Rogue and Magneto

Until fairly recently (last year?) this pairing was mostly technically non-canon, as I recall, having taken place in the Age of Apocalypse. Apparently, however, it seems to have undeniably manifested itself within Earth 616 continuity, and with that in mind, I would like to point out some things that bother me about the aforementioned coupling.

Let's start off with the fact that Magneto is old enough to be Rogue's grandfather. Hell, possibly her great grandfather, considering the age of most WWII veterans. Rogue is listed as being in her mid twenties, I believe; how many twenty-somethings would start up a romantic relationship with a man who, by now, should be at least 90? Especially without the involvement of some potential monetary gain. Back when it was Joseph and Rogue, that was at least somewhat more believable (albeit still creepy, if not just up until we found out he wasn't actually Magneto at all), and their budding romance was almost kinda cute. At least then there wasn't a 70 year age gap. I'm not saying it's impossible for two people of such different ages to fall in love, it's just incredibly unlikely.

Also, take into account the fact that their personalities differ incredibly. Magneto is a worldly, zealous, dictatorial, ruthless man with a genuine preference for the intellectual. Rogue is stubborn, independent, forgiving, loving and loyal, with a knack for connecting with younger people. All they'd really have in common would be their 'passionate' nature, I suppose, but with Magneto it crosses the line into fervent, almost manic at times. Can you imagine the conversations? There wouldn't be many, and a decent percent of them would probably be about their age difference, mutant supremacy (on Magneto's part), human and mutant cooperation (Rogue), or exactly how little they have in common. At least with Gambit one could actually believe the two had something in common to discuss, if not just their mutual fondness of motorcycles.

Keep in mind that Magneto has THREE (Yes, three) children that are AT LEAST Rogue's age. This isn't just about the age gap; Magneto and his children don't get along well, and let's just say that I think Rogue has more in common with the Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver than she does with Magneto. Hell, she'd make a pretty good Scarlet Witch. So how could Magneto, who has shown himself unable to connect with or care for his children, possibly have a meaningful (or functional) relationship with someone very much like them? Not to mention the whole 'kids her age' thing raises the creepy factor by quite a bit.

Thoughts, comments, opinions?

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My Issues With Rachel Grey

(It took forever to think up a title for this post!)
Today I'd like to delve into a topic which bothers me incredibly- Rachel Grey, the alternate future daughter of Jean Grey and Cyclops. Although, come to think of it, I think she showed up around the mid 80s, can it really be called an alternate future anymore?  
At any rate, she apparently attended Xavier's as a child (note the fact that her appearance occurred while the only real students of the school were the New Mutants, and therefore the student body wasn't even really big enough to call a private school), where she was when sentinels attacked and killed everyone...except her, who they captured and trained as a ' hound'. She was spared because of her telepathic powers, which were then used to track and kill other mutants, and is stated to have killed her fair share of innocents. She escaped into the past, stuff happened, and I'm quite certain her character page sums it up far better than I could. At any rate, she showed up out of the blue one day in the 80s.
Firstly, I'd like to say that I don't dislike her for being the progeny of Jean and Cyclops. That would be a really stupid reason to dislike anyone, let alone a comic book character. I dislike her for a variety of reasons, which are, in no particular order:
 
1) Her odd fixation with Jean Grey  

Okay, sure, her parents were killed when she was young (possibly 12?), which would majorly affect anyone. But even when you take that factor into consideration, her fixation with Jean Grey is kind of...well, weird. She comprehends and accepts the fact that she comes from an alternate time line, and that Jean is actually not technically her mother (Jean has not given birth to Rachel (and will not, ever, in this timeline)), nor is Cyclops her father, but she seems to refuse to behave as though they were not her actual parents. She calls Jean 'mom' almost constantly when addressing her, and after she informs Cyclops of her parentage, she calls him 'dad' fairly frequently as well. 
Mind you, both Jean and (eventually, when he's informed) Cyclops are incredibly cool with the whole thing. I mean, sure, they do correct her every once in a while, but they're really nice about it. At their wedding, Jean clearly states that she wishes she had a daughter like Rachel. Even if you take into consideration that Rachel has been through her share of pain and suffering and whatnot, how many of you can honestly say you'd be so unphased by this young woman you've never met suddenly showing up and calling you 'Mom'? And for that matter, how would you react when she kept doing it all the time? I'd be really, really pissed off, personally.  
This lovely quality of hers tends to branch out into my next point;
 
