I read recently that Cyclops' optic blasts don't produce heat. I found this very surprising. I watched X-Men: The Animated Series growing up, and re-watched it not that long ago as an adult. I definitely came away with the impression that he was shooting eye-lasers, which burnt and melted things.

Then, in X-Men: Apocalypse, Scott blasts apart a tree when asked to fire at an archery target. Xavier's favorite tree. I recall the tree burning, or at least glowing. But I can find neither a picture of the tree nor a clip of the scene to confirm my memory.

I believe there are other examples of this sort of thing occurring in other comics, shows, and movies. I'd appreciate additional examples, if anyone is aware of any. I'll add any more I come across.

So what's the deal? Do the blasts produce heat or not? If not, why was the tree burning?

  • I'm sure I remember Cyclops' eye-lasers setting Xavier's underground tunnel on fire during X-Men: First Class, so I always assumed he did produce substantial heat with the lasers. – Singular1ty Jun 14 '16 at 1:08
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    They are not lasers. This is one more example of writers who are not familiar with the source material. – Thaddeus Howze Jun 14 '16 at 1:16
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    @Singular1ty cyclops and his eye-lasers weren't in x-men: first class. they weren't even born yet. his brother alex was, though. – phantom42 Jun 14 '16 at 1:46
  • Although the answer to the other question describes some aspects of Cyclops' blasts, it doesn't say anything about heat one way or the other, and there's no mention of a tree. Definitely not a duplicate. – DCShannon Jun 14 '16 at 16:55
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    @Skooba It seems like that much force would produce heat on the other end, even if the blast itself was not hot. – DCShannon Jun 14 '16 at 21:55

All heat is a form of energy, but not all energy is heat. Heat, as we know it, is just energy in the infra-red portion of the light/energy spectrum. We get too much sun, our skin gets damaged and we get radiation "burns" from the ultra-violet, but they aren't heat burns.

Often, a material will absorb the energy on one wavelength and emit back energy on another wavelength.

Whatever form or wavelength his optic blasts are on still contains energy, and it's possible for a tree to not be able to absorb or deflect that much energy causing a reaction that ignites the material, or the energy is absorbed and then emitted as heat, which causes ignition.

Think of a microwave oven - it shoots energy, not in the form of heat, at the material, but the material still heats up.

How microwave ovens work


Cyclops' power is a concussion beam. His beams doesn't have heat as primary damage source, but impact. In Proteus arc, he stopped Wolverine's fall from a greath height by continually firing small beans at Wolvie's butt, which slowed his fall speed to a safe zone (Wolverine was not immortal back then).

Some writers don't understand this and write Cyclops' beams as simple lasers. In his battle against Wolverisne in Schism, Cyclops fires his beams at Wolverine's face in close range, and all damage he manages to do is to rip of Wolvie's skin, while he should blast the guy meters away.

In other words, Cyclops beams are not supposed to melt you, they're supposed to blast you away.

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    Thanks for the answer with references. That being said, you've given an example of his blasts as working like a laser in a published comic. This shows that sometimes his blasts work like lasers. Do you have anything to support your assertion that these writers "don't understand"? – DCShannon Jul 25 '16 at 20:39

Yes, but Cyclops is able to PUT OUT fires by concussing the fire with such speed and force as to instantly suffocate the flames. The beams push, but without any residual heat.

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    That's neat. When did that happen? – DCShannon Jun 17 '16 at 23:30

cyclops's blast are concussive yes, but the impact force of the blasts creates pressure and friction on whatever object is targeted therefore creating heat, ie: trees gets set on fire when cyclops blasts it to pieces. as well, the sheer blunt force of his blast can blow flesh away, so wolverine having his face blown off makes sense; if that wasnt wolverine, the optic blast would have simply punched a hole through his head end of story. but since wolvie has his adimantium skull, the optic blast couldnt not penetrate and therefore pretty much just pushed really hard on his face till it ripped off. bottom line, no they themselves do not produce heat, heat is produced as a byproduct of the optic blasts coming into contact with matter at high speeds and high impact force. very different. cyclops has used his beams to focus on the head of an accupuncture needle to create pressure and torture a man for info. no heat produced because the optic blast was used with very little but a consistent speed and low but steady impact force. you only ever see the blasts set things on fire or melt metal when cyclops is in the heat of battle, where his blasts are flying out very fast and obviously with great force. just my thoughts though...sidenote: not quite fully explained in comics but cyclops can clearly dictate the amount of force and the speed at which his blasts are fired. its not simply due to the visor, yes it aids in control but it is a force of will that allows him to output varying levels of of concussive force with his blasts, AND that mf has the strongest neck in comics.


Like almost everything else in the Singer X-Men movies, they got Cyclops wrong. Period. Almost everything about him was wrong. He's Alex's older brother, not younger. He was an original X-Man, not a late-comer. He shoots concussive beams that are channeled from a dimension of concussive energy (sometimes even called the "punch dimension" in the Marvel Universe) and they are NOT lasers, do not burn things, and instead should be punching holes in things and clobbering things with force, not heat.

This is the bad Singer universe, though, where Storm's hair was not white until Apocalypse changed her (it's her natural hair color in the books), where Mystique grew up with Charles (never happened), where Hank McCoy can control his appearance (he's stuck being blue and furry in the books), where Nightcrawler isn't covered in short blue fur himself (there's a reason Kitty calls him "fuzzy elf"), where Wolverine is almost a foot taller than he should be (He's 5'3", and Jackman is 6'2"), where Jean's Phoenix abilities are a mutation (they're not. The Phoenix is a cosmic force that inhabited her when she sacrificed herself in space to save the other X-Men), where Jubilee is in the school before Scott (which is just sacrilege), where Moira is a CIA agent and not Scottish (she's a geneticist, not a law enforcement officer of any kind, and she's VERY Scottish), where Colossus was (until Deadpool) a skinny American guy with smooth steel skin instead of a huge Russian with banded metal skin, where Kitty Pryde develops the power to send people back in time (Never happened), and so on.

In other words, the movies are the WORST example of the X-Men you could possibly turn to. They got nearly everything wrong and just kept piling on more and more inconsistencies to deal with the last ones.

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    Apart from this being a drawn out rant about everything being wrong with Cyclops, how does it answer the actual question? – Möoz Jul 27 '18 at 3:58
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    As mooz says, while this may not be in line with their comic book origins, the X-men movies are a separate canon, and your post seems to ignore that entirely. Can I recommend you edit your answer to include a bit more information about the question asked? And if you haven’t already, our How to Answer page has some good information on the kind of answers we’re looking for! – Edlothiad Jul 27 '18 at 4:06

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