By djotaku 22 Comments
I discovered comics in middle school. As I've mentioned before, I was mostly into Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, but I also enjoyed X-Men. My younger brother collected most of the X-Men comics at that time and it didn't make sense for us to double-up with our meager allowance so we read each other's comics. I was also exposed to X-Men The Animated Series (as I mentioned in my previous blog post). I pretty much liked all of the X-Men. They were all cool in ways that a kid would enjoy at that age. Gambit was cool and a ladies man. Beast was super smart and could make anything for the team. Wolverine was a powerful mutant who'd protect all his friends. And Scott was the leader with the awesome power of shooting optic blasts from his eyes! As someone who got made fun of for wearing glasses, that struck a chord with me.
Cyclops was my favorite character. In addition to identifying with his vision problems, I was the oldest brother and so I knew what it was like to lead others and try to reach consensus on a course of action. (Usually guiding my brothers into what video game we should play or, when younger, what toys to play) Also, when we were very young, my brothers always fought with each other. (usually not litterally in the sense that it usually didn't come to blows) So I had experience with getting them to cooperate so we could have a fun time playing together. So, naturally I "was" Cyclops. I don't know why or how kids do this since I can't remember my state of mind at that age, but watch them watching some TV show or movie they're familiar with and they'll say "I'm (so and so)". It's kinda the kid version of a fantasy league. If that character gets trounced in the show, you get to make fun of your brother (or friend or whoever)
Thanks to seeing Gotham City Sirens at my local comic shop, I got back into comics in May of this year. I started reading current issues as well as catching up with the last ten years' worth of X-Men back-stories. Also, as mentioned, I've been watching the old 1994 cartoon. In doing so, I've come to a different assessment - I love Beast. (Which makes it suck that he's now in The Secret Avengers) Scott just doesn't cut it for me as an adult. In the early years, Scott was not more than a lapdog to Professor X. This is even used as a diss during the Onslaught Saga. Yeah, he was a leader for the X-Men, but it was still all "What does Charles think?" And now, between the events of Onslaught, New X-Men, and whatever caused them to all end up on Utopia, Scott's become something of a jerk. (I'd use a stronger word, but let's try and keep it kiddie clean). To start with, his affair and subsequent relationship with Emma just come off as horrible. I know there may have been some meddling there by Jean to make sure some evil future didn't come to pass, but it still looks like moving too quickly. (Wolverine even comments on that in Astonishing X-Men) And now he seems to be way too OK with killing people for the greater good. Sure, they couldn't stay naive forever after all that's happened to them, but somehow Batman's been able to steer clear of that line. Every time I see him in the most recent issues he comes off like someone I'd hate to have as the leader.
Beast, on the other hand, is a really fun and increasingly complex character. The fun part is prevalent in both the animated series and early comics where his quips remind me of Spider-Man but with a touch of $5 words just because. (Kinda like Mason in Chew) From New X-Men forward (and maybe from some point before that) he became a much more complex character. He had to deal with insecurities surrounding his change to a more feline form. He had girl troubles. And he found a woman. (I'm a little behind so I'm not sure if they're still together, but it seems like a perfect relationship as far as these things go) And he's not only an asset for his super strength, but also his great intellect. Dark Beast has a hard time keeping up with the intellectual demands placed on him when he tries to masquerade as the real Beast during the Onlsaught timeline.
It really is a shame that Beast is no longer with the X-Men although he does appear in one of the current Astonishing X-Men story arcs. My love of his character may lead to me also adding Secret Avengers to my pull list. But Scott is definitely not my favorite anymore. Wolverine is being written better than ever, but his loner persona is something I no longer identify with. Because things are getting crazy now with the Schism storyline, there are so many characters, I'm not sure who will emerge as my new favorite X-Men, but possible contenders include Legion, Velocidad, and Kitty Pryde.