The Ninjabot

Myopic: A Cyclops Fan’s Take on AvX

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 5:00 am by Tyler Waterman

*SPOILERS*

Every major comic event inevitably makes the promise that “everything will change” at its conclusion, and for the most part, that promise is upheld. That change may be massive in scale, such as DC’s universe-rebooting Flashpoint. The change may also have a more subtle influence, like Marvel’s Secret Invasion. Whatever form it takes, change is the guarantee, and this summer’s blockbuster event Avengers vs. X-Men made all the same promises. Now that it’s ended, I can confidently tell you AvX kept its word; going forward, this is a very different Marvel Universe.

And in this new world, no one is more changed than Cyclops.

Yeah, that’s a little different.

When I list my top five favorite heroes of all time, Cyclops comes in at number two. Just to make this clear, if we lived in a world where Batman didn’t exist (god forbid), Cyclops would be my favorite superhero of all time. As a comic fan who loves to talk to other comic fans, top five lists come up quite a bit. When I say where Cyclops ranks, I get the exact same reaction, every single time:

“Cyclops? Why Cyclops?!”

Why Cyclops? Because Cyclops is the ultimate example of the tragic hero. No one, not even Batman, has had to deal with loss on the level of Scott Summers. His story starts with his parents pushing him and his brother from a plane as it crashes. He’s been hated and feared by the entire human race since he was a child. Cults, secret societies, and his own government have been trying to kill him and all of his friends since he was sixteen. His other brother recently died, but he was an ultra-powerful completely-insane emperor of the Shi’ar who nearly destroyed the universe twice so there wasn’t a funeral. He had a son, but the mother turned out to be an evil clone, and then he had to send the boy 2000 years in the future because he was infected with a techno-organic virus. He watched a crazy witch nearly eliminate his race, then watched a schoolbus full of the remaining children blow up a few weeks later. His wife died horribly, came back, and died horribly again.

Kind of puts “gunshot in Crime Alley” in perspective, right?

Yet, despite all of this, Cyclops has persevered. In fact, not only has he continued to move forward, he’s often been the one picking up others where they’ve fallen. When Xavier was gone, Cyclops filled the void. When there were no more mutants, Cyclops brought the remainder together. When there was nowhere for mutants to go, Cyclops brought them Utopia. When Hope appeared, Cyclops got her to safety. There isn’t a mutant alive or dead with more justification to quit and leave it all behind, yet every time there’s a need, there’s Cyclops at the helm.

And now, Scott Summers is sitting in a ruby quartz cell, bound in ruby quartz restraints, for nearly destroying the planet and killing Charles Xavier.

There is a part of my mind that rages against this outcome. Henry McCoy and Reed Richards had a point; the fact is, the Phoenix Five didn’t do anything wrong. None of them sought or desired the power they were given; in fact, they only had it because of Tony Stark. When they got it, they used the power to end war, hunger, disease. Yes, their ability to do so nearly overnight is a bit terrifying, but does that make the outcome any less positive? However, because several influential Avengers were willing to condemn them for what they may do wrong in the future, the Five were pushed to react, a response one could argue was self defense. Frankly, there is a great deal of evidence that the Avengers did nothing during this event besides create the outcome they were so determined to prevent.

Reed Richards is one of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe. Just saying.

There is another part of my mind that embraces this outcome. Though I’ll never dispute that they’re the most important part, the heroes aren’t truly what define a comic universe: it’s the villains. Superheroes can not be great without great villains to oppose them. The Fantastic Four wouldn’t be nearly as fantastic without Doom; Spider-Man wouldn’t be who he is today without Norman Osborn; without villains, the Avengers have no one to avenge. That being said, Scott Summers has all the potential to become one of the greatest villains in the Marvel Universe. Brilliant, battle tested, incredibly powerful and blessed with even more powerful friends, the odds of Scott spending the rest of his days sitting in that cell thinking about what he’s done are slim (pun intended). With Emma, Magneto and Namor still unaccounted for, and mutants reappearing across the globe, there is a chance that we’re on the cusp of seeing the rise of a new Brotherhood of Mutants or Dark X-Men, helmed by a very different Cyclops. There isn’t a single part of that last sentence that doesn’t get me very excited.

