The Potential (And Pitfalls) Of Polyamory In The X-Men Comics

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Two years ago, I wrote an article that explored the idea of using polyamory to resolve the infamous Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine love triangle in the X-Men comics. I admit that it was primarily a thought experiment. It was my way of attempting to resolve what I believe to be the worst manifestation of a love triangle in all of fiction. I never expected it to manifest in any form outside head canon of fan fiction.

Then, “X-Men #1” by Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu came out, almost two years to the day that I published that article. While it wasn’t overtly stated that polyamory is now a thing in the X-Men comics, there were certain details that strongly hinted at it, so much so that multiple outlets in the world of comics have taken it seriously.

I’m not saying the article I wrote was prophetic. I certainly didn’t predict that Marvel would ever pursue this recourse or even hint at it. At the same time, it’s kind of surreal that this is something that might actually play out in mainstream superhero comics. The fact that it’s playing out in a company owned by Disney makes that even more astonishing.

Now, before I go any further, I want to make one thing clear. After reading “X-Men #1” and all the speculation surrounding it, nothing has been definitively confirmed. The writers and editors at Marvel have not stated outright that they’re actually making Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine a polyamorous couple. It’s been hinted at, but not confirmed on panel.

In comics, that means a lot. Like a death without a body, if it doesn’t happen explicitly on panel, then you can’t assume it did. That’s just how comics work. That extends to love triangles, polyamory, and everything in between.

That said, I think Hickman and Yu have created the right circumstances. Two years ago, Jean Grey was still dead, Cyclops was dead, and Wolverine had just come back to life. The events of House of X and Powers of X establish that the X-Men, and the rest of the mutant race for that matter, have established a new world for themselves on the living island of Krakoa. It’s a chance to do things differently.

In this new setup, the tensions and melodrama of the past are left in the past. The final pages of House of X #6 make that clear, especially with Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine. There’s even a nice moment between Jean Grey and Emma Frost, who have been bitter rivals for years. Hickman makes clear that these characters are looking to move forward and not revisit old drama.

The only question is what does that entail? Does moving forward simply mean moving past these old romantic complications? The final pages of “Uncanny X-Men #22,” which predate House of X and Powers of X, establish on panel that Cyclops and Jean Grey are still a thing. They still love each other and don’t hesitate for a second to embrace one another, now that they’re alive again.

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However, it’s not quite as clear that they’re content to pursue the same relationship they had before Jean died at the hands of Magneto back in 2004. On some levels, it makes sense to do something different. Both Cyclops and Jean Grey know what happens when they try to ignore these other feelings. They just fester under the surface and it hurts them both in the long run.

Even though their love for one another is very clear, the way they go about their relationship has shown plenty of flaws, going back to the days of Chris Clarmeont’s run on Uncanny X-Men. They still want to be together. They even want to be a family. The events of “X-Men #1” depict them as more a family than reunited lovers, which I thought was both sweet and overdue.

It’s also in this area that the potential for polyamory has already revealed itself. Most have pointed out the unusual arrangement of Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine’s rooms on the new moon-based Summer house. They’re all connected with Jean’s room in between Cyclops’ and Wolverine’s. They even have doorways between them, which is something the other rooms don’t.

It’s not definitive confirmation, but it certainly implies the possibility. Solicits of future issues have also hinted that Emma Frost may enter the picture as well. If Hickman, Yu, and Marvel are serious about pursuing this plot, then it could open the door for a very different kind of romantic sub-plot, the likes of which we haven’t seen in superhero comics.

While superhero comics have been quite progressive at times, and even somewhat daring, when it comes to pursuing non-traditional relationships, they’ve never attempted to tackle polyamory. Even though it exists in the real world, it’s not something superhero comics have ever taken seriously. This could change that.

A seriously, well-written polyamorous relationship between Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine could effectively redefine what it means for these characters to love one another. It helps that it’s happening at a time when the X-Men and the entire mutant race are redefining themselves on Krakoa. They’re building their own homeland and culture. Why wouldn’t they redefine how they handle relationships while they’re at it?

It could address some of the most egregious flaws that the love triangle has propagated over the years. Jean Grey would no longer be a prize to be won by Cyclops or Wolverine. Cyclops would no longer be an obstacle for Wolverine. More importantly, it would allow Wolverine to have his romantic connection with someone without being limited by it. For someone with his extensive romantic history, that’s very important.

However, that’s the best case scenario. It also assumes that Hickman is serious about pursuing this sub-plot. Like I said earlier, it has not be confirmed on-panel. There’s no hint in House of X, Powers of X, or “X-Men #1” that there’s something elaborate going on with them. They just carry themselves as though they’re on much better terms than they were before they all died on one another.

There are risks associated with pursuing this kind of relationship. While Hickman is a great writer with a great pedigree for superhero comics, he’s never tackled a love triangle with this much baggage. If handled poorly, it could do serious damage to all the characters involved.

It could devalue the depth and history of the Cyclops/Jean Grey romance, which is one of the most iconic in all of superhero comics. It could also take a character like Wolverine, who has a complicated history as a loner who rarely gets tied down by one relationship, and make him seem out of character. Him becoming a part of the Summers/Grey family would be like James Bond joining the clergy.

There’s also a chance that a polyamorous relationship with these three could devolve into something that is just played up for novelty. The fact that it’s so different can’t be the only reason for doing it. If it is, then it’s not going to be believable and the characters involved will suffer because of it.

Given how these characters have already suffered, I don’t think the time is right to deconstruct their relationships and romantic sub-plots the only reason for doing so is shock value. These are characters poised to enter the MCU at some point. I doubt Disney will want them overly complicated before that occurs.

Personally, it’s for that reason that I doubt Marvel will seriously pursue a polyamorous relationship between Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine. They may hint at it. They may tease it. They’ll do everything possible, except depict it on panel, which will keep readers guessing and speculating. It’s something they’ve done before, much to the chagrin of fans.

If they do try it, though, I sincerely hope that Hickman, Lu, and the rest of Marvel’s creative team takes the concept seriously. The X-Men, throughout their history, have depicted characters who are very different, if not downright weird compared to the rest of the world. If that’s going to extend to how they pursue romance and relationships, then it deserves a serious effort.

However, it cannot and should not come at the cost of the characters or the iconic romances that came before it.

