This actually works as a coherent Onslaught hint, even though Loeb perhaps didn’t intend it to be one.
There’s an ad for the movie Hackers, featuring a pre-“Sexiest Woman Alive” Angelina Jolie. The tasteful ad copy reads “Hack Off!” (implying that movie studio finds her Prince Valiant haircut more attractive than I do). Ralph Winter, who later produced the X-Men and Fantastic Four movies, is credited as a producer.
This issue touches on a lot of storylines, but barely advances any of them. The Weisman Institute story gets a half-hearted resolution that mainly serves to introduce another mystery. I don’t remember if the threads involving Gamesmaster and Deadpool were ever resolved, but it does somehow tie in with the infamous “Origin of Shatterstar” storyline. I believe Loeb does return to the idea that Sunspot picked up on Askani philosophy from Cable, but I think it ultimately goes nowhere. The rest of the issue consists of character moments and reinforcements of ongoing storylines, so we get more talky scenes around the mansion and yet another Boomer and Sabretooth moment. As usual, Loeb handles the material competently, but there’s nothing that really stands out. Pollina’s distinctive artwork helps to make it feel a little less generic, although his anatomy tends to be hit or miss.