Credits: Jay Faerber (writer), Terry Dodson (penciler), Rachel Dodson (inker), Nic Musolino (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)
Summary: While Emma continues to sulk, Jubilee and Skin try to cheer up Chamber, M questions Artie and Leech on the Biosphere’s disappearance, and Gaia flirts with Synch. During a boxing match, Banshee goads Emma into talking about her feelings. After she declares that she doesn’t need her telepathic powers, they return. Soon, the team realizes that Chamber’s powers have also returned. Later, Emma gathers the team and makes two announcements -- Gaia is joining the school, and the team will adopt new uniforms.
Continuity Notes: Emma’s telepathic powers actually returned at the end of the previous issue. That scene is dismissed as a brief “telepathic fluctuation” this issue.
Review: I remember reading that this was done as a try-out issue for Jay Faerber, who editor Frank Pittarese was considering as Larry Hama’s replacement. Faerber got the job, ending Hama’s long history of monthly freelancing for Marvel. The internet was indignant over Hama’s run, and overall sales were down by this point, so I’m sure Pittarese thought that a new writer could slow the bleeding at least.
Faerber’s run was quite popular amongst X-fans, even though his initial fill-in is pretty unremarkable. There’s apparently some behind-the-scenes confusion going on, since the entire story centers on Emma finally regaining her powers, an event that already occurred in the previous issue. Sure, they try to cover it with a few lines of dialogue, but I think it’s a safe bet that this issue was commissioned before the ending of #44 was written. The lengthy build-up to her powers’ return is a bit superfluous, and the gratuitous use of splash pages and large panels leads me to believe that there just isn’t enough of a story here. The brief cutaway scenes with the rest of the cast aren’t so bad, though. M’s upset that no one’s asked her how she feels about losing her telepathic powers, which serves as the once-a-year reminder that she also has psychic powers. Faerber handles Synch’s response to her attention-seeking well. Chamber, it’s revealed, actually regained his powers three days ago. He just didn’t feel like saying anything. He was brooding at the beginning of the issue because he missed Husk; a nice twist and character beat. Faerber’s real strength is characterization, and his dialogue is usually sharp, so I think he’s a decent choice to appeal to the fans of the Lobdell days.