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Filed under polyamory, romance, sex in media, sex in society, sexuality, superhero comics, X-men

Jack Fisher’s Sexy Sunday Thoughts: Going To The Gym Edition

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Most people don’t like going to the gym. For the first half of my life, I certainly didn’t like it. Gym was my least favorite class in school and I actively avoided them for much of my 20s. Then, I started to become more health conscious. I saw how I looked and I wasn’t satisfied with it. I also saw what was happening with my health and I didn’t like it. Eventually, my attitudes towards gyms changed.

I’ve documented my journey from being grossly out of shape to being a regular fixture at my local gym. I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t just enjoy going to the gym. I feel weird when I don’t. It’s a habit and one that has had a positive impact on my health, my physical appearance, and my confidence. It’s not unreasonable to say that I’m a sexier man today than I was in my 20s because of my efforts at the gym.

Love it or hate it, working out at the gym is where both improved health and greater sexiness are forged. It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight either. It takes time, effort, commitment, and even some pain along the way. The end results are still worth it. I’ve seen people at the gym go from pudgy to ripped over the course of several months. It’s an amazing process and a sexy one, at that.

Granted, you don’t always feel attractive at the gym. You’re sweaty, you’re sticky, and you’re probably going to smell. However, you’re also demonstrating to yourself and others that you’re willing to put in the work. You’re willing to fight, struggle, and toil in the name of greater health and sex appeal. That’s something that anyone can find attractive.

Many of the thoughts that end up in my Sexy Sunday Thoughts often occur while I’m at the gym. With my heart pumping, my blood flowing, and my mind focus, it’s just too fitting. That makes this edition of my Sexy Sunday Thoughts almost as rewarding as a good workout. Enjoy!


“An overly fancy dinner is just a more expensive form of foreplay.”


“If practice makes perfect, then sluts are just a kinky brand of perfectionists.”


“Stupidity will persist for as long as it plays a role in significant numbers of pregnancies.”


“A broken heart often coincides with lonely genitals.”


“If an orgy is a democracy, then a gangbang is a reverse dictatorship.”


“Sleeping with your ex is like drinking and driving in a car you’ve already crashed before.”


“Logistically speaking, a skilled liar and a gullible idiot are among the most compatible lovers.”


I hope this inspires those who already go to the gym to push themselves a little harder on their next trip. For those who don’t go, I encourage you to give it a try. You might not like it at first. You might find it difficult and strenuous. Trust me, it’s worth doing. It gets easier over time and when you see the results in the mirror, you’ll feel both healthier and sexier.

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Guest Post: 5 Highly Recommended Books on Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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The following is an article submitted by Harsh Arora, a freelance blogger and writer who shares a similar interest in artificial intelligence, futurism, and the future of the human race. To Mr. Arora, I sincerely thank you for this submission and your continued support.


We would first of all like to welcome all types of readers to our blog – newbies who are just interested about these buzzwords and also experts on the subjects who would like to extend their existing knowledge on the matter. Having established that, it is also imperative to not only define these two concepts (AI and ML) but also to differentiate between them. Although these terms are used synonymously, they are in fact different from one another. AI is the broader level concept where we feed the machine with data and then expect it to take decisions based on that data. ML on the other hand is a subset and application of AI where we feed machines with data and allow them to learn on their own.

Following are the books we recommend for you to learn more about them:

Machine Learning for Absolute Beginners: A Plain English Introduction – Oliver Theobald

It’s easy to see which part of our reader base this particular book is targeted towards. You may be a complete outsider to the world of ML and still be able to understand the granular technical aspects of it through this book. Oliver Theobald assumes no background of programming or coding on the behalf of the reader and allows you to learn right from scratch. It is not only the perfect book for newbies but also experts in the field because it tries to explain the basic concepts in a very coherent and distinct manner. This books not only helps you learn about the concepts of ML but also allows you to unlearn and then relearn them, something is really important for such a subject matter.

The Hundred-Page Machine Learning Book – Andrew Burkov

This is once again a book that will interest not only beginners but also experts in the field. Andrew has really been able to simplify the concepts of ML into basic and easily comprehensible set of cliff notes. With just 100 pages at his disposal, he has really captured the over-arching essence of ML. Though, of course it is not a deep dive into the subject matter like some of our other recommendations, it is however a wonderful summary of it. It is perfect for people who want to understand this technology and its implementations and implications in the real world.

Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (3rd Edition) – Stuart Russell & Peter Norvig

Stuart Russel is one of the sharpest minds working in the field of AI and is a faculty at University of Berkeley. Additionally, he is an Oxford graduate and also holds a PhD from Stanford. In his third edition of the book, Stuart decided to collaborate with Peter Norvig who is currently the R&D Director at Google. Collaboratively, they have created a well-researched and well-defined approach towards understanding modern AI. This book is perfect for students of under-graduate or graduate level courses or even for laymen with the basic understanding of the fundamentals of AI. This long-anticipated edition of its best-seller predecessors offers the most up-to-date and comprehensive understanding of the theory and practice of artificial intelligence.

Machine Learning – Tom M. Mitchell

This is a classic book in which the author has covered the techniques and concepts of the numerous fields and unified them to provide in depth view of ML. Some of the subjects covered include re-enforcement learning, inductive logic programming and genetic algorithms. Tom has tried to simplify these complicated concepts through a clear and explanatory way of writing. At the same time, he has used tools such as case studies and relevant examples to provide a comprehensive overview. Lastly, there is no knowledge of the complex ideas that he has assumed on the part of the reader.

Superintelligence – Nick Bostrom

If you are familiar with the work of Mr. Nick Bostrom, you know you are in for a treat with this book. He takes a different approach to not only explain the artificial intelligence but also the effects it has on our existence. Nick believes that self-aware machines are potentially a bigger threat to humanity than climate change. He has authored over 200 books and his writing forces you to take him seriously in this seemingly sci-fi piece of literature. He helps us understand how the most intelligent form of life i.e. now humans have governed the fate of existence since the dawn. However, with a species (sort of) that has the potential to be smarter than us, what chance is there that they won’t dominate us?

Artificial Intelligence for Humans (Fundamental Algorithms: 1) – Jeff Heaton

If you are planning to build a career in artificial intelligence, this should be your starting off point and you should read it from cover to cover. Jeff Heaton cover several topics in depth such as clustering, distance metrics, dimensionality, linear regression, error calculation and hill climbing. The book takes you through the actual mathematical calculations that you can compute yourself and also see the real-world applications of. However, to build a career in this industry, you must not only understand the basic principals of AI but also of algebra and computer programming. This book will build on those concepts through various computer languages such as C, Java, C#, R and Python.

