Sunday, July 4, 2010

Top 10 X-Men Characters Who Have Been Fucked Over

Writers wield much power when it comes to control over the direction of characters. As with anything, some things turn out fine and some things turn to total shit. Now, this list may seem similar to the last one I made, but in this case it's not an issue of attention so much as something that's happened to the character that makes it so that creators seem weary of using them or it simply puts the character in a bad light.

10. Storm
What happened? She got married.
Now some of you may disagree with this. Some of you may think the Black Panther and her are perfect for each other. The problem with the marriage is: We never see Storm anymore. Sure, she's on the Astonishing team, but it's not exactly a regular book. And yes, she does guest star every so often in Uncanny or a mini-series here or there, but what does she do besides throw a few lightning bolts and summon raging winds? And in terms of Black Panther, does that book even run anymore?
The worst part of this marriage seems to be that Storm, who formerly was the X-Leader who was more prone to violence (Marrow and Callisto, anyone?), is now all of sudden the most anti-death penalty of the X-Men. The roles have now been reversed between Cyclops and Storm in a way that displeases me at the very least. And I blame her getting married because at Marvel it seems women lose their unique pizass when they get married. Here's hoping someone throws a wrench in the marriage soon, remember how great Jean got while her marriage was falling apart?

9. Forge
What happened? He went crazy, tried to kill the X-Men, and maybe died doing it.
As some of you may recall, Ellis' first arc on Astonishing, "Ghost Box," featured a Forge gone crazy after the events of Messiah Complex where he got shot and suffered head trauma. From here, Forge tried to send the X-Men through the Ghost Box to a hostile universe, failed, and then ended up staying in his complex when it got blasted by a fricking laser.
Now, normally going insane and death are the two easy things to reverse in the X-Men universe. But let's look at the picture to the right--->
Forge isn't exactly a beloved character, he's definitely not a stylish character (last time we saw him he was wearing a metal thong), and I'm not even sure that he has fans. If Forge is going to recover from this hit to his character then it's probably going to take awhile or it's going to be in a ridiculous Easy-Fix Marvel Style that pisses off a lot of fans.

8. Jean Grey
What happened?
She died, came back for five minutes, then died again and her resurrection has been teased ever since.
At this point in time, Jean fans may very well start holding Marvel writers at gun point until they write the return of Jean Grey. Her fans have been teased with Jean's return every few months for the past couple of years in the hopes that at least they'll buy these generally lame arcs. And now with Hope being connected to Jean and Second Coming being about Hope, it seems Jean's return is coming soon. Why is this a bad thing?
Because with all the teasing, fans are expecting a lot. Jean is also White Phoenix of the Crown now, so that just adds on to how much we expect out of her return. Now let's look at what we have: Odds are Fraction will be doing this book because Uncanny is the flagship book and he's got to have every X-Men character worth having on his book. And by now, you know how I feel about Fraction. Worse is Hope herself because these days she's everything about being a teenager we cringe about even though most of us probably acted like too. Still cringe-inducing. Right now Jean's return seems to be on hold because it seems writers know it needs to be such a production.

7. Dust
What happened? Young X-Men.
Dust was by far the most messed with character in Young X-Men. Within the first arc, Magma turns her to glass and afterwards she gets shattered. From there she gets put back together, but as we find out later, it's not holding up very well. In Young X-Men's final arc, Dust dies, but is saved by the deus ex machina of the series, Ink, with his Phoenix tattoo. This then results in her coming back "wrong" as demonstrated by the flash forwards over the course of the arc showing Dust killing the remaining mutants. How was this resolved? It wasn't. Young X-Men finished with issue #12 having done nothing to derail Dust's future homicidal tendencies.
And now the New X-Men find themselves in a place where they're getting chosen individually, so you can imagine how much panel time Dust's gotten since that mess screwed with her future. To what degree her character has been messed with has yet to be determined, she could very well bounce back with no one ever speaking of that arc ever again, but for now creators don't seem as willing to work with her as they had before.

6. Cassandra Nova
What happened?
Astonishing X-Men's "Torn"
During Morrison's New X-Men, this villain was defeated by trapping her in the shapeshifting body of an alien referred to as Stuff. Later on a curious character named Ernst appeared and during the "Here Comes Tomorrow" arc we learn that Ernst was Cassandra Nova. Yet it seems all other writers missed that moment.
Austen the Awful attempted to use her for a future arc of his, but then he departed. Then Whedon actually did use her, and ended up contradicting the Ernst situation by presenting Cassie still stuck in Stuff's original form in the basement of the X-Mansion. And after that arc concluded we were left with no answers as to what happened with her.
Whedon basically fucked Cassandra over because any writer who wants to work with her now is going to have to sort through that mess. Which is too bad because A. Cassie's my favorite X-villain B. I loved the Ernst/Cassandra connection.

5. Xorn
What happened? Every shitty retcon known to man.
During Morrison's New X-Men, the refreshing new character Xorn was revealed to be Magneto. Then he was killed except it turns out thanks to shit retcons that it was Xorn pretending to be Magneto pretending to be Xorn on drugs. Then it turns out he's got a twin brother who's exactly like him except he disappears five minutes after his introduction. Then it's suggested that the Scarlet Witch actually was part of these shenanigans. Then Xorn's somehow involved in this bullshit Collective crap to make things worse. [Read it here]
The problem is people liked Xorn. He was something strange and exciting to the stale, normal X-Men who had previously been boring the masses. And the retcons for him were the most half-assed ideas I've heard in awhile. Here's what should have happened: They should have let Magneto appear alive and well in Excalibur like he did, and then slowly reveal what happened with an explanation that actually appears to be thought out. The one presented in HoM sounds the best, and really, it's better to have Xorn have been a facade than to have him be a fun character ruined by a lack of creativity on the part of writers who had to "fix" this "mess".

