United We Stand
Credits: Louise Simonson (writer), Rob Liefeld (penciler), Art Thibert and Joe Rubinstein (inkers), Steve Buccellato (colors), Task Force Z (letters)
Summary: Jubilee aids Rictor and Boom-Boom against the Magistrates. A Mutate joins their side, vowing to help them fight the Genoshan government, as far as his programming will allow. Meanwhile, Wolfsbane is transformed into a Mutate. She appears on television, urging her teammates to turn themselves in. Jubilee, Rictor, and Boom-Boom head for the Genoshan citadel, just as the united X-Men, X-Factor, and New Mutants team faces Cameron Hodge. The Mutate covers for the teens, allowing them to escape, but their allies are taken into custody.
Continuity Notes: Since the previous installment, the remaining members of the X-Men, X-Factor, and New Mutants have arrived in Genosha. Independently, Jubilee arrived with Wolverine and Psylocke, who have been abducted by Cameron Hodge.
I Love the ‘90s: Boom-Boom complains about having to “Ninja Turtle our way back in” through the sewers after escaping the citadel in the previous issue.
Review: I guess we’re still in the days when a crossover meant focusing on your core cast members, as opposed to the later approach, which divided the heroes into various permutations and then continued the story regardless of the title. Now that I think about it, the Uncanny X-Men issues mainly featured Wolverine, Psylocke, and Storm, while Cyclops and Marvel Girl seemed to receive more attention in the X-Factor chapters. Not surprisingly, the focus in this issue is mainly on Rictor and Boom-Boom, and their new ally Jubilee (who’s already bragging about her friendship with Wolverine so much people are sick of it.) I prefer this approach, since it helps to keep a sense of continuity for readers who aren’t buying every chapter of the crossover, and the regular creative team is able to deal with major events involving the cast members, such as Wolfsbane becoming a Mutate (a plot point that wasn’t fully resolved until early 1994, as it turns out.) Simonson is able to keep the main storyline moving, while also making Wolfsbane’s transformation appropriately traumatic for the established cast. And the inherent danger of three teenagers, two of them without their powers, left to fend for themselves on the streets of Genosha is a nice hook for the story.
The main failing of the issue is the art, which is once again dreadfully inconsistent from page to page. Art Thibert’s pages can almost make it work as a Jim Lee impersonation in places, and Joe Rubinstein’s pages can almost make the book look like a standard Marvel comic from the era, but at no point do the styles merge. Also, I suspect that more than two inkers were used in the issue. Two of the pages towards the end, the ones focusing on Cable’s team fighting the citadel’s guards, look identical to Liefeld’s inks. And as we’ll discover in future issues, Liefeld inking himself means bolder lines, weaker anatomy, and disappearing backgrounds. If this issue had to be another rush job, I would’ve preferred Liefeld breakdowns with Thibert doing the finishes.