Friday, August 4, 2017

Gambit and the X-ternal #3 (Age of Apocalypse part 24)

Age of Apocalypse  Part 24
Gambit and the X-ternals  Issue #3

Written by Fabian Nicieza   
Art by Salvador Larroca
Inks by Al Milgrom
Lettered by Chris Eliopoulos
Open With:
On board the Starjammer, our heroes are stunned by the view of an entire planet engulfed by an energy collection device. Shock and surprise run across the faces of our main characters and allows us to get a short recap of their mission so far.

Gambit takes a momentary pause and wonders if it’s worth it to continue their mission to steal the M’kraan Crystal.  He voices his thought to his fellow members as well as the Starjammer’s present on the bridge.

Deathbird a character introduced last issue and leader of the Starjammers; gives Gambit a quick pep talk and bombards us with some more historical exposition to the plot. Once finished, she provides us with the drive to move the story along because there is a large armada of ships approaching their vessel.  
Deathbird and the Group of Mutants head to the transport room and prepare to beam down to the planet surface.
Cut To:  
The planet surface;  a rainbow star pattern dissolves to show our heroes have “beamed down”.  They are faced with a battalion of Shi'ar soldiers. Thus begins the fight sequence. Bobby, Guido, and Jubilee take on the Shi’ar horde while Gambit, Deathbird and Lila take off to  the M’kraan Crystal.
The three of them arrive at the platform holding the Crystal only to see it’s three stories tall and surrounded by guards.  Deathbird and Gambit manage to make short work of them.  During a slight reprieve as the three try to determine what to do to get the crystal back to earth; Lila is pulled into the crystal by a set of purple arms.

Gambit jumps to give her aid, only to be held back by Deathbird. She intern warns him that they don’t know what lies inside the crystal.  Gambit brushes her off and jumps in anyway to save his teammate.  Deathbird reluctantly follows him in.
Inside the Crystal:
The inside is like a giant city far larger than the outside of the Crystal. While inside we are introduced to a new character; Jahf. A small blueish man that is leaning against a wall smoking a cigar.  His comment to Gambit, “It’s about time you got here.”

Meanwhile outside:
Guido, Bobby, and Jubilee are putting the Shi’ar soldiers through the ringer. When suddenly the universe blinks out and back into existence. After which Bobby’s power has changed and now he is burning white hot.  If matters can’t get any worse, Gladiator shows up with Rictor in tow.  The two unlikely frienemies attack our trio of  Mutants.

Back inside the Crystal:
Gambit and Deathbird question Jahf as to the whereabouts of the colleague. He shows the two thieves the location of Lila, as well as one other. D’Ken the emperor of the Shi’ar empire and Deathbird’s brother.  Both of which are locked in some sort of beam coming from the Heart of the M’kraan crystal.
Deathbird see’s this as an opportunity to take over the Empire, and goes to kill her brother the mad king. However, a read beam of light shoots out at her and stops Deathbird in her tracks.
Gambit turns to Jafh and asks “What is going on?”  
We are then give a few pages of explanation of a multiverse, changes to the timeline, and time sensitive people.  The universe is screwed up an Gambit needs to get a piece of the Crystal back to Bishop on earth in order to fix everything.
Outside again Bobby is battling Gladiator; and his powers kick into high gear as he absorbs more and more energy coming from the M’kraan crystal. Again there is another blink and all those caught in  the wave of the blink are turned to Crystal. Conveniently, it’s Gladiator and the Shi’ar soldiers.
Bobby sees what happens and tells his friends and Rictor to get into the Crystal as the next surge will be too much energy and could cause Bobby to overload.
Guido grabs Jubilee and jumps inside the giant crystal as Bobby picks up Rictor and flies inside as well.
Inside the Crystal:
The Four Mutants find Gambit standing before the Heart of the M’kraan crystal. Jubilee and Guido ask what is going on and Gambit quickly tell them he needs to Sacrifice something to the crystal to get a shard of it. He then Chooses his love for Rogue and uses his staff to strike the heart of the M’kraan crystal.
The energy that is released from the strike frees the M’kraan Crystal from the moorings of the energy absorbing machine as well as the three who were entranced by the ruby light beams.
Next step, getting back to earth.  With Lila now free from the crystal, she can transport them all back to earth. However, Bobby tells his teammates that he can’t make the trip as he has absorbed too much energy and would likely destroy the planet upon arrival. The rest then say goodbye to their teammate and Lila transports them back.  To be continued next issue.

I enjoyed this story for what it did, gave us the highpoint to the caper story and helped drive the characters into the final issue to move the story along.  There was a bit of exposition, but it was delivered in an interesting way that didn’t feel forced to the reader.

The art is some early Salvador Larocca artwork that seems more rough. I enjoy his later work when he is with Chris Claremont on X-treme X-men. However, this issue some of it seemed a little too loose and the proportions just a bit off.  Gambit’s face doesn’t seem quite right.  

All in all I give this book a:
Score 7.5 out of 10