Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Mike Grell (pencils), Nelson (inks), Veronica Gandini (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters)
Summary: Shadowcat has a nightmare about Wolverine’s clone returning to Summers Cove and killing her friends. Convinced the clone is still alive, she uses the Starjammer’s technology to track him down. She discovers he sailed to Japan on a stolen fishing boat. Shadowcat sneaks away in the Starjammer’s skimmer, unaware that ‘Ro and Lockheed are inside. She travels to Japan to warn Mariko that she could be the clone’s next target. Instead of finding Mariko, Shadowcat discovers the Silver Samurai forming an alliance with Matsuo of the Hand. Meanwhile in the mansion, Mystique trains with Nightcrawler and Rogue, while Cyclops suffers a head injury while playing basketball with Daisy. The injury unlocks his childhood memory of Robyn Hanover.
- The recap page claims that Mr. Sinister is suffering from Burnout, which would seem to directly contradict information given in previous issues.
- Jean Grey is staying with Gambit, ‘Ro, and Lockheed in Alaska to be with Shadowcat while she recovers from her injuries. The ending of the previous issue didn’t make clear that she would be a part of this group.
- Jean notices that Robyn Hanover has unusually strong mental barriers.
- Mike Grell draws Wolverine’s claws extremely off-model. Instead of coming from his knuckles, they extract from his wrist.
- Mystique’s (extremely gaudy) new costume debuts. She also has pupils now for some reason.
- Daisy refers to Sabretooth as “Victor,” indicating that Claremont has accepted the real name given the character after he left the title.
Review: It’s hard to complain about getting Mike Grell as a fill-in artist, but that off-model Wolverine is difficult to overlook. Although, looking at the cover of the next issue, I see that Tom Grummett is also drawing Wolverine’s claws extracting from the wrist, so who knows where this is originating from. It’s a strange move to make (why change where Wolverine’s claws appear now after all these years?), almost as unfathomable as the decision to change Mystique’s classic costume into this bizarre gold-plated ‘70s stripper/Bond Girl ensemble. And Mystique with pupils always looks wrong to me. The movies might be able to get away with it (live actors with no pupils might be excessively creepy), but I can’t understand why anyone would think this is acceptable in the comics. Those are all fanboy complaints based on the way I’m used to seeing things, of course, and not a comment on the actual quality of the art. It’s a nice looking issue, although it takes a few pages to adjust to the fact that Grell’s style is based more on traditional illustration and not superhero art.
The story continues the ongoing Shadowcat plot, which is probably my least favorite storyline from this series. Kitty’s actually written rather well for the majority of the issue, I’ve just yet to hit a moment in the story that convinces me that turning her into a partial clone of Wolverine is a good idea. The potential romance between Gambit and Kitty is also touched upon, with Gambit now deciding that he can’t get involved with Kitty while she’s going through an identity crisis. I’m not sure if there ever was a real point behind bringing them together, aside from Claremont just proving that he can because this is a new continuity, but I suppose this offers some insight into Claremont’s characterization of Gambit. He’s certainly not Dirtbag Gambit, unless Claremont intends a major fakeout later. Honestly, if this is the end of their flirting, I’m perfectly okay with that. The story might initially seem needlessly decompressed, given that it opens with a six-page dream sequence, but the pace picks up admirably and Claremont packs enough into the issue to make it pretty satisfying. Probably the weakest moment of the issue would be the quick check-in on the mansion, which brings us a ridiculous scene of Cyclops spontaneously remembering who Robyn Hanover is after getting fouled in basketball. I really have no words for this. It’s not ridiculous enough to affect my judgment of the entire issue, but it is one of the most awkwardly composed scenes during the entire run of this series.