In a Nutshell
In the wake of Avalon's destruction, Cyclops fights to keep himself and the Acolytes alive.
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers & Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
After crashing to Earth in the wake of Avalon's destruction, Colossus is found in Antarctica by an armored figure. Meanwhile, Professor Xavier strains to telepathically search the globe for any sign of Cyclops or Phoenix. Just then, he is contacted by Bishop. Tracking an emergency signal given to the X-Men by Amelia Voght, he & Psylocke have found Phoenix & Skids, alive and well. Meanwhile, Cyclops and a group of Acolytes have landed in the Australian Outback, with Cyclops doing his best to keep them alive while sending Scanner out on recon missions to get their bearings. In Antarctica, Colossus is taken inside Magneto's former citadel. Later, Xavier approaches Voght about using her powers in concert with his to locate Cyclops, though Voght balks at the risk in doing so to Xavier's life. In the Outback, Cyclops manages to lead the Acolytes to the X-Men's old Australian base, using the equipment there to call the mansion for help. In Antarctica, Colossus regains consciousness and learns his rescuer is Callisto. She tells him that in exchange for saving his life, she needs his and the X-Men's help to save the world.
Firsts and Other Notables
With Avalon destroyed and Magneto (as we'll see) off the board for awhile, this issue effectively marks the end of the Acolytes' tenure as recurring antagonists across the line. While Exodus (who doesn't appear in the issue) will continue to make a few appearances in various places, the rest of the Acolytes for the most part won't be seen again until 1996's Magneto limited series (the one starring Joseph); after that, their appearances will be far more sporadic and never again as consistent as over the last two plus years.
The main story in this issue involves Cyclops leading the Acolytes to the X-Men’s old Outback base after crashing in Australia; it's the first time we've seen the place since Uncanny X-Men #281. Cyclops also notes that someone has appeared to have been using it lately, but this, I believe, goes nowhere.
Frenzy is called out by some of the other Acolytes for sticking up for Cyclops; she & Unuscione rightly point out he’s keeping them alive (and also Magneto is probably dead so what does anything matter?) but it’s interesting to note in light of Frenzy later developing feelings for him.
Last issue, Colossus & Magneto used an escape pod to evacuate Avalon; Magneto has disappeared between issues (he'll turn up again - sort of - in Uncanny X-Men #327). Colossus, meanwhile, is found by Callisto (last seen when she and the rest of the Morlocks seemingly died at the hands of Mikhail in Uncanny #293), looking roughly ten years older (by her estimation) than when he last saw her; the pair will next turn up in Uncanny X-Men #325.
Xavier is unable to search the astral plane for Scott & Jean due to a psionic disturbance, which is either a reference to the presence of X-Man on Earth, or another Onslaught tease. I honestly don't remember.
It is confirmed that Skids survived the destruction of Avalon alongside Jean; she'll next appear in X-Force #78.
A Work in Progress
Despite being drawn in his Acolyte uniform last issue, Colossus appears in his classic costume in this one with no explanation (Cyclops is also shown wearing his visor in this issue, despite having been sent to Avalon by Voght in issue #42 while wearing civilian clothes and his non-visor glasses).
Apparently, Bishop & Psylocke are the X-Men's search & rescue team; they take the Blackbird to find Jean & Skids in this issue, just as they flew it into space to retrieve the strike team sent to Avalon in Wolverine #75.
Cerebro is still out of commission following the Phalanx Covenant.
Cyclops does that aboriginal survival thing where he digs into the ground to find water (but uses an optic blast instead of a stick).
The escape pod Colossus & Magneto used was programmed to go to Magneto’s Antarctic citadel, last seen in X-Men Unlimited #1
It’s established here that Voght’s natural state is mist, and she holds herself together out of sheer force of will.
It's in the Mail
A response to a letter in this issue once again promises that an X-Men movie is in the works.
"The Fall of Avalon" concludes with a fun survivalist adventure featuring Cyclops, as he has to lead a group of Acolytes across the Australian outback and keep them alive in the process. For a story that featured an orbital space station being blown apart by super-powered beings before the pieces crashed to Earth, it's something of a quiet conclusion (almost more of an epilogue, really), but that contrast works to its advantage, giving everyone a chance to breath after the previous, more frenetic issue. And there's some fun to be had in the "odd couple" pairing of Cyclops & the Acolytes, particularly in the moments when half the Acolytes want to kill him and the other half rightfully point out he's the only one keeping them all alive. It's a strong & effective depiction of Cyclops' "always find a way" mentality, given an extra boost by pairing him up with a group of would-be foes.
Tomorrow, X-Force #45. Friday, Wolverine #92. Next week, Generation X begins its first Bachalo-less run in Generation X #7.
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