A Review From Christopher Franey
Alright I’m back and it is time to get UNCANNY! Here we are at issue 19 of the current run of Uncanny and part 3 of “We Have Always Been.” With this issue there is a change in the narrator as the box is white instead of red, we have quite the bold opening, “It seems it is finally time to lay our cards on the table and see who has the better bluff.” I’m pretty sure this would be Emma Frost, a.k.a. the White Queen, who is our narrator for this issue. We have Matthew Rosenberg continuing his story with a group of artists on pencils such as Carlos Villa, Carlos Gomez, and Bob Quinn. They did a great job of blending styles so you don’t really notice a change in art.
Let us jump into it, we have Emma watching the X-Men (a different group) fighting the Sentinels, and it appears that the Vanisher is her servant in this new version of the Hellfire Club. So her group gets attacked by the Warlock infected X-men which leads to her capture by General Robert Callahan, who happens to be the director of O.N.E.
Callahan does a great job of using his position to beat down the White Queen, but Emma isn’t someone you mess with. She manages to survive the bright light prison for a couple of days, but finally she does crack and reveals that Hank McCoy still has the serum that cures mutations, so Callahan does have plans to exploit this; which I’m pretty sure we saw this at the beginning of this volume of Uncanny. Callahan does a good job of taking care of Emma and showing that he values her and is also on guard against her powers. While letting her know that she is in check, he informs her that all the X-Men are dead after their fight with X-Man (Nate Grey back in Uncanny 10). Emma does have some freedoms and she uses that time for some shopping in which she takes Marrow out to help our her style since she’ll be part of the Hellfire Club. Of course the good times don’t last for long as Callahan and O.N.E. strike and want Emma to come back in for some work. She thinks shes got the upper hand, but she really doesn’t as Callahan is play acting, so when Emma calls on Vanisher to port them out, this winds up with him being fired upon by an experimental weapon which causes Vanisher to melt. So Emma knows she has to stop as others are being hurt.
She has been tasked by O.N.E. to find Blindfold which brings us to the events of issue 11; so it might merit a chance for rereading. Around this point Emma finds out that Scott Summers is alive and this is a great moment for us fans with their reunion. Before Scott died he went on quite the set of stories and it did pit him against a lot of the X-Men and his friends. Things ended pretty badly with Emma during Bendis’ run of Uncanny X-men and it was pretty much set that their relationship was over. Then we see the two together for Scott’s last story in Death of X, which set a chain of events that would lead to Emma’s character doing some questionable things. I would say this issue did a great job of helping to redeem Emma.
The moment shared by the two was quite interesting as you can see from Emma’s words that she cares for Scott, but then she takes this moment away and only she knows what happened here. She explains that not one of the Hellfire Club can know Scott is alive as that would mean O.N.E. would go after him in some fashion. Next she makes her way to Wolverine and they exchange some barbed words, but in the end she orders him to look for Scott and take care of him…so this really adds to the behind the scenes on the previous issues. Callahan isn’t too happy to find out that Scott is alive and Emma hasn’t reported that. Emma manages to broker a way for Scott to not be hunted down but be useful to O.N.E. So this takes us to the list and how questionable it was that Scott created it.
Now we’re back to last issue and we see “Captain America” with a captured Mister Sinister and she reveals all, and that it is Mystique and the Hellfire Club that are manipulating the X-Men. While that should be all find and dandy for the bad guys, we are now seeing Wolverine and Kwannon and they are bringing the wrath…to be continued of course.
This issue was great, lots of twists and reveals that will make you rethink what you have seen and read. I was talking with Rafa (@mobilerafie) about the issues and it had use questioning everything. I honestly don’t think we’ve seen Captain America meet with Scott yet, but then again Rafa said it could be that Cap was just at the rally, so maybe they did meet and it was just Mystique taking advantage and showing up as Cap in later issues…good point, but who knows? I know some fans have been having a hard time with the current story arc but I am absolutely loving the issues that Matthew Rosenberg is writing. This is now even more of a mystery with the revelations that were dropped in this issue. I’m questioning Cyclops’ choices and wondering how much Emma may have manipulated him or maybe even saved him. It was a very touching scene and some great words she said about Scott. I’m very excited for the next issue and beyond, so keep reading and Excelsior!
