The argument about whether or not Cyclops has completely gone the villain route was already brewing after the events of House of M, when the world’s mutant population was reduced to less than 200 by a crazed Scarlet Witch.
Cyclops, the leader of the X-Men, became the defacto head of the remaining mutants by default and was forced to make a lot of hard decisions in order to preserve their species. But does his naysayers have just cause for their opinions? Let’s go through all the major reasons why Cyclops is hated.
Cyclops Fielded Assassination Squads
True enough. Cyclops broke one of the cardinal rules of being a super hero, i.e. no killing. He reformed X-Force and filled it with the X-Men’s best trackers and killers. But remember, he did it out of desperation when the mutants were endangered and at their weakest moment. The only people he sanctioned for termination were enemies of mutant kind that actively hunted them down; groups like the Right and the Purifiers, the latter having already killed a large number of innocent mutant teenagers and were planning to kill more.
With his back to the wall, Scott decided that the only way he could protect the remaining mutants was to proactively eliminate potential threats. Now is it really morally reprehensible to kill your enemies when they’ve been killing your kids? When mutants started appearing after Hope Summers, the widely believed mutant messiah, came back from the future, Cyclops disbanded X-Force and it was Wolverine who continued with it without the former’s knowledge.
Cyclops Uses Children As Soldiers
The whole reason why Wolverine and his faction split from Cyclops’s is because the savage killer felt that Cyclops was out of line in using children as soldiers. Any way you look at it, Cyclops is indeed guilty of that. But what’s the difference between what he did and what Professor X did? Didn’t Xavier take teenagers and train them to be warriors, too? To my knowledge, Cyclops never used mutant teens to engage in any lethal mission, with the exception of X-23, who at that point had already accumulated an impressive kill count on her own. Cyclops simply wanted his wards to be ready and prepared when a fight does come their way. And as persecuted mutants, how big of a chance do you think that scenario is likely to happen?
The breaking point between the two occurred when the Hellfire club attacked a group of X-Men on a museum trip. Led by their new leaders, the Hellfire club successfully incapacitated the heavy hitters of the X-Men and planned on detonating a bomb inside the museum full of civilians. As Cyclops and Wolverine rushed into the area, it became clear that they wouldn’t make it on time. Oya, one of the new mutants who emerged after Hope Summer’s return, was the only remaining active mutant inside the building. Now the thing with Oya is that she’s accidentally killed several people in her hometown when her mutant powers manifested. She’s a 14-year-old girl who genuinely thinks that she’s a monster who will eventually pay for her sins. If you could pick the very last person you’d want to go against a group of killers, it was definitely her. When she established psychic contact with both Cyclops and Wolverine, she asked what she needed to do as the bomb’s countdown was fast approaching. Wolverine snarled in protest that he could make it in time while Cyclops ordered her to do what she feels is right. He didn’t outright tell her to kill those henchmen, but I agree that’s hiding behind a technicality. But what were the alternatives? Had Oya not saved the day, 100 civilians would have died along with a good chunk of the X-Men. Wolverine can go act high and mighty all he wants, but the fact is he wasn’t there to help because he disobeyed his orders to go to a bar instead.
Cyclops Gambled The Fate Of The World In AVX
Cyclops believed the Phoenix’s main goal in returning to Earth was to restore the mutant population, yet some fans feel that Cyclops took a huge gamble in his decision to fight the Avengers over it. But let’s look at the facts here: the Phoenix was coming to Earth no matter what anybody did. Cyclops was preparing Hope, the Phoenix host, for the Phoenix while Captain America and the Avengers were trying to prevent its arrival and abduct Hope in the process. Also consider that at this point, the Avengers had no experience at all with the Phoenix. Their only consultant in the matter was Wolverine, who was still sore over having to kill the last Phoenix host in the form of Jean Grey. And what was Wolverine’s plan with dealing with the Phoenix? I’ll give you a clue, it sounds awfully like snikt. Even Captain America was outraged about Wolverine’s plan on bumping off a teen. After the whole event was over, Cyclops summed up Wolverine’s idiotic plan best.
