By Joe Glass, Bleeding Cool's Senior Mutant Correspondent
Well, Death of X is now over. The series that promised to explain what exactly Scott Summers did that was SO BAD that it made him one of the most hated mutants on Earth, branded a terrorist and supervillain, sometimes by even his own friends and former allies.
Well, did it?
It will also set us up for IvX: Inhumans vs. X-Men, the next massive X-Men/Inhuman crossover event at Marvel that promises to resolve plots that have been running since the end of the Secret War event, and lead us to the tantalizingly titled ResurrXion.
So, what have we learned and where may we see things going for the X-titles? After all, it's kind of already been revealed what the Inhumans are up to in ResurrXion, whereas so far all we have for the X-Men are titles and promises of more hopeful times.
Well, let's take a look at Death of X and more and see what we can figure out, eh? Be warned, this article from this point will feature major spoilers for DoX, other X-Men and Inhuman titles, and possibly, if I'm at all right on any of my guesses, IvX and ResurrXion.
Post-DoX, Where Do We Stand?
So, Cyclops is dead. Except he had been from pretty much the start. Emma Frost manipulated everyone to think he was leading the plan to destroy one of the two Terrigen Mist clouds, and she seems to have succeeded, for the most part (more on that later).
Going into IvX, it's more clear than ever what the major conflict will revolve around: Emma Frost's plan to rid the world of the last Terrigen Mist cloud, and thus, all Terrigen on Earth (that we know of). What's more, whatever Emma's planning seems to bring in the other mutants to her side. Is it just because, as solicits tell us, Beast discovers the mists will reach saturation point imminently, making Earth permanently uninhabitable to mutants? Or is there more to it than that?
And crucially, is Emma Frost alone in her machinations? After all, it seems likely that she's not the only one aware of what she did in Death of X. Havok, a.k.a. Alex Summers knows for sure, and so do the Stepford Cuckoos. Also, it seems that Magneto may know, or at least have an inkling. We can assume that some or all of these characters will be aiding her in whatever she is up to in IvX.
Post IvX, Where Will We Stand?
Well, interestingly, it is not looking especially like any major Inhuman deaths are coming. And quite possibly, no major mutant deaths either.
Instead, Inhumans will be rent asunder: the Royals leaving for space to find the 'secrets of the Terrigen' on whatever is left of the Kree homeworld (pretty certain it blew up, right?). Whilst a team of NuHumans and some other Inhuman hangers on (Ms Marvel, Moon Girl, Quake) will be remaining behind on Earth.
While we have little information on the X-books post IvX and in ResurrXion, we have been told in interviews to expect some more positive stories, more reminiscent of classic times, with the X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold books evoking classic 90s teams, as well as Generation X, and also books like Cable, Iceman and Jean Grey.
So it would seem that the mutants will maybe win IvX, successfully eliminating Terrigen from Earth's atmosphere and reversing its effects; while the Inhumans are more after a 'resurrection' of their species, as it will now be them who find themselves in the mutant races current predicament.
And honestly, I think this role reversal will probably work a lot better for both properties. With mutants always really having been analogues of minorities, it's felt particularly uncomfortable to see them essentially being gassed to death in the books, while Inhumans seemed to be 'taking their place'. And if that was the plan, it would have been an unfortunate one. After all, you are taking the minority analogy away from characters that are simply born that way to characters that were MADE that way through alien tampering and exotic substances.
So if IvX features no deaths, will it instead feature some new lives?
Who Will Return for ResurrXion?
If we assume that, as seems likely given that banner name for the new titles, we will see a resurrection or maybe resurrections in IvX, who might it be?
One likely candidate is Professor X. Long dead by now for the umpteenth time, Charles Xavier returning could be part of what brings hope back to the mutant race and the books. And with the whole Red Skull-has-Prof X's-brain-bits-in-his-brain plot seemingly being brought to a conclusion in Uncanny Avengers come December/January, could it be time for him to return somehow?
