Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Rodney Buchemi (pencils), Greg Adams (inks), Wilfredo Quintana (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters)
Summary: Mystique returns home with the X-Men, but Fury refuses to accept her until she’s been interrogated and psi-scanned by Jean Grey. Simultaneously, Daisy discovers Sabretooth and Moira have been kidnapped. The X-Men track them to the Morlock Tunnels, where Masque is demanding Moira use Sabretooth’s healing factor to create a cure for Burnout. During the X-Men’s rescue attempt, Cyclops and Gambit are distracted by ‘Ro, who disobeyed orders and followed the team. Masque grabs them and disfigures their faces. Meanwhile, Jean unsuccessfully attempts to scan Mystique.
- Masque claims that the Morlocks first learned of Burnout during the Mutant Massacre, when their older members burned their bodies out defending the group.
- The original, skinny incarnation of Caliban is drawn as a background Morlock. I’m assuming Rodney Buchemi simply used the wrong reference and Chris Claremont isn’t tossing out Caliban’s appearances in the Simonson/Simonson X-Factor run.
- The X-Men’s jet is referred to as the Raptor now, instead of the Blackbird.
- Mystique reveals to Fury that she fought alongside him in 1942 with Logan and Seraph in her male form.
Review: The first three issues of this run benefited greatly from Tom Grummett's art, but it's now time for him to make one of his periodic disappearances. Rodney Buchemi returns as guest artist, and if you're someone who enjoyed that period in the early '00s when the X-Men suddenly took on the appearance of the actors playing them in the movies, maybe you'll enjoy Buchemi's work. I can't say for certain that he's photo-referencing all of the cast, but it's hard to deny that brief flash of Wolverine isn't "inspired" in some way by the movies. Personally, it's not what I want to see in this book, but I can't say Buchemi's work is genuinely bad. He does have basic storytelling skills, I just don't feel as if he brings any real style to the book. It's the kind of art Bill Jemas loved, but it feels too sterile for my tastes.
Just last issue, we were lead to believe that the X-Men’s mansion was somehow floating in a ghost dimension, totally invisible and intangible to the outside world. Now, we learn that even the smelly Morlocks can just walk in and kidnap whomever they want. Cyclops does acknowledge that it’s surprising they could pass the "tesseract wall," but acknowledging a plot problem and addressing it aren’t the same thing. Surely there was some other way to bring the Morlocks into the story, assuming there’s a real need for them at all. I do like the callbacks to that bizarre bi-weekly Uncanny X-Men storyline that had Masque horribly disfiguring Jean and Banshee while Forge has elaborate Vietnam flashbacks, though.
The title’s latest retcon has Masque claiming that the Morlocks have known about Burnout since the Mutant Massacre storyline, which on one level is a reasonable way to tie existing continuity into the plot and ingratiate it within the reality of the book, but alternately just feels kind of cheap. Not as cheap as the revelation that Mystique also engaged in WWII adventures with Nick Fury and Wolverine, along with Seraph of all people. Of course she did. At the very least this book seems to be following some sense of internal logic, since Fury isn’t willing to just open his arms and take Mystique in, which seems to be the X-Men’s m.o. when dealing with established criminals. I do wish more effort was placed on explaining why Fury’s now a cast member of this book, however. I understand that the X-Men are his allies against the Consortium, and he can’t trust SHIELD at this point (again), but his decision to fake his death and essentially dedicate his life to the X-Men has been glossed over. He hypothetically has good reasons for doing so, but there’s been no attempt to dramatize his decision, and everyone in the cast just acts as if it’s perfectly normal for Fury to be a de facto X-Man now.