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Pick of comic book week: An after school special in space

How cool can space be when you can only see it in red?
Previews World

Cyclops #3

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Book of the week: Cyclops #3

Months with five Wednesdays often have at least one week which seems lighter than the rest for most fan's pull lists, and this week is no exception. As the only regularly scheduled comic this column enjoys that debuted this week, this third issue of the latest "X-Men" spin off would have earned the top spot by sheer default even if all the pages were blank. Fortunately, writer Greg Rucka and soon to be departing regular artist Russell Dauterman (alongside colorist Chris Sotomayor) craft an issue which is more than worthy of any Marvel Comic fan's attention.

For a quick recap, this series centers on the space faring adventures of a young version of Cyclops who has time traveled from the past to our present (and his future) alongside his estranged father Corsair, who was recently resurrected from the dead. Although the young Scott Summers has been eager to try to make up for lost time with his dad (or at least a future version of him), get away from the eternally grim X-Mansion and explore the cosmos, he's since found that Corsair has plenty of secrets. Considering that Corsair is a long time space pirate, it would have been too convenient if he had no secrets. Their adventures seem to involve seedier planets, more enemies seeking a bounty on Corsair and more deals for what appear to be drugs that the elder Summers is taking. When their ship is blasted from the stars and forced to land on a random (yet hospitable) planet, this rising tension bubbles to the core.

Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning ruled the "space line" of Marvel Comics from 2006-2009; their era helped shape the film studios' vision for "space" as well as ended with a bang with "War of Kings" (which is mentioned by Corsair here). However, shortly thereafter the seemingly dead Star-Lord started popping up in Brian Bendis written comics without either he or any of his "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast even addressing the previous story. Now, just in time for "Original Sin", an explanation is expected to forthcoming for that (as well as the fate of Richard Rider, the original Nova) which is completely obligatory and planned on the fly despite claims to the contrary. Wisely, Rucka had enough foreshadowing for this subplot that when it comes home to roost a mere three issues later, it feels quite organic. It seems that while resurrections seem to be a dime a dozen in comics, they rarely come cheap, and Corsair's feat of cheating death may wind up only being temporary.

Dauterman's art remains as crisp and imaginative as ever; so much so that Marvel editors will be yanking him to draw their big new "Thor" series by the fall. Having to draw no end of aliens and locations can try most artists, but Dauterman manages to make it all work as well as keeping things grounded with how he depicts the teenage Scott and the old, grizzled Corsair. And as always, Rucka manages to work within the confines of a complicated premise within an even more cluttered comic book universe to get to the heart of what this series is about - mending the bonds between a son and a wayward father. The pair have a heart to heart chat which works out extremely well.

It will remain to be seen how long this series can last, as well as how long Rucka can make the story work without much of a supporting cast around his leads (as the Starjammers were written out of the arc two issues ago). In the meanwhile, "Cyclops" remains a lively space adventure series which maintains its' humanity even when starring mutants and aliens. X-Men fans who need a break from crossovers and want to take a breather with something quite different yet still plenty dramatic would be well served to find it with this series.