Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Startling, Diverting Things!

You Ain't Trying To Be A Captain - Spencer Ackerman

I have to confess that Scott Summers, Cyclops of the X-Men, was never one of my favorite characters. Particularly since the Chris Claremont era, Cyclops has often been portray as an impotent and ineffective leader. Grant Morrison and Joss Whedon have definitely changed that. Starting with issue #114 of X-Men (retitled New X-Men at Morrison's insistence) Summers has finally come into his own as a leader of great tactical and strategic thought but with a seriously complicated internal struggle. Morrison wrote Summers as a man who tries as hard as he can to move beyond those struggles but finds that ignoring them cost him in the long term. The final story arc of Morrison's epic forty issue run involves Summers accepting the death of his wife and the love of his former enemy Emma Frost.
Whedon continues Summer's growth as a leader attempting to maintain his independence. Ackerman argues that Summers has always relied on someone else like Professor Xavier to validate his decisions. Whedon plays with this idea through Cyclops' relationship with Emma Frost and the tension Frost's presence brings. Kitty Pryde, character favorite of Whedon's, constantly questions whether Cyclops is making decisions on his own or if Emma Frost is controlling him. It's a great counterpoint to Ackerman's accusation that Cyclops in an ineffective leader. It's not that he himself is ineffective but has simply been written that way because no writer has had the balls to do anything different. The one-two punch of Morrison's New X-Men and Whedon's Astonishing X-Men has finally brought out the leader in Scott Summers. I can only wait to see what Warren Ellis will do with Cyclops once his Astonishing X-Men: Second Stage begins this July.