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Sep 9

Marauders #12 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“The New Phase”
by Gerry Duggan & Matteo Lolli

COVER / PAGE 1: The resurrected Kate Pryde shows off her new knuckle tattoos, which read “Kill Shaw”. The tattoo she got in issue #2 read “Hold Fast”.

This cover art wasn’t used in the solicitations, which instead had an image of Lockheed saying “shhhh” – presumably as a placeholder to avoid spoiling Kate’s return in the previous issue. Ironically, this concern to avoid spoilers doesn’t extend to issue #12 itself, since the unveiling of Kate’s new tattoos is the final beat of the issue.

PAGES 2-4. Kate is welcomed back to Krakoa following her resurrection.

Note that resurrected Kate has her traditional hairstyle, not the straightened hair that she’s had throughout the series to date. In keeping with Krakoan culture, she’s referred to by a “mutant name”, though the codename used is Red Queen (more of an office than a name) rather than any of her previous names.

We’ve seen this basic ceremony several times before, including in issue #2 with Shinobi Shaw. The basic format is that the resurrected character is expected to say something suitably characteristic, in order to demonstrate that it’s really them. Everyone then acclaims them as a mutant (shifting the emphasis from what makes them individual to what makes them the same as everyone else on Krakoa).

Most of the characters in the background are generics, but the fish guy to the left of Emma is Fish, who was rescued in Marauders #4.

“I have no flesh of my flesh, but I have a daughter.” Storm was indeed basically a mother figure to Kitty Pryde in the early years.

“Because once when I was just a dumb kid I threatened to abandon you over your haircut?” Kate is referring to Uncanny X-Men #173, where Storm showed up with her mohawk for the first time, and Kitty had a tantrum and ran away.

PAGE 5. Recap page (the credits are moved right to the end of the issue). The small print has changed to “A new lease on life”.

PAGE 6. Data page. Bishop emails the Beast about evidence that might suggest Kate was murdered by someone on Krakoa. Presumably it’s Sebastian Shaw, but we don’t know – maybe he’s on the wrong track.

“The type of situation you were hoping I could illuminate for you, given my Hellfire access.” In issue #4, Hank encouraged Bishop to join the Hellfire Club in order to provide him with intelligence on it. Note that over in X-Force Hank is now perilously close to being an outright villain, so bringing in Hank is probably not going to work out very well.

PAGES 7-10. Emma and Kate discuss their plans.

Horses. We’ve seen Emma riding before, in Cable #4 (also by Gerry Duggan).

PAGES 11-17. Kate’s welcome back party.

The recognisable attendees, aside from Kate herself and Emma Frost

  • Teammates Bishop and Pyro, in the final panel of page 10.
  • Iceman, on the far left of the main panel on page 12.
  • Callisto, to the right of the horse, in her Hellfire White gear.
  • Shinobi Shaw – we still don’t know how much he knows about the circumstances of Kate’s death.
  • Christian Frost, with his hand on Shinobi’s shoulder – note that Christian and Iceman aren’t together.
  • Domino
  • Mystique
  • Cable, who looks bored (and in fairness, barely knows Kate).
  • Cyclops
  • In the next panel, Wolverine
  • On page 12, former Excalibur teammate Prestige (Rachel Summers)
  • And the other former Excalibur teammate Nightcrawler.
  • In the background of the next panel, a guy with a techno-organic arm and a high collar who’s presumably Cypher.
  • In the background of page 13 panel 2, in the bottom left, is Pixie, talking to someone not easy to identify.
  • Former soulmate and roommate Magik, who shows up with a mariachi band in tow.
  • The Angel, in the background of page 14 panel 4.
  • Sebastian Shaw, obviously.
  • Havok, recognisable by his headdress in the background of page 16 panel 1 (and apparently being allowed back into polite society for the day).
  • Marvel Girl, speaking to her partners Wolverine and Cyclops in the background of page 16 panel 2.
  • No idea who the person next to Nightcrawler in the same panel is.

Nightcrawler. We’ve seen a few letters from Nightcrawler but this is the first time we’ve seen him and Kitty together. Generally, there’s a sense in this scene that we’re integrating the Marauders Kate with a more traditional Kitty in a way that hasn’t been done so far in this series – this is probably one reason why Kate thanks Sebastian Shaw for his “gift”. (Magik also behaves in a much more retro, childlike fashion here, rather than the brooding goth we’ve seen in recent years.)

Nightcrawler is really keen to talk to Kitty later, though not right here – he says “we have much to discuss” twice in a page. As the most religious character in the X-books, he’s retrieved her Star of David necklace, which she’s worn ever since her earliest appearances. (Go and check, it’s there in her debut.) Krakoa has placed great weight on mutant identity as the be all and end all – Nightcrawler seems to be unusual in attaching any great weight to other aspects of a person’s identity and background, no doubt in part because of the demands of nation-building. Kate was not wearing the necklace in earlier issues of this series, and its reappearance here (along with her hair) is clearly symbolic of a reconnection with her roots.

