Cyclops’ renegade band of mutants run afoul of SHIELD

(Panini Books)

The title of this volume may refer to the flawed powers of Cyclops’ fugitive team of X-Men, but at the same time it could also be about the fractured relationships between the members of this squad – each of them damaged in some particular way.

Scott (Cyclops) Summers is still overwhelmed by grief after murdering his surrogate father Charles Xavier while possessed by the Phoenix Force, but together with fellow X-Men Magneto, Emma Frost and Magik, leads a call for mutant revolution in the face of a new wave of anti-mutant sentiment and the return of the deadly robot Sentinels.

The resurrection of mutantkind as a separate species continues apace, and these X-Men have tasked themselves with actively recruiting new Homo Superior to their cause to protect them and train them in the use of their new powers, in effect turning them into soldiers to fight Cyclops’ cause.

Their actions have caught the attention of global peacekeeping force SHIELD, prompting the recruitment of X-Man Alison (Dazzler) Blaire as the head of a new operation to track down her former comrades, but have also lead to Cyclops being adopted as the figurehead of a campaign of human-mutant demonstrations aimed at forging closer bonds between the two species and rejecting government efforts to control Homo Superior.

There’s a lot going on here which seems to be part of a bigger plan by writer Brian Michael Bendis, including the defection of original X-Man Warren (Angel) Worthington from the “legitimate” team to their renegade counterparts, the machinations of shapeshifter Mystique behind the scenes, and the secret forces behind these new Sentinels.

The small cast featured in this book is in a complete contrast from the ever-expanding ranks which usually make up X-books, and while some of the individual characters are perhaps not the most popular X-Men, the interplay between the group and their allies is certainly entertaining, and the opportunity to present a very different take on the X-Men’s mission has not been wasted.

Operating outside the law, with no game plan other than the protection of mutantkind at any cost, these are terrorists in all but name, and to see long-term do-gooder Cyclops working alongside mass murdered Magneto on the same team is an obvious shock to the system. Intriguing stuff, and a nice change from the norm.