These days, not many individual comic issues have titles, which is the case with All-New X-Men #18 by writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Mark Bagley. If it did, though, it would be “Cyclops Strikes Back,” for sure! And to quote Hope Pym in Ant-Man’s post-credits scene, “It’s about damn time.”
All-New X-Men #18 (Marvel Comics)
Young Cyclops has been the official punching bag of the X-Men universe since he arrived in our timeline. Mutants, Inhumans and every other citizen of the Marvel Universe can’t help but have an opinion about the teenaged Scott Summers, considering the crimes of his older – now deceased – self. I guess it’d be like if Barack Obama brought teenaged Donald Trump to the present day. Every liberal would jump at a chance to mold his views and prevent him from becoming the fact-denying egomaniac we all know and abhor.
Though, let’s be honest, teenage Trump would probably see his older self and think “great, really, really great, terrific” thoughts.
Anyway, is it any wonder young Cyclops ran off to space for awhile? Young Iceman got a boyfriend, young Angel got a girlfriend AND cosmic fire wings, Jean has become a leader and Beast got Jean (for awhile) and magical powers. Meanwhile, Scott’s pretty much viewed as teen Hitler. As a Cyclops fan, it’s upsetting to see (a version of) the character in such a rut. But that that all changes in All-New X-Men #18!
It’s like Hopeless, who’s clearly a Cyclops fan himself, had a checklist and then, one by one, took on the Cyke-haters. At the beginning of this issue, we join Scott deep in thought during the X-Men’s attack on New Attilan, the Inhuman’s home.
Cyclops thinks about how he’s viewed as “boring.” Wrong – he’s focused. Scott thinks about how he’s called “obsessive.” Nope – he’s calculated. Moral of the story: Cyclops’ traits make him a good leader – something his fellow Champions are learning over in Mark Waid’s excellent series.
Point is, young Cyclops wants to take back his identity – the identity he was happily shaping until Beast yanked him from his own timeline. He’s fed up with X-Men looking at him and seeing the man who killed Charles Xavier, or Medusa seeing the villain who destroyed her precious Terrigen Cloud. And he’s shocked to see his team following his future self and Magneto’s lead.
But Cyclops is given a gift when the body-possessing Inhuman Mosaic pays him a visit. For those unfamiliar with this relatively new Inhuman’s abilities, when he possesses a body, he brings along a piece of the last individual he took control of – aka, he leaves memories behind. In this case, his previous host was Magneto, who just so happened to have an honest conversation with Emma Frost about the older Cyclops’ fate.
I think you know what that means.
All-New X-Men #18 is a terrific comic, with art from the great, really, really great Bagley. I did have two nitpicks with this issue, though, and both involved Magneto.
First, Magneto actually says, “Your fierce is on point, Medusa. No doubt about that. But your scary could use a little work.” Um, what? Has Magneto been spending too much time on social media chatting with millennials? Who knew he was so hip!
Second, we see one of Magneto’s memories – a shot from Grant Morrison’s “Planet X” arc from his New X-Men run. I was under the impression that wasn’t the real Magneto – it was Xorn, or Xorn’s brother, possessed by Sublime.
On a serious note, knowing that the next issue of All-New X-Men is the last definitely makes me realize just how much I’ll miss this series. Hopeless and Bagley have taken some big risks throughout this series, but the characters – and especially readers – have benefited every step of the way. Truly, All-New X-Men has been a series worthy of its title.