The whisky aged by Tempo was previously seen in issue #10.

An “Irish exit” is an Americanism for leaving a party without saying goodbye.

PAGES 18-22. Kate ges her new “Kill Shaw” tattoo.

This is, I think, the most direct scene in terms of the widely-accepted subtext that Kate is interested in girls. More broadly, it parallels the scene in issue #2 where she got her previous tattoo (and also paid a ridiculous amount of money and kissed the tattooist afterwards).

Meanwhile, note that Kate has gone back to fetch her Marauders pirate costume – but she hasn’t tried to change her hair back. As already noted, she’s now wearing the necklace along with her costume.

PAGE 23. Credits.

PAGE 24. Data page. A letter from mutant fashion designer Jumbo Carnation to Emma Frost, updating her on how he’s been getting on back on the regular fashion circuit with the other designers. “Jean Paul” is presumably Jean Paul Gaultier. The “Gala” is the Hellfire Gala which has been mentioned on and off since issue #7; we still don’t know what it actually is.

Jumbo suggests that he was in some sort of depressed state when he left Krakoa, something that hasn’t been particularly visible on page. It seems that, like Kitty, he’s been cheered up by reconnecting with aspects of his old identity in the regular world.

PAGES 25-26. Trailers. The reading order is actually out of date, because Hellions #4 has been delayed by a week. As with all books this month, the Krakoan trailer text just reads NEXT: X OF SWORDS.

Bring on the comments

  1. Thom H. says:

    @sagatwarrior: It’s fairly easy to hand-wave away straight relationships and behavior if you want to “out” a character as gay. Acting straight is the beginning of many (most?) gay people’s stories. We try to make it work because it’s just assumed that everyone is straight until proven otherwise. We’re assuming that of ourselves, too.

    It’s easier with characters like Iceman who have very little in the way of a dating life to begin with, of course. It would be more difficult with, say, Reed Richards. But not impossible. There are plenty of men and women who come out as adults after being married and having children.

    @Moose: As for Northstar…while he didn’t grow up with the strict Catholic training that Aurora did (which could definitely keep someone in the closet for a while), being an Olympic-level athlete is good enough reason to stay in the closet through his teens and into his 20s, at least. Or to live a double life as straight-passing in public life/work and gay privately. There are still plenty of reasons for people to stay in the closet.

    My overall point is that real life is messy, so having characters with different sexual instincts / interests / phases in their life actually reflects the gay experience *more* accurately, not less.

  2. Evilgus says:

    @DFE, Chris,

    I think the problem with the XplaintheXmen interview with Claremont is that he does his usual trick of pleasing the interviewer by confirming their own theories and biases, while blaming editorial for any changes. And as it’s a popular podcast (with very much it’s own agenda and reading of the subject matter), it’s become self-fulfilling.

    From the 2000s onwards, for so many of his interviews/forum posts (on X-Fan especially), Claremont had such a habit of saying what he “really” intended vice what actually appeared on page. He also put n Easter eggs for characters that forum users had suggested (Rogue’s real name being a composite of Anna Paquin and the movie name, for example – it delighted the user who suggested it, but I bet it was never going to be his original plan). Much as I love Claremont’s work, it’s also why I take a lot of his intentionality with a pinch of salt. He keeps changing it to suit the mood. I think the only relationship he heavily inferred without making explicit was really only Mystique/Destiny.

  3. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Seriously? You’ve read his Storm/Yukio stuff and thought ‘straight girls being straight together, yessir, nothing queer about that’?

  4. Christian says:

    I do wish that Claremont would have written some females as lesbian (or, other than Destiny, I guess), instead of always making the female characters bi.
    Like Yukio just had to be lusting after Logan as well as Storm. Storm was “friends with benefits” with Logan, but also in to Yukio too.
    Why couldn’t Yukio just be a lesbian character?
    Or, if macho man Logan was doing it with some other guys.
    Maybe wrote some of the male characters as bi too, you know.
    Instead of it being a straight male’s wet dream. “All these hot chicks are really bi!”

  5. Salomé Honório says:

    Loved this issue, and think Marauders really stands out as the series that will be most rewarding to read when collected as a whole. Very much in agreement with what’s been described as Duggan’s decision to depict characters coherently (in terms of their respective histories), even as they navigate radical change.

    My one problem with Marauders remains that, as much as I have generally appreciated the art on the book, it is a bit of a light read – sometimes, I wish the pace wasn’t this relaxed, especially when conversations are rarely dense or indepth.

