Okay. Over the past couple of days I've talked about this because it's a fun topic. Bendis really hit something that's fun to play with for topics. Warning, spoilers ahead if you still haven't seen the uncensored cover to All New X-Men #20.
Young Cyclops and X-23 is an interesting idea. One that might prove not quite what we expect on the comic page. The kiss shown on the cover could be a host of different things. I'll dive into that though after explaining why it's interesting to me.
Cyclops in his youth was an idealistic man. He truly believed in Professor Xavier's dream of making a better tomorrow. I honestly feel in many ways this is the exact kind of person that X-23 needs in her life. I've said it before with how I leaned on Gambit with her as well. The pairing works because of how they uplift each other. X-23 is one of those rare Marvel characters that while she is a femme fatale, she is also one that knows how to channel those gifts of strategy and other skill sets into what the job is at hand. She was raised to be the perfect weapon, an assassin by trade, but she's so much more than that too. Many of those skills the Facility drilled into her about adaptability and covert ops also have many other applications. While she's trained in lethal maneuvers she's also trained in non-lethal as well. Many of her missions do lean on information gathering besides death. It's pointed out in her miniseries Target X that she is well trained in interrogation, and as the saying goes, dead men tell no tales. So the application of her skill sets by someone idealistic is something that could become quite interesting and the things she knows about modern life from all she's experienced and yet also still learning, are aspects that could help O5 Cyclops grow as well into avoiding becoming the man his older self is that he's become ashamed of.
The kiss we've seen on the cover could reflect this. X-23 seeing someone for who they are now, as opposed to the one that manipulated her. This young Scott Summers is looking more and more towards like he will be refusing to join either side of the modern X-Men. He might be starting his own team and setting his own path. He might be freeing X-23 from the choice of trading one place that used her for things that almost destroyed who she could be, and the other choice of being at a school that could lead to the same in dealing with certain students that may not let her have her own peace of mind free from conflict. Their relationship may only be that kiss itself as a thank you, or it could be an ongoing narrative that helps O5 Cyclops adjust to the modern world at a more rapid pace.
With the story of the O5 Jean Grey coming more center stage in the issues after, we may not see this pairing of X-23 and young Cyclops last in a romantic sense. Though they do have many parallels with how he was raised as an orphan before Xavier found him and helped him dream of a future where all are united. He was also the subject of bullying and abuse as well at the orphanage. Unbeknownst to him Sinister was even trying to use him and manipulate him for ulterior motives. This plays well against X-23 and her own past with how the Facility tried to use her and abused her. It echoes aspects of NYX with how Kiden taught her to love herself again when she found a new family on the streets. Together they represent the spectrum of emotions that can be tied to these kinds of circumstances and the different paths of growth that led them to where they are and to be who they need to be. In many ways, Laura herself is an orphan too. Her mother, while she does share an antagonistic love for, was the only one at the Facility that showed any kind of compassion or love for Laura. By the time Logan entered the picture, he wasn't really the best father figure or in a role to help her. More often he seemed to reflect the same abuse the Facility and others gave her as he saw the killer inside of her and nothing more even though he often pushed for wanting her to strive for more. While they did share some moments of him trying to reach out to her, he also was the one that often caused her to feel like she was cut off from others and not capable of speaking for her own sake. He berated her for when she saved him, but he also tried to reach out on a human level at times that could have caused quite mixed emotions on how to perceive him. Essentially, he was trying to parent a teenager after never being there when she was a kid and those years can be hard to grasp with all the emotions that are running through one's head at the time on why parents do and say what they do. In many ways, Laura is an orphan because of this. The parents she knew, Dr. Kinney and Kevin, were long dead after her escape from the Facility. Any family she knew of she was forbidden from seeing as they were safer without her near. Her aunt and cousin would have to stay on the run never knowing if they could be safe from the Facility. The last piece of happiness she had with family would stay out of reach until the reaches of the Facility could be finally escaped or stopped.
The idealism of a better tomorrow through innocent eyes is the kind of hope for tomorrow that X-23 needs in her life. The kind of home she may turn to over the ones she has now. In the wake of the traumas of Avengers Arena, it may become even more poignant as such. The ship "Sinney" may not be one built to last or even be what we think it is, but it is one that could help her grow as a person no matter how fleeting it is. This kiss may only be a thank you or it could be more, but it is definitely one that has caused a quite interesting reaction among fans to see what they think of X-23 or what they want to see her used for.
Many of the forums that have covered this story have diverted straight into sexual humor without remorse. Talks of how she'll make a man out of him, or other remarks in jest about treating her as a sexual object to use. Many wanted to dive straight into the what if he knocks her up. Almost every joke and comment about this pairing save for a few, dove straight into sex without a second thought. Though I do have to admit the best one was someone's comment that Emma Frost should tell old Cyclops and Wolverine "See, you two should just kiss and get it over with." Suggesting that schism was more a lover's quarrel than it was any real ideology split. These types of actions reflect deeper into the perceptions of X-23 though and how others want to see her. Many don't see the character as one of growth and learning of life, but as one to use as an object of sexual desire and gender stereotyped appeasement.
In comics we see stories and changes all the time. Characters grow, backslide, adapt and change as events are thrown at them. X-23 deserves a similar chance to grow as a character to find her own footing as she needs. Just because a loose end may find a resolution doesn't mean there aren't more stories that won't need to be told. Growth is a perpetual aspect of life that's never ending. There will always be new stories to tell as older ones are wrapped up. The world is constantly evolving and changing as is how we interact with it and what we believe or strive for is best for ourselves from how we adapt to it. That's just life. It's the never ending story.