Alright, let me just preface this by saying. I'm not a Cyclops fanboy. I don't condone him leaving Madelyn, I don't agree with his position in AVX and I prefer Wolverine's position post AVX. Having said all this, I still think Cyclops is a character who has been unfairly treated through the years and while I am no scholar of X-Men, I've read enough to know that where he currently stands in comparison to the rest of the Original and the newer X-Men, particularly Wolverine given their rivalry, comes across not as Scott being an entity worthy of scorn as he seems to so readily be for many, but one deserving of at least pity, if not praise.
Now, to begin I believe a brief summary of Scott's life is in order Those who are more familiar/greater fans of Cyke than I may as well skip down to the next point.
Scott Summers history starts pretty much with his family on a plane. The details vary depending on the source/retelling you're looking at, but the basic summary is, the plane was going down and Scott's parents strapped him and his younger brother Alex into the only working parachute and threw them from the plane to save them. Falling into the water below, Scott suffered head trauma and lost track of his brother.
Waking up some time later, Scott's powers had activated, causing him to basically explode anything he looked at. Through the interference of Mr. Sinister, life long creeper and now full time stalker to young Mr. Summers, Scott got himself a nifty pair of Ruby Quartz shades to stop him from killing everything he looked at. This has the lovely side effect of leaving Scott incapable of seeing anything not in a shade of red for the rest of his life, assuming his powers don't already tint his vision.
Anyway, for a time things are quiet in his life until Charles Xavier recruits Scott to his team of young mutants. There he meets Jean Grey and quickly falls in love with her (Him and everyone else with a Y-Chromosome who has seen Jean Grey, perhaps she has more powers than we know?) Still, given the responsibility of leading the team from the age of like 16, Scott is now put in a position of authority, but more pressingly responsibility to try and keep 4 insane, troubled and powerful teenagers alive as they battle a full blown mutant supremacist to protect people who hate them.
Time passes yet again and while many trials and tribulations come up, there are some big ones to take note of. Several new X-Men join the team, including Wolverine, who would constantly challenge Scott in his love for Jean and Storm, who, while I have respect for this character and her ability, I feel still would one day rob Scott of his position on the team because that's what the writer wanted. This entire time, Scott and Jean are being stalked by Mr. Sinister, who is hoping to breed super babies from them, like I said, creeper. He at one point loses Jean (Or Phoenix, your mileage may vary) At which point he leaves the team. He settles down with a Woman named Madelyn Pryor (Who looks exactly like Jean and is in fact her clone, so that's a few notches in the Scott is crazy Talley) He even goes so far as to have a baby with her, young Nathan (Future Cable). Then, when the writers bring back Jean, they make the terrible decision to have Scott leave Madelyn (Not that I personally believe it to be a bad decision, I thought all of this was suspect from the instant he met a woman who looked exactly like his dead wife) He then rejoins the X-Men alongside his first love effectively having walked out without a word on his wife and child. For many people this has effectively cemented Scott as Scumbag Scott ever since, but as some might have seen on my mention of Hank Pym Zeitgeist Hero, I find any one off action to be a terrible choice in defining a character. Anyway, fall out from this, Madelyn becomes a villain (She was always meant to be being Sinister's clone puppet, so it's not Scott's fault there) but more importantly he loses his son, a Techno-Organic virus infecting him and the only way to save him would be to make the very difficult decision to give him up forever (Still don't get why this happened since Cable was never actually 'cured' of his virus or what circumstances prevented him from coming straight back the past after this, but I didn't read the issue in question, so I'll reserve judgement on this being BS just to get the kid out of the picture).
Still, after this, Scott remains an X-Man, arguably back where he always belonged until, during 'Therapy' Scott mentally cheats on Jean with Emma Frost. Now I would like to go on record as saying everything I've heard of this from the one Die Hard Jean Fan I know says that she was written poorly for this arc and her response to this betrayal seemed very subdued and not at all what it should have been, but this is about Scott, so I'll just put that down as a possible note towards Author folly.
Anyway, moving on, Jean is soon dead once again, hopefully for good, I have officially stopped keeping track of Dead Jeans and time loops. This Leaves Scott heartbroken, in a relationship with Emma, a bloody feud with Wolverine and a tenuous position of authority over the school. Here I will touch on the area around Astonishing X-Men, since that is where we get some notion that Scott's inability to control his powers may be because of psychiatric trauma, not actual brain damage. So for a time during the whole Break World bit of Whedon's, we do actually see Scott go around without his visor which, while he looks like a Hobo at the time (I never liked the art on that series) was refreshing for me until we find out this was apparently only a temporary fix as years of dependency on the visor was apparently not going to be fixed as easily as potentially deathly trauma of having lost your entire family only for your brother to turn up an unstable mutant, your father to have been a space pirate and your mother to have died a slave (Those notes should have come earlier, but I don't know where they are in Scott's history, so this overview will have to do.)