    Absolutely loved Kate’s moment with the tattooist. It’s beautiful to see spontaneous, queer desire on the page like that. It’s rare, and joyful, and cause for celebration. I don’t know what it means for the character moving onwards, and that excites me.

    Regarding the conversation that’s been going on across the comment section so far, I appreciate a lot of what’s being said, but I can’t help but feel it’s a strange conversation: why are we so profoundly preoccupied with Claremont’s intentions for these characters, to the point where archival trivia overwrites Duggan’s concrete (actual) decision?

    Yes, I understand this becomes a question about personal history, about identity, and about continuity. But I’m genuinely much more captivated by the fact Marauders features as many queer characters as it does than I am concerned about ancient intent. And I think Duggan himself has a sensitive awareness of continuity, and the histories he’s tapping into.

    (Quite bothered by the performative humility of straight folx going “well but how could i ever”, but that’s another conversation.)

  6. Dimitri says:

    Salomé Honório says: “why are we so profoundly preoccupied with Claremont’s intentions for these characters, to the point where archival trivia overwrites Duggan’s concrete (actual) decision?”

    Yes, I’ve been wondering the same thing. Couldn’t find the words, so thank you.

    I also wonder if it’s not better to look at the recent “outing” of popular characters as just a matter of sliding timescale. Like, considering the sheer number of X-Men, does it make sense anymore in the 21st century for the team not to have had at least a few established, prominent members who are openly gay or bi?

    On a different note, forgive my ignorance, but what’s performative humility?

  7. Luis Dantas says:

    @Dimitri: to be performative is to play for effect.

    I am not entirely sure of what @Salomé Honório is feeling, but I understand that it involves a perception that people may be refusing to commit to their own judgements by attempting to appear humble and nonjudgemental at a surface level.

    Or perhaps it has to do with a perceived lack of willingness to acknowledge that homosexuality and bisexuality do in fact exist and are not things that should be hidden. I understand that the word “erasure” is sometimes used to indicate that stance.

    Not trying to incense anyone. I just thought that expressing my understanding could be useful as a starting point.

  8. Chris V says:

    You have to expect arguments over minutiae on a comic book site.
    Most of the Claremont discussion can be read as tangential.

  9. Daniel Lourenço says:

    @Chris V

    I both expect and love discussions over minutae, here and elsewhere. I’m both less convinced and less curious when there seems to be an underlying need for the authentication or verification of a story idea according to the very abstract, very remote plans Claremont has articulated over the years. That’s me, though.


    “I also wonder if it’s not better to look at the recent ‘outing’ of popular characters as just a matter of sliding timescale. Like, considering the sheer number of X-Men, does it make sense anymore in the 21st century for the team not to have had at least a few established, prominent members who are openly gay or bi?”

    Yes, I definitely think so. Especially because there are degrees to indeterminacy to sexuality that just don’t work the same way with race, for instance. Because desire is so bound up with what is spoken and what is done, it provides amble space for re-imagining character’s histories. Which means there’s inbuilt leeway as Marvel confronts the limits of its representational politics, and tried to appeal to other demographics.

    Race, in contrast, is so bound to vision (in the everyday, as much as in fiction) that untangling the racial identity of a character can hardly result in anything but 1) a Dolezalism or 2) the Sunspot effect.

    “On a different note, forgive my ignorance, but what’s performative humility?”

    This was mean, so it merits explaining. I was referring to what feel like public displays of heterosexual confusion about other sexual orientations, which too often work as a bypass from taking accountability for bias and making concrete decisions to obtain more information.

  10. Mark Coale says:

    Maybe I haven’t been paying that close of attention, but is the art always this bad?

    With all the Kitty nostalgia this issues, surprised we didn’t see her call the Professor a jerk.

  11. Allan M says:

    Salomé has a fair point about focusing too much on Claremont’s intentions instead of the story Duggan’s telling.

    To me, this fit into the character arc and the story at hand. The first half of Marauders was all about Kate struggling with her frustration of being left out of Krakoa, her pessimism that it’d work, pushing her into increasing drinking (and potentially her ramped-up violence). Which ends with her drowning at the hands of a purported ally due to her rebelliousness.

    Last issue, Kate comes back because of insight into her character that Emma has. There’s some superpower stuff too, but Emma figures out the problem because she knows who Kate is (more than Xavier, mind you). This issue, Kate is more willing to play the Krakoan game – doing the resurrection ritual thing, the grand entrance, making plans with Emma to take revenge on Shaw. But she’s reasserting who she is – the hair, the necklace, the kiss, the tattoos. Notice how she takes one swig of the whiskey Shaw gives her, and then hands it off to Wolverine. She’s done with self-pity. It’s a story all about Kate’s identity and her control over it. The kiss itself is all of one panel, and I think it fits the character arc. Her expression in the following panel reads to me like “that was great, also holy shit I just did that.” She’s smiling. Whereas her kiss in #2 was followed by a mix of resignation and determination – hold fast.

