What happened to Scott Summers? That’s been the question that has been on every X-Men fan’s mind ever since most of Marvel’s stories were either rebooted or retconned after the major Secret Wars event last year.
No, we’re not talking about the teenage, time-displaced version who is running around with the All-New X-Men (and joining the brand new Champions team); we mean the angsty adult version with a giant red X for a face, and who has been Mutantkind’s biggest jerk and rebel since he killed Professor X way back in 2012’s Avengers Vs X-Men cross-over event.
Ever since Black Bolt released the terrigen mists into Earth’s atmosphere at the end of 2013’s Infinity event, it has raised all sorts of issues for Marvel’s superheroes – from the rise of new heroes (the increasingly popular Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel among them), to new supervillains to fight. But none have suffered more from the Terrigen Cloud than mutants.
Death Of X takes us back to the beginning of the Terrigen Cloud incident, with Cyclops leading a team to Muir Island where they discover that the cloud is actually fatal to mutants.
Furious at what he perceives as an Inhuman plot to wipe out mutants, he gathers his allies to push back, thus instigating a war between Inhumans and the X-Men.
To tell the truth, all this four-issue miniseries did was prove two things to me. The first: that I had not missed Cyclops at all. Sure, he’s one of the founding members of the X-Men, and has been around since the very beginning; but the character has become pretty unlikable lately.
From his haughtiness and arrogance when painting himself as mutantkind’s saviour, to his permanent unsmiling angst-filled expression, today’s Cyclops is a far cry from the one we cheered for and loved in the past.
The second thing I realised after reading Death Of X is that Marvel can hype the Inhumans as much as it wants, but they will never be able to replace the X-Men.
During the various clashes between the two factions in this miniseries, it was hard to take the Inhumans’ side. Black Bolt and Medusa aside, the other Inhumans seemed like either poor imitations of X-Men, or just plain boring.
In contrast, the scenes in which the X-Men took centre stage were way more fun. Maybe it’s because we’re more used to the X-Men than we are the Inhumans. Either way, I’d still rather read a book led by Storm than a book led by Crystal (who has to be one of the blandest leaders of a superhuman group ever).
Also, there wasn’t really much about Death Of X that excited me, which was a bit of a surprise, considering that writers Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule have come up with some really good stories of late in their various individual titles.
Much of Death Of X was focused on Cyclops, with the rest of the story a muddle of battle scenes involving way too many unmemorable characters. At times, readers wished the writers would just get to the point and show us how Scott dies, already.
While this is merely a precursor to next month’s major Inhumans Vs X-Men title, you don’t really get a full sense of the enmity between the factions with this series. And by the time the story is wrapped up neatly with a twist, you start to wonder: what was the point of it all?
Death Of X #1-#4
Writers: Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule
Artists: Aaron Kuder, Morry Hollowell (colours)