Page 45 Review by Stephen
Let us hope that one of us is as smart as the other one thinks he is.
This isnt the future. This is Planet Backwards!
We played with fire and got burnt.
Dr Henry McCoy was the first of his species to undergo a secondary mutation, years before his peers. It turned him blue and furry. Regrettably, it was self-inflicted: he tinkered with his own genetic code. His actual next-generation mutation brought with it no problems, but now his early meddling is coming back to bite him, for with yet another mutation hitting him hard, its as much as his body can handle. Hes dying.
Meanwhile, in AVENGERS VS X-MEN, original X-Man Cyclops succumbed to the temptation which the Phoenix Force brings with it, the temptation of virtually limitless power. The first time it killed his beloved Jean Grey; this time it killed their mentor, Professor Charles Xavier. Or rather, Cyclops did.
Now hes gone underground, setting up a rival school for gifted youngsters in the Weapon X base where Wolverine was tortured and with Magneto, Emma Frost and Illyana hes begun a Mutant Revolution. There are new mutants popping up all over the place and, to Storm and Kitty Prydes alarm, Cyclops is beating their own to team to tag them, rescuing them from potential harm at the hands of humans but doing so with violence and on camera. Hes destroying all their hard work for peaceful coexistence, threatening a mutant civil war and running the risk of provoking mutant genocide.
The Cyclops they grew up with would be appalled of that Ice-Man Bobby Drake is certain. And that gives Dr. Henry McCoy an idea, a last, desperate attempt to set things right before he dies. Hes going to go back in time and bring the original X-Men back with him to the present: to confront Cyclops face to face with his younger, peace-focussed self; to shock and shame him into retreating. And then theres the matter of the young Jean Grey
Well, this is brave and quite brilliant. Nor is it going to be brief. The X-Men of the past discovering the most alarming changes both in themselves and the world around them is the very premise not just of this volume but of the title itself. Although, typically, Booby Drake (oh, sic, why not?) is more interested in the size of modern television screens. His are the funniest lines by far. Young Hank McCoy is the clear-headed and capable one, young Scott Summers/Cyclops is like a deer caught in the headlights, The Angel is increasingly disturbed that no one will tell him whats become of him now, while Jean Grey
Shes going to be ruthless. She didnt learn to read minds until later, but bringing her to the present has catalysed that latent talent early. Perhaps too early, and theres no Charles Xavier to train and gently nurture that talent. You wait until she finds out what happened to her.
Equally, theres plenty going on in the other camp. You think its all forgive and forget? Think again, as Cyclops and Magneto rescue Emma Frost from internment.
Damn it! Whyd you even bother?
All things considered, its the least we could do.
All things considered? Does that include the fact that everything we built together everything we were working towards is over? Does that include the fact that you ruined my life by leaving me in the hands of the humans after stealing my Phoenix Force?
It wasnt me, Emma.
It wasnt you?
You know that wasnt me. You know the Phoenix was making us crazy.
So it wasnt you who betrayed me and left me for dead? It wasnt you that murdered Charles Xavier in front of all of us?!
It wasnt me.
Yeah, it was you, mate. As for Magneto, hes far from equanimous, either.
You stripped me of my God-given power.
God-given. God loves, man kills.
Anyway, apart from Illyana who feels quantifiably better, their powers are fucked. You should see Cyclops optic rays now: Marte Gracia has done a mean job colouring those to spectacular effect, while Stuart Immonen has brought all sorts of tricks to the table. The first confrontation between the two Scott Summers is blistering, while you can actually see young Henry McCoy in the older one and vice-versa for the first time I can recall. Its not just in the eyes, but the musculature of the face. I love the Art Nouveau panel corners during the sequence in which the older (if not wiser) Henry and Jean are in telepathic communion (let us remember his time-travel reservations in Ellis SECRET AVENGERS VOL 3, the best time-travel episode anywhere in comics).
Bonuses in the back include Bendis original proposal for the series written long before the decision was made to kill Professor X (there are some sneaky redactions, but hey) and a gallery of alternative covers plus a few process pages (seeing the artist at work, thinking through their creative decisions).