Now, we're finally learning the scope and scale of how much Marvel screwed Cyclops over. They're calling this revelation Death of X. It couldn't be less ominous if the tobacco lobby weren't sponsoring it. We already know that Cyclops decides to pick a fight with the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners and lost badly, forgetting that movie rights trump 50 years wroth of legacy. Now in Death of X #1, we're going to learn how Marvel justifies screwing over the leader of an oppressed minority to prop up a bunch of Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. Unless you're a David Duke supporter, you may want to brace yourself.
At the very least, we get a glimpse back to a time when Cyclops, the X-men, and the entire mutant race weren't completely and utterly fucked. It's a time when Cyclops still had respect, mutants still had a future, and Emma Frost still walked around in ridiculously revealing costumes. Good times indeed.
Nobody is whining about Cyclops being the most evil person to ever live, excluding Brett Ratner and Josh Trank. He's just on a mission, answering a distress call from his old X-men buddy, Multiple Man. Emma, Goldballs, Iceman, and the Stepford Cuckoos are with him and aren't accusing him of eating live puppies yet. Again, good times. They have no reason to believe that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are involved. They're just answering a distress call to help a fellow mutant in need, as X-men are trained to do.
Meanwhile in Japan, the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are flying over a city, following their big green fart cloud as it descends over a heavily populated area. Oddly enough, the same people who would probably support using killer robots against mutants don't run in terror. They just casually sit in the path of the cloud, drinking coffee and watching anime on their phones in preparation. I don't know what the Japanese word for hypocrite is, but I'm tempted to learn it in every language at this point.
Crystal is the one leading the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners through this momentous event. The other Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners by her side are...well, who gives a fuck who they are. I refuse to give their names more attention they deserve on this blog. Since this is going to be my last round of reviews, I'll just exercise my bias in the most blatant way possible and say fuck those Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. Fuck them up their racist, xenophobic, slave-owning assholes.
They talk like they shit sunshine and rainbows, proclaiming that people aren't nearly as afraid of them anymore and are embracing the fart cloud. They're even getting government support that doesn't involve killer robots. The Ron Swanson in me wants to bash my head against a wall. Never mind the fact they never did jack shit to deserve any kind of adulation until they couldn't stay hidden anymore. I'm almost as pissed at the people as I am them, but the keyword there is almost.
Back with the characters who actually do the kind of shit that makes them real heroes, Cyclops and his team arrives at Muir Island to find that the big Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owner fart cloud has rolled through. Unlike Japan, there are no sunny picnics and government support. There's just an insanely creepy, overtly ominous lab. It's basically the start of every shitty horror movie, but instead of killer clowns, it's caused by Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. I'm not sure which is worse.
They suspect something is very wrong. They also sense live minds, who are probably in the process of dying an agonizing death at the hands of Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. Keep in mind, they don't yet know that this big fucking fart cloud is killing mutants so they walk right into it. Cyclops, the karma of having slept with Jean Grey and Emma Frost working against him, starts to show symptoms. We already know he dies, but this just makes doubly sure he's going to die ingloriously. After X3, he's probably used to it.
Not knowing just how fucked they are, thanks entirely to the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners, the X-men venture into Muir Island. That's when they learn what the rest of us have known since the end of Secret Wars. The big green fart cloud that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners worship seems to be having a nasty side-effect on mutants. They find a sick, dead, mutilated mutant who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and on the wrong end of a movie rights deal. It's sad. It's tragic. It clearly disturbs Cyclops and the rest of the X-men while the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners couldn't give less of a shit.
Back in Japan, it turns out the big green fart cloud only managed to create one new Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners out of a population of 200,000. It's not much. There are homeopathy frauds more efficient than that. Then again, does the world really need more Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners?
Hydra doesn't think so. As such, they use this as an opportunity to attack. I can't say I've ever rooted for Hydra before. It's like rooting for Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, but at least Hydra isn't racist or xenophobic. They treat everyone equally shitty. That alone makes them more respectable than the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners.
However, Hydra seems to be playing softball with the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners because they don't even bring giant robots to the battle. They just arrive with guns and start shooting. They do bring gunships, but the lack of killer robots really shows they're not trying. It makes for some generic action, but there's never a sense that they're a major threat to the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners.
Back on Muir Island, shit gets a bit more urgent for Cyclops and his team. They search for more mutant victims of the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owner fart cloud. That's when they find Multiple Man, who was the one to send in the distress call in the first place. If there are any Multiple Man fans out there, you might want to eat a light lunch. As badly as Cyclops gets screwed over, at least he gets a chance to fight. Multiple Man does not.
