Scott Summers, the X-Man known as Cyclops, has had a number of labels attached to him over the years. At various times he’s been “Slim” Summers, a “boy scout,” a leader, a revolutionary or a villain. People do love to pigeonhole ol’ Cyke but, despite this, one aspect of Cyclops that’s rarely commented on is his sense of style. Some may argue that this is because Scott has no style, but such critics obviously don’t appreciate the subtle styling of Scott’s wardrobe.
He’s certainly no Kitty Pryde when it comes to weird and wacky outfits, but he’s repeatedly shown over the years that he’s more than just a pretty face (even if it is often hidden behind a ruby quartz visor). Whether rocking skullcaps, team jackets or black leather, Scott Summers has a style all his own, and we at CBR have selected 15 of his most famous looks. Pun intended.
15. HONEYMOON COSTUME
The power of Cyclops’ optic blasts is well-known. Less well-known is that he also has the power to make readers’ eyes bleed: at least that’s the effect that was achieved by this garish and short-lived outfit that only appeared in one issue, “X-Men” #35 by the creative team of Fabian Nicieza and Liam Sharp. The issue sees Scott and Jean have their honeymoon interrupted when they assist with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s attempt to deal with a powerful mutant.
It’s often said that men don’t try as hard once they’re married, taking less care with their appearance. For some men, this might take the form of unflattering shorts worn to the beach. For Cyclops, it sees him wearing a costume that’s a world away from his typical understated outfits. Make no mistake, this costume is loud. It’s not just in the color scheme – a mix of blue, yellow and orange. It’s also in the strange mix of elements, including bare arms and strange markings. It’s not clear whether the outfit was of Scott’s design or provided by S.H.I.E.L.D. Either way, it never made another appearance, Scott and Jean obviously deciding that some experiences are best left for the Honeymoon.
14. ERIC THE RED
Gaze upon this costume in wonder. The next time someone claims that Cyclops was repressed and stuck in his ways, show them this outfit. It’s as if Cyclops took the opportunity to play dress-up and ran with the idea, setting free his inner style guru. Gone is the covered up look, replaced by an excess of bare flesh. Gone are the pirate-style yellow boots, replaced by long, red, kinky ones. All of that is without even mentioning a pair of shorts that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination (and also look rather uncomfortable).
Of course, part of the reason for this outlandish costume is that Cyclops was purposefully trying to create the persona of a new, evil mutant. This occurred in “Uncanny X-Men” #51, by Arnold Drake and Jim Steranko. As Eric the Red, Scott pretended to be a mutant supervillain in order to infiltrate a group of mutants. His familiar visor was not there to control his optic blasts but the face-mask he used had the effect of channeling his blasts so that they appeared to fire from his hands.
13. REVOLUTIONARY CYCLOPS
In the aftermath of the “Avengers vs X-Men” event, Cyclops was at a crossroads in his life. Despite his best intentions, he had succumbed to the power of the Phoenix, killing Charles Xavier in the process. He had successfully achieved his goal of safeguarding the future of mutantkind, but at the cost of nearly all of his friendships and family ties. Showing his unshakable determination, Cyclops still wanted to help mutants. He formed a new team, with members that included Magneto and Emma Frost, and embarked on a self-professed mutant revolution.
This was chronicled in a new volume of “Uncanny X-Men,” from the team of Brian Bendis and Chris Bachalo. In the years since Bachalo first entered the X-verse with his work on “Generation X,” his art had evolved and become ever more stylized. His unmistakable style was evident in the quirky redesigns that he gave each team member, with Cyclops’ new costume being among the most controversial. The colors were darker, with dark red prominent, but the most striking change was that, for the first time, Cyclops’ costume did not include a visible visor. Instead, his face was covered with a large X, a look that polarized fan opinion.
12. EVE OF DESTRUCTION
In “X-Men” #97, Cyclops merged with Apocalypse and was presumed dead for some time. When he eventually returned and was restored to his own form, he was somewhat darker in personality than the Scott of old. This was evident through the tried and tested comics method symbolizing a personality change through a costume swap. Subsequently, the familiar Jim Lee designed costume that Cyclops had worn for approximately seven years was discarded and replaced with a black leather outfit. What better way to show his emotional turmoil?
It’s unclear who initially designed this costume. Cyclops is shown wearing a long-sleeved version on covers by Tom Raney for “Uncanny X-Men” #391 and Ian Churchill for “X-Men” #112. However, the interior of both comics, by Salvador Larroca and Lenil Francis Yu, respectively, feature a more casual, short-sleeved variation of the suit. The black leather appearance of Churchill’s version, shown above, appears to owe a debt to the movie costumes of the X-Men, with the first X-Men movie debuting only a few weeks after this issue was released.
