Scott Summers was a fairly typical character back in 1963. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced him as the leader of the X-Men, he felt like he fit the DC mold of what a hero was. Sure, the Marvel Universe was only two years old at that point, but it felt like a bit of a betrayal. Why do we need a square like Scott Summers when Peter Parker and Johnny Storm get to be cool and modern? Just like real life, some people aren’t equipped to be down with the modern scene. Over the years, as Scott’s origin has leaked out…it’s been surprising that Cyclops has optic blasted a school apart. The mutant has every right in the world to be an angry young man, but he represses it.
Grant Morrison tackled the repression angle when he tried to open up Cyclops’ relationship problems with Jean Grey. However, it just turned into a love triangle featuring a blonde skank and the redheaded Jesus of Marvel’s mutantdom. Still, what causes Scott to gravitate to those extremes? He’s been fairly straight-laced until recent years. Now, he’s almost a reluctant Che Guevara type leading renegade mutants in a secretive New School. What makes Cyke tick?
Cyclops began life as a military brat living with his parents in the wilds of Alaska. One day, his family is out cruising the skies in a small prop plane when they get abducted by a Shiar spacecraft. Scott’s mother orders him to hold onto his little brother and she sends them away with the last parachute aboard. Years later, Scott would find out that his mother was kidnapped and seemingly assaulted by these aliens. The fact that she was pregnant didn’t come into play until the 00s. That’s when we find out that Katherine Summers was murdered by the Shiar Emperor D’Ken and that her unborn fetus was cut out of her and aged in a process the Shiar used to make slaves. That’s the first speed bump, kids. We’ve got so many more chapters of this to go.
Cyclops is found with what was later revealed to be brain damage, but that was revealed to be a self imposed mental block. Scott and his young brother Alex get split up and taken to foster care. Alex’s foster care seems to go far more normal, as he eventually graduates from college and begins to have a normal life. Scott is abused, bulled and left to the devices of a Mr. Nathan Milbury. Milbury was an alias for Mr. Sinister, who began to take great interest in the Summers DNA based on events that had happened in his past. But, I’ll save that for Mr. Sinister’s much later entry. Remember, kids! The entire project is interconnected like Spidey was! You can read it as a serial or bit by bit when it’s completed.
When Professor X found him in that Nebraska orphanage, it still irks me that he never bothered to ask around about the kid. The kid was a frequent runaway that always wore sunglasses like he was Corey Hart or something. The kid ends up running away to New York City where he battles this weird Dickensian by way of Stan Lee’s reptile brain character named Jack O’ Diamonds aka The Living Diamond. Professor X ended up blowing the dude apart, while Cyclops decided that this was a guy that he wanted to live with and study from like some bald sensei. It’s not long before Cyclops is hanging out in Westchester and macking on Jean Grey.
If anything, Cyclops is an incredibly damaged individual who rarely gets a chance to act out his aggression. He frequently runs away from his problems or he’s forced to confront betrayal by a close confidante. Scott or Cyclops depending on the day’s choice of clothing always bottles up that aggression and never lets it out. Sometimes, it takes the form of battling Storm for leadership of the team. Sometimes, it becomes a weird obsession with redheads that look like your dear ol’ dead booty call. While the recent team of writers have been smart and taken it to a boil, Scott isn’t a healthy person.
That changed when Cyclops became infused with the Phoenix Force. He finally got the power to allow for his version of Xavier’s dream to become true. But, that old demented personality of his started taking over. Cyclops began stripping the power away from the others that had it and started to create an Utilitarian version of a world where mutants were in charge. Eventually, he had to fight Professor X to the death in a battle that can only be described as Oedipal in a cliché serial entertainment sense. Professor X kicked the bucket and Cyclops was left to the wrath of his comrades plus a few Avengers. Cyclops had his powers made wonky when the Phoenix force was beaten out of him and into Hope Summers. I promise that we’ll talk about Hope in future installments, I’m just trying to escape Cyclops right now.
The modern Cyclops is a broken man who won’t take responsibility for what happened. It wasn’t his actions that killed Professor X, but the Dark Phoenix. The same Dark Phoenix that was able to be sucked out of him, but required vaporization for Jean Grey during her first outing. He’s now hanging out in the old Weapon X facility in Canada, as he works with Magik, Magneto, Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde to train a new generation of mutants. Also, his younger self and his friends have been transported to the present day due to the machinations of Hank McCoy.
That marks the most condensed take that I can provide on a character that barely any writers have managed to get a handle on in five decades. While Chris Claremont came the closest to giving him depth, he only reinforced the mindset and repression that would lead the character down the path being explored today. Hell, I thought it was weird that he was such a fan of skull caps being built into his costume. Oh well, onto one of my favorite X-Men and will probably be one of the longest chapters.
ENTER THE PHOENIX!
SEE YA IN 3 DAYS