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CSBG Archive

The Past Was Close Behind: Magneto and Cyclops Have an Intriguing Conversation

This feature spotlights moments, exchanges, etc. from older comics that take on a brand new light when read in concert with later comic books. Here is the archive of previous installments.

Our latest example is a conversation that Magneto and Cyclops had in the X-Men Origins: Cyclops one-shot by Stuart Moore (art by Jesse Delperdang) from a couple of years ago that takes on a whole new meaning with the state of the two characters today.

Obviously, Professor Xavier did, indeed, die (killed by Cyclops while Cyclops was possessed by the Phoenix) and now Magneto and Cyclops are together on the seemingly “bad guy” Uncanny X-Men.

EDITED TO ADD: I checked with Stuart Moore to make sure that he didn’t actually know what Marvel’s future plans were when he wrote the issue and he confirmed that he did not. He added that he was pretty sure Bendis hadn’t even decided to write Uncanny X-Men by the time Moore wrote the issue.

If you have suggestions of future installments of this feature, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

Don’t make suggestions in the comments section!

50 Comments

Wow that’s just fantastic!!

Interesting! I wouldn’t be surprised if this was written with some foreknowledge of where Cyke would end up in 2012, but as I recall from an interview or two, the decision to kill Xavier was made pretty late in the game. Either way, yes, it definitely reads differently today than it did at publication (or would have, if I’d read it then.) Today, out of context, it’s hard to read this scene as anything other than retconning designed to support the current status quo!

Ugh. Scott’s new costume is even worse than his last one.

Bendis planned ANXM and Uncanny X-Men for years. If this one-shot was published in early 2000’s it would have more impact on me. But it was only 3/4 years ago. Don’t forget the issue of Avengers from 2010 where Tony Stark had this huge timeline with Yesterday’s X-Men.

I like this new feature. I’d be cool if Bendis reference that issue in Uncanny X-Men.

I checked it, it was Avengers #5 from sep 2010. There was also Schism, Ultron War, Fear Itself among others

Just a slight point here, MARVEL has all these editors working with all these writers both from past and present titles. They also have all these yearly “summits” in which they map out future storylines – and most importantly who does what on which titles.

That being said: it wouldn’t be surprising if the above conversation “stuck out” in someone’s mind and was brought up to date in current books. Kind of why they call them sub-plots.

You just never know what plot and sub-plot from the past gets plucked out and resolved in today’s current books.

I seem to remember someone commenting on Mark Waid picking up on a Hulk storyline that was left abandoned years back and bringing it back in the Indestructible Hulk.

Still that’s the fun of reading this blog. ;-)

“bad guy” xmen- bullshit. They are the ones protecting the other school.

Also this was not that long ago. They had already moved cyke in this direction when this origins came out, so its not that strangely precient.

Yeah, this was published in 2010, well after Scott had already gone over to the dark side–it was before his approach had gotten even worse, leading to AvX, but he’d already headed down the road to Magnetoville.

I can’t stop laughing at that X hood. That’s fantastic.

Drifting away from Xavier’s philosophy in order to protect what was left of the mutant race and find a way to bring it back was Scott’s primary character arc for a number of years. It’s not surprising that recent retellings of the early years would reflect what was happening in the books at the time. But unless one takes a fairly simplistic view, this does not make Scott one of the “bad” guys.

given all that has happen in the xbooks lately talk about a little early fore shadowing with when your father is dead and gone line.

…every time Magneto starts using natural selection to justify his actions, the pretense many have that he’s a complex anti-hero/anti-villain seems more and more ridiculous. The same is true for his new BFF Cyclops.

How can Magneto even see out of that helmet?

The ends never justify the means. Simple or complex (“simplistic” begs the question as to whether or not such good vs. evil simplicity is inappropriately simple), I do believe that Scott’s approach over that character arc did indeed put him in the “going in the morally wrong direction” category. But if Tony Stark can be redeemed after Civil War, I am sure that Scott can as well, eventually, especially with things like being merged with Apocalypse in the past.

(If it weren’t for Hal Jordan being mutilated beyond recognition in the current DCU, I’d be calling Apocalypse’s Scott own “big glowing yellow bug,” but unfortunately while Hal was fixed by that retcon he’s not doing well anymore what with shooting people in the face with power-ring bazookas…)

Wait, Magneto can eavesdrop on people with magnets? That’s almost as sensible as him blocking Cyclops’s eye beams with magnets.

