Artist Chris Bachalo returns this issue,which opens with Sabretooth sparring with Black King, Kade Kilgore.  As Kilgore plunges a knife into Sabretooth’s chest, he comments, “Now we’re talking.”

Back at the Jean Grey school, we find Beast attempting to fix Wolverine’s legs which were mangled by a matter distorting device last issue, after Wolverine and Kid Omega attempted to clean out a cosmic casino.  Beast needs another matter distorting device in order to perform the repairs, but something gets in his way… Sabretooth, who has attacked S.W.O.R.D. and is about to kill Beast’s love Abigail Brand!  The pair battle and it is a brutal, bloody affair!

After a botched attempt to heal Wolverine’s injuries with his faith, Angel is about to depart on a mission, even though he isn’t sure what it is.  He is just following his instincts.  Kid Omega and the rest of “the gang” tag along and they wind up going back to the casino on Planet Sin.  Kid Gladiator is glad to cut lose and punch beings. But when one alien pushes Genesis (a de-aged Apocalypse) too far, he cuts loose and destroys it!  Genesis and Angel bond.  (Angel’s current blank slate status is also responsible for Genesis’… er, genesis.)


In a last ditch effort, the gravely wounded Beast launches himself into space, without a space suit and he and Abigail together take Sabretooth down.

Angel and friends return home and give Wolverine the matter manipulating device from the casino, while the Hellfire Club discover a new way to destroy the X-Men, by killing their students.

The overall theme of this issue is faith and heart and those two motifs pop up repeatedly.  Kilgore stabs Sabretooth in the heart and Sabretooth explains that going for the heart is the best way to kill something.  He tries to kill The Beast because he is the “heart” of The X-Men.  And when the Hellfire Club notices the X-Students, they figure out that killing them will be an even better “heart” shot to the senior X-Men.  As far as faith, The Angel wants Wolverine and the others to stop questioning him and put their faith in him.  Beast has to have faith, to leap into outer space to save Abigail, without a space suit.  (Which, I don’t buy, by the way.)

Bachalo’s artwork is great, but a lot rougher than Nick Bradshaw’s, so maybe that’s why I felt this issue overall was a tad hard to follow.  But it’s still, hyper detailed, dynamic and energetic.  The battle between Beast and Sabretooth was particularly brutal!  I could practically feel every blow!  It’s a bit odd to alternate between an artist with a rough style like Bachalo and one with such a crisp, clean style as Bradshaw.  Both are great, but they’re so different that it’s a bit of a rocky transition going from one to the other.

This was a solid stand-alone story, that included development for several characters like Beast, Angel and Genesis.  Even minor characters like Broo and Idie at least got a few nice lines.  Overall, very nice!

Verdict: Buy

Written by Jason Aaron
Art and Cover by Chris Bachalo