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This week’s new comics:  X-Men Gold #9 and Justice League #26 (that’s right…first brand new DC comic in years).

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X-Factor #125 (August 1996)

The Ticking Clock” (part 1) and “Free Fall” (part 2)
[Onslaught, Impact 1]

cover

Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  Jeff Matsuda (part 1) and Stefano Raffaele (part 2)
Inks:  Al Milgrom

Remember how Onslaught left the X-Mansion with Dark Beast?  Well now we find out what happened…  Of course Onslaught is not terribly patient and threatens to choke the bitch…er…Beast.  Dark Beast has lackeys, of course.  Fatale is easily knocked aside by Onslaught but then Havok shows up and that actually piques Onslaught’s interest.

Meanwhile, a rogue Sentinel is going nuts, tearing its way through X-Factor’s compound.  We get a mention of an incoming emergency transmission, but this crisis interrupted Forge before he could answer it (three guesses as to who the transmission was from).  X-Factor isn’t having much luck against the Sentinel, so Forge sends Mystique to a cell in the lower levels to bring up a prisoner:  Sabretooth.

However, before Mystique can release Sabretooth, Fatale shows up and takes them both out of play (we’re not actually shown how, but I assume she teleports them away).  Then above ground, Fatale shows up and whisks the sentinel away, leaving X-Factor very confused.  X-Factor can track the Sentinel, though, and they rush off to follow it.  Random, however, expresses misgivings about going on this mission.  Meanwhile, in X-Factor’s base, a transmission comes in from Jean Grey, asking for anybody’s help against an insane Xavier….

Havok
Cry “Havok”!

X-Factor has tracked the sentinel to Brand Corp.  Before bursting in, though, Forge is going to check around back.  Meanwhile, Wildchild announces that the door is heating up and finally it explodes!  There stands Havok and Fatale.  Polaris is shocked.  Heck, the whole team is shocked.  Except for Random.  He tries to pull Polaris back, wanting her to be cautious because Havok isn’t the same.  Of course how could Random know?  Hmmm? (here’s a hint…Random was also working for Dark Beast)  Havok responds with a blast of energy that is deflected by Polaris.  But while she’s trying to protect her team, Random transforms both his arms into guns and threatens to shoot Wildchild if she doesn’t lower the shield.

Meanwhile, Forge climbs deep into the facility to find an army of Sentinels, prepped for launch.  But before he can alert anybody, he is grabbed from behind.  Up above, Polaris pleads to Havok to break the brainwashing and she scolds Random for betraying her friends.  Suddenly, Post and Forge crash through the wall above them (I thought they were below?  ugh, this is confusing).  Forge cries out a warning that Onslaught has taken control of the Sentinels.  The battle starts with Lorna squaring off against Havok, but he takes her down.  Random tries to leap to her aid, but a blast of Havok disables him, revealing Random’s true form (which apparently is that of a geeky kid).

Random
this is Random???

Havok and Lorna once again face off, but there is struggling going on within Havok.  He doesn’t want to hurt her and Lorna knows it.  She wraps him up in a magnetic field and the wall collapses.  But then suddenly, the Sentinels launch!

Meanwhile, Mystique and Sabretooth are dropped into a free-fall.  At the bottom of the pit, they find Dark Beast who is there to make an offer.  He reveals that he has the original Beast captive and offers them to join Onslaught’s side.  To prove their loyalty, he simply asks them to kill Forge who Fatale drops at their feet.  Dark Beast taunts them, reminding them that Forge is the one who has kept them both captive.  For a moment, it appears they will murder the maker, but then suddenly Mystique shoots Dark Beast and Sabretooth leaps at him.

Dark Beast momentarily overpowers Sabretooth and goes after Mystique and Forge, picking them both up by their necks.  Sabretooth places a single claw to Beast’s neck, demanding their freedom.  Beast drops them and Sabretooth clocks him.  However, before Sabretooth can deliver the final blow, Fatale teleports Dark Beast away, leaving the trio to watch the death of the original Beast!

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This isn’t a bad issue.  It’s not great either, but it’s enjoyable, especially if you like Sabretooth and Mystique (for me, I never cared for the Havok/Polaris).  Seeing those two verbally spar off against each other is the best part of this issue.  In fact, the entire second half is better than the entire first half.  Watching the internal debate over killing Forge and joining Dark Beast gives some great character to those two.  It doesn’t really come as a surprise for Mystique since she’s long had a relationship with Forge, but Sabretooth’s intentions are a little more odd.  I think he just figures Onslaught and Dark Beast are just less likely to betray him.

sabretooth vs beast

On top of all that, it’s great seeing Mystique be creative in her powers.  Forge may be preventing her from accessing the X-Men’s shapes/powers, but she’s getting pretty inventive.

The art is a mixed bag.  I’ve never cared for Jeff Matsuda’s art, but I can understand why some people like him.  Stefano’s 2nd half seems to be typical 90’s glare with the huge exaggerated muscles, etc.  But overall, I think it’s easier to look at than Matsuda.

One of my favorite little parts is seeing the transmission from Jean come through (the one she placed in Onslaught:  X-Men).  To know that they all just barely missed it and it’s a great reminder of what’s going on elsewhere.

 

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