Maybe since this is a flashback story, the writer was using the old sensibility of “magnetic fields = magic”?

As Chester Gould used to proclaim in the margins of Dick Tracy: The nation that controls magnetism controls the world! Obviously Magneto was readin’ the funny pages.

Just about everyone in AvX suffered from event-related stupidity, but at least Scott turned out to be basically right.

“The ends never justify the means.” But who gets to decide which means are acceptable? In a complex situation, even “good” people may disagree about what is right or necessary.

Uh, I both love and hate my new tablet. I’ve never made so many premature and or double posts.

I don’t think Scott was basically right at all, at least in the sense of doing the right thing. Being technically correct about the effects of the Phoenix Force doesn’t let him off putting countless innocents at risk in the hopes of bringing back what is basically a string of DNA. As far as what means are morally acceptable, I think basic right and wrong are pretty clear about the matter of harming innocents. The US was technically correct that dropping atomic bombs on civilian populations would speed the end of WWII, but that didn’t make it morally right.

(And even if the Phoenix Force would have brought back the people who died as a result of being in midair when they lost their mutant flying powers, in an active volcano, etc., it would still have not been right to put non-consenting innocents at that kind of risk.)

It’s always fun to read these “origin” stories and compare them to the comics in the sixties, back when Magneto actually was an evil crazy bastard that just took every opportunity to be as much of an @$$hole as possible.

For clarification’s sake, I asked Stuart Moore if he knew of the future plans for Cyclops and Magneto when he wrote the above scene and he said that he did not.

For a couple of really strong reasons that I (at the moment) don’t care to get into, I’m kinda pissed that they keep trying to push Scott in the direction of “villain”. Aside from his time possessed by the Phoenix Force, to my knowledge he’s yet to actually take the life of an innocent person. Still, Bendis seems obsessed with pushing him in that direction, going so far as to say “Cyclops wanted to kill Xavier, it had nothing to do with the Phoenix” meaning apparently he’s beyond forgiveness.

This necessarily flies right in the face of Avengers: Childrens’ Crusade, but hey. Why pay attention to your own continuity?

I don’t think that “Cyclops wanted to kill Xavier, it had nothing to do with the Phoenix” would at all place Scott beyond forgiveness–just beyond being excused for it. To me that’s a crucial difference.

If Moore was unaware of the general direction of Scott’s character development in recent years, that scene was remarkably prescient.

Who is saying Scott wanted to murder Xavier? Doesn’t jibe with the interviews I’ve read. Xavier was no saint, but the idea that non-Dark Phoenixed Scott would really want to kill him is absurd. Bendis would have to work really hard to get me to buy it, if that is truly the direction he is going, which I don’t think he is. But I don’t think Scott is going to be written as a “villain”- he’s the lead character of the X-Men flagship. He’ll probably be hunted as a villain for a while, a classic misunderstood hero/antihero situation. Just my guess, suppose we’ll see.

I wrote a similar comment to this on another article recently, but that was when I was making my way through a month-and-a-half of CSBG posts I had missed, and I doubt many people will read it.

I have to say, when I first heard about what has been happening with Cyclops, I was a little freaked out. But it has honestly become a big part of my being interested in both X-Men and Marvel in general, after years of not giving a shit. For a long time, Cyclops was pretty much nobody’s favorite X-Man. I don’t know about the rest of you, but most of the comics fans I know used to consider Cyclops a douchey, ass-kissing boy scout.

Say what you want about the direction Cyclops is being taken in, but at least it’s interesting.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was all a result of his time merged with Apocalypse and some of that merging still hanging around trying to take control…

It’s certainly nice to have the whole “merged with Apocalypse” bit in your back pocket if you ever need to explain away Cyclops’ behavior.

Yeah and if Apocalypse is not enough, there’s some Void (Sentry) in there too!!

Great read! Makes me more excited for uncanny x-men

Cyclops was my favorite X-man…now he is unrecognizable. When my friends point to new issues of X-men and ask me how could Cyclops be my favorite I simple say that is not Cyclops. That is not the character I grew up with.

“That is not the character I grew up with.”

That is funny, because that is exactly what Iceman said. But luckily, we have young Cyclops here to read. Or not.

Marvel Now has done a great job of keeping my money in my wallet.