These books are some of the best in the market and will be perfect for people of all knowledge levels of AI and ML. Given that the industrial revolution 4.0 is upon us and almost all technology is slowly being integrated with it, it is suggested that we all learn more about it. However, it is completely up to you to form opinions about whether or not this technology will be harmful to humans in the long run. Additionally, we also suggest you read up on a few other technologies that are prevalent in this 4.0 era such as IOT, Blockchain and Cloud Computing.

About me: Harsh Arora is a proud father of four rescued dogs and a leopard gecko. Besides being a full-time dog father, he is a freelance content writer/blogger and a massage expert who is skilled in using the best massage gun.

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“The Great Exchange” A Sexy Short Story (For Halloween)

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The following is a sexy short story involving beautiful women and sexy demons. With Halloween just a few weeks away, I thought I’d get everyone in the spirit with a little supernatural sex appeal. Enjoy!

In every involving demons, devils, angels, and saints, there was a common theme. Anyone who dared make a deal with them often paid a high price. It didn’t always involve their soul, either. The moral of those stories was clear. Do things the “right” way and the right people got rewarded. Do things in a selfish, short-sighted way only led to loss and misery.

There was just one glaring problem with those stories.

They only ever told stories with a certain outcome, namely the one that helped ignorant idealists idealist sleep better at night.

Delilah Davidson had heard all those stories too. Growing up in a small, conservative town full of uptight, traditional people, she knew most of them by heart. Nobody ever questioned them. Everyone just assumed they were simple, right, and true. Then, she dared to defy every one of those stories when she made a deal with a demon…a real, non-metaphorical, full-fledged demon.

“I’m willing to pay that price. I’m willing to take that chance.”

Those were Delilah’s exact words when she made that fateful decision years ago. She told them to the reflection of her 17-year-old self that appeared in a dirty mirror at a cheap motel. It seemed like a lifetime ago, but she still remembered that day vividly.

It was the day she and her inept, deadbeat mother got kicked out of their apartment a week before her high school graduation.

It was also the day that a demon named Sephiron appeared to her with an offer.

On that day, Delilah learned two important lessons. Firstly, demons were real. That much, the stories got right. Secondly, the narrative surrounding demons, angels, and every mythical creature in between was far more complicated than anyone realized.

“Tonight’s the night, Delilah…our favorite night of the year,” his demonic voice echoed, just as the clock struck midnight.

“Halloween,” Delilah said with a wide grin. “I’ve been looking forward to this.”

“I know you have. And, once again, it’ll be worth the wait!”

“It always is, Sephiron. It always is.”

Just as she had years ago, Delilah said that to her reflection in a mirror. Unlike that fateful day, the mirror was within a spacious bathroom in her luxurious penthouse in the heart of a city known for bloated real estate prices. The woman in that reflection was different to, but in a far more profound way.

Having just gotten out of the shower, she gazed at the voluptuous figure that had graced magazine covers and ad campaigns. It was a far cry from the painfully average, unremarkable girl who once got laughed off the cheerleading squad when someone found out she’d stuffed her bra water balloons. Those same people who once laughed later gasped when they watched her leave her hometown, become a professional model, and start her own advertising company.

To date, she had a nine-figure net worth. She’d been romantically linked to celebrities, influential politicians, and even royalty. Her penthouse was over five times larger than the two-room shack she’d grown up in with her mother. Most nights, it was the sight of luxurious lounging or decadent parties.

Tonight was different. On this night, Halloween, she’d canceled every engagement, personal or otherwise. She’d locked her doors, blacked out her windows, and informed her security detail to not bother her for the next 24 hours. She had an eventful night ahead of her.

“You know the drill, my dear,” said Sephiron, his voice echoing throughout her spacious bathroom. “Lose the towel. You won’t be needing it or any other attire for the rest of the night.”

“I wasn’t planning on wearing anything to begin with,” she replied with a laugh.

With little hesitation, she let her towel drop to the floor, exposing her naked body to the mirror. Even though she only saw her reflection, she could sense Sephiron’s eyes on her. From her ample breasts, curvy hips, and flawless skin, her body had been admired by many. However, only Sephiron could admire just how far she’d come.

It was no secret to anyone who’d known her. Delilah went from being an unattractive nobody to a stunning, successful women with a reputation for dominating everyone in a room. She could wear a cheap dress to a wedding and still be more attractive than the bride. She had the looks, skills, and personality that could entice anyone in an instant. From attractive men who wanted to sleep with her to shallow women who wanted to be like her, she dominated them all.

None of those feats would’ve been possible without Sephiron. He – and this particular demon was, indeed, a man – used forces beyond nature to change her fortunes. In terms of looks, she became a “late bloomer” to the greatest extent possible. People went from ignoring her to being hopelessly drawn to her. Delilah eagerly took advantage of those looks and the attention it got her.

She seduced, indulged, schemed, and manipulated her way to success. Sephiron gave her the tools. She used them to the utmost. However, as was often the case, they came at a price. It just so happened that she paid that price every Halloween.

“Come, Delilah. Join me in the bedroom,” said Sephiron.

“I’m coming, my darling,” said Delilah, already getting aroused by that deep, demonic voice.

Leaving the towel, her clothes, and her usual domineering poise behind, the attractive woman who once only dreamed of such an opulent lifestyle exited her private bathroom. Upon entering the master bedroom, she saw an imposing, inhuman figure lying on her bed. For some, he was the stuff of nightmares. For a select few, he was the source of many sexy dreams.

“Sephiron,” Delilah said, her words echoing with lustful awe, “it’s been a long, agonizing wait.”

“Speak for yourself, my lovely host,” the figure said. “Some run from, resist, or resent this part of their deal with a demon. But you’re different.”

“That’s because I don’t just accept it. I embrace it.”

Without fear, dread, or trepidation, she made her way to the bed. Every step brought the demonic features of the figure into view. His appearance, his presence, and his gaze would’ve terrified a lesser soul. It only emboldened hers.

Sephiron’s features was fairly typical for a demon, according to him. He had dark red skin, matching red eyes, pearly white teeth, and jet-black hair. His physique was also distinctly masculine, bearing a tall, toned, well-muscled body that looked like it had been chiseled from stone. While he didn’t have a tail, like the devil creatures of lore, he did have horn-like structures on his forehead. However, that was far from his most notable feature.

“I can see you’re already in the Halloween spirit,” Delilah said, her gaze narrowing on his lower body.

“Demons are always excited this time of year,” he said with a devious grin. “Some are just more overt about it than others.”

“Overt, indeed,” she said.

