Pencils: John Romita Jr.
In something of a jarring twist, this issue opens with the X-Men’s surrender to the Avengers following Hope’s flight from Utopia. However, all is not as it seems and, as usual, Cyclops has a cunning plan. As this story unfolds we see that there are not two but three separate agendas at play: the Avengers want to contain and protect Hope from the Phoenix Force, the X-Men want to help her master it, and Wolverine wants to kill her for her own good and that of the world. So the question now is, who’s going to reach her first?
The first thing that threw me in this issue was the X-Men’s sudden surrender. I’m sure the fight was in full swing at the end of the previous issue so what’d I miss? Did something happen in one of the parallel series? If someone knows then do me a favour and write in because I feel like I’m out of the loop here. If I didn’t miss something in a spin-off series then I think this particular story point could have done with a little more background info. It just seemed to come out of nowhere.
I really enjoyed the opening panels of this issue when Wolverine wakes up having been fried to a crisp by Hope. The panel where he sits up to find Spider-Man calmly waiting for him to re-grow his muscles and regain consciousness is great.
Meanwhile, Hope is using all the tricks Cable ever taught her to stay ahead of her pursuers. The panel where she glances in a mirror and sees the Phoenix Force roaring around her is wonderful and just underscores how frightening all this really is for Hope even if she does maintain her usual staunch outlook.
It looks like now this is going to become a life-and-death race to find Hope first as each of the three (well, Wolverine isn’t technically a group since he’s now on his own) scours the globe. Meanwhile Hope will be doing everything she can to stay clear of the lot of them and all the while the Phoenix Force moves inexorably closer to Earth… 6/10