Avengers vs X-Men was billed as, and has been, a massive Marvel event, spanning several titles, pitting friends and families against one-another. It’s marked the return of the Phoenix Force, and at a time when the X-Men were already fractured because of the Schism event, forced them to draw lines in the sand yet again. Now, with one issue to go before the conclusion of this universe-shattering event, we here at GRCT feel the need to weigh in. Because if you’ve read the most recent issue of Avengers vs X-Men, there’s a good chance that you agree with the following statement:
Spoilers for the entirety of the Avengers vs X-Men run, most notably #11, after the cut. So if you have not read, tread with caution.
I thought I had nothing much to say beyond gif reactions, but honestly: death is such a revolving door in the Marvel universe that I wasn’t moved beyond the initial shock. And seeing the culmination of Scott’s disintegration (as Lina touches on if you read further) is terribly sad. I’ll let Angel and Lina speak more on it because they’re much more eloquent on their thoughts and feelings toward Scott than I am. And also because all I can do is laugh in disbelief.
I’ve come out of the closet several times here as a huge Scott Summers fan. It’s all Joss Whedon’s fault, that years after his run on Astonishing X-Men, Scott still hasn’t done enough questionable stuff to shake my love of him as a character. Over the years, he’s fallen deeper and deeper into a role that seems more and more like classic Magneto and less and less like the boy scout that Scott was back when he first joined the X-Men.
Now I won’t say that the events of AvX #11 haven’t made me think about my Cyclops loyalty, but I will say that they’ve intrigued me from a character development perspective. Mostly, I’m curious as to where you go from here with Cyclops. He’s spent years becoming more and more hard-nosed, willing to do things like send children (albeit mutant children) into battle zones and under the influence of the Phoenix Force, his stubborn single-mindedness has become all encompassing, something that seems to almost define him at this point. With the death of Professor Charles Xavier, Scott Summers has gone about as low as it’s possible for him to go, after thinking he could fly so high. I know I’m speaking in crazy metaphors here, but it’s intriguing to me how what has to be the character’s lowest point comes right on the tails of him being convinced that he’d finally figured everything out. (Before the Phoenix Five went to hell anyway)
So what’s next for Scott Summers? Xavier will surely be back somehow, because no one ever really stays gone in the Marvel universe (not even Jean Grey anymore), but regardless of how the events of AvX 12 shake out, we’re going to see a massive change in the Marvel universe. As someone who has been skeptical about Marvel Now! ever since it was announced (mainly because of its blatant pandering to Avengers fans in trying to mirror the Marvel Cinematic Universe), I can now see just how all of this change is being justified. Without Xavier (who hasn’t been an actual “leader” in a long time, so much as a bit of symbolic nostalgia) and without Cyclops, the X-Men honestly wouldn’t feel right to me. Under the circumstances, the X-Men siding with the Avengers makes sense. The merging of the two franchises into the Uncanny Avengers (which I originally thought of as an Uncanny X-Men replacement) makes sense. I’m interested to see just how Charles’s death affects a lot of people, and there’s no doubt that it’s going to have far-reaching effects.
I went into this event under the assumption that Scott Summers wouldn’t make it out of it, and in a way, that’s exactly what’s happening. Regardless of whether or not he lives through the next issue (I have my doubts), he can’t be the same Scott Summers that he was before. Even as hard-nosed as he’d become as the leader of the X-Men, there’s no coming back from killing your surrogate father. I guess Marvel showed their hand a bit when they started revealing teams and Scott Summers was nowhere to be found (though his brother is, which is interesting on all sorts of levels).
Ultimately, what I’d love to happen, if Scott doesn’t die in issue 12 that is, would be for him to fade into the background for a while. Scott’s going to need time away from everyone to come to grips with what he’s done, and honestly, I think they need to give the character a bit of a rest. What I’d love to see some time in the future though, is a Cyclops solo book where we can see just how he deals with all of this, because it’s going to be a long road back, especially with another version of him showing up in All New X-Men soon.
So here we are, nearing the end. My mind is somewhere curled up underneath my bed, trying to figure out when it will be safe for it to come out again start reading. This is my way of apologizing for any rambling that might come up.
The Phoenix Force has always been this big, huge thing ever since it first appeared back in the late 70s. It brings with it some serious baggage, both on a massive universe destroying scale and on the smaller interpersonal level. From the get go when it first appeared on the page with Nova trying to outrace it, I knew that no matter what happened next things were about to get seriously real. I have to applaud the writers for not copping out and having the Force immediately latch onto Hope. Sure, it was danced around for a while, what with Hope pretty much being the perfect host, but the twist of having the Force split into five parts really had made this a more interesting story (at least to me). Hope has always had the ghost of Jean Grey hanging around her (super powerful mutant with red hair, green eyes, a connection to the Summers clan and from Alaska? It’s almost too easy to point out) so it was nice to see her pull even further away from that legacy. She’s not another Jean, which was something that I was always afraid that they were going to have her be. Separating her from the Phoenix Force has shifted focus back onto tensions that have been around for a while now.
Where once there were five, round 11 saw the squaring off between Emma and Scott the last two members of the Phoenix Five. It’s wrought with the heightened emotions that come from being possessed by the Phoenix, compounded by Scott and Emma’s legacy. Each of their interactions felt heavy with feelings that it made my heart twist a little bit. From the moment Emma says “And all I’ve ever done is love you.” I felt suspicions that had been dancing around my mind click into place. As much as the this arc has been about the Phoenix, it has been about the disintegration of Scott Summers. The final straw has been cast, sending him off into territory that leaves even Magneto going “woah, slow down there”. He once had hope, he craved normalcy and a family and some place to be long. He was a leader, even if it didn’t always fit him the way that it should, but lately things have been pushing him down. He’s started to break down. Scott hasn’t been okay in a really long time, no matter what he’s said otherwise. He clearly wants things to be better, but is so far over his head that he doesn’t even know it. The face off between him and Xavier had a very Star Wars feel, if Darth had been the good guy and Luke the one off the rails. It painted their dynamic clearly, ripe with Daddy issues and letting us know that this isn’t an easy thing to deal with. (There’s a lot of Daddy issue moments in this issue, right down to Wanda screaming “Father!” as Scott strikes Magneto down.)
With Scott’s final lines echoing the very first thing that Jean said in the initial Dark Phoenix saga it felt like a decades long arc coming to a close. Scott hasn’t been the same since the first appearance of the Phoenix, the damage it wrought changing him and just rubbing salt in the wound with each subsequent appearance. I’m afraid for Scott, I really am, but this feels somewhat right. There is no doubt in my mind that he should be Dark Phoenix. I don’t know where it can go that doesn’t end like all of the other Dark Phoenix appearances, but I hope that it brings some sort of closure that he’s been lacking. To borrow a phrase, perhaps he just needs to find the rest of his missing pieces.
A random nerdy aside leads to me admitting that I let out an audible squeal at the fact that Rogue went to Wisconsin to find Xavier. Not only was the art super pretty, but I always get tickled by trips to the Midwest in comics. I’m not afraid to admit that.