  12. Si says:

    re: Northstar, he was never closeted. In the earliest issues of the Alpha Flight comic, the first time (to my knowledge) that he had any kind of focus as a character, there was a major storyline about his “close friend” that taught him many things about himself, and teammates accepting that he felt “that way”. The “close friend” was killed off in that story, because progressive as John Byrne may have been, it was still the 80s. But the nature of the relationship was as overt as it was possible to be at the time, far more overt than anything in X-Men at the same time.

    The whole cringeworthy shouting about his sexuality during a fistfight was years later of course.

  13. Joe Iglesias says:

    Re: Byrne and early Northstar, there’s an exchange somewhere in the first year of Alpha Flight I’ve never quite forgotten, where he’s squabbling with Sasquatch, they start shoving, Northstar says “I don’t care to be manhandled!” and Sasquatch gets cut off in mid-retort, “That’s not what I—!”

  14. Thom H. says:

    Yes, that Northstar story definitely had enough hints about his relationship with Raymonde that you could figure out that he was gay. Raymonde was described as “more than a father, much more than a friend” who had “led him…into the bright, clear light of acceptance” about his mutant powers and “any other thing.” (Just looked it up.) So that’s pretty clear to readers if they know what to look for.

    But the only other AF teammate in that story was Aurora, and Byrne makes a point that Northstar hadn’t told her “everything” about Raymonde. A subsequent story (with Pink Pearl) hints that Aurora has figured it out herself, but there’s no general acceptance by AF during Byrne’s run (unless it’s in some other story that I don’t recall). So he’s still presumably in the closet in-story.

    Further obscuring matters were the other secrets Northstar was hiding, like his participation in the Quebec separatist movement. And why the woman he knew from that movement planted a huge, open-mouthed kiss on him when they reunited years later. That all gets mingled in with the mysteries surrounding his sexuality.

    And I’m assuming that all of this gets dropped after Byrne leaves, until Scott Lobdell picks up on the clues many years later and has Northstar officially come out. I haven’t read all of the first run of Alpha Flight, so I could be wrong here.

    In any case, I think it’s safe to say that Northstar was in the closet at least in-story with most of the people in his life. Other characters hint that they know about his sexuality, but he’s not officially out to them until much later.

    Readers could definitely figure out he was gay, but they’d have to be able to interpret the clues correctly after they’d read the one story where those clues were dropped.

    Sorry to be pedantic here, but the complexity of Northstar’s coming out process is so interesting to me — and still reads as so natural (bad writing aside) — that I think it’s worth being preserved.

  15. Thom H. says:

    Ha! I’d forgotten about that Northstar / Sasquatch bit. I just read a similar clue-dropping conversation Northstar had with Vindicator. V says something to the effect that Northstar never seemed to be too interested in the women who flocked to him after he became a famous skier.

    So (some of) his teammates seemed to know Northstar was gay, but it’s all just hinted at. It’s just like some real-life coming out stories where everyone around the gay person is just waiting to get the official word. They knew before the gay person told them, and sometimes before the gay person knew themself.

  16. Paul says:

    “And I’m assuming that all of this gets dropped after Byrne leaves, until Scott Lobdell picks up on the clues many years later and has Northstar officially come out.”

    It’s not expressly addressed by anyone in the interim, but Bill Mantlo did a “Northstar is feeling ill” storyline that’s widely rumoured to be an editorially-vetoed HIV plot.

  17. Luis Dantas says:

    There are some hints between during the Mantlo run, but they are not very well written nor very many.

    IIRC, in his first story Aurora realizes that Jean Paul was attracted to Walter and is struck by his effective death that much harder for that reason. Considerably later he insists on traveling outside AF’s ship because he is a “lone wolf type” and the others just accept that. And once he begins to show persistent sneezing and Aurora questions him he admits that he is afraid of what he might have contracted.

    There may have been something else during the story that introduced Purple Girl / Persuasion as well.

  18. Chris V says:

    Yes, Bill Mantlo did want to write Northstar as being openly gay, but Jim Shooter vetoed it. It apparently greatly upset Mantlo, leading to him infamously writing the “Northstar is really a fairy” plot, which, the less said the better. I think Shooter’s not allowing him to write the story he wanted made Mantlo suffer temporary insanity.