It was another aspect of demon physiology that rarely made it into morality fables for children. Demon like Sephiron were exceptionally endowed. They had long, thick penises that functioned on a level that wannabe studs could only dream of. They knew how to use them too. Delilah knew that better than most.

Demons were creatures born of and driven by fleshly desires. They were hedonism incarnate. They could leave a moral soul overwhelmed or astonished, depending on the nature of their dealings. That nature had complexities that rarely found their way into common notions about demons. Delilah understood them better than most. Sephiron knew that. He even seemed to appreciate it.

“Come,” he said, extending his hand, “join me on this bed.”

“I graciously accept your invitation, my lord,” Delilah replied.

It was a critical formality for human/demon dealings. Upon arriving at her bed, she accepted Sephiron’s open offer. She took his hand and got into bed with him. His touch was hot. His presence was so powerful. The creature exercised that leverage fully, wrapping her in his powerful arms and greedily groping her naked flesh.

“Mmm…mortal, female flesh,” Sephiron said, his every word seething with lust. “It’s every demon’s favorite treat.”

“I am your host. I give it to you willingly, my lord,” said Delilah without fear or hesitation.

“Spoken like a true whore…an honest, genuine, self-aware whore.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“Trust me, my darling host. It’s not. Even the noblest angels in Heaven would agree!”

The creature laughed before tightening his hold on her, drawing her into the center of the bed and raking his demonic figures over her body. He also began tasting her flesh, kissing down her neck and nibbling around her naked skin. His touch sent hot shivers coursing through her body, triggering an arousal like no other.

“Oh my Lord…my dark, demonic Lord,” she gasped. “Take me!”

Her vocal proclamation helped unleash more ravenous lust from the creature. He laid her down on the bed, hovered over her with his domineering form, and attacked her voluptuous body with his hands and lips. Delilah offered no resistance. She just laid there in total submission, a far cry from the domineering personality she usually exercised in intimate moments.

“Yes, my Lord. I submit. I freely…openly…submit to you,” she said, moaning in delight at Sephiron’s hungry touch.

He stepped up his efforts, squeezing her breasts and biting around her neck. More hot sensations followed, sending her deeper into a state of pure lust. Beyond making her extremely horny, her words affirmed the most important component of any deal.

Like all demonic creatures, Sephiron couldn’t force a host to submit to him. It had to be given willingly. He and his kind called it the Great Exchange. It was meant to ensure balance between the world of mortal humans and that of supernatural beings. Forcing it caused disruptions on both ends, regardless of how noble or selfish the deal might have been.

Delilah’s deal was simple, compared to most. Sephiron helped her get what she wanted. He made her aware of the price she had to pay and the associated consequences. She willingly agreed to all of it. Halloween, fittingly enough, was the night the Great Exchange was once again balanced.

After doing plenty to make her wet and horny, Sephiron abruptly ceased his foreplay. He continued hovering over her, the dim lighting of candles and shaded lamps casting him in an unholy aura. She remained flat on her back, looking up at him in a mix of awe and desire.

“I’ve been keeping tabs on you, as any responsible demon should,” he said while hungrily caressing her face.

“I’m sure you have,” said Delilah.

“You’ve been as deviant as ever,” he told her. “You’ve been exceedingly ruthless in the board room, cutting deals and crushing competition. You made a few enemies, but you also added another 20 million dollars to your personal fortune.”

“More like 22.6 million, but close enough,” she quipped.

“You’ve even more deviant in the bedroom,” Sephiron continued while fondling her breast. “You broke up with that athlete who wanted to marry you. You slept with the nephew of a rival consulting firm, who happened to be engaged. You took part in a three-way involving a former business partner and his wife. You even organized a sex party in a hotel at your last convention…one that included strippers, drugs, and enough debauchery to make a demon blush.”

“You forgot the best part. It took place on the same floor that lawyers from a rival company were staying at. We made sure they didn’t get a wink of sleep and woke up fuming with envy!”

Sephiron laughed, his demonic voice making the walls and blacked out windows tremble. Now leering over her with one hand on her breast and the other on her face, he gazed upon her with a unique kind of admiration…one most wouldn’t expect of a demon.

“You’re such a naughty woman,” he said.

“That, I am,” she affirmed.

“Naughty, but not bad…cunning, but not cut-throat…selfish, but not cruel.”

“You say that like it makes you horny…really, really horny,” said Delilah in a seductive tone.

“Oh, you know how much it turns me on. You know damn well how much demons and angels alike treasure such balance. You know what you want. You know what you’re willing to sacrifice to get it. Tonight, the night of All Hallows’ Eve, I take what you willingly give. I do my part to maintain the balance, as you have done yours.”

As he said those ominous words, the large hunk of man-flesh hanging between his legs became hard and erect. It did so with an efficiency that defied all traditional notions of male biology. Even the most endowed of men would’ve been envious while any woman with a healthy sex drive would’ve gasped at the prospect of having such a penis inside her.

Delilah licked her lips in anticipation, her inner thighs already hot with arousal. She’d gone an entire year, not knowing that demonic endowment. No matter how much debauchery she engaged in or how many men she slept with, none came close to captivating her lurid desires as much as this imposing demon. It was part of the price she’d paid for everything she’d gained and one that helped make Halloween her favorite holiday.

“Now, my sweet, decadent host. I shall ravage you in the name of the Great Exchange!” Sephiron proclaimed.

With that booming voice, echoing with burning lust and divine authority, Sephiron grabbed her legs and pushed them apart. Then, his every breath seething with fleshly hunger, he laid on top of her, aligning his throbbing demon dick with her pussy in the process. Finally, he thrust his hips forward, driving his manly flesh into her. The exchange had officially begun.

“Oohhh yes!” the decadent woman cried out. “Ravage me, my wonderful host! Ravage me!”

The air grew hot.

The lights flickered.

The room shook.

It was really happening. A powerful, lust-filled demon was having sex with her on Halloween. He was not gentle or tender with his lusts, either. Demons weren’t known for loving sentiments during sex. They fucked their hosts and they fucked them hard.

Sephiron fucked harder than most, or so he claimed. He held her legs further apart, pushing the limits of her feminine flexibility. He was so forceful with every movement, pumping his large cock within the throbbing folds of her womanhood. It filled her to the utmost, snaking and slithering within her depths, stimulating parts of her body that no man could. Intense surges of hot sensations coursed through her body. They were so intense that Delilah writhed erratically under the demon’s leer, clutching the sheets of bed as she took in every sensation.

