Uncanny Origins #1
Marvel Comics (September, 1996)
Cyclops: “The First X-Man”
WRITER: Ben Raab
PENCILER: Dave Hoover
INKER: Bill Anderson
COLORIST: Bob Sharen
LETTERER: Jack Morelli
EDITOR: Mark Gruenwald
Uncanny Origins is an anthology series focusing the origins of the X-Men and later other Marvel characters up to that point. It’s done in a cartoony style and meant to introduce younger readers to the Marvel universe. A rather novel idea these days.
The first issue features the pre-Cyclops years of Scott Summer. He was flying with his parents and brother Alex when a UFO appeared and for some reason shot at the plane. With only one parachute, Scott’s mom gave it to the kids and tossed them out. The plane mysteriously disappeared rather than crash, and the kids’ parachute caught fire. Scott and Alex were both hurt, with their memories scrambled. They went to an orphanage, where Scott’s mutant powers started to develop, giving him massive headaches. Thanks to ruby quartz sunglasses to protect his eyes, the headaches went away, but one of the other orphans saw something in him. Sadly that orphan was Mister Sinister in disguise, and he made arrangements for his brother to be adopted without him and killed Scott’s potential adopting parents. When he hears of their deaths in a plane crash, Scott runs off. He runs across another mutant named Jack O’Diamonds, who uses him to increase his power to become The Living Diamond, a name that doesn’t last long after Professor X joins in and he and Scott accidentally destroy Diamond trying to restore him to normal. The Professor then takes the boy in.
What they got right: This is a summary of the events in Scott’s life until that point, so while some things are left unanswered (what happened to Scott’s father, seeing Alex get his own mutant powers, why Mister Sinister turns himself from an adult into an orphan boy) these are the important events that shape Scott into Cyclops.
I thought it was better to show you. The art is very boxy and jagged, and both Professor X and Jack O’Diamonds look terrible. Also, how stupid are the cops to immediately treat Scott like a criminal because of his powers? I know, that’s the point, that mutants are hated and feared, but it’s a standing problem I have with the X-titles. Nobody’s trying to arrest the Fantastic Four or the Avengers because of their powers, and they’re only going after Spider-Man because Jameson’s smear campaign against him works. It’s why I keep making fun of how stupid average people are in the Marvel Universe. And why IS Mister Sinister hanging out in an orphanage as a small boy being all creepy about Scott not being “taken away from me”?
Recommendation: A decent introduction to the character and I like the idea of giving younger readers an introduction to the characters Marvel hopes they’ll read once they get older. However, outside of historical reference, who knows what’s been retconned out and making this outdated. It’s kind of a problem as writers change things so THEY have the power of the origin. Worth a curiosity look but I don’t know if you want to hunt it down unless you’re the rare fan of Scott Summers, who I hear doesn’t sit well with lots of X-Fans, especially Wolverine’s fans who want to see him with Jean Grey because they love Wolverine and maybe hate marriage.