The avx imbroglio was annoying, but I think in the core books seeing cyclops turn was kinda well done, at least in hindsight. He’s not a bad gy, but is treated like one, he definitely didn’t “want” to kill Xavier (the 2 of them had a few issues in Mike Carey’s run where they worked things out), and now they have the apocalypse/void/dark pheonix excuse…let’s face it, I’m intrigued by what they’re doing and I like him now.

If only they hadn’t made Beast such a self-pitying little a-holy at teh same time. It’s a shame.

David wrote: “As far as what means are morally acceptable, I think basic right and wrong are pretty clear about the matter of harming innocents. The US was technically correct that dropping atomic bombs on civilian populations would speed the end of WWII, but that didn’t make it morally right.”

The Japanese people had the option of rising up en masse and attempting to overthrow their warmongering government. They didn’t, making them complicit in their government’s crimes, and so they shared its punishment. (Just as the German people did).

Cyclops was, and remains, my favorite X-Man. And I don’t find him unrecognizable at all, he’s the same uptight and driven man-on-a-mission he always was – but he was strongly affected by the near-extinction of the mutant race, which at first pushed him to build Utopia, a ‘reserve’ where any remaining mutants who wanted protection could have it… and then pushed him to a bold scheme to save his race from extinction and reverse Wanda Maximoff’s attempted genocide (Funny how the same people who wag disapproving fingers at Cyclops’ self-defense murder of one man are perfectly willing to overlook the countless people who died because of their old teammate’s psychotic whim… but I guess being willing to take orders from Cap will get anyone pardoned). Then Cyclop’s bold scheme to save his race WORKED, the phoenix force was safely harnessed (as Cyclops knew it could be, if for nothing else because current X-Man Rachel Grey had YEARS of experience doing just that) and brought back mutantkind (which was always Cyclops’ goal, so even though he was thrown in jail for not following orders he was the true winner of “AvX”). Cyclops is the same guy, but a very organic chain of character-developments landed him quite far from where he had begun. I personally find it refreshing that such solid character development can even happen in today’s corporate comics (I guess it was only possible in the first place because Cyclops isn’t the flagship character of his specific franchise, despite his central role in the narrative), and for that reason Cyclops is the most interesting character in mainstream Marvel/DC comics today.

The hero who REALLY looks unrecognizable today is Steve Rogers, currently little more than an authoritarian thug. In the end, Cap wasn’t opposed to a mutant harnessing the Phoenix’s power, he was opposed to a mutant getting that power NOT under his command. Cap has nothing against superpeople with blood on their hands, like Wolverine or Red Hulk or Scarlet Witch, as long as they follow his orders (Wanda gets a pass from “no more mutants” because she was upset, but Cyclops doesn’t get a pass from a self-defense killing under the influence of a cosmic creature?). And in “Secret Avengers” we learned that Cap isn’t opposed to using torture on civilian suspects, he’s just not going to do it himself – he had Moon Knight and other “Secret Avengers” do the torturin’ instead, because “enhanced interrogation” is one thing, but Steve Rogers draws the line at getting HIS hands dirty. Seriously, no other hero has changed so much in recent years as Cap. Mark Gruenwald’s Cap would be appalled.

“The Japanese people had the option of rising up en masse and attempting to overthrow their warmongering government. They didn’t, making them complicit in their government’s crimes, and so they shared its punishment. (Just as the German people did).”

We’ll just have to disagree about that.

Brian from Canada

January 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Lorrie, Uncanny is no longer the flagship. It’s All-New X-Men, followed by Wolverine & The X-Men… because Wolverine is now the first X-Man (from which Xavier got the idea) and the perfect leader.

As for Cyclops being the villain, that’s precisely where he is: he defied Captain America and, since all heroes are now basically Avengers, he’s wanted and hunted just like every other criminal.

Brian from Canada

January 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm

TJ, Cyclops had a decent fan base stemming from his stand as longest-running X-Man. He is the quintessential believer and the best leader, with Storm sitting right behind him.

The problem is that Marvel got into the celebration of the anti-hero, beginning with Wolverine and then moving on to characters like The Punisher and Gambit.

I agree with Les that these actions were keeping in Cyclops’ frame of mind, though. What makes Cyclops unique is his strength of conviction, unlike any of the other X-Men that would fold.

It’s All-New X-Men

Which also features Cyclops prominently, right? Uncanny will presumably be a sister book to All-New.

