[identity profile] seriousfic.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
So last time, Scott feel in love with a woman because she looked like Jean Grey, his dead girlfriend. I know, I know, but they kinda pulled it off. Then someone had the bright idea of reuniting the original X-Men into a new team called X-Factor. Of course, Jean was at present dead, so some hasty retconning revealed that it had actually been a clone of her, bringing Jean back to life at the small cost of invalidating a classic X-Men story.

And, of course, Scott was with Madeline. Married. With a baby son. Not the kind of a thing you can just sweep under the rug, but damn if they didn't give it the ol' college try.

Now, there were all sorts of ways they could've reconciled this. Kept Scott married to Madeline and (gasp!) have Jean not spend the rest of her life with her high school sweetheart. Revealed that Madeline really was Jean, thus keeping the Dark Phoenix Saga in continuity and still leaving room for some angst. Or just slowly breaking up Scott and Madeline over time, in a realistic and heart-rending plotline.

Or they could have Scott walk out on his wife and baby son at the mere mention of Jean's name, in one of those plot developments so absurd that you have to believe either it was first suggested as a joke or Garth Marenghi is writing comics. I mean, don't these things only happen to Peter Parker? Radioactive semen, deal with the devil to save his 110-year-old aunt? I guess the writing here wasn't an incredible failure at characterization and sympathetic actions so much as eerily prescient.

Ah yes, the mundane and everyday life of having a wife and newborn kid. Which Campbellian archetype is it again to have the call to adventure indistinguishable from a mid-life crisis?

Okay, Scott does have a bit of a point here, since he is a mutant and legislation against mutants would affect him and, by extension, Maddie and, yes, the baby. Savor this moment, guys, it's the last time Scott's going to be remotely likable.

So Scott's reunited with Jean and he decides not to tell her about Madeline. So, time it takes for Scott's reunion to go from heartwarming and emotional to douchey? One page.

"A dear friend is alive!" :[

And here we see homo sapiens summersus in its natural habitat: AAAANGST.

Aaaaaand it turns out that none of them tell Jean about Madeline for months. Amazing how this storyline can make you hate everyone involved. Except for Jean and Madeline, who probably need to do a Thelma & Louise thing in the Blackbird.

I'm also a little amused at how quickly Scott's angsty stubble can flare up. You think he just carries around some hair and crazy glue to rub on his face?

Well, I guess that makes the whole "walking out on your family" thing all okay then.

And here we see Angel in one of his many "why, yes, I do happen to have a manly man's chest" moments. The guy is just so... curious about the nudist lifestyle. Still, at least someone is talking sense. We can look at Warren Worthington and think "there's a stand-up guy, trying to do right by both of his dear, dear friends."


Okay, so after taking the time to set up a superhero team, advertise it, and go on an adventure, Scott finally thinks to call his wife. And, stymied by a disconnected number, our hero decides to let it lie while he continues to "woo" Jean. Because he's just a highly-trained mutant operative with a millionaire for a best friend. How can he be expected to find his wife and baby son?

Not to mention the way he thinks Madeline has left him instead of possibly being kidnapped or harmed, as happens every other week to girlfriends in the Marvel universe. Projecting much?

Don't you just love how they try to "soften the blow" by making Madeline a shrewish nag, not at all seeing that people tend to side with the single mother and not the deadbeat dad in domestic disputes? I mean, just take a look at that picture and tell me they're not trying to make it "Scott leaves his hag of a wife for his True Love".

I know angst is the bread and butter of Marvel Comics, but what this writer fails to grasp is that we don't sympathize with people when they bring angst on themselves. That's why we laugh at snooty French waiters when they get a banana-cream pie thrown in their face. Now, we'll make some allowances for characters we like and for dumb kids who don't know any better, but when the thirtysomething, super-responsible leader of the X-Men is pulling this shit, we just want someone to slap him. Hard.

But hey, people do do stupid shit in real life, like walking out on their family to have an affair. There's no reason Scott can't be made sympathetic. I mean, caught between an old love and a new flame through circumstances not of his choosing, that's pretty much why I wrote a Peter/MJ/Felicia love triangle.

So it's not like people haven't sympathized with bigger jerks. After all, at least he isn't yelling at anyone like a giant douche.

Well, Jean, you did step on his witty champagne line.

Around this time Louise Simonson took over writing, which takes the entire storyline to a really weird place. She does move the Scott/Jean/Maddie plot forward instead of letting it "simmer", but she also seems to be reacting to Scott's mischaracterization in Bob Layton's issues by making him more of a forthright douche, as shown in him yelling at Jean above. So instead of doing damage control, she just seems to be digging Scott's hole deeper. It makes me wonder if she wanted to deal with Scott and Madeline in a more forthright manner, like having them actually talk out their problems instead of literally being unable to talk to each other, but editorial said nay and so she just threw up her hands and said "fuck it."