11. YOUNG CYCLOPS
One of the driving features of the X-Men line over the past few years has been the appearance of the young “time-displaced” original five in the present-day. While controversial, the presence of young Scott, Jean, Hank, Bobby and Warren has led to a number of plotlines, most notably the way in which these young mutants have dealt with the knowledge of what their futures might bring. When these young mutants first appeared, in “All New X-Men” #1 by Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen, they were still wearing their original unified training costumes.
After some time in the present — including confrontations with the Brotherhood and the Avengers — the five were finally presented with their own uniforms. This costume design, by Stuart Immonen, marks a change from the traditional blue and yellow of the older Cyclops, establishing the younger Scott as his own man. Another nice touch is the lack of headgear, again suggesting that this Scott is a more open, outward looking character.
10. ULTIMATE CYCLOPS
The “Ultimate” line was launched in the year 2000, with the intent of presenting a modern, streamlined version of the Marvel universe, one that would be free of continuity baggage and more accessible to moviegoers. It’s for this reason that the line’s first two launches were “Ultimate Spider-Man” in 2000 and “Ultimate X-Men” in 2001, both of which had been or were soon to be big-budget films. “Ultimate X-Men,” produced by the creative team of Mark Millar and Adam Kubert, saw Scott Summers and Jean Grey as two of the team’s first members.
While the team featured many familiar faces, superhero costumes were notable by their absence. The team’s look was more military in style, consisting of black leather. Some things, of course, are ever-present, and Cyclops’ costume did include his trusty visor, the X-motif on his belt and his favorite yellow boots and belt combo. It seems that regardless of the universe, his style is multi-dimensional.
9. PHOENIX CYCLOPS
During 2012’s crossover event, “Avengers vs X-Men,” Cyclops and four of his comrades (Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik) were exposed to the Phoenix Force, each receiving a fragment of its power. As a result, the five all received costume changes to mark their new status. Scott’s new costume retained his visor, but in came a black and red color scheme. A large, red Phoenix now took center stage on his chest, replacing any sign of a traditional “X” emblem and perhaps showing where his true allegiance now stood.
The “Phoenix 5” first received their costumes in “Avengers vs X-Men” #5, from the creative team of Matt Fraction and John Romita Jr. Cyclops’ costume provoked some discussion upon its debut, due to supposed similarities to Nightwing’s New 52 attire. With Nightwing possessing a similar color scheme and a red bird across his chest, the similarities are indeed clear, although no-doubt accidental.
8. NEW X-MEN
When Grant Morrison and Frank Quitley began their stint on the X-Men with “New X-Men” #114 in 2001, the series saw a radical change in tone. The school was opened up to students, the sprawling team of X-Men was pared back to a core of five (Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine and Emma Frost) and they all received new uniforms. It’s fair to say that Quitely’s art was quite unlike the traditional superhero art that often adorned the X-titles. His Scott, for the first time in years, was someone who could conceivably be called “Slim” Summers, with even his visor being pared down to a thin strip. After years of chunky visors and oversized shades, this new visor was almost… cool?
The core team did have a uniform, but it was a world away from the identical training uniforms of the original five. Instead, they wore leather jackets and reinforced shirts underneath. The X-logo was ever present, but expressed in an almost playful way. On Cyclops, it was visible when his jacket was zipped up, on the elbows of his jacket and on his oversized gloves.
7. AGE OF APOCALYPSE
In 1995, the X-universe changed dramatically. Due to Legion accidentally killing his father, Charles Xavier, in the past, he never lived to form the X-Men and history reshaped itself accordingly. In the new timeline, Apocalypse ruled the United States with an iron fist, while the X-Men were led by Magneto and Rogue. Well-known characters often appeared in unfamiliar roles, which was certainly the case for Cyclops. “Prelate Summers” wasn’t the leader of the X-Men. Instead, he worked alongside Mister Sinister to serve the cause of Apocalypse, although readers soon found out that Scott’s heroic side wasn’t completely absent in this new reality: he had been helping people escape the slave pens for years.
This version of Scott was primarily featured in “Factor X” from the creative team of John Francis Moore and Steve Epting. The visual is so effective because it conforms to typical “evil twin” stereotypes (he has an eye-patch and long hair! He must be evil!), but also because it plays against type, contrasting this version of Cyclops against the clean-cut leader of the X-Men.
6. SECOND X-FACTOR COSTUME
In “X-Factor” #26 by the creative team of Louise and Walt Simonson, the team received new costumes. Having disposed of their mutant-hunter facade, they were now operating as visible heroes and in this issue faced a considerable task to protect Manhattan residents from the destruction caused by Apocalypse’s ship. Their heroic efforts resulted in a grateful city giving the team a ticker-tape parade: an increasingly rare moment of togetherness between mutant and human.
