A Rant on the X-Men and Evolution

Posted by TheAnnihilator (1056 posts) - - Show Bio

Let me start by saying I like the X-Men. I really like the X-Men. Sometimes I even love the X-Men. The story of society's outcasts in a world full of superpowered, spandex-clad heroes. Coming together with others with the X-Gene, what gives them their powers and makes them the next step in evolution. Except:That's not how evolution works.

Evolution is a slow, gradual process leading to widespread genetic change through accumulating adaptations to survive in their environment. The traits that will become common are chosen in the process of natural selection. If a species lives in extreme cold temperatures, members of the species that have a heavy coat of fur will have a higher chance of surviving and reproducing over members with a thin coat of fur, slowly making a heavy coat of fur a trait of nearly all members of the species. The problem with the X-Gene being evolution is that their wasn't a specific need from the environment for people to have lasers shoot out of their eyes. It isn't a natural adaptation to the environment around us.

The X-Gene is a genetic mutation, not adaptation, making them exactly what they're called, mutants. Someone with an extra 21st chromosome has a genetic disorder, the side effect of this is Down's Syndrome. This doesn't make the person their own species or the next step in evolution, it makes them a human being with a genetic disorder. Someone with the X-Gene isn't a new species or the next step in evolution, they're a human being with a genetic mutation.

I really dislike the overused shtick of "you should accept us for who we are and protect us, because we're human beings after all, except we're our own species." It bothers me everytime I hear it or read it in an X-book or movie. I'd gotten used to it until Cyclops' X-Men would constantly repeat it. The same team sticking to the brilliant idea that the best thing for mutant-human relations is living in their own nation where anything could be happening as far as anyone knows. This would in no way give anti-mutant activists in the U.S. an advantage with propaganda or possibly lead the U.S. to take action against them for being a foreign nation very close, if not in, U.S. territory. Because Genosha turned out to be a great idea too right?

I'll stop before this becomes a rant on the Blue team, but would like to put one last thing in. The point of X-Men should be our differences can be our strengths and despite it all, blacks, whites, mutants, normal powerless people, are all human and have something special about them, not that a single gene makes someone superior to all other humans and will eventually become the dominant species.

#1 Posted by MyraMyraMyra (296 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree - saying that the mutants are their own species is wrong, because evolution just doesn't work that way. It annoys me, but I could accept it if the word "species" was only used by the characters as a political weapon - either to dehumanize mutants to justify violating their human rights, or to create a barrier between mutants and the rest of the humankind so that all mutants would stand united against human threats.

I actually think it would be extremely interesting if the series really recognized that mutants are in fact humans and not their own species, and still have some of the characters claim otherwise because keeping up the illusion that mutants are fundamentally different to humans suits their own political gains. That would be a social allegory that writes itself, because throughout history crimes against minorities have been justified by dehumanizing the victims through language. It's a pity that in the Marvel Universe mutants really seem to be their own species now, and all of these great chances for social metaphors are wasted.

All in all, I think the franchise hasn't had as much potential as a metaphor for otherness & being a minority within a majority ever since M-Day happened. Being a small species fighting against extinction on an island just doesn't have the allegorical possibilties that being a minority of millions has.

Anyways. I think Utopia was a mighty stupid idea from the start, and I'm glad most of my favourite characters left after Schism. Concentrating the rest of the mutants of the world on a semi-hostile micro nation right next to a militant superpower just doesn't sound like the ideal way to preserve a dying kind. Now more than ever, the wisest thing to do would be to attempt to coexist in peace with the rest of the humankind, which is what the X-Men used to do. This warmongering & isolation Cyclops is going for can't end well for anyone.

(I do think that Cyclops's character developement is very interesting - how he went from Charles Xavier's loyal follower to embracing the same ideals Magneto once did - but my in-universe opinion of him is still that he's chosen a dangerous road that will only lead to war and destruction.)

@TheAnnihilator said:

I'll stop before this becomes a rant on the Blue team, but would like to put one last thing in. The point of X-Men should be our differences can be our strengths and despite it all, blacks, whites, mutants, normal powerless people, are all human and have something special about them, not that a single gene makes someone superior to all other humans and will eventually become the dominant species.

I know. It's not really Cyclops's current philosophy or Utopia that bother me, but the fact that total isolationism is presented as a solution in UXM. That's really goes against the message of peace and coexistence that the X-Men franchise used to be all about. The X-Men used to fight for the right to share the world with the rest of the human kind - and, metaphorically, standing for diversity and equality in the society - but now the Blue side is just basically at war against humankind.

#2 Posted by TheAnnihilator (1056 posts) - - Show Bio

@MyraMyraMyra: Exactly. I always thought that the term species should only be used by anti-mutant activists. It'd be one of the only ways for them to justify their hatred towards them to the masses and persuading others to join their cause with something like, "It's us versus them," "They wouldn't think twice about exterminating our species," or something of that nature. I do like Cyclops' character development, but I don't like that no one is really arguing against him. The only counter point was with Schism and that's just survival at all costs vs surviving without losing themselves. I'm very glad Schism happened though, most of the X-Men I liked are with Wolverine and now get more page time, and you aren't forced to read every X-book either, just ones on the side you like essentially. I feel like people need to call out Cyclops on his crap instead of blindly following him or ignoring, especially Professor X. Unfortunately it's seem that the point of the X-Men has faded and even with a new academy they've lost their roots. They just seem to fight for something completely different (and in my opinion pointless) now.

#3 Posted by DeviousBastard (136 posts) - - Show Bio

Considering the fact that mutants are the result of Celestial tempting I don't why they still referred to as "Homo Superior" (which is an annoying and arrogrant term).

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