First, just as Spencer is getting the voice of the characters down perfectly in his series, Lemire is doing the same on this book. He gives us a number of interactions that sound the way that they're supposed to sound: Logan and Ororo, Bobby and Ororo, Illyana and Peter. As I think I've said previously, the focus on the characters and their relationships with each other reminds me of some of the strongest eras of the X-Men, like the Australia or San Francisco years. At the end of the day, we're here to see a group of friends face their challenges together (not just punch out bad guys), and Lemire totally gets that. Moreover, we've got some new interactions that ensure that this series isn't static, focused simply on old relationships. Anole and Bobby are particularly adorable, with Anole idolizing Bobby and wanting to talk to him about "stuff" and Bobby reminding him that they have to kill demons first. Moreover, Lemire continues to play with the dynamic between Jean and Logan, with Bobby himself voicing the reader's concern that anything beyond a father/daughter dynamic would be creepy.
Beyond the characterization, this issue also has a stellar plot. Forge eventually gets his shield up and running; with X-Haven secure, the X-Men can now focus on their missing teammates. Meanwhile, the readers know that said teammates are in a dire situation. Sinister is trying to splice together Inhuman and mutant DNA to save mutantkind from the Terrigen Mists. (Colossus wonders aloud about Sinister's motivation, since it's clearly not altruistic, but we're not there yet.) Unfortunately, as we see here, the subjects tend to die, but Sinister hopes that Illyana is made of sterner stuff. Thankfully, the X-Men arrive before he can test that hypothesis, and their fight with Sinister's new Marauders is over almost before it began. (The best part was Bobby sending Logan on his ice-slide to free Peter from his bonds. Snowball special!) The X-Men free Illyana, but they're also confronted with a Nightcrawler that seems to have lost his mind, rambling about Heaven in a way that doesn't make much sense. However, Sinister has one more trick up his sleeve: allegedly his only successful splicing has been Cyclops, who he releases here.
Again, Lemire just tells a marvelous story and leaves us wanting more. One of the Marauders expresses her belief that Sinister really just wants to help mutants, and Storm assures her that he doesn't. Storm asks her to join them, but the woman refuses, saying that she saw what Scott did. The mystery of his actions seem to be at the top of the agenda for next issue, and Lemire builds excitement for that by showing the disgust that this young mutant has for the X-Men because of his actions. Seriously, I simply can't wait.
***** (five of five stars)