Anti-mutant hysteria reaches the boiling point in San Francisco as the Juggernaut continues his march towards the city, and his fear inspiring powers begin to personally affect Emma Frost as she lies in a hospital bed next to an unconscious Hope. Meanwhile, The X-Men decide to enlist the aid of their only true magic wielding member, Illyana Rasputin. Illyana in turn enlists the aid of the demon Cyttorak, the source of the Juggernaut’s original powers, yielding unforeseen consequences for her brother Colossus/Peter Rasputin.
It’s desperation time for the X-Men as the Asgardian Serpent of Fear powered Juggernaut edges closer and closer to San Fran with the goal of destroying the city unless they expel their mutant neighbors. Of course, this leads to Cyclops being attacked by an extremist wielding a gun and yelling “Die genescum!” Honestly, we’ve seen all this before in X-stories, but Gillen manages to make it readable by interspersing some pretty inspired story asides involving various teams of X-Men and their varying combo modes of coordinated attacks on the Juggernaut. The team is running out of plans though, and when Kitty and Peter enlist Illyana things go awry, as is par for the course when Illyana is involved. Peter ends up making a major sacrifice, once again, in order to save his fellow mutants.
The most interesting part of this issue’s story though is the affect that the fear sweeping the country has on Emma. The very short, but unresolved, episode where she in induced to taking some drastic, and potentially murderous steps towards Hope, who, also once again, is not so subtly insinuated to either be Jean Grey or at least some incarnation of her or the Jean Grey/Phoenix thing. With the X-Men about to split up into differently motivated groups soon, is there a Scott/Emma split in the works as well? It’s certainly been pretty heavily hinted at recently.
Greg Land keeps up the good work artistically, as usual. I continually enjoy his solid grasp on anatomy, even if it’s a bit overtly ideal in every single instance. He also continues to choreograph his characters actions well while making excellent use of body language. His background detail leaves something to be desired, but that’s just a pet peeve of mine. I honestly can’t fault his overall product on the basis of that one shortcoming.
Overall, Gillen continues to get the X-Men right thematically, and portrays the team dynamic that is so integral to good X-Men stories excellently. He’s doing the best he can with the stock summer crossover fare he’s been ordered to integrate into Uncanny X-Men, which he actually does a pretty good job with, considering the rather obvious subject matter.