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X-Men Fashion Friday: Cyclops

In honor of Cyclops Week, our panel of fashion judges evaluate Scott Summers’ many costumes.

He’s been a leader and a revolutionary, a husband and a father, a hero and a villain–He’s Cyclops, the first X-Man. The many roles Scott Summers has played since his debut in 1963 have made him one of the X-Men and comics’ most complex characters. In honor of Slim’s full-fledged return from the dead in this week’s Uncanny X-Men Annual #1, AiPT! is proud to present: CYCLOPS WEEK!

 

If there’s one thing superheroes usually aren’t, it’s ordinary. Their over-the-top flair extends not only to their powers and morals, but to their fashions as well. There are few super teams where this is more the case than the X-Men. In honor of Cyclops Week, we’re turning our attention to just some of the many costumes Scott Summers has worn through the years. Which of his looks is the best? Our panel of fashion judges, Cyclops Week Curator Chris Hassan, Content and Media Manager David Brooke, Contributor Jason Segarra, Contributor Forrest Hollingsworth and Manga Editor Eric Cline decide!

The classic blue-and-yellow costume

Art by John Byrne

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: When the time came for the original X-Men to ditch their blue-and-yellow school uniforms and become individuals… Scott did very little to mix it up. But you know what? It works for Slim! It’s hard not to love the costume Cyke wore in so many classic X-Men stories, but the bright yellow underwear and pirate boots are certainly an interesting choice. It would take a few decades, but Cyclops eventually set this look right. Score: 8/10

David: I was never a fan of this simple look because of the yellow underoos. The mostly blue spandex is cool and all, but it looks like he’s wearing a diaper. Overall, the costume has the right color, but it’s so subtle it reads to me like a costume they were trying out before they reached the real winner. Score: 6/10

Jason: Though I like this better than his first “generic X-Man” uniform, there are definitely some issues to be taken here. I don’t mind the thunder trunks, but the pirate boots and gloves are a no-no. Similarly, I don’t like the full head condom. Dude has shoulder length hair in most depictions, that has to be hot and uncomfortable in a fire fight. Still, this is probably the most iconic of Cyke’s looks. It’s clean, simple and not flashy–just like Cyclops. Score: 7/10

Forrest: I like this one well enough. The sharp contrasts between the blue and yellow is quintessential X-Men and I like the little nod to the fact that nobody can escape all the X-branding with that belt buckle. The boots and… loin cloth look a little too loose and extra to really seal the deal. Score 7/10

Eric: I really like Scott’s classic look. It’s very simple and streamlined, so your attention isn’t too distracted from the most crucial element, his visor. Yellow pops well against dark blue, and I actually like the pirate boots. They’re silly, but hey, so is the character (and I mean that lovingly). Score: 8/10

Overall Score: 7.2/10

The blue-and-white X-Factor costume

Art by Walt Simonson

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: Bleh. While losing the bright yellow trunks was a move in the right direction, going from blue and yellow to blue and white was a pretty uninspired decision. This is like if vanilla ice cream was a costume. The “X” across the chest makes sense, but there are too many unnecessary lines–especially the one above his visor (which should have been a metallic white to keep with the theme). Score: 6/10

David: We get it, you’re in X-Factor, you don’t have to shout it with a big white “X” on your chest, dude. This is a step back from the classic blue and yellow due to the boring use of color. Score: 4/10

Jason: Let it be heard far and wide, I have always hated X-Men flight- and wetsuits. This thing is just so boring and flat. AND HE KEPT THE DAMN PIRATE BOOTIES AND GLOVES! What the hell, Slim? Hire an image consultant. Wait a minute, X-Factor? An image consultant put you IN this mess? Woof. Score: 4/10

Forrest: I’m a big fan of these simple, X-centric (has that ever been a book title?) suits but this one misses the mark with the boots and the gloves like Jason noted. Cyclops… are you wearing the Chanel boots? Score 5/10

Eric: It looks like I’m in the minority here, but I love this suit. It’s easily one of Scott’s best for me. Again, the color contrast is great. I’m usually not a fan of uniforms that just reflect the team’s identity rather than the individual’s, but in this case I think it works. Scott is one of the most quintessential X-Men after all, and he’s perhaps the one whose identity is most tied up to his membership in the team. And, again, keeping things simple and streamlined prevents other costume elements from distracting from the visor. Score: 8/10

Overall Score: 5.4/10

The ’90s costume

Art by Jim Lee

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: As this is the costume Cyclops wore on the ’90s animated series, it’s the look that defined the X-Men’s leader for a generation of fans. Don’t get me wrong, it can look pretty badass when drawn by Jim Lee or another dynamic penciler, but take a closer look and it suffers from ’90s pouch-and-strap mania. What does Scott keep in all those pouches? Why the leg straps? Seriously, what purpose do those serve? They keep your pants on tight? And how exactly does that half-mask go stay on his head? It’s an interesting update of the classic costume, but I’ll take that one any day of the week. Score: 7/10

