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rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 3/8

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   Part 3

   Version 2003.02 last updated November 2003

Subject: Table of Contents Part 3: X-MEN COMIC BOOK QUESTIONS * Who were the original X-Men? Who was the first X-Man? Who have been X-Men? (+) * How come Professor X has so much money? * What classes does the Professor offer at his schools, anyway? (+) * Wasn't there a title released in 1963 about a team of super- powered misfits who banded together under some smart guy in a wheelchair to fight against prejudice and the right to just be yourself ... by DC Comics? * When did Professor X start walking? Isn't he supposed to be in a wheelchair? (+) * Are there any gay X-Men? (+) * Why do people hate the X-Men when they love the Avengers and the Fantastic Four? * Why can't Cyclops just wear contact lenses? * Why doesn't Forge invent something that would neutralize powers so mutants like Cyclops and Rogue can live normal lives? And how can Rogue cut her hair, if she's invulnerable? * Did Psylocke dye her hair? What about Rogue's stripe? * I've got an idea! Why don't Rogue and Gambit use Leech so they can have sex? Have they already had sex? (+) * Is Rogue's inability to control her powers psychological in nature? * Why does Rogue have claws? When did that happen? * Was Rogue raped by the guards in the first Genosha storyline? * What is the relationship between Mystique and Nightcrawler? Why is Rogue involved in it, if she isn't blue? (+)
Subject: X-MEN COMIC BOOK QUESTIONS Background information on the creators and the X-titles editorial offices is based on over a decade's worth of articles, interviews, and personal questions, and as such is not directly attributed here. Now that some of Marvel's staff members are on Usenet, they are welcomed to correct and amend any of the answers listed below. --- Who were the original X-Men? Who was the first X-Man? Who have been X-Men? (+) The original X-Men, in the oh-so-darling blue and yellow geek suits, were Cyclops, the Angel, the Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl. Deciding upon the first X-Man is a bit of a trick. While Xavier did bring Scott to his mansion first to become the first X-Man, it was revealed in the 1960's run of the title that he actually had already been helping Jean Grey cope with her telepathic powers. Thus, Jean was his first real mutant student, and, by extension, his first X-Man, even though Cyclops was the first of his mutant students to don a costume and call himself an X-Man. It should be noted that Scott Lobdell retconned this simple origin, by having Professor X planning the second team of X-Men (from Giant-Size X-Men #1) back before he had picked Scott for the first team. While this is an annoying anamoly, it doesn't change the answer to the question, since none of the second team of X-Men were ever contacted by Xavier until long after Scott and Jean became X-Men. As far as people who have been "X-MEN"...there are a few technical distinctions. The following have generally been considered X-Men, with asteriks noting the "sort-of" members: Professor X (Charles Xavier), Cyclops (Scott Summers), Marvel Girl/Phoenix (Jean Grey), Iceman (Bobby Drake), Angel/Archangel (Warren Worthington III), Beast (Hank McCoy), Mimic (Calvin Rankin), Havok (Alex Summers), Polaris (Lorna Dane), Changeling (posing as Professor X)*, Thunderbird I (John Proudstar), Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida), Storm (Ororo Munroe), Wolverine (Logan, a.k.a James Howlett), Colossus (Piotr Rasputin), Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), Banshee (Sean Cassidy), Phoenix Force (posing as Jean Grey)*, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Rogue (Rogue), Phoenix (Rachel Summers), Magneto (Erik Magnus Lensherr; also posing as Xorn), Dazzler (Alison Blaire), Psylocke (Betsy Braddock), Longshot, Jubilee (Jubilation Lee), Gambit (Remy LeBeau), Forge, Bishop (Lucas Bishop), Revanche (Kwannon), Cannonball (Sam Guthrie), Dark Beast (impersonating Hank McCoy)*, Marrow (Sarah), Maggott (Japheth), Cecelia Reyes*, Joseph (a Magneto clone), Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff), Cable (Nathan Summers), Thunderbird III (Neal Sharra), Sage (Tessa), White Queen (Emma Frost), Chamber (Jono Starsmore), X-Stacy (Stacy X), Lifeguard (Heather Cameron), Slipstream (Davis Cameron), Northstar, and Cannonball. In the technicality department, Binary (Carol Danvers) was with the X-Men during the Brood Saga, but apparently didn't consider herself to be an X-Man. The New Mutants called themselves the X-Men in X-Men Annual #10 when they donned their graduation suits. Team members