Monday, April 16, 2012

Why Cyclops is Awesome and No One Else Realizes It: Part 2

Welcome back, readers. Sorry for the delay. This is the sequel to a post/fan rant I made last week about why I think the character Scott Summers(a.k.a Cyclops) is awesome and totally doesn't get the respect he deserves. I'm sure you've all been waiting with baited breath so I'll dive right in.
I feel like Cyclops has a lot of potential that writers don't bother to tap into. What follows is something my older brother pointed out to me once a few years ago time that I thought was very interesting. He said that every time Marvel releases an issue retelling the Cyclops' origin story it starts basically the same way.(Okay this doesn't actually happen in the issue below. I just wanted an excuse to use that cover.)
What happens is young Mr. Summers' powers manifest and one morning he starts shooting optic blasts every time he opens his eyes. Instantly Professor Xavier is right there with a pair of sunglasses conveniently designed to cancel out the negative effects of Scott's powers despite the fact that Scott only just developed powers. There's no way Mr. Baldy McWheelchair should be able to know exactly what Scott’s powers are, much less that they’ll be broken. But he just happens to have a pair of sunglasses made with the one substance on the planet that can cancel out optic blasts. Oh hey, problem solved!
            As I kid I always imagined there was some kind of gap between the two events. A period in which a young Scott Summers had to learn to live blind, trying to conceal the fact that he was a mutant. That story can’t be told though, because if writers did that then Scott might actually get a personality that’s deeper than “stiff necked asshole.”   
Let’s talk about another thing that annoys me. I would say that Scott's defining trait is loyalty: both to the X-Men and Charles Xavier. Maybe I’m a nerd but I also thought that loyalty was kind of an admirable trait. I feel like it gives a character purpose and direction. This might be why I like the X-Men so much, because they are one of the few superhero groups in comics who actually have a purpose beyond dressing up in spandex and smacking people around. They’re fighting for mutant/ human coexistence.
 I say this to explain why I'm always a little annoyed when Scott's portrayed as a nothing but a kiss-ass to Xavier. The movies are particularly bad with this. Wouldn't you be loyal to someone who basically gave you your eyesight back?
            Consider this too. Scott was an orphan. He watched his parents die in a plane crash at a very young age. He spent most of his life believing that his younger brother Alex had died thanks to a burning parachute. Now there may be some conflicting evidence for this but I always thought Scott grew up in an orphanage. Not a fun, friendly Annie kind of orphanage.
The kind of orphanage that's run by a guy named Mr. Sinister. Not a warm, pleasant childhood you know? Then Charles Xavier shows up and offers Scott a safe home at the Xavier Institute. Of course Scott would be devoted to the guy. Of course he would take the X-Men so seriously. The school is his home and the team is about the closest thing to family he's ever had. Writers rarely try to exploring anything like this and instead go running straight back to the same Cyclops/Jean/ Logan thing that's been chasing itself in circles for the last three decades. Scott gets dialed down to this bland milquetoast character so Logan gets to play the brooding bad-ass and seem so very much cooler by comparison.  
            Now some of you may point out that in the last few years Cyclops has really fought his way up to the top spot on the X-Men thanks to writers like Grant Morrison, Joss Whedon, and Matt Fraction. He's the leader of Utopia, he's got a new girlfriend in the villainess turned hero Emma Frost, and writers are constantly showing off his awesome tactical skills. And it's true that Scott has really turned around recently...just not in a direction I'm sure I like…more on that later though.   

X-Men Origins Cover 

No comments:

Post a Comment