Way to shift the subject, Scott. Was Warren talking about X-Factor? Because I don't think Warren was talking about X-Factor.

LOL at Jean throwing a mattress at Scott, though.

...well, at least now we know what Chris Brown would be like with superpowers.

Why do they call him Cyclops when his mutant name should clearly be Mr. Smooth? Because he's so smooth, you see.

No, Warren, I'm sure Jean will be fine without your penis. She's gotten by perfectly well without it in the past, after all.

You know, I never really got Logan/Jean before this, but now I can see how you'd want Jean to be with anyone but Scott. To be fair, though, the way Jean readily admits that if she had the ability, she would invade Scott's mind to find out something he didn't want her to know... well, I'm back to hating everyone, and we all know that only works if your comic has "Ultimate" in the title. Thanks for being awesome a little while there, Jean. Now I'm going to have to make a post about Angel's nudist tendencies to perk myself up from this head-hurtingness.

RUSTY! HEY GUYS, IT'S RUSTY! Oh, Rusty, it was horrible while you were away! Everyone was making jokes about cheating on their wives or girlfriends, everyone was fixated on Jean's ladyparts like she was a creation of Hemingway's drug-addled cousin, BUT LOOK AT YOU! You actually care about people other than yourself! And your relationship with Skids doesn't make me want to throw things! I should've done a series about your totally-not-fucked-up love life.

Yeah, Scott and Maddie were having problems. What Warren doesn't mention is that, as you saw, the problem was Scott being a giant tool.

Next time: Scott goes back to Maddie, goes crazy, and gets back together with Jean. Maybe not precisely in that order.

Date: 2009-05-06 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arilou_skiff.insanejournal.com
Re: AngstyScottStubble!

I personally have to shave every day, two days unshaven and I look kind of like Scott does in that picture.

Some lucky bastards only have to shave once a week. Damn them.

Date: 2009-05-06 12:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
Thing is, does Summers really have any particular likeable qualities? When he's not being a whiny, mopey emoboy, he's pompous, self-righteous, has no sense of humor, he's prone to fits of rage(and I'd be more scared of his than Logan's--he has better range), and apart from flying, I'm trying to think of his interests besides mutanthood and Jean. And then of course there was his little psychic affair with Emma, which not only did I find totally in character(especially in the passive-aggressive way he slid into it, so to speak), but in a way made him a little more likeable in that he did something human. Again, so to speak. He has the emotional maturity of a 15-year-old.

Add all this to the fact he can kill you by blinking. Oh yeah, this is a guy who'd be the life of any party. Truth be told, he never deserved Jean OR Madelyne. I also thought the way Marvel readjusted Madelyne to remove his guilt on this matter--that she was never human at all--was a little twisted. Much like they couldn't allow Jean being the first Marvel superhero to really take responsibility for havoc she'd caused to stand.

Date: 2009-05-06 01:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arilou_skiff.insanejournal.com
Mind, my first real interaction with Scott was via X-men: Evolution, and I still kind of think of him as the "Real" Scott, so I might be a bit off here but...

Scott is pretty much the centre of the X-men. It's odd, but I don't think the dynamic quite *works* without Cyclops. He's earnest and serious, often competent, but yes, he has a bit of a stick up his ass. He's usually somehow trying to manage what is just about the most disparate and contradictory grouping of misfits ever assembled.

I think of Scott as a flawed (mostly in that he's kind of stuck-up and not very healthy emotionally) but when the chips are down earnest guy. Who usually tries to do the right thing only to have it blow up in his face.

Interestingly enough, while I like Cyclops I've never liked Jean in any of her incarnations.

Date: 2009-05-06 02:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandoz_iscariot.insanejournal.com
Funny you mention Evo Scott, because that version's by far my favorite take on the character. Brooding and serious and sometimes wrong, but never a dick. He felt like a real person and you could understand why people would want to follow his lead.

Date: 2009-05-07 07:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] timemonkey.insanejournal.com
Evo Scott was definitely the best Scott yet.

Date: 2009-05-06 01:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nr4b.insanejournal.com
"He has the emotional maturity of a 15-year-old."

I suppose that's why I so looked up to him when I was 13. There was a brief stretch, when this stuff was coming out, that "X-Factor" was my favorite comic. Reading it now I couldn't be more embarrassed if I had written it myself.

Date: 2009-05-07 10:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
See, I think that's Scott's function. He's the repressed and angry teenager of the X-Men. He's you and me when we were the age to tell our parents to fuck themselves, or the like.(actually, the people who can relate to Scott range from smart but angry emo-teens all the way up to school shooters) Warren's rich, Bobby's more or less happy, Hank is fine with how he is and is a genius besides. And Jean is everyone's ideal girlfriend. (she's how you conceive the girlfriend you want before you actually start having experience, and consider how Scott idealized her always and you can see that she reflects an adolescent view of women down to her core in a lot of ways) Only Scott of that group is there for the angry teen to relate to. He's the embodiment of that day you told your Dad or Mom to shut up and they didn't understand.

