“The Game Begins.”
Chris Claremont takes an arc of this book, phasing out the last writer (Louise Simonson), and helping prepare the way for the greatest X-Factor writer of all time: Peter David.
In this story, Apocalypse introduces his new henchmen called Riders of the Storm (also “Dark Riders”). They spying on X-Factor and assess their abilities.
And then the new villains go after the heroes. But the real target is X-Factor’s living ship, which used to belong to Apocalypse until the ship decided it liked X-Factor more.
While Hard Drive takes control of Ship…
…the new villains assault X-Factor. Psynapse expressed disdain for Jean Grey…
…Barrage attacks Iceman…
These are annoyingly generic villains and the cast of this book is huge it’s impossible to find anyone memorable.
Once she has control over Ship, the vessel goes nuts and a bunch of Avengers and Fantastic Four members have to stop it from destroying New York.
And also fight more Dark Riders like Gauntlet, who grabs up a cop.
As you can see, the art is very busy and kinetic, and the story is muscular and lacks subtlety.
The battle, it turns out, is a diversion so that Foxbat can try to kidnap baby Cable for Apocalypse…
Yes his name is Foxbat and he looks like a cross between a fox, a bat, and Satan.
He takes Nathan, but then a woman with an eye on her forehead shows up and takes him back.
This is the first appearance of Askani, who will, in the future, help raise this baby into Cable.
We also meet Boak, who works with Askani.
Anyway, Apocalypse puts some of the heroes in tubes because of course he does. That’s what all the Marvel villains do.
It’s a lot of big fights and guest stars, and it all feels very familiar.
The living space ship is destroyed, which matters in the short term, but long term there is one very crucial element: During the story, Nathan Summers (infant version) is kidnapped by Apocalypse and poisoned. In order to cure him, they send him into the future.
Then, on the last page, Uatu makes a long speech and, for the first time, we see a picture of young Nathan next to Cable. The link isn’t clear, but it’s the first time the two are shown as possibly connected.
In an interlude, we learn that Sebastian Shaw has a kid named Shinobi.