Decimation, Extinction Agenda, Messiah Complex… and here we are.
What an event it was! Full of fights and drama and twists and turns and hey, it’s our old friend, Mutant Dystopian Future! It was indeed like the days of yore, of Fall of the Mutants and X-Tinction Agenda, of fights that move from one book to the next, of characters that don’t seem to be doing anything suddenly front and center by chapter eight, of small details you have to remember from chapter to chapter like lost socks looking for a mate… well, let’s just say that these kinds of crossovers have their good points and bad points. In any case, it’s a great big dose of nostalgia for Yours Truly, one of those big, messy events that leaves us holding a moment in X-Men History.
At the end of it all, with his cast and crew around him, Scott uttered very shocking and soon-to-be famous words around the body of a dead man, words that will last us until Uncanny X-Men #500 when a clear vision of the X-Men will show itself to the True Believers. These words?
But if you come to think about it, have there really been X-Men recently?
WARNING: Messiah Complex spoilers. For that one guy who hasn’t read it yet. You know who you are.
Since Decimation, the very idea of ‘X-Men’ mutants protecting a world that fears and hates them has shrunk so far down as to be a mere blip on the radar of the Marvel U. Now, don’t get me wrong, the drama and action one can get from tearing up their home over and over again can be exciting and action packed (nothing like Apocalypse parking a big ol’ Sphinx over your house to bring it on!), but there doesn’t seem to be a need to go anywhere but your own backyard for the men and women dedicated to protecting that fear-and-hating world. In fact, so much was going on that that very world might have even forgotten about the mutants outside their recent number drop. I don’t think there was a mutant threat that outshone the Civil War where people sans genetic abherration were doing far more damage than Magneto ever really accomplished. The 198 (give or take) seem smaller than they are somehow, perhaps because they don’t seem to be all in one place anymore, striking out on their own behind the scenes. So why do we even need the X-Men? Was the Dream already dead before Xavier hit the floor?
Charles Xavier worked hard for the day that mutants and humans could live together in equality. While his intentions have been noble, they haven’t always been just; I at least like to think Star Trekly and remember that the good of the many out weight the needs of the few (or the one). A lot of thing shave come to light in the wake of Brubaker’s pen that have shown Xavier to have a shadier past than previously thought, more manipulative than ‘fatherly’. But does this invalidate his cause?
The only person you can really turn to with these questions is Scott Summers. He was the first X-Man, taken in by Xavier in his youth and given a home and purpose at the School for Gifted Youngsters. Without the X-Men, he’s shown to be directionless; with a team at his side, he can work wonders with a clear focus and direction. I find it interesting that a quick search on wikipedia says that “In practically every incarnation of the character, he has almost always been shown to be not only Charles Xavier’s most loyal student, but also the one who most believes in his dream of mutant and human equality.” I don’t think that’s been updated all that recently; if anything, the Dream died in Cyclops in Deadly Genesis, going so far as to try and kick Xavier out of his own house over the revelations. By the end of Messiah Complex, we have two books designed to kill (or at least starting with that agenda) in the now revealed solicitations : X-Force, the new ‘wetworks’ team and, of all things, the ‘Young X-Men’. “In the wake of Messiah CompleX, there are no X-Men and young mutants Rockslide, Blindfold and Dust are alone and directionless. Until the day Cyclops recruits them to hunt the new incarnation of the Brotherhood – and kill them.” Let’s face it, this is not your stalwart and true Scott Summers anymore. This man is tired, having gone non-stop since he came back from the Twelve storyline wherein he tried to sacrifice himself to save the future of the Dream itself. This man is acting rashly, having ordered a secret kill team against his own son, going on possible evidence rather that something more solid. This man, who normally lived and died by the book, is throwing everything out the window in order to gain his objectives. This man… just disbanded the X-Men. This man… this Skrull?
Dirty allegations of being ‘Skrully’ aside, awhile back I tried to find the things you simply could not change about a solid X-Men book: kids, space, the fear and hate and, of course, the Dream. I guess it looks like two our of five ain’t bad? We’ll have kids eventually with the Young X-Men, for the most part they seem to be keeping their distance from the rest of the Marvel Universe (unless I’m right on that Skrull thing!) and will hopefully be returning to outer space to check up on the rest of the Summers family, but as for fear and hate and the good ol’ Dream, it looks to be another episode of Wait ‘n’ See. With the next few months’ of X-Title solicitation now clear ahead of us, all we know is that you cannot control the future, just guide it to the right direction and let it make its own choice.