Only problem with that is that if you let him grow older than, say, 20, but have him still be this mopey, broody and angry, then he comes off as a douchebag who might need meds.

Date: 2009-05-07 01:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nr4b.insanejournal.com
I buy all of that. Comic books deal in power fantasies, but those aren't always "I can shoot lasers from my eyes" fantasies. In Scott's case it's also a "I can throw tantrums and tell everyone to screw off and people will respect me for it and make me leader" fantasy.

Date: 2009-05-06 06:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlbarnett.insanejournal.com
I happen to like Scott's repressed nature.

A well written Scott has a sense of humor. He might not be the one telling jokes but do you see him bouncing Bobby or Hank from the team regularly. He's dependable. For others he's pretty much rock solid even if his own life isn't that great.

Frankly I don't like the heroes taking "responsibilty" for anything like what happened with Jean, especially since they're usually manipulated by an outside force.

In the end you've usually got one less hero to take on the bad guys who could end up pulling the same stunt on another hero.

Date: 2009-05-07 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
But would you agree that his emotional growth is a bit stunted? I mean, I've always thought he talked like an angry teenager, which was fine when he was--and was great when I was, admittedly--but not so great when he's an adult, which he has been most of the character's existence.

I do remember Scott telling one good joke: the opening line Morrison wrote to his X-Men run, which was "Wolverine, you can probably stop doing that now" as Logan keeps slashing a Sentinel even after it's very dead.

Date: 2009-05-07 04:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlbarnett.insanejournal.com
not really, no.

Unless you count being introverted as emotionally stunted

Date: 2009-05-07 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitty_tc_69.insanejournal.com
How was Scott's guilt removed? Sure, Maddie was a clone, but she was a person just the same. And -everyone- in her short life fucked her over, to the point all she had left was a futile attempt at revenge. I had all those issues, and Scott's guilt was never mitigated beyond the fact that he and Maddie both were set up and used by Sinister. Sure, he was in a no-win situation and was deliberately set up for it, but that doesn't make it better. And Scott knew it. His guilt and self-loathing were pretty intense, and what with Cameron Hodge opportunistically fucking with him as well, he responded by having a nervous breakdown.

This will probably be posted in the next installment, but Scott believed Maddie had left him (and that he deserved it), and he wanted Jean back very badly but was unwilling to act on it due to his guilt. When he finally decided to make the hard choice (and let's face it, who's going to be decisive under circumstances like that? Few of us can imagine what it's like to love someone, watch them die, meet and fall for their clone, and then have their loved one return from the dead --it's enough to make anyone torn) and go back to Maddie and the baby, tearing his heart out by giving up Jean to honor his marriage and do the right thing, he finds evidence (set up by Sinister) that they've been killed by the Marauders. He immediately blames himself for their apparent death, and the additional guilt breaks him. With the help of some conveniently placed trickery by Cameron Hodge (who was opportunistically looking to break Scott for reasons of his own), he forges the delusion that Jean and Maddie both are incarnations of the Phoenix, and neither of them ever died and since both are the same woman he never left either of them or crewed either of them over to favor the other. Of course it's not true, but it's important to note that Scott's guilt is so strong his mind is willing to cop out of reality in order to let him off the hook. Yes, he made some poor decisions and he could have handled the whole thing a hell of a lot better, but to his credit he was under some pretty extremely fucked up circumstances with not one but two separate forces manipulating events to make things worse with the outright purpose of manipulating him. Rather than a callous jerk who would have just blown the consequences off as long as things worked out in his favor, he instead felt so guilty about failing to do the right thing (despite that under the circumstances someone was going to be done wrong by regardless) that he cracked. Lost his shit and became delusional. That's not the act of a selfish, uncaring individual, it's someone who failed to handle an impossible situation.

Which is why the later thing with Emma pissed me off so much. Yes, Scott fucked up with Maddie and Jean, but throughout the whole thing he was motivated by his undying love for Jean. He went for Maddie in the first place because she was a copy of Jean, deliberately put in his path for the purpose of ensnaring him, and he left Maddie because of that same love for Jean. He handled the situation poorly, sure, but he was under a hell of a lot of pressure and he -knew- he fucked up and cut himself no slack for it. His love for Jean was a consistent motivator throughout, and fucking up in the name of love is at least somewhat of a noble motivation for making mistakes. There was no such excuse for Emma. Who the hell was she to him? Why would he leave the woman he loved so much he screwed up royally and almost lost his mind, and his life, for her to cheat with a woman he should by all rights hate? It didn't make sense, and it turned Scott from a tormented and awkward but well-meaning fuckup to a mere cheating prick. Worse, it retroactively made the Maddie situation unforgivable by invalidating the whole extenuating circumstance that made it excusable in the first place. After all, it's hard to accept "he screwed up, but he did it for love" as a motivation when he turns around anc cheats on his great love of his life. He can't have loved her that much after all if he fucked around on her.


