It’s been nearly a year since the mystery of Cyclops’s death (and the alleged (but unspecified) crimes he committed leading up to it) were placed in fans’ minds by the end of Secret Wars, and in this week's Death of X #4 the truth is revealed - and it’s not what readers have been led to believe.
Spoilers ahead for Death of X #4.
In this final issue of the Death of X flashback mini-series, Scott and his team of Magick, Magneto, Emma Frost, Sunfire, and the Cuckoos succeed in transmuting one of the Terrigen clouds into harmless vapor with the help of Alchemy, whom Scott recruited last issue.
However, the transmutation comes with a price – Alchemy dies of M-Pox minutes after touching the cloud. Afterwards, Scott confronts Medusa and Black Bolt, who are furious at the loss of the Terrigen Mists – though another cloud still remains.
In this moment, Cyclops gives an impassioned speech about his life, and how, after all he’s been through, he’s not even himself anymore, just a collection of failed ideas. But it’s too late – Black Bolt, ordered by Medusa, vaporizes the X-Men leader by the power of his voice.
Afterwards, at Cyclops’s funeral, Emma Frost speaks to Cyclops’s brother, Havok, who says he knows Scott isn’t really in the coffin. Emma then confesses that Scott died all the way back in Death of X #1 after exposure to the M-Pox, and that all his actions since then – his worldwide call to arms against the Inhumans, organizing a team to destroy the Terrigen cloud, and even his death at the hands of Black Bolt, were all psychic projections Emma created so that Scott could die as a symbol rather than as a victim of the disease.
It’s a somewhat shocking revelation, given that Emma herself has been absent since Secret Wars, and the level of horror many mutants have expressed at Cyclops’s actions. Transmuting a Terrigen cloud hardly seems like the kind of thing that leaves a lifelong hero remembered as a villain and terrorist.
In the end, the status quo we’ve known for all this time remains largely unchanged, with the mutants and Inhumans simply going back to co-existing while Hank McCoy tries to cure the M-Pox.
Of course, we know the situation will come to a head once again, as Inhumans Vs. X-Men begins December 14.