OK, I did not see the Living Monolith coming! Well done, Yost!
This issue crackles with efficiency. Yost gets us from Point A to Point B in an entertaining manner full of surprises.
For example, the narration lets us know that "humanity will one more know" the name of one of the candidates gunning for the gem if he gets it. We're supposed to think that the narration is referring to Cain, but it's clear that it was actually talking about the Monolith. In fact, we learn that the Cain isn't there for the gem; he's there to destroy it, just like Colossus. Yost is going to have to flesh out Cain's motivations a little more, since we need to know why he no longer wants to be the Juggernaut. But, we've already seen hints that he's become a kinder and gentler Cain. This attitude would also make sense given his rage at the X-Men for allowing Scott to kill Charles. Yost actually has to make that connection, though.
Along the way, we're treated to all sorts of great moments. I loved Rockslide crowing over successfully defeating the monster that Storm told him to fight. Plus, Yost is just doing great stuff with Nightcrawler and Northstar. Their banter brings out the best in both characters and reminds me of Kurt's exchanges with Logan in the 80s.
In other words, we have plot and characterization. I'm a pretty happy camper.
**** (four of five stars)