Sunday, 22 March 2015

Cyclops, Volume 1: Starstruck Review (Greg Rucka, Russell Dauterman)


X-Men comics fans like to talk about how underserved Cyclops is in the movies. He’s basically written as the bland good guy foil to Wolverine’s bad boy rebel in their rubbish love triangle with Jean. But in the comics? He’s a badass! And I’ll give them that, he is a much more interesting character in the comics. So ok, a solo title might be fun. 

Except there are currently two Cyclopses (what is the correct plural of Cyclops - Cyclopi?) in the Marvel Universe. One is currently a fugitive wanted for the murder of Charles Xavier and leading the Mutant Underground. The other is awkward teenage Scott from the past, irresponsibly brought to the present by Hank McCoy for reasons even he’s not sure about anymore because they barely made sense to begin with (thanks, Bendis!). He fancies teenage Jean and that’s about it. This book is about the latter. Right again, Marvel! 

At the end of The Trial of Jean Grey, teenage Scott met his dad, Corsair, the space-pirate leader of the not at all porn-sounding group the Starjammers. He decided to spend time with his pop in space and this is where the series begins. 

Part of me wanted to give this a chance because it’s a book that might have resonance with younger readers: teenager getting to know his estranged father and his stepmom; there could be some heart here. But another part of me said, look at the writer - has Greg Rucka ever written anything good? And moreover this is a spinoff of Bendis’ plotless X-Men series - will there be a story here at all?

And, unfortunately, this proved to be as lacking as the Bendis X-Men comics. I won’t even go into how idiotic that teenage Scott still being in the present is, but instead focus on the total absence of story. Because unless you already love young Cyclops and Corsair and are satisfied with just reading about the two of them getting to know one another, you’re going to be horribly bored with this comic. They learn about each others’ lives, go hunting, get stranded, get rescued, and fight some aliens, winning easily because of course they would. In other words, nothing happens. 

This isn’t much of a spoiler given that this is a new, disposable character nobody will know, but the book ends “triumphantly” with the impending death of a young girl courtesy of father and son. And amazingly there’s going to be a Volume 2 (though Rucka is out, replaced by John Layman)! 

The only positive I’ll give it is that Russell Dauterman (artist on Jason Aaron’s female Thor series) and Carmen Carnero’s art looks terrific. Otherwise, Rucka’s script, continuing Bendis’ aimless approach to Marvel’s mutant characters, is thoroughly tedious to read. Cyclops is a cool character in the comics except Marvel have managed to make another, younger version of Cyclops to co-exist alongside him who’s as one-note as James Marsden’s. Golf clap...

Cyclops, Volume 1: Starstruck

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