Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Whilce Portacio (penciler), Task Force X (inkers), Dana Moreshead (colors), Michael Heisler (letters)
Summary: Professor Xavier contacts X-Factor through Val Cooper, and soon they join him in a submarine manned by an international task force. While X-Factor devises a way to reach Muir Island, Forge manages to free Rogue and Banshee of the Shadow King’s control. After X-Factor invades the island and defeats a group of Shadow King-possessed mutants, FBI inspector Jacob Reisz reveals himself as the Shadow King onboard the submarine. Mystique drops her disguise as Val Cooper and shoots Reisz. On Muir Island, the united mutants discover Polaris is being used as the nexus between the physical word and the Astral Plane. Shadow King possesses Legion and suddenly triggers an explosion.
Rogue is now wearing her third outfit of the storyline. This time, she’s wearing her standard uniform from the late ‘80s. More wonky continuity -- Colossus disappears this issue, as he’s with Xavier in Washington DC, but not onboard the submarine or with X-Factor when they reach Muir Island.
Marvel Girl’s telepathic powers have fully returned in-between issues. Previous issues hinted that they might return, but the confirmation is treated as an already accepted fact.
Banshee refers to Polaris as somehow becoming a “human catalyst for negative emotions.” The Shadow King is using this ability to connect her to the Astral Plane. If you’re thinking that this doesn’t make a lot of sense, bear in mind that this ties into an aborted Chris Claremont plot. Apparently, Claremont wanted to reveal that Polaris’ powers aren’t inherently magnetism, but instead the ability to imitate other mutants’ powers. After being in contact with Malice for so long, her powers mutated once again. (More details in this Comics Should Be Good column - http://goodcomics.
comicbookresources.com/2012/ 11/17/the-abandoned-an- forsaked-what-happened-to- polaris-powers/ )
I Love the '90s: Iceman works in a reference to the Bon Jovi song “Blaze of Glory.”
Review: Okay, I’ll give Fabian Nicieza credit. His second chapter of the crossover is much, much stronger than his first. The scripting is noticeably better, as Nicieza shows he has a handle on the X-Factor cast, giving us brief glimpses into their personalities and the dynamics of their relationships. He also addresses the issue of Nathan’s disappearance as well as could be expected, and does a decent job handling the team’s quickie reunion with Xavier. There’s obviously not a lot of room for these scenes, as The Plot must be fed, but he accomplishes what he needs to do without making the conversations seem unnecessarily rushed. Regarding the main plot, thankfully we’re not forced to endure too many pages of heroes vs. brainwashed heroes on Muir Island. The scenes alternating between the “free” heroes on the island and Xavier’s task force plotting their next moves are much more interesting to read. Plus, there’s Jacob Reisz finally being exposed as the Shadow King, and the revelation that Mystique didn’t commit suicide a year earlier in Uncanny X-Men, which are great moments for fans who have stuck through this storyline from the beginning. This is also Whilce Portacio’s best issue so far, as he keeps the ugly faces to a minimum and is able to alternate between the conversation scenes and the action scenes (packed with numerous characters) quite well.