So... last issue the X-Men have rescued Xavier and Lilandra from Deathbird and her allies, and now they need to get back to save Earth before the Shi'ar deadline is up and they torch the planet. The Starjammer, unfortunately, is damaged and everyone is racing the clock to repair it. Colossus is helping with repairs, but considering he was near death recently, he may be overdoing it, and in fact collapses. He's bleeding again and Sikorsky (the Starjammers' medical droid) has to operate. Lilandra, meanwhile, has been trying to reach Chancellor Araki to order him to call off the strike on Earth, but sadly Araki is not answering.
That might be because Araki is toast! Back on the Shi'ar flagship we see that Admiral Samedar, the traitor working with Deathbird, has just shot him and is planning on incinerating Earth soon. Xavier tries to telepathically reach Kitty and Nightcrawler, who are hostages on the Shi'ar flagship, and in doing so detects...something...anomalous inside himself. It looks disturbingly like a Brood. When he tries to psi- scan it he screams and collapses. Okay, then. Deathbird, meanwhile, is being attacked by angry Brood warriors who are pissed that the X-Men escaped, but they soon form a truce. Deathbird, you see, has genetic scans of Xavier and the X-Men, and when the Brood leader sees the readings he immediately declares that the mutants would be ideal hosts for the queen mother herself. Deathbird promises to deliver them, and the alliance is saved. Of course neither side intends to let the other live.
Kitty has been using her time aboard ship to try on costumes, using the ship's computer to generate them, but secretly she's been tapping into the ship network and now puts her plan in motion. Phasing through the ship hull, she finds an airlock and phases back inside, just in time to save Nightcrawler from Shi'ar who are about to shoot him. Samedar is putting his plan to eliminate the two of them (and Earth) into motion. Once they discover that Araki is dead, they have no choice but to go to the Imperial Guard and trust that they're loyal.
It turns out that some of them are. Gladiator and Starbolt, as well as Oracle, are, thankfully, and after psi- scanning Kitty they realize she's telling the truth, and that Lilandra is still alive. And that Samedar is a traitor. Most of the Imperial Guard follow Samedar's lead, however, so we have Guard fighting each other in a battle royale, while Kitty tries to disable the ship's weapons. She, along with the Shi'ar loyalists, gets blasted, however, and it looks like Samedar has the upper hand until the Starjammer appears at the last minute to save the day. Lilandra soon assumes control and the plot, for now, is derailed. Bad news though. Colossus is better, but Xavier is f*cked.His body is okay, but his mind is shattered. Not good.
The cover is one of those where we are led to believe that maybe Phoenix is back? Although comic fans being jaded, as many of us are, probably means that many were skeptical of such nonsense. I mean, she's not really back, as the story shows.
A nice touch when we check in with the Acanti ship. The Acanti are gentle giants that serenely ply the starlanes, but the Brood capture them and enslave them by robbing them of their higher brain functions, and using them as living starships. This particular one was injured in the X-Men's escape, and I like how Claremont describes it here.
"Iridescent fluid- the great creature's blood- boils from a cruel gash in his flank, and he keens his pain softly, mindlessly, to himself. The injury will heal eventually, but the pain will never leave- for that is how the Brood controls their living starship. And as for the ship, he endures because he has no choice, no brain with which to even dream of freedom. The Brood destroyed that part of him ages ago, when they captured him, and made him their slave."
Kitty outside the ship, standing on the hull, looking down at New Guinea on Earth was a nice touch.
Captain K'rk is the name of the Shi'ar captain who opposes Samedar, along with Gladiator and some others. Nice play on words there...