4. Sage
What happened?
She was absorbed by the Crystal Palace.
As far as I'm concerned, this character will forever be Psylocke 2.0. As one of Claremont's pets, she's generally been given an extremely similar personality to Psylocke and tends to be used whenever Betsy's not available.
Unfortunately for her, this makes her pretty replaceable and ultimately, disposable. While Psylocke got out of the Exiles biz in time, Sage was with the rest of the team when they were absorbed by the Crystal Palace. Now she's stuck within a building with no real oppurtunity for an exit as Exiles was cancelled almost a year ago.
A factor in how I ranked this list included how likely the characters are going to bounce back from these situations. In most cases, putting a character in a limbo that also includes some problem barring them from returning is a tricky situation. With Sage it's almost impossible. She's essentially a Claremont pet; I don't know of anyone else who's ever used her. Only time will tell whether or not she can escape the terrors of Exiles limbo.

3. Bishop
What happened? Messiah Complex.
I fucking hate time travel stories. Time travellers, clones (besides X-23 and a few others), space operas, and resurrections rank high on my dislike list. So you can imagine that I never really liked Bishop. The thing is though that I'd never have wished this on him. On Cable? Totally, I've always hated that fucker. But Bishop was always the more likable of the two 90's time travellers.
And what happened? Well, during Messiah Complex his characterization did a 180 as Bishop all of a sudden became a psychotic nut claiming that Hope was the cause of his horrible future. From there, he chased Cable through time to kill Hope, and he went to measures so drastic that I still don't believe that it's Bishop that did that. In the end he was stranded alone in some burnt out version of the future he helped burn out.
He's so fucked I don't even know where to begin. As I said before, insanity and death are quick fixes and that goes double for being stuck in time. But not when they last as long as this, and with fans getting fatigued of this new version of Bishop before MC was even over. If Bishop is ever to be redeemed, it'll be awhile before we see him escaping the shadow of this dark time for his characterzation.

2. Chamber
What happened?
Being transformed into looking like a younger Apocalypse.
The 3 dead members of Generation X have more of a chance of simultaneously being ressurected than Chamber does of having this crap reversed.
Chamber's first problem is that he appeared in New Excalibur. Betsy's only just recovering from the damages she sustained thanks to that crap series. Sage may never. Dazzler's trying to act like it didn't happen. Rachel's still stuck out in space. Simply put, an appearance in New Excalibur means that sometime soon you're going to get fucked over.
In Chamber's case, it was revealed that he's a descendant of Apocalypse and now he gets to look like him. Then he got shipped off to New Warriors which had a readership of about 30. And now he's Diva knows where. It'll probably be awhile before Jono's returns back to the angsty mouth flamer he used to be.

1. The Stepford Cuckoos
What happened? Phoenix Warsong.
True, these girls probably have and will continue to get more page time than the entirety of this list combined, but when do you think the next time their backstories will be explored?
The Cuckoos started off as creepy quintuplets with hive mind powers who spoke in unison (not finishing each other's lines like everyone insists on doing these days). Then Warsong came, revealed that they were actually clones of Emma who were only 2 years old but aged to 15, who were created by Sublime who runs Weapon Plus, and that they have a thousand other sisters. Literally. Then the Phoenix landed itself in them, and in order to keep it in control, the girls decided to seal the Phoenix in their hearts, rending them emotionless. Um, can anyone please show me exactly where emotions are produced in the heart? What's worse is other writers respected this story, well, besides Fraction and Land who made them look like whores or just idiot valley girls. While the diamond hearts situation has been resolved, the fact is their entire pasts are fucked. Clone stories suck, Weapon Plus sucks, and Sublime was the worst of Morrison's villains. I just find it hard to believe so much damage could be done to such amazing characters over the course of one mini-series.


hasoon said...

Well, that was depressing. Hah.

Mr. Hellfire said...

Yeah, heh, especially if you were created by Morrison it seems.

FSaker said...

Nice list! However, I guess Jean has other difficulties for her return besides the fans' expectations.

The first one is her apparent redundancy now that Emma Frost has been pushed (especially by Fraction) to take Jean's role as the "nice girl" only edgier to fit with Scott's current personality and to make Emma have a little of her original personality. Add that to Emma's current relationship with Scott (since in many people's heads, Jean cannot exist if she isn't with Scott), and Jean seems redundant. Now, with the arrival of Hope, that problem is only aggravated (even though Hope is completely different in terms of personality).

The second problem is the Phoenix Force, which turns Jean into another boring deus ex machina from time to time. The ideal solution would be to forever separate her from the PF and give it to Rachel (who actually becomes a little bit interesting as the Phoenix avatar, since Rachel isn't very proeminent anyway) - but again, that will never happen.

And with all the mutants living with the X-Men nowadays, I wonder if Jean would even be featured in the titles or would become another wallpaper character. Carey doesn't seem like he would adopt her (only in an arc or two, as Rogue's temporary teammate); Kyle & Yost are leaving; Gischler is still unpredictable; and with both Emma and Hope (both of whom he can't write correctly for his life) in his hands, I don't see Fraction ever using Jean...

Mr. Hellfire said...

Well, what could happen is things shift back to normal, Emma gets knocked out of nice girl spot and gets to be a bitch again.

And as for Hope, meh, whatever connection she has to Jean definitely screws things up because I find her to be between a cliche of a teenager and some attempt at Cable-izing her by making her "dark, gritty, living on the edge". It doesn't make for a fun character.

I think giving it to Rachel would make it worse, but that's because I don't believe Rachel should have ever come back for quite a few reasons.

I totally see Fraction using her, he loves trying to seem like Morrison by reusing his old characters. Not a positive thing though because I know it'd be the cheesiest stories the book has ever seen.