Cyclops Was At His Best When He Wasn’t in The X-Men

Cyclops was better off when he was a member of the Champions, not the X-Men. Scott Summers was the first mutant to be recruited into the X-Men, and over the years he has proved himself their greatest leader. There is a sense in which Cyclops’ powers are almost symbolic; he possesses a unique, singular vision that allows him to navigate the world, and even brought the mutant race back from the brink of extinction.

But despite this, the X-Men haven’t exactly brought Cyclops a lot of happiness. He has lost so many loved ones over the years, even watching his beloved Jean Grey die before his very eyes – twice. His marriage to Madelyne Pryor ended in a literal Inferno of hellfire, teaching Scott there really is nothing worse than a woman scorned. And Cyclops was even forced to part with his son Nathan, sending the infant into an apocalyptic future timeline in order to save the baby’s life. There have been times when Cyclops’ default has seemed to be brooding, and even now it feels as though a part of him refuses to believe peace has come to the mutant race on the living island of Krakoa.

Oddly enough, looking back at Cyclops’ life, he seems to have been happiest at a time when he was not a member of the X-Men. At one point, the original five X-Men were plucked out of time and brought to the present day, with Cyclops initially horrified to learn he was destined to become a mutant revolutionary – and kill Charles Xavier. Cyclops parted ways with the X-Men, initially to travel the stars with his father, and then to become a committed member of the Champions. This was actually the happiest time in Cyclops’ life. He got to spend quality time with the father he had thought was dead, and in his formative years, at a time when that experience was of tremendous value. And in the Champions he found true friends; not fellow mutants who were bound to him by a quirk of genetic fate, but rather people who actually chose to spend time with him.

Tragically, when the original X-Men returned to their own time, the memories of this experience were erased. They did return in the end, with Cyclops recovering his memories when he was raised from the dead by his time travelling son Cable. Since then, it has been fascinating to see how eager Cyclops is to remain loyal to the Champions. During the War of Kings event, Cyclops actually abandoned the X-Men when he heard the Champions were in trouble, and saved their lives from the marauding armies of Malekith. More recently, he learned the Champions were on the run from the United States government, and rushed to their side. Although the Quiet Council argued the X-Men could not get involved in this situation, Cyclops refused to stand idly by while his friends’ lives were at risk.

It’s quite clear Cyclops looks back at this time in his life with a sense of nostalgia, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn a part of him regretted going back to his own time. He can never truly enjoy the friendships he had when he was a teenager – the time travel means the age and experience gap is just too vast – but he will always be there for them. And he’s even been known to switch back to his old Champions costume in order to relive the happiest time of his life. The sad truth is that Cyclops carried a heavy burden as a member, and ultimately a leader, of the mutant race. He was far better off when he wasn’t part of the X-Men.

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