Credits: John Francis Moore (story), Jim Cheung & Nelson DeCastro (art), Mark Morales/Rod Ramos/Rob Stull (inkers), Marie Javins (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters)
Summary: As X-Force tries to escape with the cybernetic brain Archie, Magneto arrives to block their exit. Moonstar’s new quantum powers are the team’s only advantage. When her powers short out, Cannonball is forced to call Jesse Bedlam, who’s waiting at a nearby power plant. Using his powers, Jesse creates a massive blackout, which enables the Magistrates to penetrate the capital. Magneto is forced to abandon X-Force, and with Quicksilver’s help, the team escapes. Archie is connected to a Life Model Decoy, and Cannonball is given another Memory Box. Absorbing the memories, he realizes his father and uncle might be guilty of murder.
Continuity Notes: Jesse Bedlam drops a vial of his pills near Domino. He’s forced to admit that he takes electro-neural inhibitors because his powers interfere with his brain chemistry.
Review: So, as it turns out, Peter Wisdom and his friend the sentient brain don’t serve any great purpose, although this storyline does inadvertently set up Wisdom’s role in X-Force’s upcoming relaunch. One disadvantage to John Francis Moore’s dense plotting is the occasional lack of gratifying payoff when a story’s concluded, which is what Wisdom’s story falls victim to. Moore does establish Archie as an old friend of Wisdom’s and gives them a reunion scene (and something of a happy ending for Archie) at the conclusion of the issue, but their story has been so rushed it’s hard to care. I get that Moore’s trying to make Archie more than just a plot device, but cramming his history with Wisdom into a couple of panels isn’t a very effective way of pulling the idea off.
Overall, though, this is still a decent arc. X-Force’s past with Magneto is acknowledged in a brief flashback, and although Moore’s writing Magneto as the villain Marvel wanted him to be during this era, he’s not as irrational and aggressive as he often appeared during these days. He’s actually able to maintain a conversation with X-Force and present his point of view somewhat reasonably. And Jim Cheung undeniably draws a great Magneto, so the fight scenes look fantastic. This has largely been a diversion from the big story Moore’s been building for months, but it’s entertaining in its own right and unlike some of the previous issues, doesn’t come across as flagrant time killer.