SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Astonishing X-Men #13 by Matthew Rosenberg, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Matthew Rosenberg has slowly but surely become an incredibly important voice within Marvel’s mutant titles, having brought Jean Grey back to life in Phoenix Resurrection, given the New Mutants a new mission in New Mutants: Dead Souls and exploring the wackier side of things with last week’s Multiple Man. This week sees Rosenberg stepping up to the plate for a run on Astonishing X-Men, a title with a long history, and a long shadow cast by the twenty-five issue run by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, over a decade ago.
Rather than follow the events of Charles Soule’s recent run on Astonishing X-Men, which saw the return of Charles Xavier in Fantomex’s body, now going simply by “X,” Rosenberg is focusing on the rehabilitation of a different hero; namely Alex Summers, aka Havok.
Havok has had a bad run of things recently, to say the least but he’s trying to get his life back on track and start up a new X-Men team. While most of the people he’s meeting with aren’t quick to join his side, he already has one recruit who is a classic mutant returning to the X-Men for the first time since they died nearly fifteen years ago.
The Hero’s Redemption
Havok really wants to be a superhero again. He was one of the many heroes who had their moral centers inverted during the AXIS event, and along with Iron Man and Sabretooth, was one of the few characters not to be inverted back by the end. Following the death of his brother Cyclops due to the Terrigen Cloud, Havok allied himself with Emma Frost in an attempt to get revenge and most recently has been working with Emma as well as anti-mutant villains such as Bastion and Miss Sinister in order to spread the Mothervine technology across the world.
However, he recently found himself cured of his inversion and is now looking to make things right, even though the world sees him as a terrorist and the mutant community sees him as kind of a jerk.
Even when he comes across Captain America, the man who invited him to not just join the Avengers but lead the Unity Squad, the advice he’s given is to take some time out of costume to find himself first, instead of making a big show of getting back into superheroics. It’s a bit hypocritical from the man’s whose face took over he US government with a fascist regime, which, to be fair, he kind of admits. Havok can’t be dissuaded though and instead heads to the Xavier Institute For Mutant Education and Outreach in an attempt to recruit a new team of X-Men from recent graduates such as Pixie and Rockslide, but is summarily bounced by Kitty Pryde, who reminds him that she does actually own the name “X-Men” and he isn’t welcome at the school.
Still, if there’s one thing that defines the Summers family, it’s persistence, and instead he travels to Harvard, where Beast has accepted a teaching position and just like Kitty, Hank tells Havok to do one but the pair are quickly attacked by The Reavers who seem to be there for Hank and not Alex. Outnumbered, Beast is forced to resort to an option he wasn’t particularly ready to resort to, flicking a switch and summoning none other than Sean Cassidy, aka Banshee, who flies into the room with his trademark sonic scream.