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My geek pulls for the week (I know, I’m a bit behind…registering my kids for school is a pain in the ass):  First Strike #1, Flash #28, Generations Jean Grey and the Phoenix, Jean Grey #5, Old Man Logan #27, Secret Empire #7, and Secret Empire #8 (#7 was damaged so it took extra time for my LCS to get me a copy).

I’m finally done with rebagging my comics, so it’s time to actually start organizing my geek den!

A little unusual here, because I’m covering a title that’s part of Onslaught, Impact 2, even though we haven’t finished all of the Impact 1 (or even Phase 1) issues yet.  That’s because this issue does take place immediately after the previous issue so it just made more sense.

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 X-Factor #126 (September 1996)

The Beast Within
[Onslaught, Impact 2]

cover

Writer:  Howard Mackie
Layouts:  Trimpe
Pencils:  Stefano Raffaele
Inks:  Al Milgrom

Still reeling from the battles and revelations of last issue, Forge splits up the group, leaving Polaris and Shard to watch the prisoners:  Havok and Random.  Wildchild and Mystique head off one way while Forge and Sabretooth head off another, both hoping to find the real McCoy (no, I’m not sorry I made that joke…this issue even makes this joke…so I’m not sorry…maybe a little sorry…#sorrynotsorry).

As the teams search the halls of his complex, Sabretooth and Forge come across Beast being electrocuted.  Fatale blocks their path, but then Mystique drops Wildchild from above and his foot lands on Fatale’s head.

Above ground, Polaris seems to taunt the prisoners.  Or interrogate them.  I think it’s more trying to make them feel anything for their betrayal (Random was supposedly a friend and Havok…well she loved Havok).  Random declares his love for her, but she scoffs at him, upset over the knife he left in her back.

Back below, Beast is definitely overjoyed to be free.  but as they start to leave, Sabretooth stops him.  ‘Tooth thinks something is up as he slowly threatens Beast.  Forge and Mystique prepare to attack Sabretooth but Wildchild has picked up on it as well and steps in their way.  Sabretooth laughs at the clumsy attempt to help and smashes the wall behind Beast, revealing another Beast, strapped to wires with an airtight mask over his nose and mouth.  Creed removes the mask and this Beast gasps for air, breathing at last.  The first Beast tries to argue that he’s the real McCoy, but Forge and Mystique both understand what Sabretooth was saying.  And it’s when Dark Beast uses the famous idiom “Stars and Garters” that the real Beast has had it.  And with one leap, he knocks Dark Beast down, standing triumphant for the first time in weeks (or months? comic book timelines get so confusing).

real Beast

Up top, Havok declares that it’s really him, free of the brainwashing, but as Polaris goes to free him, Havok stops her, saying that she first needs to get him to the Professor to ensure the conditioning truly is gone.  Polaris feels this is all she needed to hear to know that he really is back, but before she can remove his shackles, Random protests and escapes his own chains, transforming into guns to force Polaris to back away from Havok.  However, Havok blasts himself free and fires a single bolt through Random’s chest.  For some reason, it’s more than Random can handle and he literally melts away, flowing down a drain.  Shard quickly dives after him, leaving Polaris alone with Havok.

Havok vs Random

Bad move.

When Shard returns, she finds Polaris not breathing.

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This issue ends the Dark Beast’s involvement in the X-Men at least for the time being.  Beast is returned (we’ll see him in the core title soon), Dark Beast is captured, and Havok escapes.  For a non-core title, this has an unusual amount of impact in the core titles.  It’s enjoyable, even if not mind blowing.  I think Polaris is a bit too…needy….in this issue, which I have an issue with considering that the last time we saw her (or at least last time I saw her), she seemed a lot more together and ready to leave Havok behind.

Polaris

This issue also has very little to do with Onslaught.  In fact, we even need to remember that X-Factor has no idea what’s happened to Xavier (remember that in last issue, they left before they ever received Jean’s distress call).  It’s just not mentioned much here, other than X-Factor losing the Sentinels.

The return of the original Beast is great to see.  And his takedown of Dark Beast is especially satisfying.  And he even does it in a very Beast-like way (courtesy of the Spider-man-like quips).

Shard, though, is pretty much useless in this issue.  So if you’re a Shard fan…sorry.

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