Now then, this is where my knowledge of more recent events gets hazy (Which judging by the accuracy thus far, should worry you) After M-Day decimated the mutant population, reducing their numbers to mere hundreds across the globe the Schism splits the X-Camps, Wolverine somehow lands himself with the School in New York while Scott, now teamed with long time Frienemy Magneto moves to San Francisco and start up Utopia. I am going to gloss this section of X-History in particular as the most I know of Utopia at this time are Age of X and the later AVX. Speaking of, I shall now get into the Messiah shiz.
To put it bluntly, a mutant child is born, racists and Bishop try to kill her, that doesn't work, Scott once again gives up a child to the future (Dear God Marvel, the dude has to have something more than cheating and throwing babies at the future!) Anywho, unlike Cable (Who coincidentally raised this kid in the future) this one comes back as Hope Summers, Jesus X. Christ to the Mutant Race. During this time, I will say that Hope is the writers' mouth piece for making all mutant leaders (Xavier, Magneto and Scott) seem like idiots compared to her brilliance so it's not just Summers who gets crap for this, but for a guy who is effectively your grandfather, I'd like to think she could treat the adults and her peers with a little more respect than basically flipping them off cause she apparently knows best but doesn't, but still, my issues with Hope Summers will fill aan entire other rant.
This brings us to the big one. The Largest event since the Civil War, AVX. So, to condense this, Scott Summers and Steven Rogers suddenly drop about 60 IQ points apiece and suddenly forget that the Phoenix has been a thing long since Jean died and other people are capable of handling it (Rachel Grey, Quentin Quire, the Stepford Cuckoos to name a few!) and that even when Jean went nuts with it, had the presence of mind to extinguish her own life before ending the planet, but apparently this would be beyond anyone else, so clearly, a war was declared. During a lot of Skullduggery in which I don't have to defend Scott because everyone suddenly decided they were idiots, Tony Stark, one of the people worried the Phoenix would somehow be unstoppable when locked up in a 16 year old girl, using his own tech built a suit of armour capable of shattering a Cosmic entity that was born at the Big Bang an represents all life, death and rebirth in the universe... Let that sink in... Anywho, by shattering it, he just multiplied the Avengers problems by Five. The Phoenix Five, Scott, Emma, Colossus, Magik and Namor. Now imbued with the power of the Phoenix, they set about their tyrannical rule in which they fed the hungry, powered the world and outlawed war all under the provision that nobody screw with mutants anymore... Again, I'll save a lot of the issues with AVX for another blog post.
Moving on, as the Avengers battle and slowly take down the P5 one by one, the strain on the others increase, making them more unstable, until eventually only Scott, who had kept it together for the most part, was splitting at the seams. It was in this dark moment that he killed Charles Xavier (I take it back Marvel, more Adultery and baby time travel, anything but this!!!) Still, Xavier's died like twice before... Seriously if the Red Skull hadn't jacked his brain I'd be convinced he's coming back any day now. Still, killing Xavier, going all Dark Phoenix and stuff, the Avengers side eventually win and Scott, now purged of the Phoenix sits in a jail cell while Hope, having used the power of the Phoenix, the Iron Fist and Wanda, jump started the mutant population once more.
Scott is soon broken out however, becoming a fugitive to the Avengers, sporting a fancy new red outfit and starting the New Xavier School out of the old Weapon X facility while he, Magneto and Emma Frost all run around with borken powers.
Start Reading again here.
Anyway, I'll admit I broke into a few tangents there, but long story short, Scott Summers has been in a difficult position since he was a child and while this does not excuse some of the genuinely cruddy things he has done, as a matter of Karma, I believe he deserves to be cut some slack, especially when you compare his fortunes to the others of the original X-Men. Thus why this next section is...
Karma Power Ups
Looking at the original 5 X-Men, while I won't say any of their lives have been easy, in a lot of cases, the great god Stan Lee has truly given onto others more than Scott Summers.
Warren Worthington, while in a contentious relationship with his Father, at least still had one for most of his life. Furthermore, through this, Warren inherited a substantial fortune before becoming a businessman in his own right. Both handsome, charming and with a power that is mostly considered very pretty as opposed to potentially face melting, Angel seems to be the luckiest bastard on the planet. Admittedly compared to the others he had some self-esteem issues being El Pigeon Grande when the others had more combat effective powers, this is something that was remedied later on.
While by no means a good thing, Angel had his wings forcibly removed. This lead him to have new, techno-organic wings fitted to his back when he became Apocalypse's horseman. While admittedly now blue tinted, Angel now had big metal wings that shot blades, he could control that bad complexion and the only long standing issue were some mental problems which, lets be honest, are par for the course in X-Men, especially when you consider two other X-Men have been in that same position.
Later reincarnated via the life seed, Angel's powers start to resemble his original skill set, but now with a blood-based healing factor and the ability to heal. While once again trading off some mental stability, Angel is younger, fitter, and has a host of abilities still untested and all the while has been cleansed of his previous darkness. Not bad for the pretty boy, right?
