I mean lets admit it, all three arcs had their own flaws and imperfection and more importantly it led to more head scratching especially since we're privy into the motivations of each of the major players in the book.
Before we point our fingers on a specific character in the series lets list down or enumerate the variables in play throughout the series. The Phoenix is coming to Earth intent on both burning it down to create new life. The mutant population has dwindled to a point where there are no new mutants being born before the return of 'messiah' Hope Summers. Then there's the ever present dissent among the humans over the status quo for both the Avengers as well as the isolationist stand of Scott Summers in the island of Utopia. At the starting point of the story Scarlet Witch has returned to the fold while Magneto is a member of Cyclops's X-Tinction Team. Wolverine on the other hand has moved a handful of students from San Francisco and transplanted them back to New York and built the Jean Grey School.
Now that you're almost up to speed with the details let's begin my analysis. Oh wait....
Okay, now we can actually go.
CYCLOPS - SCOTT SUMMERS
At the start of AVX, Scott was still the hopeful 'prophet' taking care of Hope and preparing for her for the time when the Phoenix returns to Earth and kick starts the mutant gene. He's still the king mutant. He's still acting all dick-ish but still has this singular vision of protecting his people from whatever threats are still looming out there.
It's still the same basic motivation for the original mutant. He just wants to minimize the risks that all mutants face which is the reason why he goes Magneto's way and sets up the island nation of Utopia.
Seeing how AVX rolled to it's ending, Marvel editorial together with the 'architects' wanted to make sure that it follows the traditional structure of a team versus team story where towards the end both teams realize that its a mistake to fight and then teams up to battle the big bad; who happens to be the leader of the X-Men Cyclops.
Leading towards AVX Scott has made a lot of close calls which has earned the ire of a lot X-fans. He's gone from being the boy scout to becoming this post-modern version of Magneto with his vision of mutant solidarity and equal rights. He's also sanctioned a hit squad (X-Force) and made some costly mistakes including the death of Nightcrawler, the maiming of Hellion and Karma and many many more.
|Julian getting his hands burned out during the final battle in Second Coming|
|Karma getting her legs badly injured during Second Coming|
Schism showed us that he's also willing to go to great lengths in order to reach his end goal. Idie was a prime example...
Which ultimately led to the break up of the Logan-Scott bromance and began the whole "Regenesis'.
So what's my point? It's a slow build up to turn Cyclops into a villain and yet it never really worked. Sure he seemed like a dick in the first act but thats because he's only protecting the lives of other mutants who trusted their lives the moment they entered Utopia. Plus it's in the guy's character to stand down when facing other leader types like Captain America. You have to remember that this is also the guy who was brave enough to face off against Storm while powerless for leadership of the X-Men.
Oh and you might have forgotten that there's still a sliver of the Void locked up somewhere inside Scott's mind which could be a reason why he went bonkers.
No offense to my US based readers but Captain America was portrayed as something akin to the recent iteration of the US government. He's got this whole "holier-than-thou' tone that he's been running off since AVX # 1 which nobody seemed to realize (well except for the fans).
The old Steve Rogers we know is someone who is willing to go through democratic means if necessary. He's a symbol for the what's good about people, not just America and here he is suddenly pulling a General Patton. Heck he even actually stormed the shores of Utopia in order to get Hope Summers.
Think about these things.
- Rather than talk to Cyclops about finding ways for the X-Men and the Avengers to work together before the arrival of the Phoenix, Steve just decides to waltz into Utopia with the rest of the Avengers closeby via hellicarriers. Again please refer to reader hatred because its very UN-Captain America...
- Cap is also partly responsible for the creation of the Phoenix Five. Without him barking orders at the Avengers' science team led by Iron Man the Phoenix wouldn't be split up in five parts.
|This little thingamajig spawned....|
|... these guys.|
There's also a particular moment somewhere in ACT 2 where Cap is getting really pissed off at what the Phoenix Five are doing to the world. The US government is scared which makes Cap scared as well. It's these scenes in the series that make us show how much of a tool Cap has become. In fairness to the writers of the book, in hindsight, these little moments provide a good measure of how much Captain America has fallen off in terms of seeing what is right and what is wrong. To him [Cap] the Phoenix is bad period. Nothing in between.
With the way Captain America was written in the book, it was pretty clear that this is no longer our daddy's Captain America. This is the modern Captain who's really just an angry grunt with the entire weight of world on his shoulders. There's no chance to listen to reason and sit down with the opposition.
Remember that scene in AVX # 6 (or was that 7) when he was speaking to Iron Fist and the latter was telling him that Collossus made an appearance and spoke to the Zzaxx creatures. Colossus found a peaceful way to generate clean energy using the Hulk villain which really pissed off Captain America.
So lets just say that if things were written differently could we have had a better looking ending for AVX?! Could the team up between the X-Men and the Avengers flowed more smoothly? I think yes. Given the number of writers who are doing their own thing in this book, its hard not to find it hard to swallow the bitter pill that was AVX.
Before I completely steer off topic here I'm really adamant in stating that the true villain here is Captain America. If only he weren't so paranoid that the world was going all to hell the conflict would never even have started. I believe that Cyclops might have played the villain bit down pat but without the constant pushing and pulling of the Captain America led Avengers the world could have been better.
Think about it, if he could've just sat down with Scott (properly) he wouldn't have been blasted on the shores of Utopia.
Hands down, this is really Captain America and Wolverine's fault. [Note that I haven't even begun writing about the characterization of Wolverine for Avengers vs X-men, that's because I aim to have a separate post regarding the Canucklehead.