Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Marie Javins (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters)
Summary: The Demon Bear attacks San Francisco, and X-Force soon learns that Arcadia is its target. She explains that the Bear has been stalking her since her last encounter with Moonstar. Soon, the Bear swallows both Arcadia and Moonstar. Inside the Bear, they see images of Moonstar’s horse Brightwind and Arcadia’s doll Mary Weather. The doll explains that the Demon Bear was created when Arcadia absorbed Moonstar’s memories. They must combine their reality-warping powers to unmake it. After following the doll’s instructions, the Demon Bear disappears. In the smoke, four versions of Moonstar emerge.
- Siryn is visiting her “aunt” (actually her mother’s cousin, according to the narrative captions) Victoria Donnely in Looking Glass, California. In an antique shop, an elderly woman puts a necklace around Siryn’s neck and it begins to glow.
- Sunspot, meanwhile, is adjusting to life in the Hellfire Club. The story hints that his first love Juliana, recently resurrected by Selene, might actually have memories of him.
- While fighting the Demon Bear, two mystery figures in business suits (Mr. Wu, Miss Lloyd) spy on Meltdown. Wu cryptically says that they “need a third.”
- Risque makes a sudden appearance during the Demon Bear fight to aid Proudstar. Later, armed SHIELD agents arrive and target the Bear. It reads as if both of these appearances are creations of Moonstar/Arcadia’s reality warping powers, but the next issue confirms that they're really there.
Review: It’s John Francis Moore’s penultimate issue, and true to form, it’s crammed with subplots, narrative captions, and New Mutants references. Evoking the Claremont/Sienkiewicz “Demon Bear Saga” is a dangerous move given its canonization over the years, but after months of teasing, Moore makes it clear that he’s not honestly trying to write a sequel to the original story. Instead, it was just a tease, setting up the final stage of the Moonstar/Arcadia story. Arcadia is of course tied in with the prolonged Deviants storyline that’s become something of a drag on the book, but Moore does a decent job this issue of making Arcadia interesting in her own right. The flashbacks to her childhood (memories Moonstar now shares) are pretty effective in fleshing her out, and Cheung gets some mileage out of Arcadia’s living Raggedy Anne doll that conveniently tells the heroes what they need to do. However, I have to say that the subplots seem more intriguing than the main story. And with only one issue left, it’s hard to imagine that they’re going to be properly addressed before Moore’s departure.