were Cannonball, Mirage, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Karma, Magik, Warlock and Cypher. New Mutants teaching staff members Sharon Friedlander and Tom Corsi just helped the team, and Stevie Hunter was a dance teacher who regularly helped the kids. Maddie Pryor "died" with the X-Men, but did not consider herself to be an X-Man (during the Australian stories); likewise, Gateway was an associate of the team but not an official member. There was a team of "Muir Isle X-Men" circa the mid-late 200s of UXM, back when the X-Men were thought to be dead, including Forge, Banshee, Siryn (Banshee's daughter), Legion (Xavier's son), Amanda Sefton, Moira MacTaggart, Sunder, and Alysdane Stewart. The Eve of Destruction team that Phoenix assembled circa UXM #392 included Dazzler, Northstar (formerly of Alpha Flight), Sunpyre (Sunfire's sister Leyu Yashida), and a bunch of other new characters that haven't been seen since. Other characters have operated with the three main teams of X-Men. Dani Moonstar was allegedly a "part-time" affiliate of the X-Men as of X-Men #102, but since she was only around for one or two issues, it doesn't really count. Other characters such as Husk and Jubilee have shown up in Uncanny X-Men, but Paige said in a thought caption that she hoped to one day become an X-Man, indicating that she didn't have that status yet. Other associated characters have shown up as members of X-Corp. Time will tell whether these are full members or just associates. --- How come Professor X has so much money? Capitalism. The rich get richer. Apparently, the Xaviers are an old money family, since the Graymalkin estate (and the many-times rebuilt mansion) has been described as being in the Xavier family for ten generations. So, Charles Xavier inherited a lot of money. Xavier also has decent ties to the Avengers and to Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to get cheap access to funky technology (as the easiest two examples: the image inducer was invented by Tony Stark, and the unstable molecule costumes were made of fabric obviously supplied by Richards). Finally, Professor X was formerly the consort of an intergalactic queen (Lilandra), and got a bunch of cheap, high-tech alien goods and repairs passed under the bed, as it were. Among the cheap, high tech alien goods was a handy-dandy costume machine, which presumably works with Reed Richards' unstable molecule fabric. Hence the X-Men aren't spending a lot of money on clothing. Which is a good thing, considering how costumes they go through on your average crossover. When Xavier's own money has been inaccessible, Warren Worthington has been there to step in. He had a lot of money to start with, and appears to have regained the money Hodge took from him when Warren "died". Note that Emma Frost and Betsy Braddock are also financially well off. --- What classes does the Professor offer at his schools, anyway? (+) Apparently, Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters offered an accredited high school equivalency degree for its privately enrolled students. The "graduates" could try for a higher degree, now that Xavier also has an Institute for Higher Learning, if it wasn't for the fact that they're really the X-Men, and usually have other things to do than cram for finals. Some X-Men have tried for higher degrees--Jean Grey went on to Metro University--but generally there wasn't much higher learning going on at Xavier's. Some of the older X-Men have served as "guest lecturers" to Generation X at the Massachusetts Academy, but it's pretty likely that none of them has a teaching degree. Scenes from Claremont's run on the New Mutants showed classes being held in world history, economics, and physical education (above and beyond Danger Room training). Presumably the classes in biology would be top-notch. Even when she was with the X-Men, Jubilee was shown studying algebra. Tom Galloway has more help: "It's strongly implied that Hank McCoy (the Beast) earned his doctorate at Xavier's. He leaves the school directly for what amounts to a job as a Principal Investigator at Brand Industries, and there's really no time in his history when he could otherwise have earned the PhD they credit him with." On the other hand, X-Factor Annual #3 features a backup story where Beast is showing the kids pictures of his time at a college outside of Xavier's, earning degrees in biochemistry and genetics. Don't mess with Marvel time, kids. These men are professionals. As it stands, the promotional comic for Generation X had a whole list of classes offered at Emma Frost's school. It included lots of specialized PE, classes on leadership, cultural diversity, and physics with assorted guest instructors. Still, Gen X first showed