Issue(s): X-Men #51, X-Men #52
But Waid's run-up on this title doesn't begin with anything Onslaught related. It's a Mr. Sinister plot, and it seems like something more out of the Saturday morning cartoon than the kind of behind-the-scenes plotting that we usually see for Sinister. A train full of humans has been infected by Sinister with a mutagenic virus and the X-Men have to stop the train before it arrives in New York City (so, if anything, i'm not even giving the cartoon enough credit for its relative sophistication).
It's probably Pascual Ferry's art on issue #51 that has me thinking of cartoons.
The interesting thing about the team of X-Men involved - Gambit, Beast, and Bishop - is that Beast is really Dark Beast...
...and he's been worried that Mr. Sinister will find Bishop and learn from him about the Age of Apocalypse. And after stopping the train (Gambit super-charges Bishop, allowing him to create a kintetic backlash to counter the train's speed), they are indeed captured by Sinister and Sinister begins to probe Bishop's mind.
Dark Beast also observes that Mr. Sinister is particularly interested in Gambit's health and suspects a "secret connection" between them.
In any event, Sinister does learn about the alternate timeline, but his investigations are cut short when Gambit uses an explosive card to escape, destroying Sinster's machines and, supposedly, his life's work in the process.
Among the investigators in the aftermath of the train incident, we get our first introduction to Bastion.
A subplot shows Jean Grey getting a little peeved at Cyclops for subtly testing Jean's niece and nephews Gailyn Gailyn and Joey Bailey for mutant powers. When we first met the kids on panel - X-Factor #35 - they had been kidnapped by Orphan Maker, who only collected mutant children, so it seems a given that they are mutants; i guess Cyclops is only trying to see what powers they will manifest.
For what it's worth, during that conversation, Cyclops states that his age is twenty five (technically he's cut off after saying "twenty-fi").
That subplot transitions (via a television broadcast) to Graydon Creed announcing his run for the presidency. Professor X and Ambassador Louis St. Croix talk about how he's significantly worse than Senator Robert Kelly.
But Xavier alarms St. Croix by mentioning the possibility of taking "drastic measures".
Cartoony plot aside, it's actually refreshing to have a non-convoluted X-Men story. There are still plenty of plot developments, and the scripting and the art are good.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBastion, Bishop, Cyclops, Dark Beast, Elaine Grey, Gailyn Bailey, Gambit, Graydon Creed, Jean Grey, Joey Bailey, John Grey, Louis St. Croix, Mr. Sinister, Professor X, Rogue
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