Cyclops fans: this is your week! On top of the excellent Death of X #2, featuring older, deader Scott Summers, you also get the latest installment of All-New X-Men, focused on younger, pre-mentor-murdering Slim! If Champions #2 had been released this week, I could have punched my Cyclops Fan Club card and gotten a free ruby quartz crystal.
All-New X-Men #14 (Marvel Comics)
If you’ve been reading the current volume of All-New X-Men by Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley, you’ll remember that earlier in their run, Toad kidnapped young Cyclops to kill him and prevent Scott from ever becoming the revolutionary currently stirring things up over in Death of X. While Toad failed, he managed to do some major damage to Cyclops, sidelining the young mutant for several issues.
In this particular episode, Hopeless and Bagley answer the age-old question, “What if Cyclops had starred in Rear Window instead of Jimmy Stewart?” Okay, so Rear Window didn’t feature a giant, purple, multi-tentacled monster, but Cyclops does spend the bulk of this comic in a wheelchair.
All-New X-Men benefits from its small cast, as Hopeless is able to shine a spotlight on a different character with each passing issue. Last issue, for example, was about Iceman learning to flirt, and before that, we spent several issues with Beast and Kid Apocalypse in the past. It’s for this reason that this whole run reminds me quite a bit of the first X-Factor volume, starring pretty much the same cast.
With a Cyclops solo issue, Hopeless decides to show us a side of Scott we’ve never seen before – Cyclops the gamer. His mission: Find out what Beast is doing in his lab. That’s pretty much the issue. Still, despite the lack of page-turning moments, I did find it interesting to get inside young Cyclops’ head and see how different he is from the man he (may) grow up to be (if Marvel ever decides to send these kids home).
In the art department, Bagley continues to prove why he’s one of comics’ most consistent and reliable talents. The artist also has no trouble making a battle between a wheelchair-bound hero and a monster look exciting.
Hopeless has been building toward a confrontation with the Goblin Queen (the version of the character he introduced during the Secret Wars Inferno series), which should come to fruition next issue. I just hope this means bringing his squad of X-Men back together for awhile. I’m all for character-focused arcs, but I feel like it’s been some time since the series featured the entire team working together and interacting.
Of course, as Inhumans vs. X-Men approaches, along with the inevitable tie-in stories, I may just find myself missing these solo stories in a few months.