But aside from his gut feeling, why was Cyclops so convinced that he was right? He had a little help in that department through his time traveling son, Cable. According to his kid, Earth was destroyed when the Avengers succeeded in taking Hope from the X-Men. Horrified by the dismal future he witnessed, he came back in time and almost succeeded in taking out the primary Avengers until Cyclops and Hope stopped him. Before he was incarcerated, he managed to pass the information to Cyclops. In the end, Hope indeed brought back the mutant gene as it was believed. Had the Avengers helped instead, the Phoenix Five wouldn’t have even been born. This is actually one of the most important yet often neglected bit of the whole argument. Imagine you’re in Cyclops’s shoes: your son who came from the future just tells you the whole world goes to hell when the Avengers took Hope. Then out of nowhere, Captain America shows up uninvited in your home with a helicarrier full of Avengers, telling you, not asking, that he’s taking Hope with him. It was probably Cyclops’s worst nightmare come to light.
But The Phoenix Couldn’t Be Controlled
One of the incorrect arguments is that the Phoenix couldn’t be controlled by anyone. Examples of how Jean Grey and Emma Frost, two of the most powerful telepaths in the world, were unable to control it are undeniable. But it’s funny how Cyclops haters tend to conveniently overlook the fact that his daughter from a different timeline, Rachel Summers, was the Phoenix host for years and was completely fine with it. Jean Grey was fine with the Phoenix Force until the Hellfire Club had Mastermind mess with her head.
When Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik, and Namor were imbued with the scattered Phoenix Force and became the Phoenix Five, they immediately started making the world a better place. Cyclops declared no further wars were to be fought all around the world. The Phoenix Five started providing abundant food, free energy, and fresh water to the ones who needed it. Mister Fantastic even did the numbers and said that due to all of the Phoenix Five’s activities, crime and fatalities were at an all-time low. It was possibly the reason why Captain America and Iron Man were against it – because it made them obsolete. And do remember that it was only when Captain America and the Avengers attacked Utopia for the second time and tried abducting Hope again did Phoenix Five member Cyclops start engaging them in hostilities.
Cyclops Killed Professor X
Yup. Probably one of the biggest impacts that the Avengers VS X-Men event had was when Cyclops killed his mentor in the end. What a monster, right? Sure, if you discount the fact that at this point, the other Phoenix Five members had lost their share of the Phoenix and all of it went to him alone. So now you have a person who isn’t even supposed to be a Phoenix host having all these powers while simultaneously being attacked by the combined forces of the Avengers and X-Men. And while this was all happening, Professor X was trying to invade Cyclops’s mind to shut him down, so it’s not as if he went out of his way and singled out Professor X to murder him.
Look at it this way – Jean killed an entire planet while in Dark Phoenix mode and is still viewed kindly, but a possessed Cyclops kills a man, the same man who mind-wiped him from remembering that he had a second brother who “died” on an X-Men mission, and he’s branded a criminal.
At the end of the day, it was Cyclops who took the brunt of the blame in order to get things done, and maybe that’s why his character has that very distinct appeal. He wasn’t looking for vindication and was even willing to go to jail for what he did. He regrets the price that needed to be paid but given the chance, he would do it all over again.
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27 thoughts on “Why Cyclops Was Right”
Couldn’t agree more! I don’t understand how and why the avengers keep getting the ‘good guys’ edit. What were the avengers going to do? Imprison the phoenix? Even if ‘snikt’ had worked, the phoenix would have just gone elsewhere. And I’ll also point out how hypocritical the avengers and particularly wolvie came off from this story, they were willing to kill a young girl, but the death of one Prof X (who has admittedly done some shady stuff in his life) is somehow so much worse? Huh.
I don’t get the Avengers either. My go to response is the entire AVX was written poorly, with the heroes acting out of character.