2) She tends to be really obnoxious at the strangest times 
This would be a lot less irritating if other characters actually reacted to her behaviour realistically. Rachel gets treated like a 'nice, trustworthy, caring individual', just like Jean...or, you know, any other poorly-made character in the series. But she doesn't really live up to it. Between her creepy idolization of the dead mother she didn't really know (and her subsequently adopting herself as Jean Grey's daughter) and the constant reminders of how she's 'powerful, like Jean', she has the odd tendency to freak out at things that seem...well, not worthy of freaking out about. Not only does she repeatedly whine and angst about the whole 'not being born yet', after she re-appears (after quite a while, mind you) and discovers Jean is dead and Cyclops is with Emma, she really cranks up the rude meter. Now faced with the fact that she will probably never be born, not only does she seize every opportunity to display her disapproval of her 'father' 's new girlfriend, but she actively provokes Emma whenever possible. I'd like to think that the average person would probably yell at Cyclops a bit for cheating on their mother (probably?), sulk for a little while, and then gradually accept things and at least try to like (or get to know) the new girlfriend...but no. Rachel displays an astounding lack of maturity by refusing to even attempt to co-exist with Emma. 
And her tantrums aren't limited to that; on one occasion she yells at Psylocke for coming back from the dead, instead of Jean. I mean, sure, anyone would be thinking that it's kind of unfair that their loved ones don't seem to get resurrected often enough, but not only are they not stupid or rude enough to say this to whoever was recently brought back to life, but she's yelling about Jean Grey not coming back to life. What's Jean's death count, like 10? At least? The woman is the goddamn Phoenix, she can't seem to manage the whole 'staying dead' bit. Psylocke has only come back from the dead on that one occasion, and is therefore not deserving of Rachel's ire.
 
3) She is crazy easy to manipulate
 The girl turned herself into a freaking Saurian with minimal persuasion! I mean come on, she really got into it and everything! Whoever wrote that whole story arc really, really needs to rethink their choice of career. 
And the art for that arc sucked, too.
 
4) She is probably going to be part of some really annoying plot twist at some point in the future
The girl displays absolutely no traits that could be attributed to Cyclops. Ordinarily, I wouldn't make this point, but this is the goddamn X-men, every child of every (important, at least) character bears at least SOME similarity to each of their parents. That's how the reader is able to easily suspect that they're related. Take into account the fact that every other child of Cyclops (at the very least) has at least something one can argue is inherited from him, and Rachel seems even more suspicious. She looks exactly like her mother, has the same powers as her, and has even been a host to the goddamn Phoenix force. Almost everything about her screams clone, and we're supposed to believe she's Cyclops' child? 
I keep suspecting that she'll turn out to be the child of the Phoenix force and Jean Grey, or another of Sinister's clones, or some other ridiculous plot twist, and I really, really hope I'm wrong. Not only because of the fact that I cannot stand her, but also because it would display an incredible lack of originality on the writer's part, and I would probably stop reading the series. 
 

So, thoughts, conspiracy theories, anyone?
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Relationships and the X-men

I remember reading Generation X and wondering why Husk and Chamber ever started dating. If they ever went on an actual date, I mean. And yes, I am aware that the catalyst was technically both a bottle of beer and Gateway (Imagine telling THAT to your kids?). They have practically nothing in common; they share little to no interests, hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. They don't even have very compatible personalities- Husk is passionate, Chamber is remote. So why did we have to endure their unsatisfying and unconvincing romantic attempts?  

I have a theory, and it centers largely around stress. By that, I refer to the threat of an impending, most likely painful and seemingly unavoidable, death (and/or oppression). When faced with the idea of death and/or pain, people have this tendency to desperately attempt to form a connection (usually romantic, if not outright sexual) with someone else. This is for a myriad of reasons; to take their minds off their impending doom, for a sense of euphoria, to feel less alone.
 
Think about it; the entirely of the Gen X team had recently been made aware of the Legacy Virus, and keep in mind, at this time nobody had any idea how or where to find a cure. Makeout city. And given Chamber's lack of a mouth (great choice, Paige) we can't rightly say exactly how far they both would have gone, had he not blown up part of a freaking building. I'd rather not think too hard on that...
 
