Or – “At What Point Did Cyclops Become Bad-A$$?”

DA2.jpg

So, there’s a war brewing in San Francisco, with the mutants on one side, and a cadre of “reformed” villains led by Norman Osborn on the other side, as well as a rogue faction in the form of Emma Frost’s Dark X-Men.  Norman Osborn is counting on his position with the government to give him the edge he needs to put down Scott Summers and his people as easily as he put down Tony Stark and the Avengers.  Of course, Tony Stark didn’t spend his entire teen and adult life as an outcast and an outlaw, and Tony Stark has seldom been the one with his back to the wall.  (Tony Stark also doesn’t have big red eye-lasers comin’ outta his face, but, anyway…  Bygones.)

DA1.jpgPreviously, on Dark Avengers:Emma Frost hasn’t always been on the side of the angels, from her earliest days in the Hellfire Club, to her Massachusetts Academy days.  But now that she has become BFF’s with the former Green Goblin in his Illumi-Naughty (a.k.a. The Cabal) Emma has reached whole new shades of grey (but not Jean Grey, as she’s dead.)  At Norman’s behest, Emma has assembled her own “Dark” X-Men to serve as a political focal point for the unrest on the West Coast, unrest fostered by a proposition that would force mutants to submit to chemical birth control to keep their population low.  At the same time, the founder of the X-Men, Charles Xavier, and one of his first students, The Beast, have been captured and tortured by Norman to try and find a way to neutralize mutant powers.  Acting against Cyclops’ orders, a group of mutant teens have begun to riot in the streets, forcing Emma to act decisively. 

We open with Chuck and Hank telepathically (and uneasily) communicating, with Xavier trying to assess whether McCoy is okay.  “My fingernails just fell out,” replaies The Beast, “so, you tell me, Professor.”  Hank isn’t sure whether it’s really his old teacher, or someone pretending to be him to get information, while Norman Osborn and the Dark Beast (an alternate universe version of our Beast) argue about the side-effects of the process.  “You promised me your Omega Machine would painlessly and harmlessly sap mutants of their powers,” insists Norm.  “There is NO value in a device that tortures them into uselessness.”  Dark Beast disagrees, arguing that his machine is genius, and the house of cards continues to shift slightly.  Across town, the Dark X-Men (the White Queen, Daken, Cloak, Dagger, Weapon Omega, Prince Namor and the Mimic) engage the protestors, led by Emma’s former Golden Boy, Hellion.  The kids are esily overcome and teleported into custody, giving the D-X (“Think you can tell us what to do?”) a very public and satisfying win.

While that is going on, a meeting of two generals takes place on Alcatraz island, as Cyclops wings in on his jetpack and stands toe-to-toe with the Iron Patriot.  Norman is at his smarmy best, greeting Cyclops with full H.A.M.M.E.R. warrior compliment.  He starts off on a filibuster, pontificating about how they can put this all to bed now, that he knows what Scott is facing as the newly anointed leader of an oppressed people, and the problems of mutants…  A monologue that Cyclops ends with a single word.  “Surrender.”  Osborn is gobsmacked as Cyclops explains that this situation will end one way or another.  “Come out, say you and I met, say we came to terms and you believe the city is in good hands,” says an adamant Scott.  “Say whatever you hat to say to save face and go…  You can’t stay here.”  Iron Patriot responds with bravado, and Cyclops flies away with a sincere, “I tried.”  Wow.  That was impressive.  Back at Osborn’s headquarters, dissention occurs in the ranks, as Bullseye becomes jealous of the D-X and the action that they’re getting at his team’s expense.  Daken and Emma Frost nearly come to blows over her command for non-lethal force, but Norman steps in at the last moment.  She rages that their mutant prisoners will be treated with respect, and she demands transparency, insisting on seeing the Omega Machine and holding facilities.  Once inside the prison, Emma is contacted by Xavier, who begs her for help, while a full-fledged fight breaks out between Norman’s two super-teams outside.  The White Queen keeps her poker face, assuring Xavier that she will get help, as elsewhere in the city Simon Trask activates a squadron of human sentinels to kill all the mutants on BOTH sides of the fence…

