Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #391

Issue Date: 
April 2001
Story Title: 

Scott Lobdell (Writer), Salvador Larroca (Penciler), Tim Townsend with Lary Stucker (Inks), Hi-Fi Design (Colors), Richard Starkings & COMICRAFT’s Saida T! (Letters), Pete Franco (Assistant Editor), Mark Powers (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, takes a trip out into the woods on a weekend getaway before returning back to the X-Men, which is down to only three members currently. Scott waits for some time and reflects on the recent death of his friend Colossus, when suddenly Corsair arrives and apologizes for being late. Both men are uncomfortable around each, though neither says anything out loud. Father and son go fishing, but nothing either of them says can break the ice. Scott finally has enough when his father reveals that he thought Scott could cause fire with his powers. Scott snaps at his father and asks why Corsair never came back for him and Alex, though he clearly had the means. After dancing around the topic for a few moments, Corsair reveals that he was ashamed to return, because he could do nothing but throw his children out of a crashing plane and watch his wife get murdered. Scott realizes that his father has been through a lot and, even though he will never understand him, Scott Summers will always love his father.

Full Summary: 

A man rides through a forest in his new, black X-Men uniform, complete with a black visor, much different than his long-time golden one. As he zooms through the forest, he scares a bird almost to death. There is a big difference between “dead” and “presumed dead.” Trust him, he knows. His name is Scott Summers, a.k.a Cyclops, leader of the X-Men, a group of “mutants, sworn to protect a world that fears and hates” them. For the last few months, he was presumed dead. It turned out that he was merged with the essence of his greatest enemy. It is a long story and, beside the point, he is trying to make.

Scott stops his motorcycle at a cliff’s edge and takes in the awe-inspiring view of the setting sun behind a majestic mountain. To him, “presumed dead” means that you are going to turn up eventually. “Dead,” however, means forever. Scott’s friend, Peter Rasputin, is dead, because he gave up his life to save others. Should he have waited until a safer version of the Legacy Virus cure was found? Maybe he should have. However, there was no guarantee that a safer cure could be found. Even if a safer cure could be found, how long would it have taken? How many more people would have died? Peter could not have waited. For someone named Colossus, he had a heart that bled for the world. Though Scott was not there, a part of him blames himself. His wife, Jean, would tell him that part of him is actually all of him. That is not true. Peter made a decision and whether it is right or wrong, he has to respect that.

Scott gets off his motorcycle and taps his watch impatiently. Today is a celebration of sorts. It was supposed to be about taking time for himself so he could get his head together before returning to the X-Men. Honestly, though, he is not sure how much of the X-Men is left to head back to. This weekend getaway was for him to remember what is most important. What is more important than family? Isn’t that what people are always telling others?

Near Scott, there is a ripple in the air and then sparkles of light shine. Suddenly, the light reveals a man clad in a red and blue outfit, sitting atop a hovercraft. That is Scott’s dad, Christopher Summers. He is better known as Corsair of the Starjammers. It is another long story and one he would not like to think about it. Scott tells his late father that he was not sure if he got his message and thought that he could not make it. Honestly, though, Scott wishes that his father hadn’t come, but does not tell this to his father. Corsair takes off his helmet and apologizes for being late.

The light fades and Corsair gets off of his hovercraft. Scott tells his father not to worry about it and that he was probably early anyway. Again, Corsair apologizes and explains that there was traffic in the worm-hole out of the Lambda Quadrant. Scott interrupts his dad and once again tells him that it is not a problem. Corsair takes in the view of the valley below and the river running through it, commenting that it is a nice place. Scott agrees. The two men face each other, many feet apart. Corsair asks his son if they should “…hug, or something?” Scott tells him that they don’t have to if he does not want to. Both men fall silent. Breaking the silence, Corsair claps his hands together and tells Scott that he is starved. How about they go out fishing?

