Let's face it. This is a guy is basically the Hugh Hefner of mutants. He's banged both Jean Grey and Emma Frost. He's pwned Wolverine more times than a bar tab. And he's led the entire mutant race back from the brink of destruction on more than one occasion. So when he gets fucked over off-panel in Extraordinary X-men, there will be those who will jerk off to his misery. The problem is that even ardent Cyclops-haters have to admit screwing him over off-panel has made the story in Extraordinary X-men more chaotic than a meth-fueled gangbang at Ron Jeremy's house. Now, Marvel looks to add the last bit of lube in screwing Cyclops over completely in Extraordinary X-men #5. And it's my job to show whether Cyclops haters will have either semi or a raging boner.
The first part of that job involves taking care of the obvious. Remember that shocking ending in the previous issue that apparently showed Cyclops returning as one of Sinister’s experiments? Well somebody kick Peter Parker in the balls because it’s a fucking clone. And it’s not just because O5 Jean scanned his mind. It says so in the fucking intro. So there’s no ambiguity here. This thing is just another clone and since it’s not nearly as sexy as Madelyne Pryor, the X-men’s first instinct is to kill it. If only Spider-Man’s instincts were that sharp.
A standard Power Rangers style monster battle ensues. It’s really not much different from a Sentinel battle. There’s lasers, destruction, and people yelling “JEAN!” Hamberto Ramos’ art is solid, but it really doesn’t add much to it. They’re fighting a monster. There’s no drama. No emotion. It’s as basic as mid-80s porn.
And part of that basic setup involves the X-men protecting civilians while fighting this the Cyclops/clone/monster. It might be overlooked and belabored in a Superman movie, but it’s how the X-men have always done business. They try to protect those who would otherwise use them as target practice. It’s what makes them who they are. Again, this shit is standard and there’s nothing that really makes it stand out.
So what about the asshole that created this monster? Well, Sinister did get his head chopped off so that should end it right? Fuck no. This is Sinister. Cutting his head off is no more inconvenient than popping a zit. He just picks himself up (literally), puts himself in a new body, and prepares to fight back. The problem is the guy he’s fighting is Colossus. And Sinister also hurt his sister. On top of that, this Colossus is packing a manly new beard. So yeah, this is going to be a lot more inconvenient for Sinister than he thought.
The X-men are still trying to channel their Cyclops-hate into this monster. They’re also still trying to protect the civilians so they don’t have another reason to bring back internment camps. Iceman is among those doing rescue and as luck would have it, one of the civilians he rescues is an Inhuman. The same Inhumans who are responsible for fucking over the entire mutant race and without the aid of Dr. Doom.
It’s another fitting, but basic moment for the X-men. They will help those who hate them. They’re able to discern humans and Inhumans from those responsible for the atrocities against them. That alone disqualifies them from joining the Republican Party. But again, this is what the X-men do. Unless it involves Cyclops, they’re willing to exercise basic human decency.
That decency doesn’t extend to a Cyclops clone monster though. The X-men do have their limits and Old Man Logan tends to spit on those limits. Never one to pass up a chance to stab Cyclops, he manages to recover from a heavy shot he took earlier and deliver at least part of the killing blow. He may be old, but I’m pretty sure he had to hide a boner here. Not only was he stabbing Cyclops, but a version of Jean Grey was present. I don’t care how old and impotent he is. That’s going to bring out the best in Logan, old man or otherwise.
However, gutting the Cyclops clone monster didn’t solve the problem as easily as Old Man Logan hoped. It just turned him into a ticking time bomb. Knowing mutants can’t afford another incident that blows up in their face, O5 Jean and Storm finish the job by turning it into a late New Years fireworks show. Colossus and Magik do their part too by cutting Sinister’s head off…again. It might not be the most epic conclusion to the battle, but it checks all the necessary boxes. That seems to be the standard now. Let everyone else in the Marvel universe grow and evolve. Let’s keep the X-men stuck in fucking 2005.
Sinister is dead(ish). The Cyclops clone monster is dead/exploded. The X-men can finally catch their breath and clean up as best they can. That includes rescuing Nightcrawler, who got the ball rolling on this shit storm when he got himself captured. He still sounds like someone who took one too many hits of LSD, but he still sounds more sane than a standard Comcast customer service rep so I’m guessing he’ll be fine. His incessant need to quote bible passages like a stoned version of Jimmy Sawaggert is just one of the many unanswered questions. I guess that’s some shit that all happened off-panel.
The last step in any successful X-men operation is making sure the public doesn’t see this as mutants choking live puppies. It’s another lesson that Spider-Man could definitely use in addition to the X-men’s handling of clones. Storm, with help from Iceman, gets on a stage and delivers a speech to the news cameras. She basically says Cyclops is horrible, the X-men are back, and they’re not going to take this shit anymore. There’s nothing she says that other X-men haven’t said on multiple occasions with much better rhetoric. But it gets the point across.
That point, however, would probably feel less bland if it wasn’t built entirely around some shit that happened with Cyclops off-panel. This is still, by far, the greatest weakness in this series and in most other X-books since the relaunch. We still have no fucking clue what Cyclops did, but everyone in the Marvel universe, including his own friends, act like he bathes in a pool of dead kittens and jerks off on their corpses. The fact it took a basic incident like this for them to be fucking X-men again just makes it seem forced and petty. And in this age of affluenza, we don’t need more of that shit.
So Storm delivers her speech. It turns out everyone can rally around Cyclops hatred. Even SHIELD offers to help. Sure, they’re still stuck having their school in Limbo, but they’re back to being X-men. And both O5 Jean and Old Man Logan opt to stick around. It’s not all that surprising. O5 Jean convinced Old Man Logan to come with her to X-Haven to fight demons and Cyclops monsters. It sure as hell wouldn’t take much to get him to stick around with the X-men. It’s Old Man Logan’s only weakness besides bar tabs. Cute redheads with puppy-dog eyes get him every time. In terms of weaknesses, it’s much more understandable than kryptonite.
So...is it awesome?
In short, only in the absolute most basic possible way. Extraordinary X-men #5 does the absolute minimum for a coherent X-men story. The team comes together, fights a monster threatening the people who hate them, and they succeed. They also manage to slightly improve their standing and all they had to do was fight another giant monster. That’s par for the course for the X-men. Hell, that’s basically every Tuesday. They succeeded in this most basic of challenges, but not a fraction more.
This arc is anything but complete and only marginally satisfying. Like a half-eaten Big Mac that has been sitting in the fridge for a week, it only delivers the most basic level of taste. Again, the blatant and unrelenting Cyclops-bashing really undermines the story here. So much of this shit was set up off-panel and the only hints we got was whining not seen since Star Wars fans first saw Jar Jar. This issue isn’t bad. This series as a whole isn’t bad. It’s just frustrating, incomplete, contrived, and petty as fuck. But it still does all the classic X-men shit we know and love and that might be the best we can hope for at this point.
Final Score: 6 out of 10