Credits: Warren Ellis (writer), Casey Jones (penciler), Tom Simmons (inker), Lenshoek & Malibu’s Hues (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
Wolfsbane spots a fire on the mainland near Muir Island. Meggan uses her expanding elemental powers to sense the source of the fire, and determines that it was possibly caused by a mutant. Wolfsbane and Meggan travel with Shadowcat to Kinross, where Meggan uses her powers to stop the blaze. Wolfsbane finds the person responsible, a scared fourteen-year-old girl named Bridget Shane. Bridget tells her that she’s ashamed to be a mutant, and that Reverend Craig has called her an abomination. Wolfsbane travels to town and decides to confront Reverend Craig, her former guardian, over his abusive tactics. Wolfsbane reveals to him that she’s used the internet to look into his past. She’s learned that her mother was a free-spirited local in Ullapool who came to Craig’s attention. She died during childbirth, leaving Craig as Wolfsbane’s guardian. For mysterious reasons, the church soon stationed Craig far away in Kinross. She tells him that she knows his secret, and that she’s noticed that Bridget has red hair too. Wolfsbane leaves the weeping Reverend Craig alone in the empty church.
This story only has 19 pages. The missing pages are made up by a two-page letter column and an expanded “X-Facts” hype page.
The implication here is that Reverend Craig is Wolfsbane’s biological father, and likely the father of the new character, Bridget Shane. Meggan is able to sense Bridget’s fire due to her ability to “see and hear the workings of all electromagnetics”, which now allows her to sense psychic powers.
This isn’t a bad story, but it’s certainly a thin issue. It reads like an annual backup that got stretched out to fill a regular issue, and even then it came out three pages short. The opening scene, which has Peter Wisdom impersonating Charles Xavier with Moira’s swimming cap, is pretty funny, and Ellis continues to show a strong grasp of the characters. Ellis could’ve turned this into a clichéd anti-religion story, but he keeps the focus mainly on the characters and doesn’t take cheap shots at Wolfsbane’s faith. The big reveal in this issue, that the abusive Reverend Craig is actually Wolfsbane’s father and is even potentially genetically prone to create mutants, is a strong hook that works well with past continuity. After establishing the idea, though, it looks like Ellis ran out of things to say and just shut the story down. The new mutant is forgotten about, and nothing really comes from the revelation outside of Reverend Craig getting a good cry. Casey Jones continues to work as the fill-in artist. His opening pages have a nice style that almost reminds me of Mike Wieringo, but his art gets more and more inconsistent as the issue goes on. He shows up as a regular fill-in artist during this time, and since I remember liking his work, I think he greatly improves over the months.