Last week, we were treated to the reveal of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3‘s final boss–Galactus. The reveal meant many important things for me:
– I definitely wouldn’t be getting the game (because, really, I fought Onslaught enough, thanks).
– Now it’s even sillier that none of the Fantastic Four made the cut (*again*).
– And, finally, the game’s roster is probably, finally, full. Sure, maybe it’s not, but even so, it doesn’t change the fact that the other two members of my Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 team aren’t making the cut.
Definitely not Guile, because, hey, why bring him back when we can add Evil Ryu instead? Or Evil Sakura? Or Ken’s jacket? (Or go the Marvel route and add that one guy with the glasses in that one panel of Squirrel Girl #2. Remember him? Neither do I.)
And definitely, definitely not Cyclops, because… Well… <sigh>
Because he’s Cyclops.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of *those* MVC2 players; I didn’t pick Cyclops (without having any prior knowledge of or love for the character) just so I could run Optic Blast supers every three seconds. I chose him because I’ve always loved Cyclops’ dedication to the X-Men and ability to lead despite pretty terrible conditions, because I’ve always thought his power was really awesome, and because, when it boils down to it, I always root for the underdog. And also because, yeah, I always loved playing Cyclops in X-Men Vs. Street Fighter (which is still my favorite Vs. game and apparently always will be).
But my love for Cyclops is definitely a rare thing. To understand exactly why 49 in every group of 50 think Cyclops sucks (why they’d make, say, She-Hulk playable before bringing Slim Summers back), let’s look at Cyclops’ terrible, terrible public image.
Oh My God, Shut Up About Jean!
Cyclops is a mutant who does a lot of things right. He’s a great leader. He’s in great physical shape. He’s pretty responsible and does well under pressure. He isn’t claustrophobic. However, there are two very major character flaws that plague him, one of which makes him just about the most annoying X-Man ever. That failure can be summed up in one word:
Now, before you jump the gun, no I’m not blaming Jean. But Cyclops saying her name is *the* embodiment of his biggest flaw–the way he’s a retard with women. I understand, Scott; everyone’s awkward with at least one love interest at some point, and to boot, you were orphaned at a young age. But man, how can you expect people to like you when you’re *that* guy?
– Jean stubs her toe. Cyclops has bandages that he’s kept in his visor for just such an occasion. Wolverine is off in a corner, smoking. Cyclops somehow counts all of this as a victory.
– Jean gets knocked down by a Sentinel. Cyclops drops everything to run to her side. Meanwhile, Wolverine claws through the Sentinel’s crotch, straight through its body, to it’s head, at which point he eats his way out because his rage is just that complete. When Jean comes to, Cyclops immediately observes that Wolverine is nowhere to be found.
Unnecessarily clingy, insecure to the point that it makes him an ass, Cyclops easily embodies the worst of every guy/girl. A lot of us find it hard to like him because we see ourselves in him; every time he runs to Jean with a band-aid, a lot of us think of high school and/or that boyfriend/girlfriend who had us wrapped around their finger, maybe not because they wanted it that way, but just because we puppy loved them *that* much. Or, for those of us who never experienced puppy love, we see a grown, team leading man who can shoot lasers out of his eyes acting like a high school kid. Granted, my scenarios above never happened, but read or watch any X-Men in which Jean is alive and tell me his shouting “Jean!” or being so obviously insecure about Wolverine doesn’t drive you up a wall.
The truly sad thing? He doesn’t get better without her:
– Jean dies and Cyclops leaves the X-Men.
– Cyclops marries another woman, Madelyne Pryor. Madelyne Pryor, who turns out to be Jean’s clone. Of course.
– However, when the real Jean comes back to life, Cyclops immediately leaves both Madelyne and their son.
– Then, after marrying Jean, Cyclops starts having a “psychic affair” with Emma Frost.
– Jean dies *again* and Cyclops starts dating Emma, a psychic and former super-villain, btw. Even Cyclops assumed she was controlling his mind.
Maybe–hopefully–Cyclops will change sometime soon. But considering that any major changes to his character (like Whedon’s removing his inability to control his powers) are retconned, it seems unlikely that Cyclops will, say, become the full Headmaster of the Xavier Institute, get his own movie or, ya know, become a round character.
Oh, and rewinding for a second…
Oh My God! Handle Your #$*%, Cyclops!
Like I mentioned before, Cyclops can’t control his powers. At first, it was because he hit his head during the plane crash that supposedly killed his parents. It was later revealed that he can’t control his powers because of a self-imposed mental block–a mechanism for coping with the loss of his parents, separation from his brother, and the manifestation of his mutant powers.