    Although, if Mantlo’s original intent was to give Northstar HIV, it was probably for the better that Shooter did veto Mantlo’s story.
    I’m not sure if that was Mantlo’s original intent, or if he wrote a story meant to hint towards HIV after Shooter had told Mantlo that Northstar couldn’t be written as an openly gay character.
    Astute readers could,easily put the pieces together, while everyone else would have zero clue.

  19. Moose says:

    @Thom H

    Good points! I know two things: that plenty of LGBTQ+ people are still closeted (even in notionally “progressive” places), and I don’t have any personal experience to draw on, so I’ll be be looking at the issue from the outside.

    Obviously, Northstar could still have been wholly or partially in the closet (as a public figure, too, he may have been out to his friends but not the public at large), but it is certainly LESS likely that he was in a live that runs 1990-2020, then in a life that runs 1962-1992. That’s not to stake out a position that it necessarily likely overall, just a higher probability that he’d be out earlier in the sliding timescale.

    Marvel Time can be a real (expletive deleted) to reconcile with canon, though (again, Northstar’s terrorist days spring to mind).

    I think you’re right, though, absolutely anyone (with one exception I’ll mention below) can come out, in a well-written story, and be believable. It should go without saying this doesn’t destroy the character either, of course. You mentioned Mr. Fantastic, and I think he’d make a great coming-out story, actually. He’s never put too much of that massive brainpower into thinking about romance, so he could have easily gone with the flow, not even realizing he felt differently. And, while he sincerely loves Sue, I know he wouldn’t be the first gay man to truly love his beard, but still be gay. I’m not advocating for it, but it would be an interesting story!

    The exception, in my mind, to the anyone can be gay approach, is if someone has been explicitly “inned”. And, while I don’t want to see it undone, Iceman is a character who was specifically told by a women who can sense attraction that he is not attracted to men, and is attracted to women. You can No-Prize your way out of it (she lied! He was so deep in denial even his automatic responses were skewed!), but he was still the last candidate to come out in my book.

    Oh well, it’s not like long-term Marvel fans don’t have plenty of experience wrapping our heads around worse continuity snarls, though!

  20. Salomé Honório says:

    @Moose et al: Is the female character who confirms Iceman’s heterosexuality Stacy X? During Austen’s (rather than Casey’s) run?

    [OT: my previous comment was wrongly signed with my dead-name, because of chrome’s auto-fill function. But that is me.]

  21. Moose says:

    @Salome Honorio (please forgive the lack of accents, I’m on a tablet)

    No, it wasn’t Stacy. I was going to do this from memory, but decided to dig out the reference. Glad I did, turns out I was conflating two events in the same issue.

    The issue was Uncanny X-Men 415, and a Genoshan refugee named Josette almost used Iceman to cuckold her husband (being a woman in a Chuck Austen comic, she’d already tried to seduce Archangel). Anyway, she was an empath, and seemingly into Iceman, talking about the passion and maybe more she sensed.

    But the definitive statement “he’s not gay” came from Northstar, invoking the old “gaydar” trope, since he had a little passing crush on Iceman. Like I said, I combined the latter definitive statement with the former source, who had powers that would have let her know.

    Enh, I still feel that Bobby was the lazy choice, though. But explaining that story was is easy enough.

    Shows you the pitfalls of relying memory for obscure references, though!

  22. sagatwarrior says:

    I just remember during Grant Morrison run, during the arc, Beast made a passing reference that he was gay to Trish Tilby. Apparently, Morrison was told to walked that back have it Beast and Tilby and somehow engaged into some type of prank.

  23. Thom H. says:

    @Moose: Thanks for spelling that out. I was unfamiliar with the Uncanny story and Northstar’s malfunctioning gaydar. It’s hard to fault Jean-Paul, though, considering Iceman’s general lack of a sexual aura. I’ve always thought that “slacker” embodied Bobby’s personality / aesthetic more than anything else. Maybe he was just difficult for Northstar to read.

    And I agree, it’s less likely that Northstar would have stay in the closet in the sliding timeline, but still not unthinkable. There are some out sports figures these days, especially in particular sports — I wonder what the social pressures on your average Canadian Olympic skier are like these days.

    @sagatwarrior: The strong suit, in my opinion, of Morrison’s run was the characterization. Which makes his choices with Beast so confusing. Everything he did with Hank destabilized that character, and for no good reason in the end.

  24. Taibak says:

    With Northstar, don’t forget that his parents died when he was young, his adoptive parents died when he was young, left the FLQ when he became disillusioned by their violence, and found out he has a long-lost sister who (usually) can’t stand him. He’s someone who has a very guarded personality and has a hard trusting people. In his case, it seems like that might make a bigger difference for him than social pressure.

