Like everyone else so far writing these tie-in issues, Guggenheim does a great job of immersing us completely in the world that he's portraying in a short period of time. His task is a particularly grim one: he's telling the story of Genosha after the defeat of Cameron Hodge in the "X-Tinction Agenda." We learn that Alex and Rahne have stayed on the island to help the mutates recover, but a virus (not the Legacy Virus) threatens to wipe out the island.
Honestly, I was so engrossed in these first few pages that I was surprised when Alex and Rahne suddenly appear before Doom, reminding me that we were here because of "Secret Wars." We learn that Doom or Baron (Rachel) Grey of X-Topia have imposed a quarantine on the island, lest the virus wipe out the larger mutant population. With no good options, Alex and Rahne decide to attack X-Topia to extract Triage and Rogue to use their healing powers to save the mutates.
Guggenheim makes it clear that a lot is at foot here. First, X-Topia isn't listed on the Battleworld map. From a "Secret Wars" perspective, it raises all sorts of issues. We learn that Genosha has been isolated so long that the mutates don't know that Xavier is dead, but it's actually unclear to me if we're talking about the recent quarantine or if X-Topia itself is somehow removed from Battleworld. (We also don't know how Xavier and, apparently, Scott died.) Second, Rachel is sympathetic to the mutates' plight, but it seems like it's the Beast pushing her to keep them isolated. He's the one that declared that Triage and Rogue couldn't possibly save the mutates, but its seems weird to me that he just accepts that reality so readily. Finally, Genosha's Genegineer is apparently trying to resurrect Cameron Hodge, something that probably isn't going to go well for anyone.
I'm definitely intrigued to see how this story develops. First, it really raises some interesting moral dilemmas, such as the X-Men having to sacrifice their integrity to protect themselves from the mutates' virus. But, it also raises questions about how the mutants of Battleworld are faring. So far, I've only seen them in Limbo in "Inferno," and it's hard to say that it's going well for them there.
*** (three of five stars)