Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Ian Churchill (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Mike Thomas & Graphic Color Works (colors)
Summary: Blaquesmith charges up his walking stick and prepares to kill X-Man. X-Man responds to the blast with a force of psionic energy, which weakens him and causes Blaquesmith to disappear. During the fight, psi-sensitives around the world, such as Holocaust, Psylocke, Phoenix, and Xavier have violent reactions to X-Man’s release of energy. Cable tries to reason with X-Man, but he refuses to give up. When Cable pushes X-Man’s powers to their limit, he falls unconscious. Blaquesmith reappears from his time-shift and tries again to convince Cable to kill him. Cable refuses and draws upon his last reserves of power to talk to X-Man telepathically. X-Man finally trusts him and allows Cable to repair the mental damage he sustained in the battle. Blaquesmith takes Cable away, as his techno-organic virus begins to grow again. Cable, who deduced that Blaquesmith’s method to kill X-Man was also his failsafe to kill him if he ever grew too powerful, tells him that too many dark secrets have emerged. Meanwhile, Post receives telepathic orders from Onslaught to kill Cable.
Review: Well, it’s another issue that relies on X-Man behaving irrationally to work, but it does at least have some redeeming elements. Revealing that Blaquesmith was more than a mentor to Cable, he was also supposed to be his assassin if things went wrong, is interesting. Realistically, if these characters were as powerful as the stories claim, there likely would be a terminal failsafe in place. The conflict between Cable and Blaquesmith works pretty well, as Cable sees himself in X-Man and Blaquesmith just sees a dangerous time anomaly that must be stopped. This is actually a case where X-Man’s psychotic behavior can work in the story’s favor, as Blaquesmith does have a legitimate argument to make. X-Man is apparently unable to respond to reason, and he presents a threat to the entire planet, so killing him could be just as a defensible as killing a rabid dog. Unfortunately, Blaquesmith disappears for most of the issue, leaving us with more scenes of X-Man’s powers exploding while he pointlessly fights Cable, so the argument doesn’t get enough play. So if you didn’t get enough large panels and splash pages of Cable and X-Man fighting in the last two chapters, I guess you’re in luck.
Mapping the Mission
Credits: Jeph Loeb (writer), Eric Battle (penciler), Art Thibert (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
Summary: Blaquesmith continues to recap Cable’s history, explaining his conflicts with Stryfe and Tyler. He concludes by detailing his fight with X-Man, which might’ve placed Cable’s life in jeopardy.
Continuity Notes: Blaquesmith now says that he knows who stole his data on Cable in issue #21. He also says that he has a “disturbing conclusion as to his machinations, which we have all fallen prey to”. It seems like the thief is being retconned into being Onslaught, even though issue #21 heavily implied it was the X-Cutioner. This raises the same question X-Men #50 did…why would Onslaught go through all of this trouble to get information he already has access to?
Review: This is the second part of the back-up origin story. Oddly enough, it spends as much time recapping the main story in this issue as it does anything else. It also segues into more vague hints about an upcoming menace, which means it’s easily dismissed as more Onslaught nonsense.