the kids in a classroom in issue #21. More recently, both New X-Men and New Mutants showed students in flight class, and Professor Xavier was lecturing on mutant rights and politics, so students in Xavier's current school should be receiving general and specialized curricula. --- Wasn't there a title released in 1963 about a team of super-powered misfits who banded together under some smart guy in a wheelchair to fight against prejudice and the right to just be yourself ... by DC Comics? You're absolutely correct. The Doom Patrol came out in 1963 (the same year as the X-Men), and featured Robotman, Negative Man, and Elasti-Girl under the cryptic leadership of the Chief. Yes, the heroes were crippled or maladjusted by the nature of them being heroes--Robotman was an "omniplegic," Negative Man was wrapped in protective bandages, and so on. The Chief did rule from his wheelchair, and their whole point was to prove that even misfits and freaks could be a productive part of society, despite prejudice. The interesting thing is that so far as anyone can tell this was another example in history of pure coincidence. The Marvel and DC creative teams apparently came up with the ideas completely on their own. It's really not surprising when you think about when this was going on. Marvel had revolutionarized the comic book industry with the "Marvel" style of superhero, who had the complications of dealing with real life. Never ones to miss on the sales comparisons, DC began copying the Marvel style. Pretty soon we had families of superheroes with troubles, teenaged superheroes with troubles, clubs of superheroes with troubles... it didn't take much imagination to go to the next progression of "modern" superheroes, superheroes with physical troubles based on their physique, or prejudice. A man in a wheelchair would be the natural authority figure to lead this team, since he'd be an iconic reminder that people with disabilities can still be functioning people, while still not suffering from such a major disfigurement that the Comics Code of the time wouldn't accept him as an ongoing character. The wheelchair figure couldn't be one of the active, crime-fighting heroes, because giving him the power to leave his chair to fight crime would invalidate the whole reason to put him in a wheelchair in the first place. Finally, the wheelchair figure had to be a man, since this was still the 1960s. After the leader is set, you fill your team to taste with your choice of heroes suffering unwarranted prejudice. And after cancelling the book in the late 60s, bring it back later to large acclaim: as one final bit of trivia to further prove the existence of the Illuminati, both the X-Men and Doom Patrol came back in their first "new" forms in issues numbered 94--UXM #94 and Showcase #94, although Doom Patrol had to get cancelled one more time before they became highly acclaimed. Technically, the "new" X-Men debuted in Giant-Size X-Men #1, but since we're allowing the Doom Patrol to slide on a technicality, we'll do the same for the X-Men. --- When did Professor X start walking? Isn't he supposed to be in a wheelchair? (+) Although Xavier first appeared in a wheelchair in X-Men (vol. 1) #1, he wasn't always disabled. A flashback in X-Men (vol. 1) #9 revealed that he was first crippled in a fight with Lucifer. He remained in the wheelchair until Uncanny X-Men #167, when his body was cloned by the Shi'ar after his original body was destroyed by the Brood Queen. The new body allowed him to walk, play sports, and serve as a member of the team (albeit in an ugly black-and-yellow costume) until his legs were crushed once again in a fight with the Shadow King in UXM #280. A year later, he was shot and was infected with a techno-organic virus by Stryfe in UXM #294. He was cured and was able to walk for a brief period in #297, but was soon wheelchair-bound again. Most recently, he was able to walk after mutant healer Xorn restored his legs, following Xavier's mind-switch with twin sister Cassandra Nova in New X-Men #126, although New X-Men #146 revealed that it was a hoax--Magneto, as Xorn, had used nanotechnology to support Charles' spine, and removed the support at the end of that issue. Expect to see the Professor in a wheelchair for the time being. --- Are there any gay X-Men? (+) Yes: Northstar. As of UXM #414, he's part of a "real" team of X-Men, and the question should be settled. Right? Well, wrong; people seem to want to know about the sexuality of other characters in the main titles and of those in spin-off titles. And so, the debates continue. For years, Marvel had one officially gay mutant, which was Northstar of Alpha Flight. That's it. Technically, he wasn't even an X-Man until his stint in Uncanny circa