Inner monologues of the X-Men

Who doesn’t love the idea of X-Men?  Society loves underdog stories, especially those involving The Man and discrimination.  Y’know, only with dudes who can chuck fireballs out of their palms. Unfortunately, all that irrational hatred by the townfolk brings up major unresolved issues among our brave heroes.  Bad enough they have to fight Magneto every other month, but the X-Men aren’t even patted on the back when they save our world for the umpteenth time.  I’m not a scientist, but maybe the X-Men have retained readers’ popularity because they all desperately need therapy.  Or fireball hands.  One of the two.

In X-Men: Manifest Destiny #1-5, the main story written by Mike Carey and drawn by Michael Ryan, the mutants had just resettled in San Francisco after a horrible series of tragedies.  You can Wikipedia it for more details.  But while their lives have started anew, their insecurities and trauma haven’t faded in the slightest.  The main story involves the aftermath of Iceman and Mystique’s relationship/battle:

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We’re going to skip that story.  Go buy the book.  But at the end of each issue, two short stories present themselves, each focused on a different X-Men.  Today, we’re going to look at “Flaw,” written by Chris Yost and drawn by Paco Diaz, and “Work It Out,” written by James Asmus and drawn by Takeshi Miyazawa.

First up, Emma Frost.

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Okay, two things to understand before we proceed.  First, you’re witnessing a vulnerable moment for dear Emma.  Second, that never ever happens.  The woman’s made a career on unwavering ego and insanely powerful psychic abilities.  Starting out as a scantily clad supervillain, she’s earned her place as the scantily clad co-leader of the X-Men.  Trust me, that’s quite a jump.

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By the way, Kitty (Katherine) Pryde’s assumed dead after she sacrificed herself by making an Earth-sized bullet intangible.  Long story.  More importantly, Emma’s fears aren’t terribly far off base.  She’s wildly unlikable, intensely arrogant, and has a terrible track record.  Also, Cyclops cheated on Jean Grey with her.  It’s only a matter of time before poor Emma snaps.

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Wolverine meets her by the pier to discuss that weirdly awkward moment you just experienced.

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I love nothing more that after the Marvel events Schizm and AvX, Wolverine currently stands as the moral center of the X-Men.  Cyclops turned villain.  Emma Frost fights alongside him.  Professor X killed.  Wolverine remains the sole leader attempting to bring the professor’s vision of peace and unity to fruition.  Insane notion.

Anyway, Nightcrawler:

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If you aren’t up to date on X-Men history, Nightcrawler’s currently dead.  Killed while protecting Hope, the mutant savior and all that jazz.  This takes place before that.

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I love the idea of a superhero struggling to find his place in the superhero world.  The search for identity and purpose always make fantastic, emotional stories.

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Hawkeye and Nightcrawler actually have a fair bit in common.  Especially after the next page:

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For the Avengers, Hawkeye has certainly questioned his place a time or two.  I mean, he’s a normal guy with good aim fighting alongside geniuses, super soldiers, and actual gods.  How can he possibly contribute on the same level as the Hulk?  Nightcrawler faces the same dilemma.  His role on the team is better filled by another mutant and the X-Men only have so many uses for a world-class cartwheeler.  Comics have always been more than just punching.  Fighting self-doubt and inadequacies take up half the issues of most superheroes, and that’s part of the reason why comics appeal to the demographic that reads them.

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One step at a time.  Even for mutants.


2 Comments on “Inner monologues of the X-Men”

  1. drp_doom says:

    Articles like these make me come to your site often. Good job.


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