Credits: Jay Faerber (writer), Gregg Schigiel (penciler), Bob Wiacek/Al Milgrom/Nelson DeCastro (inks), Felix Serrano & Kevin Tinsley (colors), Comicraft (letters)
Summary: Using Artie’s telepathic link with Banshee, Generation X abandon Emma and attempt to rescue Banshee on their own. They discover that he’s being held by Hunter Brawn, an older man with the ability to create an exo-armor. The child kidnapped from the school was actually his grandson, Tristan. When Hunter realizes that Banshee is the school’s headmaster and not a government agent, he agrees to free him. Banshee talks Hunter into allowing Tristan to return to the school, unaware of Hunter’s true motives.
· Hunter uses a Genoshan inhibitor collar to block Banshee’s powers while holding him captive. These collars first appeared in the X-Men cartoon, and made it into the comics continuity during Warren Ellis’ Excalibur run.
· Despite Adrienne’s claim in a previous issue, the school is still using the old “Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters” name instead of “The Massachusetts Academy.”
· Artie’s ability to mentally connect with Banshee from far away and project Banshee’s memories of his kidnapping is revealed as a new iteration of his powers.
· Gaia abruptly leaves the team before they depart on their rescue mission, citing her desire to see this world instead of reading about it.
· The new uniforms debut this issue. The masks are there to protect the team’s identity from the new human students at the school.
· The costumed villain on the cover is Hunter’s super-strong aide, Legault. He’s the one who knocked Banshee out last issue.
Review: This is largely an action issue, but Faerber works a surprising amount of plot into it. Artie has a new power, Gaia is leaving the team (inspired by a conversation with X-Man of all people), a new villain and his grandson and assorted flunkies are introduced, new costumes debut, plus the team leaves on a mission without Emma’s consent, leading to a cliffhanger that has Husk convinced they’re getting expelled. This last element is the one I have a problem with, since Faerber doesn’t give the team any real motivation for striking out on their own. The stated reason is that they don’t trust her following the disclosure of her past with Dark Beast, but that’s a stretch. The previous story didn’t reveal anything truly scandalous about Emma’s association, and it’s certainly no worse than her past with the Hellfire Club. Plus, nothing in their behavior indicates they’re upset by the revelation. They’re still joking around and goofing off, not exactly the behavior of a group of teens that feels betrayed by their mentor.
The highlight of the issue would be the introduction of the new costumes, which are an attractive combination of the traditional X-uniforms and the original Gen X outfits. I never liked the original costumes, even when Chris Bachalo drew them, so I’m relieved to see someone take the red and gold color scheme and do something else with it. I also like the addition of the masks. They make sense given the new status quo of the title, and add a classic heroic touch that’s often missing from X-team designs.