But what about before? Jean and Hank were separated from the group in Magneto’s subterranean lair in Antarctica. Phoenix had just emerged and announced that she, as Jean, remembered dying and resurrecting. With Jean on Muir island, Scott knocked boots with Jean’s roommate Colleen Wing. Then, as soon as Phoenix killed herself, he nailed Lee Forester, but preferred Jean’s lookalike, Madelyne Pryor, whom he suspected/hoped was Jean resurrected. After accusing her of as much, he married her, impregnated her, then left her – and his infant son – to hook up with Jean. Madelyne dies battling Jean, so he cremated her so that she couldn’t come back (as easily). He married Jean, but left her for Emma Frost, whom he finally betrayed, attacking her to steal her fragment of the Phoenix power. When Phoenix destroyed an inhabited star system, she was not Jean Grey; Cyclops was Scott Summers when he killed Charles Xavier who, curiously, was the only fatality of that battle. Scott said he wanted the Phoenix Force to reignite the mutant gene, but he never used it for that purpose. How was he right with any of this?
Scott did what needed to be done. He didn’t wait around and ask for opinions all day or round up every xman and avenger to survey their beliefs. NO! AvX series was a great read, but what I loved most was the realism about Scott and his decisions. You can’t win a war by being nice, and you defiantly can’t save an entire race without being a little “cold” or unfair in some situations. I love Scott’s new more militant and proactive approach. Long live the extinction team!!
The Avengers were not the heroes of AvsX, in fact every time they acted it was only made things worse. They just didn’t know what the hell they were doing, which is why their victory was suitably hollow, because that’s as much as they deserved.
The best text I’ve ever read, congrats champs #Brazilianfan
Thanks! Appreciate the compliment. 🙂
Hi! It seems that you wrote this text a while ago, but I will comment anyway. This is an excellent text and it summerises spectacularly cyclops’ point.
A lot of readers tend to read articles from wikis or websites that doesn’t explain everything that happens on the book, only the most “important”, or what they consider important, events. That is why a lot of fans are against cyclops and/or the treat that the character has been receiving from writers. The way I see it, Cyclops and Wolverine have evolved a lot the last couple of years, but few writers were able to either understand them or continue the path of the previous writer. I don’t know the rest of you, but I really dig the idea of Cyclops “becoming” Magneto and Wolverine turning into Proffesor X. AvX was a dumb event that wasn’t written objectively at all…but after Secret Wars I find Cyclops almost irrecoverable. Here is hoping the character to return at some point. After all, Cyclops was right. And so do you.
Greetings from Argentina…!
I always appreciate comments even in old posts. Thanks for the kind words. 🙂
After all these events, Cyclops still emerges as one of the best xmen character there is.
I despise AvX, but Cyclops was the one bright spot in that mess just because he’s the only one who took the logical route. He’s one of the most well developed characters in the Marvel U.
The double standards of the Avengers are palpable. Cyclops accidentally kills one character and the world turns on him. Wolverine has killed a truckload of people and the Avengers welcome him with open arms.
Cyclops is my favourite x-men character and he deserves a little bit of credit
Thanks for the article, it made my day
Correction: He deserves a LOT of credit. 😉
Fucking awesome piece of writing
What I found Cap and Avenger hypocritical was that the whole reason Scott was forced to become who he is now is beacause of Avengers and Cap. The whole 198 won’t even happen if Cap and Avengers just gave the Witch up back then isn’t it? So back then, Avenger and Cap won’t to that to save mutant and now They do the exact same thing and they expect Scott and X-Men to just give Hope to them?