  25. sagatwarrior says:

    I think Morrison did a decent job with Beast. I know the concept of “secondary mutation” went nowhere, but as far as character growth, it allowed Beast to deal with his uncontrollable change, having to deal the trauma of having to learn basic skills, as well what he did in order to handle it. As far as the “prank”, Morrison was told Beast’s “outing” had to be changed, so it was rewritten as Beast being flippant and Tilby used it as means to get back at him. They used his history of playing pranks in Avengers and earlier X-Men’s stories to deal with it.

  26. Luis Dantas says:

    @Talibak: IIRC, the flashback in one of the first few issues of Alpha Flight that shows Jean-Paul meeting James Hudson for the first time makes it clear that the Martins (his adoptive parents) have died only very recently.

    James manifests surprise for how quickly Jean-Paul adjusted to his “new” surname (Beaubier), and earlier in the same story he also tells Jeanne-Marie that Jean-Paul had been adopted separately from her. Presumably he only learned of the Beaubiers very recently, after the deaths of the Martins.

    By that point in time James is already in full Vindicator armor and Aurora is already training in Department H, after having been recruited by Wolverine. Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie may be young adults, but they are very much adults then.

  27. Taibak says:

    Luis: True, but that doesn’t mean that the trauma isn’t real for him.

  28. Taibak says:

    Actually, should have double-checked before I posted. Looks like the Martins died when Northstar was six. He presumably kept the surname until adulthood.

  29. Moose says:

    @Taibak: glad to know I’m not the only one whose memory has failed them in this thread!

  30. Luis Dantas says:

    I stand corrected.

    You know, this remembrance of early Alpha Flight reminds me of how skilled Byrne was at suggesting things with his wording without necessarily spelling it out. He does it a lot in his self-owned work as well.

  31. Thom H. says:

    Dead relatives, difficult relationship with single living relative, previous career, previous political activity he now regrets, long term relationship, abrasive personality — I just realized that Northstar may be the most well-rounded character to come out of the original Alpha Flight. With maybe Shaman coming in second?

  32. Moose says:

    @ Thom H.

    I always had a soft spot for Alpha Flight, though no doubt patriotism plays a part in that. I know that Byrne famously (infamously?) left the title because the characters weren’t rounded enough to be interesting, but I never saw the team as any worse in that regard than most of their contemporaries.

    Looking back at the original cast (introduced in or by Alpha Flight #1), I think Northstar, Puck and Shaman stand out. Guardian 1 was a bit dull, but Heather as Guardian 2 was much more interesting and rounded, I thought. Only Marina (ironically, one of the characters created for more than just Byrne’s “survive a fight with the X-Men” complaint) was a “bad” character.

    Looking back, my only complaint would be the stereotypical powers for Shaman…product of the times, to an extent, though. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the First People member had the powersuit, though?

  33. Thom H. says:

    @Moose: I have a lot of nostalgia for those characters, too, especially from the Byrne (two) years. His complaints about them always rang hollow to me since he was their writer and could fill in whatever back stories he wanted. If some of them are a little 2D, whose fault is that?

    I agree that Marrina never really worked on the team, even though I like her as a character. Weird that Byrne added her only to write her out of the book almost immediately. She was pretty superfluous given that the team already had an otherworldly type involved in a star-crossed romance (Snowbird). Did AF really need two of those?

    I always wanted Shaman to marry his medical background and his shamanism more closely. I think that could have mitigated some of the stereotypes that the character suffered from. And again, Byrne doubled down on that character idea with Talisman. He kept adding new versions of existing characters instead of beefing up the ones he had. Maybe Talisman could have taken up the Guardian suit instead?

  34. Dimitri says:

    @Salomé Honório and Luis Dantas

    Thank you both for your explanations. It does help me contextualize not just the expression but the entire back and forth as well.


    Regarding Mr. Fantastic, you know, I’ve always viewed Reed Richards as asexual (even as a child who’d never heard the word in his life). Like, he and Sue obviously have children together, but to him it’s more like a chore he does because he loves his wife so very much and she wants it, not because he wants it himself. If Reed were ever “outed” to represent a different sexuality, I think that would be my preferred take.

    Also, I keep using the word “outing”, but what I like about the scene in Marauders is that it’s not an outing. We get the sense Kate has always been open about it because, well, she’s Kitty — she would be. I wish we had more of that.

    I get that major crises of identity are inherently dramatic (and relatable for a lot of people), but there’s something joyful about a character just being who they are in a loving way rather than through confrontation (whether with themselves or others).

    It also sends what I think is a very positive message to the readers: whether you want to look at it as retcon or not, this is not a new phase in the character’s life. It’s just a modernization.

    From that angle, you could argue that complaining about continuity in this matter would be the same as bitching about Xavier and Juggernaut no longer being tied to the Korean War anymore. And that, I think, is a comfortable place for Marvel to position themselves with such changes.

