1980s Cyclops battles, Pt. 1Posted: 06/09/2014
Cyclops has a tough job — we don’t give him enough credit. The X-Men are a wildly diverse, ragtag group of superheroes forced together solely because of that mutation floating in their genetics, and Cyclops (real name Scott Summers), whose job can be best described as attempting to herd cats, must keep his people from clawing each other as much as dodging battleships Magneto occasionally throws at them. Thankfully, Professor X chose well. We’ll take a look at four of Summers’ leadership decisions/fist fights from the glory 1980s X-Men days starting with Uncanny X-Men #127, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Byrne. I know this issue came out November 1979, but that’s close enough, right?
Get ready for some tough love. Wolverine, a character mostly defined at this point by his irrational confidence, has finally faced that precious fear that other mutants feel when they can’t fully heal within minutes. I know that growing back organs and hair and skin for Wolverine is supposed to be just as painful as losing them, but it’s not as if he makes much of an effort to dodge anything. Y’know how the fastest way to a point is a straight line? It’s like that with him, only with having to dig bullets out of his shoulder later.
But Cyclops, desperate to pull his team back together — as leadership demands — hits Wolverine’s immediate nerve: his masculinity. Though, if you want to make Wolverine angry, it’s not as if it’s hard. Say a few mean words about Jean Grey, Canadians, his past, his height, his body hair, motorcycles, leather jackets, beer, meat, the outdoors — pretty much anything, really. The dude has anger issues.
Cyclops realizes the best way for his team to regain that fighting spirit is to fight with spirit is to chuck X-Men at other X-Men. It’s not a good plan on paper, but it’ll work itself out. Plus, I’m sure Cyclops has wanted to punch Wolverine for dozens of issues by now. Still, all it would take for Wolverine to start flailing is to talk some smack about Nightcrawler, Weapon X, his costume, his breath, his claws, his accent, wild animals, the time he fought the Hulk, grilling, classic cars, etc. I’m saying Wolverine’s always angry.
See how easy they all forgive Summers for his stunt? Wolverine admits Cyclops’ awesomeness! In front of other people! With complete sincerity! Cyclops decides to attack his team as a way of saying, “Look, we lose all the time. But see? We still have some fight left in us, so get it together.” And then they go beat up Proteus, even Nightcrawler who took an optic blast to the chest.
In our second story from Uncanny X-Men #175, written by Claremont and drawn by Paul Smith and John Romita Jr., Cyclops gets married to Jean Grey clone Madelyne Pryor. More importantly, the X-Men get mind-zapped into believing Cyclops is the evil Phoenix out to destroy them. So Summers, being a man of action, makes the only correct decision — he kicks all their asses.
We know Cyclops isn’t a powerhouse. His optic blasts can do insane amounts of damage (see Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men), but the guy doesn’t have any super strength or agility to back it up. Luckily, our hero leads the X-Men. That helps with strategy when having to fight the X-Men.
Mohawk dog-collar-wearing Storm is right. Phoenix could ignite the planet into a second sun if she had one really bad day, so losing an X-Man or two to stop the crazy woman from destroying all life would be an acceptable sacrifice. Y’know, except that it’s not Phoenix they’re fighting. And Cyclops pulls some serious Batman-mojo pre-planning to defeat his entire team of people whose powers all outclass his.
While yes, Cyclops does control the shape of the Danger Room, he doesn’t control the car-crushing steel fist of Cylcops going into his skull. So illusions can be useful in the initial attack, but if Cyclops can’t laser blast his way past five violent X-Men at once, he’ll be spending his honeymoon confined to a hospital bed.
Want to learn some Russian? The word “tovarisch” means comrade, as in the never before uttered sentence, “Can you scent our quarry, tovarisch?” When did Colossus start talking like a Victorian British nobleman three whiskeys into his annual fox hunt? Remember his earlier scream, “Murderess! Have you come to gloat over your butchery?” Colossus must have learned all his English from Shakespeare plays.
And success! By the way, it’s fascinating to see how Russian-born Colossus talks compared to American-citizen Rogue. She uses words like “ah’d’a” while Colossus’ vocabulary stems entirely from SAT booklets.
On Wednesday, Cyclops continues punching X-Men — this ol’ timey stuff is fun to read.