Sometime later, both Scott and Corsair change into normal civilian clothes and take out a rowboat into the middle of a lake. Scott sits at the edge of the boat waiting for a bite, while Corsair lies down in the back with his fishing hat pulled over his eyes. Scott hears his father softly laughing and asks what it is. Corsair sits up and tells Scott that this place reminds him of a time shortly after he joined the Starjammers. He, Raza, Ch’od and Hepzibah were still thinking that they could change the Shi’ar Empire. Naturally, they spent much of the time hiding or running. One time, they were hiding on this one water world called Aquanox. The first week, they ran out of food. They figured it would not be a problem since it is a water planet. There should have been some fish around. Scott tells his father that the thinking was reasonable. Corsair begins to laugh again and remembers the size of the carnivorous killer sea creatures that he and Raza encountered while diving, though he leaves this detail out. Instead, he tells Scott that, “they…didn’t have what you’d call a big fishing industry!”

Corsair begins to laugh again, but Scott just stares at him blankly. Corsair stops laughing and guesses that he would have to have been there to get the joke. Scott turns away from his father, so he is facing the front of the boat, and agrees with his father. The two spend the rest of the fishing trip sitting on opposite ends of the boat in silence.

Later on, Scott finishes setting up the tent, while Corsair collects firewood. While hammering in a nail into the ground, Scott argues with himself over whether he should ask his father something. Corsair returns and sets up the wood to light, but then asks Scott to do his “eye thing.” Scott is confused and tells his dad that he is not following him. Corsair points to his own eyes and tells Scott to use his heat vision to start the campfire. Scott tells his father that his eyes do not give off heat. It is concussive energy and has nothing to do at all with heat. Embarrassed, Corsair apologizes.

Corsair begins to rub two stones together to start a fire. Scott stands behind him and explains that he knows more about Chamber’s psi-centric bio-blast mutant ability than Corsair knows about his own son. Corsair does not get the point and asks who Chamber is. Scott pauses at his father’s ineptitude and tells him that it isn’t the point. Scott turns away and excuses himself, because he is not hungry at the moment. Alone, Corsair realizes that he is the biggest moron in the universe.

Corsair finds Scott sitting on a cliff looking across at the view of the multi-colored sky, as the sun is almost set. He comes up to his son and asks if he has seen such a beautiful sight. The reds are amazing. Scott points to his ruby quartz sunglasses and reminds his dad that everything is red to him. “You know, what with my heat vision and all.”

Corsair apologizes for not knowing how Scott’s powers work. However, Scott has to admit that the beam is red, as well as fire. It was an honest mistake. Annoyed, Scott tells his father that it isn’t the eye thing that is bugging him. The two sit silently again.

A few moments later, Corsair gets up and tells Scott that maybe this father and son bonding moment was a bad idea. He is going to leave now. Scott says nothing at all, but frowns very angrily, as his father returns back to the camp. Suddenly, Scott asks his father, why? Corsair stops and asks Scott “why?” what? Scott turns around and asks him why he never came back for him and Alex.

Corsair turns to face his son and tells him that he is a Starjammer. He created the team. They are not the X-Men, but they make a difference in people’s lives. He has a lot of responsibilities to a lot of different life forms who look to the Starjammers for help. Enraged, Scott gets up and demands to know about the responsibility that Corsair has to his family, especially his sons. Scott’s last memory of Corsair was when his back was turned to him as he struggled with the plane controls. He shouted at him to wear the damn parachute and get out of the plane. Didn’t it ever occur to Corsair, in all that time he was swashbuckling from one side of the galaxy to another, that his sons thought that he was dead? Didn’t it bother him that they were growing up as orphans?

Corsair gets in Scott’s face and tells him that he and his mother were captives of an alien empire. Scott has to imagine what it was like for them. One moment, they are saying their last goodbye on a crashing plane and, then, the next moment they are teleported to the farthest reaches of the known universe. Of course he wanted to be with Scott and Alex. Then Katherine was murdered and, at that point, he felt as if he died with her.