You may be thinking that this doesn't really apply to other relationships within the series....and you'd be WRONG. Okay, granted, it doesn't apply to all relationships within the X-men, but it accounts for at least a few, including what can be said to be the most famous pairing the series has ever known. That's right, I'm talking about Cyclops and Jean Grey.
Alright, let's take a look at the reasons. Waaaay back in issue number one of the first run of the X-men (there was a hiatus of a few years, before the Giant Sized issue came out, introducing a new team comprised of Banshee, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, Warpath's older brother, and Sunfire), we're introduced to Professor Xavier and his crack team of super-powered teenage boys. There's some introductions, a bit of buffoonery that I can only assume is supposed to be characterization, and suddenly the professor announces that a new student is coming...and it's an attractive girl! I kid not, that's his wording. In walks Jean Grey, looking positively normal (especially compared to what everyone else in the room is wearing), and the boys are all taken with this mysterious young beauty. They all make their passes at her, and eventually...wait for it....cyclops offers her a chair.
Let me bring up a little something that comes up at some point in the 90s; Jean Grey at some point states that she first fell in love with Cyclops when he offered her a chair, back at her first day at the academy. Yes, I'm talking about this scene, right here:

That doesn't sound (or look) like a woman in love. Also, I'd like to point out that they all practically manhandle her by issue 5...except for Cyclops. 
Now, put yourself in Jean's shoes, a few issues later. Her status as a mutant having been impressed upon her, she's most likely beginning to feel the weight of oppression and hatred bearing down on her, not to mention having had to endure violent attempts at her life at least twice. She is a young teenage girl, considered attractive, in a relatively closed-off setting, with a pool of four not unattractive young men (and one creepy old man) showering her with attention. In the end, she falls for the one boy who doesn't try to molest her (and is in her age range); Cyclops. Now, we're supposed to believe that Cyclops is just smitten with her the moment he catches sight of her. Seriously, I'm fairly certain it's not really given any better reason than that.
 
I'm at a bit of a loss as to how many other pairings can be said to result from stress, but I'm looking, so in the mean time, this is it. Thoughts?
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Obscure superpowers: Bee Training

It was during the Golden Age of comics (apparently 1940) when Quality Comics presented, to the world, the hero known as Red Bee. Named Rick Raleigh, this assistant district attorney fought Nazis and Gangsters with his 'stinger gun' and swarm of trained bees (he even kept his favourite bee, Michael, in a special compartment in his belt, just in case). In 1956, DC purchased the rights to this crimson dynamo, and while the original Red Bee has fallen into public domain, the newer Red Bee, Jenna Raleigh (Rick's grandniece) is still owned by them. However, Jenna uses a mechanized suit...and mechanized bees...so she really doesn't have bee powers at all.
You might be thinking 'bee training? Does that mean he can somehow communicate with bees?'. For those of you who watched The Magic Schoolbus as children, you'll know why this is ridiculous; bees talk by dancing. Kinda. The way they explained it is that bees communicate via movements, or 'steps', instead of, say, noises. Therefore, we're left to assume that he is either somehow able to connect telepathically to bees, or that he has some kind of crazy bee-empathy...and the latter is really kinda stupid, so we'll take bee-telepathy. Not that weird, right? There's telepaths all over the place in comics, so why would a species-specific telepath be weird? Besides, we already have Squirrel Girl, think of Red Bee as a sort of counterpart of hers.  
So if we stick with the theory that he can psychically talk to bees (possibly brainwash, maybe possess or control through other mental means), then that begs the question of whether he can talk to wasps, too...even ants, maybe, because the three are quite closely related. Maybe he actually possesses powers that relate to all formian creatures. We may never know. And we're not going to debate whether bees even have something like a mind with which to communicate, that just gets too far into the 'hive mind' debate, and we'll save that for another day. Rick's special bee-empathy may sound kinda useful, I mean hell, who isn't kinda scared of/pissed off by/cautious of bees? But think about it; if we're going with the classical theme of empathy, then Rick would be able to feel whatever the bees felt. If you don't see the critical flaw here, let me point it out: a bee's stinger is attached to a whole bunch of other things in their body, things like organs (Are they called organs, or is that just for mammals? Well, and fish, and amphibians...), thus all those lovely things that allow the bee to actually live are ripped out, presumably painfully, and then they die, also presumably painfully. It's kinda like if you could make yourself explode- you could only do it once. Rick experiences the pain of every bee in the swarm of bees he controls, so he essentially has the power to feel massive amounts of crippling pain (assuming once again that bees even feel pain) any time he tries to fight crime with his bee-friends. Not sounding like a terribly practical power, but it would be so awesome if you were a bee-keeper...or one of those people who breeds new species of flowers.

