Scott Summers has led the X-Men as Cyclops almost exclusively since the formation of the team by Professor Charles Xavier, and while his teammates frequently changed their costumes around him, Scott rarely deviated from his updated training uniform for almost two decades.
Scott began branching out with his costume designs in the 80s and really nailed it in the 90s, sparking an ongoing debate over which decades’ costume has become more iconic. So today we’ll be looking at Cyclops’s 80s and 90s costumes to determine which of Slim’s suits comes out on top.
10 80S: REPRESENTED THE TEAM BETTER
When Cyclops did finally change out of his tried and true plain blue bodysuit and yellow boots and undies, it was to rejoin with the four other founding members of the X-Men after the return of Jean Grey as the first incarnation of X-Factor.
The team shared matching costumes with different colors with Scott sticking to the blue-and-yellow color scheme. He wore the large “X” across his torso with pride, alongside the other reunited members of his family.
9 90S: REPRESENTED THE ERA BETTER
While Cyclops 90’s costume did fall in line with some of his other teammate’s designs in the 90s, which were mostly from comic legend Jim Lee, this was mostly due to the design styles of the decade that influenced the X-Men more than a general team unity.
Cyclops 90’s gear was back to the blue bodysuit, but the usual yellow accessories were accompanied with golden armor straps across his chest and legs, along with numerous unnecessary pouches and multiple “X” insignias that exemplified the excess of the 90s perfectly.
8 80S: HAD MORE COSTUME VARIATIONS
After sticking with one costume for so many years, Scott Summers really let loose in the 80s with a few different variations of his new costume, though they all mostly followed the same design of the blue-and-yellow “X” costume.
The Fall of the Mutants event swapped out the blue-and-yellow for a white-and-blue costume with cuffed boots and gloves that has become a fan-favorite look. He returned to an updated version of the blue-and-yellow “X” costume in the 90s right before getting the updated look in X-Men #1.
7 90S: LOOKED EVEN BETTER WITH A JACKET
Cyclops’ 90s look didn’t have many variations beyond a few alternate-reality takes on the character, though he would occasionally also wear a brown monogrammed leather jacket, which somehow made the costume look even better. This trend was reflected by quite a few heroes in the 90s like Captain America and most of the Avengers at the time.
In Cyclops’ case, it was usually a leather pilot’s jacket that referenced his origins and the generations of pilots within the Summers’ family. The jacket has become such an iconic part of his 90s costume that it is frequently included as an accessory with Cyclops action figures.
6 80S: NICE AND SIMPLE
One of the golden rules in fashion, especially with superhero costumes, is to “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Flashy superhero costumes tend to be easily forgettable or a functional nightmare, which is something 80s Cyclops was able to avoid.
All variations of his 80s costume not only matched the clean-cut rigidity of Scott Summers, but they were also functionally capable and had zero bells and whistles beyond his essential ruby-quartz visor, perfect for a battle-hardened warrior.
5 90S: PRESUMABLY TACTICAL
The 90s costume still managed to avoid most of the 90s trends like giant shoulder pads and over-stuffed costumes like his son Cable, though Cyclops was still a bit weighted down with pouched and straps that did nothing beyond looking tactically cool.
So with that assumption, it would appear that Cyclops is even more prepared for any situation that presents itself in battle, though admittedly, we can’t remember too many occurrences of Cyclops reaching into one of his many pouches for anything, ever.
4 80S: HAS BEEN HANDED DOWN
The mark of a truly iconic costume is its ability to last beyond the original character, which we’ve seen with other heroes who have passed their costumes and titles down to a successor. While Cyclops has never really had a successor before, he has had a few children over the years.
After Cyclops and Jean Grey bonded with their Age of Apocalypse-exile “son” Nate Grey, Cyclops gave him his late-80s/early-90s blue-and-white “X” costume (though it turned into his blue-and-yellow) that Nate wore until his Mutant Shaman phase.
3 90S: KEEPS COMING BACK
Cyclops wore his 90s costume for quite a while until he was taken over by Apocalypse and adopted a black leather look that was soon followed by the rest of the team, but he has occasionally brought out the iconic 90s costume over the years.
Most recently, Cyclops and the remaining members of the X-Men were forced to wear older costumes from a safe house that brought about a very welcome return of the 90s costume that unfortunately didn’t last into the “Dawn of X” era.
2 80S: APPEARED IN MORE EVENTS
Now, this is obviously a very debatable point depending on personal preferences, but the 80s X-Men dealt with quite a few intense events, and while the 90s X-Men had some definitely memorable events, the 80s feels more iconic for the X-Men.
Cyclops’ 80s costume was featured in events like the Mutant Massacre, Inferno, and Fall of the Mutants while the 90s saw Onslaught and Operation: Zero Tolerance. And while Age of Apocalypse was arguably one of the biggest X-Men events ever, it featured an alternate version of Cyclops and not his more common 90s costume.
1 90S: APPEARED IN X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Of course, it all comes down to which costume Cyclops wore in the incredibly popular X-Men: The Animated Series from the 90s, which was heavily based on Jim Lee’s designs for the team from 1991’s X-Men #1.
The X-Men reached a new level of mainstream popularity that cemented that version of the team into the minds of fans of all ages, which elevates Cyclops’ 90s costume to his most iconic, despite our love for his 80s “X” costumes.
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