  35. Chris V says:

    Thom-Then Talisman would have read like a copy of Forge.

  36. Moose says:

    @ Dimitri – asexual is a pretty good read on Reed (sorry, no pun intended). He’s someone who could deliver Tom Baker’s classic Doctor Who line “you’re a lovely lady, probably” (sorry, might be paraphrasing).

    @ Thom H. – I hadn’t thought of Forge, when I was thinking of First Peoples characters, but he does at least get to be the tech guy. Of course, he also has to be a trained shaman as well, so that we know he’s Cheyenne! (eye roll)

    Actually, it kind of brings to mind a (way OT) thought about “native” characters in general in Marvel: in 616 canon, tribal magic is real, not just a faith system or mythology. Whether it’s North American spirits and spells, Australian aboriginal Dreamtime, Haitian voodoo or whatever, this stuff is undeniably, literally, real in Marvel.

    In, say, Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, the skilled doctor torn between his heritage and modern medicine is facing a cultural clash. In 616, he’s literally ignoring a power that stares him in the face. If Presbyterians could do the stuff Shaman can (and at least some magic seems relatively easy in Marvel), I’d probably still go to church!

    It would be relatively easy to create, for example, a balanced, non-stereotypical Sikh character, who builds armour or gets bitten by a radioactive wombat or whatever. Of course, it would also be easy to make them stereotypical as heck, with a Sikh version of Arabian Knight. But Sikh’s don’t have access to superpowers right from the gurdwara…in-universe, “native” characters do.

    *Sorry about the “native” or any other terms that are insensitive, no offence was meant and I’ll gladly take correction if anyone has preferred terms.

  37. Taibak says:

    Moose: You’ve pretty much just described Forge. Just replace “modern medicine” with “modern technology”.

  38. Chris V says:

    I don’t see why people feel that writing Native characters as embracing assimilation is better than writing a Native character involved with their own culture.
    The Native person who rejects their heritage is as much of a stereotype today.
    There are certainly Native American individuals who are traditionalists as well as Native Americans who have different feelings about embracing cultural heritage.

    It’s as if no one ever reads any literature by Native American people.

    If people find there are too many “shaman” characters in comic books, well, it’s a very important role with Native cultures.
    Look at how many superhero characters are very wealthy or super-geniuses.
    That’s like saying that Tony Stark is a stereotype because he’s an extremely wealthy corporate CEO. Where are all the General Motors workers who are superheroes?

  39. Dimitri says:

    Did… Did you just try to justify the tendency to portray mysticism as an inherent part of Native American identity by… evoking the idea of portraying wealthy and super genius as inherently white traits?

    I… I mean, I try to always come at things from the perspective that I may just have misunderstood, so I would really appreciate it if you could clarify.

    Because, otherwise, I mean, Jesus Christ.

  40. Chris V says:

    Moose-Yes, that’s a good point. It seems weird that monotheism would have mostly replaced paganism or polytheism in the Marvel Universe. It seems like Christianity would be a minor faith in the Marvel Universe, with atheism almost non-existant.
    Christians would have tried to convert pagans to Christianity, and (for example) the Norse pagans would reply, “Where is your god? Because Thor is right here, and he’s going to do wonderful things for us!”.

    The Christians would reply, “Well, Jesus tried to help us, but Those Who Sit Above in Shadow wouldn’t allow him to make an appearance.”* heh
    *Reference to Tony Isabella on Ghost Rider, for those not in the know.

  41. Chris V says:

    Dmitri-No. It’s about representation, not race or ethnicity.
    That was obviously not my point, since Forge is both rich and a genius.
    Where did you get the idea that I was saying that? Because Tony Stark happens to be white?

    I am saying that if we look at it from the perspective of class, how many working class people are represented in the world of superheroes?
    Yet people want to complain that out of a handful of Native American characters who do exist in comics, that a couple of them also happen to be shamans.

    I never said it was “inherent”, I said that traditionalism does exist among Native American people.

  42. Chris V says:

    Maybe if the issue is the idea that “mysticism” is inherent in Native peoples is what people have a problem with, it could be a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of a shaman in these cultures’ traditions.

    The idea that an individual (note the qualifier) is specially chosen or, indeed, even inherently born to take up the role of a shaman is authentic to the traditional culture.

    If we look at a different character, say, James Proudstar, then we don’t see anything of such “inherent” in this character.
    Does that mean he is not a “stereotype”, while the character of Michael Twoyoungmen is a stereotype?
    No, instead I’d say it’s because they are two different characters.

  43. Dimitri says:

    @Chris V:

    “Where did you get the idea that I was saying that? Because Tony Stark happens to be white?”

    Cute attempt at turning this on me. No, I was following the logic of the thread.

