The title of last year’s Marvel event was Avengers Vs. X-Men, but in many ways it was a battle of wills that boiled down to two men: Captain America vs. Cyclops. And although that war is over, in the times they’ve met since they’ve locked horns and shown there’s still unfinished business between the two; but now in A+X, these two heroes have to try to put it aside in light of a bigger threat. Beginning in October’s A+X #13, Deadpool scribe Gerry Duggan is writing a six-part story that brings the two instigators of Avengers Vs. X-Men on the same page – even if they don’t like it.
“It's all over the place, and I mean that in a good way,” Duggan tells Newsarama. “This story has an alien abduction, robots, intrigue, even smaller robots, action, comedy, a bunch of misunderstandings and story threads that go back to Grant Morrison, Chris Claremont, and...Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The action pinballs from outer space, to Las Vegas, to Europe, and back again. It will be fun.”
As we know, Cap and Cyclops aren’t the best of friends – between Avengers Vs. X-Men and what we saw recently in All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men I think it’s easy to say they’ve unfriended each other on Facebook. When Newsarama asked Duggan how he would describe their relations, it’s complicated.
“They are not friends, but there is a puzzling situation that demands attention, and these are both leaders that can multi-task. First: they're dealing with this potential threat. Second: They're plotting an advantageous outcome over the other guy,” Duggan reveals. ”What is apparent is their effectiveness when they quit barking at each other to deal with enemies. Most guys are only getting hit twice, once by Cap & Cyclops, and once by the ground.”
Despite their many differences, in some ways Cyclops and Cap are very much two sides of the same coin; both are patriots, one for his country and one for his species.
“They're both natural leaders, and they're both excellent warriors, of course, but Cap's steadfast belief in the American way is a big difference at the moment,” Duggan points out. “Cyclops is a revolutionary now. Captain America is not against taking a stand when he thinks everyone else is wrong- but Charles' death is too big for them to solve. If Cyclops was not in his right mind, or under duress, he wants the American judicial system to make that determination -- not the man that pulled the trigger. Cyclops knows what he knows, and doesn't think he'll get the fair trial that Cap does. It's a fun conflict to write.”
Although a story revolving around Cyclops and Cap trying to get along could take up a whole series, Duggan is putting this A+X 6-parter down a course that’ll see these reluctant partners tracking down something that matters to them both: mutant Skrulls dubbed Cadre K, whose origin dates all the way back to Lee and Kirby’s classic Fantastic Four run.
“”Cadre K are missing from the Skrull empire and presumed up to Earth, and up to no good,” says the writer. “There are appearances from some other folks whose alignment is not in question. One thing is for sure: Cadre K is here on Earth, and they're making plans...”
Speaking of plans, this arc makes the beginning of a plan Marvel has to introduce long-form storytelling to the anthology series A+X. After writing a well-received Spider-Woman/Kitty Pryde story earlier this year in A+X #8, Duggan was invited by editors Nick Lowe and Jordan White to create this longer story told over six parts.
And although it’s a change in tradition in terms of story size, this story is keeping the A-list artist names flowing, in this case, David Yardin. Well known for his covers to Black Panther and the recently concluded X-Factor, Yardin makes a rare return to interior work to draw this epic pairing.
“I was thrilled when David was available to illustrate the issues,” Duggan says. “He's such a terrific artist -- I misunderstood Jordan and Nick - I thought he was just doing covers when I asked about what artist they were thinking of. His pages are just a joy - and what a wonderful storyteller he is. I'm lucky in collaborators once again.”