Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Adam Pollina (penciler), Mark Pennington & Joe Rubinstein (inkers), Comicraft (lettering), Marie Javins, Derek Bellman, & Malibu Hues (colors)
X-Force confronts Boomer over her relationship with Sabretooth. She defends him, saying that everyone has their own dark past, pointing to Caliban and Sunspot as examples. When Sunspot claims that he’s put Reignfire behind him, Boomer argues that this proves that people can change. Shatterstar leaves, unconvinced that X-Force should have any say in what Boomer does. While trying to bring Shatterstar back, Siryn runs into Professor Xavier and confirms to him that Boomer is going through the Denial, Anger, and Bargaining stages and is far from reaching Acceptance. X-Force finally tells Boomer that they can’t allow her on the team if she continues her friendship with Sabretooth. When Professor Xavier enters, she eventually admits that she has to believe in second chances, or else she’ll give up on Sabretooth like she did on her father and herself. That night, she tries to see Sabretooth again, but the access code to the Danger Room has been changed. She calls out to him through the speakers, but he doesn’t respond. As she leaves, wondering if he really has changed, Sabretooth emerges from the holographic bushes with an evil grin on his face. Meanwhile, Holocaust is feeding off of the citizens of a South Seas island. Sebastian Shaw appears, offering him a partnership.
Warpath claims that Reignfire was a “separate persona” that possessed Sunspot. Sunspot repeats his claim that Cable cured him of Reignfire’s influence.
I’ve always thought this was a particularly silly issue. Having the team confront Boomer over her friendship with Sabretooth is fine. Revealing that Boomer is desperate to believe that people can change because of her past with her father is fine. Drawing an obvious parallel between Boomer’s desire to spend time with Sabretooth and an addict’s lust for drugs is dumb. Referencing four of the five stages of grief is really dumb. How do you compare Boomer’s desire to treat Sabretooth like a kitty cat with the feelings you experience after a loved one’s death? And are we really supposed to believe that she’s addicted to visiting Sabretooth? Are we going to see her go through withdrawal symptoms in the next issue? It’s so utterly ridiculous that it undermines the entire story. Some of the interactions between the characters actually aren’t bad, but Jeph Loeb’s treatment of Boomer is so over-the-top it’s comical. Adam Pollina is able to keep most of the issue-long conversation scene interesting to look at, although some of his faces (particularly Storm and Xavier’s) are pretty rough. His grisly depiction of Holocaust is stunning, implying that he’s more comfortable with the expressionist elements than the more mundane scenes at this point.