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Obituary: Scott Summers, controversial mutant leader, has died

Scott Summers, the X-Man known as Cyclops, has been killed in Spain.

Mutant advocate Scott Summers, who was commonly referred to as “Cyclops,” has been killed in Madrid following an attempt to assassinate Inhuman Royals Blackagar Boltagon and Medusalith Amaquelin-Boltagon, per a report from New Attilan. Summers was a controversial figure, with some praising his relentless pursuit of social justice for mutants, while others viewed his militaristic actions as a significant threat to national security.

Summers was the orphaned son of Air Force Major Christopher Summers and his wife Katherine. After a plane crash took the lives of his parents, Summers entered the foster care system where clerical errors led to a separation with his younger brother Alex. At 16, Summers was enrolled in Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, a location in Westchester County, New York, some consider a training ground for mutant rights activist Charles Xavier’s personal army of child soldiers. Under the pseudonym Cyclops, Summers led a group of teenagers known as the X-Men in attacks on the Cape Citadel missile base and the sovereign Republic of Santo Marco. These acts of aggression often led to skirmishes with the radical mutant terrorist Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr.

Summers (center) with other members of the X-Men. Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Summers and his X-Men would be at the forefront of many political squabbles, including the attempted assassination of former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Robert Kelly. For a time, Summers rebranded himself as the leader of the “superhero team” X-Factor. This move would further muddy the public perception of Summers.

Quite significant was his involvement in the coup d’état of the democratically elected leadership of the Republic of Genosha. Summers, alongside X-Factor, assisted the Genoshian military in taking control of the country. The island nation spiraled into a bloody civil war until the United Nations ceded control to Lehnsherr. Summers was also critical in dismantling the stability created by the Lehnsherr regime; plunging Genosha into chaos before its tragic destruction in a Sentinel attack.

Summers was essential in the liberation of New York City from Lehnsherr’s brutal takeover which left thousands of New Yorkers dead in its wake. Summers, again, tried to use this as an opportunity to be viewed as a “superhero.” He quickly turned back to his revolutionary views after the sudden decimation of the mutant race. Summers, one of a small number retaining their enhanced abilities, became the de facto leader of the mutant race and pushed for an isolationist stance.

Summers (left), with frequent accomplices Lensherr (center) and Frost (right), in combat with law enforcement. Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Summers rejected the support of the Office of National Emergency and relocated the mutant population to San Francisco. In response to the H.A.M.M.E.R. reaction to mutant riots in the city, Summers led a secessionist movement, forming the “mutant nation” of Utopia in San Francisco Bay. Tensions were raised by his new inner circle, which included controversial Atlantean royal Namor McKenzie and Summers’ frequent enemy Lehnsherr. Regardless of his actions, Summers was awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom for his defense of San Francisco from the collective known as Bastion.

Public opinion shifted heavily after Utopia broke into an all-out war with the Avengers. While the public details are not clear, it is understood that Summers and McKenzie, along with Summers’ paramour Emma Frost and two of his long-time Russian associates, were imbued with godly powers. Calling themselves the “Phoenix Five,” they enacted a fascist rule over the globe. Threatening the sovereignty of the 193 members of the United Nations, Summers forced total nuclear disarmament and ceasefire. His regime ended after a battle with the Avengers and several X-Men where he murdered his mentor Charles Xavier and lost what additional powers he had.

Summers was turned over to federal custody but escaped with the assistance of Lensherr. He began a campaign of guerilla warfare, attacking local law enforcement and other peacekeepers for his so-called “Mutant Revolution.” During this stint, he also assisted in the takeover of Manhattan by the being known as Apocalypse. His supporters would point to activities such as the mutant march on Washington as a sign that he was willing to find a peaceful resolution to this issue.

Summers’ mutant march on Washington. Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Summers was reportedly killed by Inhuman King Blackagar Boltagon as he attempted to assassinate the Inhuman Royals in Madrid. Shortly before the confrontation, Summers sent a telepathic message across the world, espousing the alleged dangers of the Inhumans’ Terrigen Clouds, threatening their destruction. Attilan reported that Summers was successful in the destruction of one of the two clouds composed of Terrigen.

The legacy of Scott Summers will be one of controversy. His terroristic activities were sparked by a genuine concern for mutant equality. In a video before his death, Summers said, “My fellow mutants […] no one else is going to do it for us, we have to fight for ourselves.” Summers lived, and died, by that ethos and was praised by some sects of the mutant community for his radical efforts in the pursuit of civil rights. However, in that same video, Summers ended with a threat: “To those who would deny us our freedom, the fight is coming to you. We just took out the Avengers without lifting a finger. How do you think you’ll do?”

Summers in one of his final televised appearances. Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Summers is survived by his daughter Rachel (Grey) and his son Nathan. He was preceded in death by wife Madelyne (Pryor) and wife Jean (Grey).

 

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!

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