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Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

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EphemeristX
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Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

Post by EphemeristX » 04 Oct 2017, 19:04

I just read an article about the character of Cyclops and his symbolism as a civil rights activist. For both good and ill, writers have used this trope for years with Scott Summers, ultimately ending in his death.

http://fanbros.com/cyclops-marvel-make- ... ts-martyr/

Personally, I think it's an interesting read, talking about how his, and mutants in general, symbolism as an oppressed group both works and doesn't, and how that allegory failed Cyclops in particular.
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Re: Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

Post by Spectral Knight » 06 Oct 2017, 11:16

I read this late last night, and I honestly thought it was complete nonsense - it might be speaking from an oft claimed 'position of privilege' but it's really, really flawed in both its analysis and its conclusions.

Being part of the mutant leadership turns people into Villains 100% of the time? Hardly. If you go beyond Cyclops and look at other 'mutant leaders' - Xavier (he's had his flaws, but I would never argue that he's naturally a villainous character), Storm, Beast, etc. all whom may have personal flaws aren't 'evil'. I would argue Cyclops is still not evil - to me he's become more flawed, more vulnerable despite his position of strength as a leader, and more prone to making stupid ass decisions, that morally are uncomfortable - but he's not per se an evil character, and he's not become a villain (except when he when Dark Phoenix, but that's unstable cosmic entities for you...). He's become more markedly, for all and intents a purposes a bit of a dick. Which is a fundamental difference.

I'm also not sure that equating only mutant leaders as being able to act as agents against oppression is at all the right interpretation either, and that Cyclops was the mutant leader advocating mutant rights. Yes, he was, but he was at times also advocating mutant separatism, and mutant self-policing. That's a flaw of Cyke - not a flaw of mutant leaders.

The other point that should be taken into account is that struggle equals narrative drama. If Xavier succeeded with the mutant dream whilst not being a dick, great. But where does it leave the X-Men. So Scott's successes came at a moral cost to heighten reader drama, while not achieving the 'Dream' is essential to the continuation of what is a serial narrative.
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Re: Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

Post by EphemeristX » 06 Oct 2017, 19:16

I would argue that Cyclops, and his side in most conflicts recently, was decided to be the wrong one to the in-universe comic community. Even if history eventually somewhat exonerated him (by placing it all on the shoulders of Emma Frost, an easy scapegoat), he does seem to be the one that has gotten singled out repeatedly for things that other leaders have done in other conflicts.

I agree that the mutant leader = villain is wrong. Team leaders notwithstanding, mutant community leaders have not all gone down that dark path. Kitty never strayed, for one. Storm is another. And it is a flaw in Cyke's character that made him that way, though you could argue that many folks had a hand in driving him down that dark path. But then, neither Kitty nor Storm really did the activist thing the way Scott did. Storm's tenure as mutant leader was basically running a refugee camp, so she never had time to think about things. Kitty is doing the "set an example" thing, but her tenure has been in a place where mutants are on an upswing, after weathering all of the things that happened to them in the past and existing in a time where I'd say alot of folks feel bad for them. If either of them get pressed to the point Scott was, it will be interesting to see how they handle things.
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Re: Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

Post by Cable » 06 Oct 2017, 20:49

I haven't read the piece yet, but being mutant leader definitely made Storm "darker." Before she was a pacifist to the point of scolding Wolverine for hunting animals, and then after becoming leader became someone willing to kill people.
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Re: Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

Post by Blackcyclops » 06 Oct 2017, 22:01

Cable wrote:
06 Oct 2017, 20:49
I haven't read the piece yet, but being mutant leader definitely made Storm "darker." Before she was a pacifist to the point of scolding Wolverine for hunting animals, and then after becoming leader became someone willing to kill people.

You’re referring to her first stint as sole shepard of the X-Men right?

But I agree...being the X-leader in general leads one towards pragmatism.
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Re: Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

Post by Spectral Knight » 07 Oct 2017, 10:30

Would anyone agree with me that both Logan and Mags became more... idealistic in their respective tenures as X-Men leaders? Maybe for those who already hold more of a brutal outlook on life are softened as X-leaders? Certainly Emma was also softer as a Gen X leader than when she managed the Hellions.

Admittedly Magneto is a funny case as he's been inconsistent in how far he will go.
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Re: Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

Post by EphemeristX » 07 Oct 2017, 12:42

There are plenty of X-Men leaders who did just fine. I think what this article is talking more about is leaders of the mutant community.

Magneto basically forced the UN to accept his country's sovereignty by holding the entire planet hostage and then kidnapped Xavier, forcing the X-Men to infiltrate the nation and attempt an assassination. And then he died.

I'd never consider Wolverine a mutant leader, even if he ran the school for a bit. Cyclops was doing the whole mutant resistance thing while Wolvie taught kids and went on adventures.
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Re: Cyclops as a Civil Rights Martyr

Post by Blackcyclops » 07 Oct 2017, 12:45

Yeah there’s a difference between X-leader (which I think still leads one toward pragmatism) and mutant community leader (Xavier, Mags, Apocalypse, Cyclops and Storm for awhile)
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