When it comes to superheroes, I’m mainly a DC fan. That being said, I love the X-Men. And I love their leader, Cyclops, the most. Which is what makes it so frustrating that he’s made the designated villain again and again, when he just does what’s right, what’s necessary to ensure the survival of mutantkind.
People claim he became a criminal, a terrorist, an extremist, a general, but he’s not any of those things. In most of the ways that matter, he continued to follow Xavier’s dream more than anyone else. Protect those that hate and fear them. It’s an iconic line about what it means to be an X-Man. And Scott does just that. He trains his students to use their powers and to fight, because that’s what they need to do to survive – it’s what the X-Men have always been about. That doesn’t mean he’s leading an army. It just means he’s not going to sit back and let people kill them.
The most ridiculous thing to me was Death of X. Marvel spent a year leading up to it, a year of trying to make people wonder, what did he do?! And what did he do, to merit being called a criminal and a mass murderer and equated to Hitler? To supposedly be the reason that no one trusted the X-Men or wanted their help anymore?
He…stopped the Terrigen cloud from being dangerous to mutants. Wait, what? That’s it? Yeah. And the Inhumans killed him for that. And then none of that even happened because it turned out Emma did all of that, but the world thinks Scott did.
So let’s say he did. He stopped his people from being gassed to death. What the hell, Marvel. He did that, and you’re calling him Hitler? Yeah, that’s literally the opposite. It’s especially bad because they acknowledge it – they have Magneto, a Jewish character, say that his people will not be gassed to death.
I love the X-Men with all my heart, but they’ve always been a somewhat problematic, flawed allegory for prejudice. And that’s partially because for most of their history, even as some of the non-Xavier aligned characters were portrayed in a somewhat sympathetic light, it was Xavier that was always depicted as the ultimate good guy, despite the fact that his message was in a lot of ways a, “don’t rock the boat, be patient, be nice to your oppressors, not all humans” thing. And that was kind of okay before Scott started stepping up to lead mutantkind, because the opposing view was Magneto, who went beyond fighting to protect mutants and into the land of mass murder of everyone that opposed him. But that’s not what Scott did, and he was treated as a supervillain.
The second Scott started actually making steps to achieving Xavier’s dream, beyond just words, by fighting for what was right, by fighting back instead of trying to demonstrate that mutants aren’t dangerous by letting humans hurt and kill them, people accused him of being a villain and straying from Xavier’s dream
The Avengers have a history of treating the X-Men and mutants in general terribly. They never help the mutants when they need help; they never take responsibility for their own actions while at the same time insisting that Scott needs to be brought to justice; they create most of their problems themselves while the X-Men have to clean up after everyone, not just themselves. One of my favourite panels was when Scott told Captain America to go to hell. It was ridiculously satisfying to see that hypocrisy finally called out.
I hate it when fans call Scott boring, because I don’t see that at all. He’s deeply disciplined. He’s responsible and principled. He’s filled with self doubt, and as Emma said, he hates himself so much he doesn’t understand why anyone else wouldn’t. He’s far from perfect – he can be ruthless and manipulative, but he’s also a decent guy that’s trying really hard to do the right thing when there are no right options. He’s a more nuanced character than anyone else in the Marvel universe.
I like Wolverine, but when it comes down to it, Wolverine is not now nor will he ever be the X-Men. That’s Scott. He’s their face and their spirit and he has fought for them for so long. It’s time he got some more credit for that.
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