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COMIC LEGEND: Cyclops’ eye beams come from another dimension.
STATUS: I’m Going With False
Reader Frank W. wrote in to ask me what the deal was with Cyclops’ powers, namely, what’s up with the idea that his powers come from a different dimension.
The confusion, Frank, began with the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe in 1983. The idea of the series was to have a specific guideline for every character in the Marvel Universe. How their power worked, what the limits of their powers were, etc. However, in a few instances, the handbook also took some liberties.
For instance, in X-Men #43, Roy Thomas and Werner Roth had already explained how Cyclops’ powers worked…
By the way, I love that story for the way that it dealt with one of the ultimate nit-picking thing, all of the panels where Cyclops blasts someone without touching his visor…
So that’s pretty clear, right?
But in the Handbook, it says that Cyclops’ eyes are:
interdimensional apertures between this universe and another, non -Einsteinian universe, where physical laws as we know them do not pertain. This non-Einsteinaian universe is filled with particles which resemble photons, yet they interact with this universe’s particles by transferring kinetic energy in the form of gravitons. These particles generate great, directional concussive forces when they interact with the objects of this universe.
That’s almost as good as the handbook’s explanation for how Spider-Man sticks to walls!
Anyhow, in the updated version of the Handbook that ran in 1986, they corrected the previous edition, stating instead:
Cyclops apparently somehow metabolizes sunlight, and presumably starlight as well, in the process of generating the force bams. It has been argued that Cyclops could therefore prevent himself from generating the force beams by confing himself to places sealed off from sunlight. However, for unknonw reasons, deprivation of sunlight for extended periods sets up a dangerous physiological imbalance of unknown nature in Cyclops’ body.” The exactu means by which Cyclops stores the solar energy his body absorbs, and by which he stores the unknown energy of his optic beams, also remains unknown
That more or less settled it, except when fans read the original Handbook and presumed that it was the official stance of Marvel, which would make sense, since it said “Official Handbook” on it. In fact, the entry from the original Handbook was added to Marvel’s own website at one point or another and it even made it into an X-Men Handbook in 2004…
Cyclops possesses the mutant ability to project a beam of heatless, ruby-colored concussive force from his eyes, which act as interdimensional apertures between this universe and another. Cyclops’ body constanty absorbs ambient energy, such as sunlight, from his environment into his body’s cells, which allows him to open the apertures. Cyclops’ mind generates a psionic field that is attuned to the forces that maintain the apertures
That’s just repeating the original mistake.
While don’t get me wrong, Brian Michael Bendis can decide tomorrow “Oh yeah, Cyclops gets his powers from another dimension” and write it into an issue of X-Men and it WILL be true, at this exact moment it is not true.
Thanks for helping me open a big ol’ can of convoluted worms, Frank!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: What’s the mysterious origin of Scooby Doo? What classic TV sitcom was it based on?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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