In what is definitely the most dramatic moment in the story, Cyclops meets a legion of sick and dying Multiple Men. They're all mutilated, maimed, and covered in boils, courtesy of the big green fart cloud that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners worship. Cyclops manages to find the prime Multiple Man, who tells Cyclops what the rest of us already know. It still makes for a dramatic moment and one that definitely leaves an impression on Cyclops, who has already dealt with enough mutant plagues and sterilization plots for one lifetime.
To his credit, Cyclops doesn't immediately blame the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners for this shit. He's not Magneto. He's not Victor Von Doom. He's still working on that though. He wants to make extra sure that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners really are the ones to blame. That's pretty damn reasonable for someone everyone now hates with a passion. Even after Multiple Man dies in his arms, he still tries to assess the situation as carefully as possible. That's what makes him Cyclops.
He and Emma travel back into the lab, knowing damn well they may be poisoning themselves in the process. Cyclops gets in touch with Beast, who doesn't instinctively react by being a total douche-bag this time. Instead, he actually helps Cyclops make sense of the data. What a fucking concept, right?
Beast uses that brilliant, yet douchy mind of his to confirm what Multiple Man said. It is indeed the big green fart cloud that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners worship that's killing mutants. On top of that, Cyclops starts to show more symptoms. Remember, he ran right into this poison cloud not knowing it would make him sick. Now, he's that much more fucked because for a man who got to see Emma Frost and Jean Grey naked on a regular basis, karma just has to go for broke.
Back with Hydra and the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners, I'm still rooting for Hydra. Despite having no reason to have any sympathy for the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners whatsoever, this battle gives Aaron Kuder a chance to really show off his art skills. The action is flashy and fun, which is the most you can hope for in a battle that involves a bunch of Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners.
It's not entirely mindless action either. That one new Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners that the big fart cloud created gets to wake up and contribute. In this case, it's a Japanese guy with a blue mohawk. I'm usually in favor of mohawks, thanks in large part to Storm's ability to make it awesome. It's still not enough to give any Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners a pass.
Naturally, the new Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owner happens to have a power that ends the battle against Hydra pretty damn quickly. It's not the flashiest power in that he just knocks them out, but you can't argue with results. Kuder's art still makes it visually appealing so that much, I'll give them. I just won't give a fraction more than they deserve.
While that battle is ending, Cyclops manages to fight off the symptoms and the bad karma that's fueling them to meet with the rest of his team. He tells them exactly what Beast told them. They're fucked and the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are the ones to blame. He went out of his way to confirm it, making himself sick in the process. Now, he's ready to jump to the conclusion that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are to blame and they need to do something about it.
This is where it becomes painfully obvious whose movie rights that Marvel and Disney own. They are downright overt in making sure that Cyclops is the asshole here. They make him jump to the semi-reasonable conclusion that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners are entirely at fault, as though they knew their big fucking fart cloud maimed mutants. Given that he's showing symptoms now, it's hard to blame him for being only semi-reasonable, but it still feels forced. This is a character who fought extinction and sterility for most of his life. Conveying him as the villain here just seems forced.
Meanwhile, everything is all sunshine, rainbows, and free blowjobs with the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners. They still carry themselves as though they shit imported chocolate. They now have a new Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owner on their team, one who can put Hydra agents to sleep. They shower this new Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owner with love and affection, not unlike a cult trying to get your credit card information. Again, the bias of whose movie rights Marvel owns shows a bit too much here.
So...is it awesome?
Well, it is nice to see Cyclops and Emma Frost back in action. It's also nice to see them in a situation where everybody isn't blaming them for holocausts, plagues, and shit smelling like shit. Beyond that though, Death of X #1 doesn't fill in the most pressing blanks. It just shows how the X-men found out that the giant green fart cloud that the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners worship is poisonous to mutants. We kind of already knew that shit, but it's nice to at least know the context.
Beyond that though, this issue just set the stage for Cyclops' big horrific atrocity that'll piss off the entire world, kill puppies, and inspire 10 more Justin Beiber albums. The drama is somewhat muted here and the Racist Xenophobic Slave-Owners come of as somewhat creepy and cultish. Then again, when you're racist, xenophobic, and pro-slavery, I guess you have to channel your inner L. Ron Hubbard to some extent. It may actually inspire some to root for Hydra in this. Whoever you root for, Death of X #1 is basically a glorified teaser trailer with just enough extras to make it feel relevant. These days, that's as much as you can hope for.
Final Score: 5 out of 10