This Avengers vs. Xmen crossover event has been going for quite awhile now and has been mostly lackluster in my opinion. I like what I like and don’t what I don’t and I’m not taking anything away from what the creators make but it just has not done much for me. I never understood the whole let’s pit all the good guys against each other thing but it’s something to do, a bit of a spectacle and with the restart (not reboot) coming up they can afford to shake things up a bit which is what seems to be happening here. Marvel is doing very well for themselves with the success of their films and they are trying to create a more cohesive universe overall. It does seem though that a lot of creative decisions are being made both at Marvel and DC in order to get press. The gay marriage beteen X-man Northstar and his companion in the X-men books and DC’s reimagining of Green Lantern Alan Scott as a gay man. More recently the announcement of another new Green Lantern who would be a Muslim character. I have no problems at all with any of this. Our real world is full of a variety of people in many walks of life and the comics should reflect that, it’s just when it’s done in the way they are doing it in which they try to force the impact on us that it seems like more of a hollow gesture with ulterior motives. Maybe I’m wrong but it does have at least a sliver of truth to it. Deaths in comics can be considered the same kind of thing. Something done more for shock value than purposeful direction. In comics for a long time now deaths seemed to not really even matter as any number of fantastic reasons can be concieved to return a hero or villain to the fictional living world. In todays release of the newest Avengers vs. Xmen comic a death occurred and while it can be looked as just another bit of comic book death fluff there is also purpose to it. If you would like to know what went down and who is no more. Click the read more tab but be warned…..SPOILERS ahead. Who fell in battle today???
It was Professor X himself, Charles Xavier.
Now here’s the thing. He has died before. A couple of times in fact and even in film in X-men 3. It may not seem like that big a deal to most and only time will tell if he stays dead or if it is more worthwhile to bring him back. As far as the story and what they have been doing though it is quite the impactful and purposeful thing.
This whole Avengers vs. Xmen story has been about the return of the Phoenix force. Two sides were formed with most of the Avengers looking to prevent the Phoenix from taking over and destroying all and most of the X-men siding with Cyclops and the Phoenix Five who wanted to give power back to mutants and make the world a better place as well. The whole Phoenix Five thing came about when the power of the Phoenix was split apart then posessing 5 of the X-men (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Collossus and Magik).
Even before this whole Phoenix thing Cyclops took on the role of savior of his race. Various stories happened which nearly exterminated the mutant race and Cyclops did what he could to unite the remainder and try to keep everyone safe and return them to some sense of their former strength. He united them in their solidarity while at the same time trying to gain acceptance with the human populace more so than ever before. It was a fusion of the ideals of both Professor X and Magneto. Magneto being the long time enemy of the X-men who during all this joined up with them after seeing the reason in these ideas of Cyclops.
Through all this Cyclops made many tough decisions and some of them resulted in deaths and dismay for the mutant populace. Some of them may have not been the right ones but they were going to give him the results he wanted for the ideals he had. So during this time Cyclops started to become more like Magneto and less like Professor X. This was a slow process done over many years which allowed for a very real alteration of the character.
Finally for those that may not be in the know it should be said that Cyclops was like a son to Professor X. He was one of the first X-Men and someone who passionately believed in the Professor’s vision. Who has fought for him and it for years and done so loyally and without regard for himself. Cyclops was the personification of Professor X’s beliefs and truly one of the best in his eyes.
Fast forward to now and Professor X stands alongside the Avengers against the possessed Cyclops. While he is indeed possessed by the Phoenix force allowing for an element of scapegoating he does not seem to be fighting it too hard. In this issue Cyclops strikes down his father figure in the Professor killing him and cementing his turn into a more villain like role. Something I think is an excellent change up for the character and a great creative move for Marvel and the X-men. Cyclops is the new Magneto and I think they should allow this be the new norm even after the end results of this crossover. It seems right and natural. While not as powerful as Magneto, Cyclops brings a lot to the table mentally and if surrounded by the right support he could be a very real threat and the scariest kind of villain….the one who believes in what he is fighting for.
There is still one more issue and Cyclops has taken out Emma Frost in turn becoming the sole possessed by the Phoenix force. He has all the power now and has become the Dark Phoenix. The final issue will be out in two weeks and at that time we will see what happens when the Avengers and the X-men stand up against Cyclops and his emergence as the new bad guy on the block.