I wasn’t going to read any of these comics, after covering House of X and Powers of X for Shelfdust last year. It all felt like a very nice jumping-off point, which let me skip away from the world of mutants for a while… at least until I could see what the reaction was to the new series, at least. It all seems to have gone basically as you’d expect, with each new series being a chaotic new element into the previously-structured world Hickman and Muller had carefully put together. Having given the X-Men a happy ending of sorts, it makes sense that the characters would then find themselves all filled with random purpose, inspired to then race off and do whatever came to mind first.
Excalibur, X-Force and Marauders all seem to be completely manic and unstructured, and I’m not going to read Fallen Angels. With the world now opened up to them, the X-Men have this freedom now which they don’t usually have – X-Force are working to keep everything safe, but all the other characters can basically piss around and see where the world takes them. And that brings me to X-Men #1, by Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu. Is this also a lark, having fun with the characters without doing anything particularly heavy or considered – or is it a continuation of the epic story built up through HoXPoX? The answer, of course, is that it’s the former. It’s happy go lucky nonsense.
X-Men #1 sees Cyclops’ happy ever after, as he goes home after a long hard day of fighting bigots to find his family are all waiting for him. Not just Jean, Havok, Vulcan, Rachel and Cable – but the Starjammers, who’ve popped in for a quick visit. When his dad says “your world has changed”, Cyclops strongly replies “for the better”. Most of the time we’ve seen Cyclops fighting the good fight almost as a suicide run, where he can’t see himself making it into the better world he’s fighting for: this new arrangement from Xavier means he can fight the battles whilst enjoying the rewards simultaneously. He’s got a normal life, in other words: he goes out to do his 9-5 job fighting monsters, then comes home and has tea with the kids.
His dad isn’t convinced by that, which stands to reason: Corsair has been running away from domestic life for decades. He’s given a plant so he can create a link between his ship and Summer House, but it’s hard to sense if he actually likes that idea or not.
The Summer House as a whole, though, is deliberate provocation by the creative team, seeing how it sticks Jean, Cyclops and Wolverine in adjoining rooms. Oh! Polygamy, is it? Perhaps so, but all the attention fell on that particular ‘arrangement’ when there’s also the mystery of room 15. That’s the room next to Alex, which is currently empty… and it’s clearly planned for Polaris.
If Cyclops has a plan for everything, and he’s viewing this house as part of the “happy ever after”, then that means even his rubbish younger brother gets to have what he wants: and that’s apparently Polaris. If Cyclops can win her over to the team, then he’ll have gotten further towards making sure everybody has the nice life they want. It’s probably not hugely important that Polaris clearly has no current interest in being part of Summer House – it’s what Cyclops sees as the best fit for that room, and Cyclops always considers every angle. It’s why nobody wants to play him at pool.
For her part, Polaris’ main interest at this point is in spending more time with her dad, especially now it’s canonical that she’s his only child. She accompanies him on the mission and then watches as he celebrates with the mutants of Krakoa – to whom he’s become some kind of legend. He’s also a sort-of mentor figure at this point for both Polaris and Cyclops, each of whom by this point have spent extensive time looking to him for guidance. It’s nice to get to see them acknowledge that shared connection together whilst watching Magneto on Krakoa, even if Cyclops immediately tries to wrangle it into a pitch for her to join him in the Summer House. Alex is there, he not-so-subtly points out. She rejects, for now.
There’s a second empty room between Cable and Rachel, which seems to be reserved for the younger generation of the Summers’ family. That could mean a few people – Hope Summers would seem to be one of the most likely options, but she’s now too busy being one of “the five”. She’s also not going to be too keen of seeing a young Cable knocking about, most likely. So could the room belong to X-Man, Nate Grey? Or hey, maybe there’s a secret child we don’t know about knocking around somewhere. Or, let’s go crazy, it’s Adam X. Lots of options, but Cyclops (and Jonathan Hickman, let’s be honest) isn’t somebody who’s going to leave a room empty if he can eventually fill it and make the diagram “complete”.
Happy ever after, then, for Cyclops and his family. I can’t wait to see what happens when things start to fall apart.
X-Men #1 “Pax Krakoa”
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Designer: Tom Muller
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