This is a really packed issue, and nicely illustrated by guest artist Kerry Gammil.
In Washington DC, Crimson Commando and Stonewall are back, and in exchange for conditional pardons they’re being inducted into Freedom Force, the government sponsored mutant fighting team under the direction of Valerie Cooper and the command of Mystique. We get the usual sparring between characters, Blob vs Avalanche, Crimson vs Pyro. Spiral suddenly detects an intruder and zaps outside to capture Super Sabre, the speedster thought to be dead. Mystique is interrupted by a scream from Destiny, she’s unable too see a future for Rogue and the X-Men. The X-Men are going to DIE….
Back in the Rockies, Storm and Naze are fishing for dinner when Naze collapses, sick from the venom of the Eye Killers last issue. Naze says the closer they get to Forge’s aerie, the more powerful his magic becomes. Storm will have to win the fight alone…
Cut to Queens, and a neighborhood dive bar. A newspaper columnist I’m not familiar with is talking to a group of men about mutants. One loud mouth bigot (he’s wearing his HUMAN AND PROUD OF IT t-shirt….) goes on and on about how they aren’t human, how he’s not a racist but he hates mutants, and how if his kid got involved with mutants he wouldn’t stand for it, and he’d kill his own kid (there’s that ABOMINATION word) if they were a mutant. It’s really something…a master class in stupidity and prejudice.
In San Francisco, Rogue is on patrol, enjoying the city but finding no sign of the Marauders. Psylocke and the rest of the team are hiding out on Alcatraz. I’m really warming up to this version of Psylocke with the flowing pink costume and butterfly telepathy. I’ve never been drawn to the sexy-ninja look they gave her later.
The team is doing training, Longshot almost gets Dazzler with a blade and Wolverine upbraids her for grandstanding. She objects to his cigar smoke because she’s a singer, and he says, I thought you were an X-Man. Then he launches a sudden attack and Rogue gets the better of him momentarily before he turns the tables on her.
Madelyne Pryor is standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and there’s a synopsis of her story, with Scott abandoning her, the Marauders attacking her, child stolen, and her whole existence being wiped clean. It’s so thoroughly horrible, Havok comes along and fears she’s going to jump off the cliff.
Meanwhile Storm gives Naze a mystical brew she concocted at his direction, and he insists she take some too….it brings all manner of crazy spirit world stuff crashing down on her….she fights an enormous Demon Bear, a great giant snake, a blizzard, and finally a Vietnam War battle featuring demons Forge summoned. Forge himself appears and reaches for her with a cybernetic claw. He wants to remake creation, open the door of chaos, and he wants her by his side. She stabs him and the vision fades. But she’s now convinced he must be destroyed and shifty old Naze is happy about that….
Back to Alex and Madelyne, they have a conversation about how they are both all torn up about their lovers. She’s a perpetual victim in the mutant war. He tried to kill Polaris and she may never forgive him. Madelyne will never forgive Scott. In the end, Alex says, we are family and will stick together.