Equally possible, Jean Grey/Phoenix. With the character receiving her own title, it might be that the Phoenix returning to the scene to reignite the mutant race (again) could be a factor in IvX…and she'd certainly have the powers to remove Terrigen completely from the atmosphere too. Could Emma Frost's plan be to bring back Phoenix?
But perhaps my own favorite possibility, and would be a potentially interesting, if possibly divisive one: Cyclops.
Sure, it would make for one of the shortest comic book deaths in history, but likewise Cyclops returning to lead the X-Men into a bright future may be just what is needed to return him to a heroic standing. And personally, I think there's a few clues dropped in Death of X to plant the seeds for this.
One image slightly troubled me at first at the end of Death of X#4, with Emma Frost looking extremely mentally unstable in the final panel. It felt weird to me that a woman who has always been characterized as being the height of strength and aloofness would completely breakdown and snap because her babe got the sniffles and bought the farm, when she has seen student after student after student under her care (and being a teacher means everything to her) bite it big time, sometimes in pretty nasty scenarios.
And then I noticed how much her nose keeps bleeding all the time. And I went back, and I noticed these two scenes:
Here we see Emma talking to Cyclops (who granted doesn't respond). But at this point, Scott is dead and Emma is essentially psychically masquerading as him. So why would she talk to someone who she knows is not there in such a way? It may be the typical conceit of comics of characters essentially thinking out loud…or it could be that Emma Frost 'saved' Cyclops by uploading his mind into hers.
After all, there's this other scene where Scott DOES talk back to her…despite at this point actually being dead and not there:
It's been attempted before. Way back in the glorious days of Grant Morrison et al's New X-Men, Jean Grey once rescued Charles Xavier's mind from a dying Cassandra Nova's body (looooong but incredibly worthwhile story, highly recommend) by uploading his mind into her own before later returning it to his own body. Now, granted, this took an incredible amount of effort from an omega-level telepath, that almost destroyed both her and the Professor's minds, but what's to stop Emma from making a similar attempt with Cyclops, the man she loves?
And if this is the case, might we have been faked out again in Death of X? Could it be that Scott really is complicit in the actions of Emma, after the death of his body?
Some Final Thoughts
Were the actions of Emma/Cyclops really so bad as to see Cyclops go from making the hopeful mutant leader speech in Uncanny X-Men #600 to most hated mutant in history? I mean, maybe to some Inhumans, mainly the Royals and original Inhumans who revere Terrigen as sacred, but surely not the general populace. It seems unusual that humans and some mutants would see him so negatively because he responded to a brand new crisis facing mutants by destroying the cause of that crisis and then getting vaporized by the people behind that crisis.
I mean, granted 'he' lied about the effects on humans, but overall it doesn't really seem like 'Cyclops' actions would have pissed anyone but some Inhumans off, really.
Also, wasn't Magik really angry and Sunfire in Extraordinary X-Men for his role in Cyclops actions? Which seems odd because a) she was also part of Cyclops/Emma's team and the mission, and b) Sunfire's role seemed to amount to nothing more than transport.
Does all this have to do in any way with Black Bolt's reasons for the plan to release the Terrigen Mists in the first place? Waaaay back in Infinity, another event, it was intimated that Black Bolt had been planning the release for some time, enlisting the aid of his brother to help him do it, in order to face some undisclosed threat that needed Inhumans at peak population?
I know we only saw him briefly, but is Havok not evil now? At the end of AXIS (ANOTHER event…I'm sensing a pattern) Havok was still evil, just as Sabretooth is still good. Since then, and post-Secret Wars, Iron Man returned to his good self, and Havok didn't seem too evil-y. Wasp hasn't even been in his captivity anymore for a while either. So is Sabretooth the only character still affected by AXIS?
Oh, and have we all just forgotten about those Skyspear things? I mean, I literally had until right now.
They going to come back into play soon, maybe?