A Review From Christopher Franey
Ok we’re back after a crazy hectic week and I’m here to talk with you about Uncanny X-Men issue 16, part 6 of “This is Forever.” So I missed issue 15 which had some wild dynamics, reunions, and also some damages…mainly like Cyclops being shot in the eye by Hope. So I’m wondering how that will be resolved since Dark Beast did operate on Scott, plus he also helped the infected X-Men lose the Transmode Virus. So is Dark Beast a member of the team? Has he done something to Scott? Guess we will find out at a later time.So the issue opens up with “This began when someone I cared about died. And it began to end when someone else I cared about did, too. All I can think is how each step we take toward our end never gets us any closer. It always comes out of nowhere…” So I wonder who this narrator is; my first thought was Cyclops since the text box is in red, but with this latest entry I am wondering if by chance it might be one of the New Mutants. Who could the first death be and who was the second? Are they deaths that are part of this arc? Maybe it was the death of Blindfold (Ruth) and this issue’s death…(SPOILER) Wolfsbane (Rahne).
That was a hard revelation to see in this issue especially after Rahne asked if she could stop and just live a normal life. That was a nice moment and something that makes sense, sometimes people are just tired of fighting, especially since she has been doing this since she was a kid; I’ll be honest I was hoping that she would have the happy ending but it wasn’t in the script for her.
So we see right off the bat that Cyclops is turning over Samurai, Dragoness, Forearm, and Strobe to Captain America so they can be properly placed into custody. Scott admits he doesn’t like this and really doesn’t trust Cap, he even hides the fact that he still has Hope, Banshee, and Dark Beast. What I found interesting in the conversation between the two was that Scott doesn’t see the USA as his country anymore, which is sad but understandable as he says, “I’m a Mutant, Steve. Any country I ever had has been taken from me long ago.” Hmmm…maybe a return for Utopia? Before that scene ends we see Cap give a note to Scott, so I wonder how that will play out later. Havok has a moment where he expresses that he is tired of not being in Scott’s council and the lying to Captain America. Alex doesn’t like the fact that Scott is getting more advice from Logan and not evening hearing out his own brother. Scott simply tells him:
Which I find interesting as we do tend to blind ourselves and judgements for those we care about. The next scene sets us up for some X-Men action. As we see a “Magneto” led Brotherhood attack Connallon Air Force Base in Eastern Transia; the scary part of this Brotherhood is they have a Juggernaut. We then shift back to Harry’s Hideaway and the decision is set who will lead the X-Men, Scott tells the group as of now he is no longer the De Facto Leader. They come to a consensus that most of the team members are leaders, so actions will be put to a vote. Illyana calls up the first vote and it looks like that is to add Hope and Banshee to the team, so this group goes into action against the Brotherhood.
Looking good! What was interesting was the line all sins are forgiven, so this might help to launch this team forward instead of some of the past drama holding them back. In this fight we see Cyclops flashback to Rhane which is crazy as they are in battle and his mind wandered. They have a struggle with the Brotherhood but in the end they manage to get to “Magneto” and discover that he is actually Joseph, which puts Juggernaut in an awkward position. Joseph explains why he is doing what he is doing and seems to try and recruit was is left of the X-Men to his side. Yet in the end it doesn’t matter as Juggy says:
Juggernaut seems to not want any problems with the X-Men and he tells them that he wants to help the Mutants out. Joseph knows he is defeated and then continues with Villainous Monologue until we see a “swssh” across his neck and then his head fall off, so goodbye Joseph, hello Kwannon aka Nothing.
I enjoyed the issue and I felt it did move the arc along a little faster than the previous issues. It has set up a lot of questions and I hope we get to find the answer soon as we are six issues deep into this. I enjoy the fact that it doesn’t really play off as Bad Guy vs Good Guy with the Brotherhood and X-men, but that both sides have expressed why they are doing their actions. For once I can see the Brotherhood being right, I mean who wouldn’t fight this hard in the given situation. When they were in the millions they had a hard enough time now that there is a handful of them they are really backed to the wall. I can’t wait to see how this arc continues/concludes and next issue will definitely have lots to deal with from this fallout. I give this issue 5 out of 5 Juggernauts and highly recommend this arc. As always read on and Excelsior!
A Review From Christopher Franey
“We’re together again. Now we need a reason why.” I love how each issue so far has started with a black page and a narration box, it is just so edgy, dig it man. So here we are with issue 13 of Uncanny X-Men which is part 3 of This is Forever. I want to give a shout out to the art team for this arc as they have really created a gritty style that does make it feel like this is dangerous and end times worthy.
