Captain America Finally Reverses His Biggest Criticism of Cyclops


Contains spoilers for Marvel Comic’s AXE: Judgment Day #2!

As leaders of the two premier Marvel Comics superhero teams, the Avengers’ Captain America and X-Men’s Cyclops have butted heads in the past. Both leaders are dedicated to their own ideals and philosophies, leading Steve Rogers to harshly criticize Scott Summers for his priorities.

Over the history of Marvel Comics, the Avengers and X-Men have nearly always been on opposite ends of public perception. While the X-Men are often hated, feared, and hunted by those they’ve sworn to protect, the Avengers are largely recognized as heroes to be respected and praised. This is because of the general distrust for mutantkind, with the X-Men’s mutant members representing an oppressed minority in the modern world. It’s this oppression that has put Cyclops and Captain America at odds on various occasions, as Scott takes special pains to protect those born with an X gene. Indeed, in Uncanny X-Men #10 (from Kieron Gillen, Carlos Pacheco, and Paco Diaz), Captain America called out Cyclops for putting individual mutants above the human race, claiming that Scott has shown saving the world isn’t his real priority.

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Now – in AXE: Judgment Day #2 from Gillen and Valerio Schiti – the two are once again allies, and it seems Steve Rogers is ready to eat his words. In their fight against the monstrous Eternals known as the Hex, the X-Men are quickly joined by Captain America and a host of battle-ready Avengers. Captain America and Cyclops both realize the weight of these Eternal attacks, which are doing irreparable damage to Earth. With natural disasters occurring across the planet, Cyclops tells Captain America to go deal with the fallout rather than fighting by his side. It’s a moment that shows Cyclops is finally thinking in terms of the entire world, and Captain America replies, “Thank you, Scott. You’re heroes. One day people will see you as you really are.”

Given the two issues have the same writer, it seems deliberate that this moment reverses Steve Rogers’ earlier criticism, especially since Cyclops now makes the opposite choice as when the Avengers and X-Men were facing an alien prison break. AXE: Judgment Day #2 also includes a double-page spread of team members dealing with different threats that echoes art from Uncanny X-Men #10, suggesting Gillen wants fans to pick up on the two stories as reflections of each other. When Cyclops was first criticized by Captain America, it was at a point when the mutant race was nearing extinction. Now – despite being under attack by the Eternals – mutants are in a stronger position than ever before, with their own nation and a huge range of defenses.

There are many ways to read this moment. Some will see the resolution of Captain America’s disapproval of Cyclops as Scott Summers having grown as a hero, while others will see this as a difference in circumstance – Cyclops attempting to keep the last of his race alive versus fighting for it at the height of its power. Still others will see this as a backwards step – even though Scott Summers has since branded his extremist stance a mistake, fans have argued he was right to do what was needed to protect the last of his people. One thing’s for sure – the potential depth of Captain America finally acknowledging Cyclops as a true hero shows how rewarding the long-game of comics can be, as fans get a unique pay-off to a moment that happened a decade ago.

Marvel’s AXE: Judgment Day#1-3 are now available now.

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