A Dream Deferred
Underlying this crossover is Xavier's dream: humans and mutants can live together in harmony, free of hatred and bigotry. In the previous installment, Gambit and Wolverine speculated that it was past time the X-Men realized the dream was illusory and the pragmatic realities of their day should make them realize the world is a "nightmare." The dream is tested in X-Force 16, as X-Factor and the Blue Team X-Men fight X-Force again. Cannonball's leadership is tested again: he knows they are no match for the older, more experienced teams, and he even has to leave some wounded mates behind in their tactical retreat; eventually he surrenders, knowing full well Wolverine would kill them to get what he wanted. The changing nature of the X-Universe is furthered in the issue by Bishop's confrontation with Mr. Sinister. Bishop's lack of hesitation in shooting Sinister pleases Sinister, which is not a good sign for the Dream. Wolverine, Bishop, Cable - they and their interactions all point to the changes in Xavier's dream in the years ahead, climaxing (for now) in the events of the Second Coming event and its effects. The storyline of the X-Cutioner's Saga moves ahead with this issue: Sinister tells Val Cooper who is behind it all, Cable prepares to confront him, and Stryfe reveals himself to Cyclops and Jean Grey. The final page of the issue, though, is the best part: once X-Force is in captivity, Havok asks in desperation "what do we do now?" He is clearly not just asking about how to save Xavier's body - if the followers of Xavier's Dream can't even trust each other, how can the Dream survive outside of mutantkind?