Monday, May 26, 2014

Duel In The Danger Room!

Dissension In The Ranks

When resentments and disagreements boil over,
even allies can turn against each other in fierce battle that can bring the house down.

(And often does!)


Storm and Cyclops

Shortly after the trial of Magneto which took place in Paris, Scott Summers (a/k/a Cyclops of the X-Men) made a decision to return to the team in the role of leader, in light of the disappearance of Charles Xavier and the mysterious appointment of Magneto as headmaster of Xavier's School. On the surface, his concern and subsequent decision made perfect sense--albeit to the chagrin of Scott's wife, Madelyne, who had just given birth to their son and was now being asked to relocate from Alaska. Madelyne has seen evidence of Scott distancing himself from her and their life together--and with him now shifting back into his former place in the X-Men, she now sees it as a symptom of a deeper problem.

Ororo (a/k/a Storm, Scott's fellow team member) is also privy to Madelyne's worries about Scott.  And, overhearing a conversation which leads her to believe that Scott is adamant about returning to the team while not addressing the greater issue, she decides to directly confront Scott on his decision--but indirectly, in the one way which will leave him no options for avoidance.

On its face, a skirmish between Storm and Cyclops seems borderline absurd. Cyclops' power allows him to attack from a distance, and his accuracy as well as his grasp of tactics have been repeatedly proven in the field. In addition, his opponent is powerless in regard to her mutant ability, bringing only cunning and raw nerve to the table here. So by all rights, this little challenge should be over with the first "ZAPT!"

We'll see.

Again, consider the opening scene here. Despite the surroundings, Scott has a clear shot at Ororo, and she seems content to give it to him. Should we just go ahead and congratulate Cyclops now?

Whoops--they'd better hold off icing the name onto that victory party cake.

This fight is fairly drawn out in the story--but if you take a good look at it, it's clear that Ororo owes her successful attempts at evasion in large part to Scott continually missing his target. In addition, how could Cyclops be foiled by his opponent ducking for cover? He'd simply use the extra mass as a weapon, or otherwise blast right through it. Perhaps Ororo knows how preoccupied he is, and that she can use that against him:

Finally, Ororo makes her move, though her winning gambit shouldn't really end this fight so conclusively:

Ororo's logic as to Cyclops' helplessness seems flawed. There's no one else in this simulation at risk of being cut down by his eye beams; that being the case, Scott could fire in any and all directions (particularly in the direction of Storm's voice) in order to bring her down. On the other hand, perhaps his visor is his only method of controlling the power of his beams, and he can't risk injuring Ororo by opening fire.

In any event, this duel is now over, and Storm has successfully steered Cyclops in the direction she wished him to go. Cyclops, however, appears none the wiser, though the end result leaves this once-decisive man at loose ends:

But while Madelyne and her son may have reclaimed Scott at least for the short term, it puts only a Band-Aid on the problem until things with Scott take another turn, this time with the establishment of X-Factor. As for Ororo, she does quite a good job as team leader, even without her mutant abilities.


George Chambers said...

Words fail me in how much I hated this issue, but I'll just poke one hole in it for now: if winning a fight determined who should be leader, then Colossus should immediately have taken on Ororo...

Murray said...

I'm with George. Promotion by combat? What are they, superheroes being raised in a school or Klingons?

And, then, Cyclops can't be on the team if he's second-fiddle? These punk mutants should study the Avengers a bit. Even Thor, heir to throne of...everything, understands democracy and will (usually) follow the orders of whoever is current leader.

On a side note, we're always told that Cyclops is a master of combat tactics, but we almost never saw that in action. Over and over, and over, again the Bad Guy gets the upper hand while Cyclops chastises himself. "He's taking us apart like rank amateurs". "I shouldn't have split the team up. Bad mistake!" For the amount of time we see the X-Men drilling in the Danger Room (especially compared to other super teams), Cyclops and they get caught with their panties around their ankles more than any other team.

david_b said...

Love Cyclops (probably the only X-Man I like.., but hated the art by this point, too sketchy, too '80s. And that insipid Storm mohawk look.

But agreed on the second-fiddle comment, good point. He could at least be a team player.

Comicsfan said...

Cyclops could probably have made a case for simply being on the team while Magneto was in residence, yes; but once he made a bid for leadership, and lost, his reason for staying carried less weight and lacked the sense of urgency he was trying to give it, especially where Madelyne was concerned. He couldn't very well turn around and say, "Oh. Well, I still need to be here, just to keep an eye on Magneto." There's no way Madelyne would have bought that, and I doubt the team would have swallowed it, either. In short, Cyke knew his goose was cooked, having built his case on leadership and then having it backfire on him.

Murray said...

Ah, well, caught with my scholarship lacking. I only returned to reading the X-Men around this time because the artwork of Paul Smith caught my eye on the twirling rack. When he left, I left again. So, I shall accept your explanation-interpretation of the plot nuances.

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