Cyclops: Who is the Leader of the X-Men?

The Real Slim Shady

Cyclops:To me, my X-Men. Let’s finish this.

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #23

A man wearing sunglasses wanders the city streets at night. A gang appears from an alley, demanding his wallet. He tries to talk them down, but one of the muggers charges him. The man redirects his attack and throws him into another gang member. A roundhouse kick knocks out a third crook.

The leader swings a chain at the man, knocking his sunglasses away. A torrent of crimson energy slams the leader into a wall as the man struggles to close his eyes. Streets are gouged by the beams until he manages to find his glasses. Cyclops grimaces at the sight. This is gonna set Human-Mutant relations back a bit.

Cyclops is one of the original X-Men. He started out as the team’s field leader, but has grown to become one of the biggest movers and shakers in Mutant society. So who is he? Why can’t he control his powers? Why does the Marvel universe consider him a terrorist? Let’s find out.

First Sight: Cyclops’ Backstory

Cyclops:I’ve done abominable things. I don’t ask for forgiveness. I don’t deserve it. I’m happy to spend what remains of my life paying for crimes. But I’d do it all again.”

Uncanny X-Men Vol. 2 #19

Cyclops debuted in The X-Men #1 in 1963. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who drew inspiration from Greek mythology. Cyclops was originally supposed to have the first name Slim, but that was quickly changed into a nickname.

Scott Summers was the son of an Air Force pilot. The Summers family was attacked by aliens while they were on vacation. Scott and his brother Alex were given the only parachutes and escaped the plane. Scott developed amnesia among other injuries from a malfunctioning parachute.

Scott was placed in an orphanage. His mutation activated while he was wandering the city, resulting in a lot of property damage as he tried to control his optic blasts. Professor Xavier saved Scott from an angry mob and recruited him to the X-Men. They learned that ruby quartz can block his blasts, and fashioned sunglasses and a visor from that material. The visor made it look like Scott only had one eye, inspiring his codename Cyclops.

Cyclops began molding his classmates into a superhero team. He struggled to keep Angel, Iceman, and Beast focused while dealing with his attraction to newcomer Jean Grey. Despite his lack of experience, The X-Men were a resounding success and saved the world many times.

Tangled Family Tree: Cyclop’s History

Hope: [talking to an alternate version of Cable] “Cyclops is your father like he’s my grandfather, which makes you my… the family dynamic is too insane to even think about.

Avengers vs. X-Men

Cyclops and the X-Men eventually left the nest and began acting as independent heroes. Cyclops led the X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, and about a dozen configurations of those teams. Cyclops eventually married Jean, unaware that she had been replaced by a clone with her own long story named Madylne Pryor.

Cyclops and Madylyne had a child, but here’s where things get weird. A villain called Apocalypse infected their baby with a techno-organic virus, the only cure for which was in the future. The desperate parents sent their child into the future, only for him to travel back to the present as an adult called Cable

A time traveling cyborg baby of a Mutant and a clone is weird enough, but then alternate dimensions and timelines got involved. When all was said and done, Cyclops and Madelyne had four adult children despite starting out with just one. These include Cable’s evil twin Stryfe, a female Phoenix host called Prestige, and omnipotent Jesus cosplayer X-Man.

The kids are odd, but then readers learned what happened to Cyclops’ family. Alex became a superhero called Havok. His dad survived and became a space pirate called Corsair. There was an unknown third brother who was adopted by the attacking aliens, becoming Emperor Vulcan of the Shi’ar Empire. Finally, Cyclops’ mom became a corpse. Hey, they can’t all be god-like superheroes.

Anyone else feel like they stumbled into a superhero soap opera that’s been going on for 58 seasons?

Another Viewpoint: Cyclops’ Modern Stories

Scott:We’re just dumb kids, trying to figure out how to be Mutants in a post-Cyclops world.

All-New X-Men Vol. 2 #3

Cyclops grew ruthless as time passed. Years of fighting for ungrateful humans and seeing Mutants suffer radicalized him into a militant leader. These views evolved into Mutant supremacy when he was possessed by The Phoenix in Avengers vs. X-Men. Cyclops spent the event accusing the Avengers of not caring about Mutants and tried to destroy Earth before they stopped him.

With his reputation in tatters, Cyclops joined Magneto and other like-minded mutants to defend their race by any means necessary. Scott’s former teammate, Beast, brought the original X-Men into the future, hoping to prevent Cyclops from becoming like his modern self. The plan worked and young Cyclops was scared straight, but temporal shenanigans meant they couldn’t send the teen X-Men home. Whoops.

Teen Cyclops left the X-Men and joined a new team called the Champions. Adult Cyclops continued his terrorism until he was inadvertently poisoned by the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mist. Readers learned that the Mist is like concentrated poison to Mutants, and he died from the exposure. His death was used to push the X-Men into a war with the Inhumans.

Cyclops was eventually resurrected and began working to rebuild his reputation as a hero. He founded a nation called Krakoa as a Mutant haven. The X-Men are wary, but have joined Cyclops, who now uses the self-given title General of Mutants.

A View to Kill: Cyclops’ Powers and Personality

[A villain has defeated several X-Men]
Mayor:So… plan B?
Cyclops:No. Not plan B, plan 2. “Plan B” implies we only have 26.” –

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Men

Cyclops can fire optic blasts from his eyes that deal concussive damage, but some writers have also had them start fires. Beast has calculated that Scott is constantly shooting about two gigawatts of energy. Cyclops has become an expert at trick shots and can modulate his blasts with his visor.

Originally explained as metabolized solar energy, readers later learned that the optic blasts are created by Cyclops’ eyes opening a portal to a dimension of kinetic energy. Brain damage from the plane crash stops him from turning the portal off. The only way to keep the blasts under control is to block them with ruby quartz, which resonates at the right frequency to cancel the energy. Show this paragraph to a physics professor to watch their head explode.

Cyclops is a threat even without his powers. He’s an expert martial artist, tactician, and pilot. Scott is a master of geometry, with some writers claiming he has an inherent superhuman understanding of it because of his mutation. You don’t want to play him at billiards. He has also studied blind fighting in case he loses his visor during a fight.

Cyclops is a control freak with self-loathing issues. He hates his uncontrollable blasts and forces himself to maintain military discipline at all times. Cyclops truly believes that his actions will help Mutants, but they often veer into a gray area between heroics and terrorism. Despite his bad traits, Cyclops is courageous and goes out of his way to protect civilians.

The Actors Who Play Cyclops

George DiCenzo – Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
Michael Bell – Pryde of the X-Men
Norm Spencer – X-Men: the Animated Series, Spider-Man: the Animated Series
Kirby Morrow – X-Men: Evolution
Nolan North – Wolverine and the X-Men, Black Panther
Scott Porter – Marvel Anime: X-Men
James Marsden – X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand
Tye Sheridan – X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool 2, Dark Phoenix

Didya get all that?

A Mutant superhero turned terrorist.

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