David: Buckles, pouches, oh my! I have to say I’ve always loved the cross body buckle even if it was pointless. This is all form and no function and while the nostalgic vibes are strong with this one, it’s not the best look. Score: 6/10

Jason: I also wonder what the deal is with Cyke’s crossing guard sash, but I’m a fan of this outfit–especially when he wore his slick-ass bomber jacket with it. Let’s be real, the trunks are iconic superhero standard issue, and Scott finally ditched the flared ankles and calves look in favor of something more low-profile. Dude even clamped the ends down with some Liefeldian buckles which… is a bit ’90s, sure, but given that my man finally let his brain breath, I gotta give props to the adjectiveless-era Scott Summers. Score: 8/10

Forrest: As a ’90s baby, this is the suit I know, but it’s not necessarily the one I love. The visor and some of the detailing is especially cool here, but that neck strap and the hyper-chunkiness of everything throws it off balance. The second “X” in the design doesn’t add much over the O.G. belt even if the call back to the yellows and blues is cool. Score 6/10

Eric: I have mixed feelings on this outfit. I think how good it looks largely depends on who’s drawing it. Jim Lee could pull it off, but… well… that was Jim Lee. I don’t think Scott is a character whose designs benefit from having lots of unnecessary details. The pouches, the leg straps… a lot about this just looks kind of awkward. Score: 6/10

Overall Score: 6.6/10

The Age of Apocalypse costume

Art by Steve Epting

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: In the Age of Apocalypse, Scott Summers is Lorenzo Lamas. This is a classic example of a costume that is designed to look interesting, but really doesn’t make much sense when you analyze it. Why is one arm exposed and the other is encased in… I want to say metal? And, I get that he may be a little self-conscious about losing his eye in a battle with Weapon X, but he doesn’t have to grow his hair that long and sweep it to the side like that. That can’t be convenient in battle. But points for being a true Cyclops. Score: 6/10

David: This costume makes some sense given the armor he’s wearing, although that hair has to get in the way when fighting. This look appears to be an evolution of Jim Lee’s design but darker and brooding. I say it’s about as good. Score: 6/10

Jason: Who knew the Pantene Pro-V conditioner factory made it through the nightmarish hellscape that was the Age of Apocalypse? I like that “evil” Cyke managed to keep his blue-and-yellow color scheme regardless of what reality he’s in, and I dig his scaled down headgear (what with his missing eye and all), but he’s got the same haircut that half of the Emo girls I knew in college ditched when they discovered bangs. I’ve also never understood the concept of armor on one arm. Hoping all your foes strike from the left, eh, Scott? Still, this isn’t a bad look for the defining X-Men arc of the ’90s, I just think dude wouldn’t find his true aesthetic for another decade or so. Score 7/10

Forrest: I actually love this. It’s a refreshing but recognizable take on the character that, sure, falls prey to the same pouch predilections as the previous, but is offset by some cool details and flowy hair that is the envy of this bald man very much. Score: 8/10

Eric: Bleh. This is just a generic, semi-badboy look with a clunky-looking metal arm. I’m bored. Score: 4/10

Overall Score: 6.2/10

The Apocalypse costume

Art by Alan Davis

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: Hey kids, do you like flesh tubes? Not only is a Cyclops-Apocalypse hybrid something no one ever wanted to see, but this design is just downright ugly to look at. Really? No nose? Did people learn nothing from noseless Wolverine? In future appearances, Scottpocalypse was just all blue. Like blue body paint from head to toe. Such a lazy design for such an essential moment in Cyclops’ publishing history. Score: 1/10

David: The skin tubing screams ’90s weird and the gash in his face makes you want to roll your eyes. You don’t often see costumes that at once look overdone and simple. What a weird time in comics. Score: 2/10

Jason: Yeah, not a fan of Aclopsalypse. I thought “The Twelve” storyline didn’t live up to its premise and have never really been a fan of Alan Davis’ pencils, but this has “rush job” written all over it. What are those iron handles popping out of his shoulders? What’s up with that random tube in his leg? Why does he only have one eye when the two people he’s composed of have both of their eyes. Mysteries for the ages, my friends. Score: 1/10

Forrest: Sorry someone decided to turn you into a Doom enemy, Cyclops. Score: 1/10

Eric: Is this Cyclops or a generic lackey who you’d fight in an RPG before facing off against an actual boss? Score: 2/10

