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rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 7/8

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   Frequently Asked Questions
   Part 7

   Version 2003.02, last updated November 2003

Subject: Table of Contents Part 7: X-MEN COMIC BOOK QUESTIONS * Which X-Men haven't been mutants? * What is the Siege Perilous? * Why did the X-Men lose their invisibility to electronic scanners? * Psylocke, Revanche, Kwannon, Betsy Braddock ... help? * When did Psylocke and Phoenix switch powers? Wasn't Psylocke telepathically holding the Shadow King captive? * When did the Beast turn blue and furry? Wasn't he unfurry again for a while? When did he become a lion? * How come other mutants seem to be changing their powers and appearances? (+) * Is Longshot Shatterstar's father? * There's an External at my door. What does that mean? Should I be concerned? Is it contagious? * Who are the Twelve? Why are they important? * Is Apocalypse dead? * What is the Legacy Virus? Who's had it? Hasn't there been a cure for a while? * What is the Soulsword? Who has Magik's Soulsword now? * Is the Malice who worked with the Marauders the same one that appears in Fantastic Four now and then? * Do you lose your mutant powers in the Savage Land? Where is the Savage Land, anyway? * What happens when the Blob meets the Juggernaut?
Subject: X-MEN COMIC BOOK QUESTIONS Please note: Background information on the creators and the X-titles editorial offices is based on over a decade's worth of interviews, articles, 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. --- Which X-Men haven't been mutants? Mimic, the original Phoenix, Longshot, and (possibly) the two Psylockes. Mimic is Calvin Rankin, the son of a scientist, who got caught in an explosion in his father's lab, and gained the ability to copy superpowers of every superhuman near him, and keep all the powers until the people he stole them from were over a mile away or so. He's been killed a number of times in a variety of filler stories, and brought back just as often to just die again. Scott Lobdell tried to retcon this in a backup story somewhere by saying that Rankin was a latent mutant who just got his powers started up by his father's explosion. While there have been other latent mutants who have gained access to their powers in such dramatic ways in Marvel history, Scott Lobdell is also responsible for such continuity goofs as Storm declaring she resents and hates her thieving heritage, and all of X-Men Unlimited #4, while the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe still has Rankin as a non- mutant. This FAQ will go with the OHOTMU. The original Phoenix (the one in UXM #101-137) was once Jean Grey, who was a mutant, of course, but has since been retconned into being the cosmic Phoenix Force itself, just pretending to be Jean Grey. As a cosmic entity, Phoenix automatically is disqualified from being a mutant; they have enough troubles as it is. See the entry on the Jean Grey/Phoenix relationship question in this FAQ for more information. Longshot was a genetically-designed being from the dimension of the Spineless Ones. As an artificial life form, he cannot, by definition, be a mutant; his "free will" could be described as a design malfunction, but actually, it was programmed into him by Arize (Longshot #1-6). Even if he showed up on a mutant detector, something for which there is no textual support, he's still not a mutant, because nothing in his genetic makeup happened by mutation. He was built from the ground up. The original Psylocke, Betsy Braddock, is the sister of Brian Braddock, aka Captain Britain. Both she and her brother gain their powers from their not-entirely human heritage (their father was from Otherworld). This was stated directly in her pre-X-Men appearances, as recounted now in the "Captain Britain" trade paperback. However, there are statements made in the X-titles clearly identifying her as a mutant--including a caption where Betsy described herself as a mutant in UXM #213, and an identification by the Master Mold in UXM #247. One reader points out that telepathic powers are unusual even for the Otherworlders--Brian's powers are more typical. While this doesn't prove that she is both a hybrid and a mutant, it adds a little credibility to the notion. Kwannon may have been a mutant, or it may have been simply genetic engineering--it was revealed that she was a low-level empath, with her source of powers undetermined. (However, this generally means "mutant powers", especially where the X-titles are concerned.) The practical upshot of all this is