Spoilers for Wolverine And The X-Men #40
We’ve got two stories here that the book cuts back and forth between, but let’s take them on one at a time. First up, we have the story of two young S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, who have taken mutant growth hormone to infiltrate the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning. Quire and the gang do one of those “we knew along” things when they confront them, and force the agents on one last *Bamf* driven tour of the school. It reminds us for the eleventy-billionth time that yes, this school is a weird place, and saddens the one agent who had come to identify with the kids. He knocks out the other agent, his own sister, and suggests Quire wipe their minds and memories, replacing them with the mental experiences of a boring, uneventful mission that turned up squat. It was exciting to see these kids knuckle up, but you have to applaud it any time the hero can save the day with something more creative than “punch the bad guy.”
The rest of the book takes place in the aftermath of Wolverine and Cyclops destroying a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. stockpile of mutant hunting sentinels. Mystique (posing as agent Dazzler) leaked the location to them, because no matter how it went down it was probably going to be a win for her. She’s not really a fan of either of them, or sentinels. They do one of those tricks where they make it look like Logan is about to attack, and then he slices his way through to a room filled with beer. Truth be told, I’d have been content to watch the issue end as they shared a drink in silence over the mutual respect of a job well done, but Cyclops just can’t keep his trap shut, and ruins the moment. I suppose the conversation has to start this way, but they don’t really talk it out so much as they just run down the bullet points of what we’ve all been thinking.
- Wolverine and Cyclops are the new Professor X/Magneto relationship.
- Previous incarnations of the Phoenix were forgiven for doing way more than Scott did under its influence.
- Scott toughening up and getting more violent might have made him and Logan better friends back in the day, but he’s gone too far in that direction, and the world only needs one Wolverine.
Most importantly, the biggest problem with Cyclops right now isn’t what he’s done, it’s his reaction to it. Characters all over the X-Men universe have come back from awful things, but only when they recognize them. You can’t just keep plowing full speed ahead like nothing happened. A suicidal Scott Summers wouldn’t do us much good either, but he has to let it affect him a little, and let that show he cares. If his remorse is never visible, he continues to look like a villain. Lastly, there’s a call back to Schism, and the “you always frightened her” line. I’ve found this version of Cyclops to be the most interesting the character has ever been, especially when written by Bendis, but Wolverine wants the old Cyclops back – not one that would frighten Jean Grey, but the one she fell in love with. They share a final drink over the memory of Jean, and with that the story ends, for now. There are only two more issues left in this series before, well you know what happens with Marvel NOW!, but this arc has left me hopeful about the chances for a good sendoff before we reset the clock to #1 again.
My rating: 4/5
The storyline with the kids actually felt more consequential than the one with the adults, which surprised me. You can’t expect the “Schism” to just resolve in one issue, they still need to drag that out for the overall franchise, but issues like this at least keep that pot simmering in the meantime.