Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Cyclops #7

Fathers are supposed to teach their kids all sorts of skills. There’s shaving, fishing, baseball, and getting out of a traffic ticket. Not saying all kids with good fathers can master those skills, but it at least confers a sense of dedication. The difference between good fathers and the kind that end up on Dr. Phil is measured by effort and few could argue that Corsair has put in more effort than most over the course of Cyclops’ solo series. He hasn’t just taught his son how to be a pirate. He’s given him some badly needed perspective that he never would’ve had otherwise. The problem is that in Cyclops #7, those teachings have to be good enough to help him and O5 Cyclops survive being prisoner on a rogue pirate ship while maintaining a clever ruse. I’m sure both Corsair and O5 Cyclops would still prefer fishing, but the extent of Corsair’s efforts will be on full display here. If he’s really that dedicated, then O5 Cyclops will get them out alive and maybe get some nice alien pussy on the side.

So here’s O5 Cyclops’ situation as it stands. His father has been imprisoned by Valesh Malafect, who is basically a sunburned version of Captain Hook. He then threw the rest of the Starjammers in an escape pod, cut off the life support, and shot them into space. Even by pirate standards, it’s a dick move. But what he doesn’t know is that O5 Cyclops is Corsair’s son. They had to put on an elaborate show that involved a few broken jaw bones, but it worked. Now O5 Cyclops has to carry on the act and he has to do it after Malafect blows up his father’s ship. So while he’s not completely fucked just yet, his ass is dangerously vulnerable.

Being an inexperienced and impulsive teenager, he almost blows his cover right off the bat. After seeing the Starjammer get blown up, he protests. Like Kanye West, Malafect doesn’t take kindly to criticism. But O5 Cyclops is able to use his father’s pirate training to keep himself from being fed to space sharks. He says there was a lot of nice gear on that ship that would’ve turned a decent profit. It sounds like the same excuse I used to give to the school nurse during mid-terms, but that overworked, underpaid nurse wasn’t a pirate. And Malafect actually responds favorably to it.

It might have been sheer luck or Malafect might not be as smart as he is ruthless, but it does succeed on a few important levels. O5 Cyclops reveals himself to be someone who thinks like a pirate. For Malafect, that makes him a potential asset and any competent pirate knows the value of developing an asset. He even goes out of his way to explain why blowing up that Starjammer was worth the lost loot. By destroying it, he further humiliated his greatest enemy and he can’t put a price tag on that. Pirates might be all about the booty, but they’re not afraid to be vindictive. Hell, the good ones probably are.

Whatever the reason, O5 Cyclops officially weasels his way onto the crew of the Desolation. And he has to pretend to go along with it in order to buy time so that he can carry out at least some semblance of a plan. Keep in mind, this isn’t the same Cyclops that went toe-to-toe with Captain America and would’ve won if it hadn’t been for Tony Stark’s big ass gun solutions. This is a teenage Cyclops who is still learning to look both ways before he crosses the street. Having a plan is actually one of those talents he’s still developing. On to top of that, he keeps reminding himself that his dad is dying. Without his medicine, he’s as good as gone. So not only does he have to come up with a plan, there’s a time limit. It’s almost as bad as a calculus exam…almost.

However, there is one silver lining to being stuck on the crew of this band of ruthless pirates while his father’s life hangs in the balance. Malafect’s daughter, Vileena, is pretty damn cute. She gives O5 Cyclops a brief tour of the ship while he’s brooding over how screwed he is. He meets some of the crew. He learns about some of the ship’s components. But it’s only when he arrives at his room that he notices just how cute she is. Sure, it’s a delayed reaction. I can buy that he was distracted. But he’s still a teenage boy. Nothing distracts teenage boys than a cute girl, even if she’s an alien. Hell, being an alien makes it even more effective.

Vileena is no Jean Grey or Emma Frost, but she finally gets a rouse out of O5 Cyclops’ teenage hormones. And why not? He’s been away from O5 Jean Grey and other cute telepaths for a while now. Teenagers are known to let their boners get the better of them. Vileena also happens to be O5 Cyclops’ age and doesn’t really have anyone else to flirt with. It’s basically the script to every Disney show and/or teen porno ever made. And in terms of silver lining, it does more than just add a little alien T&A to the mix.

So now O5 Cyclops has even more incentive to be competent. Both the life of his father and the panties of a cute alien girl are at stake here. That’s way better incentive than just getting a passing grade on a calculus test. So he starts planning, laying low on the ship until he can make a move. That doesn’t last long. Once he gets to the mess hall, he meets up with a rather irritable crewmate named Zebble. He’s basically that guy at a frat house who enjoys taking a shit on the kitchen floor and making pledges clean it. To his credit, O5 Cyclops tries to be cordial. He tries to make nice, which is perfectly consistent with the boy scout he is at heart. Zebble doesn’t care for boy scouts and he pays the price for it.