Henry McCoy is a Moron. The dude can't stop tinkering and this often leads to bad juju. Twice now he has triggered an advancement of his mutation in his attempts to be rid of it and while this is certainly not without disadvantages (His face is now more feline than human and he had to relearn the use of his digits) They have generally proven to be for the better. While he might no longer blend into a crowd, he's a genius scientist, one of the best on the planet who can lift a truck and slice things apart with razor sharp claws, all with the grace and agility of a seasoned acrobat. In trying to be rid of his self-perceived affliction, he has only succeeded in making it more awesome and at last check, was gettin' it on with the green haired hottie that runs SWORD. If he is suffering for his cause, I don't see it.
Robert Drake was always the prankster, while not the most gifted, he doesn't have Warren's looks or money or Hank's brains, he is generally a well meaning guy. In return, he has probably faced the least hardships of any of the O5 (I do not possess an in-depth knowledge of Iceman so I apologize if I've missed some crucial part of his backstory) and is now one of the only two amongst them to reach Omega Mutant status. That's right, this Clown has powers matching Legion, Vulcan, Storm and Franklin Richards. Not to mention, if future visions hold true, will one day be rockin' an epic Wizard Look. A simple and dependable character, much like Scott, Bobby has at least had his development marked by the growth of his ability, while Scott, not so much.
What can I say... Seriously, what can I say?! It's Jean Frickin' Grey! She may be dead (Sorry, in the White Hot Waiting Room of the Damned) but she is still one of the most talked about characters in comics, particularly the X-Men. In X-Men Legacy, David references Xavier as being Saintly, but even he had his dark side that became Onslaught. Jean Grey is like the Virgin Mary of Marvel Comics. Serene, dependable, understanding, beautiful, all-powerful. Being a host to the Phoenix who has perfectly integrated with the Ultra Mega Space Chicken, several Suns may just literally shine out of Jean's rear end. You don't insult Jean within ear shot of Scott Summers or James Howlett unless you want to be injured and Logan even named his school after her. She may of started as the token girl every X-Man had a hard on for, but by god did this woman blow everything out of the god damn park. Even today, Emma Frost and Rachel Grey are still living in the shadow cast from a character that has technically been dead since the 80s!
This brings me to Cyclops. If his powers have advanced/developed any since his beginnings, I'm unaware. As far as I know, we have only figured out the origins of Scott's powers and even that might be subject to change as things go, but in terms of actually growing, the guy has had the same power, the same ability and the same shortcomings for 50 years. His powers have taken some turns depending on the write. Whedon for one explored the idea that it wasn't actually brain damage that caused Scott's power malfunction, but psychiatric trauma, so for a while we got Scott without the visor, and I liked that. Later, as a member of the Phoenix 5 it was remarked he didn't actually NEED the visor anymore, but wore it as a symbol, and I thought that was interesting too, but the fundamental problem with these are that they were temporary. Like Spiderman's marriage, Scott Summers powers improving has been axed over and over. Even now, his powers are actually worse! Tell what did he do that other characters haven't to deserve this 50 year stagnation?
Yes, he has done some bad things, yes, he left his wife, killed his father and generally been a stiff son of a bitch for a good part of his career, but considering the good he has done alongside the bad, I don't believe that Scott Summers deserves his lot in life as much as some might think.
Anyway, to avoid this becoming a dissertation on Scott Summers, I will write one more section, this one dedicated to the potential future of Scott Summers
In recent times, Marvel has shaken up a lot of old trees. Superior Spiderman being one that instantly comes to mind. I personally don't see this as entirely negative, as change is preferable to stagnation. Making Spiderman Otto Octavius in a nice new Peter suit is a preferable advance to say, having the devil annul his marriage and this is also true of Scott Summers.
The fact of the matter is, Marvel has a bad habit when it comes to their cross over events, especially the Hero Vs. Hero ones where they expect you to be rooting for someone. Someone HAS to be the bad guy and someone HAS to be the good guy. It can never just be a clash of ideals and often I find Marvel expects us to back the wrong horse. In Civil War, despite generally being assholes, we were supposed to be rooting for the Pro-Reg and in AVX, we were supposed to be on the side of the Avengers for most of it despite, aside from the initial uncertainty of their plan and the final collapse of the Phoenix Five, the X-Men generally seemed to be doing the right thing and I think that reflects well in what is happening with Scott Summers right now. He has seen the world when he was at his strongest, when he was doing everything to bring order and good things to people and they still cut him down. So my feelings for the crossovers not withstanding, what has come out of them at least, is possibility. He can no longer just be a man of Xavier's dream, but he's not Magneto's puppet either. He's finally standing for his own cause, he's going to get peace between man and mutant, but he'll do it at the point of a sword if he must and that is the good that has come from this. While I would like to see Scott's powers take a step out of the silver age, I imagine his currently broken set wouldn't allow for that possibility, so for now I will accept his advancement in character. Sure it might not be what we're used to and he might come across a little Charles Manson 'Don't Drink the Kool-ade', but this is what desperation looks like. This is a man at the end of his rope with this shit and instead of seeing him become a stagnant blot on the X-Men, to see their once leader to fade while Wolverine takes the forefront, we're seeing him take action. This is still a relatively new era for the X-Men, so I don't expect this new Scott to come out fully formed, but this could very well be a step in the right direction.