Ah! This is a parallel universe story! Last issue, Cyclops was visited by a very uncharacteristically amorous Storm, only to wake up and realize he’d been captured and imprisoned in a tube. In this issue, he learns he has been taken by a mysterious man in white, with long blond hair known only as Savior. (Well, by issue’s end we learn he is known as something else, but I won’t spoil that!) Savior comes from a world where Magneto led an army and enslaved the human race. Savior and the X-Men, mutant rebels, rose up to overthrow Magneto’s forces and make the world safe for everyone. This world’s Cyclops was apparently the key to the X-Men’s victory, but it would appear that he perished. Savior, for some reason, still needs a Cyclops, so he has kidnapped the 616 counterpart and he and Storm attempt to lure him into helping them. He refuses and wakes up in his tube, alongside parallel universe incarnations of Emma Frost, Wolverine, Kitty Pride and Nightcrawler, plus a dead alternate universe Submariner.
In a scene that I can’t decide whether is cheesy or cool, Cyclops breaks free and springs the others. We learn that this Wolverine is “Former Governor General James Howlett of the Dominion of Canada” and doesn’t recognize the name Logan, which Cyclops keeps using out of habit. Emma is actually “Emmaline Summers-Frost of the New Albion X-Society.” This Kurt Wagner is just a child. Kitty Pryde goes simply by the moniker Shadow. None of them know what the X-Men are.
James Howlett attempts to exact his revenge on the armed guards. When Cyclops tries to stop him, he discovers that this version of Wolverine has claws made of “Adamantine” which is resistant to his eye beams. This group collects their possessions, trophies for Savior and discover a room full of visors like Cyclops’, indicating that Savior has killed hundreds of versions of Scott from as many different worlds!
This story reminds me of Marvel’s old ‘What If…?’ comics. I always thought it was fun to see alternate universe takes on the various Marvel characters, many of whom seemed cooler than their 616 counterparts! I liked these new characters and how they were different from the classic versions. It was funny to see Cyclops continue to call Howlett “Logan” out of habit and keep calling them “X-Men” when a lot of these characters come from worlds without X-Men.
We’re still not clear on Savior’s plans for Scott yet, but overall, this was a fun read. Also having Cyclops in a reality hopping adventure gives us a break from the whole ‘Regenesis’/typical X-Men story.
Mike McKone is always great! I love his work here. It’s solid and clean. The inks are a tad heavy, but overall the work is very nice. He got to do what every artist likes to do and reinvent the looks of these classic characters and his designs are pretty neat! Good, clean, solid stuff!
I liked this book a lot! It gave me a break from Sentinels (well, they appear but just in a tiny cameo) and the other go-to X-conflicts and offered something fresh and different. Greg Pak takes full advantage of the fact that this isn’t the flagship X-Book and offers a diversion. This storyline wouldn’t work in ‘Uncanny X-Men,’ but works just fine here!
ASTONISHING X-MEN #45
Written by Greg Pak
Art and Cover by Mike McKone