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Character Development

I've grown tired of having to defend myself when arguing that certain comic characters are poorly written. Ergo, I'm creating this, a blog entry that will, hopefully, tackle all the lovely little things that make a character poorly made. If I missed anything, please feel free to correct me. 
 
Character Development is a lovely little word that refers to the growth and change of a particular character over time. One would be hard put to argue that physical changes count, unless they alter the individual's personality in some way. 
- Why is character development important? In the real world, people are constantly changing, shaped by events and people around them. Therefore, to make a character relateable, and truly convincing, it is necessary for them to change as well. I mean, come on, if a character is caught in a cave-in in a mine, they will be effected by this, it's ridiculous to expect that they just shrug it off   
 
 Any questions?

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X-men Forever; a quick review

I managed to get my hands on issues 1 to 18 of X-men Forever, a series that I was gleefully ignorant about. Sadly, I couldn't make it past issue seven of the series; however, those five issues were enough to make me completely lose respect for Chris Claremont- as a writer; I have never met the man, and I'm sure he's a lovely person, etc. And yes, I am, in fact, aware that he is commonly hailed as 'one of the greats', having taken a large part in writing for the X-men over the years; that he has tenure means just that, and nothing more -he has tenure.
I could make a big list of all the things that disgusted me about what I read of the series, but as this is supposed to be a quick review, I'll make a little list.

  1. Nightcrawler and Rogue effectively trade...well, bodies.

    I really, really wish it were that simple to explain...basically, Rogue goes all blue, gets three fingers and toes, and can teleport, while Nightcrawler looks like an average person and can't touch people. Great, now their codenames don't make sense. Wouldn't it have been easier just to make up some magical gender-switching device and unleash it on them?

  2. Most of the chapter names are either bad puns or too corny for words. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's some examples: 'Love--and LOSS!', 'Comes the Father' (which, I must point out, MAKES NO SENSE. WHAT comes the father? We need an adjective, or an adverb, or something!), 'A Perfect Storm----OF EVIL! (No, I don't add punctuation or capitalization to the titles, that's how it was written), 'This Kitty's got CLAW!' (Get it? Because Kitty randomly has a claw in her freaking forearm!), 'Strike-Back!' (That made no sense, yet again); it goes on, and on, and on, as if in some endless cycle of horrible, horrible puns and quips.
  3. The series diverges from some pre-existing storyline and doesn't bother to re-cap, explain things to the readers, or even mention WHAT SERIES it diverges from. I looked, I really did; if I missed it, and it's been there all along, someone please enlighten me. Because the whole state of affairs that we're presented with makes no god damn sense. Jean would not scream 'OH NO YOU KILLED THE MAN I LOVE' at the death of Wolverine; she may think it, but no Jean Grey I happen to be aware of would show such signs of human weakness, she'd probably deal with it in some way that made freaking sense. Did I mention Cyclops was in the room at the time? He was. Right next to her. At any rate, we're to believe that it's perfectly normal that Storm is wearing a costume that looks eerily similar to something Janet Jackson would have worn circa her music video for 'Rhythm Nation'. The whole military shoulder pads thing looks good on nobody.
  4. The dialogue was unspeakably cheesy. For that matter, so was the art. Oh, sure, one could argue that this series is relatively old, and cheesiness in comics used to be a staple of the genre. But that was way before this comic was made; Around the time New Mutants was first created, coincidentally also made by Claremont and also incredibly cheesy. I found myself incapable of reading anything involving the 'Lil Ro' character (you have no idea how many things about that name make me angry), it was entirely too corny for me to stomach. Let me pull up some quotes from the comic: "Watch out for the debris, it's flying like Shrapnel!", "I'm terrified of the feelings I sense inside Kitty, I've never felt passions so raw!" (that was Jean, and she was being completely sincere), "But no more "young lady", okay? I'm 'Ro". Again, it repeats ad nauseum. I would rather dump a tray of ice cubes down my shirt than read another page of this drivel!
And as for those who may end up insisting that I have no right to criticize Claremont because he's 'a genius', 'a legend', 'one of the best', or any other irrelevant endorsement of someone you most likely do not know in the least (myself included, of course), I'd like to ask one thing; if someone is considered a master of their craft, does that mean that their work cannot be critiqued, evaluated, or even edited? Good artists of all kinds do produce sub-par material every now and again, and one of the signs of a truly skilled artist is being able to receive and use criticism to better their own work.
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The Phoenix; there can only be one?

