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Continued from Uncanny X-Men #296. Cyclops and Jean Grey have escaped Stryfe's base and realize they're on the moon and can't breathe. Stryfe saves them.

Wolverine, having received a psionic distress signal from Jean Grey, tells the X-Men and X-Factor that she and Cyclops are on the moon. Cable, Bishop, and Wolverine prep themselves to go to the moon on their own. Upon arrival at the base, they run into the Dark Riders and some of Stryfe's troops.

Havok assembles a team of X-Men, Polaris, and Cannonball to go to the moon. Madrox lets Havok know the dupe that was watching the X-Patriots was missing. The dupe later awakens in the hospital. Havok chooses to lie to Valerie Cooper about the X-Patriots escaping.

Archangel lets Apocalypse out of the cell he was being detained in to try and save Xavier, who was near death. Apocalypse complies and uses a device to eradicate the T-O virus from Xavier's system but not before enveloping Xavier and himself in the virus. The process works and Storm thanks Apocalypse and he offers use of his spaceship to fly to the moon. Story continues in X-Men #16.

Note: This issue comes with a Stryfe's Strike File card of the Dark Riders.


The X-Men can't believe what Wolverine is telling them: Cyclops and Jean Grey are on the moon. Storm asks for clarification as to how Wolverine has come up with this theory. He relates that it's mostly coming from instinct. It would make sense, though, since no scans of Earth have proven to show where Stryfe could be. Also, not too long ago, Wolverine's subconscious picked up a message from Jean. He explains that his rapport with her helped him receive it, as it seems that she's too far away or inhibited from sending a proper mental message. He's afraid the quickness of her message points to her being too scared (and the message was therefore a forced one) or that she's just just exited the moon base of Stryfe and has run out of air.

Regardless, Wolverine isn't willing to just sit around while Storm thinks up a plan. She wants Cable, Wolverine, and Bishop to come back to the X-Mansion, but Cable is will have nothing of that plan - he just wants to nail Stryfe. Storm, seeing Cable's resolve, reluctantly tells them to go ahead and the rest of the teams will follow when they can. Cable informs the other two that he'll need about twenty to recalibrate his teleporter. On Earth, Havok picks his team. He wants Psylocke, Storm, Archangel, Iceman, Polaris, and Cannonball. As he leaves, he catches Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, and Madrox eavesdropping.

Meanwhile, Cyclops and Jean truly had exited Stryfe's base to find themselves on the moon. With air running out, they try to return to shelter. Stryfe finds them and places them in a protective bubble. Protective to him because the two can't retaliate from within and protective because it allows Cyclops and Jean to breathe. Jean is starting to realize that Stryfe's infatuation with them has got to be deeper than mere bad guy hates good guy type stuff. Stryfe confirms this be stating that he'll do the very least he can for them, as it's a trait he learned from Cyclops.

At the X-Mansion, Apocalypse is confronted in his cell. Archangel asks him if he is still willing to help Xavier. Apocalypse affirms his earlier statement and Archangel reluctantly lets him out of the cell. They walk towards Xavier's room. Madrox takes Havok to the side to alert him of his duplicate's condition at the hospital. Having lost contact, the two surmise that the X-Patriots have escaped. Havok has a moment of conflict when Valerie Cooper asks the two what is going on. Havok ultimately lies and states that nothing is going on. They go in to Xavier's room.

On Graymalkin, Cable, Wolverine, and Bishop pass the slow minutes.

The Apocalypse Cure
The Apocalypse Cure

In Xavier's room, Apocalypse pulls a device from his garments. He refuses to tell anybody what his plan is. His process is fairly easy to understand once started, though: he speeds up the process of the virus. Everyone goes nuts and attempt to approach Apocalypse. Archangel holds them back. The Professor screams and his body is taken over by the virus. Archangel still holds the other mutants back. Valerie fears that Archangel has been co-opted by Apocalypse.

At the hospital, a nurse finds a Madrox duplicate in the missing X-Patriot's bed.

On Graymalkin, Cable, Wolverine, and Bishop continue passing the slow minutes.

Back on the moon, Stryfe tells Cyclops and Jean that for them to be truly saved (as their air is starting to be spent within their bubble) they must beg for mercy at Stryfe's feet. They must beg as a child must beg for the affection of its parents. They refuse. Cyclops and Jean prefer to pass out than acquiesce to Stryfe's demands. As they faint, Stryfe pulls off his mask and orders them to look upon him and see what their neglect has done to him. He bows in defeat.

On Graymalkin, Cable, Wolverine, and Bishop decide that they are tired of sitting around. Seeing the recalibrations are complete, Cable informs the other two that they are free to go.

In Xavier's room, the X-Men continue to question Archangel's loyalties. After a few very tense minutes, Xavier's body falls to the ground. Apocalypse steps on a very real looking bug and informs the X-Men of his process. He sped up the virus' process to the point that Xavier's body wasn't enough; the virus then sought a different host all together and went after Apocalypse. He was too repugnant for the virus, thus its demise. Storm gives her reluctant gratitude, then informs Apocalypse that they are now off to the moon to his old base to take on Stryfe. He then offers them his vehicle to get to the moon. Again, a reluctant thanks is in order.

On the moon, Cable, Wolverine, and Bishop teleport in. They plan on being as covert as possible. As they enter Stryfe's base, the run headlong into Barrage and a ton of guards. Wolverine's comment is a bit understated, as they have certainly hit more than a "snag."


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Stellar (Lunar?) Issue 0

So late into a crossover, one might expect an issue to drag any potential momentum down - not so with this final David/Lee match-up.  This pair did great things with these three X-Factor issues, but Lee may steal the show here.  The best moments in this great issue are wordless images from Lee.  Few great authors would allow the images do all the narrating, even in comics - Peter David proves his greatness by letting Lee's images tell everything we need, both in a comic scene and a heart-wrenchi...

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