Well, looks like this came true after all…

As my mind struggles to decide which side of this aisle it’s on, there’s one fact that can’t be disputed and leaves me regarding AvX as one of my favorite events of all time: people are talking about Cyclops. Suddenly, Cyclops has gone from “generally respected but mostly ignored” to “holy crap did you hear about Cyclops.” Even better, that he survived the event and has been so fundamentally changed by it clearly means Marvel has more planned for Xavier’s favorite son, no doubt with major ramifications. This is in itself a gift to those of us who regard Cyclops so highly. No longer are we left wondering when Cyclops will get his due; now we get to anticipate when he will rise again, and that might be the most exciting thing to happen to this Cyclops fan in a long time.

I have no doubt that there are many Cyclops fans who hate this, as well as many general comic fans who still can’t believe it all came down to Scott Summers. However, no one can deny that for this period of time Cyclops has been the most important person in the Marvel Universe, and for those of us who’ve always felt that way, this has been a most rewarding ride. My thanks to Marvel for being bold enough to fundamentally destroy and rebuild one of it’s longest running heroes, and I anxiously await to see what the future holds for the character.

Now, if you need me, I’ll be trying to decide if Cyclops still goes on my top five superheroes list, or if he’s just become number one on my top five supervillains list instead…

    • Holy Smokes! I need to check out this book. I figured it was a fluff piece, where the two sides disagree and then come together to make s'mores and sing by the capfire…. Looks like I was wrong. Great article.

    • Tyler

      There was LOTS of fire, but no s'mores hahaha… and thanks!!

    • J.P.

      I have to say that your article is pretty spot on. However, I don't consider Scott a supervillain. Nor do I think that he's done anything wrong in the wake of AvX. I think that the picture you supplied with Reed pretty much illustrates my point. Everything that happened was because the Avengers couldn't leave well enough alone. The Phoenix Five made the world a better place. That's just awesome. But when push came to shove, they reacted and that's when the Phoenix started going mad. I do love the idea of a potential new Brotherhood or Dark X-Men surfacing as you put it. I think it would just be tremendously awesome. As much as Scott was highlighted in AvX, my only gripe with the entire event is how terrible the writing was. Quite a few things just didn't make sense and it was just disappointing how nobody tried to save Scott in the end. Not Hank, Warren or Bobby. They were all just determined to wipe him off the face of the planet. But, here's hoping that good things are on the horizon for Scott Summers. He's definitely left an impact on the Marvel Universe.

      • I have to agree. This story had so much potential, but the writing was so bad. There was some good stuff happening, don't get me wrong but I wanted so much more from this.

    • Slum Daydpring

      I agree. He is my favorite by far. As long as he still plays a big role often enough I'll keep reading.

    • Slum Dayspring

      It just didn't add up that everyone so quick to give up on him. Nobody ever condemed Jean for anything she did as Phoenix. Cyclops has also kept the Void locked safely in his mind for a good while now on top of being Phoenix and ensuring the survival of his entire species.

    • JayJay

      Cyclops is a hero in the sense that Deadpool is a hero.

      I don’t see how he’s a villain. He didn’t abide by Captain America’s ideas. Captain America didn’t abide by his own ideas. Scott has always stood up for what he believed and this is no different.

      He is on my top 5 list and always will be.

      Peter Parker is there as well. Saying Spider-Man is no longer synonymous.

      • Amen to that… and that’s really what made AvX so interesting, that there really was no clear “good guy” or “bad guy.” Thanks for reading, and I agree with your Parker sentiment as well haha

        • JayJay

          I searched out opinions like this because I’m in a discussion with someone over how right Cyclops was. I point out how much blame Wanda has to shoulder because she caused so many problems with the flick of her wrist.

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