By Squares 38 Comments
One of the downfalls characters (and teams, for that matter) that have been steadily seen in many different titles for many years is that said characters eventually get somewhat hard to properly understand; the large volume of reading material is daunting, to the point where most people don't bother to do enough research before forming an opinion about a character.
At least, I imagine that's what causes people to sometimes get a ridiculously incorrect understanding of X-men characters. I mean, yes, depending on the character one's opinion could be based on any number of non-canon things- for example, there's many people who like Jubilee that only really know her from the 90s cartoon in which she was a fairly important character (you know, the cartoon with the catchy opening music, where Rogue's voice actress sounded like a banshee) and haven't really seen anything of her in comics (wherein she has been, over the years, very much a different person); or the odd little group of people that adamantly insist that Shadowcat isn't very intelligent because of X-men Evolutions.
Today I seek to improve the reader's understanding of Cyclops. As a member of the original team of five (actually, he's on the record as being the first x-man), he's shown up a lot in comics, and his history is pretty long and sometimes convoluted. So I'll make an attempt to explain some of the more fundamental aspects of his character.
Scott Summers, the mutant known as Cyclops, has been many things over the years. He's the eldest of the three sons of Katherine and Christopher Summers, spent much of his childhood in an orphanage being run by Mister Sinister, shoots reddish 'force beams' out of his eyes that he keeps shielded by ruby quartz eyewear, was trained to be and has been the leader of the X-men for most of their existance, has been married two times and is the father of one child (Nathan Summers, better known as Cable) in mainstream reality (Earth-616), is a skilled tactician and extremely capable combatant, and has been romantically linked to two highly powerful telepaths. He is mature, serious, methodical, emotionally distant (but horribly vulnerable when it comes to the people he loves), level-headed, generally responsible, caring, and can be ruthless and harsh if he has to.
He has brown hair, a light complexion and a tall, slender build (his nickname, for years, was 'Slim'. For YEARS). It's unsure what colour his eyes are, but it's been stated they're not red. Like his brothers, Cyclops is an energy manipulator- he absorbs solar energy and produces his eye-beams (note that Havok's ability also uses solar energy).
He is a 30-something American mutant widower who, for the past 20-ish years (remember, it's Marvel, time passes oddly in the MU) has been the leader of a group of powerful mutants that seeks to co-exist peacefully with the human race while protecting itself from a wide variety of threats. Doing so has cost him his (second, and most significant) wife - a woman he'd loved since the moment he'd laid eyes on her way back in the first ever issue of X-men, many friends and family, his safety, his happiness, and his life (he's a Summers, he got better). Any hopes and/or dreams he had were taken away from him the moment he met Professor Xavier- a man who treated him more like a subordinate than a son, secretly lusted after the woman he loved (probably still has a thing for her, actually...), subjected him to verbal and physical abuse, and would on occasion fake his own death for a variety of (rather unnecessary) reasons. Ever since Xavier handed the metaphorical reins to him, Cyclops has dedicated his entire life to protecting mutants from many different forces who would seek to destroy them simply for being mutants; over the years the amount of mutants he's sought to protect has grown exponentially, even when taking M-day into account.
It's not as though it's an easy task for him- he has, for the majority of his life, had issues with stress, overworking, grief, and a variety of other problems. Despite all that, he rarely (if ever) complains- he views what he does as a responsibility and constantly tries to do his absolute best.
He may not be a (quote-unquote) 'badass', or particularly charismatic, or funny, or a host of other things people love in other characters. Hell, sometimes he can be kinda boring. But Scott Summers is someone who constantly works his ass off to protect others- not just the people he cares about, or only other mutants, but anyone he can help. He's not some crazed dictator building an army of child soldiers (for the record, that's usually Xavier's thing), or a 'stupid quarterback', or any of that nonsense that people keep spouting.