There’s a lot going on here.  This book is an impressive one, giving Cyclops a moment in the sun, showcasing the growing mania and instability of Norman Osborn, adding depth and shading to the conflicts in San Francisco, and making me almost enjoy Daken’s antics.  What it DOESN’T do is show us much of the actual Dark Avengers, save for a few panels in which Bullseye dominates.  As a Utopia/Dark Reign cross-em-over, obviously the book has a ton to do, but it reminds me a bit too much of the X-Factor crossover back in the day which showcased only Cable, Wolverine and Forge, none of whom were (or, at the time, had EVER BEEN) members of X-Factor.  Overall, though, it’s a good issue, with a nice art job by Luke Ross (invoking but not slavishly emulating Mike Deodato’s art style, and even moving Dagger’s “X” symbol up a chakra) and some good dialogue throughout.  What we need is more Mimic and less Dark Wolverine, if you ask me, but overall it’s an enjoyable book.  Dark Avengers #7 earns a more-than-respectable 3.5 out of 5 stars, with the hope that this mini-crossover is the first of many nails in the Iron Patriot’s coffin…

35stars.jpg

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

Previous post

Marvel shows off Fantastic Four variant cover

Next post

Review: The Lone Ranger #17

10 Comments

  1. downbylaw
    July 30, 2009 at 6:46 pm — Reply

    “Previously, on Dark Avengers:Emma Frost hasn’t always been on the side of the angels, from her earliest days in the Hellfire Club, to her Massachusetts Academy days. But now that she has become BFF’s with the former Green Goblin in his Illumi-Naughty (a.k.a. The Cabal) Emma has reached whole new shades of grey (but not Jean Grey, as she’s dead.)”

    Brilliant…simply brilliant!!! hah! I needed some good laughs.

  2. MaximusRift
    July 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm — Reply

    Was it Bendis who wrote this? Cause if it is, I want him to write me a Cyclops mini. ;)

  3. Matt
    July 31, 2009 at 1:34 am — Reply

    I dropped this book and all dark reign related titles, due to it feeling like a lead in to another mega event. I can’t yet decide if I regret dropping dark avengers or I’m happy that I got out when I did. Only time will tell and how much this will all effect the next inevitable mega event…

  4. davek
    July 31, 2009 at 4:00 am — Reply

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Scott Summers being the one person who hands Norman Osborn a beatdown that makes him think twice about screwing with him. It doesn’t have to be the BIG BEATDOWN that corrects everything and makes everyone happy again, just enough of one where Norman is knocked down a peg or two, realizing even he has limits and raises Scott Summers more as one of the big-time players.

    “Today my jurisdiction ends right here.” – Silverado

  5. Josh P.
    July 31, 2009 at 6:45 am — Reply

    The entire Utopia X crossover is being written by Matt Fraction (including the Dark Avengers parts, which would explain why the Dark Avengers take a bit of a back seat).

    As for when Cyclops became such a bad-ass? Right after he came back from sharing bodies with Apocalypse. Read the Eve of Destruction right before Morrisson took over X-Men.

  6. Greg A
    July 31, 2009 at 10:42 am — Reply

    I think most Marvel titles would be improved if they had more Jet Pack Cyclops

  7. Eddie Sheridan
    July 31, 2009 at 11:56 am — Reply

    Bendis is becoming notorious for this. I mean, when was the last time the New Avengers were actually featured prominently in “New Avengers”? I think someone should remind him that you should really write about the title characters of the book you’re on.

  8. davek
    July 31, 2009 at 1:47 pm — Reply

    Jet Pack Cyclops is opening on this year’s Warped Tour, by the way.

  9. July 31, 2009 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    WWJPCD bracelets on sale now! (What Would Jet Pack Cyclops Do?)

  10. Crash
    July 31, 2009 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    Somewhere around the beginning of Astonishing or Deadly Genesis Scott started to get really bad ass and has slowly escalated into a character that I actually like. New X-Men tried to make him cool but failed miserably and only once Joss Whedon got ahold of the character did he really start to shine.

    I mean how cool was it when he finally picked up that gun in Astonishing and just started shooting folks left and right?

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section