Regardless of what Kelvin Green, or Kel’Vnn Gra’een as he’s known by amongst greener circles, says, I love Cyclops. (Note: Check out Kelvin’s commentary on Cyclops. Even though he’s always gotten a bad rap, he’s always been my favorite X-Man and I absolutely love his transformation into a strong military commander. Of course, X-Men: First Class is by far my favorite X-book. I love the original team and I love the modern, all ages, take that Jeff Parker has brought to this title. Cyclops has been a major player throughout the series and he essentially gets his own solo adventure here.
The basic concept of this issue is simple; it’s basically Xavier’s way of confirming to himself and to Scott that Scott is a compassionate man and a natural leader. I loved the solicitation for this issue. It was simply “Cyclops drinks bottled water!” I wasn’t really sure what to make of it, but that kind of light-hearted promo is what you’d come to expect from this title. Basically, after a mission to what appears to be somewhere in South America, all the X-Men, except Cyclops, get a bit of the stomach flu. How does Cyclops avoid such a fate? By drinking bottled water of course! Seriously, I’m not kidding. You can’t say Marvel didn’t give us a fantastic promo.
Essentially, Cyclops heads into the mountains of West Virginia, with Xavier in his head, to find a mutant that has been abducting people from the area. In the grand scheme of things, this incident is very important for Cyclops’ evolution because he does indeed act like a superhero. He uses his secret identity to pose as a reporter, and even when he’s caught in his lie, he manages to acquire some information on the suspect and when he’s sent away by the lead detective, Cyclops heads off on his own.
Here Cyclops encounters a rather grotesque mutant. This mutant is unaware of other mutants, and has kidnapped certain individuals who made fun of him and who he blames for his condition. The way this story plays out is rather fantastic; Xavier takes Cyclops into the mutants head. Cyclops sees first hand the type of life that the mutant has lived and he knows what he has been through. The mutant was tormented because of what he was, something that Cyclops can identify with, and we see this when Cyclops frees the prisoners. The prisoners blame each other for what happened, of course blaming each other’s own prejudices when it comes to mutants.
The ending of this issue is actually quite tragic. Cyclops saves the prisoners but inadvertently kills the mutant. If X-Men: First Class is to be considered part of X-Men canon, then this is most certainly one issue that would fit perfectly for the Cyclops we see today in the main X-books. He knows he has to be a hero first, save the innocent and be a leader amongst humans and mutants.
Craig Rosseau’s artwork is perfect for the tone and style of this title. While character anatomy is sometimes a bit off the mark, it’s not really a big deal considering the more light-hearted and all ages tone to this book. Rousseau is an artist I would like to see more often on a title like this and more often in the Marvel Adventures line. You’ve also got to love the cover by John Romita Jr., just pure Marvel and pure Cyclops.
X-Men: First Class continues to impress. It’s fun, energetic, and most importantly, original. The original five X-Men are often forgotten amongst the Wolverines and Gambits of the world, and Jeff Parker has done an amazing job creating an all ages title that captures the very essence of Stan Lee’s original X-Men.
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