Russell Dauterman gives us the best of his art for only three episodes of Cyclops, so make sure to appreciate them. His unbelievable style brings the magic we need to start on a new comic book series based on a well know character, yet not so old : the young Scott Summers.
The first page is one of the few Cyclops’ original drawings found on Russell Dauterman‘s website. The reflection of Scott’s thoughts and recollections on the visor, from the fall from the plane when he was a boy to the departure with his father, occupies the center of the board. Obviously, Jean Grey is the most important character of those memories, but Scott seems to still be mad at her for choosing Henry McCoy (Beast) over him, knowing the history of their future selves. Although, he’s not over her, otherwise her smiling face would not be near Scott’s right eye. The very detailed board, the very first page of the series, presents a concentrated young Scott, hidden behind his amazingly drawn visor. Each pencil stroke is dedicated to this purpose : make the visor look and feel real.
Each board drawn by Russell Dauterman is a masterpiece, with some fairy-like characters like Hepzibah. Her lengthened fingers and pointy ears make her looks like a fairy or an elf, whom are drawn by Russell Dauterman in Thor.
This board allows me to compare two body types : the classical heroic anatomy of Christopher Summers and the teenager’s body of young Scott. Corsair is broad-shouldered, with large pectorals and very defined abs, whereas Cyclops is more thin, also his body is already well-defined (we see his pectorals trough his shirt). But he remains young, without any hair on his arms, unlike his hairy arms and chest father. The shirtless Corsair lets us think about what Cyclops would look like in a couple more years, or what the old Cyclops actually looks like now on Earth. The hairy body is a sign of Christopher Summer’s age. He’s not a beardless teenager like his son, but he’s not a shaved hero like Captain America on Uncanny Avengers #5 as Olivier Coipel depicted him.
In addition to letting us compare Cyclops’ and Corsair’s body, this page presents the birth of battle’s strategy in Cyclops’ mind. With only one optic blast, he managed to struck down his three opponents. The last panel presents Cyclops in law-angle shot, standing pride in front of his lying down foes. The sword in his main is a symbol of his courage and his power, of his ability to defeat his enemies and – maybe – to one day lead mutankind.
The next page I’d like to present is a double spread of the last Cyclops‘ episode drawn by Russell Dauterman. Corsair’s history about his own death finds an echo in the fire. His sad and thinking face conflicts with the sadistic face of his murderous son, Gabriel Summers. The fire that burned Corsair nourishes the fire that keep him and his new-but-not-so-new son Scott. In a way, we can say that the love Corsair feels about his sons consumes him, literally and figuratively. It’s because of Cyclops that they are now trapped on that planet, with only a few of Corsair’s vital shot. The entire life of Gabriel Summers is summed up in a fire, because like a fire, it burned too fast and too strong.
I’d like to conclude with the last page of Russell Dauterman‘s run for Cyclops. It’s an amazing final board, with father and son reunited near the water, looking at the stars and at their future. This page is rigorously built, with each panel smaller that the previous one, like a credit scene in a movie. The smaller the panel gets, the smaller the characters are and the wider the landscape is. Nothing can stop them now that they are together, and they are determined to travel across all the known galaxies.
Russell Dauterman‘s run for Cyclops was way too short, but his drawings galvanized perfectly this new comic book series, giving his successors the ingredients for success.