Endgame Part II: Heroic Effort
Credits: Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio (plot), Chris Claremont (script), Whilce Portacio (penciler), Art Thibert (inker), Glynis Oliver & Steve Buccelato (colors), Pat Brosseau (letters)
Summary: Ship’s systems go haywire, attacking the citizens of Manhattan. Inside, the Askani appears and steals Nathan from Foxbat. X-Factor assumes she’s a villain and attacks her; in the confusion, Foxbat takes back Nathan. Askani realizes she’s attacked Nathan’s family and flees. Outside, Sergeant Charlotte Jones is somehow able to enter Ship’s forcefield. She’s soon attacked by Gauntlet and rescued by Archangel. Gauntlet and his teammates teleport away. Ship manages to speak to X-Factor, and reveals that the only solution to Apocalypse’s corruption of his system is self-destruction. He shoots into space and, even as Beast tries to override his commands, explodes.
Ship’s forcefield is supposed to keep out any non-mutants. Why Charlotte Jones and (I believe) a few other humans were allowed to occasionally enter remains a mystery.
Askani, who we still don’t know is just one of many, refers to Nathan as “The Chosen.” Years later, we will discover Cable is baby Nathan, and that he’s the “The Chosen” to defeat Apocalypse.
Askani also refers to Nathan as her “little brother,” which does broadly fit with the later revelation that the Askani Clan was formed by his sister-from-another-reality, Rachel Summers.
Review: It’s a Jim Lee/ Whilce Portacio production, so not surprisingly, we’re getting a fast-moving plot and an excessive amount of cramped, awkward fight scenes. This isn’t nearly as incoherent as you might expect, however, and Claremont’s script is able to add a bit of humanity to the proceedings. There’s no room in the plot for any member of X-Factor to exhibit an awful lot of personality, but Claremont does capture the sense that these characters are all old friends, and he seems to really enjoy writing the loquacious Beast (which probably isn’t much of a shock.) Askani, on the other hand, still has that annoying robotic speech pattern that no one has ever made work, and the Dark Riders (of the Storm) are strictly generic at this stage. Portacio’s art consists of a lot of scowling and dramatic poses, but there is an energy there. I can see why a kid bored with whatever was going in Avengers at the time would get excited to see something so stylized and energetic.