Editorially bankrupt proof that X-Men needed a reboot
This abhorrent issue checks in on mutants around the globe before rendering them merely human via the lame-as-ever plot device that is High Evolutionary. It's a wonder Marvel chose to reprint this storyline in TPB, as it just cheapens the later M-Day/Decimation plot, which was an editorial masterwork compared to this.
Story & Script
Having shepherded the X-Men through a Magneto War, a space adventure, and Apocalypse, at this point Alan Davis was all-tapped-out as an x-scripter. And, what do you do with mutants you have no idea what to do with? Take away their powers!
While it's clearly necessary to establish the status quo of your characters before launching a line-wide storyline like this one, the issue is heavy-handed in achieving that goal. Dialog creaks under its own weight as characters do their best to provide exposition on their current state of affairs. Not only that, but a slew of characters are grossly misplayed – Blob as the brains behind a mission, and Wolverine intellectually sparring with a monologuing High Evolutionary?
Two smaller nitpicks. First, Evolutionary claims to be affecting just “a few hundred gifted individuals” – is he (and Davis) not counting millions of mutates in Genosha? Second, is Kitty really not even 16, even after all those years of Excalibur? Makes her almost-romance with Pete Wisdom even more squicky than it was already.
Tom Raney is a hit or miss artist, and here the majority is miss. Despite a few average images, like the opening splash of Professor X and a spread of the entire X-Universe, most of the book is a motley mess.
It looks like a comic that might have come for free with your cereal. Raney is especially having trouble with faces in three-quarter profile – he gets the head-shape right, but draws the features crooked time after time. His Storm is a mess. Most (but not all!) of the characters have massive, watery Manga-eyes. Two early panels of Toad are painfully bad.
As an example of how minor art issues can become editorial problems, would Rogue really wear a low-cut short-sleeve shirt to play sports with her teammates, and subsequently snuggle up to a Gambit, who wore only a tank top? Also, how did Wolverine get from second base to sneaking up behind Storm to casually snikt a ball out of the air?
Finally, why is Cyclop's visor on the cover? Yes, he's on the mind of the Professor and Jean, but he hardly figures in to the events of the issue?
This is a bad comic book - a clear illustration of all of the issues the X-books were facing in the year 2000 – precipitating the impending mass cancellation of fringe books and the launch of Morrison's New X-Men.