hi, came here today because i genuinely thought i was the only one that thought ‘cyclops was right’ i’m glad to see you guys know it too and glad to find this post. i’ve been an X-men fan since ’94 and though my favourite character is still Gambit, Cyclops has impressed me over and over with his tactical, well thought out plans(remember the battle with dark avengerand dark x-men), he’s leadership skill and determination to make sure mutants survive, even magneto admitted he pulled off what he and Xavier couldnt. It pissed me off that people like xavier who did the worst of things were still seen by all of earth-616 as best of mutantkind, i suppose you can say he’s good outweighed the bad, but he hid a lot of bad. Scott on the other hand did a lot for mutants too and did a lot less bad but he is seen as a “bad man”. the kids fighting, the death squad, the AvX story those were all necessary, the man literally reignited mutantkind, but apparently that doesnt matter. i don’t really get my comics on time so i read them as i get them a little while ago I read uncanny X-Men #600(it was the last piece of the X-men stories i havent read), where once again he pulls off something which seemed impossible until then, all the mutants gathering in front of the white house, Astonishing!!! I bring this question to you guys, show me 1 thing that Cyclops did wrong since taking over the X-Men, one thing where he made a decision where there was a better option? Good luck…
one last thing, nobody is mentioning this anywhere, not in the comics not online, nowhere. in the AvX story, Scott planned to let Hope and phoenix get together and yes he wasn’t sure but he had faith it would work. If it wasn’t for the avengers and particularly Iron Man & Beast who decided to shoot the thing with some ray the phoenix would not have split into the 5(who wasn’t meant to hold the phoenix) and the whole ‘them getting corrupted by it’ would have never have happened, so Xavier death should be Iron Man’s fault, the avengers fault.
So once again i’ll say “Scott Summers was right!”, let me know if you think i’m wrong.
greeting from from RSA
Wow I get here by accident but I’m very pleased. Yes I think that Cyclops is right and he has been unjustly chewed when everybody else get benefited by his sacrifices. But personally I think one of the worst characters and ironically of the most beneficiated by Cyclops was Wolverine himself. That hypocrite had a grudge against Cyclops so played with Avengers fears to convinced them that there is no way Cyclops will talk to the about their options and instead get them to attack his place while using the distraction to attempt to kill Hope, he did everything in his power to escalate the problem and still got “the moral ground”, new students and the pleasure to chew Cyclops at prison when he gets incarcerated.
u r right. in fact, they are the real villains of the story.
I mean the avengers
Been a fan of the X-men since the early/mid eighties. Always been a fan of Cyclops, yes he makes mistakes but he usually owns up to them. Due to that, most of the x-men respect him. Wolverine on the other hand gets away with a lot and everyone just looks away/sweeps it under the rug. yeah he’s a killer but he’s our killer. One thing not mentioned in the article that should have been; is that the Phoenix Five were completely stable. The least stable,arguably, was Namor. Namor has always had a fiery temper. He gets insulted easily and his first response is usually fisticuffs. The Avengers exploit this and defeat him, making his portion of the Phoenix Force get divided among the remaining Phoenix Five. This in turn makes them unstable and easier to defeat. Imo, AvX was poorly written in the first place, yes it had it moments, but garbage is still garbage. AvX was my first real dislike for Brian Michael Bendis(lead writer). Prior I didn’t mind his writing, but AvX was the first big noticeable downward turn. I’m still not a fan of what he did with Iceman either(not getting into that).
Great point Shawn, i forgot the fact the Phoenix Five, all of them were stable, they had it covered. and yeah man totally agree, was a fan of Bendis , but lest see what hickman has in store for our born leader.
You can’t use point to the Dark Phoenix destroying a planet in the guise of Jean Grey to make a comparison to Scott. The reason why Jean is still beloved despite having killed a planet is for one very specific reason. That was NOT Jean.
The Phoenix had placed Jean’s body in a healing cocoon and left it at the bottom of the Hudson River, and in the meantime turned itself into a carbon copy of Jean, memories and all, so thoroughly that it believed itself to BE Jean and erased its own memory of having duplicated her body and mind. It wasn’t until some time after the Phoenix destroyed itself that Jean was recovered from the Hudson, and even longer before it was discovered that the Phoenix itself had placed her there and taken over her life.
So, no, nobody is being hypocrites by being okay with Jean’s actions as Phoenix while unfairly hating on Scott. Because that first Phoenix wasn’t actually Jean at all.
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