Scott grabs his father by his shirt collar and tells him to never use his mother’s death as an excuse for abandoning his family. That isn’t why he never came back. He had lots of opportunities. Corsair breaks free from his son’s grip and asks Scott what he wants him to say. Does he want him to say that he did not care about him or Alex? Does he want to hear that he wished he died that day? Scott tells his father that he thinks that Corsair never thought about them at all. He never even tried to find out what happened. If the X-Men never overthrew the Shi’ar emperor, then Corsair would never have known that his two sons were alive. “You never cared about us—NEVER!”

Corsair backhands his son, who falls to the ground. On the ground, Scott wipes his nose and tells his father that that was a good solution. Scott continues and tells him that he and Jean no longer talk about having kids anymore. Does Corsair want to know why? He is scared to death that he is going to be the father that was his own father. He is afraid that he is going to screw up some kind the same way Corsair screwed him up. He had a son with Maddy and, even when he gave Nathan up in order to save him, he still followed him. He followed him two millennia into the future! Corsair, on the other hand, couldn’t even travel a few hundred light-years to check up on them, even though he clearly had the means. Again, Scott asks, why?

Corsair begins to cry and, in between sobs, he tells his son that he never came back, because he was ashamed. Scott has to understand that he could not do anything to save him or Alex, except to pitch them out of a plane. He could not save Katherine, who was murdered in front of him. What kind of husband and father does that make him? He felt that the best thing to do was to stay as far away as possible. He had already failed to protect his family. There wasn’t a day that he didn’t think Scott was better off without him. It may not have been the right thing, but he spent the rest of his life trying to protect a universe, for what seems to make up for not being able to protect his family.

Corsair tells Scott that he knows that this is fifteen years too late but, if it means anything to Scott, then he is sorry, for everything. The two men face each other in silence until Scott asks another question. “Still hungry?” asks Scott. Corsair tells him that he is starving. Before they head off to eat, the two clasp hands and Corsair tells him that, if the opportunity never comes again, then he just wants Scott to know…well, he knows what. Scott tells his dad that he knows and he knows back, right. Corsair tells him that he does.

The two eat dinner and sit at the campfire. Corsair tells Scott that he guesses it is time to go to sleep. Corsair begins to collect the dishes when Scott goes over to him and asks him if he remembers that last night. The four of them were camping up in the mountains, the night before the plane went down. The two of them spent the whole night in front of the fire talking, just like this.

Corsair hugs his son and, as Scott falls asleep, Corsair remembers that at that night Scott fell asleep in his arms. Corsair tells his son to rest easy. Scott Summers may not understand his father, but he will always love him.

Characters Involved: 



Story Notes: 

Scott was merged with Apocalypse at the end of Apocalypse: The Twelve storyline, in X-Men (2nd Series) #97 and was presumed dead in #98. After several incidents, Scott’s wife Jean and son Cable searched for Scott and freed him from Apocalypse in X-Men: The Search for Cyclops #1-4.

Scott’s reference of not knowing “how much of the X-Men is left to head back to” points to recent events in Uncanny X-Men and X-Men (2nd Series). Storm secretly gathered a group of X-Men, consisting of Rogue, Bishop, Psylocke, Thunderbird III, Beast and Sage, to leave the mansion and hunt down the missing journals of the precog, Destiny, in X-Men (2nd Series) #109, though the team won’t leave until shortly before this issue. Colossus died in Uncanny X-Men #390, which prompted Shadowcat to retire from her career as an X-Man in X-Men (2nd Series) #110. Cable left the team in Cable (2nd Series) #88, while Iceman left off panel after a brief return in X-Men (2nd Series) #108. Archangel was only a reserve member and left off panel after X-Men (2nd Series) #109. Nightcrawler, who only rejoined the X-Men temporarily to fight the Neo, left off panel to continue his priesthood training after X-Men (2nd Series) #109. Though told not to follow by Rogue, Gambit leaves the mansion after Colossus’s death and later meets up with Storm’s team in X-Treme X-Men #4. This leaves the current X-Men roster with Cyclops, Phoenix IV, Wolverine, as well as Professor Xavier, who rarely goes on missions anyway.

Issue Information: 

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