that since Psylocke finally occupied Kwannon's body, the question of her mutancy no longer concerns her Otherworld origins. --- What is the Siege Perilous? The Siege Perilous is a large, brooch-like magical gemstone that Roma, a powerful mystical entity, gave the X-Men after the Fall of the Mutants storyline (UXM #229). The whole idea of the Siege was that one could send people through it, who would be "judged" by some unknown, higher power (possibly Roma herself), and then be given a second chance at life if found worthy, so they could try and correct their evil deeds, so to speak. This interesting way for heroes to rehabilitate their villains lasted for about one storyline, the original encounter with the Reavers (UXM #229) in Australia, until the press of crossovers and editorial interference kept Claremont from using it much more than he did. Claremont was, believe it or not, reportedly planning on spending well over a hundred issues of the X-Men based in Australia, and thus his leaving during the X-Odus could be viewed as somewhat of a relief, depending on what you thought of the Oz-Men. Indeed, pretty soon the Siege became an escape route for the X-Men from their enemies, as a series of vicious, horrible encounters ended up with the X-Men believing themselves better off reincarnated through the Siege than captured by their enemies. Having Psylocke control their minds so they thought it was a good idea (it was mainly hers) helped also. She had a vision in UXM #250 of the remaining X-Men being turned into cyborgs and left for dead. So most of the X-Men popped through, and ended up, mostly with amnesia, all over the world, mostly living lives they felt mostly "better" in than superheroing--for the most part. The Siege was then captured by Donald Pierce, who destroyed it (UXM # 251). The X-Men who went through the Siege were: * Rogue: Pushed through it by Dazzler (UXM #247). Reappeared in the Outback in #269, then went to the Savage Land with Magneto who freed her of Carol Danvers. * Dazzler: Convinced by Betsy in #251, reappeared in Malibu and found by Guido in UXM #260. * Colossus: Convinced in #251, reappeared in Soho as Peter Nicholas, artist, in UXM #259. * Havok: Had doubts, but Betsy coerced him psychically in #251. Reappeared as a Genoshan prelate in UXM #270. * Psylocke--Went through #251. Reappeared in #256, only to become a nimbo. Storm did not go through, as she was captured by Nanny in #248 (although they thought Havok killed her). She was de-aged, paired with Gambit in UXM #266, and then re-aged to adulthood in #272. Wolverine was left to bleed to death in the Australian wilderness in UXM #251, where he was found by Jubilee. Longshot had left voluntarily in #248 to find himself. The original Siege Perilous, by the way, where Claremont got the name, was the seat at the Round Table of King Arthur which had letters on it that prophecied that only the "purest and greatest" of all knights would sit there, who turned out to be Galahad. See the appropriate Malorian (and other) sources for more on King Arthur, Galahad, and the Grail Quest. Siege Perilous literally means "the dangerous seat." --- Why did the X-Men lose their invisibility to electronic scanners? After the X-Men died in Dallas during Fall of the Mutants (UXM #227), they were resurrected by Roma via the Siege Perilous. One of the gifts Roma gave the X-Men was that they were invisible to electronic scanners, television cameras, and so forth, to better help cement their reputation as "legends". This power served the X-Men well enough during their Australian days (although, for no explained reason, the computers at the Reavers base were capable of detecting them, and the X-Men themselves wondered why), but soon after they went tumbling through the Siege Perilous for a second time it became apparent that the X-Men had lost their "invisibility." There being no other explanation for this power loss in the first place, it's generally assumed by the racmx crowd that Roma's spell wore off. Of course, there's a more logical explanation of why and when the X-Men lost their invisibility to scanners, as explained by Chris Claremont at the 2000 Wizard World Chicago convention: They lost the power somewhere between pages 10 and 11 of UXM #279, or around page 1 of X-Men #4. This was a reference to Claremont's last work on the titles, so apparently *he* had planned to still have it going when he left the books. --- Psylocke, Revanche, Kwannon, Betsy Braddock ... help? The two Psylockes are an unusual matter. After the fun with the Siege Perilous, Betsy Braddock was caught by the Hand, a bunch of techno- demonic