Friday, June 28, 2013

Character Study: Cyclops, Part 1

This time, let's examine one of Stan Lee's "Merry Mutants." Specifically, one who often ends up in the top three most popular X-Men...  and I really don't understand why. But we give every character a fair chance here at the NewtCave. Let's begin!

I'm not saying "You can't like him." I'm saying "You know he's a jerk, right?"
Character Conception
The X-Men were created by the legendary Stan Lee/Jack Kirby duo, and they first appeared in X-Men #1. Scott Summers (Cyclops) was originally "Slim" Summers, a name that was retconned into a nickname in X-Men #3.

While Stan the Man loves to talk about his "Merry Mutants," there's little info to be had on Cyclops' creation. But Stan had already shown his dislike of teenage sidekicks when he made Spider-Man a high-schooler, so it makes sense that Step 2 was to make a team of super-teens. He famously realized that radiation could only be used for so many origins, so he decided they were just born super.

Secret Origin
Cyclops is a mutant, so he gained his powers when he fell out of a plane. Strange, that doesn't usually result in laser-eyes. Okay, it's a bit more complicated, but I'll save that for "Character History."

Cyclops is best known for his physics-defying optic force-beams. Why "physics-defying?" Well, remember that guy who had fruit fall on him and made that third law that said, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction?" That's why when you fire a gun, the gun is forced back; this is called "recoil."

Made you learn again.
Cyclops' eyes can do this:

Pictured: Cyclops skrazzkooms Captain America.
Yeah, if every action gives us an equal and opposite reaction, then the recoil from that should take his head off. He doesn't have a super-neck, or a mutant-neck, so what's the dealio? Well, turns out that his eyes don't "shoot" anything; they contain solar-powered portals that open to a concussive-force-dimension. I'll pretend that makes sense or we'll be here forever. The beams are heatless, with no radiation, just pure force... which I wish some adaptations would remember. Cough, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, cough.

Yes, the internet has blueprints for everything.
Only ruby-quartz can stop these beams, so he wears a ruby visor, even though that should just shoot the visor off his face, but again, let's continue. The visor's hinged to let his blasts through, and can remain semi-closed to narrow a beam, so if Cyclops wants to knock a gun out of someone's hand, he doesn't take their arm off. That may be useful. Cyclops also has heightened spatial-awareness, letting him instinctively figure angles. When he temporarily lost his beams, he pulled off trick gunshots that would make the Riviera Kid jealous. He's immune to his blasts (letting him close his eyes), and the energy blasts of his brothers. Because family?
Finally, he's an expert fighter, and an expert pilot. But how many X-Men haven't flown the X-Jet?

Well, there's Magneto, Arcade, Apocalypse, Onslaught, Juggernaut, Morlocks, etc. but I'll focus on villains that hate him personally, not X-Men in general.

Firstly, there's Mr. Sinister. Mr. Sinister takes a very creepy interest in Scott's DNA to the point where he wants to create a wife for Scott to get him to spread his DNA. That disturbs me twicetimes. Originally, Sinister was going to be a mutant kid who'd never age, which explains his rather dumb name (because a kid thought it up), and his obsession with Scott; they would have grown up together, but Sinister would have never grown up. In the official backstory, he's a creeper with an unhealthy obsession.

Madelyne Pryor. ...oh boy. We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

Finally, I don't think this is a spoiler anymore, Vulcan. Vulcan is Scott Summers' secret brother. After aliens kidnapped Scott's parents, they had another son who was raised by aliens, but escaped. And I'm sure he would never be seen again....

Character History
Warning you right now: X-Men have long, convoluted histories that involve aliens, clones, and demons. As such, I'll gloss over some of the details. I'll ignore a few things too, mainly if they've been retconned. That happens a lot to the X-Men, mainly because at one point, almost half of Marvel's books were X-Men books, all telling different stories.

Scott was born in Alaska. One day, his USAF pilot dad took the family for a plane ride. Sadly, as occasionally happens, they were attacked by aliens. Mrs. Summers strapped the only parachute to her two sons, and pushed them out before the plane exploded, apparently killing Mr. and Mrs. Summers. The parachute was single-occupant, so Scott landed hard, developing brain-damage that left him unable to turn his eyes off. Or possibly, his tragic backstory left him with a mental block. Depends on the writer.

The brothers were put into an orphanage. Alex was soon adopted, and Scott was stalked by this creepy kid named Nathan who was actually both the orphanage owner and a Victorian geneticist. Creepy. Scott started getting headaches that were cured by ruby lenses, which would come in handy later.

At 16, Scott ran away and lived on the streets. Instead of joining a British street-urchin gang, he saved a crowd from falling machinery with his eyes. They assumed he was a super-villain, and formed a friendly lynch mob. Scott fled, and ran into Professor Charles Xavier, who mindwiped the crowd. Scott followed the creepy Yul Brynner lookalike back to his mansion, becoming the first official X-Man.

Scott joined Xavier to recruit others: Hank McCoy, Bobby Drake, and Warren Worthington, III.  After noticing the impending sausagefest, the Professor recruited Jean Grey, who Scott developed a bit of a crush on. Along with the others. Including Xavier.

Yeah, I'm sure it's the wheelchair, you dirty old man.
Jean showed interest in Scott, as well, but I don't think that'll last. Actually, they began to date on Iceman's birthday. I don't think Hallmark makes a card for "I'm dating your best friend." Hope that wasn't the gift they got him.

The mutants went on all sorts of adventures until their book was cancelled.
Sadly, I have to split the Study here. I told you, long backstories.
Part 2: All-New, All-Different X-Men... and one old one.

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