Cyclops Was Right and Cullen Bunn is a Hero Who Knows It [X-ual Healing 9-26-18]

There's not many things in the comics industry from the past decade that bother us more than what Marvel has done to our beloved Cyclops. First, disrespected by that no-good Wolverine in the X-Men Schism, lectured for putting children in danger to save mutantkind despite Wolverine's own predilection for literally murdering his own children, not to mention anyone else who gets in the way of his adamantium claws whenever the berserker mood takes him. Then Wolverine gets his own book which, of course, is all about him putting children in danger while running the school because he's a stabby hypocrite.

Then, painted as the villain in Avengers vs. X-Men, despite the fact that Cyclops and the X-Men were minding their own business on the sovereign mutant island of Utopia when the Avengers, led by Captain America (who would later be revealed to be an actual Nazi during Secret Empire) and the traitorous Wolverine, invade the country in an attempt to capture the teenage Hope Summers and imprison her on the moon for a future crime she might later commit while under the influence of a bird-themed cosmic death god. Notably during this invasion, Thor, an alien with the power of a god, literally kicks another teenage mutant in the guy while he's playing video games. Making matters worse, Tony Stark splits the Phoenix Force into 5 parts, causing it to flow into Cyclops and 4 other X-Men against their will. Then, when these X-Men do their best to make the world a better place with the power the Avengers foisted upon them, the Avengers were so jealous they had to take them down.

After that, Scott Summers was branded as a terrorist, and eventually, he was killed in lackluster fashion during the Inhumans vs. X-Men and Death of X nonsense, all part of Marvel's sick and ultimately doomed plan to get people to like the Inhumans as a replacement for the X-Men.

And sure, we've had teenage Cyclops around for a few years, but now Marvel is about to send him and the other time-displaced X-Men back to their original timeline, leaving us with a Marvel Universe without a Scott Summers. It's a dark time for the X-books, even ahead of the upcoming relaunch of Uncanny X-Men in November. But one X-writer, on his way out of the books and with nothing left to lose, has taken a stand against the nonstop character assassination of Scott Summers. That man is Cullen Bunn, and along with Marcus To, Matt Milla, and Joe Caramagna, Bunn has left Cyclops fans with a message of hope and optimism in the final issue of X-Men Blue.

And you can read all about it in X-ual Healing, the weekly X-Men recap column, that starts now…

Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but with a corporate merger on the way, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.

If you're new to the column, here's how it works: we tell you what happened in the X-books last week, and we make some jokes about. That's about it. Not a review, no critical analysis. All we care about is what happens to our beloved mutants and whether Marvel is treating them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Let's get started.

X-Men Blue #36
(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Marcus To (CA) R. B. Silva
• Are the young X-Men's destinies set in stone? Are they only fighting the inevitable? Only their modern-day counterparts can answer that!
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 26, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The original 5 teen time-displaced X-Men (and Bloodstorm) meet up at the Cape Citadel Missile Base, site of the X-Men's first mission from X-Men #1, for one final rendezvous before they return to their own time (or get killed off in Extermination). Everyone is reluctant to give up their memories and character development from the past few years, but they accept that character growth is never permanent in comics. Before they return, they decide to wrap up loose ends from previous storylines. The X-Men take out Mojo TV, Cyclops skypes with the Starjammers, they hook up the Raksha in Madripoor with Polaris and Danger to train them to be real X-Men, and then head back to the Xavier School to say some goodbyes. While there, Scott and Jean slip off into the woods and share a kiss.

Yes, that's right. Scott and Jean forever, mother@#$%ers!!!

Sebastian Shaw thinks about interrupting, but, in a callback to X-Men #30 (read it on Marvel Unlimited), Poison Jimmy stops them. The X-Men head to the time platform to prepare to return, but they see a news report of Magneto and his new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attacking an anti-mutant demonstration and decide they can stick around for at least more event comic.

And so ends X-Men Blue and writer Cullen Bunn's tenure with the X-Books.

But Cullen Bunn won't be leaving empty-handed, as he, artist Marcus To, colorist Matt Milla,  and letterer Joe Caramagna are getting not one but *two* awards for their work this week. First of all, X-Men Blue #36 is the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week, the most esteemed weekly meat-themed comics award in the industry.