Overall Score: 1.4/10

The back-from-the-dead costume

Art by Salvador Larroca

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: Like a teenager updating their Facebook profile picture after a breakup, Cyclops wanted the world to know that merging with Apocalypse had rocked his world. He’d changed. He was a… leather-clad biker? This look–yeesh. The movie-accurate visor and black color scheme was Marvel’s way of trying to be like the hit X-Men movie, but still show they were doing their own thing. The end result is a confusing mess of a costume. From the giant rain boots to the most uncomfortable-looking metal belt I’ve ever seen, this was one time Cyclops wasn’t right. Score: 3/10

David: This costume would fit right in with Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force run seeing as it’s mostly gray. The suit doesn’t do much for me, although the visor is quite cool and has some interesting detail. Score: 4/10

Jason: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS? Midlife crisis Cyclops looks like he’s about to ride by the Jr. College to pick up his 19-year-old girlfriend. Every part of this outfit is bad, the too-tight t-shirt, the big rubber boots, his belt–good god the fold-over belt! I’m no fan of the New X-Men era outfits, but I’ll take the formless parkas over a short-man complex in black pleather any day. Score: 2/10

Forrest: Nope. Nope. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Whoops. There’s way too much going on here. I’ve no doubt this costume was a nightmare for artists with all the over-the-top detailing and worst of all it doesn’t even look comfortable or that cool. The chafing! Take care of yourself, ‘Clops! Score: 1/10

Eric: I know I said the last look was boring but this one may be even worse. Normally Scott can pull off a generic X-uniform, but one in all black leather is a hard sell for the character. It just seems like it’s trying to be badass in a way that doesn’t fit the character well. Score: 3/10

Overall Score: 2.6/10

The New X-Men costume

Art by Frank Quitely

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: I never like when the X-Men all wear the same uniform, and I especially didn’t like these boring costumes. The ribbed turtleneck, the puffy jacket, the leather pants–it’s all stuff I don’t want to see on my X-Men. I’m also never a fan of a narrow visor on Scott. I know this is a beloved era for many X-Fans, but I’m very happy the team eventually donated these old looks to the Salvation Army. Score: 5/10

David: I always liked this look because it looked so comfy. That coat has to be warm, right? I also like the pipping going on with the turtleneck. Again though, this costume is very simplistic. The “X” shin guards this suit had were pretty rad, though. Score: 5/10

Jason: As I said in the last entry, the real problem with this look is that it’s formless. Scott (and by proxy all of the X-Men who donned this getup) looks like a child who got an oversized starter jacket for Christmas. It just doesn’t scream superhero, and I don’t read an X-Men comic to follow average people in puffy jackets. Score: 4/10

Forrest: This is a better end result for the white-and-blue suit, in my opinion. There’s a cool, simple “X” design with a great focus on function and form here that works for me with a nice inclusion of the classic colors. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it aside from that Scott’s proportions do look a little off–too big on top. Score: 8/10

Eric: I like this one. On one hand, yes, it’s more black leather. But Quitely’s designs still have a sense of fun to them, and the primarily yellow jacket helps prevent things from feeling too serious and “edgy.” Scott looks a bit silly in it, but it’s humorous and it works. Not his best look, but a solid one. Score: 7/10

Overall Score: 5.8/10

The Astonishing X-Men costume

Art by John Cassaday

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: I never thought Marvel would bring the skullcap back until Astonishing X-Men came along and delivered what’s probably Cyclops’ best costume. It screams classic Cyke with a modern update. Gone are the bright-yellow undies, pirate boots and gloves in favor of subtle gold piping, which makes a lot more sense with the X-Men’s blue-and-gold theme. An updated version of this suit followed, but I always felt that one junked up what was already a perfect design. Score: 10/10

David: It’s a scuba sort of look to be sure, but it utilizes lines very well. I never did like the bald cap look this gives Cyclops, but it does focus your eyes on his visor. One advantage this costume has over the others is how it looks functional. It’s something you could see a guy running, kicking and commanding a team would wear. Score: 8/10

Jason: I know I badmouthed the close-domed suit of Cyke’s youth, but this is my second-favorite look in Cyclops’ more than 55-year publication history. There were a few variations of this one, including a version with a weird, spiky shoulder accessory, but the simple dark-blue, speed-skating outfit with gold piping is tops. I genuinely enjoy when my man goes casual and wears his hood down, but when he’s suited up, this is an outfit that definitely commands more respect than the pirate boots ever did. This is serious Cyclops–and serious Scott, is best Scott. Score: 9/10

Forrest: I like the simple, sleek blue suit and the leading lines down the torso but I think the effect of this is kind of thrown off by that garish gold, taking an otherwise serious look askew. Score: 6/10

