Since Shatterstar is prominently displayed on the cover of this comic, it should be safe to say that we should be getting some information on what his problem is. I was uber-disappointed by the fact that Shatterstar didn't even appear in the last issue after his appearance was the cliffhanger ending for issue #43. Among many other things, I am a huge fan of the old school X-Force comic(well, up to issue #50 or so, that's when things got REALLY bad)and I'm always pleased to see an X-Force alumni show up somewhere. Plus there's the added bonus of Rictor being a member of X-Factor. With Peter David writing this series, I can't wait for the double entendre's that are bound to pop up. You just know Peter is going to touch on the supposed/possible/maybe relationship between Rictor and Shatterstar!
-This issue deals with events from the future as well as the present. So expect this review to be a tad on the confusing side.
-We begin 80 years in the future where Jamie, Layla and Ruby(Summers that is)have gone to Detroit to pay a visit to the one and only, Dr. Victor Von Doom. Yes, in 80 years Doom will have traded Latveria for Detroit. Doom is living with a rundown robot servant named Winston(not that the robot's name is really important to anything...)and is pretty much off his rocker. Doom seems to be living in a fantasy world where he is still strong and living in luxury, while in reality the opposite is true.
-Doom speaks mainly gibberish and nonsense, the years having eaten away at his once formidable mental functions. However, when Ruby mentions time, Doom perks up a bit. Jamie presses the issue and asks Doom about the ability to manipulate time, and we learn that some nefarious future dudes are watching this scene play out and seem less than pleased.
-Back in the present, Shatterstar is trying his damnedest to kill Rictor, who is mainly avoiding Shatterstar with the hope that Guido will return to halt Shatterstar's attack. Guido finally does return and he manages to launch Shatterstar through the roof to buy him and Rictor some much needed time. While Shatterstar is falling from the sky, everything he sees is being relayed back to Cortex, the villain who has been pulling the strings in this series for the last couple of issues.
-After Shatterstar lands, Cortex sends him running back at Rictor and Guido, providing Shatterstar with information on how best to kill Guido. However, at that very moment, the evil guys from the future get in touch with Cortex(huh???)and demand he take action against Doom and Jamie in Detroit. With Cortex's concentration broken by the communique from the future, Shatterstar regains his bearings and falls to the ground. Rictor rushes over and the two share a kiss(!?!?)ending this issue.
But... But what about my double entendre's??? First the story, then some housecleaning. This issue was a big improvement over last issue since we got some storyline advancement. We also finally meet Cortex and discover he is able to control the actions of others while seeing through their eyes. And apparently while he's doing stuff in the present he's simultaneously doing stuff in the future. That revelation kind of came out of left field. I'm kind of foggy on how someone can be acting in both the present and the future at the same time, but I'm pretty sure that will be cleared up in future issues.
Speaking of clearing stuff up(hey, that was a pretty good segue!)it looks like the relationship between Rictor and Shatterstar has also(FINALLY!)been cleared up. I was kind of hoping Peter was going to keep Rictor and Shatterstar in the closet(so to speak)and play up the whole "are they or aren't they" aspect of their relationship. With that said, I'm fine with Rictor and Shatterstar just coming out with it already. I mean it was REALLY obvious! Hell, as a kid I remember thinking that Shatterstar had a thing for Rictor! My guess is that since writers have been dancing around the Rictor/Shatterstar situation for over 10 years now, Peter decided to just end the speculation in one quick panel as opposed to dragging things out any longer. All in all, I really enjoyed this issue and I'm hoping that the Cortex story continues to accelerate next issue. For a score I'll give this comic a 9 out of 10 along with the title of best x-comic on the market today.