It's been quite a while since Rachel Summers made an appearance in the X-men, and we're probably not seeing her any time soon. There's a few ways I can back up that statement, such as the fact that she hasn't been brought back already (which means she is either a) somewhat unpopular, or b) already scheduled to appear as part of another story arc yet to come, but even if that is the case, there's so much going on in the Marvel universe right now that there just doesn't seem to be much of a place for her), but I'll stick with the most interesting reason here, and say that she can't exist in the series (as Phoenix, which she has been since the mid-80s) for as long as Hope is around. And I don't think Hope will be going anywhere for a while.
Why can't they exist together? Simply because of the fact that (and I'm finally admitting it) Hope is probably channeling Phoenix power in some way, either via mimicry or something else, and a large part of the legend of the Phoenix is that there can only ever be one at a time. In myth, it lays an egg, the only egg it will ever bear, and dies, right on top of it. All phoenixes are, therefore, orphans (Kinda like Rachel), and the sole member of their species for the duration of their life. Note that this also means that Phoenixes reproduce asexually, but that's beside the point.
Think about it, when have you seen the Phoenix being channeled by two different people at the same time? No, the Stepford Cuckoos do not count, they're essentially a singular entity. Sure, Jean Grey and Rachel did happen to be alive at the same time for a while in the 90s (I think it was a little after Inferno, notable events therein included Scott and Jean's wedding), but were they both Phoenix at the time? I don't recall that being the case.  
So yes, Marvel did, indeed, go with the obvious and make Hope a Phoenix avatar of one sort or another. Personally, I find her the most likable host in the series to date. Jean always struck me as being too perfect, and Rachel...I never liked Rachel. Even if this is the return of Phoenix after a glorious few years of respite, it's with a new host; one that has still uncharted levels of power (well, they always say that...). We're not facing another 'oh look, Jean's back....again' scenario, we don't have to listen to Rachel yell at Cyclops for not creating an Earth 616 version of her (I always thought that was super creepy...), and best of all, no Madelyne! I, for one, am pretty excited to see what lies ahead for the X-men.
 
(Also, feel free to correct me, I am by no means an expert when it comes to the Phoenix Force)

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New Warriors, volumes 4&5 ; A (re)review

A while back, I reviewed two volumes of the newest team to bear the name The New Warriors. Recently, however, I re-read the volumes in question, and ended up changing my opinion on the series.  I did some background research on the old New Warriors, a team consisting of members such as Namorita, Speedball, and Firestar (of whom I am a bit of a fan). As I discovered, this new team is almost nothing like the old one.
The founder this time around is Night thrasher, who not only has a really stupid name, but was also a member of the original team....or was he? Also, no, his identity wasn't surprising at all, nice try. This 'enigma' of a man hand-picked new members for his take on the classic team, choosing fresh, young faces...that all used to be X-men. Sounds promising? There's more: he only chose depowered ones. And the chances of you remembering some of them are very slim. Let's take a look; on the roster we 
have...

 We're supposed to like her

Jubilation Lee

 She was thought up at some point in the 90s and hasn't shut up since. As a member of not only the X-men themselves, but also Generation X (a series I was surprised to like), she's popped up all over the place, created as the character that 'kids today' (at the time of her creation, actually my generation) are supposed to identify with. My bias against her is long-standing, but I really, really tried to put it aside for this series. Sadly, in this instance she managed to somehow become even less likable, if I may say. Her personality herein can be described as having three aspects; 'sassy', 'responsible and authoritative', and 'serious'. That's it, really, and I'm sad to say that she really didn't do any of them particularly well. To boot, she's supposed to be the leader.
 