ninjas, and apparently turned into an Asian woman (UXM #256), for reasons too vague to go into here. While odd, and apparently mainly an excuse to draw Betsy in a bunch of tight-fitting quasi-Asian outfits, it was still accepted that Psylocke was Psylocke. She just looked... different. Then Revanche entered the scene (X-Men #20). She looked just like Betsy's old body, but had an Asian name (Kwannon). Confused yet? In another retcon, the unconscious Betsy apparently was discovered by the original Kwannon after tumbling out of the Siege. Kwannon, who looked just like the new Betsy's Asian form, touched her and got psychically zapped by Betsy, somehow passing both Betsy's powers and personalities to Kwannon, while passing Kwannon's personality to Betsy. Enter the Hand. The head of the Hand, Matsuo Tsurayaba, was in love with Kwannon despite her belonging to a rival ninja clan. Now, apparently the original Betsy was not turned into an Asian, but the Asian body of Kwannon was brainwashed by the Hand into believing that she was Betsy. In this they had help from the demonic dancer of Mojo, Spiral. Meanwhile the original Betsy's body was programmed by Spiral, behind the scenes, to still think it was Betsy but remember that it was Kwannon once, just to bug Matsuo. All of this was sorted out in X-Men #31-32. --- When did Psylocke and Phoenix switch powers? Wasn't Psylocke telepathically holding the Shadow King captive? Psylocke and Phoenix switched powers in the "six month gap" between Chris Claremont's return to the two X-Men core titles. When Claremont debuted, Jean Grey had a Phoenix shadow eye tattoo on the astral plane, while Betsy had all of Jean's telekinesis but none of her telepathy. The actual switch was never shown and never explained, which caused a lot of confusion to new readers of the titles. While the power switch was interesting, it came at a bad time for Marvel. The X-Men movie had just debuted, and in it, Jean was very definitely a telekinetic. Jean was also a telekinetic in the former X-Men cartoon and was set to be a telekinetic in the X-Men: Evolution cartoon. Thus, editorial wasn't too pleased about it. When the titles were handed back to Scott Lobdell in preparation for yet another team of writers, Jean seemed to be regaining her telepathy (which also was not explained). On a CoolBoard interview with Sean Thack, Claremont revealed his ideas behind the power switch, and whether it'll be explained: I thought it would be fun. I thought she was in a rut, that readers had come to take her personality and powers for granted. I wanted to give her a challenge to overcome, to cycle her back to a place in her life where she needed to become a student once more, to emphasize the "School" aspect of Xavier's institution. I wanted to establish a strict differentiation between her and Jean. Instead of them being echoes of one another, they could now function independently both as individuals and team members. There was always an explanation and had I managed to find the time last year, the story would have been presented in the X-Men Annual. But that window of opportunity passed and given the current status quo within the X-Canon, the fact that Jean has been restored to her default status quo as a telepath/telekinetic, I doubt the story will ever be told. Why explain a continuity twist that no longer exists? It's done, we move on, end of that story. This is who she is, this is what she does, now our focus is on what happens next. As you can see, it's likely a dangler that will be remembered only by the fans. As for Psylocke's telepathy holding the Shadow King in place, that's a whole other story. It seems most likely that he escaped when Psylocke died in X-Treme X-Men. In X-Treme X-Men Annual 2001, the Shadow King returned, and tried to take over Rogue's mind. Since Rogue had once absorbed Psylocke's powers, and therefore possesses some of Psylocke's powers and psyche, Gambit figured that Rogue could contain the Shadow King in a corner of her own mind, just like Psylocke had. The solution apparently worked, since Rogue survived the battle, but it's likely that he'll pop up again if Rogue ever purges Psylocke's powers. --- When did the Beast turn blue and furry? Wasn't he unfurry again for a while? When did he become a lion? The Beast's normal form isn't fuzzy. Up until the cancellation of the original X-Men series, he looked like a human with an ape-like body: no fur, but big, elongated arms, hands, and feet. He had the same powers as he does now: strength and agility. Then, in Amazing Adventures #11 (1972), the Beast got a job at the Brand Corporation, a subsidiary of