In almost all of my reviews of the nineties Claremont X-Men last week, I've voiced out several times that I wanted Storm (and Jean Grey) to have more participatory roles in the stories and it only took two decades after to get what I want at last--in the most awful kind of sense ever. I was simply rendered in a gibberish state while reading this issue and the next two afterwards as I witnessed twist after twist unfolding without even giving me any breathing space in between. I was screeching and rolling around in my bed as I tried to make sense of what I was reading because WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, CLAREMONT, WHAT IN HOLY LOKI IS THIS ATROCITY?
I cannot--for the life of me--believe any of this is happening. So this is what's it's like when people in Marvel forfeit editorial control over Claremont's creative decisions for an X-Men story. And here I thought that Grant Morrison's writings for Batman is the only thing that is radical and experimental--it turns out that Chris Claremont, who wrote X-Men for 16 years, can still take this material to new, exciting directions THAT CAN ACTUALLY KILL ME. Before you get any wrong ideas, I just want to say first and foremost that I REALLY DID LOVE THIS ISSUE AND INEXPLICABLY SO. It was a great writing exercise with a fast-paced what-the-fuckery content, and I have never seen any writer in a comic book accomplish this amount of twists and turns with such detached ease and a lack of sympathy for readers (who are just not prepared to see one of the fan-favorite X-Men turn that cloak so fast that it slaps everyone in the goddamn face) like Chris Claremont for Love--And Loss! story arc. Still illustrated by Tom Grummett, The Cruelest Cut is exactly what it says on the fucking tin. Are you ready to read the unmitigated disaster that was issue #3? Well then, chaps, put on your raincoats because here comes the Storm.
RECAP: Jean Grey and Logan now share an unbreakable and deep psi-link with each other, and Jean is cautiously trying to deal with these feelings as she keeps an open line with Wolverine who just left the mansion (issue #1) in bad terms because Nick Fury is meddling with X-Men affairs. So while at the office with Professor X, Nick and Cyclops, Jean suddenly releases a powerful psionic blast that knocked out everyone in the mansion (Gambit and Rogue outside; Beast, Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler in the lab). Storm returned to the mansion to find all of them unconscious (issue #2) and as the team gathers together to try and revive Jean and Rogue who are still passed out, Nick was informed via phone call by one of his agents that they found an incinerated corpse that could have been Wolverine's due to the traces of adamantium metal on his bone structure. Nick disbelieves this and so does the professor. Meanwhile, Storm tries to use her electricity to turn on the generators but was attacked by Sabretooth. The team helps out (Rogue is finally awake but Jean is still comatosed) but Storm was acting rather strange and proceeds to burn Sabretooth's eyes with a series of lightning bolts, causing irreversible blindness on the poor sod.
Now we pick up after that climactic event where Cyclops the team leader is still reprimanding Storm for her actions. Kitty, on the other hand, quietly worries about Storm because she has never done anything so rash and brutal before. Storm, however, believes they are overreacting and was not pleased that Cyke wants to give their enemy some medical assistance instead and also ask him questions. To be quite honest, I was happy that Storm was such a bitch last issue, injuring Sabretooth like that, because it was pretty badass to see her prove to everyone that she's always a force to be reckoned with so, bad guys, better not mess with her. I was all smiles and laughs in my previous review, not even questioning Storm lashing out which should have been a very telling for me because it wasn't like her to be that physically vindictive. I should have known better, so I was absolutely and terrifyingly blind-sighted (pun not intended but suitable in this situation) with what happens in this issue. But before we get to that, let's talk about Hank, Jean and Professor X. While the team is still inside the Danger Room, discussing what to do with a blinded Sabretooth, Professor X tries to communicate with a comatosed Jean via mental probing/non-consensual penetration. What follows is a rather uncomfortable sequence of Prof X (in the nude) looking through Jean's memory of making out with Logan in her dream, and witnessing Wolverine's final moments before he gets murdered (while the professor's telepathic manifestation is hovering around like Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan--I was giggling the entire time--UNTIL I WASN'T).
But look at this panel and behold Charles Xavier's creepiness.
There was even that brilliant piece of whining from Professor X concerning Jean and Logan's secret love for each other. He was like, "Why didn't you guys tell me about this? I could have helped, you know." REALLY, CHARLES? Were you really expecting Jean to come up to you one day and say, "By the way, I've been having weird sex dreams about Logan. Oh, professor, what shall I do?" REALLY? Well, you are Charles Xavier and there is never a time you are not being creepy so you were probably expecting this kind of conversation. You did, after all, interrupted Magneto via telepathy that one time while he was about to get it on with some lady, justifying the timeliness of that as an emergency so Magneto should totally stop kissing that woman for your sake. You dirty, conniving rascal.
Okay, now that I have filled my Cherik-comment quota for this review. Let's move along.
Wolverine, as it turns out is REALLY DEAD (I still can't accept this) and was murdered by no other than STORM. This was why she wasn't in the mansion last issue. I DON'T THINK ANY OF US WOULD HAVE PUT THOSE TWO THINGS TOGETHER because this is Storm we're talking about: loyal, devoted and trustworthy Ororo Munroe. Professor X was shaken by this discovery and falls to the ground after disconnecting with Jean in the moment she has seen Wolverine get incinerated by Storm via an overwhelming electric shock. Nick Fury rushes in to see what was going on and as Hank explains, Professor X sends a message to Cyclops to detain both Storm and Sabretooth and didn't have the time to explain why because he was still disbelieving what he saw for himself. Things got even crazier once Jean Grey was able to summon whatever strength she has left to project her rage towards Storm ("I'm coming for you, murderer!" she growls).
It's super awkward because Storm wasn't the only one who hears Jean's enraged soliloquy. EVERYONE ELSE DID.
EVERYONE ELSE INCLUDING CYCLOPS, YOUR BOYFRIEND, HEARD YOU CONFESS YOUR LOVE FOR LOGAN, JEAN, so good job.
Cyke takes it like a man, though. He worries more about the pressing situation at hand and how best to contain the clusterfuck since they not only have a long-time enemy (Sabretooth) in their midst, but apparently also a two-faced comrade who just killed one of their friends. Gambit, Rogue, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler are probably reeling from this information overload themselves. Rogue herself couldn't remember what she saw in Storm's psyche when they made flesh contact earlier (issue #1) but she had suspected that something was amiss. Sabretooth confirms that the reason he attacked Storm was because he was following Logan's scent and could smell it on her. So now they're all trapped in the Danger Room and have no other choice but to cope and act quickly. The X-Men are not having a good day, basically now that Storm has betrayed them; Wolverine is dead because of her; and Scott and Jean are probably going to break up after that truth bomb. The last few pages of this issue feature the team against Storm and the weather goddess once again proves she can kick everyone's collective asses in one deadly swoop of rain, typhoon and thunderbolts. She manages to evade capture by locking everyone in the Danger Room except for Shadowcat who can phase through surfaces. She tries to apprehend Storm.
But Kitty is fucking pissed--so pissed that she somehow produced one retractable adamantium claw from her knuckle and CUTS STORM'S MOTHERFUCKING FACE WITH IT. No one messes with her family even if it's also one of her family. SHIT JUST GOT REAL, YO!
But how did Kitty get that claw from Wolverine? How is Scott holding up after his girlfriend just publicized that she's in love with another man? What did Rogue see when she absorbed Storm's powers and memories earlier? Why can't Professor X bother putting on some projected clothes whenever he mentally communicates with people? All of these questions may or may not be answered in the next issue!