When you have an older brother as famous as Cyclops, it leaves a guy with quite a lot to live up to, and our dear Havok (aka Alex Summers) has indeed struggled. While Scott embraced his life as the X-Men’s leader (kind of), Alex just wanted to study geophysics and leave the hard decisions to others — until one day when he was forced by fate to become an X-Man, the day that his status as the X-Men’s resident himbo officially began.
Alex Summers may be best known for being the mostly incidental younger sibling of an important X-Man, but he is also a handsome disaster with a debilitating weakness for dominant women, and if there’s anything we can relate to, it’s that. Because no X-Man has quite the same exemplary history of making the worst possible choices at all times, we’ve come here today to honor his pretty face and his complete lack of common sense.
Whoops, I’m An X-Man
Scott Summers' tragic backstory is that he was seemingly orphaned in a plane crash, fell into a month-long coma, and emerged alone and scared in a school that was secretly run by Mister Sinister. Alex’s tragic backstory is that he was Scott’s brother. Otherwise, things worked out pretty well for him. He was quickly adopted and lived a fairly privileged life. He didn’t even know Scott had survived the crash, and if Scott had never told him, his life would have been fairly uneventful otherwise.
He eventually joined the X-Men like a lot of people do — by total accident, after getting kidnapped. A dweeb known as the Living Pharaoh grabbed him out of his graduation and threw him right on a metal table for experimenting. Alex woke up, the X-Men intervened, Scott admitted he was Alex’s brother, and Alex had a bizarrely chill response to it all.
Yet, Alex still wasn’t exactly sold on life as a costumed adventurer. He drew the eye of the equally restless Lorna Dane, and the two of them retired from superheroics forever, finished their dissertations, and became experts in their field. Just kidding, the opposite of that happened.
I Guess I Could Go Either Way: The Alex Summers Story
If there is one thing that has defined Alex Summers, it is that he is easily led astray, and that is something that hasn’t changed much in his 50ish years as an X-Men supporting cast member. He does finally join the team full-time after basically abandoning Lorna to be attacked and possessed by one of the Marauders, the mutant named Malice. Possessed Lorna says five mean things to Havok and thereby completely crushes him, leaving him vulnerable to the truly chaotic events of Inferno.
While stuck in a guilt loop, Alex becomes close with Scott's wife, Madelyne Pryor, who Scott had recently left in order to reunite with past love Jean Grey. Pryor, who's going through her own stuff at this time, gladly accepts Alex’s unquestioning loyalty to her. She changes her relationship status — not on Facebook, but by giving him a tiny costume identical to her own and referring to him as her “Goblin Prince.” Cute!
This era is perhaps when Alex is at his most himbo. He fails to be there for Lorna, then trips over himself to hook up with his brother’s wife. In the Wolverine/Havok: Meltdown series, he repeats this mistake almost exactly with another redhead named Scarlett. There are two essential things we learn about Havok: 1) he has a type, and 2) that type is mean ladies who don’t care if he lives or dies. Again, we would judge him if we didn’t relate so hard.
X-Factor’s Kind Of Leader
Besides being great at getting mind-controlled, Havok is also extremely talented at being one of the most disinterested X-Men leaders of all time. He ends up being elected the leader of X-Factor for completely arbitrary reasons despite the fact that Lorna is clearly the actual leader of the team. The cognitive dissonance of reading comic after comic of Polaris making all the tough decisions, yet everyone looking at Alex for answers, is one of those things that will drive you over the edge if you stare at it for too long. Also, it’s unfair to Alex, who would be much happier just letting someone else take the reins. The whole thing is a great example of how toxic masculinity also harms men. Alex just wants to hang out and listen to Pink Floyd and think about how rocks are very cool, actually. Forcing him into leadership despite his clear lack of commitment to the role doesn’t do anyone any favors.
He later takes up the mantle as a bored leader of the Uncanny Avengers. Himbo magnet Janet Van Dyne immediately asks him out, and the two of them live an alternate reality life where they have a daughter named Katie. This is all completely forgotten about, so it’s OK if you don’t remember it. Havok pretty much doesn’t!
Low-Rise Pants and High-Rise Dreams
In the Mutant X alternate reality, Alex finally gets to step in and basically live Scott’s life. He's married to Madelyne Pryor and has a child with her named Scotty. Where his brother experienced deep emotional repression as the X-Men leader, Alex thrives by extending sympathy to his mostly irredeemable teammates in the Six. Where Scott left Maddie and her son, Alex stands by her and is a good father to their child. Yes, it’s creepy that the way Alex recovered from being perpetually mind-controlled is by roleplaying as his brother, but listen: it was cathartic. He needed Mutant X. He learned from it. He grew.
Just kidding, he pretty much never thinks about it again after he gets sent back to the 616, where he became a way bigger jerk.
And That Brings Us To Today
Most of Alex’s appearances since Mutant X have either been him trying awkwardly to fit into a leadership role, continuing to bomb his relationship with Lorna, or hanging out in deep space having family drama and fighting the Shi’ar. He is currently on Krakoa, serving with other dangerous mutants after having accidentally killed two people while enduring an episode that has yet been undefined.
Sure, Alex is a terrible leader, but we only know that because writers keep trying against all odds to force him into being something he’s not. His tenure as a leader hasn’t worked out, his role as the baby brother of Scott hasn’t worked out — maybe just give this guy a chance to live free and be the true himbo he was born to be, folks. Just a suggestion.