Marvel's evil megacorporation, Roxxon. He was researching the "genetic source" of mutations (the X-factor), and isolated a hormone that would activate the X-factor. In typical comic book timing, as soon as the Beast discovered this wonderful hormone, the sinister Secret Empire tried to steal it from him. So Hank McCoy did what any award-winning researcher would do with his potentially Nobel- prize-winning experiment: he drank it. The resultant enchancement of his mutant nature turned him into his now famous fuzzy form, but with grey fur, and with a healing factor that would shame Wolverine--bullet holes healed as fast as they were made. Various misadventures ensued, until the computer Quasimodo drained the Beast's excess life energy in Amazing Adventures #14, which left him not only without his nifty healing factor, but also turned his fur blue. He stayed that way all the way through his service in the Avengers and Defenders until X-Factor was inaugurated. In their second issue, a story was started which brought the Beast back to Brand, where much the same sort of process left him back the way he was in the first X-Men series. During the Fall of the Mutants he was infected by Pestilence (X-Factor #19), resulting in a biochemical imbalance that increased his strength each time he used it with a corresponding decrease in his intelligence. A kiss from Infectia (#31) turned him back blue and fuzzy again, this time with near-Hulk level strength (X-Factor #33). Beast eventually lost most of that superstrength, and was back in his "normal," highly agile, slightly-superstrong blue fuzzball form until his lion-like form debuted in New X-Men #114. This was confusing, since he was appearing in his normal form in the first issues of X-Treme X-Men at the same time. However, in XXM #3, Sage first saw Beast's potential mutated form. Just pretend that the events of New X-Men occur after all of Beast's growing pains. --- How come other mutants seem to be changing their powers and appearances? (+) It's hard to tell, exactly. Mutation in the Marvel Universe often occurs during extreme physical or psychological stress. Combining the removal of everyone's powers by High Evolutionary with increased sunspot activity (radiation) has apparently created a bumper crop of odd power increases and mutant births all over the world. That said, there are a few obvious cases of this "secondary mutation," as well as a few other characters who have shifted appearances: * Angel: Not a secondary mutation, apparently. His shift from metal wings to feather wings is apparently due to Apocalypse's mucking with his DNA and that eventually wearing off. He lost his blue skin pigment in Uncanny X-Men #411 after Black Tom Cassidy drained his life force. * Beast: Secondary mutation. Evolved into a lion-like form. Gained strength and speed. * Emma Frost: Secondary mutation. Gained an extremely tough diamond exoskeleton which can block physical damage and radiation. However, she can't use her telepathy in this form. * Iceman: Secondary mutation? After the events of the X-Men Forever miniseries, gained the ability to become "living ice," and seems to have his flesh turning into ice on a permanent basis. --- Is Longshot Shatterstar's father? Maybe, maybe not. This idea generally comes from X-Men #11, where Dazzler says to Longshot: "'Shatterstar'? You've got to be kidding!" (They had just found out she was pregnant.) This and the fact that both are from Mojoworld are what most people base the relationship on. Fabian Nicieza, who was writing X-Force at the time, was rather upset about this. He intended no such thing, and soon made a point of giving Shatterstar a different origin. According to X-Force #39, his real name is Gaveedra 7 and he was born in a test tube. Also, in Dazzler's last appearance (X-Men #47), it was strongly hinted she had miscarried. So, as things stand now, there is probably no relation. However, one writer's original intentions don't always conicide with the conclusions of later writers. The following bits of in-continuity trivia complicate this question considerably: * According to Beast, Shatterstar has the exact same DNA as Longshot. This is an interesting dangler, especially in light of the fact that Longshot and Shatterstar don't even have the same number of fingers. * According to Spiral, Shatterstar is the son of an "Arize-spawn" and a human. Longshot and Dazzler are the obvious suspects here, but the story was deliberately vague on this point. (FAQ-keeper's note: I don't have any issue numbers handy for these events. If anyone out there does, please forward 'em to me at I'd love to say that