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Death of X #4 Review

The long-awaited conclusion to Death of X is finally here, and if you’re a die-hard Cyclops fan like myself, you’re in for an emotional ride. You may feel like you know how this mini-series chronicling the death of Scott Summers ends, but trust me, writers Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule and artists Aaron Kuder and Javier Garron still have some surprises for you.

Death of X #4 (Marvel Comics)

We pick up where we left off, with Cyclops and his squad, featuring the likes of Emma Frost, Sunfire and new X-Man Alchemy, ready to take down an approaching Terrigen Cloud. The mission: use Alchemy’s powers to change the makeup of the cloud into something that won’t kill mutants. The Inhumans’ mission: Protect the cloud at all costs.

Remember when comic books provided an escape from the political divide of everyday life?

Seriously, though, the timing of this story and the Inhumans vs. X-Men event that will follow is uncanny. Cyclops delivers dialogue to Medusa that pretty much sums up the recent election and its aftermath:

“Well. You have a story. I have a story. It doesn’t matter which one is true. It matters which one is believed.”

I’m not going to talk about Cyclops’ fate in this review, but I will say that this issue continues the driven-mutant-warrior take on Scott that the likes of Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen and Brian Michael Bendis embraced. He makes hard calls that don’t always work out in his own–or others’–favor, but he’s ready to accept the consequences to protect his species.

While Death of X is designed to fill in a missing piece of recent Marvel history, it also sets up the IvX event that begins next week. I’m really hoping the comics to come provide the final beats of this conflict between species. Both franchises can co-exist, but readers shouldn’t be forced to hate one or the other. Sorry to say this mini-series has only strengthened my dislike of characters like Medusa and Crystal.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve never been more excited to see where the writers take Emma Frost next. Writers love the former White Queen, and it appears she’s ready for her latest renaissance. It’s also nice to see Havok return (not a spoiler since he’s featured on the character page at the beginning of the issue), as we haven’t seen too much of him since the AXIS event made a mess of his character. Hopefully he’ll stick around so writers can explore Alex Summers with an inverted personality. Or just return him to normal.

In terms of this issue’s faults – they’re pretty much the same ones I flagged with the previous issue of Death of X. I’m disappointed to see two artists working on this mini-series that arrived with such hype around Kuder’s pencils. Comic publishers really need to do a better job of scheduling these series so that artists have enough time to actually create the pages they’re assigned. Shipping delays and fill-in artists are all too common these days.

I’m also a bit in the dark as to why “what Cyclops did” made life for mutants so terrible in the months that followed the events of this mini-series. The mutant leader was fighting for his species’ survival against a toxic cloud. Can’t really fault a guy for trying. He also sent out that message to every mind on the planet–but, that was just the equivalent of a global email blast, right?

Despite these flaws, together, the four issues highlight strong storytelling work by Lemire and Soule, which only leaves me excited to read how they continue this saga in IvX and it’s tie-in issues.

Ultimately, Death of X is an optic blast to the heart–but a testament to the X-Men’s resolve when facing impossible odds.


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