Credits: Scott Lobdell (writer), Joe Madureira (penciler), Townsend/Holdredge/Vey (inkers), Comicraft (lettering), Digital Chameleon (colors)
Summary: Nanny attacks Rogue, Joseph, Spat, and Grovel with an army of cybernetic animals. She neutralizes their powers and takes them into custody. Trish Tilby, who is being secretly monitored by a cybernetic bat, watches the events and leaves to find the Beast. Joseph tries to convince Nanny to let him go, but she refuses to obey his orders, claiming that the outside world is too dangerous while Zero Tolerance is targeting mutants. Nearby, Beast searches for his friends, and is ambushed by two shadowy figures. With her powers neutralized, Rogue begins to regain memories she’s absorbed and lost. Gambit is afraid that his secret will be exposed, and asks Rogue not to question him about his past. He embraces Rogue, telling her that this could be their only night together. Elsewhere, Psylocke suddenly disappears in New York, while Deathbird tends to Bishop’s wounds inside a space station.
Production Note: The one-page Archangel/Psylocke scene in this issue is clearly not by Madureira. It looks like Andy Smith’s earlier work to me.
Continuity Notes: The cybernetic animals commanded by Nanny are probably connected to the cyborg ape in UXM #345, but the story doesn’t offer any confirmation. The earlier appearance by the ape leads me to believe that Lobdell might’ve been planning some explanation for how exactly the X-Men ended up in Magneto’s arctic base (even Beast says that it “defies logic” that they would’ve ended up there), but it’s something that was lost in the change of creative teams.
Deathbird is lying to Bishop, claiming that the X-Men are all dead. They do have a subplot that’s picked up on later, but I don’t recall any explanation for why they were separated from the rest of the team.
When Joseph sees news footage of Moira MacTaggert inside Magneto’s base, he has a sudden thirst for vengeance. This is a reference to the final Claremont storyline, which revealed that Moira manipulated Magneto’s genes while he was once temporarily a child in the hopes of curing his mental illness. Even this close to UXM #350, Marvel’s still running with the idea that Joseph is Magneto (he’s even described that way on the recap foldout).
Review: It’s another issue of the team wandering around what’s been retroactively revealed as Antarctica. There is some nice character work with Gambit and Rogue, but a lot of this just feels like the story’s stalling until issue #350. The characters are now pointing out some of the plot flaws, which is either a sign that Lobdell did have something of a plan, or he was throwing in digs against editorial directives that never made sense. The question of who hired Spat & Grovel is raised, but never answered. And if it turns out that Magneto did hire them, there doesn’t seem to be a justifiable reason for Nanny to take them captive with the X-Men. As for the sensational character find of 1997, Landscape, he’s disappeared with no explanation in-between issues. Madureira’s art, which often saves mediocre stories, is inconsistent throughout the issue. That’s not surprising since he has three inkers, but some of the pages still look nice. For whatever reason, the two-page subplot scene with Bishop is more impressive looking than anything that happens in the main story.