But also, for that much-needed Scott and Jean moment, we're going to bestow upon the entire creative team the first ever Order of Cyclops Medal of Valor for their valued service in proving that in Jean Grey shipping, as in all things: Cyclops was right.

Double congratulations to the creative team. Thank you for your service.

X-Men Red #8
(W) Tom Taylor (A) Carmen Nunez Carnero (CA) Jenny Frison
In the wake of an unprecedented assault on Atlantis, the X-Men must react and recover…while at the mercy of a world that grows more hostile to mutants every day, and a foe who is determined to keep it that way!
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 26, 2018
SRP: $3.99

In X-Men Red #8, Cassandra Nova unleashes her army of nano-sentinels, built by the mind-controlled Forge, to cause widespread mutant hatred all over the globe. Luckily for the X-Men, Trinary is able to seize control of the swarms by linking her mind with both Jean, to add her psychic powers, and Gabby, whose brain needs to be constantly destroyed and heal itself to handle the massive amounts of data. But while these three are attacking, Cassandra Nova uses the opportunity to fight back, taking Gabby out of the fight.

However, this allows the X-Men to locate Cassandra Nova, who is headquartered on the abandoned island of Genosha. Storm hits Cassandra Nova with a tidal wave and Laura takes over Gabby's spot (except Laura, unlike Gabby, can feel pain so it hurts a lot), and the rest of the X-Men join hands and lend their power to the fight. Trinary uses that and the vileness of the Bleeding Cool comment section to take down the swarms of nano-sentinels and save the day. Cassandra Nova, unhappy with this turn of events, takes over the mind of Rachel Grey and sends her to go kill her mom.

We're not sure what's going on with X-Men Red. Is it going to continue? It's solicited at least through December, so it's surviving at least the launch of Uncanny X-Men. And that's a good thing because it's a great X-book. But we wouldn't be surprised to see it wrap up after its second story arc to may way for the 90s revival or whatever is going on around here.

Extermination #3 (of 5)
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Pepe Larraz (CA) Mark Brooks
• With Ahab hunting the time-traveling X-Men, it's all hands on deck, as every X-Men team is called to arms and protect the remaining young mutants.
• But young Jean Grey and her bodyguards aren't going to lie still for Ahab to come to them…
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 26, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Extermination #3 picks up where the previous issue left off, with Old Man Logan turned to a hound by Ahab and trying to kill teenage time-displaced Hank McCoy. The remaining young X-Men have been split up, with Jean Grey and her X-Men Red team protecting Cyclops in Searebro and teen Jean flying in the X-Wing jet with X-Force, who have reformed out of nowhere ahead of their upcoming new series. Back at the X-Mansion, Ahab explains that the two young mutants who appeared in the first issue are called Maxime and Manon, and they actually work with Ahab. Their mutant powers allow them to retroactively implant years of conditioning in people's brains so that Ahab can turn them into hounds quickly. Good lord, if this kind of retcon power falls into the wrong hands… like Marvel's…

Old Man Logan isn't the only one affected. Nightcrawler turns too, teleporting Cyclops out into the open ocean while Shatterstar tries to kill Jean. Things don't go well at the mansion. Adult Beast is injured while trying to protect his younger counterpart, and Kid Cable shows up and kidnaps him anyway. Back at his lair, we see his machines are busy cutting off the wings of Mimic, kidnapped in an earlier issue, probably to transplant them onto the also-captured Angel so he can be sent back to his original time period as he left. Cyclops is left in a coma. After Cannonball blasts out of the plane, taking Shatterstar with him, Jean and the rest of X-Force head for Kid Cable's base and the issue ends with them busting in to attack.

Kid Cable's plans are becoming more clear and the cover of the next issue shows Cable seemingly fighting beside adult Jean Grey. What?! Sadly, we recently learned this series will have some of that momentum derailed by a delay for its final issue. Seriously?

Old Man Logan #48
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Ibraim Roberson (CA) Andrea Sorrentino
• Logan isn't the only refugee from a dystopian future loose in the Marvel Universe….THE MAESTRO RETURNS!
• Gamma vs. Adamantium! Intellect vs. instinct! It's "Days of Anger" ROUND TWO!
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Sep 26, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Old Man Logan #48 kicks off what will be the book's final storyline before the long, drawn-out death of Old Man Logan in the Dead Man Logan 12-issue maxi-series. The Maestro has taken over a town called Fort Wells in the Northwest Territories in Canada, setting himself up as king and generally killing, torturing, and enslaving the town people at will. Old Man Logan shows up and gets himself purposely captured to get inside and confront Maestro. A battle ensues, which Logan loses. Maestro beats him to a pulp and declares him dead on the final page. Doesn't Maestro have any respect for Marvel's publishing schedule? You can't just kill a guy suddenly three issues before his 12-issue death arc is supposed to start!