Eric: I know this look is popular, and I don’t dislike it, but… meh. Simple, sleek, relatively similar to his classic look, but not quite as good. This one is just fine for me. Score: 6/10

Overall Score: 7.8/10

The Phoenix Five costume

Art by Jim Cheung

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: That time Cyclops became a Nightwing cosplayer. While all of the Phoenix Five costumes were, let’s say interesting, this was a pretty solid evil-Scott Summers look. It’s menacing yet regal, which is perfect for a Phoenix-powered Cyclops who decided it was just time to take over the planet. The little red thong was certainly an interesting choice. What is with artists’ need to cover Scott’s crotch? Score: 8/10

David: I loved the visor with this costume, the ribbed arms and the prominent Phoenix on the chest. The glow and shoulder pads offer a sense of godly power. It’s a rad costume. Score: 9/10

Jason: Sorry to be the mean judge, but I don’t care for this one. I know we’ve made jokes about his underoos in past outfits, but dude’s legit rocking panties in this one. Like little Ellen Ripley at the end of Alien red panties. And shoulder pads–enormous bright-red shoulder pads. Sure, I like that the pauldrons come up on his neck like legitimate armor, and the Phoenix symbol on his chest is pretty cool (even if Chris is right about the Nightwing similarities), but much like the back-from-the-dead look, this just feels like Scott’s trying too hard. We get it, dude, your body has been inhabited by a fiery space god who wants to make mutants the dominant race on the planet. Act like you’ve been there before. Grade: 4/10

Forrest: There’s a good balance of colors and detail going on here, and for something that’s got so many things happening it’s surprisingly simple-looking. In the end, I think they would’ve been better served putting an extra red touch on the feet or hands, rather than you know… where it is. Score: 6/10

Eric: I’m all about the shoulder pads here. Other than that… eh. The red and black work well together, although, as the others said… the red thong look isn’t working. Score: 5/10

Overall Score: 6.4/10

The mutant revolutionary costume

Art by Chris Bachalo

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Chris: A controversial look, but one I really love. While nothing about the “X” mask/visor makes sense, it’s an inspired design choice. I also adore the color of this costume, which finally runs with the optic blast color scheme. The only downside are the lines on the costume that are present in so many Chris Bachalo designs. If they’d formed an “X” or something, they’d make a lot more sense. Still, it’s a minor nitpick that doesn’t stop this costume from being uncannyScore: 9/10

David: I never understood the “X” mask. How does it work? It’s definitely a more evil-looking costume which suits the vigilante turn for the character. The lines help keep his longer, sleeker self looking trim and athletic too. Score: 7/10

Jason: See, now this is my favorite Cyclops look. At a time when Scott was forced to take on a darker outlook and methodology, he found a way to speak to his best look to date and make it clear that he’s a changed man. Gone are the goofy blue and yellow colors of Michigan University (a team called “The Wolverines” I might add), and in their place is a simplistic black-and-red speed suit that lets you know–this is a dude that will do what it takes to get the job done. Counter to Dave’s (valid) point, I love that the X-visor doesn’t make sense, because when Scott adopted this look, his powers weren’t working the way they used to. It didn’t make sense how his optic blasts moved and arced–the hard-won control that Scott spent years to earn was gone, and thus Scott became a target. This was also a thematic element of the character at the time–as the face of the mutant revolution, Cyclops had a target on his back wherever he went. To go with his more aggressive attitude, he literally placed a crosshair on his costume to welcome everything the world had to throw at him. I like this costume, I guess is what I’m getting at. Score: 10/10

Forrest: This is it. This is the look. I love that X-visor (it makes as much sense as anything else in comics, IMO) The leading lines from the Astonishing suit are upped a notch in a cool, effective way and the colors are totally in keeping with the larger motifs for the character. I think it would be slightly better without the belt, the perfect end result of the white-and-blue suit but other than that, this is my ideal Cyclops costume. Score: 9/10

Eric: I adore this costume. Part of that may be my association of it with the Bendis/Bachalo/Anka Uncanny run, which I love. But even beyond that, it has a lot going for it. It’s simple and sleek, with no awkward outer underwear. The move from blue to red is also an inspired choice. Given how associated the color always has been with the character, it’s shocking how long it took for Scott to rock some crimson. The whole thing just exudes power, and I love the “X” on the mask in place of the usual visor. Score: 9/10

Overall Score: 8.8/10

Final Verdict: The mutant revolutionary costume

Art by Chris Bachalo

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

 

The perfect cover for Cyclops’ crimson costume’s win! With an overall score of 8.8/10, it’s clear our panel of judges preferred Scott’s most extreme look over all the rest, which, based on their scores, seemed to be pretty mediocre.

What’s your favorite Cyclops costume? Let us know in the comment space below!

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