By Peter David (writer), Pablo Raimondi (art), Jeremy Cox (color)

After all the super hero / mutant antics of Messiah Complex, a storyline that derailed, and even stole some of X-Factor’s identity and momentum, the series is finally back on track with issue #28. It’s very much welcomed, too. This is probably the only consistently good book amongst Marvel’s X-titles. Don’t get me wrong, the cast here is definitely feeling the ramifications of the Messiah Complex – Layla Miller is still stuck in the future and Rahne is leaving for X-Force, but the on-going subplots are finally back in play.

Speaking of X-Force, Marvel really dropped the ball by not promoting this book. In a way, it feels somewhat as a prequel to the X-Force #1. In Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine is on vacation in Europe – at least Peter David was smart enough to respect current continuity with Rahne.

So Rictor is out wandering around Mutant Town when he finds a girl who resembles Layla. But she’s not Layla. Instead, she’s a (very) fashionable prostitute who proceeds to hit him with a stun gun while her pimp beats the crap out of him. Strong Guy comes to the rescue, but I’m still wondering how Rictor recovered from the stun gun so quickly. Must have been those mutant genes!

Anyway, Madrox finally loses it and does more damage to the Purifiers (by himself, no less) than anyone in X-Force #1 ever does. Sure, we don’t see blood, but his butt kicking in 2-3 panels had me more excited than that book ever could. Now, is it me or are the Purifiers just a device Marvel created so the X-Characters had mindless fodder to kill. They’re like the Battle Android Troopers in G.I. Joe – it gave the Joes a faceless enemy that they could destroy with their guns, because heaven forbid they kill any *real* people or *real* bad guys! This same idea applies with the droid army in the Star Wars prequels! I honestly don’t like it. It’s such a lazy idea.

Tangent aside, Peter David’s dialogue is fun, as always, and you can tell he loves writing Strong Guy. Pablo Raimondi’s art is outstanding. His painstakingly detailed backdrops (especially Mutant Town), are beautiful and well complimented by Jeremy Cox’s colors. And as much as I hate pop cultural references in my comics, there’s a scene involving an iPhone that’s hilarious! This is how an X-Book is done. Way to go, guys. (Grade: B+)

– J. Montes