The X-Men connect with X-Factor for the first time since the X-Men were “killed” on live T.V. and went into hiding, which means Wolverine has to flirt with Jean Grey of X-Factor (because he’s never seen her alive), the members of X-F have to be all upset about the members of X-M letting them believe they were dead, etc. And of course this has to get resolved via a bunch of fights between the teams. But to be fair, Wolverine is a dick. First he kisses Jean and then…
…He totally rubs it in and, frankly, acts pretty rape-y. And speaking of rape-y…
…Did Longshot just use his “luck” power to get lucky? Anyway, the two teams beat each other up.
Except for the two strongest women on each team. They seem to understand how to talk through their feelings. Very nice sequence.
Everyone else keeps fighting until N’astirh shows up and reminds everyone that we’re in the middle of the Inferno Event.
Once the teams are united against N’astirh, it’s a solid, giant battle, complete with a Fastball Special.
We haven’t had one of these in a long, long time.
The major event-related developments are, first, Havok being corrupted by Madelyne, who is now the Goblin Queen, and becoming the Goblin Prince (note: Not King).
Second, baby Nate Summers is able to project a cry of distress to Jean. Now, his real mom is Madelyne, but Maddie is (a) the Goblin Queen; and (b) a clone of Jean Grey.
And finally, Storm kills N’Astirh with lightning blasts.
This leaves the X-teams united to face Madelyne Pryor (with the enthralled Havok
Facing Madelyne, she reveals she has the power to bring out demons in people, which means that no sooner have X-Factor and X-Men united than they start fighting again. Maddie reveals that for many years she’s been using her manipulative powers to put the mutants against each other, including going as far back and forcing Cyclops to lose his battle with Storm when she challenged his leadership of the X-Men.
Big retcons like this are hard to pull off, and with any other writer I’d doubt it, but I can totally see Chris Claremont having had this idea for a very long time and patiently waiting until now to reveal it. Especially after the X-Men “died” and allowed their friends to grieve the losses without making any effort to tell them they were alive.
Anyway, the X-Factor issue is full of hero-on-hero fights, and they’re fun to watch, until, ultimately, the Phoenix Force returns as a deus ex machina and basically picks Jean Grey over Madelyne, her clone.
I would much rather have had a clean death for Madelyne, but this is essentially a death as Jean Grey’s personality dominates and takes her over in the merge.
Scott and Nate are reunited, and the teams swear revenge against Mister Sinister.
And Beast gives Angel the name Archangel.
X-Men: Creators: Chris Claremont, Marc Silvestri, Grade: C+
X-Factor: Creators: The Simonsons. Grade: B-