    Some people complain about the representation of Native Americans as always having ties to mysticism as if mysticism was inherent to the Native American identity (yes, “inherent” because, even if that’s not what you specifically said, that’s what *they* were specifically talking about).

    The logic being their complaint is this:

    “Race” is to “representation”
    what “Forge and Shaman” is to “Mystic”. Therefore, “Marvel Native American character” is “Always tied to Mysticism.”

    Then you chime in and say, “But what about Tony Stark who is rich and a super genius.”

    Trying to fit it into the logic of the argument presented above, that give us:

    “Race” is to “Representation” what “Tony Stark” is to “often rich and super genius.”

    So, yeah, it came off to me like you were saying, “Marvel white heroes are often rich and super genius, so why are you complaining about Native American characters being pigeonholed as mystics.”

    I asked you to clarify because I don’t like it when commenters get themselves cornered by a misspeak or misunderstanding.

    You did, which is great for everybody, but don’t act like this is on me, man.

  44. Chris V says:

    How are Forge or Shaman representative of all Native American characters? Are those the only two Native characters?
    That’s why I am saying it is a flawed argument.
    Peter Parker is a college professor, and he has spider-powers….It must be Inherent that college professors have spider-powers.
    Besides which, Forge is a more complex character.
    He is rich, a genius, an inventor, a Vietnam vet as well.

    As you said, you read it a certain way. I clarified it. It doesn’t mean that was my intent.
    By your logic, I was also saying that to be a General Motors employee, you must be white.
    A majority of superheroes are white, so when I go for a quick example of a wealthy figure at Marvel, yeah, Tony Stark leaps out.

  45. Dimitri says:

    “By your logic, I was also saying that to be a General Motors employee, you must be white.”

    No, it really doesn’t mean that by my logic at all. It doesn’t even mean that by the logic I was following, which isn’t my logic but rather the logic of the thread.

    I have been as polite as I am willing to be about this.

    If I show enough respect for you to give you a chance to clarify instead of assuming I read it right and holding you responsible for what I read, you might have considered not using this opportunity to twist what I said in continuous attempts to disrespect me so you can have the last word (which I initially offered you on a silver platter by the way).

  46. Chris V says:

    I just find it that people attack everything much too easily and use it to assume something about said person when that person is a cipher somewhere on the internet.

    I just found it weird that you didn’t jump on my “stupidity” in thinking that all General Motors workers were white people as well.
    I mean, based on your reading, it would seem that this was also something I believed, yet you didn’t immediately jump on that.

    Believe me, I am glad to clarify what I meant because I did not want you to read it the way you did.
    Maybe next time, ask a person, “Could you expand on what you mean here?”, instead of immediately thinking the worst about someone.
    I found your initial response to be rude, with the intent to say, “This person is a racist!”, instead of allowing the person to clarify their point first.
    After that fact, if the person still comes across in that fashion, then it’s an understandable response on your part.

  47. Dimitri says:

    “Maybe next time, ask a person, “Could you expand on what you mean here?”, instead of immediately thinking the worst about someone.”

    Riiight… So now we’re all going to pretend that my first reply did not specifically state:

    “I mean, I try to always come at things from the perspective that I may just have misunderstood, so I would really appreciate it if you could clarify.”

    How in God’s name do you read that and convince yourself you’re being victimized?

  48. Chris V says:

    It’s the middle paragraph of a three paragraph reply. You made your intent quite clear in the first and third.
    The middle paragraph, by itself, would have done the job quite nicely.
    The rest of your reply sort of contradicts your idea about yourself giving the other person a chance first before judging.
    You were giving me a chance, sure, but with the understanding that it would be under a magnifying glass. Heaven only knows what your response would have looked like if I said something ideologically inappropriate.

    Granted, if the person was a vulgar racist, I wouldn’t find it wrong of a highly negative response on your part.

    Again, though, I said nothing about “victimized”. I said that I found your reply to be rude. That may be why I became curt in turn.
    To read “victimization” in place of my statement that I found your response rude shows reading in to the person’s intent.

  49. Dimitri says:

    “To read “victimization” in place of my statement that I found your response rude shows reading in to the person’s intent.”

    Still going out of your way to twist and misrepresent everything I write in an attempt to denigrate me, I see.

    I mean, we’re down to discussing the offensiveness of my paragraph order for fuck sake.

  50. Chris V says:

    I would have liked to know if my response came off that way to others or just you.

    You seemed to just leap on that one part of my response.
    I understand that in the context in which you read it, it comes across as highly ignorant and offensive.
    However, the rest of my post was showing respect for another culture, so I’d hope that others would give it the benefit of the doubt, wherein I was speaking in terms of class, and read it on those terms.

    That’s going to be my last words on the matter.

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