The only way to process it was to submit complete to this powerful creature. Compared to how Delilah usually approached sex, it was an utter role reversal. Most men, even those exceptionally confident and endowed, could rarely resist her seductive charms. It was part of the exchange she’d received from Sephiron. In addition to great beauty and material success, she could entice any desired lover. While that made for abundant lovers and ample sex, she always ended up having to play the dominant role.

With Sephiron, she was the one dominated. Mortal men might not have been able to resist her beauty, but a demon had no such vulnerabilities. In Sephiron’s presence, she became a slave to her decadent desires, drunk on lust and unable to resist. It was such an unfamiliar predicament, but that was part of what made it so exhilarating.

“Yes! Yesss!” Sephiron hissed. “Take it, my beautiful host! Take it!”

The beautiful, powerful woman could only moan submissively under the creatures ravenous fucking. She descended deeper into a state of maddened lust. As Sephiron humped harder, he leaned in and tasted her naked flesh, drawing her into hungry kisses that further affirmed his dominance over her.

To those unprepared for such a feeling, it might have been terrifying. It certainly had been the first time she experienced such an exchange. Being ravaged by a demon often blurred the line between pain and pleasure, but the result was always the same. The sex was truly – and ironically – divine in terms of its impact.

“Ooh fucking hell!” Delilah exclaimed. “I’m coming! I’m already…coming…ahhhh!”

“That’s it, my host. Embrace it!” Sephiron seethed. “Embrace the unholy pleasure!”

Her mind, body, and spirit entered a special domain as her climax drew near. It happened faster than most women thought possible. Then again, most women didn’t know the sexual prowess of a demon like Sephiron.

He sensed it coming too. His grin widened and his eyes flashed bright red. He worked his hips harder, causing the whole bed to rock as he penetrated deep. When it hit, it was akin to being possessed by a powerful force, one born of raw pleasure and primal desire.

“Ohhhhhh hell yes!” she cried out.

Her eyes rolled back.

Her back arched and her toes curled.

Her inner muscles throbbed and contorted as waves of ecstasy washed over her.

It didn’t just leave her in a state of ecstasy. It effectively completed Sephiron’s dominance on her. It reminded her that, as part of their exchange, she could only experience such pleasure through him. Doing so meant complete submission for one night after domination on every other day of the year. Even after Sephiron released his hold on her thighs, she remained in that submissive state.

“You feel that? That’s what you can never feel,” he said right into her ear. “Only through me…through the Great Exchange…can you know the ecstasy of pure submission.”

Delilah replied only with a slurred gasp. She was so dazed by her release that she could hardly move, act, or think straight. It was a feeling she could never achieve with other lovers, no matter how much she indulged. It was part of the price she’d paid for all the benefits she’d enjoyed, but she wasn’t done paying it yet.

As the creature’s lurid words echoed within her mind, he resumed the hard fucking. He didn’t have to hold her legs apart, this time. He just hitched them over his shoulders, grabbed her by the wrists, and pinned her arms up over her head. Then, his eyes still glowing bright red, he locked his gaze with hers and made a hard push for another form of ecstasy.

“Accept your submission…as I fill you with my demon seed!” he proclaimed.

Harder and faster, Sephiron pumped his dick inside her still-throbbing pussy. She could feel it slithering and probing her, as though it had a mind of its own. She knew what was coming. She could only do so much to brace herself. Once again, she submitted to the feeling that followed.

“By the hottest hellfire…yesssss!” Sephiron exclaimed.

His demonic muscles tensed and he delivered one last thrust, filling her depths to the utmost. Then, he released into her a load of demon-laced cum. It filled her insides with a force that she felt in the depths of her soul, putting her in a state that defied words and feelings.

She’d been warned about it, even before she agreed to the deal. When a mortal woman fucked a male demon, there were fluids involved. Sephiron told her outright that while demons couldn’t impregnant mortal women, contrary to popular lore, it often had intoxicating effects. He described it as a drug that no earthly substance could hope to match. It didn’t just incur more pleasure. It put women like her into a unique state that blurred the lines between the real world and the spiritual world.

Upon feeling that substance inside her womb, Delilah’s head started spinning and her perceptions became skewed. All around her, the scenery of her upscale condominium disappeared. In its place, walls of hellfire and hellish landscapes appeared before her. The only relic of her world that remained was the bed. It was like Sephiron had just taken her to Hell so he could continue ravaging her in his own domain.

“Oh hell…” Delilah moaned through her dazed state.

“Indeed, my host. Indeed,” he said to her.

She barely had time to recover before the hulking creature kissed her, forcing his snake-like tongue into her mouth. It didn’t just silence her from further musings. It reminded her that the exchange was far from over.

Unlike most men, even those with exceptional stamina, demons didn’t stop at shooting a single load. They didn’t have a refractory period either. Their dicks stayed hard for as long as they desired and demons were known for having immense desires. Without such limits, Sephiron could fuck her as much as necessary to achieve the proper balance. Given all the benefit he’d given her, there was plenty to balance out.

“Not everyone can handle it. Even fewer can embrace it,” Sephiron told her, briefly ceasing the kissing so she could get some much-needed air. “That’s what make you special Delilah Davidson. That’s also what makes our deal more productive than most!”

Again, she couldn’t respond with words in such a deep daze. However, she still offered him a lurid smile the likes of which only a demon could appreciate. He responded with a grin of his own, the prospect of maintaining the balance seeming less laborious than it should’ve been.

From that moment forward, little more was said. Actions of a very decadent kind did all the talking. Now both intoxicated and still overwhelmed by desire, Delilah submitted herself to more demon-fueled ravaging. It was part of the exchange and Sephiron was always motivated to re-establish that balance.

Armed with that dominance, alongside her submission, the divine sex resumed. Sephiron lifted her up in his arms, turned her over, and laid her flat on her stomach before re-entering her from behind. While pressing her face against the bed while she still clung to the sheets, he humped her with the same vigor as before. When she came again, her orgasmic cries were muffled by the sheets. From that point forward, her world became a steady succession of ravenous sex and intense orgasms.

Sephiron took full advantage of her dazed state, fucking her in multiple positions at multiple angles. Her did her doggy style while pulling her hair and biting around her ear. He laid her on her side and did her at an angle that once again pushed the limits of her flexibility. He even held her up in his arms and bounced her up and down his hulking cock, holding her chin and making her look in his glowing eyes as she climaxed again.

“Again! Come again, my lovely host!” Sephiron said, as if to will her orgasms into existence.

She responded with more orgasmic cries, which prompted more heated ravaging. He didn’t let up. He was a demon. His lust could not be sated like a typical man.

