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Braddock Of The Jungle
Credits: Scott Lobdell (Script), Scott Kolins (Pencils), Jon Holdredge (Inks), Mike Thomas (Colors), Ul Higgins (Letters).
In Wakanda, Icon holds Captain America, Iron Man (Jim Rhodes), the Black Panther, a one-piece clad Kitty Pryde, and a disguised Meggan captive with his transmorgified tree-men, demanding their surrender. Kitty triggers Icon's weapon to fire into her phased out person, so that Iron Man can scan the energy signature for a countermeasure. Panther then agrees to the surrender in order to prevent any unnecessary bloodshed. At the same time, Brian, along with Lockheed, manage to escape the portable prison through the mud. Wearing just his ruined pants, Brian does his best Hulk impression and is immediately dubbed "Jungle Man" by Meggan to protect his identity. Trying at a rescue, Brian is surprised to find himself fall flat on his face, his powers not working. After much arguing and threats, Icon's time suddenly runs out -- his power to change flesh to wood is temporary, and time is up. Icon changes back into Dr. A'Kurru U’mbaya, a Wakandan scientist who's daughter was poisoned by commercial waste while in the "outside world," the very thing the coalition is in Wakanda to try to solve.
Meanwhile, back in England, Nightcrawler and Cerise continue to track down the Knight Errant, who appears to be an elderly man with delusions of granduer, and the technology to back it up. Following him to a pub, a blast from the Knight's lance reveals a small nuclear bomb hidden inside. Nightcrawler lets him go, which gets Kurt a scolding from Dai Thomas. The Knight Errant is revealed to be William Matson, a retired industrialist who seems to like playing a hero.
Captain America recognizes Kitty as Shadowcat, and deduces that the other woman must be "the shapeshifter" Meggan from the outfit she is wearing. Jim Rhodes has never heard of the supergroup Excalibur, evidently.
A lackluster conclusion to an underwhelming story. The main plot, with the heroes in Wakanda, is derailed of any suspense by the strange way in which Lobdell handles Icon -- true, he's not really evil, and new to being a villian, but what kind of danger can the heroes be in when the villian doesn't even seem to believe in his own cause? The fact that Brian, Kitty, and Meggan are given so little to do doesn't help either. The secondary story with Nightcrawler and Cerise is actually much more interesting, but since the Knight Errant would never appear again, it's really pretty pointless as well. Kollins art remains inconsistant, and the colors make it look really flat. Overall a big disappointment; good thing Davis is back with the next issue.