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rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 3/8
Section - X-MEN COMIC BOOK QUESTIONS

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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 night..is 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
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-- 
Kate the Short * http://users.rcn.com/kateshort/

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