So the book starts off and we can see that the remaining X-Men are hiding out at Harry’s Hideaway (longtime bar/hangout for the X-Men) and Havok is reminding them that they have nothing. Cyclops comes up and drops his list of what they should do, and wow what a list:
What is interesting about this list, to me, is that Magneto and the New Mutants are on it…haven’t they been allies? So those should be some interesting confrontations when they happen, hopefully. I do like the depth of this list going back to the O5 Marvel Age villains Factor Three, holy cow True Believer. I also like how the team reacts to this and thinks of it as a Suicide Pact or a Kill List…not giving much credit to their belief in Scott.
What I find funny is how it was Wolverine who suggests that it is a kill list and before Scott’s death, one of Scott’s “sins” was the final solution provided by his X-Force team, which also had Wolvie. Aside from that the moment comes the big question, who will follow Scott? All of them because that is what X-Men do! Luckily Wolverine finds a bag with some old costumes and the team is now ready to look the part.
So the X-Men go to the top of the list for their hunt…Dark Beast. Now I know some eagle eyed readers will wonder wasn’t he killed during Bendis’ Run? Yes, how he has returned? Comics. So now that that is out of the way here is one major showdown that just has that “Terminator” vibe to it that this is serious business, but the sad part is that Jaime, Multiple Man, is once again the character that these evil fractions are choosing to experiment on. This was a hard moment in the book because Jaime knows that this dupe is in major pain and is about to die, so in order to get those memories he will have to suffer that pain and death as well. I will tell you, this was the first time I actually valued Jaime’s sacrifice/death…I mean most of the time it gets played off that it was just a dupe, but Matthew Rosenberg made me care…jerk.
The X-Men with Jaime’s help are finally able to track down and confront Dark Beast (Evil-Hank?) and they just go after him. Dark Beast does his best to hold them off, even showing off all the body modifications that he has done to himself, some Doc Ock looking arms and shields that he can make from his body. Evil Hank has really lost it, but I like that this really puts him up there with Mr. Sinister (who is on the list as well) as one of those villains that can’t be stopped, real deadly stuff.
The new team manages to take him down, and they do really good considering how fast they have come together and have no danger room to practice in. Magik has a great moment on how to take Dark Beast down with her abilities and magic usage as well. Once Dark Beast is down Jaime wants to kill him, but Scott stops him and says, “And we have to be better than him.” This is awesome to hear coming from Scott, looks like the 90’s suit is bringing back the heroic Cyclops. Plus we get to see some savage Wolverine which was nice.
I like the conversation between Alex and Scott as it really shows how acceptable it would be to be a “no prisoners” team but Scott reminds them that it is about hope, which then gets word played as we see the news talking bad about mutants and then showing footage of the MLF (Mutant Liberation Front) breaking in and attacking a facility that is holding the “Anti-Mutant Vaccine.” The art is a little strained on the last panel, in my opinion, but we can see from the captions that Hope and Banshee are helping the MLF…say it isn’t so!?!?!
For the first time in a long time this feels like the X-Men, backs to the wall, but still keeping that “Never Say Die” attitude. I’m not complaining about the state the books have been in the last 15 years (since Astonishing) but this is great to see where they are heading. I’ve enjoyed Cyclops’ Odyssey and I like that since he has returned from death, he is taking what is left of the X-Men and making it count…or as he would say, set it right. Rosenberg and team deliver another fantastic issue and I give it high markings with 5 out of 5 dupes, so as always read on and Excelsior!
A Review From Christopher Franey
Every ending has a beginning…those are the opening words for this brand new issue and I have to say I’m looking forward to the ending, in a good way. Matthew Rosenberg has done it again with his part two of “This Is Forever.” We get to see the new adventures of Cyclops and Wolverine as they are the only X-Men left after the events of Age of X-Man. I like how each issue has opened with a black page with a word box, builds it up and helps give the narration more feel, kind of a bleak feeling in my opinion, which helps with this new era and story arc.
We get a moment of Scott and Logan talking after the fight from the previous issue as Logan is patching up Scott; little bit of humor, but then we get to see Scott blame himself for everything going south for Mutants and X-Men alike. Now I know this has riled some Cyclops fans, but I’m going to wait and see how Scott comes out of this arc, I mean he did just return from the dead so maybe he still is processing everything. Despite what Scott and Logan maybe going through from their returns, they know there are Mutants that need saving.
Now in this new rescue mission we see that Logan is the one who has made the plan, steal a O*N*E* (Office of National Emergency) suit and guard then break in…doesn’t sound too bad right? Well it quickly turns as the guard warns the others and the attack begins.
After that bit of role reversal we see Scott and Logan break in and be confronted by newer Sentinels, but the sad twist is this time they are Mutant piloted/powered, so they have to be careful when fighting them.
