What X-MEN's Cyclops Actually Shoots From His Eyes

Xmen Cyclops Shooting Eye Laser

Cyclops, one of the founding five members of the first class of X-Men, does NOT fire lasers from his eyes as many believe. This point has been a source of confusion to many comics readers and professional comics writers. Even Stan Lee, who co-created the character with Jack Kirby in 1963, occasionally depicted Cyclops' powers incorrectly.

When Cyclops first appeared in The X-Men #1, his powers were described as an "energy ray," which he demonstrated by breaking up a fight between teammates Hank "Beast" McCoy and Bobby "Iceman" Drake. The concussive blasts were able to forcibly plant Beast several inches into the reinforced wall of the school gymnasium and made short work of the wall of ice which Iceman formed to protect himself. Yet one issue later, in The X-Men #2Cyclops was shown using his powers to melt the ice off of Angel's wings after he and Iceman got into an argument.

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Related: The REAL Reason X-Men's Cyclops Can't Control His Power

This began a pattern of Marvel Comics' own writers forgetting the true nature of Cyclops' powers and depicting him as having laser eyes or heat vision, like Superman. This happened in spite of it being noted continually by long-running X-Men writers like Chris Claremont that Cyclops' beams were made up of pure concussive force and did not generate any form of heat, even as a byproduct of friction. For every scene that depicted Cyclops showing his fine control of his powers by using them as a knife to cut a birthday cake, there was an instance of him using his powers to light the candles.

X-Men Cyclops Lighting Birthday Candles With His Eye Beams

This frequent error even found its way into the X-Men movies. In Age Of Apocalypse, for instance, a young Scott Summers accidentally destroyed Professor Xavier's favorite tree while testing his powers. While the tree was shown to have been split in two vertically by the uncontrolled blast, it was also shown to have sprouted visible flames and was smoking as the two halves fell apart.

Another point of confusion regarding Cyclops' powers is just how the energy for his eye-beams is generated. Some stories have said that Scott Summers, much like Superman, absorbs solar energy and channels it into his optic blasts. Other stories have said that Cyclops' eyes are portals to a dimension of infinite energy, which is continually released into our universe whenever he opens his eyes. This last point prompted physics professor Jim Kakalios (author of The Physics of Superheroes) to declare Cyclops the most impossible of all the X-Men. Apart from the issues of anything generating infinite energy, Kakalios noted that Cyclops must have developed superhumanly strong neck muscles as a secondary mutation, despite his slight frame.

Without that adaptation, Cyclops would have snapped his own neck with the recoil of his first optic blast and died instantly. You've got to love comic books.

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