Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Cedric Nocon (penciler), Hunt & Miller (inkers), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Joe Rosas & GCW (colorist)
Summary: Undercloaks from the Crimson Dawn dimension attack Psylocke in the apartment she shares with Archangel. When he arrives to help, the apartment is empty and Psylocke is meditating. Gomurr appears, telling them that a price must be paid for the Crimson Dawn. Meanwhile, Storm faces Jamil, who is apparently possessed by the Shadow King. After she freezes him in a blizzard, the Juggernaut appears. Storm deduces that this is Jamil changing forms. Soon, Jamil impersonates Cable and blasts Candra with the red gem. Storm decides that Jamil’s forms aren’t coming from her mind or Candra’s. When Candra recovers, Storm reveals that Jamil never existed, and was always a creation of Karima’s mutant power. Storm tosses the ruby gem in the air, as Cyclops arrives to blast it. Candra disappears, and Storm leaves with Karima. Meanwhile, Sebastian Shaw schemes in Hong Kong.
Continuity Notes: The Archangel/Psylocke scene is a tease for their upcoming miniseries, which or may or not make as much sense as what we see here (I only read the first issue).
Storm reveals that Achmed knew that Candra was after his mutant pupil, so he ordered Karima to use her power to give “form and function to desires pulled from the minds of others” to create Jamil. Jamil was created by projecting Candra’s desire to find the gem and Karima’s own desire for companionship.
The opening narration claims that this story takes place on the night Graydon Creed died, even though last issue had a brief scene with Cannonball on the day of his funeral. I guess you could say that only the Archangel/Psylocke scene took place on that night, and the rest of the story happened a few days later.
As Cyclops, Wolverine, and Phoenix arrive to help Storm, Phoenix turns the corner and is suddenly alone. She wonders why Manhattan is abandoned for a few panels, and then everything is back to normal. This is obviously some type of foreshadowing, but it's never resolved.
“Huh?” Moment: Storm decides that Jamil isn’t pulling memories from her mind because “his creations would have been more focused on their goal of destroying me”. I have no idea what this means. If she’s saying that Jamil isn’t trying hard enough to kill her, I’ll give her that much, but that still doesn’t eliminate the possibility that he’s pulling images from her mind. Storm’s odd deduction directly leads her to the revelation that Jamil is actually a creation of Karima. Huh? How does Karima know about the Shadow King, Juggernaut, or Cable?
Creative Differences: Some awkward re-lettering shows up sporadically throughout the issue. It mostly interrupts exposition, such as the explanations that Psylocke is a ninja, Candra is an External, and Sebastian Shaw is a mutant.
Review: What is this? Last issue was a bland story about Storm and Candra fighting over a plot device. Now, the story veers off in an utterly nonsensical direction, revealing that two minor characters from a 1994 X-Men Unlimited issue weren’t who we thought they were. Well, that’s a load off my mind. I’m so glad an entire issue of this series was dedicated to resolving something that no one found confusing in the first place. The revelation that Jamil was always Karima’s projection almost makes sense, but the thought process that Storm goes through to reach this conclusion certainly doesn’t. I’ll give Scott Lobdell the benefit of the doubt and assume that someone somewhere had some last minute rethinking and the final result isn’t the story he set out to tell. Lobdell can be an inconsistent writer, but I don’t think he intentionally set out to produce something this disjointed. The alternating subplots are also frustratingly vague, making this issue an even larger mess.