Character Spotlight: Cyclops.
(AfroGamers.com) Marvel’s The X-Men have been around for a long time—almost 56 years to be exact. In that time, the franchise has had several series, retcons, and teams. Each of these were interesting in their own way and is definitely the best soap opera in comics.
Xavier’s relationships with the empress of the Shi’ar empire, Lilandra and geneticist, Moira. The love triangle with Cyclops, Wolverine, and Jean Grey—oh, and the other one with Cyclops, Jean Grey and Emma Frost. These are just a few of the character stories that made X-Men one of the messiest series in comics.
This brings us to Cyclops.
Cyclops is one of the most recognizable X-Men, being the first one recruited by Charles Xavier. On his introduction and afterwards, Scott Summers just appeared to be one of the least interesting characters.
Personally, I put this down to the early writing in comics not being the deepest by today’s standards. As a matter of fact, a lot of comics from the first half of the 1960s were every monster-of-week. Each issue, the X-Men—and for that matter, the Avengers and Fantastic Four—fought a designated foe.
This period did have its highlights—mainly in introducing these characters for future writers to flesh out. Somewhat like the original Star Wars trilogy. Landmark work for introducing characters but leaves something to be desired as far character development and further adventures.
Thank goodness for the extended universe and other trilogies.
As for Cyclops, the late-1960s and early-1970s expanded on his story. We see how Scott ended up where he is and ultimately how he wants to repay Xavier taking a chance on him via unyielding loyalty. On top of that, he lives in fear of himself and how his power could hurt those closest to him.
So, Cyclops is becoming more fleshed out. At the same time, The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man were on a roll and featured lengthier story arcs. Also, Wolverine was introduced. The writing was deeper. You even get some nothing-happening Cyclops moments like leaving wife Madeleine Pryor—who looks like Jean—for Jean when it’s revealed that she’s alive.
Cyclops: From Paint Chips to Militant
Some of the stories that made Cyclops more interesting after years of just being a cut and dry boy scout. I mean, Scott Summers was so by-the-book that he was Popeyes biscuit dry. This is especially true when you consider the company he’s in: Wolverine, Storm, Gambit, Rogue, Shadowcat—even the shade throwing Beast!
Seriously, in New X-Men, you’ll find the Beast—now more cat-like—minding his business 70-percent of the time and shading Cyclops and Emma the other 30. You know, because Jean is still there and Emma is peak thirsty over Scott. Then Scott’s not the strongest in rejecting Emma.
That’s what you needed for Scott. Before that, there was a lot of Cyclops being the field leader followed by whatever is going on between him and Jean. The thing is, in the 1970s and 1980s it wasn’t written as interesting. Now the Dark Phoenix stuff and Scott moving on worked for his development but there were other more interesting stories in other series that would probably catch your attention.
Cyclops reached peak interesting starting with New X-Men. This saw him become more conflicted in his relationship with Jean, Jean wanting him to be more aggressive, and Emma Frost bringing something out of him. When he ends up with Emma, a change begins to take place where he is more decisive and aggressive. This follows Xavier stepping down.
I loved this because it opened Cyclops up for other writers and escalated into Cyclops killing Xavier and Cyc getting a mixed reaction. Is he a villain and Criminal or is he right? To a degree, Cyclops becomes the present generation of mutants’ Magneto.
Suggested Reading: New X-Men (starting with #1, 2004)
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.