When the Scarlet Witch said three powerful words – “No more mutants” – everything changed for the X-Men. Xavier’s Dream, which had seemed within an inch of becoming reality, was reduced to nothing more than a fantasy. And in this context, it fell to one man to step up. Here’s the first installment of the Age of Summers!
Probably the best summary of it all was from Leonard Samson, who, ah, ‘interviewed’ (or attempted to, anyway) Rachel Summers. Eavesdropping on a conversation between Samson and Val Cooper afterwards, Rachel heard this:
The mutant race was balanced on the knife-edge of extinction, and even the Beast drew a blank when it came to putting matters aright. Charles Xavier was gone. The School was just short of a concentration camp for the surviving mutants, and Sentinels stood guard. For Cyclops, the stress levels went through the roof.
Oddly enough, though, there were really three events – one that fans remember, two that are easily overlooked – that broke Scott. First of all, of course, there was the intense sense of betrayal he felt towards Charles Xavier when he discovered that Xavier had buried the existence of his brother Vulcan deep inside Scott’s mind.
These were bad days for Scott’s family. The Shi’ar had sent a force to Earth to wipe out every single relative of Jean, in their view potential hosts for the Phoenix. Scott saw people he loved – some of his last memories of Jean – killed before his eyes. Even though the surviving killers surrendered, he seems to really consider cutting loose.
The idealist dies in a flare of pain, and he really does consider that there must be another way. Indeed, when, during Messiah CompleX, Scott founded X-Force, Logan implied the two had discussed the idea before at least once.
The personal cost only accumulated when Xavier pursued Gabriel into Shi’ar space, setting in motion events that led to the death of Corsair, Scott’s father, and leaving Havok and Rachel in Shi’ar space. Scott and Xavier were becoming ever-more opposed, and meanwhile crisis after crisis was threatening the mutant race.
Curiously, the X-Men lost one battle by default. In the early days after the Decimation, Congressman Sykes pushed for a new Mutant Registration Act. And yet, when the Super-Hero Registration Act came into force, mutants were registered by default; Cyclops kept the X-Men out of the Civil War.
And then, crucially, Sinister launched a wave of attacks that seemed to lead to the death of Scott’s son, Cable. It was only due to treachery that these events came to pass – betrayal from among the ranks of the X-Men.
Yeah, we know Nathan will come back – but Scott doesn’t. This is what it finally took to make him go on the offensive – which I’ll cover next week!