Marc Alan Fishman: CyclopsGate
For those following along at home, this has been a contentious week. For reasons I’m too bored to research, writer extraordinaire Gail Simone has started a blood feud with Fabian Nicieza over the specific pseudo-science of an X-Man’s mutant ability.
Before we explore the depth of the debate, let’s just catch up those few of you who truly don’t know your X-Men from your West Coast Teen Titanvengers.
Cyclops, the almost-often leader of Charles Xavier’s mutant strike-force, has the mutant ability to (according to Wikipedia which cites the Marvel Handbook as a source) shoot Optic Blasts — the product of his body metabolizing sunlight and other ambient energy. This is similar to his brother Alex (alias Havok) who metabolizes cosmic radiation. This metabolized energy is then released in the form of the beam from his eyes. (Thank you, Wikipedia)
Ms. Simone posits that these beams are, in fact hot, and as such said blasts are akin to Superman’s heat vision. Mr. Nicieza dutifully leans on his Marvel Handbook definition wherein the blasts are merely concussive – hence not containing any heat. Hilarity has since ensued as each creator has taken to social media to defend their point of view.
Conflicting reports have buoyed from the argument being tongue-in-cheek to absolutely-sincere. The fanboys have taken to arms over it. One might even posit that Simone’s initial declaration was more a way to oust angry fan-boy-man-children into a stupor to question her authority – not as a creator, but as a female creator. But subsequent meme’ing across the Facebook-Twitter-verse has perhaps grown what might be a funny little distraction to an all-out who-gives-a-flying-fuck (pardon me) for folks now declaring themselves #TeamGail and #TeamFabian – with equal membership aligned on the aforementioned spectrum of sincerity.
In the same week where #MeToo has spurned significant debate and discussion, it’s hard to figure out if the snowballing of the argument itself has been the barely concealed point this whole time, or offered as scapegoat distraction against some heavy and tumultuous postings.
Furthermore, why I bring this all to you this week, comes seated in my own idiotic apprehension to voice my (unnecessary) opinion on who specifically is right.
Whilst a litany of women whom I love have bared their souls across my feeds, I was personally compelled to do something, anything, to show my love and support. I cribbed a posting from a good (guy) friend who did his best to respond. In short, he wrote a blanket apology to all women whom he might have inadvertently scorned or hurt through his jovial nature; making it clear while he had never committed any heinous physical action to any women, he was unsure if in his own brand of humor had not ever accidentally offended any women in his life, or made them feel harassed. His sentiment was pure, and in seeing it, I was compelled to share it myself.
The reaction was positive – as many of my female friends ‘liked’ and commented in support of my desire to ensure my stance as someone who never intends to harm any living soul with my actions or words – keeping in mind that no matter how mindful I may be, my own brand of humor may have pushed limits unintentionally. Within the post came a desire for any women who I’d ever committed an inadvertent sin to let me know (privately or otherwise) so that I may sincerely apologize, and (of course) recognize where I might have previously been an idiot.
But in taking even that action, I was reprimanded a day later. A very intelligent, thoughtful, respected friend of mine took my posting to task. She let me know that in my desire to right a wrong, my intentions may have been pure, but the desire to do so was couched in the very thing the #MeToo movement is in essence fighting to change. To tell a woman (or anyone who has been harassed) to speak up to correct me may be unduly forcing them to relive erroneous feelings I caused. In short: If I can’t recognize what I’ve done wrong? I’m still part of the problem.
And with that, we return to CyclopsGate. You see, I side with Fabian. To the best of my recollection, Cyclops’ beams carry no heat. While they may have the ability to melt objects and such as shown in many comic books throughout X-history, I’ve long held the belief in those instances the concussive blasts caused friction across the target, which in turn caused combustion. Or, at very most, when specifically stressed Cyclops can add heat to his optic blasts inadvertently (like, say, he’s mad. Mad beams hot. Being tactical? Beam stays cool.).
The thing is, I love Gail Simone. I am thoroughly #TeamGail. But to declare her right when I believe her to be wrong? Well, I got #MeToo’d into silence.
My fear of missing the joke (or non-joke) of this feud (or faux-feud) has me fretting over my opinion. Gail is clearly a lot closer to mainstream comics than I am. Perhaps she is right! But if I voice my opinion (one bolstered only by the internet research I could complete via sources that vacillate between hearsay and Wikipedia), do I accidentally side with tiki-torch-wielding man-children?
I don’t know, so, I’ll just declare myself #TeamWolverine (X-23 though, not that misogynist Logan, damnit).