Cyclops is Officially Too Good For Marvel's X-MEN

The Champions are essentially Marvel's version of the Teen Titans; a young superhero team, many of them "Legacy Heroes," who are dedicated to making a difference on the world. The Avengers deal with global threats; the Champions face cultural issues head-on. Their members include popular characters like Miles Morales's Spider-Man, Kamala Khan's Ms. Marvel, and Sam Alexander's Nova. The last few issues have seen the team on something of a recruitment drive; Champions #18, though, sees one of the team finally leave.

The All-New X-Men version of Cyclops wasn't one of the original team. But he joined up in Champions #2, the first hero to respond to Kamala Khan's call to make a difference in the world. Tired of seeing superheroes deal with everything with their fists, of a world where unarmed kids are met with lethal forces, Kamala appealed to heroes to find another way. As much as he believes in the Champions, though, Cyclops knows he has a loyalty to the X-Men. In Champions #18, he's forced to make a choice; he leaves the Champions, heading off on a mission.

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All-New X-Men Cyclops Should Stay A Champion

Cyclops's decision makes sense. Over in X-Men Blue, Cyclops and his X-Men allies have headed off into space in order to rescue Scott's father; he has something of a personal stake in that mission, so it's understandable Scott would prioritize it. He also believes the world needs the Champions, which explains why he hasn't told them about his missing father; the Champions have become good enough friends that they'd join the mission. Mark Waid presents this as a turning point for the young X-Man, as he decides once and for all where his priorities have to lie. It's sad, it's disappointing, but it all seems so very reasonable.

It's also a waste. The original X-Men were brought to the present day by Beast, as part of a wrong-headed attempt to avert a mutant revolution. Cyclops is one of several members of the team who are committed to rewriting their personal histories. He fears becoming the adult Cyclops, a mutant revolutionary blamed for an act of attempted genocide against the Inhumans. In Scott's mind, coming to the future has been like learning you're destined to become the next Adolf Hitler. (That might sound hyperbolic, but the comics have actually drawn that parallel.)

That arc has been running since 2012, and it's getting old. Meanwhile, as part of the X-Men's "ResurrXion," Marvel is pushing nostalgia to the max. That means Cyclops and Jean Grey look set to hook up, a variation on an arc that's been ongoing since 1963. Cyclops just isn't growing as a character over in the X-Men comics.

In contrast, Champions has seen Cyclops explore a whole new role. As a Champion, Cyclops has been able to admit to the burdens he bears; the burden of leadership, the fear of losing control of his optic blasts, the terror he feels when he considers his future. Even in Champions #18, Cyclops reveals a part of his backstory that's never been expressed in comics before. Here, in the pages of Champions, the young Scott Summers feels fresh and new.

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Marvel seem to be toying with the idea of somehow "resetting" the status quo, returning the original X-Men back to their own time. It's unclear how that will be possible; the characters have aged substantially, and even their powersets have changed. Angel, for example, has been exposed to the Black Vortex; Iceman has experimented with his powers, and embraced his homosexuality. But X-Men Blue has nonetheless suggested that the team need to return to their own time, for the sake of the entire timeline.

Champions #18 is a superb issue, and it demonstrates just why that would be a mistake. Because the All-New Cyclops isn't an X-Man; he's a Champion. He's grown as a character, and no longer deserves to stand in the shadow of his future self. Instead, Cyclops should be allowed to return to the Champions, to continue working with them, to develop his friendships - and more? - with the rest of the team. He's now far too good a character to just stay in the X-Men, or even worse be sent back home.

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Champions #18 is available from Marvel Comics now.

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