This story was the first after the legendary run of Chris Claremont and Jon Byrne working together. I think this book has a lot to do with the sharp spike in unpopularity between 143- 144 and beyond. X-Men titles are FAR much less desirable from here. One of the biggest mistakes that is really obvious is having small cameo of the popular X-Men. Leaving Scott Summers to carry the entire story on his grief stricken, unpopular, shoulders. I mean, Cyclops... Where do I start? The guy shoots lasers out of his eyes.
My first impression of the X-Men and the reason why I got instantly hooked was Wolverine. I was probably 11-12 when the X-Men cartoon was airing on Fox back in 1992, and instead of headbanging with chicks to Nirvana, I was grooving to the X-Men theme song and playing magic cards. But at least Wolverine was a bad-ass who smoked cigars and drank copious amounts of alcohol.
His opposite was Cyclops. While Wolverine was Stone Cold Steve Austin, Cyclops was Vince McMann. So it's needless to say when Cyclops stomped off and quit in Uncanny X-Men 138, I would have been fine with him going and joining The Avengers or some team that I don't really care about.
But I argue Cyclops sucked with good cause. While he is an unlikable protagonist, he does open the floor for an amazing caste of supporting characters that later take center stage. Also, he is tragically interesting because of his family and his past. 144 is a testament to how interesting Cyclops really is. Now if Cyclops is your favorite X-Men, please feel free to correct me in the comment section below, but I feel like I've never meet a single X-Men fan who Cyclops was their favorite of the group. Maybe he reminds nerds like me too much of ourselves. I mean, he's socially awkward, he doesn't speak up to Jean for YEARS about his crush, he wares glasses and can't take them off. Hell, he's me at 14. Maybe that's the reason he is so uncool to me. I've been that guy. I want to be Wolverine now. I want to drive a Jeep and a Motorcycle, ware a leather jacket, smoke and fuck people up in bar fights. Wolverine is not me, and he helps me escape from that fact. Cyclops reminds me of how much I suck. The kids at school would call me "4-Eyes". Stan Lee may as well have called this character "4-Eyes".
So why is this a great one-shot book? Well, this is the first story that Cyclops reappears into a story. As usually, he's not in a good place because of the fact that he recently lost his girlfriend. He gets hired on as a seaman (yeah, I did that intentionally, Wolverine fans) with some woman that is attracted to him and making the moves on him. But Scott reserves himself per his virgin-istic usual.
That woman who is attracted to him's father blew his brains out in the first few pages of the story, with the help of D'Spayre, who is a demon that feeds off of people in despair. Cyclops and her go to his house to see what the deal is and find D'Spayre hanging out there waiting for the two of them so he can run a good mind-bender on both of them and try to get them to off themselves as well.
There is also another crossover character named Man Thing. I think the world of Man-Thing, because he is outside of the box when it comes to superheros. This character is a human who is now un-human. Usually with concepts like this, the outside of the hero changes, but inside, the person is still the same. The outside and the inside don't match anymore, and the character has to struggle to cope. Not the case at all with Man-Thing. His outside and his inside are completely different beings than before. Spider-Man is still a nerdy teenager regardless of his new abilities.
Scott overcomes because Scott has lived a rough life. Everyone that Cyke loves, dies. His family, his girlfriend... all gone. And the one brother he is aware of, Alex, and him don't get along all that well. By the way Havoc is a much more likable and interesting character.
So I am going to get deep on you now. I think there is a tie-in between Claremont and Cyclops grieving. I feel like Chris chose to go back to a character he could truly identify with because he was well aware of the fact that him and Jon Byrne had created total magic for the past 2-3 years. The Phoenix Saga was a true masterpiece, and everything about that run that he had just lost was hands down one of the best stories that had ever been created. And now his ace in the hole and him parted ways because of creative differences.
This story is a reflection of the way he felt at that moment. I mean, for crying out loud, it starts out with a guy committing suicide!! Chris was pushing on trying to escape despair of having to go on with this series that owed a lot of it's credited success to Jon.
This book doesn't have any first appearances. It's not part one of an amazing story arch. But this is one of the most genuine comics I've ever read that actually connected with it's creator. It wasn't designed to sell a record number of copies with a hologram or a trading card in a plastic bag. It was written to help someone push on and get over a loss. No gimmicks or games.