Short & Sweet: The Final Issues of Cyclops and The Private Eye!

The Private Eye

Cyclops #12Cyclops #12

John Layman (scripter), Javier Garron (penciller), Chris Sotomayor (colourist)
Marvel Comics
April 1, 2015

Cyclops #12 is an unusual and difficult issue for a number of reasons. First, it’s the final issue of the series, and it’s tasked with wrapping up the book’s central relationship between teenage Cyclops and his space pirate father, Corsair—but it’s also a middle chapter of The Black Vortex event, so it’s really not an ending at all. Forget the comic’s cover and solicitation, which feature Jean Grey, the Phoenix, and the question of whether Cyclops can save his once-and-future love from the corruption of absolute power, because that is not remotely the plot of the comic. (Instead, it’s about a jailbreak.) Most maddening of all, a few pivotal scenes don’t actually happen, and are simply unfolding inside Scott Summers’s head. Under the pressure of all these different issues, it’s a wonder that the comic didn’t disintegrate right in my hands.

John Layman’s greatest strength here is his voice for the teenage, time-displaced Cyclops. Rather than the cold, tactical leader he eventually becomes, this Cyclops is a confused kid who’s uncertain of the future and still relying on the support of his father. Cyclops briefly muses on a story he’ll “be telling [his] own son someday,” which gave me the entertaining mental image of 16-year-old Cyclops narrating this story to his 60-year-old cyborg son Cable. When The Black Vortex’s plot kicks in, the narrative loses focus. The problems with this overlong story (including its sheer dullness) can’t be laid at Layman’s feet, but he doesn’t elevate the material either.

What I most enjoyed about this issue is Javier Garron’s lively and colorful art. His Cyclops and Iceman look and act like believable teenage boys, and it’s a welcome contrast to Corsair’s mustachioed swagger. My one artistic qualm is the shall-remain-nameless character transformed by the Black Vortex who comes out looking like a space ninja version of Puck from the Disney cartoon Gargoyles. I’m unsure of who exactly is designing the new Black Vortex characters, but it’s a strange look. Cyclops #12 awkwardly ends its run amid the chaos of an ongoing events, but the art and the strong narrative voice of its young hero manage to keep it together.

— Kayleigh Hearn 

Private Eye #10The Private Eye

Brian K. Vaughan (scripter), Marcos Martin (penciller), Muntsa Vicente (colourist)
Panel Syndicate
March 19, 2015

This is the finale of a series that started off amazingly, but fizzled out in the last two issues. By the last issue, the bad guy and his nefarious plot had been revealed and our protagonists, P.I., Rowena, and Melanie were ready for the big showdown–such of which involved a Scooby Doo-like speech, though P.I. and his gang don’t exactly stop the bad guy from getting away with it. Final issues are meant to wrap up loose ends and maybe leave the reader with a few questions to ponder after the comic is closed. Issue #10 successfully does both, but my big problem is that all of this could have come in the last issue, making for a much greater climax to the launch of DeGuerre’s missile, the possible return of the Internet, and the CNN coverage and rescue of the catastrophic event. Martin’s colourful noir artwork remains a highlight throughout the series, but the much larger panels taking up pages, furthers my belief that one issue was stretched unnecessarily into two.

Still, I have loved this series. There is little I do online that doesn’t make me think about The Private Eye and the “cloud burst” that forced everyone into anonymity. The fantasy future portrayed by Vaughan and his team hits very close to reality, far too often.

— Wendy Browne

Kayleigh Hearn

Kayleigh Hearn

Still waiting for her Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters acceptance letter. Bylines also at Deadshirt, Ms-En-Scene, The MNT, PanelxPanel, and Talk Film Society.