Man that’s crap. If Pikachu can handle his electric cheeks, Scott Summers, you have no excuse. Again, orphan–I got it. Traumatic plane crash–I got it. You became a mutant–I got it. But seriously, pretty much every other mutant in the world has experienced those same problems… Well, excepts for the plane crash (but other mutants have stupid names! That’s pretty traumatic. Just ask the Stepford Cuckoos). Really, getting over the trauma and learning to control his powers is the very first thing Cyclops should have done, because that’s what Xavier’s School for the Gifted *is for!* And even otherwise, honestly, that kink should’ve worked itself out after *years* of being team leader, dating extremely attractive X-Women, and saving the world. Instead, everyone gets a guy who’s a danger to everyone if his glasses fall off–a kind of doomsday nerd, if you will. Only, on the outside, he looks like a super religious uberjock.
How can anyone not dislike him after realizing all of this, right? The thing is, I don’t dislike Cyclops over this stuff because, unlike a lot of people that hate him, I see him from a writer’s perspective: Cyclops is a staple of the X-Men. Back in the 60’s, he was the very first member of the team. Thus, he, in the classic Marvel way, has to stay pretty much exactly the same way he was. Like Spider-Man (who’s one and only bout of drinking was retconned [his roommate gave him apple juice and Peter convinced himself he was drunk. How absolutely sickening] because fans complained), Cyclops can’t stop being a moron with relationships or learn to control his powers because that, in Marvel’s and purists’ eyes, just wouldn’t be Cyclops.
Which is incredibly sad because he has so much potential. Cyclops should be hyper lethal because he can hit you the moment he sees you. Cyclops should be one of the greatest fighters and strategists in Marvel history because he’s been training in the Danger Room since he was a teen. Cyclops should be a badass. He should have his own comic, his own movie, his own life. But he doesn’t and he never will because he’s never going to be allowed to grow. And people are never going to stop blaming him for that.
4 thoughts on “Sighclops”
I love this post! Hilarious!
And of course, you know I totally agree with everything here. I love Cyclops, and I can think of so many ways he can be used in cool scenes, how his character can be used better, how he should have a Marvel Fighting Skill Rating of at least 5, how he should be given more character development, but he is the ever-unchanging Cyclops, and his mutant power is an inability to be a insecure, indecisive, uncontrollable mutant.
The only thing I can say in response to this (playing devil’s advocate as I write this reply) is that this is an interesting dynamic: the most indecisive and insecure guy being the most decisive, confident and capable leader. Or, focusing on this more, his being insecure and having a lack of control over his life, lovelife and powers makes him concentrate on the thing that he does have control of: others. Perhaps this is the only way he distracts himself from himself and the only way he finds any sure-footing in his life, by putting his efforts on leadership, because then he doesn’t have to think about what he is doing.
Anyways, I don’t know what to say about him. I was laughing the other day in the shower (yes, I was thinking about Cyclops in the shower, so what?) about how messed up Slim’s life is. His parents seemingly died in a plane crash, only for his mom to be killed (and have her unborn baby stolen from her by an alien warlord), his father to become a slave, escape, and become a space pirate, his first brother to be taken from him, living in foster homes, being adopted by a criminal who used him, being adopted by Prof X (who was a prick back in the day, it must be great to leave one bad father to be adopted by a military commander headmaster) to falling in love with a girl who keeps dying, to falling in love with her clone who turns evil after he leaves her for her original and his son to be taken to the future after being infected with a futuristic virus by an immortal mutant warlord, to cheating on his wife with an ex-villainess, to losing his son more than once, his wife more than once, his adopted father more than once, his brother more than once, to finding he had another brother who’s evil and angry to finding his real father and then losing him, to becoming the leader of the entire mutant race.
Whew! ::deep breath::
And this is not including all the in-between stuff like losing his leadership, the only thing he knows how to do, to a powerless Storm, and trying to date various non-mutant people (including either Coleen Wing or Misty Knight of Heroes for Hire fame), and having an alternate dimension time traveling son (X-man) and daughter (Rachel Summers, Phoenix, who later got mad at him for dating Emma and switched her name to Grey), and having a weird immortal geneticist chasing you his whole life because he thinks the seed in your man-shaft will spawn the next ultimate mutant.
“Most Convoluted Fictional Biography?”
“Who is Cyclops, Alex?”
I like the way you think; I could totally see leadership being that one thing he clings to and is confident with. But I still feel like his successes there and with saving the world a bunch, should do something for his self confidence. Or, really, with all of the messed up things that have happened to him, Scott should’ve hit critical mass a while ago; if those things happened and still didn’t break him, he should’ve learned to deal with pretty much anything at this point. Or have gone completely crazy, which he hasn’t done either.
Man… What I wouldn’t give to see a calm, confident Cyclops, still a great leader, but able to deal with things like Emma Frost’s inevitably becoming evil again (because, hey, when hasn’t one of Cyclops’ major love interests become super evil?).
Very energetic article, I enjoyed that bit.
Will there be a part 2?
Thanks! Aaaaaand… maybe? I’ve absolutely been away from this site for ages but I’m going to start writing for it again. Regardless though, I’m sure this Cyclops article is full of inaccuracies. But then… I do love complaining.