I don't think I'm fooling anyone when I note that Marvel's merry Mutants are bite-sized metaphors on the human condition. Each one had their own little quirk or personality touch that makes us think about ourselves and our place in the universe. Lonely girl who can't be touched. Check. Ice queen who's more empathic and natural when she puts down her facade of material power. Check, though it's a new turn on Ms. Frost when her reup'd power set. There's the teenage girl who feels like she fades out of the room, the sensitive man behind a layer of steel, the intellect of a genius in the body of a beast, the list goes on. Try it yourself on long car rides or waiting for the bus!
Boiling each X-Man down to their essential humanity seems super easy in the case of Cyclops. He's the blind guy at the steering wheel. The one guy who can never truly control his powers yet tries to control the entire world around him, and can't see the world outside a single shade of red is in control of the X-Men team. Yes, yes, there's a lot more to that and it could be easily disagreed that this isn't his essential point (I eagerly await your comments below), but for today, let's humor the lady and say he is a man who can never see anything but red trying to lead possibly the most colorful organization in town.
How's he doing?
Looking at Uncanny X-Men since #500, I have to say that Scott Summers has done well for his fellow man and the changes brought to the title have been a success. Moving out of Westchester has been detailed by the writers and editors for quite sometime and I can continue to agree. No one likes living at a 'school' that doesn't seem to teach much with a big graveyard in the back and had spent some time as an internment camp during the 198 mini-series. When all is said and done, I also would like to have leveled that place to the ground and never look back, though a very touching memorial story was done with Hank McCoy in the Divided We Stand mini.
For the record, it really sucks not having these comics at my fingertips in order anymore because there have been a lot of shot minis, major events packed into short pockets of time one after the other that are covered in a dozen books. Just want to note it's nice to see that publishing trick calmed down for the time being.
Anyways, yes. Xavier's Mansion was no longer home and Xavier himself was also given the boot. Sure, he was shot at the end of Messiah Complex but they gave up on him long ago after Deadly Genesis (see what I mean about the minis?). The only thing keeping Cyclops from being complete in control was his mentor and with no one to look back to as an authority, he quickly became his own authority and moved west.
Again, smart idea. Look at New York! Constantly invaded by aliens, Avengers going nuts, Hulk tearing up this or that, the Bendis years have been none too kind on the Big Apple so why not get out while the getting is good. You can only claim to be in study hall so many times while NYC falls into madness yet again. Editorially, the X-Books and Marvel Proper have had a division of sorts as of late, so why not make that division more concrete? San Fransisco has a reputation of being the capital of 'fruit, nuts and flakes' as the rest of the state, as well as having historical tolerance for that which is different.
Grant Morrison had wanted mutantkind to be a movement, a people we hated and feared as much as any pop culture trending topic, rather than a metaphor for racial inequality. He moved the idea forward that so everyone knew what a mutant was and could choose to hate and fear them on their own terms, rather than your usual 'pitchfork and torches' mob we normally visualize. Then again, I don't claim to know exactly what Grant Morrison is thinking at any given moment or time, but for now, this viewpoint seems sound and fits my current point. San Fransisco was the only place for to make a new home and a new name for themselves and, at least by what I saw in panels on pages and panels at Wondercon this year, San Fransisco welcomed them in.
This was going to be great, a society of mutants living in society at large, no more holing up in a big house somewhere, they were going to be less a team and more a community. Stories could go anywhere and our need to see our favorite metaphor on the human condition on stage and playing out their theme had a wonderful backdrop to play against. Issues were a little shakey at first, but that what growing pains are for.
A visit from the Dark Avengers isn't. Suddenly, the book went from the known, to the unknown, to the WTF we're on a floating space station off your coast. This new era doesn't seem as concrete as it did a moment ago. Even Cyclops admits to his fellows that he has no idea where this is all going, but drives on ahead knowing that his decisions count for everything now; just because the road is dark doesn't mean the road's not still there. This week's rather over dramatic return of Magneto (who is that man kidding? "I think of myself as not given to hyberbole, Scott"?? Tossing Cyclops his helmet as a 'sword laid at his feet', bowing in this great big gesture and quoting Shakespeare, he's like a one-man opera...) continues to shake the ground as well, they're now living on a big satellite he built to shift the poles of the Earth. He used to rule an island sanctuary for mutants. This could all slide right back down into familiar territory and prove that no lessons were learned in the making of this picture.
This is what happens when the one-eyed man is king.