UXM #392. Unofficial, but well accepted, was the Mystique-Destiny relationship. Marvel tried not to admit it, but Claremont did, and enough in-comic evidence exists to be certain on that score. For years, the most definitive evidence was UXM #254. In it, Irene said, "This is Raven as I know her, the spirit-soul within my dearest friend--full of strength and courage and passion--that I have loved from the moment we met." Later, Mystique said, "Irenie? You had a rough anything the matter?" You can work it out for herself how Mystique would know that. In UXM #265, the Shadow King referred to Destiny as Mystique's leman--an archaic word meaning "lover"--which Chris Claremont seemed to have sneaked in under the censors' radar. As of the X-Men Forever miniseries (2001), the two are officially out of the closet, since the recap in issue #5 clearly states that Irene was Raven's lover. X-Treme X-Men #1 concurs; Mystique is referred to as Destiny's "true love." Raven has had two children, of course, so there's strong evidence that she could be bisexual. She was a member of X-Factor, so she technically counts as an X-Man. The character Bloke in the relaunched X-Force title was identified as gay. His media packet in X-Force #117 covered a range of stereotypes (he lived in San Francisco, liked musicals, and used to be rainbow-colored before he turned bright pink). His kiss with a male mutant boyfriend in X-Force #118 confirmed it. Unfortunately, as with most characters in the relaunched X-Force team, Bloke's tenure was rather short-lived. Newer team members Phat and Vivisector at first seemed to be joking about being a gay couple (in order to gain more publicity), but as of issue #129 it was pretty clear that they "did the deed." In X-Statix #4, they finally decided that, while gay, they weren't actually interested in each other. The character Xi'an Coy Manh was another character whose sexuality was debated. X-Force #75 brought Karma in with short pink hair and female roommates in Greenwich Village. Conversation between her and Dani then suggested that Xi'an was a lesbian. Xi'an confirmed it herself in New Mutants (vol. 2) #4, where she also seems to have a crush on Kitty Pryde. The character of Mariko/Sunfire in Exiles revealed that she was gay in Exiles #11, but the title is not one of the core titles, and is set in an alternative universe. Speculation runs rampant regarding the sexuality of other X-characters, but here are the favorite candidates: * Hank McCoy. The events of his mutation into a more lion-like, bestial form left Hank feeling like "a Hindu sex god." After his longtime girlfriend Trish Tilby broke up with him because she felt the "bestiality" publicity would hurt her TV journalism career, Hank told her that he thought he might be gay. The line, in NXM #125, could be read sarcastically or literally. As of NXM #134, he admits that he is just playing along with the media, and not contradicting what anyone is saying about his sexuality. * Bobby Drake. He is by far one of the most mentioned as living in the closet. "Evidence" hinges on his lack of steady relationships, his lack of self-confidence, and the fact that he hasn't lived up to his potential. His confrontation with the White Queen in UXM #331 is also popular, where she says, "You finally realized you're not cut out to be an X-Man, so you've decided to use your mutant ability to pursue your first love: Interior decorating?" This is less flimsy that it might seem, since she has occupied his body, but hardly definitive. His relationship with Opal Tanaka is used as evidence both for and against, depending on how you rationalize their breakup. Bobby also had some strong sexual tension in his later dealings with Emma Frost, circa Generation X #57, where they attend a school dance together. In UXM #415, Northstar says that although he has a crush on Iceman, Bobby doesn't seem to be gay. * Ororo Munroe. Primary evidence here is X-Men Annual #11, where her heart's desire is to run off with Yukio. Supplementary to this is the fact that she completely turned her life around after running around with her for an evening (UXM #172-173), and Contest of Champions II #1, where Yukio and Storm meet again. If you buy the Storm and Yukio relationship, Yukio seems all for it. Otherwise Storm's relationship with Forge has been difficult, but over a long period of time. Again, she could be bisexual. * Dani Moonstar. Primarily, see X-Force #75. Circumstantial evidence for Dani's homosexuality or bisexuality has been sprinkled in other issues of X-Force, but never as heavily as #75. * Kitty Pryde. See her interaction with Karma in the Mechanix mini, where fans see potential in her words to Karma that Kitty's "not sure she feels that way" in response