Ever since I started reading X-Men, I read this book because I loved Cyclops, my favorite character of all time. And thus far, the Krakoan era hasn’t really been great for him outside of one or two standout issues. X-Men #7, however, is certainly a contender for the best Cyclops content since the Krakoan era started.
SPOILERS AHEAD for X-Men #7!
The issue has everything a Scott fan could possibly want! There’s Emma Frost, Scott in his leader mode kicking ass and taking names, his selflessness on display. Even if this series hasn’t been your cup of tea thus far, if you like Cyclops, you’ll love this issue.
The opening pages with Scott and Emma cuddling after he’s resurrected are really sweet, and they hint at a vulnerability for Emma that we haven’t seen in a long time but it’s so great to see. This entire scene feels like I’m a fly in the room watching two characters who are very familiar with each other interact — that’s what an X-Men comic should be about when they aren’t throwing punches. The X-Men as a franchise has always thrived on the characters’ bonds with one another, whether they be platonic, romantic or antagonistic.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but the way Emma simply doesn’t want to know about his death is actually really sad. It reminds me of how Emma was a mess after Scott died, how she promised she’d find a way for them to be together again (and by the looks of it, she sure did). And it reminds me of something Gerry Duggan wrote previously in Marauders, when Emma gives Storm the feeling she felt upon seeing Scott resurrected in HoX/PoX, signaling it as the moment she started to feel hope in Krakoa. Emma not wanting to know Scott’s death makes all of those scenes even more real, and it makes her never-ending latent fear of somehow losing him forever just as sad as this scene is cute.
Scott being able to use his ricochet beams is always a treat to see and the narration boxes in those scenes are just candy for any Cyclops fan, with Duggan spelling out some of the reasons why we love this character so much.
This issue feels like a love letter to the X-Men just as much as it does to Scott, because Duggan’s text spells it out: Scott is the X-Men. And it doesn’t mean “there’s no X-Men without Cyclops” — it means that Scott is the skeleton of this team, someone who knows it inside and out. And when he gets his praise, all other members deserve theirs, too. There’s a pretty neat moment with Synch in these sequences and hopefully, down the line, more issues will toy with Synch’s power upgrade since the Vault issue.
I’ve been saying it since this series started: Synch is the character this book should be overjoyed to write. He’s the epitome of what makes the Krakoa era special, breathing new life into characters we never thought we’d see again. Hopefully Synch gets his own issue like this soon.
Scott’s death in this issue is so utterly fascinating and tragic. He’s murdered like an experiment, the most dehumanizing way he could go in that moment. And there’s something fascinating about this chess game between Krakoa and Orchis, each trying to predict the other’s move. And because of that, Scott’s the one who falls on the sword, being forced to give up his role as Cyclops to protect Krakoa’s secret of resurrection.
Orchis expects him to come back. But they don’t expect Captain Krakoa to show up.
The cat-and-mouse game between these two has really started to heat up and it makes this X-Men run finally feel like it has some gas to run after such a shaky start. The parts with Ben Urich at the end only add to the layers of this plot and quite frankly, I can’t wait to see where it goes.
With the secret of resurrection at threat of being revealed, X-Men and this phase of the Krakoa era finally feel like they have some direction. It feels like this series is finally building towards a larger conflict and it makes it a much better read.
Larraz’s artwork is just phenomenal as always. It’s hard to pick out just one or two standout panels because the whole issue is just gorgeous from top to bottom, but a huge highlight for me was how he depicted Scott’s ricochet beams, making him look like the powerhouse he really is.
When Larraz’s name is on a book, you know you’re about to see some great artwork.
X-Men #7 is a great Cyclops issue for the series, but it sometimes feels like the title is still struggling to juggle all its characters. Why hasn’t Rogue done, like…anything? And again, I can’t help but think that someone like Synch deserves even more of a spotlight right now given his current plot with the Vault powerup. It seems like X-Men doesn’t want to focus heavily on more than one of its characters per issue and as good as this issue was, that still seems to be its biggest pitfall.
All in all, X-Men #7 is a book with fabulous art and a fun plot that’s finally kicking itself into high gear. This may just be the best issue of the run so far and hopefully, the rest of the series continues on this strong foot.
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