Credits: Ben Raab (writer), Anthony Williams (penciler), Troy Hubbs & Scott Koblish (inkers), Colorgraphix (colors), Jon Babcock (letters)
Summary: Jake and Sophia, a mutant/human couple in Genosha, face bigotry. Magneto unexpectedly enters and defends their love, causing the citizens to change their mind. Meanwhile, Wolverine, Archangel, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Jubilee receive a distress signal from Genosha while on their way to Egypt. They land and meet Madrox, who called for help after Magneto kidnapped Forge. Wolverine frees Forge from captivity and buys him the time he needs to reverse the effects of the mind-control device that’s forcing Genosha into tranquility. As the X-Men battle Magneto, he drops the charade and reveals himself as Exodus. Exodus claims that he’s renounced all prejudice and merely wanted to bring peace to Genosha. When the public’s free will returns, Jake and Sophia are targeted again and murdered.
- This group of X-Men is flying to Egypt to face Apocalypse, following the events of Wolverine #147.
- According to Madrox, Xavier sent him and Forge to work undercover in Genosha after Magneto was granted authority by the UN.
- The High Evolutionary makes a cameo at the end, observing the murders of Jake and Sophia. He blames the aberration of mutants for the conflict, setting up his role in the next mini-event for the X-titles.
I Love the '90s: Jubilee blesses us with a “What’s the dillie-o?” and one bizarre reference to Homey the Clown.
Review: Overlooking the cover, which is one of the most egregious cover spoilers I’ve ever seen, this annual serves as a nice example of how to write a story that fits within the edges of continuity without coming across as filler. In fact, it’s hard to think of a Magneto-era Genosha story that’s any better than this one. Ben Raab could be an inconsistent writer during this period, but the ropey plotting and corny dialogue that often dragged Excalibur down can barely be found here. Anthony Williams also produces much stronger work than was evident in his numerous fill-ins during the late ‘90s, leading me to believe he wasn’t given a last minute deadline to deal with this time.
Rather than presenting Genosha as the island of horrible mutant oppression, Raab explores the idea that the formerly oppressed mutants could be just as prejudiced as the humans. There’s no peace in Genosha because neither group can trust the another, creating an interesting hook for the story. How would Magneto react to a human/mutant romance? Is he so far gone at this point that he’s going to prevent humans from touching precious mutants, or would he make a real stand for equality? The truth is, the story doesn’t give us an answer, because Magneto doesn’t appear. (Presumably because Apocalypse has already kidnapped him for the main crossover.) Instead, a disguised Exodus takes his place, and decides to abuse his telepathic powers and simply force everyone to get along. Madrox is allowed to briefly present the counter argument, essentially saying that this might be what it takes to have peace in Genosha, but of course he’s quickly rebuffed by Forge. The heroes do the right thing and restore the public’s free will, which inevitably ends in the death of two innocent people. A depressing ending, of course, but it works as a reminder of what a nightmare Genosha is supposed to be. Compare this to say, Magneto Rex, and it’s easy to see how poorly the status quo was usually handled.