Cyclops first appeared in X-Men #1 (September 1963). He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and has been a mainstay character of the X-Men series. Lee said that Cyclops and the Beast were his two favorite X-Men, elaborating that “I love tortured heroes – and he was tortured because he couldn’t control his power.”Originally dubbed Slim Summers, by X-Men #3 his name was changed to Scott, with ‘Slim’ becoming a nickname. Scott is the first of the X-Men recruited by Professor X; Xavier hand-picks Scott to lead his X-Men, and to carry on the legacy of his mutant-human-harmony ideals. Xavier views Scott as one of his most prized pupils; their relationship exhibits father/son qualities. From time to time, Scott’s extreme loyalty to Xavier has cost him dearly in his relationships with others; but, over the course of the characters’ publication history, he eventually emerges from Xavier’s shadow as the X-Men’s undisputed leader.
Cyclops is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics and is a founding member of the X-Men. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in the comic book The X-Men #1 (September 1963).
Cyclops is a member of a subspecies of humans known as mutants, who are born with superhuman abilities. Cyclops can emit powerful beams of energy from his eyes. He cannot control the beams without the aid of special eye-wear which he must wear at all times. He is typically considered the first of the X-Men, a team of mutant heroes who fight for peace and equality between mutants and humans, and one of the team’s primary leaders.
Cyclops is most often portrayed as the archetypal hero of traditional American popular culture—the opposite of the tough, anti-authority antiheroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War (e.g., Wolverine, his X-Men teammate).
One of Marvel’s most prominent characters, Cyclops was rated #1 on IGN.com’s list of Top 25 X-Men from the past forty years in 2006, and the 39th in their 2011 list of Top 100 Comic Book Heroes. In 2008, Wizard Magazine also ranked Cyclops the 106th in their list of the 200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. In a 2011 poll, readers of Comic Book Resources voted Cyclops as 9th in the ranking of 2011 Top Marvel Characters.
James Marsden has portrayed Cyclops in the first three and the seventh X-Men films, while in the 2009 prequel film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he is portrayed as a teenager by actor Tim Pocock. In 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, he is portrayed by Tye Sheridan.
Powers and abilities
Cyclops emits beams of energy from his eyes, described as “optic blasts”, which have the appearance of red light and deliver massive concussive force. The beams cause no recoil or heat, but are tremendously powerful, and can be used to rupture steel plates and pulverize rock. The beams constantly emanate from his eyes involuntarily, and can generally only be stopped by his own eyelids, or by shielding his eyes with “ruby-quartz”, a translucent mineral; Cyclops wears ruby-quartz as lenses in glasses or in his visor, which is generally the only way for him to safely see without inadvertently damaging his surroundings. The beams’ involuntary nature has been explained as a psychological shortcoming that resulted from childhood trauma. Cyclops can nevertheless manipulate the beams in several different ways, partially through the use of adjustable apertures in his eye-wear that allow the beams to fire through their shielding at variable levels.
In addition to varying the beam width, height, and intensity, Cyclops has demonstrated a high degree of skill and accuracy in manipulating his optic blast. Cyclops is able to reflect the beam off hard and shiny surfaces. This feat also demonstrates his intuitive sense of spatial geometry between objects. The reflective qualities of the beams allows him to bounce the beam off many different surfaces in rapid succession. It has been observed to be focused tight enough to punch a pin hole through a coin, drill through the trunk of a log, and pierce the skin of the Blob. Cyclops has shown the power of his optic blast by blasting through the walls of a hardened building, tunneling through solid rock, and blowing the top off a mountain. Cyclops’s force beams were measured by Iron Man to be almost 2 gigawatts. Two gigawatts is about half the peak power output of the Doel Nuclear Power Plant and when Cyclops released this much energy he exceeded his control over his optic beam. With Cyclops unable to shut off his optic beam, Leech came to his aid and negated his mutant power. Against other Marvel characters, Cyclops has been able to use his optic beam to knock Thor’s Hammer from his hand. He is known to be able to overload Bishop’s energy absorption power and is revealed to never have willingly used more than a small fraction of his full potential due to his anxiety regarding his optic blast.
Early accounts describe Cyclops’s optic beams as the product of his body metabolizing sunlight and other ambient energy. This is similar to his brother Alex (alias Havok) who metabolizes cosmic radiation. This metabolized energy is then released in the form of the beam from his eyes. In some stories Cyclops depletes his body’s energy reserves and needs to recharge through exposure to sunlight. When depleted Cyclops continued to emit the beams; however, their intensity was greatly diminished. One story showed him able to safely open his eyes when in complete darkness-without any ambient light to absorb, his power diminished to the point that he did not need his visor.