to Karma's crush on her. Kitty's probably hetero, due to her numerous crushes on guys and her relationship with Pete Wisdom over in Excalibur, but numerous fans saw a potential seduction of her by Saturnyne/Courtney Ross in earlier issues of that title. * Shatterstar. His highly emotional attachment to Rictor is proof for most. Others counter that he isn't of Western culture, so his emotions aren't necessarily as repressed. On the other hand, X- Force #56 indicates that his relationship with Rictor is much deeper than friendship; the caption says "She has lost Warpath. He [Shatterstar] has lost Rictor. Both see these missing teammates as 'friends.' Both too stubborn to admit they may mean more than that." Other names bandied about frequently include Magik, Rachel, and most of the X-Men universe at one time or another. Mr. Sinister's similarity to Frank N. Furter (of Rocky Horror) has also been noted on many occasions. The great trick with the discussion of gay X-Men is to avoid turning it into a flamewar. Discuss it by all means; just be aware this is a hot button for many people on both ends of the spectrum. --- Why do people hate the X-Men when they love the Avengers and the Fantastic Four? Andrew Ingle supports an interesting theory, one that works inside the Marvel Universe: "The people love superheroes. They dress up in spandex and save the world! They're celebrities to them, brilliant, beautiful celebrities. And you can see Cap or someone when they're coming. You KNOW they're Cap. Their powers are their powers and that's what lets them protect the world. They get their abilities for a reason. However, a mutant is someone born with their powers, and they DON'T always dress up in Spandex and advertise it. When you walk down the street, you don't know whether the person across the crosswalk will spontaneously shoot you with poisonous acid blasts from his eyeballs. Anyone can be a mutant, but only Johnny Storm is The Human Torch. The fact that mutants can be anyone is what scares people." As for the plots, Peter Lidkis reminds us, "There is hatred for mutants in the MU. The difference is that Avengers is not THE book that focuses on it. It only occassionally looks in on that hatred and then goes on its next story line." So it's not unusual for people to overall love the Avengers or FF--they're not *meant* to be hated as a matter of course. The X-Men were meant to deal with prejudice and hate, so they're going to end up being hated. --- Why can't Cyclops just wear contact lenses? As almost everyone known, Cyclops has a major vision problem. Namely, he can't open his eyes without blasting everything in sight. Xavier was able to create ruby quartz glasses to keep the powers in check. Readers figure that the ruby quartz happens to share complementary properties with Scott Summers' eye blasts, and contains the energy in some way. The energy could overload the quartz, allowing Scott to break through the visor in an emergency, but the quartz would normally keep the beams in check (which is why Scott's "casual" red eyeglasses don't come flying off his face from the blast force). But what about contact lenses? Why couldn't Scott just do that? For years, dedicated readers of the X-titles suggested this very idea, only to be confronted with the facts: Scott can't wear contact lenses because the beams come out of all of his eyes, not just the iris area. A number of back issues regularly showed Scott covering his eyes with his hands if his visor was broken, with red energy seeping out from around his eyes. Apparently Scott isn't susceptible to the damage of his eye blasts, just like he and his brother Havok were shown to be immune to each other's powers; something in his DNA ensures that his eyelids are not immediately blown to bits, so covering his eyes with his hands makes enough sense. The problem with contact lenses is that nobody can explain how they can effectively work in Scott's case. If his whole eyes need to be covered, he'd probably need full-eyeball contact lenses made out of ruby quartz crystal. Not only couldn't the eye breathe (which would cause major pain), but combat response time from Cyclops would be a bit hampered if he tried to take out his contacts while foes attacked. It's no wonder that Cyke carried a small pair of glasses, sort of like goggles, as an emergency pair. Of course, these reasons didn't stop Grant Morrison from providing Cyclops with a pair of "emergency" contact lenses in New X-Men #115. This created a whole new set of problems. The art portrayed the lenses as the everyday kind, not the full-eyeball style, so it's odd that his energy beams weren't already coming out all over the place. Readers likewise can't figure out how Scott got the lenses in his eyes