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Comic Book Questions Answered: Is Cyclops a Sociopath?

by  in Comic News Comment
Comic Book Questions Answered: Is Cyclops a Sociopath?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.

Recently, I joked in a column about Cyclops being a sociopath. A few readers then wrote in to me to ask if I thought he was ACTUALLY a sociopath, all joking aside. Off the top of my head, I would say no, but then I thought, hey, why not run Cyclops through the Sociopath checklist and see what we find? So let’s do that!

Edited to Add: I addressed some people’s concerns about whether we SHOULD have done this in the first place here.

Here are the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R). The idea is to grade a person on each checklist item on a scale from 0 (the item does not apply) to 2 (the item very much applies).

1. Glib and superficial charm

I initially thought that this was a definite 0, but I dunno, Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men does suggest that Cyclops IS the guy you would want as the “face” of the X-Men, just like this bit from Uncanny X-Men #500…

So I think a 1 is fair here.

2. Grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self

Cyclops is clearly one of those guys who thinks that he is the only one who save mutantdom, so yeah, he has a very high estimation of his self.

Or what he said to Wolverine when Wolverine confronted Cyclops in prison after Cyclops was arrested following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men…

I’m going a 2 here.

3. Need for stimulation

I dunno, isn’t that pretty much every superhero?

But sure, that’s a good explanation for how quickly he was willing to abandon his wife and child after he retired to Alaska. He needed more stimulation…

So I’m going with a 2 here, but again, note that this particular item applies to pretty much all superheroes. They’re always craving stimulation.

4. Pathological lying

This is tough. He’s obviously not a HUGE liar, but he DOES seem to end up lying a lot. It’s what drove Beast out of the X-Men…

So let’s go with a 1.

5. Cunning and manipulativeness

Cyclops is famous for this, like this classic sequence from X-Men #125…

So a 2 for sure.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt

From X-Men #118…

From X-Factor #30…

I’m going with a 2.

7. Shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)

This basically means that while generally they are cold people, they’ll occasionally have dramatic outbursts that then go away right away. It’s tough to determine whether such behaviors are superficial or not, but Cyclops definitely does this stuff…

So I’ll go with a 1.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy

This is pretty much the #1 indictment on him in his treatment of his wife and child…

He LOSES the duel and look how sad he looks to be going back to his wife and kid!

So I’m going with a 2 here.

9. Parasitic lifestyle

I think the argument is that he does feed off of his students, right? Like forcing young mutants who are not yet ready to kill into killing…

It’s a stretch, so I’ll say 1.

10. Poor behavioral controls

Here I think we have to cut Cyclops a break. Dude has powers that CONSTANTLY need him to be in control, so I think he is good in that regard. We also saw him lock the Void up in his head…

So I’ll go 0.

Go to the next page for the next ten!

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