Thursday, February 5, 2009

Backing up da 'Clops or "We Should Talk About Comics More on this Blog"


Cyclops, aka Scott Summers, is my favorite X-Man. He has been my favorite since I was a kid, in fact, if only I had access to my childhood photo collection, I'd post a picture of a fifth grade Daniel Strauss at the Murch School Halloween parade dressed as blue suit Cyclops, complete with head visor. That was a great costume.

Anyway, I take a lot of flack for being a Cyclops fan, and I wanted to debunk some of the most common anti-Cyclops theories, and just respond to all the people who are constantly calling me an idiot (for liking Cyclops, not just because).

RUMOR 1-CYCLOPS IS A TERRIBLE LEADER.

Let me start this answer with a question-are you an idiot? I know, don't insult your audience. But are you? Scott Summers has incredible leadership qualities, there's a reason he's been head of the X-Men for as long as he has. He is calm under pressure, he thinks things through, and, most importantly, he is much more powerful than people give him credit for (see Astonishing X-Men #1, i.e. blowing up a Sentinel and half the lawn). Dude's a born leader, and it's obvious if you're in any way familiar with the X-Men.

RUMOR 2-CYCLOPS IS A WIMP

Yeah, you're right. Jumping out of a plane, sustaining head trauma, and killing yourself hoping you'd be brought back to life later by alien technology (again, Astonishing X-Men) makes you a total wimp. Also, you try spending your childhood seperated from your family and being experimented on by Mr. Sinister. You try that. Let me know how you turn out.

RUMOR 3-JEAN GREY WANTED WOLVERINE, ANYWAY.

Did she? Well then riddle me this-why exactly did she never leave Cyclops? I mean, if you really want to be with someone, you go to them, right? And did that every happen? Anyone? Jason? Cos I don't remember that happening. So I don't really consider that argument valid at all.

RUMOR 4-WOLVERINE SHOULD BE LEADER ANYWAY. HE'S THE COOLEST!

Imagine it-a leader who does and says whatever he feels with no consideration of what's best for the group-who charges into battle without thinking and frequently pays for his mistakes, despite not admitting them...huh. Familiar. Wolverine is pretty cool, though.

If you still don't agree, just read the entire Joss Whedon run of Astonishing X-Men. He writes Cyclops right-as a MAN.

And you can just add this to the long list of reasons I hate Brett Ratner. Nothing like an off screen death for the longest running leader of the X-Men aside from Professor X (good thing he killed him too).

5 comments:

Jason Heat said...

Scott is one of the most under-appreciated X-Men as far as the general public goes (the movies didn't help). He has a bit of the 'Leonardo' syndrome where since he has to often be the responsible one, he seems to be striking down the ideas the 'cool/angry' characters have - Raphael for Leo, Wolverine (or Gambit in the cartoon) for Scott.
But when written right Scott is actually an INCREDIBLY deep and complex character with one of the sadder flaws around - he's great at being a hero, but it's really all he knows how to do. And that includes relationships.

Reccomended reading for Cyclops goodness is the entire Grant Morrison New X-Men run, which is just brilliant, and also totally reinvigorated the scott character by tearing him down, and shifted the whole Scott/Jean paradigm by introducing Emma. Then get Astonishing X-Men by whedon which just totally builds scotty back up to bad-ass from the lows that Grant took him too. And get on the ground floor on the current Warren Ellis/Simone Bianchi Astonoshing X-men run, because while it's not quite as Scott heavy, it's the direct continuation of those stories and really quite good.

As to the Logan/Jean/Scott triangle - I'm not sure saying 'if she wanted to be with Logan, why'd she never leave scott' works because people are too scared to do that all the time in real life - and think of the political ramifications around the mansion if she and wolvie started shacking up.

I think she really did love Scott in a very pure, romantic, teen way and that she was willing to grow it from there, but Scott could never let go of both his personal repression AND his teenage idealization of Jean to have a functional marriage. i mean, this is the guy that just took of abandoning his wife and child cause his first love showed up on the scene again (from the dead, yes, but still...)
Logan represented a wild passion that jean shared, and after years of fightinmg together and her being a telepath, their bond was exceptionally strong. So while Logan represented that temptation Jean was feeling to let loose, Scott would always win as her real lover and not a sweeping feeling.

Yes, I psychoanalyze comic book characters for fun. So what?

Daniel said...

it's very possible you should have just written this post.

i just think it's interesting that at no point does Jean ever bolt for Wolverine. Not once. Don't you?

David Pratt said...

They actually have an explanation for the tonal shift in Cyclops over the years. In a story called "Apocalypse: The Twelve" Apocalypse tries to assimilate the powers of the 12 strongest mutants in the world, culminating in him trying to take over Nate Grey's body. Cyclops intervenes, and he ends up fused with Apocalypse instead.

After they eventually separate, we find out that any "wimpiness" on Scott's part has been completely siphoned into Apocalypse. Cyclops, on the other hand, is now 100% heavy metal bad ass. It's like some writer said "people don't take Cyclops seriously. Let's write a story where he becomes the baddest muthafucker on the planet."

And he did.

Blogden Nash said...

I love this post. I too have always loved Cyclops in much the same way I have always loved Captain America, because he is a man who believes in ideals, a man who has always known what is right and made sure it got done (except for the aforementioned abandonment of his wife, that was fluke mistake, and I blame Claremont.) People don't realize that Cyclops has always been a badass. I mean, you've got to be pretty badass to bust Wolverine's balls ever time he wants to go nuts.
These are of course the many reasons I don't care for the new "badass" version of Cyclops. Sometime in the early 2000s, Marvel decided all their characters needed to become grim and sexy (we already did that it was called the 80s) "How could Cyclops be badass if he isn't wearing a leather jacket all time?" they asked. "How can he be badass if he is clean shaven?" (Apparently, Marvel was beholden to some 1950s standard of cool.) "How could he be badass if he isn't constantly fucking some whore who is at least 15 years older than he is? (you will recall that when originally introduced, Emma Frost was a school principal and contemporary of Professor X). Nowadays, no Marvel hero, least of all Cyclops, can have any moral high ground. Now all Cyclops does is have sex with that skank and make "hard choices." Making hard choices is all well in good, but I love Cyclops because he used to have morals and beliefs that I could model my life around. Now it seems like everything he does has to be a sacrifice of those for the "greater good" or some shit. I don't care for it. Still there will always be a place in my heart for Scott Summers.
Also, I hate Emma Frost. I hate her with a fiery passion that consumes my soul. I think perhaps I will write a post on my own blog about why she sucks so much dick literally and figuratively.

Jason Heat said...

Actually, Claremont had nothing to do with scott leaving Maddy for Jean - he was totally against the idea and said Scott would never act like that. it was an editorial decision that was made to support the foundation of the new X-Factor series, and so claremont tried to make it work in his books as best as possible. But I'm pretty sure the scene actually takes place in an issue of FF or X-Factor, and not a Claremont book.

Say what you will about his new stuff now (it's very outdated and not very good) but for 15 years Chris Claremont WAS the X-men and knew those characters better than anyone.