Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Avengers vs. X-Men #1 Thoughts: The I Hate Cyclops Fanclub
I honestly wasn't expecting this comic to be as good as it was, especially with Marvel clearly marketing it towards the battle boards types who don't care about plot, character, theme, style, draughtsmanship, design, or anything else but living vicariously through their favorite character being successfully violent. Thankfully, there was all of the above stuff in this first issue by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr. And the conflict started with a bang, strong enough to make me want to read more.
The most interesting part of the book is the fact that it's actually pushed Scott Summers to the point where all the previous books have only alluded; that he is actually a villain, the kind of crackpot megalomaniac to fill the void that the semi-reformed Magneto has left. His "training" of Hope represents the exact kind of cruel behavior that caused Wolverine to take half the team to the East Coast. In that scene both Magneto and Emma are dismayed by Cyclops' ruthlessness, as he's deliberately inflicting as much pain upon Hope as possible without causing any impairing injury. He claims that this was how Professor Xavier trained him, but nothing could be further from the truth. Xavier may have trained the young X-Men to fight, but he didn't make them suffer to get his point across.
In the argument between Cyclops and Captain America, Scott tells Steve Rogers that they've never done anything for the mutant species. He may have a point, but Scott's also made clear that he doesn't want anything to do with the human race, either. He's segregated all those willing to follow him on a banana republic floating away from humanity, and he's kept the X-Men out of most of the recent events in the superhero community; the X-Men didn't lift a finger to help during the Civil War or the World War Hulk stories, and they only defended their own borders during Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, and Fear Itself. Now he plans to doom all of human and mutant kind by trying to use the Phoenix, reborn in Hope, to revive the mutant species. Maybe he actually believes he can control the Phoenix, but more likely he's so obsessed with his goals that he doesn't even care about who dies.
All of which would still make him a sympathetic antagonist if he at least cared about the individuals who make up the species he'll do anything to protect. But Cyclops is now no better than Joseph Kony, treating anyone in his army-- no matter how young-- as an expendable weapon. His final line, that Hope no longer has any say over what happens to her, is very telling. Hopefully now that he's crossed the moral event horizon, he'll finally get what he deserves.