The Ripple Effect
Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Cary Nord (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Gina Going (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters)
Summary: After the Friends of Humanity nuke the X-Men’s mansion, President pro tem Graydon Creed declares amnesty for Nick Fury and SHIELD. Now promoted to General, Fury invades the Six’s home, allegedly to “protect” them from terrorists. The Six, joined by Cerebro, escape to Forge’s mountain headquarters where they meet the pro-mutant resistance: Captain America, Sebastian Shaw, Katherine Pryde, and Sunfire. Abruptly, Sunfire turns on his teammates and destroys the mountain complex. The team escapes with Captain America, while Forge’s new Cerebro design emerges as a monster from the wreckage.
“That’s Crazy Because They’re Different”: Kitty, now Katherine, Pryde has become the Hellfire Club’s Black Queen since her last appearance. Sebastian Shaw, for some reason, has yellow word balloons and is apparently wearing armor based on Ronan the Accuser’s. Nick Fury is still a remorseless anti-mutant bigot on this world.
Continuity Notes: There are a lot of vague deaths in the issue. The X-Men were killed in the nuclear attack, according to Cerebro. Sebastian Shaw, Katherine Pryde, and Forge are apparently killed when the mountain complex is destroyed, at least according to Bloodstorm. Sunfire is presumably dead, too.
“Huh?” Moments: Where to start? For some reason, two Nightcrawlers are members of the X-Men during their group shot. Graydon Creed has somehow become President in-between issues (What happened to President Starr and Vice President Kelly? Or Reed Richards becoming President in the ’99 annual?). And, most egregiously, Havok warns Brute to keep his voice down while traveling underwater in the team’s jet, because Nick Fury, who’s several yards away in another ship, might hear him. That one has got to go down in the Howard Mackie Hall of Fame.
Better Than X-Factor? : Oh, this is somehow even worse than X-Factor. What could you even say about something this bad? I guess I’m obligated to mention that Cary Nord’s art is stylish and attractive, but for some reason he draws one horrific Captain America. It’s unbelievable that an artist who’s clearly extremely talented could dog one of Marvel’s most important characters so badly. If only that were the issue’s only flaw…
This is essentially unreadable. Apparently, Mackie’s decided that the Mutant X universe needs a massive humans vs. mutants conflict, because that’s never been done, but he doesn’t know how to undo the peaceful relations he’s already established for the book. Now, he could develop this in a credible way, as he creates a series of events that begin to unravel the passive co-existence between the two races. Maybe use the series to write a thoughtful examination of just how fragile peace could be. Make the readers care as they watch old hates resurface and mutants go back into hiding. But, no, this is Mutant X. In a move that would make even a fanfic writer blush, Mackie’s decided that the entire mutant/human dynamic of this universe will be undone in just four pages.
Now, Havok and his teammates are a persecuted minority, because of course they are, and they’re on the run from the comically bigoted Nick Fury. (And don’t call him “Colonel” any more, unless you want him to literally kill you.) They run into more arbitrary recastings of established characters, which are promptly killed off by Sunfire, who’s suddenly taking orders from a mysterious “they” who want everyone dead. Things blow up, people die off-panel, and somehow Captain America becomes a team member. So, that’s the new direction, I guess. Captain America joins a persecuted group of mutants, and who cares how many continuity and logic errors had to be endured in order to get here. How did any of this get past an editor?