Published January 23, 2019

‘Uncanny X-Men Annual’: Cyclops Was Right

The founding member of the X-Men may have been branded as a villain, but Scott Summers was right all along.

Following the conclusion of “X-Men: Disassembled” in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN, Marvel’s mutant heroes reached their lowest point. Almost everyone who was ever a member of the team has been seemingly obliterated, and the world happily moved on. There’s also a mutant vaccine that’s officially been released to prevent the emergence of any new mutant powers. The age of the mutants may be over, and the biggest takeaway here is simple: Cyclops was right. Now, the world is going to pay the price.

After his return on the final page of EXTERMINATION, Scott Summers will be officially making his comeback this week in UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #1. Writer Ed Brisson and artist Carlos E. Gomez will shed some light on his apparent resurrection, and what’s next for the original member of the X-Men, now that he may be the last one. But first, is going to take a look back Cyclops’ legacy and how a respected mutant hero became a revolutionary.

Scott and Emma after House of M

It started over a decade ago, in the aftermath of HOUSE OF M. The Scarlet Witch decimated the mutant population with her “No More Mutants” command, and less than 200 mutants retained their power after M-Day. With so few mutants left in the world, the majority turned to the X-Men for protection. Under Cyclops’ banner, the remaining mutants eventually relocated to San Francisco to find the tolerance they always hoped for.

Around this time, Cyclops became more media savvy and hired a PR agent named Katie Kildare to get his message out. During Norman Osborn’s DARK REIGN, Cyclops founded the mutant nation Utopia off the coast of San Francisco. It was the only way to protect his people, but it alarmed the rest of the world because it proved that the X-Men could claim their own land if they wanted to.

Cyclops’ more militaristic turn led to a Schism with his long-time ally Wolverine. The man called Logan grew disillusioned by the way Cyclops called upon the younger mutants to fight and kill. Cyclops even reformed X-Force as squad of killers designed to take out the deadliest enemies of mutants. But the straw that broke the camel's back came when Cyclops gave his tacit approval for a teenage girl named Idie Okonkwo to kill Hellfire Club soldiers who would have killed her and the X-Men if she hadn’t acted. Wolverine fought Cyclops over that decision, effectively splitting the team between them.

Cyclops vs. Wolverine

While Wolverine re-opened the school for mutants, Cyclops formed an Extinction Team that featured some of the most powerful mutants on Earth. It was a show of force to establish the X-Men as a team on par with the Avengers. Perhaps it should have been no surprise when AVENGERS VS. X-MEN pit both teams against each other. The genesis of that conflict came when the Phoenix Force was making its way towards Earth. Cyclops believed that the Phoenix was the best way to restore the spark of life to the mutant race. The Avengers felt that the Phoenix would bring only destruction, and it led to a war between the two teams of heroes.

It was the X-Men who emerged victorious, thanks to Cyclops and the rest of the Phoenix 5. Using their newfound cosmic powers, the Phoenix 5 imprisoned several Avengers and began making Earth into a paradise. However, the Phoenix Force couldn’t be controlled forever, and it began to affect Cyclops’ sanity. In a fit of rage, he killed his mentor Charles Xavier and became Dark Phoenix. The Phoenix itself may hold most of the blame for Xavier’s death, but the majority of the X-Men blamed Cyclops himself. Even after the Phoenix undid the Scarlet Witch’s edict, Cyclops was considered a criminal and incarcerated.

Cyclops becomes Dark Phoenix

That led to the birth of the “Cyclops Was Right” movement, even among humans. When Cyclops was inevitably freed by his breakaway team of X-Men, he became even more radicalized than before. It’s important to note that Cyclops never embraced villainy or terrorism, but his militant nature startled his former teammates. Beast was so worried about a mutant civil war that he actually brought the original five X-Men to the present in order to get the older Cyclops off of his destructive path.  

Even Cyclops was forced to acknowledge that he was walking a darker path by Eva Bell, one of his newest students. At that point, Cyclops began to pull back from his more radical stances. Unfortunately, Cyclops was killed soon after when he was exposed to the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mists. Emma Frost faked Cyclops’ survival and instigated a conflict with the Inhumans that ended with Cyclops’ apparent demise. That was the moment that Cyclops lost most of his popular support among humans and mutants, even though he wasn’t actually guilty of Frost’s crimes.

Emma kills Cyclops

In hindsight, it’s hard to argue against Cyclops’ harder edge and his militant approach to mutant survival. He was one of the few X-Men to realize that Xavier’s dream was never going to work on its own, and he fashioned his own dream. It was a darker vision, to be sure, but it was also one that could have prevented the X-Men from falling as far as they have. Now, Cyclops is going to have to pick up the pieces and put together a new team in the X-Men’s darkest hour. But we wouldn’t bet against him. Scott Summers is a survivor, even when he should be dead.

UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #1, written by Ed Brisson with art by Carlos E. Gomez, is on sale now, online and at your local comic shop.


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