Zeeble somehow thought it would be a good idea to take O5 Cyclops’ visor. He thought it was actually the source of his firepower. Apparently, he’s about to get a crash course in mutants and O5 Cyclops makes it hurt. He then has a great Heisenberg moment, saying that the visor isn’t the weapon. He is the weapon. I have a hard time picturing a teenage boy saying that with Bryan Cranston’s voice, but fuck if it doesn’t make all the right impressions. He’s not just a pirate and a boy scout. He’s a badass. Vileena better keep a spare pair of panties handy.

But before he can get to her panties, he still has to establish himself in the Desolate. That means getting stuck with a bunch of shit jobs, in some cases literally. Even in space, a pirate ship doesn’t run itself. It needs to be cleaned, organized, and all the same shit that happens in a typical enterprise. This one just has more scurvy and sodomy. It puts O5 Cyclops in some rather inglorious positions, but that’s exactly what makes it so compelling. This isn’t the same Cyclops who gives revolution speeches to college kids. This is a guy trying to do the right thing and impress a pretty girl, which was a big part of who Cyclops was for most of his history. Seeing him go through it here just reminds me of why he was so awesome. Hell, if I was a cute alien chick, I’d let him cop a feel.

O5 Cyclops is able to endear himself to the crew enough to put at least part of a plan into action. It’ll be his first that didn’t involve being stranded on an alien planet or throwing up. He gets a chance to meet the navigator, who is a Skull with a few extra Robocop parts. He starts teaching him the intricacies of navigating the cosmos with a real hyperdrive. O5 Cyclops is able to contain his inner Star Trek nerd to slip him a little something called vesperjouice, a drink that had him puking his guts up in the previous issue. It effectively knocks out the navigator. It’s not the most cunning plan Cyclops has ever come up with, but it gets the job done.

While the navigator is out, O5 Cyclops pays a visit to his imprisoned father where he lets him know they’re not completely fucked. First, he brings him some food and the live-saving medicine he needs to keep living. Then he reveals he did more than just slip the navigator something extra in his drink. He sent out a signal that ensured the rest of the Starjammers could get rescued. In terms of plans, that’s definitely of a very Cyclops-caliber quality. It’s the first time in quite a while that he’s shown some pirate-style cunning and it’s pretty damn awesome.

Beyond his overdue competence, we get another nice moment with O5 Cyclops and his father. I know there have been plenty here in this series, but they haven’t stopped being awesome. O5 Cyclops takes a moment to apologize to his father for getting them caught up in this mess and remarkably, Corsair is extremely forgiving. He doesn’t yell at his son. He doesn’t say he’ll delete all the internet porn on his hard drive again. He just says he has faith in him to be a kick-ass pirate. I’m not sure if the Marvel universe has a Father of the Year award, but if it did, Corsair would win easily and there would be no close second.

He returns to the cockpit just in time for the navigator to wake up from his drunken nap. He doesn’t suspect a thing. He’s just got whatever a Skrull calls a hangover. But in his attempts to come off as competent, another problem arises. Apparently, they pick up on an emergency medical frigate and Malafect’s first instinct is to raid it. If it has sick patients on board or life-saving medicine for a planet full of sick puppies, well then that’s tough shit for them. They’re pirates. They don’t have time for that humanitarian crap. And if O5 Cyclops is going to stay alive, save his dad, and get inside a cute alien girl’s panties, he’ll go along with it.

This issue finally mixed things up in a way that felt overdue, but the timing ended up being perfect. Since joining the Starjammers, O5 Cyclops’ inexperience and teenage ineptitude showed. That’s to be expected. He’s still a teenager. He hasn’t become the Cyclops who gave the middle finger to Norman Osborn, saved the mutant race, and boned Jean Grey and Emma Frost along the way. But now, with some cunning and a really strong stomach, he finally showed some of the competence that makes him Cyclops. He’s not just trying to survive without shitting himself. He has a plan. Cyclops, no matter what time he’s in, always has a plan. And he intends to follow through with it. And if it means he can hook up with a cute alien girl along the way, then that’s just a bonus. She’s not a telepath, but that’s never stopped any teenage boy before.

This issue continues the growing tradition of making Cyclops more lovable than he’s been in decades. This is not the same Cyclops that got screwed over in Avengers vs. X-men or cast aside in three shitty X-men movies. This is a Cyclops that’s actually easy to root for. He’s in an overwhelming situation, trying to save his father and his friends, and he’s finding a way to get through it in a fun, entertaining way. And throwing a cute alien girl into the mix just makes it more engaging. Cyclops #7 gets a 9 out of 10. There’s no question that he’s thinking like a pirate now, but he’s still a teenage boy. That means he’s still going to think with his dick at some point. That’s an argument he knows he can’t win on some levels. Hopefully, he can compromise just in time to impress Vileena and save his father. Because what good is saving family if it doesn’t come with a little alien pussy? Nuff said!


  1. Great review Jack! I tell as many people as i can about this blog. Nice to read reviews written by someone with such a strong understanding of the characters!

    1. Thanks! Your support is much appreciated.