X-Force #60-61 (The Origin of Shatterstar!) resolved this. Heck, I'd love to say these issues resolved anything at all. They don't. All it did was move Shatterstar into the body of Benjamin Russell and make Spiral somehow involved. That doesn't really get at any of the answers this FAQ-keeper was looking for, and doesn't say anything about Longshot particularly. However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The whole Benjamin Russell/Shatterstar question was brought up in X-Force #56, when the Gamesmaster told him that "Shatterstar" was nothing more than a sick fantasy of Gamesmaster's creation. X-Force #76, however, has Mojo telling Arcade that Shatterstar is still his own property, "no matter what the omnipathic Gamesmaster wishes to believe." While this doesn't yet answer the question of Shatterstar's parentage, it does place Shatterstar's origin squarely back in Mojoworld. --- There's an External at my door. What does that mean? Should I be concerned? Is it contagious? First off, don't be alarmed. Many Externals are simply poor excuses for a supervillain, too innately lame to make a living any other way, and they are probably only looking for a handout. Treat them with kindness, patience, and respect, and they'll probably leave you alone, although they may mutter a bit about impossible designs and grand world-spanning plans before they leave. The Externals first showed up in the storylines of Rob Liefeld in X- Force #10. The idea was that they are a type of mutant whose "full potential" is not realized until they're killed. And then they're reborn, and they become, well, immortal, except they could only be killed by cutting off their heads, or something like that. In any case, any similarities between Externals and the immortals from the movie Highlander are obvious and often commented on. Currently the term is mainly used to refer to any mutant that enjoys immortality by virtue of his mutant powers. X-Force #37 is possibly the closest thing the Externals will ever have to an origin issue. It explains how En Sabah Nur (aka Apocalypse) found the Celestial ship, how old each of the Externals actually were, and why they acted the way they did. Apocalypse's origin is explained in more detail in his limited series, "The Dawn of Apocalypse". Anyway, so much for immortality. Selene killed most of them off in X- Force (#52-53). The only ones left are Selene, Candra (who may or may not have died in X-Men #61), and Apocalypse. Apparently Cannonball wasn't one of them after all, according to Selene in X-Force #53. --- Who are the Twelve? Why are they important? The Twelve, in no particular order, are Magneto, Xavier, Cyclops, Cable, Jean Grey/Phoenix, Mikhail Rasputin, Iceman, Storm, Sunfire, Polaris, Bishop, and the Living Monolith/Living Pharaoh. They were gathered by Apocalpyse in his quest to become a godlike being with more power than the Phoenix force or the Celestials. According to Uncanny X-Men #377 (specifically Apocalpyse): The Monolith is at the core of it all, as the primal earth which is the foundation for all that is to be mine. Magneto and Polaris are opposing magnetic poles, serving to control the flow of energies at play here... energies under constant pressure from the forces of nature itself. The elemental extremes of Iceman, Storm, and Sunfire... stimulated by the unrestrained energies of man and the heavens, free of any grounding or gravity. Father, mother, and son-- Cyclops, Phoenix, and Cable-- far, far stronger as a whole than the sum of their parts... linked to the powers of time and space wielded by Bishop and Rasputin, respectively. The power of pure thought that is Xavier. Nate Grey was the 13th member of this merry band, and was slated to become Apocalypse's new host body. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Instead, Cyclops sacrificed himself and became a merged half- Apocalypse being. The team members consider him dead. This FAQ should also note that Wolverine served as Death, the fourth horseman of Apocalypse, during much of the shindig. The being they thought was Wolverine was actually a Super-Skrull so brainwashed into his disguise that even *he* didn't know he was anything other than Wolverine. Of course, the final version of the Twelve contradicted much known about the Twelve up to that point. First, the original Twelve were a vision by a deranged Sentinel of the dozen most important mutants. The problem is, these twelve had shown up in other issues (Power Pack #36, X-Factor #14, X-Factor #68) as well, and even they hadn't been consistent. The members who had shown up in every version of the Twelve were