Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Carlos Pacheco (penciler), Art Thibert (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering), Lichtner/Lusen/Liquid (colors)
Summary: Phoenix is suddenly transported to an unknown location, where she is greeted by Iron Man. Before he can explain to her that he isn’t an imposter, she’s abruptly sent back to her reality. Her consciousness returns to the skies over Colorado, where the X-Men’s private jet is being attacked by Operation: Zero Tolerance. Cannonball flies towards Zero Tolerance’s ship, and is shocked to discover a new breed of human-sized Sentinels. Footage of the X-Men’s battle airs on television, as Bastion arrives at Xavier’s vacant mansion in New York. He watches a holographic display of the X-Men being detained by his Sentinels before entering the mansion. He sends a holographic message to Xavier, boasting that all of his secrets will be revealed. Elsewhere, Iceman watches footage of the X-Men’s battle on television and makes his exit.
Continuity Notes: Future X-Man Cecilia Reyes makes her first cameo appearance as a doctor watching footage of the X-Men on television. She says that something must be done about mutants, which ties into the upcoming revelation that she’s hiding her powers. One of her coworkers claims that meeting Storm years earlier turned his life around. A footnote points us towards Uncanny X-Men #122, the “Cry for the Children!” issue that had Storm meeting drug addicted teens in Harlem.
Bastion tells Xavier that he learned about the mansion’s location from probing Jubilee’s mind, during their interrogation scenes in Generation X.
Wolverine's back to his normal appearance, with no explanation. I'm pretty sure the "devolved" look never shows up again.
Production Note: The Iron Man cameo was apparently a last-minute idea, as a bonus page presents Carlos Pacheco’s pencils for the original first page of this issue (which has the team reacting to their jet taking a hit). I have no idea what the significance of the Iron Man scene was supposed to be, other than the fact that Lobdell was writing the Heroes Reborn Iron Man series, and someone perhaps wanted to drop a hint that the heroes would be returning to the Marvel Universe.
I Love the ‘90s: The Bullpen Bulletins page claims that the new Alpha Flight series will be the hottest thing to come out of Canada since Alanis Morisette.
Review: If we’re to believe the Bullpen Bulletins’ checklist, this was supposed to be the first post-Onslaught issue if Mark Waid had stayed on the title. Instead, readers had to endure almost a year of filler stories before anyone bothered to advance another plotline. I’m not bitter or anything, but watching something actually happen in this issue just makes the last few months seem even more pointless. This is Pacheco’s best issue yet, so the action scenes are particularly impressive. Some elements don’t make a lot of sense (like the fact that Phoenix is using her telekinesis to keep the jet together, rather than just flying the team safely to the ground), but there’s enough energy for the action to coast on. Watching Bastion invade the X-Men’s headquarters feels a little eerie, and it helps to set him up as a major villain. He never amounted to much, but there is some potential there. We’ve seen Mr. Sinister and the N’Garai disturb the team’s home before, but Bastion’s lofty ambitious actually make this invasion feel like it could have consequences. Overall, it’s a credible start for the storyline.