SPOILER WARNING: This interview covers events that transpired in today's Death of X #4.
Today's Death of X #4, the finale to the series that illuminated certain events that transpired between Inhumans and X-Men during the eight-month between the events of Secret Wars and the launch of All-New Marvel, finally revealed the answer to one of the most frequently asked question by X-Men fans: "What the heck happened to Cyclops?"
It was known that Cyclops died during those months, but the exact circumstances were still unknown. Death of X #4 revealed that Cyclops went down in a blaze of glory, standing up to the Black Bolt and Medusa, the Inhuman king and queen, after neutralizing one of the Terrigen clouds.
Or did he? In a twist at the end of the issue, Emma Frost reveals to Cyclops' brother Havok that Cyclops has been dead longer than anyone expected. Scott Summers perished at first contact with the Terrigen Mists on Muir Island. Unwilling to let Cyclops' end be so undignified, Emma psychically projected Cyclops and puppeted him about to lead her campaign again the Inhumans and get the martyr's death she believes he deserved.
ComicBook.com spoke to Death of X co-writer Charles Soule via email about the series' surprising end.
The next chapte rof the Inhumans and X-Men's saga is Inhumans vs. X-Men. Look IvX #0 next week,releasing Nov. 30, and see new preview pages from IvX #1 in the gallery below.
That's quite the twist at the end of Death of X #4. It feels like a Memento moment. How did you (and Jeff Lemire) come up with the twist? And how long ago was it conceived?
Charles Soule: It came in really early in the planning sessions. We were looking for a big idea to tie the whole series together, and that just hit really well with everyone right from the start. The idea that Emma does everything she does in the series as some sort of twisted tribute to Cyclops, trying to carry on his legacy in a way that he probably never would have endorsed… it makes this a story that's about quite a bit more than just Inhumans and X-Men hitting each other, and that's what ultimately makes (hopefully) worth reading. I'm really happy with it, honestly. Who knows how it will be received, but I think it's a really interesting Emma/Scott story.
Looking at where thing stand for the mutants now, with the school in literal Limbo and so many former and current X-Men trying to distance themselves from Cyclops' actions, is Emma Frost satisfied with the results of her ruse? Would you call her ploy a success?
CS: I think so. Emma's goal is to get rid of the Inhumans as revenge for what she believes they did to Cyclops, and having many mutants distrustful of Inhuman goals is helpful to her. It gives her the seeds of an army, and as we'll see in Inhumans vs. X-Men, that's what she needs. I wouldn't say she's happy about what happened to Cyclops, but she's trying to make lemonade from the lemon she's been handed. Terrible, poisonous lemonade.
It's obvious that Havok should attend his brother's funeral, but at the same time, it also feels like he may have been used as a cipher for the readers, voicing some of the fan theories about what "really" happened to Cyclops. How was that closing scene conceived, and why was Havok chosen for it?
CS: That was Jeff's idea, and I think it's great. Havok really should be at his brother's funeral, and it was a perfect opportunity to lay out what Emma had done to someone who would probably be pretty sympathetic to her. After all, Havok's pretty reactionary and intense in his own right.
What can you tell me about what was going through the minds of Medusa and Black Bolt when they made their decision about Cyclops. Was there any doubt about their decision then, and is there any regret now?
CS: Yes and no. I think there can be regret on a personal level, but no hesitation at all in the minds of rulers who act on behalf of their people. That's where Medusa and Black Bolt were. Cyclops had expressed his intention to do everything he could to destroy the second cloud, no matter how many mutants or Inhumans died on the way. He was also about to fire off his optic blast straight at them. It was a zero sum game for them – yes, he forced their hand, to a degree, but I think they'd say they made the right decision.
Can you tell me anything about where Emma and Havok have been since Death of X's conclusion, and how they may factor into Inhumans vs. X-Men?
CS: They've been busy. You'll see what they've been up to soon enough.
Similarly, Daisuke seemed like he'd had enough of life among other Inhumans. What does the future hold for him?
CS: Daisuke was the other part of Death of X I thought was really successful. He has a full arc – starting from someone who was so lonely that he was desperately hoping to become Inhuman just to get a new family, but who then would rather be alone than getting involved with the insane politics of the powered world once he gets a taste of how it really is. He's someone who can be brought back at any time – after all, he's got a hell of a power set, and you could see him being really useful to the Inhuman cause down the road.
Why was it important to keep the truth about Cyclops' death a secret until just before Inhumans vs. X-Men? Why wait until now rather than leading with it right after Secret Wars?
CS: It made for a better story? Speculation is part of superhero comics and has been for a long time. Honestly, I think it's just part of the fun.
How do the tone, style, and scale of Inhumans vs. X-Men compare to that Death of X?
CS: Inhumans vs. X-Men is bigger, touching on the entire Inhuman and X worlds – we get almost every faction in there, although there are still tons of characters we probably won't be able to squeeze in. That's what happens when you end up with two lines of heroes and villains with a zillion characters in the same book. We'll do our best to get a lot of favorites in there, though, even some faces people haven't seen for a long time.
What's the narrative relationship between Inhumans vs. X-Men and Death of X? Are they chapters of the same story, or is Death of X perhaps a prolog for things to come? Or do you see them as more or less standalone stories – or at least as "standalone" as a shared universe comic book can be?
CS: They're each standalone, and designed to be read without the other – we drop plenty of clues in Inhumans vs. X-Men so people can understand what happened in Death of X if they didn't read it, but man, Death of X is a great story, and it adds so much depth to Inhumans vs. X-Men. I'd really recommend people check it out if they can.
Now that the truth about Death of X is out there, do you think fans will find something new by revisiting the Inhumans and X-Men comics that have taken place since then?
CS: I hope so! I've read all of that stuff as part of my own research for the book (and written a lot of it for the Inhuman side), and there's just some great storytelling in there. Like anytime we do one of these, you'll get more out of it the more you read. It's really up to how far the readers want to go.0comments
Finally, once fans have scooped their jaws off the floor after reading Death of X #4, how would you tell them to prepare for Inhumans vs. X-Men? Obviously, you can't say too much about the story just yet, but are there any last teases you'd like to leave fans with?
CS: Inhumans vs. X-Men is just huge – and we're setting up some of our all-time favorite vs. battles between X-Men and Inhumans big and small. We're working to make sure the book has a lot of awesome beats but also has that strong core conflict and story that these events need. I hope readers enjoy!