Date: 2009-05-07 05:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitty_tc_69.insanejournal.com

Through it all, though, Maddie was portrayed as what she was --a victim. Her status as a clone was never used to deny her personhood or render anyone else blameless for what happened to her, it was just one more aspect of the tragedy that was her brief existence. She was made to be used and thrown away, and she ended up exactly that. But she was a person, with full agency and feelings, and her eventual reaction to her situation was a descent into bitterness, nihilism, despair, and revenge. She was a deeply sympathetic character, and Sinister was utterly despicable for what he did to her. And when (usually straight arrow no-kill) Scott killed Sinister, not a single person present objected. And that was in large part because vengeance for Maddie was considered just. Sure, Maddie just tried to kill them all and had turned New York into demon hell, but she was -used-. There was no doubt that Sinister was responsible. Maddie and Scott were just pawns in the game.

That's why I love this story so much, it's like a greek tragedy. Everyone in it is doomed by their own nature, cursed by their fatal flaws. Scott in this was a well-meaning fuckup, who punished himself deeply for his every failing, but who clearly caused a lot of harm in his awkward fumbling. Maddie was an innocent victim who eventually went over the edge from all the abuse she suffered and tried to lash out and destroy everyone around her who had hurt and betrayed her, but in the end destroyed only herself, the one least deserving of it. Jean did nothing wrong per se, but she was much of the motivation behind the tragedy regardless because of others desire for her. Warren's own desire for Jean caused him to do everything but the right thing to help the situation, and he had the opportunity to help prevent the coming tragedy but instead did everything but. Hank and Bobby wanted the old band back together, and sympathized with Scott's pursuit of Jean because it mirrored their own desires for her, and thus they encouraged and enabled Scott to leave Maddie to be not just with Jean, but with them.

Nobody meant anyone to be hurt, much less die, but that's exactly what happened. And they all bear some responsibility. Sinister and Hodge bear the most, because they were manipulating events behind the scenes, but every one of them played their part. None are blameless, depite innocent intentions.

Which is what makes it one of my all-time favorite stories.

Date: 2009-05-06 01:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halloweenjack.insanejournal.com
Well, it's still better that she didn't end up with Logan; after all, the way that all his girlfriends end up dead... oh, wait.

Date: 2009-05-06 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greenmask.insanejournal.com
Why, why why why why, did Jean ever get back with him? I guess I'll find out next time. But cor blimey, Scott Summers sucks and blows. Jean's a pretty great person/character if I consider it with my brain, but i have NEVER been able to be a fan of her BECAUSE SHE DIGS SCOTT. I just do not geeeet it.

Date: 2009-05-06 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
Great post!

I should've done a series about your totally-not-fucked-up love life.

Umm, this would be Rusty Collins, whose first sexual encounter led to the poor hooker suffering third degree burns, and who then started dating a girl with a literally impenetrable forcefield?

Date: 2009-05-06 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandoz_iscariot.insanejournal.com
That's relatively mild romantic trauma for an X-Person.

Date: 2009-05-06 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hyperactivator.insanejournal.com
I do hope that we can get some Scott free X-men soon. Let someone else lead for a bit.

Date: 2009-05-06 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlbarnett.insanejournal.com
I've read the issue and didn't think Scott was so bad. It's not like he handed Maddie divorce papers the second he heard Jean was alive. His first girlfriend was alive and one of the defining moments of his life was suddenly changed.

Personally I tend to sympathize with the hero/protaganist of the story, which is probably why I'm not a fan of stories from the villains POV.

Date: 2009-05-06 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlerb.insanejournal.com
So there's this one panel:


Surely I can't be the only one to have done a double-take at that.
Also, icon:


Date: 2009-05-07 03:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cat_13145.insanejournal.com
Firstly love how little time Warren Wears a shirt in this (though how the robe worked confused me for a while).
Secondly In my personal opinion, Scott is probably the most messed up emotionally of all the X men (and that takes some doing). This story merely confirms it and I look forward to the next part.

Date: 2009-05-07 10:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
It must really hurt to sit on your wings like that. Look, they're doing the same cheat the Harvey Birdman animators did! Except that was INTENTIONAL comedy.


Date: 2009-06-09 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
When are we gonna get the &%$#@* UP LOVE LIFE OF SCOTT SUMMERS: EMMA FROST?????


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