Friday, November 27, 2009

Cyclops wouldn't call this his finest hour, but I might.

I've often said I'm not a fan of the X-Men's Cyclops. Well, not phrased like that: I usually refer to him as a colossal tool. He's a humorless toy soldier with a mutant-sized sense of over-responsibility; who constantly acts like the world would end if old One-Eye took his...eye off the ball. He's one of the bigger whiners about his mutant powers--I don't think Rogue complained as much as he did. Scott's treatment of his wife Maddie was at best deplorable negligence, and I don't think Cable remembers him as father of the year either.

And yet, with a little effort, I can find a story where I like Cyclops. I just had to find one where he's not himself:

X-Factor #14, "The Mutant Program!" Written by Louise Simonson, pencils by Walt Simonson, inks by Bob Wiacek.

While the giant Sentinal Master Mold searches for one of the mutant Twelve (a plotline that wouldn't wrap up for something like eleven years) Scott Summers is a wreck. And so is his house, which he just blew up with his optic blasts. After ditching his wife and newborn son to join X-Factor (and reunite with the returned Jean Grey) Scott returns to find all record of them erased, and the house wiped of any traces, save a single baby rattle. The stress of that, coupled with the overall failure of X-Factor (trying to save mutants, while driving up hysteria by posing as mutant hunters, wasn't the best idea ever) has driven Scott a little out of his head. That, and Scott's probably heard so many of Professor X's lectures in his head over the years, that there's still some residue in there.

The cops show up and find the babbling Scott, who perhaps shouldn't have started things by mentioning how nice it was to talk to someone real for a change. Cuffed, Scott incredulously points out those can't hold him; as the imaginary Professor tells him not to blow his cover. The cops also find photos of the same redheaded girl in Scott's wallet, but he explains Jean and Maddie weren't the same at all, even if he was fooled. The cops worry, since back in the morgue, lies a body with red hair...

On their way back to the police station, Master Mold attacks the hell out of them:

The remaining cop gives Scott back his visor, so he can control his optic blasts; and instead of his usual tactical precision, Scott attacks himself as much as the Master Mold. "Xavier's biggest failure...slipped a cog...betrayed my programming..." I don't think any of the other X-Men, even the other originals, had that type of relationship with Professor X. At this point, Scott's devoted most of his life to Xavier's dream, and he knew he wasn't doing the job. He manages to destroy most of the insane Master Mold...

...but not quite! Scott lures the "skuttling mad thing" between a refinery's oil tanks, before getting grabbed. As MM rants about the Twelve, Scott considers simply blowing it and himself apart; but remembers another of Xavier's teachings: "Any clumsy fool can die...what do you take me for, an amateur?" He blasts the hand off, tricks the Master Mold into blasting the tanks, and survives under cover of the hand.

The cop pulls Scott from the wreckage, and lies, that Master Mold destroyed the house. Except now, he has to show Scott something in the morgue...

Meanwhile, back in New York, a court order gives the doctors the okay to perform the surgery to save Warren Worthington III's amputating his wings.


billjac said...

That actually doesn't sound half bad and the art's pretty cool. Would you recommend searching out the Simonsons' X-Factor run in the quarter bins?

Anonymous said...

With exceptions for when the writing is really offoff, Scott's really not much of a whiner. Most of his moping is done through internal monologues and solliloquies. The guy's had a really impressively bad life. Of course, readers are privy to a lot of those thoughts, perhaps leading to the perception of whining. But, like Bruce Wayne, he's a brooder, and less of one than Bruce in certain stories I could name.