Xavier, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, and Franklin Richards. What of the other seven? In one version, all the original X-Men were implied. Cable, in both baby and adult forms, was shown in another. Cannonball was clearly shown in one version. So, we add Iceman, Beast, Archangel, Cable, and Cannonball to the list. Other possibilities included Dani Moonstar, Mystique, Psylocke, Wolverine, and Dark Beast. Uncanny X-Men #-1 cleared up the origin of The Twelve, albeit somewhat ambiguously. Sometime after Rachel Summers switched places with Captain Britain in the timestream (Excalibur #75) she rescued and befrended another time-lost refugee from the 20th century named Tanya Trask, the daugter of the original creator of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask. Upon learning of her father's genocidal legacy, Tanya determined to alter the timeline by reaching back to the past and convince her father of his doomed path. Rachel followed her back and erased the memory of her contact with her father, seemingly setting the timeline right again. However, it turned out that Tanya's true plan was to store within the memory banks of Trask's first Master Mold--so deeply even Trask himself (and later his son and successor Larry) were unaware of it--the identity of the infamous "XII", The Twelve, whose failure Tanya determined as the true cause of her dark future and without whom, somehow, mutant genocide and Sentinel conquest will be averted. Their identity, however, was never divulged. --- Is Apocalypse dead? We hope so. During the aftermath of The Twelve storyline, Cyclops was thought dead, although Apocalypse had merely disappeared as a merged "Cyclopalypse"- style being, with his soul in Cyke's body. Eventually, Phoenix and Cable decided that Cyclops might be alive, and they went looking for him. During the Search for Cyclops mini-series, Phoenix and Cable found Cyclops. Phoenix professed her love for Scott, and was able to rip Poccy's astral self out of Scott's body. Cable then impaled the astral form with his psimitar. This apparently killed Apocalypse. --- What is the Legacy Virus? Who's had it? Hasn't there been a cure for a while? The Legacy Virus was a once-interesting plot device that served as a parallel to the AIDS/HIV virus. Basically, it was spread from mutant to mutant, and it caused mutants to die by accelerating or increasing their powers to the point that they burned themselves out. Obviously, such a nasty virus caused even more fear of mutants in the Marvel Universe. As with all plot devices, it started out interesting and became a cliche. The virus was supposed to be Stryfe's legacy--his post-death gift to the world, if you will. Thus the name. However, one couldn't do justice to the plot device by quickly creating a cure, since that would not only cut the story short, but also trivialize the actual search for an AIDS/HIV cure. So the story plugged away, year after year. During its time, the Legacy Virus affected many mutants, including Abyss, Bolt, Feral, Magik, Mastermind, Maverick, Moira MacTaggert, Nicodemus, Omega Red, Pestilence, Psynapse, Pyro, Revanche, and of course, Sinister's Assistant who let the darned thing out in the first place. A team of mutants led by Exodus and Random and a set of "Morlocks" created by the Dark Beast round out the medical list. Most notable in the list above are Magik and Moira. Magik received the virus after she'd been deaged post-Inferno, though a retcon during the New Mutants mini-series revealed that teenage Illyana was infected when Mikhail et al journeyed into the NM's past. Her death served as a huge catalyst, since Colossus' grief led him to join the Acolytes. More on that in a moment. Back to Moira. Moira was a genetic researcher, of course, and so was often exposed to nifty little things like viruses. The odd thing was that she caught the virus AS A HUMAN. This was meant to parallel the spread of the AIDS/HIV virus into the general population, but her search for the virus cure waxed and waned as the plotline's prominence varied due to shifts in writers and storylines. Brian Fried reminds us that Zero give Douglock the key or cure to the Legacy Virus a few years back. In "The Douglock Chronicles," which introduced Douglock to Excalibur, Zero gave Douglock information to cure the virus, and then was promptly destroyed for accessing that information. (Side note: the issue was written by Scott Lobdell, who also wrote the Excalibur issues in which Moira contracted the virus and X-Men Prime, where the idea that the cure is connected to Cable's DNA appeared.) Every nasty Marvel Virus needs to have