By Mike Carey (writer), John Romita Jr. & Scot Eaton (pencils), Klaus Janson & John Dell (inks), Christina Strain & Frank D’Armata (colors)

As Xavier lays dying on a table, he finds an unlikely savior in Exodus. Though they are enemies, Exodus sees the importance of a man like Xavier. The problem is, even as Xavier struggles to live, he continues to keep his mind shielded from what he deems a hostile threat. We learn this is a self-defense mechanism he has used from a time dating back to the Korean War. Exodus can repair Xavier’s mind, but in order to do so, he’ll have to destroy what’s left of it first.

Mike Carey does a nice job transitioning back and forth from flashback to present events. The events we witness in Xavier’s mind harkens back to the X-Men’s origins and the moral dilemmas he faced. We even see a young Moira McTaggert grill him on his true intentions for the team. It’s character driven stories like this that make the X-Men books good, and Carey deserves praise for fleshing out this story so well. John Romita Jr’s art is an unexpected surprise as he pencils the flashback sequences, while Scot Eaten does a good job keeping an art style relevant to current mutant continuity.

I honestly expected this issue to be crap, but instead I was pleasantly surprised. The issue’s ending is somewhat predictable, but I’m interested to see where Carey takes this story. I’m just hoping they don’t do the whole “Xavier’s a bad guy now” story. (Grade: B)

– J. Montes