*The cover image has been taken from pinterest”
When you think of Marvel Comics, there are certain characters and groups that pop into your mind. Sure, the presence of the MCU has brought about recognition for a lot of lesser known characters but there was a time when Marvel Comics was synonymous with the Trifecta: Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and The X-Men.
The X-Men first appeared in X-Men #1, September 1963, and the original roster constituted of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman and Angel with Professor Charles Xavier as their mentor. In the years since this roster has steadily increased to include hundreds of new Mutants and characters, some who have gone on to become fan favorites. The X-Men’s creation wasn’t a random experimentation by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby but a gradual process that was influenced by the socio-political situation of the time along with the growth of its rival company, DC comics.
I cannot go into the history of the X-Men’s creation here but you can refer the video below for a good understanding of the X-Men. If you want to get into comics, the guy who made this video (ComicsExplained) has a great assortment of stories and characters that are really informative.
The X-Men has always been led by Cyclops aka Scott Summers. A Mutant with Optic Force Blasts as his ability, Cyclops has been a staple of the X-Men franchise. He’s the Ash Ketchum of his franchise, you just cannot think of the X-Men without him, to some degree.
Wolverine aka James Howlett aka Logan, is a character that first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #180, with his first full appearance in #181 (cover-dated Nov. 1974). The character then made his first X-Men appearance in 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men #1. His abilities include a regenerative healing factor, superhuman senses and reflexes and an adamantium-plated skeletal structure with retractable claws. Wolverine has been a breakout character of the franchise and has become a fan-favorite since.
Cyclops, while the de facto leader, has often shared his leadership with Wolverine. While Cyclops has led the original X-Men more often, Wolverine has led numerous teams like The New Avengers and X-Factor, as well as built his own teams as and when required.
Wolverine and Cyclops are two characters that I have often felt are mirror images of each other. Not so much in a Batman vs Joker/Good vs Evil way but more as two different takes to the same output. Both Cyclops and Wolverine are good guys who want good things for the mutants and the human race. It’s their personality and the way they address this, that pits them against one another.
Cyclops has always been the level-headed leader. He is calm, composed and looking out for the tactical options rather than an all-out offensive approach. Wolverine is more headstrong in the way he handles conflict. He is brash and aggressive and due to his feral instincts, very violent. I am talking Kill Bill levels of violent at times. Wolverine and Cyclops have been at each other’s throat’s for a long time, disapproving the other’s actions. And yet, there exists a non-spoken appreciation for each other.
I don’t want to get into the details of this point but yes, Wolverine and Cyclops both have had feelings for Jean Grey but only Cyclops caught her eye (pun intended).
The best way to explore duality is through their costumes. The classic costume for both these X-Men use the yellow and blue colors. However, while Cyclops’ costume features blue as the primary color and yellow as the secondary color, Wolverine’s costume interchanges this color palette to feature yellow as the primary color and blue as a secondary color as if to mirror each other.
In personality terms, blue is associated with trust, responsibility, honesty and loyalty. It is a representation of sincerity, reserved nature, quiet and a dislike to make a fuss. From a character perspective, Cyclops personifies these traits. He is the dependable loyal leader who stands for virtue and hardly ever creates commotion by virtue of his actions.
On the other hand, yellow represents a knack to acquire knowledge and is associated with the logical part of the brain. It represents the more practical thought process of one’s psyche which observes, analyzes and react. Wolverine has been alive for a long time due to his healing factor and experienced a lot because of it. With experience comes maturity and Wolverine’s headstrong nature comes from the way he has handled every situation. Yellow is also associated with an impulsive characteristic that dwells in a non-emotional manner, traits which have been displayed by Wolverine for a long time.
Over the last few years, Cyclops and Wolverine have sort-of swapped their roles. Cyclops has gone on to become more headstrong and more aggressive in his stance while Logan has become more reserved and a lot more analytical. I believe that it is a way to explore this duality of their characters, a way to acknowledge their similarities through change.
Cyclops and Wolverine have been one of my favorite X-Men’s since time immemorial and it is interesting to me that such character depths can be applied to characters that are so often taken for granted in the world of literary fiction.
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