Credits: Scott Lobdell (plotter), Ralph Macchio (scripter), Andy Kubert (penciler), Art Thibert (inker), Comicraft (lettering), Joe Rosas & Graphic Colorworks (colors)
Summary: Phoenix and Cyclops have a conversation inside a movie theatre. Cyclops refuses to talk about Havok, but he opens up about his lonely childhood and his insecurities over taking Xavier’s place. Hercules arrives at the mansion to recruit Quicksilver, hoping to reunite the remaining Avengers. Before leaving, Quicksilver visits Joseph, who is studying Rogue’s genetic makeup. Quicksilver snaps at him, refusing to forgive Joseph for the damage he caused as Magneto. Meanwhile, Iceman and Cannonball continue to work undercover at Graydon Creed’s presidential campaign. Cannonball is curious about a mystery figure Creed is speaking to behind closed doors.
Continuity Notes: A Creed campaign staffer named Carly quotes the Askani saying, “What is…is.” The story draws attention to it, so it’s not just a coincidence. I’m relatively certain that this is another subplot that was quickly dropped. The person Creed is talking to is presumably Bastion, or his assistant Harper.
I Love the ‘90s: Actual screenshots from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington are digitally inserted into the movie theatre scenes, which is something that didn’t seem possible just a few years earlier.
Review: And it’s another issue where the X-Men don’t really do anything. I think this is when the “quiet” issues really began to work on my nerves. If the characters were given legitimately interesting conversations that revealed some aspect of their personalities, I wouldn’t mind these issues so much. Padding an entire issue with splash pages and multiple large panels of Cyclops sitting in a movie theatre, Bishop getting punched by a jovial Hercules, and Joseph using his powers is just wasting everyone’s time. There are a few nice character moments, but certainly not enough to justify an entire issue’s worth of material. This is the final issue of Andy Kubert’s lengthy run, so it’s a shame that he isn’t given more to do. While reading another issue a few days ago, I noticed that the Bullpen Bulletins summary for issue #57 of this title still credited Mark Waid as writer. The description claimed that Bastion is attacking the mansion, forcing the X-Men on the run. It took Lobdell and company almost a year to get to the same point. I don’t know if Lobdell was personally responsible for the excessive padding that often showed up in this era, or if editorial wanted to space out the larger storylines in order to make them summer crossovers, but it’s just annoying at this point.