The in-story reason for the team’s new uniforms was that Iceman and Beast saved the life of a designer, who subsequently produced new outfits for the team. These were essentially the same as their previous outfits, but with minor alterations to the color scheme. Jean swapped green for red, while Hank traded blue for brown. Scott’s costume featured the most drastic change. For the first time, his costume featured no yellow, these sections of his previous costume now being colored white.
5. ORIGINAL X-FACTOR COSTUME
When the original five X-Men reunited after the return of Jean Grey, much had changed since they last fought together. The number of known mutants had increased, the threats that they faced had grown ever more dangerous and Professor Xavier was no longer on the scene. But some things remained the same: notably, Cyclops’ attachment to a blue and yellow color-scheme. Essentially, Cyclops’ X-Factor costume was a re-modified version of his classic outfit, with the yellow trunks replaced by a prominent “X” that covered his torso.
The original concept of “X-Factor” was that the Original Five (O5) were posing as mutant-hunters in an attempt to locate and assist young mutants. Simultaneously, they maintained their superhero identities, the bright colors of their superhero outfits being in stark contrast to their blue jumpsuits as mutant hunters. Jackson Guice designed the original outfits for the series, which continued to be used after Walt Simonson came on as artist with #10.
4. O5 TEAM COSTUME
Life was simpler when a young Scott Summers first joined the X-Men. The Danger Room wasn’t in the habit of killing its students, the mansion wasn’t destroyed on a biweekly basis and you didn’t need a scorecard to keep track of X-men team members. This simpler time was reflected in the costumes worn by Scott and his teammates. The original five X-Men were officially students of Charles Xavier and their uniforms reflected that. The uniforms that debuted in “Uncanny X-Men” #1, from the pen of Jack Kirby, were simultaneously superhero costumes and training costumes, giving the team a uniform look.
The design couldn’t be simpler: base colors of yellow and blue, accessorized with a red ‘X’ belt. Despite being a team, there was a pleasing amount of individuality within the design, that increased over time. Beast had no shoes, Marvel Girl’s top became more shaped and she gained a mask, while Iceman tended to dispense with a top altogether. Cyclops made no modifications to the uniform itself, yet still remained instantly recognizable. The reason was his visor, the conduit through which his ability was channeled and the feature that would unite most of his looks.
3. ASTONISHING X-MEN
When Grant Morrison left “New X-Men” with #154, fans didn’t have to wait long for the arrival of another big name writer. Two months later, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday launched “Astonishing X-Men,” with Cyclops playing a pivotal role in the book. It was Cyclops that formed the team and set out their mission — a bid to get out into the world and present themselves as a team. As he told Wolverine: “Superheroes wear costumes. And quite frankly all that black leather is making people nervous.”
This costume saw Cyclops go back to his roots, with a blue and yellow color scheme and a skullcap covering his hair. Cassaday did make some alterations that made the costume stand out, including making the gloves blue and adding gold piping that would run down the length of the suit. It was a strong look for Cyclops and was to become his primary outfit until the schism of the X-Men in 2011.
2. ’90s JIM LEE COSTUME
Alongside his classic blue costume, this Jim Lee designed outfit is undoubtedly one of the most well-known outfits for Cyclops. Debuting in the millions-selling “X-Men” #1 in 1991, Cyclops would wear it until his apparent death in “X-Men” #97. It was also his costume in “X-Men: The Animated Series,” making it instantly recognizable to a whole generation of children. The costume was actually very similar to his traditional blue outfit, but with two noticeable alterations.
Firstly, the costume featured an oversized belt/pouch combo. The exact function of the “X” clasp on his chest isn’t clear, but it certainly looks cool. The same goes for the numerous pouches on his belt. What does he keep in them? Sentinel repellent spray? The other major change was that for the first time his uniform didn’t include a skullcap, meaning that Cyke could rush into battle with his hair blowing in the wind. When you’re a mutant that the world hates and fears, sometime it’s the little victories that count.
1. CLASSIC BLUE COSTUME
One of the interesting things about Cyclops is that, for the longest time, despite his teammates repeatedly changing outfits, he kept to the same basic design. That design is his timeless “graduation” costume, for the simple reason that it’s close to perfect for the character. Scott Summers has often been written as a rather repressed character, supremely efficient yet not desiring the limelight. It therefore makes sense that he would favor a costume that’s functional rather than flashy. Don Heck may not gain the kudos of some of his fellow Silver Age artists, but in designing this costume he perfectly captured Cyclops.
Compared to some of his teammates, the changes between Cyclops’ team uniform and his individual uniform are rather minor, the main one being the replacement of yellow with blue on his chest. He received the costume in “Uncanny X-Men” #39, with Jean having designed new costumes for the five; as Professor X stated, “It’s time the team looked like individuals — not products of an assembly line!” Cyclops would keep this costume design, with minor modifications, until he left the X-Men in “Uncanny X-Men” #201.
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