By: Victor Gischler (writer), Will Conrad (artist), Chris Sotomayor (colorist)

The Story: Storm and Colossus sort out their differences with War Machine, as circumstances shift. There is stuff afoot in Puternicstan. But, will they be able to save Domino?

The Review: I don’t recall having seen Will Conrad’s work before, but I love it. His Colossus is powerful, big and intimidating. His War Machine is efficient and professional. His Storm is smart and attractive. Moreover, the Eastern European world of ex-Soviet countries is evocative and even the weather does its job with him at the pen (check out War Machine and Colossus surprised by the war jets for what I’m saying about moody weather). The colors are equally clean, evocative, and fall into narrow palettes in the half-light and darkness that pervades most of this issue. Check out the color scope when the covert team gets a little too much company. The blue shades, purples and grays blend beautifully and that kind of color subtly is at play throughout the issue.

On the writing, I’d dropped off for a few issues of X-Men during the X-Men/FF team-up because I wasn’t enjoying Gischler. I came back because I wanted to see what was up, and I have to say that Gischler’s style worked for this story. There is, as far as I can tell, no one who is doing any growing or changing, but international intrigue and thrillers usually leave less room for character work anyway, so the surprise reveals and fisticuffs can carry a story like this, better than the X-Men/Ghost Rider team-up, where the lack of character involvement was more noticeable.

Conclusion: Not a bad read, nor even that difficult to get into, considering I didn’t get in on the ground floor of this arc. I’d say go for it.

Grade: B-

-DS Arsenault

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