The two manage to set Strong Guy, Dani Moonstar, and Shan free from their Sentinel prisons. They also find out the Mutants have been infected with the Transmode Virus and experimented on. The O*N*E* facility is holding other Mutants and weaponizing them for who knows what (find out in later issues I’m sure). Two of the worst things we see from this is the Madrox Bombs and Havok being used as a power source, but at least we got Magik and Wolfsbane back and not infected too.
Sadly in the battle we see Strong Guy sacrifice himself to protect the others from a Madrox Bomb and Magik does not take kindly to this…but Scott and Logan both recognize that this is a hit, recover, and run mission at it’s best. They managed to teleport out and escape, just narrowly missing out on meeting the big bad, General Callahan.
I loved the way this issue read off and honestly this felt like the stakes mattered. We know the Mutants are at a low and worse off, they are far and few with many looking to take advantage of their plight. Salvador Larroca delivers great art and pages that give us the excitement of having our Merry Mutants backed in a corner. This issue reminded me of the Animated Series episodes when they broke in and tried to delete the files on Mutants, just the right vibe for X-Men. I’m looking forward to more from this arc and I can say the X-men are finally Uncanny again. I would recommend this issue and last then ask your local comic shop to hold the rest for you as well. I rate this issue 5 out of 5 Sentinels for sure, so as always read on and Excelsior!
An Editorial From Christopher Franey & Rafael Encinas
With the resurrection of Scott Summers in Extermination and Uncanny X-men Annual #1 (2019) there has been major buzz surrounding this iconic character. Specifically, many are buzzing about the old age question: Was Cyclops Right? According to Renaldo Matadeen in CBR.com’s article “Cyclops Finally Settles Marvel’s Most Popular X-men Argument,” the author goes straight to the end result of Cyclops, himself, saying he was wrong. Although Matadeen makes some good points about the decision, we argue that in the context of Scott’s full story not only was Cyclops right in his actions, but these decisions were paramount to the survival of the mutant species. It is easy to criticize Scott out of context and as a hero, but Scott is more than that. He is ultimately responsible for the mutant population’s survival during their most perilous time.
Why Cyclops Was Right
If you go back and look at the crossover event, House of M (2005), with the New Avengers and the Astonishing X-men, we can see that both teams faced hardships and essentially had to fight for their existence. However, once reality gets restored to normal, the Mutants have to deal with Scarlet Witch’s curse of ‘No More Mutants.’ So, did reality really go back to normal for the X-men? This was a turning point into the way Scott Summers saw himself; basically, Cyclops the hero was traded in for Cyclops the War Time General; Scott was the man who inherited the crisis after M-Day. In a time where fellow Mutants he counted on were gone, missing, or depowered, a time when powerful enemies were empowered to wipe them out, and a situation where fellow heroes like the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. were not as sympathetic as they could have been, Scott and the Mutants had their backs to the wall. During this time, the Avengers were getting ready for their split with the upcoming Civil War event, which did spill into the lives of the remaining Mutants; and S.H.I.E.L.D. was just suffering losing Nick Fury from his actions during the Secret War and were now adapting to new leadership under Maria Hill.
Scott wakes up to a “Days of Future Past” scenario played out on his front yard with the O.N.E. (Office of National Emergency) Sentinels assigned to protect the remaining Mutant population; an action, by the way, that the X-men were not asked about beforehand. The sentinels after all were monstrous reminders of genocide to the mutant population, so this action was not okay on both a psychological and cultural level. Though O.N.E. was created due to the sudden drop in population of the Mutants, the safe haven of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters now resembled a reservation camp with death machines as guards. One could argue that this was done in the best interest for the Mutants, especially considering that this time, the sentinels would be manned and controlled by humans. However, the Sentinel program doesn’t have a good track record with anyone, and ultimately, the O.N.E Sentinels did lead to the destruction of the Xavier mansion during Messiah Complex when Bishop comprised them. With the X-men and the rest of the remaining 198 Mutants on Earth being guarded, this raised tensions and did cause the 198 Riot. Needless to say, the little help that was offered was poor, and the Mutants didn’t feel safe amongst themselves.