its cure, and one certainly was around; the characters just didn't collectively realize it. Again, if the virus cure was put off, lots more neat stories could be told that used it as a plot device (or, as the case may be, neater stories could be told that *didn't* use it as a plot device). The solution got placed in a drawer until the writers and marketing staff had nothing better to use. A second factor was Warren Ellis' apparent dislike for the storyline and the switch from Moira's story to the Black Air / Pete Wisdom / Alien conspiracy stuff that culminated in "The Black Air Trilogy" and Excalibur #100. It wasn't until Ben Raab came on that the plot was handled again. In a few issues, it seemed that Douglock would clue in to the fact that he had the cure, and all would finally be resolved. Marvel being Marvel, however, it was decided that the only reason people were reading EXCALIBUR was for Kitty, Kurt, and Piotr; their moving back to the core books would leave no purpose for Excalibur. Raab had to close down his loose storylines to accomplish this. Of course, he also couldn't reveal the cure for the Legacy Virus in Excalibur because those types of events happened in the core books, like all other important storylines (see the second WIZARD X-MEN SPECIAL for more info on this). Raab left Douglock with a serious case of amnesia, in the hope that some other writer could eventually use the material. Even the Dark Beast's solution (in X-Men Unlimited #10) was completely forgotten so that Moira and Mystique would have the honours of being involved. In any case, Mystique and her terrorist brotherhood decided that the best way to deal with anti-mutant humans was to mutate the Legacy Virus so that it would infect the human population instead. She broke into Muir Isle to get the information, and ended up blowing up Moira in the process of destroying Moira's research lab. Moira, never one to give up, fed the information from her research and Mystique's statements into Xavier's brain, who finally passed it on to Legacy Virus researcher and noted X-Man Beast. Beast was quickly able to develop a cure; the problem was, he then realized that since the original virus was spread once the first infected mutant used his powers, the new cure would likewise only spread once an infected mutant used his powers--thus sacrificing someone to the greater scientific cause. The FAQ will pause at this time to point out that it was pretty dumb of Beast to leave the cure unlocked in a room with Piotr, who not only had lost his sister to the disease, but also had lost his parents to murder, his brother to we-can't-remember-where, and his former girlfriend and teammate Kitty to they-never-told-us-but-she-came-back-afterward. Piotr injected the cure, transformed into his organic steel form, and passed away. This apparently released the cure into the air, so within just a few days of Marvel Time the Legacy Virus was cured, Hallelujah! This all happened in Uncanny #390. If nothing else good came of the issue, at least Colossus can no longer be poorly written (as long as Sinister remains far from his DNA, that is), and the plot device has been resolved and buried. --- What is the Soulsword? Who has Magik's Soulsword now? The Soulsword was created from a piece of Illyana's own soul in issue #4 of the Magik Limited Series, and ever since then has been the symbol and source of its owner's mastery of the other-dimensional realm of Limbo. After the teenage Illyana reverted to her younger self in the wake of the Inferno crossover, the Soulsword appeared in a rock outside Excalibur's lighthouse for Kitty Pryde to claim. She, however, was quite willing to leave it there, based on her previous experiences with it. (She became the owner of the sword previously during the Secret Wars II crossover, in New Mutants #35-37, when Illyana was temporarily killed by the Beyonder.) In Excalibur #37, Dr. Doom showed up at Excalibur's door with a proposal to go to Limbo with Kitty and the Soulsword in order to mine the place for an energy-producing metal called promethium. Doom eventually tricked Kitty into letting him have the sword, which he stuck into the heart of Limbo to convert the entire planet/dimension/place into promethium. Doom got out before the place went critical, leaving the sword behind. It was claimed in issue #39 by the pseudo-demon Darkoth, who remained alone in Limbo with the sword. And the matter was thought to be done with. That is, until Scott Lobdell handed Warren Ellis a plot for the Soulsword Trilogy (Excalibur #83-85). Lobdell was apparently completely unaware of the aforementioned Promethium Exchange