Writer Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils & Colors Chris Bachalo
Inks Tim Townsend with Al Vey & Jaime Mendoza
Lettering & Production VC’s Joe Caramagna
Issue opens with Magik teleporting the students into a mysterious new location. We learn later that it is Tabula Rasa, which means that this issue takes place in Montana! My adopted state.
I like whenever Goldballs freaks out, he loses control over his gold balls and they scatter.
This issue also has Phoebe having already dyed her hair, glad we didn’t have to witness her dying it. So now we have Irma being a brunette and Celeste still a blonde but finally, we can tell them apart, which is awesome.
Magik teleports them in and then leaves, this is a test. Irma refers to her as Magik and Celeste corrects her to state, Professor Magik. I took it as Cyclops’ team wanting to be like Kitty and being called Professor now.
The students have no idea why they are there, they assume it is a training exercise. It is fun to see how the students interact with their lives on the line as well as without the senior X-Men.
Irma thinks they are in the Savage Land and Phoebe says that they are not. Tempus doesn’t know what a Savage Land is but wonders why it smells. Triage starts thinking that they are in the Danger Room.
I like Triage and Benjamin in this moment. Triage states that they use the Danger Room to beat on them, and Benjamin tries to correct him with, train. Next Triage states that they use the room for mind games, and again Benjamin states, training. Goldballs starts thinking that they are in the Danger Room. We also find out that Hijack was a homebody before joining the New Xavier School, which I completely get that as why leave your house?
Irma wonders if they are even on the planet anymore and that surprises Tempus as an option. Goodballs recommends that Tempus uee her time powers to get them out of there and she states that isn’t how her powers work, she thinks. Which I really like that we are still tracking their power progression.
Hijack takes out his phone, Triage states that he shouldn’t even have that. Hijack retorts that he couldn’t get out of his phone contract, so he kept his phone. He’s older than these other students, so it makes sense that he is practical. Benjamin explains why no phones, Cyclops doesn’t want them to be able to be tracked by SHIELD or any other agency.
Tempus pipes up that they should listen to what Cyclops wants. This turns the conversation and everyone starts claiming she has a crush on Cyclops. Which I have read online somewhere but I can’t recall when that is revealed or who she revealed that too.
Hijack reveals they are in Montana, so of course, they are in Tabula Rasa. Irma now knows where they are. Before she can reveal the location, we are treated to a double page spread of them being attacked by a giant rhino-like creature. Goldballs loses his mind and also, control over his goldballs, big time. They all scattered.
Goldballs and Tempus are one team. Hijack, Benjamin and Celeste are another. The third is Phoebe, Irma and Triage.
A giant ostrich comes across Tempus and Goldballs. she throws up a time bubble but Goldballs was outside of it so only she is inside of it. He keeps losing his godlballs and one of them goes into the ostrich’s mouth and he defeats it.
We get another two page spread, Triage and the two Cuckoos are trying to find their way. I really like the use of the green lighting in the scene. We learn that Triage is afraid of spiders and starts to panic, he is screaming. Irma goes into his mind and makes him brave and not afraid of bugs. They hear a rustle and it is Goldballs making his way to them. He was following the girl’s screams and wonders which Cuckoo it was. He lost Tempus.
Meanwhile. Benjamin and Hijack (the only ones in X-Men uniforms – Triage and the Cuckoos are wearing suits) and Celeste are trying to find their way. I like the yellow in this scene. Celeste explains what Tabula Rasa is. Celeste picks up a foreign mind. Next, she collapses. Then three dude no faces show up. Benjamin starts morphing into one of them, to try to communicate with them.
Cut to Phoebe and Irma, who sense that Celeste is no longer with them.
One of the no faces touches Benjamin’s face and he that lasts a bit. It ends with Celeste waking up, extremely angry. She wants to attack them and we see that the no-faces do in fact, have more than just eyes, and once we see their mouths, it have big teeth and are biters. That panel is very unsettling.
Luckily, a time bubble appears around them. We see Tempus, with long air and a very torn uniform. She looks older, like nineteen to now twenty-five. She sees Benjamin and hugs him, she has been through a lot. The rest of the students show up, and Celeste telsl her sisters that she is okay.
Eva asks Celeste, who she knows can read her mind, to not tell the others what she just read. Which is a nice moment as Celeste hates pretty much everyone who isn’t her sisters, and them, she barely likes.
Goldballs shows concern for Tempus and she kisses him on his forehead. I’m sure it is the white streak in her hair but I’m getting a total Rogue vibe from the Aussie now.
Triage offers to heal her and gets punched as thanks, what is that about? Maybe she likes being older or doesn’t want to lose the experience she went through. I find it funny, and this has to be on purpose, that Tabula Rasa was made via a time bubble of sorts that caused Beavertown, Montana to age 130 million years in a span of a day. Now Tempus has aged in a similar way, also in Tabula Rasa.
Turns out, that SHIELD has shown up. We have some armored soldiers, Nick Fury Jr., Agent Coulson, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman.
Goldballs whispers to Hijack, that this is why they don’t have phones. Triage reveals that Nick Fury isn’t a young man, Fury Jr. wants to move on. He must get that a lot. The agents and two Avengers are all shielded from psychic attacks, as Phoebe tried.
Hijack takes over the SHIELD armor and by doing so, reveals his powers to SHIELD. I really need another word besides, reveal, I will work on that. Before he can force the attack, they are teleported back to the school.
Hijack reveals that Cyclops is now going by Professor Cyclops, it just seems clumsy to me. Cyclops states that it was a training exercise and he failed. Celeste thinks he meant the students all failed and he only meant Hijack. Cyclops is proud of Goldballs, but Hijack failed. Not only did he reveal his powers to SHIELD but they did essentially get captured. Cyclops straight up kicks him off the team.
Issue ends with Magik teleporting him back to his house and that is it. No second chance, which I think is harsh.
I do like how Kitty is in the room when Cyclops is talking to the students, she is clearly part of the Uncanny team, if it isn’t official yet, hopefully soon. Scott needs her as his right hand advisor. It would be foolish to not use her as a resource.
Next issue’s cover looks stunning with a gun to Cyclops’ head.