Domino Annual #1
(W) Gail Simone, Fabian Nicieza, More (A) Victor Ibanez, Juan Gedeon, More (CA) Greg Land
Tales too big for Domino's best-selling solo series! Neena Thurman's never worked alone… She keeps her friends close and her lovers closer! FINALLY REVEALED: the origin of Domino's posse! Colossus and Domino rekindled? Cable takes a bath! Plus: Domino's not the only mutant wearing her X-gene on her sleeve… don't miss the first appearance of the RejeX!
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Sep 26, 2018
SRP: $4.99

Finally this week we've got Domino Annual #1, which features a few stories, all lettered by Clayton Cowles but with otherwise different creative teams. The first one, Dead Drunk in Dry Gulch, is by Gail Simone, Victor Ibanez, and Jay David Ramos, and it shows Domino and Diamondback, sometime in the past, travel to an old West saloon on a job where they meet Outlaw for the first time. Though Outlaw is working for their enemy, a mutant-hating villain named Professor Savage, after a brief fight, they befriend her and team up to stop him. Outlaw agrees to join their team and, well, the rest is history.

The Good Fight by Fabian Nicieza, Juan Gedeon, and Jesus Aburtov, is a strange little story that consists mainly of Cable waxing philisophical about why he fights ("for hope") while taking a bath with Domino (a famous scene from Cable's original run in New Mutants). Cable points out that Domino wasn't actually Domino (she was actually Copycat, working for Tolliver). So Domino isn't even technically in this story. Weird.

In Rebound, by Dennis Hopeless, Leonard Kirk, and Jesus Aburtov, Domino steals the helmet of the original Crimson Dynamo in order to lure the current Crimson Dynamo to a cliff where Colossus is getting drunk after Kitty Pryde dumped him at the later. Domino and Colossus kick the new Crimson Dynamo's ass and then they make out.

In Domino and the Rejex by Leah Williams, Natacha Bustos, and Jesus Aburtov, Nightcrawler is running a support group for mutants who can't pass for humans. Attending the meeting are Eye Boy, Thumbelina, Doop, Kylun, Maggott, Marrow, Toad, and the highlight of the whole issue, Stacy freaking X. The others wonder why Stacy X is there when she looks normal, having been depowered, but Stacy X actually hates looking normal and is having trouble coping with it. Later, Domino shows up and reveals she put the whole thing together.

Saturdays are for the Body Count by Williams, Abutov, and Michael Shelfer is the framing story throughout the issue that ties all of these together (except the one with Cable, which is still just weird). The first page of this story is the first page of the issue, showing Domino getting ready for a job as a naked Warpath is asleep in bed. The town they're staying in reminds her of the place where she first met Outlaw, which leads into the first story. There's a second page of it between that and the Cable story, in which Domino is dressed as a clown killing people at a carnival, which leads into the Cable memory (which is oddly from Cable's perspective, and doesn't even really feature Domino, so how is she able to reminisce about it??). The third page shows her stealing the Crimson Dynamo helmet, leading into the Colossus story. After that, there's a page where Domino has killed a bad guy (sexual pervert?) in a playground as a little girl thanks her. This was her last job of the day, and she's thinking about skipping that other thing she had planned, which turns out to be the support group. The final page takes place later at Domino's apartment, where Kurt tells her she did a good thing with the group and then she goes to sleep. This was a good way to tie all of these stories together.

As far as annuals go these days, often featuring events that will have no lasting effect elsewhere, this one was better than most.

That's all for this week. No more X-Men Blue or X-Men Gold… but X-Men Black starts in October, with one issue by Chris Claremont (and more on that next week). Then, Uncanny X-Men launches in November. See you soon!

Read more X-ual Healing here:

About Jude Terror

A prophecy says that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero will come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events.

Scourge of Rich Johnston, maker of puns, and seeker of the Snyder Cut, Jude Terror, sadly, is not the hero comics needs right now... but he's the one the industry deserves.

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