Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Wilfred (penciler), Scott Hanna & Rachael Hawkey (inkers), Chris Eliopoulos (lettering), Adam Wallenta (colors)
Sugar Man sets a nuclear reactor to explode in sixty seconds. Pipeline tries to convince Cable to let him teleport everyone away, but Cable is adamant about staying and shutting the reactor down. Cable and the rebels race towards the area where several Mutates are fleeing in fear. They finally encounter the Sugar Man, who is trying to escape. Cable tries to read his mind, but only sees vague images of another timeline. Sugar Man fights Cable off and heads to the top of the core. Philip Moreau follows him and demands to learn the truth about his father. Sugar Man tells him that he made a deal with Moreau’s father years ago to give him advance scientific knowledge, while the Sugar Man built his powerbase in Genosha. Sugar Man grabs Moreau and teleports away. Cable figures out the Sugar Man’s override password is “Sugar” and stops the meltdown. Sinister appears and tells Cable that he brought him to Genosha so that he could reclaim his work, and then teleports him away. Sinister then examines Sugar Man’s drawing of X-Man and tells Threnody that he needs to know more.
Sinister claims that the Genoshan Mutates are based on his experimentation and that this is the “second such perversion of my work”. The first would be the Morlocks, which have now been retconned into being genetically manipulated by the Dark Beast (whether or not he actually created them has been left vague in the stories, although a response in X-Factor’s letters page said that he did not create the Morlocks, just experimented on them). Sinister also tells Cable that he doesn’t even know Domino’s real name, questioning what he “really knows” about her.
A few added thought balloons on the last page establish that Sinister knows that Threnody is lying about her unawareness of X-Man.
This is one of those stories that’s supposed to be set in real time, which might be a clever gimmick, but the delivery is totally botched here. Rather than setting the story in the course of a realistic amount of time it might take to read this issue, like ten minutes or so, all of the story’s events are supposed to be taking place in the course of…sixty seconds. This means that most of the events described in the summary above, which consists of almost two hundred words, take place in a minute’s time. Not only is that asinine, but we’re constantly reminded of how dumb this is with giant numbers counting down from sixty on each page. This means that there’s a page with multiple dialogue exchanges with just the number “50” written at the top, and a later page with twenty word balloons that’s supposed to take place in just three seconds. Did this book not have an editor? No one caught this? Why on earth was one minute chosen as the countdown time when ten or fifteen minutes would’ve worked just as well?
Other elements of the issue don’t really stand up to a lot of scrutiny, either. The climax of the story involves the Sugar Man running to the top of the core, grabbing Philip Moreau, and teleporting away. First of all, how can the Sugar Man teleport? I guess there are multiple pseudo-scientific justifications for this in the Marvel Universe, and it might even turn out to be his mutant power, but it still feels like a copout ending. Also, why did he wait so long to do it? Why run away and then teleport? Apparently, he wanted Philip Moreau for some reason, so I guess you could argue that he ran away to lure Moreau towards him. Even then, the story offers no explanation for why Sugar Man wanted Moreau in the first place, so it just adds to the awkwardness of the ending. There’s also the question of how exactly Sinister brought Cable out of the timeline and placed him into Genosha, but I guess Sinister exhibiting vaguely defined powers is nothing new. Reminding readers that Sinister has an interest in Cable (the implication in this issue is that he’s been manipulating Cable more than he knows) is at least an acknowledgment of a long-running subplot that this series shouldn’t be ignoring, but that’s only a small part of a rather disappointing issue.