Cyclops has never been one of my favourite X-Men characters – I’ve always gravitated towards the likes of Apocalypse – and I’ve always found him to be, well, a dick. There’s plenty of proof to back this up and I include the X-Men animated series in this. With this pre-set notion of the character, I didn’t have high hopes for this graphic novel. I didn’t know if I’d dislike it because of the character, the stories, or both.
The opening story, Cyclops: Odyssey, starts with Cyclops being forced to take a vacation by Professor Xavier. After recent events, Xavier feels Cyclops needs time to reflect on what has happened and to find himself. A little while into his journey, Cyclops is attacked by Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy, stows away on a jet, is stranded in The Savage Land, and concludes his vacation with an all-out brawl. It’s an interesting single-character story that starts off strong, falters slightly with the Savage Land issue, picks up again once Cyclops leaves and the story comes to its conclusion. Story writer, Brian K. Vaughan, even managed to give the ruby-eyed X-Man a few good one-liners – who knew Cyclops could be funny?
The second, a single-issue story, X-Men Origins: Cyclops, revolves around Cyclops’s beginning, how he discovers his powers, and his recruitment by Professor Xavier to be his eventual successor. There isn’t much to say about this entry other than its defining moment is a semi-showdown between our titular hero and Magneto. Magneto talks to Cyclops and begins to plant the seeds of a future event, Avengers vs. X-Men.
Both stories contained within this collection have very different art styles, X-Men Origins: Cyclops features standard comic book artwork while Cyclops: Odyssey is far more interesting. At first the latter reminded me in a way of 2000AD as the images would still resonate without any colour. The artwork gives the story a dark mood without having to be gritty in any way.
Overall I highly recommend Cyclops to any comic or non-comic fan. It shows what a single character goes through in order to save their friends and has a few interesting turns along the way.
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