In the face of Avengers vs. X-Men about to hit comic book stores, there has been speculation that Cyclops, leader of the X-Men, will die. His cause has been saving the mutants, his religion has been restoring those like him to a point of viability instead of extinction. Stoic, stalwart leader, the first mutant to join the X-Men.

Most people think he will die. His cause will be complete, his life sacrificed as a martyr to his cause. Cyclops will die, just as his wife, Phoenix, might actually return.

But Cyclops can’t die, he just can’t.

You can say he must answer for his crimes. He did start an assassination squad, which he sent after his son for their first assignment. (He later sent the same squad to rescue his son.)

You can say he has become a tyrant. His word has become law, even to the extent of throwing out X-Men founder, Charles Xavier. (He later let the Professor come back, under his command.)

You can say he’s lost his way. He surrounds himself with no less than four supervillains on a daily basis, not as prisoners, but as trusted allies. (He later realized he needed to have someone around to make sure he was still a good guy.)

You can say a lot of things about Cyclops. You can throw your opinon at me, and I might even agree. You can quote this story I hate and this one I like. But there’s one thing you can’t say, because, no matter what words you use, it’ll never be true.

You can’t tell me Cyclops is not my hero.

 ***

When I was eight years old, I had few heroes, but most of those were the same heroes I’d had since I was two or three years old. A child needs heroes, not because they are heroic, but because they are role models. Children have to learn what leadership is, what caring is, compassion, faith, strength, relying on one’s friends.

When I was eight, that Christmas, I got a box of comic books. All of them were Marvel, and there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to many of them. They were all comics released within a month of each other, dumped in a box, and listed for sale through a JC Penny or Sears catalogue.

I read those things over and over. They were all I had. There was no dime store, no grocery store, and certainly no comic book store I could buy them from. All I had were those heroes trapped within those thirty books.

As I read those books over and over, I found that my favorite was an issue of Classic X-Men. The issue I had was oversized and featured a big battle between the X-Men and the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard—one of the formative battles of The Phoenix Saga. Through it all, I liked “the guy with the laser beams for eyes.”

Naturally, this was Cyclops. I liked him, I liked “the pretty lady in green,” and I liked “the claw guy with the weird hair.” The other comics I had solidified my belief in Phoenix and Wolverine, as well as Nightcrawler, Colossus, Banshee, and Storm. But Cyclops, he was awesome.

***

As time passed, I would find myself with more comics, usually the one or two times a year I would go to a big mall with my family. I eventually gravitated toward the X-Men comics. Most of the time that I would get them, I would find stoic Cyclops with his laser beams for eyes leading the charge.

The first X-Men toy I ever got was Cyclops. The first X-Man I drew was Cyclops. If I was going to be an X-Man, I wanted to be Cyclops. He had brown hair like me and I don’t usually call people “bub.”

Eventually, I started getting comics regularly. The X-Men found their way into being cartoons. Talk of movies started. The mutants saturated popular culture.

Nothing could change my mind about Cyclops. My loyalty to him has been solid ever since I was a kid. Even when he shacked up with Emma Frost—a member of the villainous Hellfire Club. Even when he made out with Emma on Jean’s grave. Even when I refused to read X-Men comics because they’d gotten so bad.

Through all those times, in my heart, I was still loyal to Cyclops.

***

A lot of that can be put to his place during the impressionable years of my youth. But there’s something else that made an impression on me, something that made just as deep an impression on me.

Dad.

I’ve talked previously about him and his passing just a few months ago. I feel there are things I need to say about him so I can better make my point.

My Dad has a grandchild, my nephew. My Dad has one love that he spent over forty years with. My Dad was often the stoic member of the family, though quite capable of taking the lead of the conversation. Dad had two causes he was committed to, though, to him, they were one and the same.

Now, look at Cyclops. He has a grandchild, Hope. He has one love he’s spent decades with. Cyclops is the stoic one, the leader. Cyclops has causes that dominate his life, enough where they are his life.

Both my Dad’s fate and Cyclops’ have been decided in a small room by a group of people I can’t talk to.

See, I’ve already lost my real childhood role model, but if Cyclops dies, I’ll lose my fictional one, too.

Cyclops is part of several of my lead characters, especially Commander, who I have written ever since I was eight years old.

Losing Cyclops now, to me, would be like losing another part of my childhood, another part of my Dad, and part of my main character. I know it’s just my point of view and me hoping against the momentum of an upcoming story, but really, for the child still in me, I simply plead, Cyclops can’t die, he just can’t.

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