That meant he didn’t just restrict himself to fucking her pussy. At one point, he tested her oral sex skills, pushing her head between his legs and shoving his cock into her mouth. He tested her ability to deep-throat a big cock, straining her jaw muscles and making her ingest his demon cum, which further intensified the drug-like effects.

While still gagging from her oral skills, he turned her on her side and entered her anally. That triggered a fresh round of sensations that blurred the line between pleasure and pain. At that point, Delilah was completely lost in this hellish domain of heavenly bliss.

“Oohhh yes!” she cried out, as if to let Heaven and Hell know what she wanted.

Before long, sexual fluids from her and her demon lover were seeping from every orifice. Sephiron made it a point to leave no inch of her naked skin untouched, untasted, or unstimulated. His stamina, flexibility, and sheer capability ensured he do it in ways that no man could hope to match.

To those who didn’t take the Great Exchange seriously, it might have been torture. For her, a woman who freely chose this deal, accepting the costs and responsibilities with it, the experience was something else entirely. Just as Sephiron took great satisfaction in maintaining the balance, she took just as much satisfaction in sharing it with him.

“The balance…is once again restored,” he whispered into her ear after yet another orgasm.

In her dazed, intoxicated state, it was difficult to surmise how long Sephiron ravaged her or how many orgasms they’d experienced. Being covered in sweat and various sexual fluids indicated it had been quite a while.

It only ended when Sephiron ceased his humping, cupped her face again, and kissed her one last time in a way not driven by lust or hunger. At that same moment, his eyes shifted from bright red to light blue, as if to signal that some sort of threshold had finally been met.

“Delilah Davidson, my host,” he said to her, “our exchange is once again complete.”

“Mmm…complete indeed,” she said with a satisfied grin.

“I’m also inclined to remind you of the price you’ve paid,” he told her. “By giving yourself to me once a year, you ensure that you can never be satisfied by a mortal lover. You can love, lust, and connect. But only through me…a demon, not of this world…can you be satisfied.”

After what Sephiron had just done to her, Delilah didn’t need convincing that demon sex was hotter than anything she could get from men or women. However, it was also part of the price she paid to get what she wanted.

She could indulge in her success, using her beauty and dominance to get all the sex, comforts, and luxuries she wanted. They might make her feel good. They might even make her feel fulfilled to some extent. However, they could never satisfy her. Only Sephiron could do that and she could only enjoy that feeling once a year on Halloween.

It was not an easy price to pay. At times, it was frustrating. Despite those issues, Delilah had no regrets. Most who made deals with demons and respected the Great Exchange felt that too. She liked to think she respected it more than most.

“I gladly pay that price…my dear host,” she said to him. “Thank you…for making doing your part.”

“And I shall continue to do so, for as long as the balance is kept,” Sephiron replied.

In a gesture that seemed unbefitting of a demon, Sephiron smiled affectionately. With the exchange complete, he withdrew his member from her. More fluids spilled out from her inner thighs, but she didn’t mind. Chances were she’d be sore tomorrow. She didn’t mind that, either. She made that clear to Sephiron, smiling back and kissing his forehead, as if to thank him for his reminder.

The intoxicating effects from his demon cum quickly wore off. The flaming hellscape that had manifested around them faded. She found herself back in the master bedroom of her condo, as though she’d never left. Sephiron told her that the effects of demon fluids were intense, but they rarely lasted. That was probably for the best. Something that intense had to be limited in order to maintain that precious balance.

The experience complete, the imposing creature laid her naked, disheveled body down on the bed. Her hair was a mess. There were scratch and bite-marks all over her body. The same woman that dominated her way to wealth, success, and indulgence looked like she’d been ravaged. Such a sight seemed to satisfy Sephiron almost as much as the sex they’d just had.

As she lay on the bed, he levitated above her, his body starting to fade in a reddish mist. Even in her drained state, she kept smiling as she looked up at her demon lover. She got what she wanted from him. He got what he wanted from her. They both got what they wanted with their arrangement. From Heaven to Hell, through angels and demons, it was a truly fitting exchange.

“Another year has come and gone. You continue to uphold the balance,” Sephiron said as he faded before her eyes. “I hope you understand how special that makes you.”

“I can’t claim…to understand,” said Delilah. “All I know is…you keep reminding me.”

 

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Birthday Reflections: My 20s Vs. My 30s

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Recently, I celebrated my birthday. It didn’t involve an elaborate party or some special event. It wasn’t just another day, either. I went out of my way to make it special, as did my friends and family. By the standards of a man in his 30s, it was a good birthday. I didn’t need much. I just needed a day that made getting older feel less daunting.

As we get older, our attitudes towards birthdays change. When we’re young, birthdays are this big event that we go out of our way to make memorable. As kids, it’s an excuse to have a big party full of cakes, presents, and birthday checks from generous relatives. As teenagers, it’s another year gone by and another step closer towards greater independence.

Once we enter our 20s, however, things get trickier. We start to see birthdays less as events and more as formalities. By that time, most of us have other pressing concerns beyond which cake we want and how we’ll spend our birthday checks, assuming our relatives still send them. That experience may vary, depending on your circumstances. For me, my 20s was a strange time and it showed in how I celebrated birthdays.

These days, I feel like I’ve achieved just the right balance when it comes to birthdays. At the same time, each passing year has helped put what I went through in my 20s into a clearer perspective. You can’t always see the forest from the trees when you’re young. It takes years of living, learning, growth, success, and even failure to truly appreciate how your life changes.

I found myself appreciating that even more this past week. When I look back at how I was in my 20s, I see just how far I’ve come. Ten years ago, I was in a very different place. I had just graduated college. I was still paying off debt, searching for a steady job, and trying to establish myself. It was not a smooth ride, but it was not as difficult as it could’ve been.

It helped that I had a supportive family who helped me transition from college to the adult world. It helped even more that they let me move back home and live rent free until I saved up enough money to pay down my debts and move out. They helped make parts of the transition easier, but I still made it harder on myself in way too many ways.

In my 20s, the memories of high school were still fresh in my mind. On top of that, I had broken up with my college girlfriend and I still hadn’t quite recovered. I also had a long way to go in terms of refining my social skills. At that time, I was still very socially awkward. I avoided parties and large crowds. I had a hard time striking up conversations. I also lacked confidence, poise, and vision.

For the most part, I treated adult life in my 20s the same way I treated college. In my defense, that was the life I’d gotten used to at that point. I treated work like going to class. I only ever saw work as a means to a paycheck that I could use to pay down my debts and pay my rent. When problems came up, my first instinct wasn’t to solve them. It was to find someone else who could.

