We start off by meeting this reality’s version of Jubilee, whose early life is even worse than the one she had in the main timeline. Though she does get to hang out with Gambit most of the time now, so she really shouldn’t be complaining too much. I wouldn’t.
Their “rob from [Apocalypse] and give to the [humans]” band also includes Guido, aka Strong Guy (I don’t know what makes him more 90s – his Captain Obvious style name or his outrageous muscle mass), Sunspot, and Lila Cheney. Which is a strange hodge podge of characters, but they seem to work pretty well together. We follow Jubilee, Guido and Sunspot as they fight off Apocalpse’s goons and deliver some stolen supplies to people who desperately need them. They then head underground, to a place we know as the Morlock tunnels, and run right into Magneto. They’re itching for a fight, but Gambit tells him he led Mags here so they need to cool it.
We also get some exposition dumped on us to remind us that Gambit really loves Rogue but he left the X-men because she married Magneto. Which I guess is necessary if you haven’t read the other books, but man am I tired of it by now.
Magneto is going with them to break into a place where Apocalypse stores some science equipment he’s not currently using because they’re going to need it for the mission he’s sending them on. That mission being to nab the M’Kraan crystal.
They’re attacked by some of Apocalypse’s followers, or I guess specifically follower, because they’re all just multiples of Jamie Madrox which get the much cooler name of Madri here. Our heroes have no trouble dispatching them completely, and are met by Peter Corbeau, who is a human and yet also works for Apocalypse. I think this is our first official confirmation that Apocalypse is a hyprocite, because even though he claims mutants are superior to all humans, he’s keeping Corbeau around because he’s a genius.
Corbeau is still sensible enough to help out the good guys, and as such is letting them use Apocalypse’s equipment to find the crystal. Since they can’t exactly hop on a space ship, they’re going to need Lila’s powers to get them there. Too bad up until this point she doesn’t even know she’s a mutant. Honestly, I’m kind of baffled as to why this plot device is here, unless they just wanted to stretch out the story for a couple extra pages. Regardless not long after she’s hooked up to the machine, her dormant powers resurface.
As much as I hate the whole “clothes being torn off” trope in comics, there’s something about her pose here I really like.
Just as she’s opening the portal, Richter shows up to interrupt them and hopefully make himself look good in front of Apocalypse.
Unfortunately for him…
He gets sucked right into the portal with them instead. Corbeau then sets the place to blow up as a final “in your face” for Apocalypse.
Beyond the strange “mutant but didn’t know it” thread, this issue is fairly solid. We get lots of nods to the original universe, even down to Guido still having a crush on Lila, and I love that Jubilee is still Jubilee in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s a pretty good set up for this adventure and it definitely ends on a good cliff hanger making you want to know what happens next.
Oh, and Gambit and Lila are a couple now. I can’t really include it in my summary because it would feel as out of place as the comments thrown into the issue are that tell us about it. And it just makes me feel bad for Lila since we know Gambit’s still in love with Rogue.
I’m also really mixed on the art. The face details are abysmal in places, but the wider shots of action are pretty stunning. It’s obvious where Tony Daniels strengths are. Lila also frequently suffers from broke back syndrome, which is disappointing. But I’ve always been far more interested in the story of comics rather than the art, and so far this story has me interested.