Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Luke Ross (penciler), Rob Hunter & Matt Ryan (inkers), Shannon Blanchard & Malibu (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Pulse, a cyberorganic construct created by Kree rebels, crash lands on Earth after he's shot down by the Shi’ar. Pulse is drawn to the Danger Room, the only location on Earth that is also constructed with Shi’ar technology. The Danger Room’s defense systems interfere with his programming, forcing Pulse to lose his identity and take on the forms of cyberorganic beings in the Danger Room’s databanks. After X-Force places him in custody, Shi’ar soldiers arrive to arrest Pulse. Cable is reluctant to release Pulse because the Shi’ar refuse to name his crimes. Meanwhile, Siryn and Warpath arrange for Pulse to escape through the mansion’s subspace communications relay. As the Shi’ar leave, Cable reluctantly endorses Siryn and Warpath’s decision.
I Love the ‘90s: The team relaxes at the end of the issue by watching The X-Files.
Review: This is fairly typical annual filler; the kind that pays lip service to some of the ongoing storylines but doesn’t actually advance any of them. It’s possible that someone was planning to do a Shi’ar/Kree/Silver Surfer storyline involving the X-books, since this issue ends with Pulse contacting the Silver Surfer (who also guest starred in X-Men Unlimited around this time), but I don’t think anything came of it. Maybe the Silver Surfer series picked up on the ideas. Like the X-Men Unlimited issue, this story portrays the Shi’ar as morally dubious, self-serving imperialists. I don’t particularly like the idea of casting the Shi’ar as villains, since it makes the X-Men look bad for associating with them in the first place. Plus it just reminds me too much of the questionable motivations that seem to have been attached to almost every outer space kingdom, secret society, or cosmic alliance in comics over the years. The major problem with the issue is really the art, though. Large sections of the story just consist of X-Force running around different Danger Room environments, which should be a great opportunity for an artist to show off. Instead, this is Ross in his early Image imitation days, so most of the locales are unconvincing, plus the cast often suffers from ugly faces, clumsy poses, and just bad anatomy.
Credits: Terry Kavanagh (plot), Ben Raab (script), Ed Benes (penciler), Joe Pimentel (inker), Mike Thomas & Malibu (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Cable and Cyclops investigate Apocalypse’s abandoned stronghold in Egypt. While searching for any signs of activity, they discuss the losses Apocalypse has inflicted on their family.
Review: This follows the events of Wolverine #100, which was only a few months old at the time. Killing off minor (and extremely forgettable) villain Genesis wouldn’t immediately seem to have any real ramifications, until you remember that he’s actually Cyclops’ grandson. All of the strange connections that can be made amongst the various X-characters can be either a great strength or horrible hindrance to the franchise, depending on how they’re handled. This story doesn’t really go anywhere, but the basic idea is sound. It also has Cyclops and Cable behaving proactively by investigating Apocalypse’s resurrection, which is something we rarely see the X-characters do.