There is just something about Cyclops. Everybody loves him. Whenever we post Top 5 lists on Comical Musings, there are always comments both publicly and privately about Cyclops. He seems to be applicable to most situations and revered by many. Why is this? What makes Cyclops so great? Today, in honor of Erick (xxadverbxx) and Gratuitous Fan Service Week, I attempt to reflect just a bit of the light that Cyclops shines for you.
Cyclops is a mutant 30 something named Scott Summers. While many mutants get super powers that make life easier (powers of illusion, suggestion, strength, etc…), Scott receives the gift of force blasts that erupt from his eyes. To prevent him from killing everyone every time that he opens his eyes, Cyclops is given a ruby-quartz visor and later sunglasses, to regulate how much damage he does. He is a founding member of the X-Men and has always been looked at by Charles Xavier as a son. When you take a step back and read that resume, everything there looks like he should enjoy “Wolverine-esque” popularity, but somehow Scott manages to stay under-rated.
To me, the problem with Cyclops is that he has always been defined, not by what he did, but what has been done to him. Writers tend to leave him as this boy scout goody two shoes that just stands and waits to get shot at. Whether it be girlfriends, event book conflicts, or even extra-dimensional time travelling family woes, Cyclops is always victimized. I mean, he dies in the first quarter of the film “X-Men 3″ for goodness’ sake. That’s disrespectful. No matter what has been done to him over the years, there is little respect given to this stalwart of the Marvel Universe.
But yet, many fanboys and some Ifanboys LOVE him. I decided to go for some longtime Cyclops fan opinions. When I asked Erick (Mr. Adverb) what he liked about Cyclops, he said:
He was my favorite character in the cartoon as a kid. For one, eye lasers are just cool! Mainly though, he’s really the one that the others fall to for decisions. He’s the leader, the one who really needs to make the decisions, know what to do, make those tough choices. I always respected that. I mean sure Wolverine and Gambit are cool running around doing mostly just what they want and being bad asses, but neither of them really have that much responsibility. I mean, even now in the comics with Wolverine running the school, he still leaves most of it up to the others. Scott though, he’s been putting the weight of the X-Men on his shoulders all his life. When House of M happened, he put the entire mutant race onto his shoulders. There’s a lot of strength there in Scott for being able to do that, and I think most overlook it.
So, that is the personal opinion of a serious Cyclops fanatic and blogger. I dug a little deeper for comic book community Ifanboy.com’s resident Cyclops advocate, Ron Richards. Ron has been a huge fan of the X-Men and comic books in general for decades. Like most truly successful people, Ron built himself a career around that which he loves. Ifanboy led to a job at Image Comics and we wish for huge success for Ron in the future. Ifanboy.com is my favorite website (this one excluded) for comic book information and opinions, so I thought I’d get Ron’s feelings on the often misunderstood X-Man. Ron said:
I’m a fan of Cyclops because (until recently) he’s been the best example of the X-Men. The solid leader who has your back and can always find a way out of a jam while continuing to pursue Xavier’s dream. Even with the events of the past year, I still believe he’s one of the best the X-Men have to offer.
Ron makes a great point in the fact that even though Cyclops is rogue now, he is still trying to embody the dream of his father, no matter how their relationship ended.
Cyclops is a character that has been through many crazy life experiences and is still kicking today. He has gone to the future to raise his son who is now older than him in regular time (weird). He has fought some of the greatest threats that comic books have to offer. He has led multiple incarnations of “misunderstood teens fighting for a world that hates them,” over the many decades of X-Men comic books. He has been a part of many big event crises that have shaped the Marvel Universe into what it is today. There is plenty to like about Cyclops, and people are right to appreciate or even celebrate him.
I’m really enjoying Brian Michael Bendis’ most recent take on Cyclops in All New X-Men. Some might argue that after he became a “villain” in Avengers Vs. X-Men, Cyclops is now as popular as ever. Through Bendis, Scott Summers’ voice comes across as tired and hurting, but determined and compelled to do something good. Through his failings, Scott will benefit mutant kind somehow. I can appreciate that. It can’t be the same with the X-Men as it was before, but Cyclops can’t let it rest how it is. He is the dynamic, tortured leader that we all fell in love with when his name was “Magneto.” It’s a wonderful take and if we were to do a State Of The Union address for the character, I would say that Cyclops is doing well.
No matter how many random pouches are on his costume, how many girlfriends try to kill him, how much of his DNA fills test tubes in Mr. Sinister’s basement, Cyclops endures. Sometimes the merit of a character can be found in their ability to endure personal, earth-shaking tragedy. It’s due to this concept of heroism that Cyclops deserves the praise that he gets from his current fans. If you have written Scott Summers off in the past, I urge you to take a look at him through a metaphorical ruby quartz visor. If you check out what has been going on with him lately, I think you’ll like what you see.
~ Scott Deaux ~