In some cases, I held myself back. I clung to the less burdensome life I had in college. I relied heavily on friends and parents to help me with things like taxes, car repairs, and finding quality health care. Again, my family was awesome every step of the way and didn’t berate me for relying on them so much. However, at some point, I had to grow up on my own.

That process didn’t really pick up until my late 20s. That was around the time when I finally caught up in terms of social skills. It was also the same time I gained more professional and career experience. I no longer saw work as a means to a paycheck. I saw it as a part of a blossoming career. Compared to how many others in their 20s have struggled, I was considerably lucky.

Once I made it into my 30s, my outlook changed even more. I stopped looking at things in terms of when I got my next paycheck and started making plans for the future. I dared to set bolder goals for myself. I also dared to learn more skills that hadn’t interested me before. Something as simple as inflating a tire on my car or fixing my garbage disposal became a real endeavor.

At that same time, I also became more health conscious, both physically and mentally. I’ve noted before how unhealthy I was in my early 20s. Back then, it wasn’t unusual for me to create entire meals around bowls of cereal drenched in chocolate milk. The most I did in terms of cooking involved hot pockets and burritos.

Again, in my defense, that was what I’d gotten used to in college. It certainly wasn’t healthy and that showed in my appearance. Even though I was young, I wasn’t exactly fit. I had no muscle tone and a less-than-toned stomach. I also avoided exercise to the utmost. My hatred of gym class in high school somehow followed me into my 20s.

Now that I’m in my 30s, I can safely say that I’m more physically fit than I was when I graduated college. I’ll even go so far as to say I’m more attractive. I can see my ab muscles. I have biceps that are worth showing off. I can run for three miles with ease and I go to the gym at least twice a week. I also eat much better than I did in my 20s. I can actually cook a healthy meal without relying on a microwave.

It may not sound like much, but all those little things really accumulated once I hit my 30s. It didn’t happen all at once. It was a process, one that allowed me to become a functional adult that I’m proud to be. I’ve built a good life for myself. I have confidence, good health, a great family, and a strong support structure that brings out the best in me.

It even showed in how I approached birthdays. In my 20s, birthdays reminded me that I’m getting older. In my 30s, they affirm that I’ve grown into a man that I’m proud of and I want to keep growing.

Every now and then, especially around my birthday, I find myself contemplating what I would’ve done differently in my 20s, knowing what I know now. With each passing year, however, I realize that there’s not much I could’ve done. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I feel like I had to go through that awkward transition period in my 20s. It made me a better person, in the long run.

Now, as I near my 40s, I look forward to seeing the kind of person I grow into. I also hope to meet that special someone along the way. Until that time comes, I feel like I’ve got a healthy attitude towards birthdays and most other things now that I’m in my 30s. My 20s were fun in many ways, but I don’t miss them.

I’m excited about my future. I’m hopeful about where life will take me. I don’t doubt for a second that who I am now will be very different than who I am in another 10 years. Hopefully, by that time, I’ll be able to share more reflections about that journey. Only time will tell.

Until then, to all those who helped make my birthday special this year, I sincerely thank you.

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Purpose, Value, And The Suicide Gender Gap

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There are few subjects more depressing and tragic than suicide. It’s not a topic people like to talk about. When people take their own lives, either out of sorrow or desperation, it’s terrible. It leaves deep, painful scars on friends and loved ones.

However, it’s because suicide is such a difficult subject that people should talk about it. Before I go any further, I want to urge anyone who might be feeling deeply depressed or suicidal to seek help. The suicide hotline is always available. Please, if you’re feeling that hopeless, call 1-800-273-8255. As someone who has had depressing stretches in life, I urge others in a crisis to seek connection.

Unfortunately, it’s not a connection that people are making these days. According to the American Psychological Association, there was a 30 percent increase in death by suicides from 2000 to 2016. It was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2016. By the numbers, we haven’t seen rates like this since the Great Depression.

There are a great many depressing and tragic factors behind this rise. The ongoing opioid crisis is certainly a factor. A few researchers have cited the influence of social media as contributing to self-destructive behavior. Like mass shootings, everyone has their theories, criticisms, and solutions to the crisis. I’m of the opinion that human beings are too complex to boil it down to something simple.

I agree that in certain cases, opioid addiction can factor into someone committing suicide.

I agree that in certain cases, the use and influence of social media can factor into someone committing suicide.

That’s not to say they’re the cause of it. They’re just small trees in a much larger forest that’s difficult to see, given the heavy emotions involved in this topic. However, I do believe it’s possible to see that bigger picture. To do so, it’s necessary to highlight one particular trend in suicide that also happens to be tied with gender politics.

While suicide is tragic, regardless of gender, there exists an unusual paradox within the data. Women have been shown to attempt and contemplate suicide more than men, but men are still the ones dying at greater rates. It’s not a trivial gap, either. Men are more than three times as likely to commit suicide compared to women.

This indicates there are factors beyond depression, stress, and mental illness. There are other forces at work here and they’re affecting men more than women. What that is and how it works is difficult to surmise. However, speaking as a man who has seen other men endure depressing situations, I believe there are certain factors that gender politics compounds.

At the core of these factors are an individual’s sense of purpose and value. There are many terrible things running through the mind of someone who is suicidal, but it’s not unreasonable to suspect that people who feel suicidal often feel their lives lack purpose and value. There’s nothing left for them to contribute. There’s no value for them to provide. Without that, what’s the point?

It sounds like the kind of sentiment that should affect men and women equally. Depression and despair, after all, know no gender. However, there are a few confounding factors for men. For one, there’s still a significant taboo for men who admit to even having such feelings. It stems from the same taboo about men showing emotions, in general. It’s seen as a form of weakness and men aren’t allowed to be weak.

To understand the implications of that taboo, consider the following scenario.

A man is sitting by himself. He’s crying uncontrollably. He’s sad, depressed, and lonely. He feels like he has nothing to live for. Someone walks by and shows concern. They listen to him lament about his sorrow. They offer sympathy, but tell him he needs to toughen up and get his act together. He just needs to grit his teeth and push forward with his life.

For most people, this scenario isn’t that unrealistic. Most decent human beings will show sympathy when they see someone suffering, male or female. However, the gender of the person suffering does have an impact. I’ve explained before how and why society places a greater emphasis on protecting women’s bodies over those of men.