Brian from Canada

January 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Les Fotnelle wrote: “Mark Gruenwald’s Cap would be appalled.”

Mark Gruenwald’s ANYthing would be appalled. Much as people detest the Harras era at Marvel, the characters at least showed some consistency with the Lee/Thomas/Shooter eras that preceded them.

Quesada’s Captain America is just one example. In the past, Rogers resigned over principle. He was a soldier who took the role of leader reluctantly. But now, Rogers commands the superhero army, and will morph his principles any which way he needs to in order to be victorious.

But there are others too — too many to count. The Marvel Universe is completely unrecognizable for when Quesada started his term as EIC (from which Axel was promoted to the position).

Iron Man on a spiritual quest? Beast quitting the X-Men over willingness to violence and then helping with genocide? Cap detesting Punisher’s methods and now Punisher leads an Avenger team? Black Panther dethroned multiple times and his country devastated on a whim? Otto Octavius as Spider-Man? Reed and Sue suffering regular dysfunctionality in their marriage? Power Pack kids no longer staying connected to the family? Vindicator turning on the man she loved enough to try and accept him after multiple deaths? A previously unknown kid for Fury who’s black and bald (when we’ve never seen Fury with a black woman at all — only his war love and Valentina)?

It’s almost a good thing that Mark Gruenwald isn’t here to see what’s happened to his beloved Marvel universe. Continuity has gone from a loose framework mineable for springboards into new stories to a hinderance best ignored.

The fact that Doom is now responsible for “M-Day” even though he wasn’t participating in it on panel just underlines the writers’ — and editors’ — lack of care towards past actions and situations so long as they can put the characters wherever they need.

Brian from Canada

January 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Brian: All-New is the original five, who will be returning to the past. The present continuity X-Men in the lead role are those at the Westchester school, which are run by Wolverine and company. Uncanny is the sister book of evil mutants who people still somehow care about.

Through five issues, Cyclops has been prominently featured in most of them. And they’ll be downplaying him coming up only because Uncanny is launching and he’ll have his own book.

Brian from Canada, the first sentence of the solicitation for Uncanny X-Men #1:
“The true flagship book of the X-Men returns.”

What did Magneto do in the above panels to block/ negate Cyke’s eyeblast?

Magnetism. It’s not just for moving metal anymore!

These are exactly the kind of retcons that annoy me the most, and that seem especially common nowadays. Where they take a story that was simple on its face and expand the unseen moments between the panels into something so much more grander and conspiratorial and significant than it was originally meant to be. If I’m too understand this correctly, this story is taking the Magneto fight from X-Men #1 and saying that this happened right after the panel where Cyclops blasted through the force field?

The story worked fine just as it was. Now we have to believe that Magneto was secretly keeping tabs on the X-Men all along and knew their names before they even had their first battle, even though in X-Men #1 it’s clear he’s just discovering their existence? It’s like that story that retconned another X-Men team into existence between the original 7 and the All-New, All-Different, and that other story that claimed that Xavier already knew Wolverine before recruiting him to be on the All-New, All-Different. Everyone increasingly has a secret past with everyone else, and everyone is revealed to have been secretly aware of and monitoring everyone else before the established first discoveries (like the revelation that Sage was Xavier’s mole in the Hellfire Club and that he was actually fully aware of them long ago). Has it been established yet that Wolverine met Magneto already in the concentration camp during World War II, on some mission to liberate it? Or that Magneto was investigating Wolverine’s existence and tried to recruit him for the first Brotherhood of Mutants team?

Also, I hate the “Brotherhood” easter egg. It’s like the kind of wink/Easter Egg to the fans that adds far less to the store than it takes away. The implication that Scott inadvertently gave Magneto the idea for the name he would use for his future teams is cute, but comics and their adaptations are so filled with these ultimately useless, throwaway Easter Eggs that call needless attention to themselves. I’d watch Smallville if I was easily amused enough to enjoy that stuff.

I agree with T. There are too many of these retcons where everybody secretly knew everybody else years before we thought they did, and where they take a perfectly good older story and needlesly overcomplicated it, and add nuances that weren’t even there, and upon close re-reading of the older story, probably couldn’t have been there, but modern writers seem to feel the need to shoehorn their ideas into and put their stamp on these older, classic stories.

What comic are this scenes from?

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