The mystery of what happened to Scott Summers has hung over the X-books ever since Marvel’s “All-New, All-Different” universe kicked off late last year. All we knew was that he died, creating a whole mess of a situation between the Inhumans and the X-Men. But the truth is a lot weirder than you might have expected.
Today’s final issue of the Death of X miniseries by Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Aaron Kuder, and Javier Garron sees Scott and his band of less-than-merry mutants finally make their big play against the Inhumans. In an attempt to stop the Terrigen mist clouds that are making their way over the earth, birthing new Inhumans while sterilizing and inflicting a fatal, incurable disease on mutantkind, Scott launches an all-out scrap with the Inhumans—and even Storm’s team of X-Men—as a distraction while he and a small team attempt to eliminate the vast Terrigen cloud.
They intend to do so with the help of obscure British mutant Thomas Jones, better known as Alchemy—a minor but longtime associate of the X-Men with the mutant ability to transmute matter from one element to another. Scott hopes that by touching the mists, he can alter its composition into something that is harmless to mutants and Inhumans. And, despite some interruptions from the Inhumans, the plan seemingly works, transforming the Terrigen Mists into an ominously blood-red cloud that no longer poisons mutants. However, it costs Alchemy his life, having absorbed all of the toxicity into his own body.
But even though the day is seemingly saved, we always knew Death of X wouldn’t end well for Scott. After all, we’ve seen what happens after already: the Inhumans and X-Men in a cold war about to turn hot, all because of something that cost Scott his life. We finally get to see that happen, as Scott, unwilling to compromise with the Inhuman royal family after his taste of victory—something that he believes has transformed his goals into an idea the Inhumans can never stop—faces the fury of Black Bolt.
So there you have it. Or do you? That is Scott Summers dying at Inhuman hands in the panel above. But there’s one more bizarrely dark twist in Cyclops’ tale, revealed to his brother by Emma Frost at Scott’s funeral. Havok doesn’t believe “suicide by Black Bolt” is something his brother would do, even if it turned him into a martyr for his cause—and it turns out he was right.
Because Scott Summers was slightly too dead already to have died at Black Bolt’s hands.
The final twist of Death of X is that the Cyclops we’ve been following was never actually him, but instead an alarmingly, bafflingly powerful psychic projection by Emma Frost—because Scott actually died in the first issue of the series, when the X-Men first encountered the toxic Terrigen for the first time. As he suffocated in Emma’s arms, Scott begged Emma not to let his cause end like this, as he quietly spluttered to death in an isolated lab.
So Emma took it upon herself to become Scott Summers—creating her own psychic version of the man she loved, advancing his cause until it came for him to die in a grandiose fashion, ensuring that Scott’s legacy would live on beyond him. “I made him an idea,” Emma declares on the final page of the book. “And ideas never die.”
It’s a weird end to one of Marvel’s most iconic characters—and one that doesn’t quite add up to the image the company has been cooking up for Cyclops in the X-Men books since his death(s), one where his actions were so extreme it caused him to be hated by Mutant, Human, and Inhuman alike. But now, after a year of questioning, we at last know how the final chapter of Scott Summers’ journey came to an end.