Aptly titled, “The Beginning of the End: The end of the beginning,” these three issues are essentially the kick-off for a Marvel universe that will be mutant-centered (even while it is dominated by Punisher/ Wolverine/ Spider-Man/ Ghost Rider). Lots has been written about 1990s X-Men, including how the number of X-books and X-characters exploded, and this book brings in three new ones, two of which will be hugely important for the future of Marvel.
The splash page of issue #98 introduces Gideon via a training sequence.
His power? The ability to “assimilate” the abilities of his enemies, even if they’re robots.
He’s rich, and he’s an ally of Sebastian Shaw. He’s trying to get Roberto “Sunspot” Acosta to take the mantle of running his inherited business, since his daddy recently died. Roberto will actually do this next issue.
Next, the biggest star of the bunch: Deadpool.
He interrupts a New Mutant training session saying he’s been hired by “Mr. Tolliver” to assassinate Cable. Now, you’re not missing something—we have never the name Tolliver before. But you’re forgiven for thinking you should know who he is, what with the mutant universe being so complicated. A lot of the basic elements of Deadpool are here: Agility, mercenary, wiseass, funny…
…and he talks too much.
After a very nice, and pretty funny, fight scene, Cable is losing and we meet the third new character in this arc…
She clearly has a history with Cable as she arrives to rescue him.
They capture Deadpool and return him to sender.
We will learn, though, that this is actually a fourth new character, Copycat, in a retcon about a year from now. (Or maybe it wasn’t a retcon and Fabian Nicieza knew all along he was going to pull the switcheroo.) I’m tagging both characters here.
And that’s all in one issue.