Review: Avengers vs. X-Men #10
In order to enjoy the rest of Avengers vs. X-Men, I’m just going to have to accept that Cyclops is evil now. Despite everything he has ever done or said in this comic, despite all the good he has done around the world with the Phoenix powers, despite never having done a single evil thing at all in this series, I’m just going to have to bow down to Avengers’ peer pressure and accept that Cyclops is the bad guy. Heck, they come right out and just tell me that he’s evil several times in this comic. So why not believe the Avengers? It’s not like they brought this on themselves or anything.
If you’re willing to accept that Cyclops is evil, this is a good comic with some kickass moments as the Avengers fight for their lives against a god-like force. If, like me, you’re not willing to accept that Cyclops is evil, this is yet another issue where characters just say that he’s the bad guy while trying to kill him, as if they can convince him of his new badness.
Comic rating: 4/5: Good.
Despite my continued frustrations with Cyclops’ heroism, this is still a good issue, and Avengers vs. X-Men is still a good series. And if I read the comic how I want to read it, with Cyclops as the hero, it’s also a good issue. The battle in this issue is pretty awesome, with some truly great comic moments as the Avengers and Hope take on Phoenix Cyclops in the mystical city of kung fu. Meanwhile, Emma Frost really has become evil due to the Phoenix, and she’s off in the wings becoming what will probably be the ‘final boss’ of Avengers vs. X-Men. And after this issue, I’m legitimately excited to see what side Cyclops will pick in the final battle.
Will he live up to my continued endorsement of his heroism? Or will the Avengers be right when they compare Cyclops to a certain World War 2 villain? Either way, he’s pretty dangerous in this issue, that’s for sure. I wish Avengers vs. X-Men would have spent some time in Cyclops’ head, showing us his motivations and reasons for doing what he’s doing. Instead, we don’t get any of that here. No characters take center stage to help us understand the events. It’s mostly all action. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just the issues with a focal character have usually been stronger.
Join me after the jump for a full synopsis and more review!
We open in K’un Lun, the mystical city of kung fu, and the home of the Iron Fist. Cyclops, now sharing the Phoenix Force with only Emma Frost, has arrived to reclaim Hope Summers, the mutant messiah. Hope has willingly joined the Avengers to do…something. It hasn’t exactly been clear what Hope is going to do for the Avengers to stop the PhoeniX-Men. Nor is it stated what Cyclops wants to do with Hope. But I’m going to stress that Cyclops has never said he ‘s going to hurt Hope or do anything bad to her. Ideally, he just wants her out of the hands of the Avengers so that they can’t use her as a weapon to stop him.
I also want to stress that Cyclops has only used the Phoenix Force to make the world a better place. He has brought food to the hungry, turned wastelands into farmlands, repaired damage from natural disasters and stopped countries from warring with each other. The only bad thing he did was start attacking and imprisoning Avengers, but that was only after the Avengers invaded his peaceful home, attacked his innocent students and violently kidnapped Hope. Plus the prison was more the creation of Colossus and Magik, who had given in to the Phoenix’s evil.
There has been no evidence – in fact, there’s been a lot of counter-evidence – that Cyclops has not given in to the Phoenix’s evil. I keep stressing this Cyclops thing because we still have two issues to go in this series, and I just don’t think Cyclops is going to be the big bad in the end. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
Anyway, Iron Fist faces off against Cyclops to protect Hope. And he’s one step away from breaking Godwin’s Law.
You know you wanted to compare him to Hitler, Iron Fist. Don’t wuss out. But we all know you immediately lose the argument if you cross that line. Can’t have that. I guess Mussolini is the cautious man’s Hitler.
Iron Fist tries to fight Cyclops, but with the power of the Phoenix, Cyclops just knocks him away. Iron Fist told Hope to run and find the Thunderer, one of the leaders of K’un Lun. He’ll know what to do. Cyclops tells hope that it’s time to face her destiny, and that the Avengers are putting innocent people at risk by opposing him. But it’s useless to talk to them anymore, they just don’t get it. Then Iron Man tackles Cyclops.
We cut back to Russia, where the Avengers have succeeded in rescuing their buddies, and now they’re taking a moment to catch their breathes. Captain America wants Professor X to come back with them, but Professor X says he can’t leave. He believes that he failed his students by letting them all choose the wrong side. And again I say Xavier is a dickhead.
Also note that nobody is talking about saving Cyclops or Emma from the influence of the Phoenix. They’ve just got to be stopped, by any means necessary.
Emma definitely needs to be stopped. Last issue, we saw her killing some random guy who’d once upon a time killed an innocent mutant. Well now she’s upgraded over the course of one issue to taking all of the remaining X-Men prisoner on Utopia. Emma has become that Twilight Zone kid who reads everyone’s thoughts and punishes them if they have a single bad thought. She has all the X-Men lined up and on their knees, forcing them to think good thoughts, especially about her rule.
Magneto tries to stand up to her, but since he’s not wearing his telepathy-blocking helmet, Emma easily brings him to heel. Emma is totally evil now, but sadly, we don’t spend anymore time with her.
Cyclops, meanwhile, is only evil in the context that he’s fighting the Avengers. Iron Man was easily defeated, and Cyclops isn’t exactly worried about the rest of K’un Lun.
Hope, meanwhile, has found the Thunderer in the ancient caves of K’un Lun. He tells her that it’s time for her final lesson. Because I guess all those times Spider-Man quoted “wax on, wax off” at her counted as lessons.