Then the Superhero Civil War happened. After this debacle, Steve Rogers was an enemy of the state and then presumed dead before he could make it to the courthouse for his trial. Tony Stark had become the Top Cop and in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. and finally goes to the Mutants, a.k.a. Scott, and instead of offering aid or protection, he wants the Mutants to register. Scott tells Tony, “Being a Mutant isn’t what we do Tony- It’s not a choice. So, do you want us to register for being born? Is that really who you are now?” (Uncanny X-Men #495, 2008)
All these hardships were further complicated by Scott’s lack of support, specifically from his mentor, Charles Xavier. Charles was not in good graces with Scott and the X-men since he lied about Danger, an A.I., being sentient and then imprisoning her. He also erased the existence of Gabriel Summers and the X-men team before the All New All Different team. And more evidence was discovered by Scott and Emma that showed Xavier was manipulating people for the greater good, as he would call it, and also manipulating memories. Therefore, Scott’s surrogate father and longtime ally was both absent and at odds with the X-Men at the moment when Mutants were most vulnerable and in most need.
Not only that, but this was a time of a more aggressive campaign to exterminate the Mutant population. For example:
- The Purifiers killing Xavier students on school grounds, including the explosion of a school bus filled with depowered mutants.
- The return of powerful enemies, Apocalypse and Belasco.
- Nimrod’s attack on the younger New X-men team.
- The return of an angry Hulk looking for the head of Professor Xavier for his role in The Illuminati; a scenario where Scott did still stand in defense for Xavier.
- Violent campaigns of Mister Sinister’s Marauders and Exodus’ Acolytes.
- The extermination of the Grey Family line by the Shiar Empire.
In this context, one can see that Scott was on the defense of a never ending onslaught of extermination events. Therefore he had to change tactics, Cyclops the Hero would now have to become a Compromising Commander. The days of coming in and saving the day, astonishing the public, and fighting for Pro Human Mutant relations had to take a back seat to survival. No one could do that, except Scott; the Hero the Mutants needed, but not the Hero Scott had ever been before. It is during this time in comics from Messiah Complex, to the diaspora to San Francisco, to the founding of Utopia, and to the development of Scott’s Extinction team, that we see a more proactive and militant Cyclops.
After the Cooperstown tragedy, Scott went from the defensive to a full on offense to protect the preservation of the Mutant population and the newly born Mutant since M-Day. This lead to Cyclops to reform X-Force and have them recover the new baby from whoever had it. The twist is that Cable was the one to save the baby from Marauders, Purifiers, Acolytes, and Bishop so this would come to an apex when the X-men finally caught up to Cable. When Cyclops is confronted with all of this and hears Cable’s plea to go to the future with the new baby, Scott does something different, instead of playing it safe and demanding the baby stay in current times, he decides to trust Cable to protect the baby in the future.
This is a big moment for Scott because he understands the dangers Mutants are facing in the current timeline, and this new baby represents Hope for rebirth. Instead of striving for absolute control by keeping her, he takes a leap of faith and trusts his son even when his trust in others is shattered by Bishop’s defect. It says something to the perilous times Cyclops was in that he would let his last hope for Mutant survival be risked away into the future where Scott had no say; remember Cyclops is a man of total control.
This is important because now whereas Cyclops was originally trying to keep his people alive, he now has the goal of doing the same thing but with the added hope of bringing the Mutants back to safer numbers and reviving the species. Cyclops disbands the X-men after Messiah Complex in hopes that they will now find a new safe haven since the mansion was destroyed and Xavier was killed. We believe that Cyclops has three main objectives at this point:
- Migrate the Mutant population to a more accepting community to live and thrive.
- Build up a PR department that will humanize the Mutant struggle.
- Actively neutralize Mutant threats through the X-Force team.
Scott gets focus and clarity of vision in creating a better world for mutants, especially for when Hope, the mutant baby, eventually returns. These goals are met when Scott has the mutants migrate to the tolerant San Francisco area, when he joins forces with Katie Kildare in creating a positive PR department making the Mutant menace image go away, and by having X-Force eliminate Apocalypse on their first mission. Scott leads his people into a new age of hope and prosperity, but like all X-Men stories, the good times do not last long, especially when a threat from Outer Space comes along, the Skrulls.
The Secret Invasion event occurs, and the heroes have an identity crisis. But not the X-Men. In a world where no one knows who to trust because they may be a Skrull in hiding, the X-Men get ready to defend all the people of San Francisco, not just the mutant population. Cyclops knew that the X-men wouldn’t have to worry about a Skrull in hiding since he knew the X-men are more than a team. If a sleeper Skrull was in the X-Men ranks, they would have approached San Francisco differently. Here one can see the Skrulls miscalculated Scott Summers, and that was costly as this was the battlefront where they lost ground and troops.