Even if you discount the extent of that influence, the implications are still clear. We see a depressed man and tell him to fight through it. If he needs to be coddled or treated, then that’s a failure on his part. If he’s that weak, then he has little value to offer. Without value, he has little purpose as well. In essence, he has to prove he’s somehow useful to warrant not killing himself.

Now, consider this scenario.

A woman is sitting by herself. She’s crying uncontrollably. She’s sad, depressed, and lonely. She feels like she has nothing to live for. Someone walks by and shows concern. They listen to her about her sorrow. They offer sympathy and encourage her to find professional help. They even offer contacts and connections. She’s suffering and there are people willing to help her.

Take note of the different approach in this scenario. The person still show sympathy and compassion, as most human beings are wired to do. Where they diverge is in the assumptions surrounding the woman’s distress.

For her, it’s not something she can tough her way through. She’s not expected to just grit her teeth, pull herself out of this deep pit, and move beyond whatever is making her so upset. She’s suffering and the first instinct is to get her some meaningful help. Her life has inherent value. Her just being alive is sufficient to give her purpose.

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of that assumption. It’s an assumption that many men feel like they don’t get. Their suffering is seen as a personal failure. A woman’s suffering is seen as a systemic failure that needs fixing. It perfectly reflects one of Chris Rock’s most memorable quotes.

“Only women, children, and dogs get loved unconditionally. A man is only loved under the condition that he provides something.”

In the context of suicide, men who don’t provide anything have no value. Absent that value, they have no purpose for existing. The source of this disparity is difficult to pin down. Some of it is cultural. Most data shows that when people live in a society with high social cohesion and abundant career opportunities, suicide is low.

That makes intuitive sense. Those social bonds provide purpose. Those opportunities provide value. When people have both, they’re less likely to be depressed. Even if they are, they have a support system that’s there to help them, regardless of their gender or disposition. These bonds are harder to maintain for men because they have to provide something.

Even though women may contemplate or attempt suicide more frequently, the current makeup of society and gender norms provides them with any number of affirmations to remind them of their value. If nothing else, it gives women a moment of pause. Most men don’t get that moment. It’s truly tragic, but it’s a tragedy that gender politics does plenty to compound.

Again, if you are feeling suicidal, regardless of your gender, please take this as my personal plea to seek help. It’s okay to do so. Your life has value. Your life has purpose. Call 1-800-273-8255 if you need to talk. People will listen. People will give you a chance. Whatever the disparities may be, let’s not add to the tragedy.

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Jack Fisher’s Weekly Quick Pick Comic: X-Men #1

At their most basic, superhero comics involve extraordinary characters saving the day against extraordinary threats. Whether it’s battling invading aliens, fighting giant robots, or thwarting evil scientists, a simple superhero comic makes the most of this dynamic. To become something better, though, it has to do much more than the basics.

X-Men comics have never relied heavily on the basics. While they’ve fought their share of aliens, killer robots, and mad scientists, that has only ever been a small part of their story. From the early days of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to the heyday of Chris Claremont, the X-Men are at their best when they’re more than just superheroes. They’re a family.

They may not be a family in the traditional sense. Then again, part of the X-Men’s defining trait is that they’re not traditional. They’re mutants. They’re outsiders. They’re different, but uncannily so. That’s the spirit that Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu capture in “X-Men #1.”

They still fight bad guys. They still save the day, living and fighting in a world that can’t resist the urge to slaughter them with killer robots. They also live, love, and cherish one another, as any other family. Theirs just happens to be more uncanny than most.

Building on the foundation that both “House of X” and “Powers of X” so masterfully built, X-Men #1” establishes how the X-Men operate in a world where they have a homeland in Krakoa and unprecedented unity among their kind. There are still battles to be fought, some of which began during the events of “House of X.” Fittingly enough, Cyclops is at the front line of those battles.

For a character who has been denigrated, killed off, brought back to life, and endlessly criticized for how he’s handled his personal life, it’s nothing short of refreshing. Say what you will about Cyclops and the questionable choices he’s made, he’s still the X-Men’s consummate leader. He always has been and always will be. It’s one of the most defining aspects of his character.

Hickman affirms that at every turn in X-Men #1.” Cyclops is the one who leads the charge against Orchis, the big human-led conspiracy to counter mutant evolution, who proved themselves quite capable in “House of X.” They may have lost a big chunk of their operation, but they’re still a threat and Cyclops leads the charge against them.

On paper, it’s simple. The way it plays out offers plenty of complexities. The exchanges between Cyclops, Storm, and Magneto highlight the strength of their personalities. They aren’t just costumed heroes saving the day. They have personal stakes in this battle and it only gets more personal at the story unfolds.

The battle they fight is only a small part of a more intimate story. Just saving the day and further crippling Orchis isn’t enough. The most endearing moments of X-Men #1” are the ones that show Cyclops living his life outside his heroic persona. They show that, when he’s not in battle, he has a home to go back to.

That home doesn’t just include his friends and fellow teammates. They include his father, his brothers, and his kids, including ones from dystopian timelines. Given the many complexities and complications surrounding the Summers family, it’s refreshing to see this family come together again. If anything, it’s downright refreshing.

It shows that the X-Men aren’t just about going from battle to battle, saving the day and stopping the next great extinction event. They have lives they wish to build. They have close personal connections they wish to foster. Beyond making them better superheroes, it helps show that they’re still very human at their core.

However, this personal touch doesn’t just apply to the X-Men, Cyclops’ family, or superheroes in general. Even their enemies have a personal stake in this new post-Krakoan world. Just as he did in House of X,” Hickman makes it clear that Orchis aren’t just another generic threat to mutants that rely heavily on killer robots. It’s personal for them too.

Many of the individuals involved in Orchis are still unknowns, but their motivations become much clearer in X-Men #1.” It’s also clear that they still have the resources and the will to become a much bigger threat. They may not be a family on the same level as Cyclops and his fellow X-Men, but they’re every bit as driven to protect it. That makes them more dangerous than any killer robot.

Overall, X-Men #1” has both the basics and the more advanced features that make for a quality superhero comic. Hickman sticks closely to the classic X-Men formula that has been subject to so many tweaks, overhauls, and upheavals in recent years. Yu’s dazzling artwork brings vibrant, colorful aesthetics to that formula. It’s as complete an X-Men comic as you’ll get without a Patrick Stewart voice-over.

It’s a bold new era for the X-Men. Hickman deconstructed and rebuilt the X-Men through “House of X” and “Powers of X.” However, the core components remain the same and as strong as ever. There’s heroics, killer robots, and sweet family moments. It’s a big part of what makes the X-Men so uncanny.

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