 
 
This guy NEVER smiles...

Jonothon Starsmore

You don't recognize this guy as Chamber of Generation X, and his short stay with the X-men for a year or so after the series ended (and he appeared in an issue of Excalibur, post M-day). I assume you won't recognize him for two reasons: Firstly, I read Generation X, in it's entirety (as far as I know, at least), about a week and a half before I started New Warriors v. 4&5, and I didn't recognize him; Secondly, also being the reason I didn't notice who he was, he's blue. Those of you who are new to this character may have been wondering about that, and no, he wasn't always blue...he just didn't have the lower half of his jaw. Or most of his chest (and the contents). Yeah, from mouth to waist he used to have this weird field of psionic energy just kinda sitting there, like a ball of sparks. To this day I still believe nobody really thought his powers through beforehand. Of course, after losing his powers, he almost died, and then something happened with him being related to Apocalypse; I'll be honest, I found it all kinda stupid and ignored most of it after the 'he's alive' point. What I'd like to point out is that this guy never stops moping. EVER. I don't care if he's British, I don't see how we're supposed to find him charming or even notable.   
 
 'Sassy'

Angel Salvadore

 She never had a codename. That's not to say she didn't have a sizeable role in the comics she appeared in ( New X-men, Grant Morrisson's take on the series), she just never had a code name. Incredibly rude, abrasive, and all-around unlikable, I think we were supposed to think of her as 'sassy', but ends up missing sassy and going right for obnoxious. She had five children with a classmate of hers, who was also depowered at M-day, named ...
 
 
 
 

 
 This is seriously the best picture I could find

Barnell Bohusk

 Or, as those of you familiar with him will know him, Beak. He was a prominent figure in the Exiles, and appeared alongside Angel as a member of the Xavier Institute's special class. You know, the one taught by Xorn, dude who led humans into ovens while his class watched. They may have retconned that, but I'm pretty sure it's still listed as having happened. I mention this purely for the sake of asking how the hell they end up so damn well-adjusted? All I'm saying is they should at least have like nightmares or something...right? All those people, dead, shouldn't that leave some kind of mark? 
This is totally beside the point, but him and Angel named their kids after the Jackson Five.
 
 
 Frequent victim of unfortunate art

Sophia Mantega

 From the more recent New X-men, Sophia is a character I actually liked. And what's not to like? She's sweet, has a good head on her shoulders, and in general someone you'd actually want to be friends with. Not to mention the fact that she was one of the focal characters in the series she debuted in, Sophia was the on-again, off-again girlfriend of Hellion, another student at the Institute. We're introduced to the series from her perspective; after M-day, she became a waitress in downtown New York. Not the worst kind of life for what we assume is a 20-something year old woman, but we're told to believe she's barely off the streets. I, for one, would have liked this series so much more if she had been the narrator throughout the entire thing.  

 
 HER again

Tattoo, her brother, and Redneck

 Oh, Tattoo. Not a good pick for a superhero team; nor, for that matter, were the others. Why? 
Not only did they (and three other students of the Institute) beat the crap out of five random college-age men they happened to hear saying they didn't really like Mutants very much, but the little group (the Omega Gang) also managed to start a riot at the Xavier institute, massively abuse street drugs, attack mutants and humans for stupid reasons, and generally act like total idiots. And I'm convinced that Tattoo has no higher brain functioning. At any rate, the siblings (along with the rest of the gang) were sent to prison- human prison- to serve a sentance appropriate to their crimes. THIS IS NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN.
I kid you not, these three, who were sent to prison (along with the rest of the gang) (yes, real 'don't drop the soap' prison, where Redneck complained about not being able to defend himself against the other inmates) for beating five innocent people almost to death (and other things besides) are treated li ke everyone else, poor little depowered mutants trying to make their way in the world. We're supposed to believe they just got let out of prison? For what reason? We aren't told anything, and yet it's as though we're expected to just know who all the members of the team were! Which leads me to our final team member...

Stacy X

 She used to be a prostitute. An honest-to-god, got paid for sex, prostitute. Used to have powers that dealt with the pleasure centers of the brain, lived in a big ranch house with three other prostitutes (who were mutants, too). Oh, and she was a colossal jerk. 
 