in the first place. To put the lenses in, he'd either have to be in a very controlled ruby quartz room, which could stand the force of his beams, or he'd likely end up destroying the ceiling as he looked up and tried to place the contacts on his eyes. While Scott could put his glasses and goggles on without the need to open his eyes, the contacts don't quite provide that luxury. Contact lenses might be great for cosmetic purposes during a leisurly stroll in Manhattan, or for a day at the beach, but X-Man Cyclops is likely to get attacked, or need to help someone out, wherever he goes. Now, Cyclops calls these his "emergency" contact lenses. If these are supposed to be full-eyeball lenses, they should effectively shut down his powers. If he removes them, Cyclops can't really *see*, and thus is shut down as an effective fighter. If these contacts are for emergency situations, shouldn't they help him easily get out of a situation, not create more problems? This FAQ-keeper can just imagine the potential damage if Scott drops one of the contacts on the floor while he's trying to put it in... --- Why doesn't Forge invent something that would neutralize powers so mutants like Cyclops and Rogue can live normal lives? And how can Rogue cut her hair, if she's invulnerable? Okay, we all know the real reason this can never come true: if writers start giving our heroes solutions to their power-based problems and suddenly have to start worrying about writing real people, not just costumes with code names, all that keen, cheap angst is thrown out the windows. Still, we can think of a few Marvel Universe reasons why things haven't changed for the better in mutant home remedies. The best reason I've seen offered yet (and if you don't like it, go think up your own, Marvel Science is not exactly an exacting art) is that mutant powers are very strongly linked with genetic expression. That is, while Spider-Man was never intended to cling to walls, say, the whole point of Colossus' genotype is that he is designed to turn into living metal. Thus, any power nullifier that would allow mutants like Rogue or Cyclops to live their lives without the pressure of their powers would, by suppressing their power, cause large-scale cellular damage to their bodies that, while useful for short-term durations like cutting hair or an eye examination, would eventually end up depowering or killing the mutant in question using such a nullifier for a long time. Cellular disintegration doesn't seem like a fair price to pay for being able to take off your glasses, so this helps explain why Scott hasn't gone to Forge begging for a nullifier in a watch design. The long-term removal of Storm's powers after being shot by Forge's neuralizer circa Uncanny X-Men #189 might contradict this theory, since her powers were gone for weeks in our world and several months while on a parallel Earth (during the "Fall of the Mutants" crossover). However, Claremont was deliberate in highlighting that Storm did still possess her powers during that time, but that she was unable to consciously access them. Her powers weren't removed, and so she slips through a loophole. Now, the above hasn't been actually said in any Marvel comic, so, like I said, feel free to interpret it any way you want, although the above has the advantages of being logical, consistent, and doesn't contradict anything given in any Marvel comic, something tough to do with Marvel Science Theories. Now, considering the above theory as true, the mutants probably do have access to power nullifiers on demand, but very rarely use them, for the above reason. However, they'd be just what you needed if you wanted to style or cut your hair, like Rogue, assuming she has even had a haircut since absorbing Carol (in Avengers Annual #10). --- Did Psylocke dye her hair? What about Rogue's stripe? Psylocke's hair was certainly dyed in the beginning. She is naturally blonde, since in "Captain Britain" (Daredevils #3/CB Archives #3) Brian was shocked to see her hair purple. Remember, Betsy was a fashion model. All flashbacks to her childhood also have her as a blonde (UXM #256, for example). So we are fine up until the Siege Perilous. At that point it gets complicated. When Spiral messed with Betsy's mind and body in UXM #256, Spiral very easily could have made the color permanent. Rogue is a little simpler. Back around the late 100's of UXM, the letters column was answered by the characters for awhile. Wolverine said that Rogue dyed her hair. While you will occasionally hear rumbles along the lines of "peroxide in the Savage Land? I don't think so", there has not been any evidence to contradict Wolverine. Besides, it neatly explains why she mysteriously went from two white streaks to one, and