Interestingly, this is one of the moments in where fans feel uneasy about Cyclops since he does threaten Skrull genocide by weaponizing the Legacy Virus. That is understandable, but let us not forget that the Skrulls are a highly aggressive alien invading force with a track record of absolute savagery. The stakes were also at an all-time high because the Skrulls almost successfully conquered the Earth since the Avengers were uneasy trusting themselves after the Civil War. And lastly, instead of choosing to purge themselves, the Skrulls could have surrendered and left earth because Scott did offer them a cure for the virus, which technically, was a bluff since it wasn’t created…yet.
We want to note that in the context of keeping his people alive, Cyclops did do and sanction un-heroic acts in the name of Mutant preservation. With the classic heroic Cyclops and the X-men, we would have seen them fight the Skrulls in a typical comic book fashion that would’ve been more ethical and close to the wire as the Skulls would have had a sleeper. However, we are watching Cyclops transcend from heroic leader of the X-men to face of the Mutant nation; just like Black Panther to the Wakandians, Black Bolt to the Inhumans, Namor to the Atlantis People, and Odin to the Asgardians. So holding Cyclops’ actions as despicable and vile hold no weight when he does these things for his peoples’ survival. After all, what is the age old rule? If it is in self-defense, you have the right to defend yourself. So, why does he get painted as Marvel’s Mutant menace? He starts to be seen as a menace because of rising tensions and crime in Human/Mutant relations in the San Francisco area. This means that the new Top Cop has to come in and fix these issues, so Norman Osborn comes to town.
Now, we as fans know that Norman Osborn is a bastard, killer of Gwen Stacy and many, many other horrendous acts. The super human community knows this as well, but can’t do anything since Norman becomes the Government after the events of Secret Invasion. So when Scott and Norman come to blows in public, Scott’s already controversial image is now amplified and public fear rises when Scott successfully secedes from the United States and creates his own Mutant nation of Utopia. This is important to his public image because Cyclops has now beaten Norman, aka the Government, and surrounds himself with other controversial figures such as Magneto, Namor, and Emma Frost (fellow Mutants and X-men) on the island of Utopia which was once Asteroid M. In context, the reader who has perspective into Cyclops’ actions sees what Scott is doing. He is furthering the cause by showing strength, by raising Mutant defensives in a hostile world. However, to the general public in the Marvel universe, they see Cyclops becoming aggressively militant with a group of powerful mutants, and they are right next door. Both characterizations of Cyclops’ actions have truth to them, but the image is a necessity in Cyclops’ actions for the Mutants in their survival.
Just to keep a track on the other major players in the Marvel universe, we see that Steve Rogers is about to return from his “death” and will become Captain America again to help stop Norman’s Dark Reign; after that Steve gets to be the Top Cop in the MU. Tony Stark had to go into running since he knew all the heroes’ information about their secret lives which led to him being reset in terms of his memory. Xavier had to rebuild himself after being “killed” by Bishop, which led to him rediscovering his memoires and now just being another Mutant on Utopia.
Things look pretty good right? Cyclops has effectively united the mutants and created a fortified safe haven to protect his people. Well, things go from zero to one hundred real quick with the events of Second Coming. Cable returns to the current timeline from the future with an older Hope. However, they are not welcomed by the X-Men, but instead an onslaught of militarized mutant hate groups, specifically the devilish Stryker and his Purifiers. So, in this event, Cyclops pulls out all the guns in order to extract Hope and Cable from hostile territory. Many casualties amount, including the notable deaths of Nightcrawler and Cable, and then there is an epic showdown on the Golden Gate Bridge with a horde of Nimrod Sentinels led by the relentless Bastion. To put it simply, Second Coming is a very serious and important moment for the mutant population. It showcases that Cyclop’s faith in a mutant renaissance was not in vain. This proved to be Cyclops’ most important gamble and battle for the survival of the Mutant species, which paid off in the form of the Five Lights. To give credit, the Fantastic Four and Avengers did try to assist but were blocked from the battle by a force field, and after the battle, Steve Rogers wanted to give a good public image to the Mutants by giving Scott the Presidential Medal of Freedom award. Ultimately, Cyclops’ faith paid out and the Mutants have a fighting chance.
So, where do we hear the voices that claim Cyclops was wrong? First, they begin in the actual Marvel Universe. Up until this point, Cyclops has been gradually painted in a negative light by the press, especially considering the world’s intolerance of mutants. So that means that the press has deemed Cyclops the villain, especially after the psychic attack of Quentin Quire at the U.N., where Cyclops was asking the rest of the world to suspend their production of Mutant killing sentinels. Quentin’s outcry for attention negatively puts the Mutants back to the wall once again; leading to world leaders recommissioning sentinels in lieu of this childish outburst. Now the face of the Mutant menace has returned, undoing the good PR by Katie Kildare.
