WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Extermination #5 by Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz, on sale Wednesday, Dec. 19.
After spending the last five years plucked from their past and brought to the present day, the original, time-displaced X-Men are finally poised to go back to their proper place in the timeline. Of course, Marvel isn't making it easy for the young X-Men. The Extermination event series is where the homegoing has been teased to take place, with the only mystery being if the Original Five will all make it back to the past in one piece.
The final page of Extermination #4 put the odds of that happening in doubt when Cyclops was impaled by the villain Ahab's harpoon. Ever since the younger version of Cable set off on his mission to send the original X-Men home, he's stressed that they all need to return in the exact same state with which they left. It's the reason he replaced Angel's cosmic wings with regular, feathered wings taken from Mimic.
Unless Kid Cable plans on altering the timestream yet again to save Cyclops' life, Scott Summer's death throws a huge monkey wrench into his plans. Thankfully for all parties involved, a preview of this week's Extermination #5 reveals Cyclops is still alive and breathing. You may be wondering how this could be when we clearly saw what Ahab's harpoon did to him in the penultimate issue.
What readers weren't expecting was for Mimic to use his mutant abilities to copy Cyclops' body and switch places with him, thereby sacrificing not only his wings, but his very life for the X-Men.
When Kid Cable asked Mimic why he switched places with Cyclops, he used his last breath to say, "I just wanted to help." Considering Kid Cable captured Mimic and used what can only be described as a torture machine to cut his wings off, Mimic would be forgiven if he chose to sit out the fight against Ahab. However, he was able to put any bad feelings aside to do what needed to be done.
The situation looks dire for the X-Men -- Ahab and the twins Maxime and Manon are turning more and more of the X-Men into bloodthirsty, mutant-hunting Hounds. Bloodstorm and Mimic both sacrificed their lives to protect Cyclops, leaving him focused on getting revenge on Ahab at any cost. We know Extermination will conclude with the Original Five X-Men no longer being in the present, but we have to wait and see if there are any lingering repercussion from the time manipulation.