Credits: Steve Seagle (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler), Art Thibert & Tim Townsend (inkers), Liquid! Graphics (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Pyro, whose powers are out of control due to the Legacy Virus, is causing havoc in the Midwest. He asks for Professor Xavier, so Nick Fury summons the X-Men for help. Wolverine is finally able to confront Pyro, just as a mystery figure attempts to kidnap him. Pyro forces it to teleport away. His powers then explode, and Nick Fury takes his unconscious body away. The X-Men return home and try to locate Xavier with the Cerebro unit recently mailed to them by Moira MacTaggert. Shadowcat finds two identical readings for Xavier, one in San Francisco, and the other in Tajikistan.
Review: This is the beginning of the “Hunt for Xavier” crossover, which isn’t exactly considered a highlight of the Seagle/Kelly issues. This issue has a rather thin plot, but somehow Seagle manages to fit an excessive amount of word balloons into every page of the story. Bachalo is also cramming almost every page with small panels, which is apparently a quirk that he enjoys. In the end, you’re left with very tiny X-Men buried under a weight of word balloons. The story is already pretty dull, and the cramped look of almost every page doesn’t exactly encourage you to keep reading. Seagle does work in a few nice character moments, such as Marrow’s cynical attitude towards the Professor and Cecilia Reyes’ introduction to Gambit, but this one is mostly boring.
The Hunt for Charly!
Credits: Joe Kelly (writer), Adam Kubert (penciler), John Dell & Jesse Delperdang (inkers), Richard Isanove (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Storm, Rogue, Colossus, and Gambit arrive in Tajikistan, where they find a hidden monastery in the snow. After breaking through the door, they discover dead bodies covering the ground. When Colossus touches a mirror, his finger goes through it. The X-Men investigate and find themselves inside a “non-logic” world. By concentrating on their deepest feelings, they’re able to return to reality. They’re greeted by Nina and Renee Majcomb. Nina apologizes for attacking the team, because she mistook them for a monster. She then tells the team that they’ve allowed a real monster to come in, as an animated Cerebro enters.
Production Note: All of the scenes inside the “non-logic” world are digitally painted by Richard Isanove. This is the first time the technique has been used in an X-book (it will show up a few times in the next year, I think exclusively in Adam Kubert’s issues).
Review: This is much more cryptic than the previous chapter, but it’s more fun to read. The combination of Kubert’s art and Isanove’s intricate colors creates a visually stunning issue. Even if much of the story details are left vague, Kelly’s script is strong enough to make the characters interesting, and he uses the “non-logic” world as a way to offer insight into each cast member. None of it is particularly new (Storm feels deeply about the X-Men as a family, Colossus misses his sister, Rogue is still fixated on her night with Gambit months earlier in Antarctica, and Gambit is wrapped up in another mystery -- the Green Mist Lady), but it’s another example of Kelly’s ability to make the story about the characters. Unfortunately, all of the things I like about this issue really have nothing to do with the main story, which is a bad omen for what’s ahead.