Mutants are once again attacked in the streets and even at public events, which we saw with the new child led Hellfire Club as they put Idie in a situation where she might have to kill in order to survive. Cyclops understood this and wanted her to do what she deemed best, while Wolverine wanted her to do nothing at all and figured he would make it in time to save her. Ultimately Idie did kill the Hellfire Soldier in self-defense, which would be the schism between Scott and Logan’s ideology. It is important to note that many claim Scott’s use of child soldiers as an unheroic act, even villainous act; however once again in the context of his situation, he always gave his students a choice and one could argue that the X-men were always founded as child soldiers. So, at best Cyclops used children in worst-case scenarios as a last means of defense; at worst, Cyclops was only doing what Xavier taught him to do, what he himself was raised to do. Let us not forget that Cyclops himself was a child soldier who has fought for his life and the lives of others for a very long time. Whether this is ethically correct is mute. Scott acts for the preservation of his species which is put above all else.
The Schism event weakened the Mutant population by having half of the residents relocate back to New York in the newly founded Jean Grey School for Higher Learning; which Wolverine used Jean’s name as a dagger against Cyclops. This would further make things difficult for Scott because he was now facing a war on two fronts; so he created the Extinction team as a nuclear deterrent to keep the students at Wolverine’s school safe. Cyclops was once again thinking of Mutant Human relations only this time, if humans weren’t going to respect Mutants out of equality, they would respect out of fear. Basically, the X-Men would become so essential to the earth’s survival, that the world wouldn’t want them dead; they would need them. Was this the best move for Cyclops? The real question was, “What was Cyclops’ alternative?”
Another talking point of Cyclops’ decent into full villainy is in his villainous role in Avengers Vs. X-Men. Does Cyclops kill Professor X? Yes. Does Cyclops go full Dark Phoenix? Yes. Does Cyclops distrust and refuse help from the Avengers? Yes. In this frame, one can say that Scott could have better choices about his actions. Especially in letting his fellow heroes help him combat the most destructive force the X-men have ever seen, the Phoenix. But why should Cyclops do this? Especially with the track record the Avengers have had in helping with Mutant catastrophe. What many people fail to realize is that Scott’s hostility toward Captain America isn’t just because he believes Steve is trying to take control of a situation he doesn’t understand or have experience with, but Cyclops is warned of the upcoming conflict between the Avengers and X-Men from his son Cable in the X-Sanction event.
At the start of this event, we see a newly returned from the dead Cable who goes on the hunt for Avengers. After successfully capturing Captain America, Iron-man, Falcon, and Red Hulk, Cable then sets a bomb to go off thus eliminating the AVX event. Spider-man, Wolverine, Cyclops, and Hope all arrive to stop Cable and save the Avengers. In the conflict, we see Cable be fully taken over by the T.O. virus and lose. Cyclops asks to take care of his son back at Utopia, and when they get him there, Scott witnesses Hope absorb the T.O. virus from Cable and burn it out like a Phoenix would. Cable and Cyclops then have a telepathic conversation in which Cable points this out to Scott and tells him that the Avengers cannot win this or the future is doomed for everyone.
This is interesting because many who blame Scott pinpoint his isolationist approach at combating the Phoenix to be his most arrogant, thinking he is the only one who can handle the Phoenix threat. For being such a great tactician, how can he possibly have faith that Hope Summers could contain this fire bird? However, he doesn’t blindly believe. He has seen the positive regenerative aspects of the Phoenix firsthand when Hope heals Cable, and also, he has no reason to distrust his son, a successful time traveler who hasn’t be wrong before and who has never betrayed Scott. So, Cyclops sets in motion events that will finally bring back the Mutant population. As he says the Phoenix is coming back to rebirth the Mutant population, and so he gets Hope ready. Everything he has done for the mutant species has led to this moment.
But things don’t go as planned. Because of interference from the Avengers, the Phoenix Force is split into five pieces and is thrust upon Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Illyana, and Colossus creating the Phoenix Five; a super group of mutants with the power of the Phoenix! Oh no, one would expect these individuals to run wild and destroy everything, considering that the Phoenix Force has a very bad track record.
But even with the destructive force of the Phoenix, does Scott lose control? No.
