Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Duncan Rouleau & Trevor Scott (pencilers), Jaime Mendoza & Scott Hanna (inkers), Comicraft (letters), Glynis Oliver (colors)
Summary: Greystone learns of the kidnapping of a boy, Micah Leash, whom he believes will grow up to become the overseer of a mutant death camp. The XUE reluctantly goes along with his search for Micah, which leads to them rescuing the boy from a cult. Fixx declares that saving Micah from the cult will change his path, which sates Greystone’s bloodlust. Meanwhile, Forge gives Havok access to a secret base on the condition they never speak again.
Continuity Notes: The future Micah is described as a “betrayer to mutant and human alike…a Hound who wore no collar and no mark.” Half of his face is scarred, presumably by the cult that kidnapped him as a child. Greystone’s mother was killed by Micah, just as Greystone’s powers emerged while receiving his “M” mutant brand. Coincidentally, all of this happened at the exact moment the Summers Rebellion began, which freed the mutant camps.
Now, in the present, we learn that most XUE members have retained their host body’s memories (Fixx appears to be in the body of an amnesiac). Archer inhabits the body of international terrorist Jude Black. Desperate for some kind of family, he calls a woman named Rachel. She wants nothing to do with Jude and hangs up.
I Love the ‘90s: The cult that kidnaps Micah is a new millennium doomsday cult.
We Get Letters: A fan remarks that he hopes the series isn’t cancelled, which is responded with “The rumors are totally false, Mike. By issue #150 the core team will be decided and man, are you going to be happy!” In response to another letter that criticizes the book’s lack of direction, the editors assure the reader, “Don’t worry, though, we have a direction! It will all come to a head in issue #150 so stay with us.” Could you ask for a better demonstration for the mess this book has become?
Review: I wonder if the creative team honestly thought people cared about the XUE characters, or if this was a final, desperate shot in the dark. They’ve become the stars of the book too fast for the move to be a reaction to reader response, so it seems obvious that they were created specifically to be the new leads. Were they created as the saviors of this flagging title? They’re x-treme, they’re from the future, and they all have wacky manga haircuts. Had this been published earlier in the ‘90s, the scheme might’ve worked. By the late’90s, all of this had been done to death, especially in the X-books, and the kind of audience that elevated Cable and Bishop to superstar status wasn’t really around anymore. This issue, they’re given the token “Would you kill baby Hitler?” plot that virtually every time-traveler is assigned, and not surprisingly, Howard Mackie doesn’t bring a lot of originality or emotional resonance to the concept. The inexplicable idea that their time traveling is tied into “host bodies” is also revived, so now we’re expected to care about the XUE and the random identities they’ve assumed. What part of this is X-Factor? I’m sure most readers were relieved that the existing cast wasn’t being subjected to the horrible writing anymore, but did Marvel really think the audience wanted a soft reboot by the same creative team?