 
 
  
So much for a winning team. I gave them nicknames while reading the series because I couldn't stand the awful code names they had (Skybolt, Renascene, Ripcord, Wondra, Phaser, Longstrike, Tempest, Blackwing, Decibel).
You'll remember these people have no special powers of their own anymore. That's where Night Thrasher comes in. He somehow managed to find all this amazing 'technology' at the ruins of the Avengers' mansion (it got destroyed before M-day). Just lying around in the rubble and stuff. Not like anyone was using it...right?
NO. I'm calling him on that one. You do not find freaking super-power mimicking devices just lying around in a bunch of rubble. For that matter, that bunch of rubble belongs to the Avengers, which although no longer active, used to hold members like Tony Stark, who we're told is a control freak/genius (the later half of the series literally revolves around this point). Even if the ruins of the mansion weren't cleared of anything potentially harmful (by S.H.I.E.L.D or something), biohazardous (you know, because of all the 'awesome tech'), cordoned off, patrolled/watched 24/7, or something just as realistic, the chances of Night Thrasher getting there in time to take that many useful things is impossibly unlikely. This is New York, remember; there are a LOT of homeless people that would get there first. Not to mention the idiocy of leaving that kind of thing accessible; what if some D-list villain got some super-awesome death ray the Avengers had just lying around? They wouldn't risk that kind of thing. 
I'm not going to bother with the plot, because I honestly couldn't believe it for a second. I know, 'this is the world of comics, it's not supposed to be realistic' and whatnot, but the fact is that it is supposed to be somewhat realistic and/or plausible. That's something that defines good writing; that sense that, in a way, it could almost happen in real life. In this case, it's like they had to throw something together, so they didn't really try to make it good. All in all, it's mediocre at best, but I'm sad to say I've read worse. For having stupid code names, a senseless plot, unbelievable premise, the stupidest team roster ever, but decent art, this series gets a 3.
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Obscure superpowers : Prehensile Hair

Anyone remember the Inhumans ? (Are they still churning out issues of it? My god, that series is ancient...) You have this entire civilization of people who all possess superpowers (Top ten, anyone?), and I mean like every superpower imaginable, from the tiny and stupid to the awesome and godlike. And, of course, this culture chooses the single strongest individual to be their ruler. It's from this tradition that we have Black Bolt. That's right, they chose, for their monarch, who wields supreme authority over all matters of anything, a dude whose voice is so strong that he can't even whisper without causing mass destruction. Personally, I think it's kinda cruel that they don't give him like a personal telepath or something; kinda like a seeing eye dog, only it's a speaking...mind...person. Whatever. Anyways, as every king needs a queen, Black Bolt goes out and, for some reason I'm not fully aware of, chooses the undeniably lovely Medusa. With a name like that, she's gotta be pretty fearsome; probably changes people into stone or something, right? That'd be kinda cool, a guy who can't talk has a wife he can't look at, right? 
Nope. She can do things with her hair. 
Putting aside the fact that this is a lame-ass power, I'd like to go a little more in-depth at what this lovely redhead (as well as others with this power) can do with her amazing abilities.  
She can manipulate her hair. Like, all of it, even the stuff that's not attached to her head anymore. But she keeps her hair long, too; whether this is to make people assume she can only control hair that's on her head and therefore gain a tactical advantage is unsure. So, while this would be crazy convenient for getting something that's across the room from you without having to stand up, haircuts would be hell, not to mention Medusa would be in a WORLD of pain every time she brushes her hair (anyone who's had long hair will know what I'm talking about). 
And there's Lorelei, the buxom beauty of 198 fame. Her name pretty much explains her personality; well, except for the whole luring people to their deaths and sitting around in water thing...my point is, she's a 'dancer'. She also keeps her hair long, not sure if she can manipulate it when it's been cut. I bring her up specifically to ask how strong is one's hair? I mean, how much can the hair of someone with this ability lift? I'd assume it'd be something one would have to develop, like with ordinary lifting, but hair doesn't have muscles, so that wouldn't work. Could it be like some sort of hair-central telekinesis? Ooooh, or maybe like the Diclonius from Elfen Lied, with the whole invisible arms thing. Deadly hair. Heh.
And there was that one villain from Inuyasha, Yura of the Hair, who would make like webs with hair...that came out of nowhere, with no explanation. It wasn't attached to her, that much was obvious from her 'stylish hair', and she manipulated it using a comb. I have to admit, she was pretty damn awesome. Let's see Medusa pull some of that stuff.

