I know from reading other reviews of this series that people either love it or hate it. (I'm personally in the "love it" camp.) As a result, this issue will serve as a Rorschach test for those reactions. To paraphrase Dickens, nothing wonderful can come from this issue if you don't believe that Storm, when faced with the Living Monolith having gained the power of the Crimson Gem, takes a seat on the grass and reminisces about easier days.
Sure, I admit that it's weird. But, in all honesty, it's the closest that we've come in years to these characters sounding like they used to sound. (In fact, it's probably the closest that we've come in years to them actually having a conversation.) Bobby is annoying, Firestar is earnest, Northstar is imperious. After Storm apologizes to Peter for treating him harshly, they all tease him for his over-eagerness to be a martyr. Bobby even manages to get in a dig at Cain about the fact that Spidey defeated him. It's glorious.
Do I totally understand what happened here? Not really. Peter seemed to want Cyttorak to give him the power of the Crimson Gem to kill him, but Cyttorak gave it to Cain instead. I'm not really sure what the implications of that are. Cain and Colossus apparently fight next issue, so I guess we'll find out then. But, for this issue, it was just nice to spend it hanging around a campfire with some old friends. Not everyone is going to see it that way, but I can live with that. More marshmallows for me.
*** (three of five stars)