Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mutant Babies!

On Twitter, a discussion got going between myself and @Darke_Conteur about X-Men. It took a turn for the better - and strange, when taken out of context - when we started to talk about next generation mutants. The Mutant Babies, we thought, would make for more compelling stories in the X-Men comics. We've all seen the various incarnations of Scott and Jean get it on, and Scott and Emma, and Wolverine and Jean, and Gambit and Rogue, Rogue and Magneto, Iceman and Polaris, Polaris and Havock... you know what, I'm getting sidetracked. The point is: there are lots of mutant couples in the X-Men comics, and lots of possible pairings, and the on thing that doesn't last most of the time: the children.

Okay, so Scott and Jean technically have three children together: X-Man, Cable and Rachel Summers. Except X-Man was grown by Sinister in the Age of Apocalypse universe and Cable is from the future, and they're basically the same person. To make things even creepier, Jean's clone Madelyn Pryor had a child with Cable, called Stryfe. So, they have four kids whose powers range from: telepathy (from Jean), telekinesis (from Jean), superhuman strength and durability (cybernetic in nature), technopathy (cybernetic in nature), precognition (from Jean, if enhanced beyond her capabilities) and, er, cross-dimensional travel (that one bewilders everyone). Scott's part in the powers seems to be in enhancing what's already there - X-Man seems to be able to focus his telekinesis into an eye-beam. Sound familiar? (It should: Scott is Cyclops!)

Rogue and Magneto also have a child, resulting in the phrase, "Yeah, scientific sex!" making its way into the World Wide Web. He manipulated her bio-magnetic field to allow him to touch her skin... anywhere. So, they have a relationship and a baby. A baby that has telepathy. This raised the question: how are the children of Rogue's powers determined? One source on Oliver Raven, the child of Gambit and Rogue, says that Oli has his mother's powers, to the extent that he has permanently absorbed telepathic and flight abilities from unknown sources.

Nightcrawler's children all seem to have powers that link back to his biological father, Azazel, just as Nightcrawler's siblings share the same trait. This is likely due to Azazel not being entirely human - beyond the extent of being a mutant. It's suggested, a lot, that he's a demon. Go figure.

Examples out of the way, we started to wonder: what sort of powers would different couples' children have? Havock and Polaris - radiation and magnetism. She took her father's powers, his are similar to Scott's, his brothers. But would there be a cancellation of one parent's powers, like Scott and Jean? Or would there be more devastating effects? Remember, Polaris's siblings have powers completely different to her own: Quicksilver has superhuman speed and Wanda can alter reality for frick's sake! There's no telling what Havock and Polaris would produce. The same goes for Kitty and Piotr, both of whom alter their density in one way or another, and the list keeps going on and on as the writers attempt to add new twists to the tale.

I'm not even going to go into the matter of Legion, Xavier's son with the multiple personalities and abilities. Lets just call it complicated and move on.

The basis of the discussion resulted in the big questions: why haven't the writers utilized the children more? Why are they telling the same stories of the same characters over and over again? We get it: Scott's not exactly faithful. We get it, Logan likes Jean. We get it - they're adults, they have sex.

But for God's sake, why can't the writers let the children take the stage?

Think about it for a second. Say you take Rachel Summers. She's essentially Jean, in terms of abilities. Complicated. Cool. Take the child of Havock and Polaris. Rachel has a cousin. Maybe that cousin is a villain. Lets face it, someone has to be. Suddenly you have a new and complex story, because maybe the cousin - the grandchild of Magneto - hates humans. We're going somewhere. You might have to kill off Havock and Polaris for the story to work, but it's going somewhere.

Kitty and Piotr, say they have a couple of kids. They already have Michael together, though his powers and most records of him are missing from the Internet from what I can see (he was in Astonishing X-Men). So, their kids also have half-brothers and -sisters. (Fidelity... not the X-Men's strong points...) They don't all have to appear, but the ones with powers - and complicated powers, at that - would add to the mix.

The list goes on, of course, because the X-Men have been in circulation since 1963 - that's 58 years of sex they could have been having, and they haven't aged much. But with all of those stories told, the writers just have to pick the ones that can match up: stick to a story and keep it that way. One that's over, mind you, not one that they will decide will contribute to the same database of cannon as others.

Would I like to see this comic? Of course I would. It would be dynamic, exciting and it would add to the development of the comics. But it would have to be done correctly. A World War X type situation might help: they've been delving into mutant hate since the beginning, so making a war out of it won't be going too far. The set-up in the upcoming X-Men: Destiny is ideal - people hate mutants, so new mutants pop up along the way. Having the children struggle in this war-filled world, perhaps sent off for safety before puberty like English parents did during World War 2 and therefore separating them from their parents just as their powers pop up, would be a new and interesting story.

Once they don't bring in the frickin' aliens again. God, I hate the aliens in X-Men, especially the Brood.

Anyway... thoughts on that? The development of the comics seems to have gone from What If to What If, and it's possible people might get tired of it all. There's a reason people aren't liking the look of Destiny - I will still be playing it, because I love X-Men games! - and it's because they're not doing it right. But I do like the set-up of it, with new mutants and anti-mutant riots picking up. And let's face it: Marvel could do with some fresh blood. And the family drama? Well, try explain to your four-years younger half-sister why your shared daddy isn't around while the sky lights up red (and green, and blue, and then goes black... mutant wars will be colourful, obviously).

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