Collects Uncanny X-Men #294–296; X-Factor #84–86; X-Men Vol. 2 #14–16; X-Force #16–18

Writers: Scott Lobdell, Peter David, Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Jae Lee, Al Milgrom, Greg Capullo, Harry Candelario, Brandon Peterson, Terry Austin, Andy Kubert, Mark Pennington

For a huge cross-over event across all x comics at the time, this held together quite well. The main enemy is Stryfe but Mr. Sinister and Apocalypse appear as well. Of course there are bad points, too. The cast of heroes is very big but most of them don’t make a marked difference. There’s even a point when Boom-Boom’s jaw is broken but in the rest of the issues it’s Polaris whose jaw is broken. There’s longwinded monologues from the villains, mostly Stryfe but also from the rest. Archangel makes a deadly mistake by not offing Apocalypse when he had the chance. Lots of unnecessary exposition. The whole thing winds around the Summers clan which some reader hate and other like. And people who apparently die, don’t stay dead. But the X-Men were mostly in character and I had a blast rereading it.

The event kicks off when Professor Xavier is at Lila’s concert talking about peace between humans and mutants. Some of the people in the crowd are listening but some talk back. Then, Cable appears and shoots Xavier! At the same time, Jean and Scott are kidnapped from a diner by Caliban and some other Storm Riders.
Xavier is quickly taken to the Mansion where the Beast and Doctor MacTaggert start to work on him. The professor has been shot with a techno-organic virus which is taking over his body but is still alive. The X-Men and X-Factor band together. Some of them go after X-Force who are the former New Mutants whom Cable took under his wing. Nobody knows where Cable is but the X-Men think that the X-Force will know. Unfortunately, they don’t but the X-Men take the kids as prisoners anyway. The rest of the X-Men go after the Horsemen and Apocalypse.

The Summers clan is at the center of the whole event, especially Jean and Scott. The writers don’t explicitly say it but Cable is the son of Scott and Madelyne (Jean’s clone) and apparently Stryfe is the clone of Cable. So, Stryfe has now decided to avenge his crappy childhood on his parents (Scott and Jean), brother Cable, and Apocalypse, the man who raised him. Jean isn’t his mother but he treats her as one. Of course, Madelyne is dead at this point so it’s not possible to get satisfaction out of her. Still, Jean could have protested as some point at being made to pay for things her clone had done. Mr. Sinister is also involved.

Still, the story sticks together surprising well and the art isn’t too different from one comic to the next. The only exception is Jae Lee’s art which I ended up enjoyed quite a lot. It’s more stylized and darker than the other artists’ work. However, I think following the story requires knowing the backstory; without knowing it the story can seem just a mess.

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