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Why Quentin Quire sucked

One thing that bothers me immensely is when writers fail to write their characters accurately, within the parameters they themselves established. Take Quentin, for example; his powers are, admittedly, rather nebulously defined, but he has been listed as possessing telekinesis, telepathy, and 'hyper-intelligence'. And no, I do not, as a matter of fact, know what the hell the difference is between 'hyper' and 'super' intelligence, but I have a few theories; I think it refers to the fact that individuals with hyperactive disorders are often described as thinking much faster than the average person, as Quentin himself is said to, ergo it's quite possible that he has some strange form of mutant-ADHD (Yes, I hated that pun, too). 
At any rate, it hardly matters whether hyper intelligence is superior, inferior or even equal to good-old-fashioned super intelligence, because Quentin really doesn't seem to possess much intellect worth writing home about.
Why am I saying this? In multiple instances, Quentin's actions, speech, etc. fall short of what could really be deemed 'hyper/super intelligent'. Most prominently, during the lovely little confrontation we were treated to in what I assume was some sort of telepathy class, Xavier whips out what I thought was a fairly clever line: 'Just because some birds are black doesn't mean all birds are blackbirds'. Yes, paraphrased. What does our little boy genius do? Completely miss the point. Sure, he's like 14, but he's supposedly insanely smart, and yet he fails to grasp such a simple concept. He makes some lame-ass 'I was just testing you' comeback and goes off to do some weird mutant amphetamine with his friends.  

 That's not even close...
Going off-topic for a second, the artist for issues 134-138 is, in my humble opinion, not great at making characters look good. Granted, I haven't read the entirety of the X-men series (main and side comics), but I've read more than a fair amount, and this is the second-biggest collection of derpfaces I've gotten from any artist. Meaning it only looks good when you compare it to that one issue of New Mutants (volume 3, issue 5) where the art looked like it was done in pencil crayon and Xi'an ended up looking like a fruit bat (Sam, however, got the better end of it and merely looked like a doorstop). 
Anyways, back to the point. I'd like to also bring up the issue of the company he's keeping; namely, Tattoo. Not like I expected her to be a Nobel laureate or anything, but sometimes her lines end up being just outright stupid! Sometimes she even fails to make sense at all!  

 THESE WORDS MAKE NO SENSE WHEN STRUNG TOGETHER IN THIS MANNER!
How many highly intelligent people, even teenagers who've most likely never even held hands with a member of the opposite sex, would put up with that level of sheer stupid? Because I can, I'm going to break down why that statement is nonsense; for those of you who got the point, feel free to skip the next little bit.  

Firstly, I can guarantee she doesn't know what the hell 'Zeitgeist' even means; I would literally stake my life on her ignorance of it's meaning. The fact that she puts 'super' in front of it only further emphasizes my point.  'Glam' I'd almost be willing to give her, if only because glam rockers hurt my eyes almost as much as Quentin does for most of this little arc. 'Industrial', however? NO. And then she goes and throws 'Clockwork Orange' in there, and I swear that I actually ground my teeth while reading that. The only way in which anything in this story arc could be even remotely described as being similar to the world portrayed in Anthony Burgess' masterpiece is that the situation they're advocating is Dystopian. That's it. The clothing itself (which, you may have noticed, seems what she's trying to refer to) can't even be compared to that worn by Alex and his droogs, not even in the fact that it's outlandish (it's not, really, I just keep expecting Spiderman to wander in and complain that someone stole his clothing). Oh, and maybe that they're young and violent, but dude, that's really a weak point to argue. 
 
That felt good to get off my chest. Thanks for indulging me through that! Conclusion: Quentin Quire sucks because whoever was in charge of writing this while stupid arc really didn't have the skill to convincingly pull off the whole 'super genius' thing. 
...Wait, that was Grant Morrison? No way. God damn it, I actually like him!  
 I'll leave you with one more thing to mull over; how is an Omega level telepath any more powerful than a basic telepath, is it range, can he read more thoughts, what?
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