Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Ian Churchill & Ben Herrera (pencilers), Scott Hanna & Al Milgrom (inkers), Comicraft (lettering), Mike Thomas (colors)
Cable and the Genoshan rebels fight back against the Magistrates. Realizing that they’re being overpowered, Pipeline teleports the other Magistrates away. Before Pipeline can go, Cable knocks him out. When he comes to, Cable uses his telepathic powers to force Pipeline over to the rebels’ side. Using information given to them by Essex, Philip Moreau and Jenny Ransome travel with Cable, Domino, and Pipeline to the Ridgeback Mountains. While exploring the mountains, they find the entrance to a man-made passage. They’re shocked to discover a technologically advanced Mutate processing station. Pipeline claims that something like this should’ve been monitored by the Magistrates, but this area was off-limits to them. Nearby, the Sugar Man watches, ready for a fight.
According to the Statement of Ownership, average sales for the year were 161,714 copies with the most recent issue selling 179,815. Looks like actually having a consistent creative team helped sales.
Not a lot happens in this issue, since it mainly just resolves the previous issue’s cliffhanger and moves the characters to the next location. It’s the middle chapter of a storyline, so this type of thing isn’t that unusual. Parts of it certainly feel padded, though, as Sugar Man gets one page with giant panels boasting about how evil he is in the middle of the issue, and then gets two more pages to do the exact same thing at the end. The fight scene is also filled with a lot of giant panels and posing, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for any actual action. Churchill, to his credit, is still growing as an artist and is able to do the flashy ‘90s style without a lot of the sheer ugliness that usually accompanied it. Like I’ve said before, it hasn’t aged that well but I can understand why I liked it at the time.
Loeb does have Cable do something the other X-telepaths rarely do, which is take over someone’s mind. The fact that Cable is still willing to cross lines that other characters probably wouldn’t is a nice avenue to explore, but it’s treated almost like an afterthought here. In fact, as small as it is, it’s one of the very few things in the story that makes Cable stand out from any other hero. There’s also a very brief reference to Cable’s past as a soldier, which should tie in to a story about a civil war, but it doesn’t go anywhere either. Like a lot of the earlier issues of this series, it’s starting to feel as if Cable’s been plunked into a story that wouldn’t be any different if any other X-character was the hero.