The original 1983 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe volume stated that Cyclops’s eyes contain inter-dimensional apertures, releasing powerful energies from another dimension into his own via the beams. This account states that his body naturally metabolizes ambient energy that is used to open and focus the apertures in his eyes. The energy of the beam itself originates from this other dimension. This explanation, however, was later changed for the 1986 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition.
Cyclops’s body is naturally immune to the force of his own beams. His mind projects a psionic field that envelops his body rendering it immune to his optic beam, allowing him to shut it off by simply closing his eyes. Scott is also immune to the power of his brother Alex (Havok) who has the ability to emit waves of energy that heat the air into plasma. Likewise Havok has demonstrated immunity to Cyclops’ optic beam. Scott has been shown as being able to absorb Storm’s lightning bolt, although this act caused Cyclops a great deal of pain. The ruby quartz used in his battle visor has been said to be resonate with his body’s psionic field. Scott has only a limited resistance to his brother Vulcan’s powers.
For all Cyclops’s skill in manipulating his optic beam, it continuously projects from his eyes whenever they are open and unprotected. To prevent the destruction of any objects in his field of view, Cyclops uses a pair of ruby quartz eyeglasses developed by Professor X to contain the devastating rays. In his X-Men uniform he uses a ruby quartz battle visor in place of the glasses. The crystal is said to resonate at the same frequency as the psionic field that protects Cyclops (and Havok) from their own powers. His uniform has firing studs incorporated into his gloves and on the sides of the battle visor that control the visor’s aperture. In the event that the visor has a power failure, the apertures are spring-loaded to automatically close so Cyclops can at least see normally. He has also been observed using casual sunglasses and contact lenses made from the same ruby quartz as his visor lens
Cyclops’s poor control over his power is attributed to events in his childhood, initially described as being due to a head wound, disabling his brain’s ability to turn off his optic blasts. Later depictions explained that his lack of control is psychosomatic and due to the emotionally traumatic events of his childhood. This later explanation allowed Cyclops to finally control his optic blasts for a short time during a mission on the Breakworld, though at the conclusion of these events, he revealed that he was beginning to lose control again and reverted to using his visor and lenses.
Cyclops’s power has been altered by his exposure to the Phoenix Force. His optic blasts are more powerful, now appearing as multiple curved beams. His optic blasts can even cause Dormammu pain. However he would afterwards be infected with nano-sentinels that made him lose control over his power even further, to the point that his blasts became inaccurate, activating on their own and becoming even more unstable. The end of the issue concludes with Beast purging the nano-sentinels from both Cyclops and Magik, giving him control over his still altered optic blasts.
Spatial Awareness: Cyclops seems to possess an uncanny sense of geometry, in this sense used to describe his observation of objects around himself and the angles found between surfaces of these objects. Cyclops has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to cause his optic blasts to ricochet and/or reflect off those objects in a trajectory to his liking. This is commonly called a “banked shot” when applied to this talent. Cyclops has been observed causing beams to reflect from over a dozen surfaces in the course of one blast, and still hit his intended target accurately. It is his sense of superhumanly enhanced spatial awareness that allows him to perform these feats as well. On two occasions Cyclops has been fast enough to blindly predict the position of Quicksilver and Northstar who were moving at superhuman speeds with enough accuracy to hit them with his optic blast.
Expert Pilot: Cyclops is an expert pilot of fixed-wing aircraft, a skill he appears to have inherited from his father. It has also been implied that his geometric sense improves his abilities in the air.
Master Tactician and Strategist: Cyclops has spent most of his superhero career as the leader of either the X-Men or X-Factor and has developed exceptional leadership skills. According to Nick Fury’s files, Scott’s abilities are at their best in tense situations. Fury notes that the less time Cyclops has to think about a decision, the better that decision is. Even Sebastian Shaw has acknowledged Cyclops’s skill in taking advantage of the single flaw in the Hellfire Club’s defense to reverse a dire situation for the X-Men. When the other X-Men were hypnotized into thinking Cyclops is the Dark Phoenix and started hunting him down, he thwarted Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Storm in quick succession before fleeing to the Danger Room and creating a jungle environment in which to hide from his fellow X-Men, allowing him to outwit and defeat Shadowcat, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, and Rogue, all while suffering from broken ribs. In Uncanny X-Men #150, Cyclops organizes the X-Men to defeat Magneto at a time when the team is denied their mutant powers.
Expert Combatant: Cyclops also has extensive training in martial arts and unarmed combat, holding black belts in judo and aikido.
During the ‘Riot at Xavier’s’ storyline, Cyclops faces off against Quentin Quire’s Omega Gang and can be observed doing a cartwheel while firing his optic blast at Radian’s leg. In a fight with the Horseman of Apocalypse named War, Cyclops executes an acrobatic flip off a statue in the graveyard and while inverted in mid-air fires his optic blast into the mouth of the robotic mount.