SPOILER WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "Uncanny X-Men" #514.
With ranks that include only about 200 members worldwide, the Mutants of the Marvel Universe are in danger of becoming extinct. In the current "Utopia" Crossover between "Dark Avengers" and "Uncanny Men," the X-Men combat corruption, subjugation, and oppression under the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn, who, to those ends, is fielding his own team of Dark X-Men. So far, Osborn's effort has been a success.
Norman shouldn't count the Mutant community out just yet, though, because they're lead by one of the most formidable thinkers in the world, Scott Summers -- Cyclops. And he has a plan.
In today's installment of EVOLUTION REVOLUTION, "Utopia" writer Matt Fraction gets us ready for the story's final act by offering insight and commentary on all the action and intrigue of "Uncanny" #514. If you're just joining us, catch up on things with parts one, two, and three of this exclusive feature.
CBR: Cyclops briefs four different characters on the current situation and the parts they're to play in what comes next. Why did you choose these four particular characters?
MATT FRACTION: This was really a payoff of a year of rebuilding the X-Women. These four women are all key components to Scott's master plan, and it was a nice change to put these four together instead of Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Beast. So it was a chance to do something different and not quite as status quo.
Later in this issue, Cyclops tells some X-Men that the Dark X-Men can be defeated because they don't work together as a team. But here we see characters like Cloak and Dagger working in tandem.
Yes, but there's something different between working in tandem and working together as a team. Ultimately, you're dealing with a bunch of show boaters and lunatics. It's the same thing with the Dark Avengers; they're guys and girls who are ego driven. The most basic concept of teamwork is to understand and trust one another and the Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men would clearly tear each other apart the minute they had the opportunity.
What can you tell us about the current dynamic between Cloak and Dagger and their feelings on being part of the Dark X-Men? From this scene here it looks like one is being a dreamer and one is being a realist?
They don't want to belong to any team that would have them as members and they're not stupid. They see the way things are run, hear the things that are said and recognize that they've made a deal with the devil. Ultimately this storyline is about Faustian pacts. This is Cloak and Dagger realizing how twisted the pact they made is.
Here we see Mimic working hard to actually try and reason with one of the human Sentinels. Does Mimic want to be a hero?
I really like Mimic believing that being on the Dark X-Men is a "last shot"-type scenario. And he really earnestly wants to believe he's on the side of the angels now. He's going to get the action figure and the trading card and everything else. This is Mimic's last shot at greatness, fame, and fortune. He's over the hill and heading downwards and this is his one last shot to make it work.
It seems like Mimic's hopes and dreams bounce up against the delusions of his teammate Omega.
Yes, Omega is bonkers! His powers make him a type of cannibal in weird way, and he's out of his mind. He thinks he's dead and that he's in Hell. Look at the people he's killed and the things he's done. His psyche could not handle it and he's clearly damaged. He's one of the people Osborn wanted for this team, so perhaps he's The Sentry of the Dark X-Men.
It's been hinted that Osborn and Dark Beast may have done some off-panel experiments on Omega. Is it possible that his delusions are the results of said experiments?
Clearly, these amplified powers he's been displaying have pushed him over the edge into manic instability.
We learn that part of Cyclops's master plan called for Dani Moonstar to travel to Las Vegas and meet someone for a deal. Anything you can say about who Dani is meeting?
The character Dani is meeting is someone who has appeared in the Marvel Universe before.
What's the significance of the plaque on the entryway, "Lasciate Ogni Speranza Voi Ch'Entrate?"
Google is you friend.
(It's Italian for "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter.")
Here we have the X-Men squad tasked with neutralizing the Dark X-Men observing their targets. The membership includes: Pixie, Cyclops, Karma, Iceman, Colossus, Dazzler, and Northstar. How did you go about choosing the ranks for this team?
I wanted to cluster some of the new people we brought in with some old favorites. So there's some A-List X-Men superstars, and some up-and-comers. It's a good cross-section of people who have gotten stage and screen time this last year.
Does each member of this team have specific Dark X-Man they're supposed to take out? Or is it more that this team can take down the collective might of the Dark X-Men?
A little bit of both. It's fun to extrapolate how each of these people would deal with their opposite number and figure out who would do what, but really it's just how Scott says, "Watch how they're fighting. They're not fighting together." And Scott's retort to Bobby at the end there is critical too. This is Scott working on Plan B.
The scenes with the X-Men watching the Dark X-Men served a couple of purposes. We got to watch the Dark X-Men kick ass. We got to watch Scott do what Scott does and see how he speaks to the team and preps them for what's coming. There are storm clouds brewing and Scott knows that he's getting everybody ready for them.
I take that it's very significant that Magik is in this scene with three members of X-Force and that when Wolverine arrives, he's in his X-Force togs?
Yes, things are about to get messy and intense. I love that shot of Wolverine coming out of the water. It's so terrific.
You end things with Psylocke and the X-Men Science Club on an undersea mission for Cyclops.
Yes, please notice the nice X-shaped windshield. Terry Dodson, ladies and gentlemen. That wasn't in the script. It's just pure Terry.
How important is the Science Team's mission?
The science team's mission is everything.
Are there any clues in this scene as to what the Science Club's sub is moving over? It looks like some type of mysterious technology?
You could probably extrapolate some guesses. There is something in the bay that Scott has tasked this team to bring to the surface. When we reveal what the thing at the bottom of the water is then the stakes become really clear.
FRACTION'S FINAL THOUGHTS ON "UNCANNY X-MEN" #514
This was one of my favorite issues that Terry has done on the series so far. There are so many characters and so much great stuff. Everything is in overdrive. The first three parts of "Utopia" are really about set up and this is the beginning of all the pieces coming together. Things really explode in the next issue.
FRACTION LOOKS AHEAD TO "UTOPIA" CHAPTER 5/ "DARK AVENGERS" #8
We reveal who Dani is meeting with. We get another and much more gruesome look at the Omega Machine. The Science Club's plan is revealed. Dark Beast gets the surprise of his life. The Dark Avengers find themselves once again in position to be daddy's favorites. Wolverine's squad makes their move and a couple of characters are going to make pretty big choices. There's lots of ins, outs and what-have-yous, and by the end Scott Summers gives the press conference to end all press conferences.