He leads the Phoenix Five into creating Pax Utopia, a world with sustainable energy and plentiful crops for everyone. They start working at making the world a better place for humans and mutants alike. They stop all conflicts and become the world’s nuclear deterrent. In this world of his, we see Xavier and Magneto meet with no hostilities and no reason to fight. Cyclops, who at this point is painted as a Mutant Supremacist, could have easily created his own version of House of M, thus making Mutants superior and Humans lesser. But, he does not do this. Under his leadership the Phoenix Five make a better world. However, Steve Rogers and Tony Stark do not like this, as the age old adage goes: Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. Therefore, they assemble the Avengers and join with Xavier to provoke and challenge the Phoenix Five. One by one, Namor, Illyana, Colossus, and Emma fall apart and give into the fiery passion of the Phoenix, leaving Scott as the only one left in possession of the cosmic bird’s power.
At this point, it can be argued that Cyclops would have eventually lost control and could have gone full Superman from Injustice by initiating absolute and total control and fascist rule, even without the interference from the Avengers. However, from the evidence we have and the actions taken, Scott doesn’t lose control and legitimately tries to bring Xavier’s dream to fruition; even when his other compatriots with the Phoenix power give in. Only when the Avengers Vs. X-Men event succumbs to Everyone versus Scott Summers, do we see Scott pushed over the edge. We see him succumb to the influence of the Dark Phoenix, and he murders his mentor, Charles Xavier, in cold blood. But why does this happen? What evil had Scott actually done up until this point? He worked so hard for so long to help his people, to be a hero to all the world, and he accomplishes his goal by making a better world, by harnessing a destructive force for good, even with the fear and knowledge of what that power did to the first one he loved. He sacrificed so much and lost so many to get to this point. And what did he get in return? He gets hate, fear, and rejection from the people who are supposed to be his friends, allies, and family. He gets rejected by the very world that he was trying to save; Scott can’t win.
Needless to say, the Avengers are the favorites in the Marvel Universe, and they ultimately lay the smackdown on Cyclops. Broken and dejected, imprisoned and slandered, he is given no trial and becomes enemy number one. He becomes a war criminal in the aftermath of losing complete control of the Phoenix Force, but Scott is much more than himself and realizes Mutants still need him; especially with the new Mutants that will need him after their rebirth from the Phoenix. Cyclops was right. He was right about the Phoenix being a tool of rebirth for the mutant species, but there was a price and he had no time to wallow because he now took his character assassinated image to start the Mutant Revolution.
Again in this context, Cyclops can be seen once again as pushing the tensions between Mutant and Human relations. He was branded a war criminal by the Avengers and the world, escaped prison, and was threatening police and the world in general in favor of Mutant equality. Though he speaks of Mutant Revolution, which is a powerful word, and can understandably make people uncomfortable, Cyclops never advocated for Mutant Supremacy. His back was to the wall once again and these circumstances led him to be more revolutionary as the media turned him into a monster. So he played the part; but what did he really ever do? During Bendis’ Uncanny X-men run, with the help of Emma, Illyana, and Magneto, Scott liberated Mutants from government containment and homicide. At this point there was nothing Cyclops could do to better his image, so again he went on the offensive to proactively train and protect new Mutants, all while having a mental breakdown for killing his surrogate father (who, arguably, was acting like a bastard).
In the end, he still did right for his people even though a great majority of them now hated him for the execution of Xavier. He would go onto doing his best until finally succumbing to character assassination at the hands of the Inhuman Royal family’s retelling of the Terrigen Mist Cloud crisis.
So this leads us to Uncanny X-men Annual #1 (2019) which gives Scott a new chance for redemption. Does he need it? Yes, because, in universe, Marvel has painted him out to be a Mutant Hitler, which can be understandable due to the events as they are interpreted from the media and from a population that already discredits, fears, and hates Mutants.
Does Scott deserve redemption? The simple answer is no.
Yes, Scott does terrible things, it’s hard to rationalize some of his decisions, but in context everything he does, he does with his back to the wall. He uses strategy and tactics to keep his people alive; in times of war, which arguably, the Mutants were constantly in. Scott could not be the hero, and he understood that.
We are a bit upset with the Annual for Scott stating that he was wrong. In what context is he saying these words? We like to think that he believes he was right in what he did, but honestly what else could he have done when the deck was so stacked against him? He might be wrong in the fact that he ultimately lost sight of the future of Human and Mutant relations, especially considering that his heavy handedness could be problematic, but we are hopeful. This annual gives Scott the chance to change his public image. The world may no longer need Militant Cyclops, leader of the Mutants. Instead this is a chance for Scott Summers, the Astonishing Hero, to return and set it right.