Jonathan, son of Kevin:
Issue(s): X-Factor #14
On to the more cerebral question of Scott Summer's mental state and his culpability regarding his abandonment of his wife and son, Louise Simonson has had Scott suffering from delusions beginning last issue. And this issue he is visited by an imaginary Professor X, who goads and guides Scott during an encounter with the police and then his battle with the Master Mold. Through Scott's conversation with Xavier, Louise Simonson is clearly going for a defense of Scott that takes into account a childhood where a young orphan accepts as a father figure a man that in turn has been training him for nothing but battle.
It's said that Scott left Maddie not (just) because he was still in love with Jean, but because their life in Alaska was not working for him. X-Factor "needed me in New York... saving them... seemed so important then...". And torn between his peaceful home life and a need to further Xavier's war for mutankind, Cyclops has, like the Master Mold, "slipped a cog... betrayed my programming.
This view of Cyclops takes into account his obvious misery shown in Uncanny X-Men #201 after having giving up being part of the X-men, and is somewhat supported by what we saw in X-Factor #1 although that issue also raised the idea that he was still in love with Jean, something we hadn't seen in Claremont's X-Men. So Simonson is in a sense restoring Scott to where Claremont left him. But she's also making a point to tell us that Cyclops is now a damaged character, and instead of fixing or excusing that, she's embracing it.
We're hearing that thanks to his formative years with Xavier, Scott couldn't have simply settled down with Maddie; the Xavier in his head wouldn't have let him. The question is now where Simonson will go from here with the character.
Back in New York, the next generation of mutants start to hear about Xavier. So far they aren't buying into his message (and Boom Boom continues to be a brat).
Pivoting again, this time to more geeky concerns, here is more on The Twelve. We get an insight into who they are, and they intriguingly include Apocalypse and Franklin Richards.
The inclusion of Franklin (especially after Master Mold's next appearance in Power Pack) kept me buying every crappy Franklin Richards appearance for years to come, slogging through the period where Tom DeFalco had artificially aged the character and even reading all the Heroes Reborn stuff due to the Franklin connection hinted at in the end of Onslaught.
The question of how Master Mold knows about The Twelve will be answered in a Flashback/-1 issue many years from now.
The Master Mold believes that all humans contain the "X-Factor" that allows them to become mutants, and so he logically tries to exterminate all humans.
Previous sentinels have come to similar conclusions.
The Master Mold also again uses Apocalypse-sounding language about "the strong".
Also back in New York, reporter Trish Tilby bursts into Angel's hospital room to ask why a mutant has been funding X-factor. And then later, a court order comes in (it's said that he has no living relatives) ruling Angel incompetent, and he's brought into surgery to remove his infected wings.
As with last issue, there's a lot to like here in the short term. The battle with Master Mold is great, and throughout it Scott is winning over a police officer, in a sense furthering Xavier's dream. And that's handled well. And it feels like there is movement on the Scott/Maddie situation after a year's worth of Scott acting miserable but not actually doing anything about his situation. We'll see where this all goes, but for now there's progress, entertainment, and high stakes drama.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
Several people complained that it's impossible to have someone declared incompetent without notifying them first:
Posted by: Michael | March 7, 2014 9:22 PM
I don't think we've ever seen Cyclops cut loose quite like this in a fight before. I always thought this was pretty epic.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 8, 2014 12:58 PM
From issue 10-26 I thought the book was amazing. The whole Mutant Massacre storyline really got me hooked. I think it sort of lost it's edge after that. On another note; Scott kind of comes across as really depressing. I just wanted to shake him and tell him to snap out of it.
Posted by: JSfan | March 8, 2014 2:05 PM
My opinions match for of JSFan.
This is one of the better issues. Cyclops fighting the Master Mold alone was a highlight.
Posted by: Chris | March 8, 2014 7:11 PM
Oh, the Twelve, talk about not living up to the hype!
Posted by: Berend | March 16, 2014 1:46 AM
Where this book started to lose me was with that endless story taking place in another world or realm where there were gladiatorial games, and Angel and Iceman were drugged and forced to participate in them. There was a princess who had a crush on Angel, but all the X-Factor members were considered lower beings in this world...how long did they drag that out, half a year? It's probably still a couple years away in summaries.