occasionally just to white bangs without the stripe in back. Oh, and Rogue's hair is brown, colorists notwithstanding. --- I've got an idea! Why don't Rogue and Gambit just use Leech so they can have sex? Have they already had sex? (+) You may not believe this, but you are not the first person to have this brainstorm. As a matter of fact, you're nowhere near the first person to think of this. You could have been meditating on this particular solution to their troubles for centuries in a monastery in Attilan and you'd still be nowhere near the first person to suggest this. This is a suggestion which is offered so frequently by newbies to racmx that it's capable of infuriating the long-term inhabitants of racmx just from its frequent re-presenting, without even considering its innate distatefulness. Just how great an idea it is to use a school kid as a sexual aid? Ick. This is closely related to the above power nullifiers question, and much of the sage wisdom of that response applies here, as well. However... UXM #349 neatly sidestepped the problem by subjecting both Gambit and Rogue to a power-dampening field in Magneto's old Antarctic base. Of course, the Comics Code kept Lobdell from actually saying anything physical happened between them. The question that comes up next, then, is: Did Gambit and Rogue actually have sex between #348 and #349? The debate is far from settled, but the general consensus is that while they certainly had a good time together that evening, full intercourse probably didn't happen. Given that Rogue was left powerless after events in X-Treme X-Men, the question is possibly moot. In X-Treme X-Men #31 she shows up wearing skimpy clothes and sporting one heck of a tattoo, and kisses Bishop full on the lips. If she felt ready to take her relationship with Remy to the next level, she's probably done it by now... assuming that she felt ready to do so. Either way, it's her business, so until we see Rogue and Gambit on-panel being very specific about their activities during those months, the best one can assume is "probably." If her powers do come back, assume that they'd use a power nullifier for moments alone, and not bring Leech (or others) into their personal matters. --- Is Rogue's inability to control her powers psychological in nature? Probably, although the real issue is what "psychological" problems she might have had. The most popular theory is that Rogue suffered some form of physical abuse in her youth, causing her to subconsciously keep her powers on all the time to prevent it from happening again. Skids' problem deactivating her force field was revealed in X-Factor #16 to be a result of her father's physical abuse of herself and her mother, and the same logic is typically applied to Rogue's problem. However, the problem with Rogue's powers may just be a lack of practice. Steven Seagle in UXM #354 had Rogue giving mouth-to-mouth resucitation to Joseph, and she was able to partially control her absorption power in the process. At the time she claimed that since she was never allowed to use her powers except when needed in combat, she never had a chance to learn control, a rather obvious and clever solution to this longtime problem. Rogue's unexpected control over her powers isn't actually new, either; even prior to the Carol Danvers event Rogue could control her absorption to some extent (see Dazzler, for example). There is one panel in UXM #239 that is used to support this; Carol, having taken over Rogue's body after the fight with Nimrod, touches Betsy on the shoulder. When asked, Chris Claremont confirmed it was intended to indicate that Carol could control Rogue's power, even though Rogue couldn't. In addition, the X- Men '97 Annual portrays the Gamesmaster as able to "keep her power in check" by using his own. Since the Gamesmaster's powers are solely telepathic, this indicates Rogue's real problem is solely a matter of mental control. --- Why does Rogue have claws? When did that happen? Two words: "Maximum Security." In that storyline, Rogue absorbed a young Skrull girl. Because the Skrulls can change their form, Rogue's body had a severe reaction to the absorption. Basically, when trying to find a form to shift to, the shape-shifting power comes up with multiple examples: all of the people that Rogue has previously absorbed. So far, Rogue has manifested Wolverine's claws and healing factor most often, but she has also manifested powers and features of Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm and Magneto (in UXM #388, with Colossus and possibly Storm also in Bishop #16), and Cecilia Reyes (X-Men #108). This also explains the red glasses in X-Treme X-Men--she's compensating just in case Cyke's optic blasts return unexpectedly. As for