Rather than use his powers to find Hope, Cyclops is just walking the streets of K’un Lun asking for her to show herself. He tells Hope that he’s not going to hurt her, and Hawkeye shows up and asks Cyclops if he really believes that, or if he thinks Hope is just an idiot. Again I must say, there is no indication that Cyclops means Hope any harm. Maybe he just wants to take her back to Utopia to live in paradise with all her friends – Emma’s changes not withstanding. There’s no indication that Cyclops has any plans to hurt Hope.
Cyclops defeats Hawkeye, Thor and the Thing with a single optic blast.
Then Hope and the Thunderer show up riding a freakin’ dragon!
Now that’s awesome! Cyclops versus a dragon! For those who don’t know, the Iron Fist gets his power by plunging his fists into the heart of an ancient dragon that lives in the caves of K’un Lun. Hope and the Thunderer are now riding one of those dragons to take on Cyclops! It’s also said that, once upon a time, these dragons defeated the Phoenix. So that’s probably important. This is also an awesome use of an old comic book origin, exactly the sort of thing a big event like this should do. It would be like if the Fantastic Four weaponized the original cosmic rays that gave them their powers.
Cyclops takes down the dragon with one optic blasts, and then he steps up to finish off the beast, but the Thunderer and Hope knock him aside and face-off against Cyclops. Then yet again, someone just tells us that Cyclops is evil.
What “innocent lives” has Cyclops destroyed? The Avengers he just beat up? Or even the ones who were held prisoner? They’re none the worse for wear. They’ve been in harder scrapes. And Cyclops hasn’t done anything to K’un Lun or it’s people. He hasn’t razed the place to the ground or anything. Do you mean the people of Wakanda? That was all Namor, and Namor has always been evil. What about all the people in the third world countries where the PhoeniX-Five brought food and water? What about the refugees who were finally able to return to their homes because Cyclops ended war? What about the mutants who were allowed to live in the Utopian paradise he created?
To which “innocent lives” were you referring, Hope? Again, whatever, I’m focusing too much on this. Cyclops just lets the comments roll off his back. He knows what good he is doing and he doesn’t need Hope and the others getting him down.
He’s about to waste the two of them with an optic blast when Hope fires first, spitting bright green flames from her mouth. Hope, if you didn’t know, has the ability to mimic other super-powers. And she realizes that she is mimicking the dragon, which kind of freaks her out. Hope goes running off and finds Iron Man, Beast and the Scarlet Witch, who tell her to be calm. Cyclops shows up and the Scarlet Witch’s powers are no longer any bother to him now that his Phoenix power is much stronger. But that’s when Hope steps up and we get another truly badass moment in this comic: Hope mimicks and combines the powers of the dragon and the Scarlet Witch!
That is just flat out awesome. It’s a logical move that combines a lot of concepts that have long been important to this series. Hope, the Scarlet Witch’s power and the mysticality of K’un Lun; they all come together in a way that makes sense and doesn’t feel cheap. This works wonderfully. And if I wasn’t rooting for Cyclops in this scene, I’d probably be cheering with joy right now.
Anyway, the punch made Cyclops teleport to the moon, where he sees the Watcher – of all people – and decides that he needs Emma’s help to fight back. Boy, he’s sure in for a big surprise when he gets to Utopia and sees what Emma has done to the place. Meanwhile, Captain America returns to K’un Lun and Tony Stark tells him that Hope’s new power is the “turning point” in this conflict. Personally, I just think Hope is a traitor and Tony and Cap are assholes. Sooooo…
We end with a scene of Magneto wearing his helmet and fleeing Utopia. He gets to a point outside of Emma’s control, removes his helmet and calls out telepathically for Professor X to come help them.
If I didn’t think Professor X was being almost as big of an asshat as Captain America in this series, this scene would actually be kind of awesome.
So there we have it, another good issue of Avengers vs. X-Men. On the whole, I am enjoying this Big Event comic. It’s got twists, fun character moments, a good use of established continuity, and some legitimately new and exciting things happening to some of our favorite characters. I still don’t get why Marvel is being so coy about Cyclops’ level of evil, but I really need to put that behind me. The story is going to be what Marvel wants the story to be, I just have to accept it.
I guess at its most basic level, the problem I have with Cyclops is that Marvel broke the simplest rule of writing: “show, don’t tell.”
In a visual medium like comic books, it’s far, far better to show us something happening so that we can form our own opinions rather than just telling us what our opinions should be. Marvel completely messed this up. They showed us that Cyclops and the PhoeniX-Five were benevolent god-like beings. They did great things, helped billions of people and the world was grateful for their help. But then all of a sudden they turned around and told us, through the mouths of the Avengers, that the PhoeniX-Men were evil and losing control of their power. They told us that before we actually saw it happening. Marvel took a long time getting around to showing us that indeed some of the PhoeniX-Men were going bad. And even still, they have yet to show us any proof that Cyclops has gone bad – unless you count his rampage in this issue. But again, I stress, Cyclops didn’t destroy K’un Lun, he was only attacking the Avengers, the people who attacked him first. If Hope had just gone with him when he first showed up, that would have been it. Nobody would have been hurt, and I’m sure Hope would be fine too.
We still only have characters telling us that Cyclops has gone bad. And sorry Marvel, but I just can’t believe them until I see it with my own eyes.