Thursday, September 13, 2012
The book opens with Captain America reaching out to the Hulk. In desperate need of more power to take on Cyclops and Emma Frost in their Phoenix –amped state, Cap is willing to enlist the Hulk. He’s got even more help coming when Rogue brings all of the X-Men over to the Avengers side. (Wisconsin represent!) Rogue is an interesting choice to be the mouthpiece for the Avengers, but since she’s on the upcoming Uncanny Avengers lineup, it makes sense. Havok and Cap shake hands (Havok is on the team, too), and Iceman is just hanging out shirtless.
Emma Frost and Cyclops are losing the battle against the Phoenix Force. Both are tempted by the chance to be the one, true host for all that power, but Cyclops takes the plunge when the combined hero army attacks. Olivier Coipel does a wonderful job with the action sequences, the panels are packed with cameos. Bendis gives Hawkeye, Storm, Magneto, Scarlet Witch, and Cap all a nice moment in the sun. Iceman comes on a bit too strong; I’m not sure Bobby Drake would be quite this cruel to his best friend. (Probably a hint of Bendis’ take on the X-Men in advance of his run.)
Part of the problem in a maxi-series like this is that it truly feels like a chaotic series of events. Other than perhaps Cyclops, there are no other characters anchoring the readers' experience. Hulk and Professor X had no role at the start of the series. Hope does not even appear in this issue. Scarlet Witch gets one page. It's odd, a lot has happened in this series, but I'd have a hard time saying it really hit any one character more than any other.
Finally, Cyclops is overtaken by the Phoenix Force and becomes a new Dark Phoenix. The moment that puts ol’ Cyke over the edge is when the kills a long-time ally and realizes he’s as far gone as Jean Grey. LAST CHANCE SPOILER SPACE
So I'm not tremendously broken up over Professor X getting pasted here. He didn't have a huge role in the X-books for years, and I'd think with his powers he can become a disembodied voice rattling around in somebody's head right away.
I certainly hope Cyclops is redeemable after this, but it’s going to be tough. I think Cyclops might have to be off the board for at least 5 years so we’re anxious for him to come back (call it he Scarlet Witch PR program).