storyline, but we can reconcile this by simply noting that something bad must have happened to Darkoth between issues #39 and #83. In any event, the Soulsword started to manifest itself in Kitty's possession again, and two other new characters named Gravemoss and Shrill tried to take it from her. Eventually the sword was passed off to Nightcrawler's sorceress girlfriend Amanda Sefton, who made the mistake of giving it to her mother, Margali Szardos. Sometime after that, Belasco abducted Margali and stole the Soulsword. In X-Men Unlimited #19, it was revealed that Margali had placed her mind in Amanda's body, and placed Amanda in her body. She then took Nightcrawler to Limbo, where she proceeded to defeat Belasco and knock the sword away from him. Margali and Amanda were restored to their proper bodies, and Amanda decided that she would became the mistress of Limbo. At the end of that issue, the Soulsword, wielded by a silver- armored hand, pushed through the dire. Readers never saw who that was, so much energy was expended discussing whether Illyana was back. Margali later turned up in a Claremont Fantastic Four annual that dealt with the Hellfire Club. It's also in that FF annual that Amanda likely made her first, uncredited appearance as Magik. In any case, in the Black Sun and Magik mini-series, Amanda appeared in Illyana's traditional silver armor, apparently holding the title and role of Magik. The case seems closed. --- Is the Malice who worked with the Marauders the same one that appears in the Fantastic Four now and then? No. The Malice who worked in the Marauders was some sort of pure psionic entity who could possess people and make them into "dark versions" of themselves. She eventually got stuck in the body of Lorna Dane by the machinations of Mr. Sinister (UXM #239), which led to the Malice persona eventually being zapped out of Lorna by Zaladane, the purported Queen of the Savage Land (in UXM #250). Mr. Sinister finally destroyed this Malice in X-Factor #105 because she had outlived her usefulness. The Fantastic Four's Malice, who occasionally possesses Susan Richards (the Invisible Woman), has nothing to do with Sinister's Malice. This Malice was a mental creation by the fourth Hate-Monger and the Psycho- Man, and it is merely the alternate personality of Sue Richards as an "evil" person. Same idea, different approach. However, the Vertigo that worked with the Marauders is the same Vertigo that started out with the Savage Land Mutates. Just while we're on the subject of Savage Land and Marauders. --- Do you lose your mutant powers in the Savage Land? Where is the Savage Land, anyway? The Savage Land is one of the fixations of Stan Lee, co-creator of much of the Marvel Universe, that has survived longer than other favored plot ideas of his (how many Marvel comics are taking place around a circus currently, for instance?). The Savage Land is a direct tribute/descendant/ripoff of those classic "Lands that Time Forgot" sf/fantasy stories. It's in that "peninsula" sticking out of Antarctica, and the horribly complicated history of it can be found in various editions of the OHOTMU. Basically, it was set up as a type of alien wildlife preserve, and it's been run by a variety of administrations since (currently, no one is in charge of the elemental machineries that keep the Savage Land warm and tropical in the midst of the vast ice field). The X-Men have had numerous adventures in the Savage Land, and are good friends with Ka-Zar, the main hero of the Savage Land, as well as with the tribe of the Fall People. In none of those cases have the X-Men ever lost their powers just from being in the Savage Land, although various villains they've fought there have dampened their powers while in there. This question largely comes from X-Men: the Animated Series fans, since the Savage Land in X:TAS apparently drains the mutant powers from those mutants who visit it. (It may be that the X:TAS Sinister had something to do with that as well.) This is most certainly not the case for the comic-book X-Men and Savage Land, though. --- What happens when the Blob meets the Juggernaut? What happens when the unmovable object meets the irresistible force? In this case, it's easy. Magic, in the case of Juggernaut, wins. The Blob is merely very, very difficult to move, not impossible. Juggernaut's unstoppability, on the other hand, derives from the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak. As magic, it can't be defeated by mutant powers. *** Continued in Part 8 *** 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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