Marvel's Wolverine Would Be Pointless Without Cyclops – Screen Rant

Wolverine has had solo adventures, but is best known as in X-Men, clashing with Cyclops. Including his eternal foil aids Wolverine’s characterization.
The upcoming Marvel’s Wolverine videogame from Insomniac promises to provide a gritty solo adventure for the Canadian mutant, but the game would benefit from including Cyclops to highlight how Wolverine’s methods differ. Cyclops is the most iconic foil and heroic rival to Wolverine, and the two mutants have clashed over the years due to a variety of issues, including the use of lethal force, their mutual love of Jean Grey, and the best way to achieve Professor Xavier’s dream of mutant rights. A pure solo game without other X-Men could capture the feel of Wolverine’s various solo comic adventures, but the most well-known stories feature Wolverine as part of the X-Men, where his perpetual conflicts with Cyclops aid in shaping them as dynamic characters.
At present, it is still unknown whether the Wolverine videogame will include other X-Men characters. Though Wolverine was introduced in The Incredible Hulk originally, the character was popularized by his inclusion in the X-Men comic series. Wolverine was one of the mutants added to the cast in 1975, following the comic’s more than four-year-long hiatus, when most of the original team was replaced. His background as a special forces operative for the Canadian government meant Wolverine was more comfortable with deadly black ops-style conflicts than traditional superheroics. This led to some of the initial hostility between Wolverine and Cyclops, as Cyclops often pushed for non-lethal options, where Wolverine had less of an issue with leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.
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After becoming a member of the X-Men, Wolverine has had several popular solo comics, including his original solo series in Japan which inspired The Wolverine, and the Madripoor arc which the Wolverine videogame might draw from. Later comics, including Wolverine: Origin, explored the character’s history, and Old Man Logan flashed forward to the end of the line. Each of these series carried the novelty of showing Wolverine operating without the checks and balances of the X-Men, but that appeal came from having first seen the character work as part of a team. The X-Men and its various spinoff mutant teams have had different leaders over the years, nearly all of whom have had difficulty in reigning Wolverine in. The struggle between Cyclops and Wolverine remains the definitive clash of personalities in the X-Men, however, in part due to the focus of the popular 90s cartoon series, and the films.
Spider-Man is first and foremost a solo hero who sometimes participates in superteams like The Avengers, making Insomniac’s first superhero epic, Marvel’s Spider-Man, different from the Wolverine game. Wolverine is best known as a team-based hero who sometimes has solo adventures, the reverse of Spider-Man. Omitting cameos of other superheroes, therefore, makes sense for a game about Spider-Man, but for the Wolverine title, an appearance from Cyclops would be valuable to provide context for the clawed berserker’s solo game, as well as contrast to his preferred methods.
Wolverine has a dark history, filled with loss and regrets, and he has made numerous enemies over time that the Wolverine videogame can showcase as bosses. For fans who have not followed the comics over the years, they may be unaware that Cyclops was the original dark and brooding member of the X-Men, with early comics playing up the “dread power” of his optic blasts. Cyclops’ fear of letting anyone get close to him caused him to hold back from sharing his feelings for Jean Grey. He was often portrayed as a cold and ruthless leader, pushing the early, more lighthearted incarnation of the X-Men to constantly better themselves in preparation for the threat of “evil mutants.”
The early X-Men comics focused on the team battling dangerous mutants like Magneto, who is unlikely to appear in Insomniac’s videogame as he poses a more large-scale threat. Later comics shifted to highlight the struggle between mutants and human bigots who hated and feared mutants for their differences, an ongoing metaphor for various forms of real-world bigotry, which was the subject of God Loves, Man Kills (the inspiration for X2), and other notable X-Men story arcs. This led to a gradual dynamic character arc for both Wolverine and Cyclops, though the two remained at odds, as Wolverine grew to embody Professor Xavier’s ideals of peaceful co-existence with humans, while Cyclops became increasingly militant, putting the survival of the mutant race first.
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The Wolverine videogame will likely draw from the comics more than the X-Men film series. Wolverine’s shift from lone-wolf killer to an inspiring leader, as shown in the films, is in line with more recent comic book stories. The films did not depict the reverse happening to Cyclops, however, as the comics transformed him from an idealistic leader who encouraged restraint, to a character who adopted Magneto’s more aggressive methods for defending mutant rights. In the Schism comic-book arc, Cyclops was the one advocating for lethal force, and sending children into battle. Wolverine felt this was against the ideals of Professor Xavier, and he split off from Cyclops’ autonomous mutant nation of Utopia to form the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning in the series Wolverine and the X-Men.
Though his character has evolved significantly from his introduction, when Wolverine battled The Hulk, and more recent stories feature him trading his murderous tendencies for idealism, the clashes between Wolverine and Cyclops remain a near-constant. As one exhibits empathy and restraint, the other advocates for pragmatism and deadly force, though these roles have swapped over the years. Cyclops is Wolverine’s iconic rival and ethical counterpoint, even as their respective paradigms shift with time. This has allowed both characters to grow, as numerous tragedies and incidents of human hatred and intolerance have hardened Cyclops, and the acceptance of a team has led Wolverine to embrace a less cynical outlook. Though Marvel’s Wolverine appears poised to show Wolverine as a ruthless killer, including Cyclops and his eternally contrarian views, juxtaposed with Wolverine’s, can aid in Wolverine’s characterization.
A strength of Marvel’s Spider-Man was its original continuity, not beholden to any prior comic book or film universe’s lore. With the Wolverine videogame, Insomniac has similar freedom to tell fresh stories, not tied to with any existing comic or animated adaptation, or the Hugh Jackman cinematic Wolverine. The solo stories and films featuring Wolverine often lean into visceral action and brutality, but it is his time spent as part of a team that has enabled the character’s growth into more than an archetypal “loose cannon.” Even Logan, widely considered the best film featuring the character, is built around the idea that being a part of a team changed Wolverine, and that the loss of the X-Men left him empty and hopeless, desperately caring for the last living member of his surrogate family. Insomniac may have noted that while many solo Wolverine stories offer brutal thrills, the very best Wolverine stories develop his character by contrasting him with others, allowing him to grow and change as a person. There is no better choice to illustrate that contrast than Cyclops, for Marvel’s Wolverine.
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Derek Garcia is a Game Feature Writer for ScreenRant. He lives with his wife, three dogs, and a likely excessive number of video game consoles. When he is not writing, playing video games, watching movies or television, or reading novels or comic books, he occasionally takes some time to sleep. Derek majored in journalism and worked for a print newspaper before discovering the internet. He is a fan of science fiction and fantasy, video game and tabletop RPGs, classic Hong Kong action movies, and graphic novels. After being immersed in nerd culture for many years, Derek is now happy to write about the media he enjoys instead of just ranting to his friends.


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