When I first sought this issue out (I already had two of the Uncanny issues and X-Factor #60) I was so excited and the anticipation was fantastic. After all, Jim Lee was drawing this issue! How awesome was that! Unfortunately, I received my first comic book lesson at that point. Sometimes, guest artists will do covers of certain issues. It was such a let down, because the interior is done by Jon Bogdanove. The same Bogdanove that has trashed several X-Factor issues. I was heartbroken.
But it’s still a pretty decent ending to one of the best X-overs ever (although I admit that my perceptions are a bit clouded simply because this crossover got me into X-Men). Looking at it objectively, it’s still a decent issue, despite the art. Bogdanove’s art may be bad, but he seems to have a pretty good grasp at exciting panels, which is something Yap (remember the guy from the previous chapter) failed at miserably.
We pick up immediately at the close of the previous chapter. Rictor and Wolfsbane are hunting Hodge and they find him. Of course neither one are terribly effective and as Cable tries to help, he finds out that he’s pretty useless too. The only one to do any real damage is Storm, but Hodge traps her. She takes out his laser gun, but not before she is injured and soon, she is at his mercies. Then Archangel shows up, attacking the hump on Hodge’s back, destroying his ability to phase. Of course, Hodge has many weapons and he takes down Archangel too.
Before Hodge can kill Archangel, Havok shows up. Then Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Wolverine. It’s now four against one. Even as Cyclops and Havok pound on him, Hodge impales Wolverine with his tail and crushes Jean, taking both out of the fight. Luckily, he then retreats under the onslaught of the brothers’ powers.
Cyclops and Havok chase Hodge to the top of the citadel where they blow apart the top in a great scene (it’s down below). They keep hammering at Hodge, destroying his cybernetic body little at a time. Finally, Hodge’s head (reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail “I’m not dead yet” scene) is knocked off the ledge. When Havok investigates, Hodge’s “tongue” reaches out and bites Havok’s neck, pulling him and Cyclops over (yes, it really is as gross as it sounds). The brothers lose their grip and fall off, prepared to fall the several stories to the ground. However, Jean uses her TK to grab them and pull Hodge loose. Hodge falls to the ground where Wolfsbane picks him up, tosses him at the citadel, and Rictor uses his power to collapse the citadel on top of the monster.
By the way, it’s not that there’s a big plot hole regarding everybody else that was hurt last chapter. But it feels like filler and nothing really happens. Beast finds everybody and with some mutate help and the help of the Magistrates, everybody is evacuated from the citadel.
The chapter, and saga, ends at Warlock’s funeral, as his ashes are sprinkled on Doug’s grave (for you newcomers, that’s Doug Ramsay, aka Cypher, a New Mutant who was Warlock’s best friend and was killed some time ago).
One of the praises I had for Claremont’s issues is the storytelling comes across as a well directed movie or TV show. The panels highlight moments, they are spaced perfectly, you can almost envision the cutaway scenes as things build, but occasionally we have to take a break from the high pitched action to find out what’s happening with other characters. Despite Bogdanove’s bad art, he accomplishes this just as great as Claremont does.
Additionally, I had a major issue with the last chapter because there was almost no attention paid to the battles with Hodge. Every single mutant was taken down so fast and we never got to see any of them shine. This issue was different. Granted, some were taken down with ease (poor Cable) but they were all given a spotlight and I never felt like any of them (except, again, maybe Cable) were cannon fodder.
The cliche, “don’t judge a book by its cover” has two meanings with this issue. first of all, IT WASN’T DRAWN BY JIM LEE. Mother %$^&er! Second, although the art is bad, the storytelling I felt was above average at least. It’s definitely worth a read and maybe not the best way to end the crossover, but definitely decent and could have been a lot worse.
Of course, 13 year old me hated this ending because it wasn’t drawn by Jim Lee.