why we're seeing the claws consistently... well, Rogue wants them (on panel) so she can be tough, and Claremont (off panel) is using her as a substitute Wolverine. Expect to see the new powers for a while. --- Was Rogue raped by the guards in the first Genosha storyline? No, she wasn't, and it says so right in the captions in the same issue (UXM #236) it supposedly happened in. Check the series of captions during the slow close-up to Rogue's cell. The guards slapped her around some and made fun of her, but nothing along the lines of actual rape happened: All they did was touch her. Rude hands, ruder glances--taunting promises of worse to come. She couldn't stop them. For so long, she dreamed of being able to touch another person, without her power absorbing his/her psyche. To hold, to caress, to kiss, just like any other-- normal-- teenage girl. In those dreams, it was the most beautiful of moments. She never imagined being handled against her will. Note also that Rogue's Carol personality, as an "eyewitness," says in UXM #244 that "Nothing happened. But that wasn't the point." --- What is the relationship between Mystique and Nightcrawler? Why is Rogue involved in it, if she isn't blue? (+) The first inkling of a Mystique/Nightcrawler relationship came in UXM #141-142, the original "Days of Future Past" storyline, which introduced the whole "future ruled by Sentinels" idea to the X-titles. Mystique, who was a villain from the Ms. Marvel series, was trying to arrange the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly. Kitty Pryde was possessed by her future self, sent back in time by Rachel Summers, to try and stop Mystique. And somewhere in there, Nightcrawler saw Mystique... and recognized her from somewhere. The original plan from Claremont was that Mystique, a shapechanger based in feminine form, was actually Kurt's father. Drunk and amnesiac after the events of World War II, Mystique was taken in by Irene Adler (Destiny), and the two of them had a child, Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler). Marvel being a corporate-run company that, for a while, didn't even allow the word "homosexual" to appear in their books, quickly informed Claremont of the Great Displeasure he would find if he were to pursue that plot thread. It was thusly dropped, except for one scene in Murderworld (UXM #177) where Mystique showed that she was capable of killing anyone, even her adoptive daughter Rogue, except Nightcrawler. Cut ahead to the 1990s. Claremont was long gone, and Lobdell and Niceiza were left with the unpleasant task of cleaning up his loose plot ends. They decided that Kurt would be the son of Mystique, but Mystique would be his mother, not his father. The father, unrevealed, was implied to be some nameless German baron. Rogue, as Mystique's foster daughter, is thus Kurt's sister-by-law. It should be noted that the X-writers also have had Sabretooth briefly be attached to Mystique, with the offspring of that happy union being the nonpowered Graydon Creed, making him a half-brother of Kurt. All of the above was revealed in X-Men Unlimited #4, which is, quite possibly, the single most ignorable comic book in recent history, and thus highly suspect as a source of revelation on any subject. One hoped future Marvel writers would ignore the "history" revealed in X-Men Unlimited #4 just as blithely as X-Men Unlimited #4 ignored the history it was built on. Unfortunately, issues circa Uncanny X-Men #428 and following pick up on that same storyline, exploring Kurt's parentage in "The Draco." Now, apparently, count Christian Wagner and his wife (Mystique) wanted children, but Christian was infertile. Mystique then proceededs to see every available man in sight, as well as an in-vitro specialist, in order to get herself pregnant. Eventually, she meets the perfect man, has an affair, gets pregnant, and then realizes that the father of her child is Azazel, a red-skinned, pointy-eared guy who hails from "La Isla des Demonas" and has his own plans for the infant. Picking up from the events of Unlimited #4, Mystique gives birth, is pursued by a lynch mob, chucks the baby off a cliff, and doesn't notice when baby Kurt is rescued. There are still numerous issues left to this storyline, and it's not expected that it will make the best sense, but after all this time the answer seems to be in front of us. Meanwhile, in summary: Mystique and Azazel are Kurt's parents, making Rogue his foster sister and Graydon creed his half-brother (via Sabretooth). *** Continued in Part 4 *** Compilation Copyright 2000-2003 by Katharine E. Hahn SEND ADDITIONS / CHANGES / DEAD LINKS / MOVED LINKS / UPDATES TO: Kate the Short, ( -- Kate the Short *

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