Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Salvador Larrocca (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Marie Javins (colorist)
In the Morlock tunnels, Dazzler and Exodus find the remains of Nanny. She’s supposed to guard Magneto’s son, but Charles is missing. Elsewhere in the sewers, Gambit and Lila Cheney run from Rictor. Lila teleported Rictor along with the X-Ternals back to Earth as the M’Kraan Crystal exploded, but Sunspot died while trying to absorb the Crystal’s energy. Unbeknownst to Rictor, Jubilee is carrying both Charles and a shard of the M’Kraan Crystal nearby. On Gambit’s orders, she’s trying to find the X-Men’s headquarters. She runs into Guido, who reveals that he was implanted with a bomb months ago by Apocalypse’s men. In exchange for turning in Gambit, he was told that the bomb wouldn’t go off and none of the other X-Ternals would be harmed. Knowing that Nanny would lead them back to the X-Men, he destroyed her. He takes Charles and the shard away from Jubilee and leaves to find Rictor. Soon, Gambit and Lila are confronted by Rictor and Guido. Rictor reneges on his word and creates an earthquake to kill Guido, along with Gambit and Lila. Guido uses his strength to hold up the main support column and urges Gambit to save Lila. Gambit has an opportunity to steal the baby and the shard back from Guido, but saves Lila instead. Later, Guido hands over Charles and the shard to Apocalypse in exchange for his and Lila’s safety. Rictor is killed by Apocalypse for his incompetence.
A narrative caption reveals Exodus’ full name, “Paris Bennett”.
It’s revealed that Apocalypse has been secretly tracking the team through Guido, which would explain how the Madri found them in the first issue.
For the final issue, Nicieza lays off on the action a little and focuses more on character moments. It does make the issue less tedious to read, although the story now jumps back and forth in time, which is just gimmicky and frustrating. Rictor is still chasing Gambit back on Earth, with the odd explanation that Lila brought him back from space with them. The X-characters in this reality have shown no aversion to killing their opponents, so it’s strange that she didn’t leave him behind in space (and Rictor’s dialogue specifically says she “saved” him, so it doesn’t seem as if he snuck along like in the first issue). Rictor’s arc is resolved in a somewhat predictable way, but Nicieza spends a lot of time building up the suspense so it doesn’t come across too flat. Revealing that Guido is a double agent is nice twist, which did receive a small amount of foreshadowing in the previous issues when it was established that he resented Gambit’s relationship with Lila. Gambit’s decision to save Lila over the Crystal and the baby is well done, and the scene does a good job of conveying his conflicting emotions over the choice. If the previous issues of this series focused more on characterization and less on frenzied action scenes, it probably would’ve worked a lot better. Overall, I think it turned out to be the weakest of the monthly titles during the AoA.