Issue #14, Page 24: Cyclops Loses His Powers

© 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday
Issue #14, Page 24: Cyclops Loses His Powers
Graphite and ink on board
Signed by John Cassaday
11" x 17"

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Whedon & Cassaday followed one of the greatest runs in Marvel mutant history with perhaps the single greatest X-Men story of them all. What could they show the fans that they'd never seen before? Cyclops' eyes, for one...

When Buffy the Vampire Slayer scribe Joss Whedon and Planetary artist John Cassaday launched Astonishing X-Men in 2004, it became an instant, smash success -winning multiple Eisner and Wizard Fan Awards. Crafting the most lauded and best selling comic was not without its drawbacks, however. Whedon's original contract was for twelve issues only, and it became unclear if the team that earned the Best Continuing Series Award would continue intact. Contract negotiations and multiple projects requiring the attentions of both creators necessitated not one, but several delays in the intended monthly delivery schedule. Following the team's return to the book with issue 13, the plan was for the book to go bi-monthly to accommodate deadline extensions and prevent further publishing delays. The next issue reached readers on the targeted second month, but the publishing became quite erratic after that. The final page of issue 14 (pictured above) features a powerless Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) rendered catatonic by the treachery of his love, Emma Frost (aka The White Queen). There was a nearly three-month wait between this and issue 15.

Comic book fans, when faced with a publishing interruption, will often go back and re-read the last printed issue –pouring over the events, keeping them fresh in their memories for when the new issue finally hits the newsstand. As such, this page became the focal point for the collective attention of hundreds of thousands of X-Men readers for several months. This was a comic book cliffhanger on par with "Who shot J.R.?"

Under the skillful pencil and inks of John Cassaday, Scott Summers' alter-ego climbed the monthly ranks of fan publication Wizard's Favorite Superhero (Male) in reader polls –especially with female readers. In an industry where all heroes have impossibly perfect physiques, Cassaday's Cyclops gained popularity for his accessible good looks, but also ultimately for his compassionate gaze. As the mutant impacted by the most tragedy throughout Marvel's long history, it's been difficult for fans to connect with him without the benefit of a complete range of facial expressions. In removing his signature goggles, and perhaps because of his new vulnerability, the character gained the empathy of the largest readership in comic book publishing and Cassaday won back-to-back Eisner Awards for Best Penciler/Inker.


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