Posted by: Todd | March 16, 2014 3:37 PM
I think that's the Judgement War story (with an Acts of Vengeance tie-in) circa X-Factor #43-50? Still a ways a way from that! ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | March 16, 2014 3:45 PM
Yes, that took place after Inferno.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | March 17, 2014 12:47 PM
This was the issue where I realized Cyclops looks a lot better without a hood, and with his hair showing over his visor. I loved it when Jim Lee went with that in X-Men #1.
I was also glad to see Scott taking on his Xavier delusion - I got a bit tired of hearing how great he was.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 11, 2015 1:00 PM
"This was the issue where I realized Cyclops looks a lot better without a hood, and with his hair showing over his visor. I loved it when Jim Lee went with that in X-Men #1."
I don't think that hair-showing Cyclops costume was an invention of Jim Lee... at least one of Scott's X-Factor costumes went with it, too.
Posted by: Piotr W | July 11, 2015 4:35 PM
The first time we see Scott with a hoodless costume was X-Factor 40.
Posted by: Michael | July 11, 2015 4:46 PM
Actually, in a sense the first time he has a hoodless costume is here. I mentioned the Jim Lee costume because that is my favorite look for Cyclops by far - it's clear that Lee didn't invent it.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 11, 2015 9:20 PM
Ah, I see. Sorry, Erik.
When it comes to Scott's Jim Lee costume... I admit that I liked it, too... but only when Lee was drawing it. It was the only time that costume actually looked good: like Scott's original uniform with modern modifications (straps, open hood etc). Other artists couldn't do it justice and kept making the straps, the "X" badge etc. look bulky and awkward.
Overall, Jim Lee's costume designs were... problematic. His design for Jean Grey looked especially weird, with the big shoulder pads and strange carapace on her legs (what were these elements supposed to be made of, actually?). Neither the design, nor the colours didn't evoke any previous look Jean had worn... Lee's uniform for Rogue was a surprise design, too.
But of course, nothing beats Psylocke's costume. Sexiness aside, how did she even put this thing on? Did she tirelessly pull each of the costume bits on before every mission..?
Posted by: Piotr W | July 12, 2015 8:45 PM
@Piotr W -
You know, I wonder that about a lot of costumes. Havok in particular comes to mind - there are no shorts, no belt, it's like one big body-suit. Talk about your unstable molecules . . .
Come to think of it, all the X-Terminator costumes of this period are like that too.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 12, 2015 10:44 PM
I thought Jean's "leg carapace" were pockets like you get on cargo pants. Finally someone designed clothing for a woman with useful pockets!
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | July 13, 2015 12:28 PM
Erik: the weirdest thing about Havok's costume are that concentric circles on his chest... I've always wondered what they were supposed to be: some sort of insignia? Some light glowing?
Please tell me more about X-Terminators costumes - what was wrong with them?
Jay: for me, these things on Jean's legs look like some sort of armour... She has similar armoured bits on her arms. Overall, that whole costume of her looks like sort of sci-fi armour... which begs the question, why? Why, of all people, it's Jean wearing that kind of uniform?
Posted by: Piotr W | July 13, 2015 2:55 PM
The Havok circles always seemed to be representation of his power and not an actual design.
I don't think there's anything wrong with the X-Terminator costumes, per se, but as they all lack shorts, they seem like full bodysuits and go into the "how do they get those on?" category.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 13, 2015 3:25 PM
I think the concentric circles on Havok's (original, and best IMHO) costume are both a design *and* a representation of his power. If memory serves me correctly, when Larry Trask gave him the costume, the circles somehow allowed him to 'read' his power levels, so as to know when they would be in danger of going out of control (or whatever)? Sort of how biofeedback is alleged to help people bring certain biological rhythms within certain limits by being able to monitor them.
Posted by: Harry | July 13, 2015 4:32 PM
No one's saying it out loud, but if X-Factor #40 is the first appearance of Cyclops' new look, we have Rob Liefeld to thank for it.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | November 15, 2015 12:27 PM
Surprised nobody has mentioned this yet, but as I'm just now reading this, I'm noticing that on page 19, third panel, Cyclops asks Master Mold: "Or aren't you a match for one of the twelve?" Only the giant robot hasn't mentioned that numerical label during the fight. He's called Cyclops "one of the strong," but hasn't said anything about any dozen, not to Cyclops. So how does Scott know to call himself that???
Posted by: J-Rod | March 10, 2017 7:50 PM
Master Mold mentions "The Twelve" for the first time in the fight two panels later. Is Cyclops a robo-telepath now?
Posted by: J-Rod | March 10, 2017 7:55 PM
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