When we last left our heroes, they were hitching a ride through space thanks to Lila Cheney’s teleportation powers. They end up in the Shi’ar galaxy, staring down the Imperial Guard. Their leader Gladiator tells them to surrender, but Gambit chooses to run. The Guard pursue them, but after a brief scuffle that involves Gladiator hitting Strong Guy with a huge boulder and Strong Guy responding by punching him out of the atmosphere, they manage to escape.
They don’t make it far into the forest though until they are taken prisoner by the plants. That’s right, on this planet the plants are sentient. I was kind of hoping this might be the planet that the Dark Phoenix destroyed in the main timeline, but apparently not. A half shi’ar alien who was been exiled on the planet finds the heroes and explains to them what is going on. In this reality, D’Ken came to power, overthrowing Deathbird and killing Lilandra, therefore leaving him free to abuse the M’Kraan crystal’s powers as he chose since Lilandra couldn’t call upon the Professor for help. As such the crystal is going haywire and occasionally blinking planets out of existence, and the one they are currently on is next.
This bout of exposition is interrupted by the Imperial Guard, who have been led here by Rictor, who hitched a ride with the X-ternals. But they don’t truly have time to fight before the world starts turning to crystal. Lila can’t tap into her power again, so it would seem like things are hopeless. But fortunately the Starjammers save them in the nick of time, and in this reality they are led by Deathbird. She tells them that the crystal is much more than they ever imagined, and it wants their help to fix what’s going wrong.
Then Gambit rips some wires out of a console on the ship for no good reason. I have no idea.
I enjoyed the change of scenery after so much apocalyptic bleak landscapes I’ve been subjected to in the other series, but this issue did have its problems. Jubilee’s sarcasm is cranked up to 11, to the point where even I can’t enjoy it anymore. Lila starts the first half of the issue naked, then magically gets a costume that couldn’t have possibly been given to her by the alien, so was it and its bulky belt and headband hiding in Gambit’s purse? And then there’s that last bit of Gambit seemingly trashing a ship he just got rescued by. It’s there mostly so he can raise the wires charged with kinetic energy over his head while he proudly proclaims that he’s going to save the universe. You want to draw something cool, I get it, but it should really make sense in some way. If I was Deathbird I’d drop him off in the vacuum of space for doing that.