In a Nutshell
Bishop battles Fatale as Dark Beast discovers the existence of regular Beast
Plot: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Mark Waid
Pencils: Jeff Matsuda
Inks: Dan Panosian
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Bob Harras
At Harry's Hideaway, Bishop attacks Pamela, the waitress, believing her to be spying on him. Beast intervenes, but Bishop hurls him across the room, calling him a pet of Apocalypse. Responding to the disturbance, a police officer enters & Bishop's disarms him, but Pamela, not wanting to make things worse for Bishop, offers to take him back to her apartment to clear his head. Meanwhile, Gateway abducts Chamber from Xavier's School in Massachusetts; the only word Monet was able to get out of Gateway's mind before he disappeared was "Onslaught". Back in New York, Beast searches for Bishop, who is being watched by Dark Beast through Pamela's eyes. When Bishop wakes up, Pamela reveals herself as Fatale and attacks him. Their fight spills out into the street, drawing Beast's attention, but Dark Beast calls it off when he spots his doppelganger for the first time, as he is inspired to start a new, more sinister, plan.
Firsts and Other Notables
After debuting his new shaved head in issue #46, this issue features Bishop's new costume, as he leaves behind the XSE uniform he's worn since traveling back in time. This will be his new default look more or less until the launch of his short-lived solo series a few years down the road.
It is revealed in this issue that Harry's Hideaway waitress Pamela is Fatale, though obviously this isn't wasn't the plan all along, as Fatale didn't exist when Scott Lobdell first teased a mystery surrounding Bishop and the random Harry's waitress (most likely, there was no plan, and this was another of Lobdell's patented "toss out a mystery, come up with the resolution later" moves).
Dark Beast comes face to face (via Fatale’s broadcast of her fight with Bishop & Beast) with his 616 counterpart for the first time this issue (in a page whose effectiveness is marred by some dodgy 90s computer effects), which sets up the events of X-Men Unlimited #10 and the plotline in which Dark Beast takes the place of regular Beast amongst the X-Men. More on that below.
Gateway grabs Chamber and teleports both of them away from Xavier's School in this issue, setting up their appearances in next issue. As they disappear, Monet is able to pull one word from Gateway’s mind: Onslaught (the relationship between Onslaught & Gateway and why he abducted Chamber is never really explained very well).
The Statement of Ownership in this issue lists the average number of issues sold in the previous year to be 333, 639, with the issue closest to filing date selling 394,939 copies.
Mark Waid eases himself onto the book, scripting Lobdell's plot. Jeff Matsuda, still getting fill-in work ahead of becoming X-Factor's new artist after Steve Epting leaves, does the art.
The Chronology Corner
The Generation X appearances all occur between issues #11 and #12 of that series.
A Work in Progress
Dark Beast has scanned Bishop’s mind, enabling him to craft the Pamela Greenwood persona as Bishop’s ideal woman.
The captive Havok appears briefly, unconscious.
The Grim 'n' Gritty 90s
Twice in this issue, Beast makes comical references to being married to Teri Hatcher (best known at the time for Lois & Clark).
This issue is less fill-in-y, in that it actually advances a few plotlines, however incrementally, but is nevertheless very frustrating. The reveal that the waitress from Harry's Hideaway is Fatale technically resolves one of those "throw it out there and answer it later" mysteries swirling around the franchise, but it's hard to care too much when Fatale is such a one-note character with no significant connection to Bishop in the first place (though, to be clear, closing these things off rather than leaving them dangling is nevertheless appreciated). And the big payoff to this issue - Dark Beast learning about his 616 counterpart, setting up the "Beast Swap" storyline that will carry through to "Onslaught" - is hampered by the fact that it just makes no sense at all that Dark Beast has never seen (or even suspected) that he had a counterpart.
He's been watching Bishop close enough to plant Fatale at the X-Men's preferred watering role, and crafted a persona for her modeled after Bishop's personal desires, but never in the course of that action until now encountered his doppelganger, who lives in the same house with Bishop and frequents the same bar? All Dark Beast has done since coming over from "Age of Apocalypse" is stare into monitors to watch people & events from afar, and he's never once in his twenty-ish years on this world seen his counterpart, one who is a famous scientist and former Avenger who made a televised appearance in an issue just a few months before this one?
It boggles the mind how we're supposed to buy this. And if it was in service to a better storyline, excuses could be made and disbelief, suspended. But there's nothing about Dark Beast changing places with regular Beast that is predicated on him only now learning of Beast's existence. It's a forced moment of shock for the character that adds nothing to this specific story or the plotline as a whole, and it makes this issue - which is otherwise at least workmanlike in advancing a few other plotlines and thus can't be dismissed entirely- all the more frustrating .
Tomorrow, Boomer gets a new look in X-Force #51. Friday, Wolverine is framed in Wolverine #98. Next week, Archangel #1!
Like what you read? Then support us on Patreon!