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!
After sharing writing duties with Ed Brisson and Kelly Thompson on Uncanny X-Men’s 10-part opening story arc, “X-Men Disassembled,” writer Matthew Rosenberg takes the helm of the flagship X-title for its next chapter. Rosenberg will join forces with artist Salvador Larroca for the long-awaited return of Cyclops and Wolverine to the series that made them fan-favorite X-Men.
While the eXtra-sized Uncanny X-Men #11 doesn’t hit stands until February, you don’t have to wait as long for story details, as both AiPT! and Rosenberg happened to be under the same roof at ACE Comic Con Arizona January 12, where talk quickly turned to Cyclops, of course!
AiPT!: So as we’re doing Cyclops Week at AiPT!, what can you tease about the Cyclops story that kicks off with Uncanny X-Men #11?
Matthew Rosenberg: OK, I’ll answer your question with a question: Why does Cyclops only get a week? That’s messed up.
AiPT!: We just had Uncanny X-Month in November…
Rosenberg: Does anyone else get a week?
AiPT!: We’re gonna give Wolverine two… [Editor Note: He’s just kidding, folks!]
Rosenberg: Two weeks? Wolverine gets two and Cyclops gets one?
AiPT!: I wanted Multiple Man to get three.
Rosenberg: Multiple Man should have a week and then two weeks off and then another one and then you guys just run the same stuff.
AiPT!: The same articles over and over again.
Rosenberg: OK, so let me answer the question now. What can I tell you about the story? It’s the return of Cyclops and Wolverine to the X-Men. The original Cyclops and the original Wolverine have both been gone for a while and they haven’t been together for much, much longer–almost a decade, since “Schism.” So the end of the “Disassembled” story is going to leave the X-Men–there aren’t really going be X-Men at the end of “Disassembled” anymore is all I can say. So Cyclops is attempting to restart the X-Men and he has a list of problems that the X-Men never dealt with and this is their last chance to deal with them. He thinks that mutants and the X-Men are going away, so he wants to cross as much off his list as he can. So he’s reforming the X-Men with whoever he can find to finish the jobs they didn’t finish.
AiPT!: Nice. It’s like a mutant Bucket List basically, without Jack Nicholson.
Rosenberg: Yeah, Jack Nicholson’s in it. Jack Nicholson would have been a great Wolverine. A young Five Easy Pieces, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Jack Nicholson.
AiPT!: So, you’ve said that Havok is your favorite X-Man…
Rosenberg: Havok and Magik.
AiPT!: And based on the cover to Uncanny X-Men #14, Alex Summers will be on Scott’s new X-Men team. As a writer and fan of Havok, what appeals to you about having these two brothers on the same squad?
Rosenberg: Oh, you know, it’s really funny because they’ve been in books together a lot but they’re not on teams together a lot. They’re really kept separate. One of them is over on X-Factor, then the other one’s over on X-Factor. They’re just not together that much. I think there’s a really interesting dynamic. I think each one of them makes the other more interesting. Inherently, Cyclops is sort of this stoic leader, but how does that work with your family? How does it work when someone’s not afraid to call you out and make fun of you and see through the facade? He knows when Cyclops is scared, he knows when Cyclops is unsure of himself. And the same way, Alex has always been the little brother who’s perpetually the X-Man with the most to prove, kind of because he’s got the mantle of a Summers brother but not the respect that comes with it. So he’s trying to live up to his brother’s name, standing next to his brother.
So that’s something we’re playing with and also, early on, there’s a scene that I’m really into–I’m not going to spoil it entirely, but Cyclops needs the councel of an X-Man and he goes to Wolverine instead of Havok, and Havok is really hurt and the idea is just that Cyclops needs people who are going to tell him when he’s f-----g up and Havok is going to stick by him no matter what, and like, he needs that too, but it’s a scene I really like. I have an older brother and I tried to draw a lot of inspiration from those dynamics of like, when could my brother rely on me and when could it be a liability for someone like Cyclops who’s come back and kind of questioning himself and a lot of the decisions he’s made in the past and what his legacy is and what the X-Men’s legacy is. It’s important he has a supporter there, but it’s also important that people will call him out on stuff.
They’re never quite on the same level and it’s hard for them to get there and that’s actually a big theme in the book–the ideas of leadership and who the leaders are. A lot of people pointed out Jean and Storm are gone, but a lot of people aren’t picking up on that the team is stacked with leaders. It’s Dani Moonstar and Jamie Madrox and Havok and Cyclops and Magik and Wolverine–they’re all captains, so there’s definitely a dynamic of what we’re going for of what authority means and who gets it that we’re trying to examine.
AiPT!: Do you have a favorite Cyclops story?
Rosenberg: Cyclops is interesting to me–and this is where I’m going to lose a lot of people–Cyclops is one of my favorite Marvel characters because my favorite Cyclops story is the entire story of Cyclops, because it is an entire story. Spider-Man doesn’t have an entire story, he has episodes and chapters in a life. Cyclops has an actual Shakespearean arc of being the kid, the prized pupil, the boy scout ascending to leadership, surpassing that leadership and then the fall and becoming the thing he fought against becoming, the thing he hates and having this tragic death. To me, like Death of X and the end of Cyclops–it’s Shakespearean. Like, it’s the end of a life and it’s this tragic ending and I talk to a lot of Cyclops fans who hate that he became a villain or monster and I say he has the best story in Marvel Comics. He’s the fallen hero. You can’t ask for something better for a character. So the burden of bringing Cyclops back is, how do I add to a story that I think is pretty flawless? This is about redemption and second chances and what you do with second chances and like, will you screw up again?
So this is what we’re examining. He has perspective, he came back to life and now he’s seen what his legacy is and what the world is because of him and it’s terrifying to him. It’s sort of a cop out–there’s a lot of Cyclops stuff I love, but the best thing about Cyclops is all of it together. The 55 years of Cyclops or whatever. I just did that number off the top of my head.
AiPT!: That’s why he has a week. Final question: Would you rather be an Uber driver or Cyclops retired in Alaska?
Rosenberg: Oh, I’d be Cyclops retired in Alaska. That sounds awesome. I was just reading the Kieron Gillen Uncanny X-Men, I was rereading that and Mr. Sinister is like, building a world for himself under the place in Alaska where Cyclops was. It’s so good… just such a jerk, like, to go to this place and just be like, “I’m going to build this right under where you” … so funny.
The giant-sized Uncanny X-Men #11 by Matthew Rosenberg, Salvador Larroca, John McCrea and Juanan Ramirez goes on sale February 6. Visit Xavier Files for an eXclusive preview.