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Wednesday, May 10, 2017 

Screen Rant won't criticize the writers of these X-Men characters for poor characterization

Once again, Screen Rant's proving they're clueless with logic as applied to superhero comics, as they present a list of 15 characters from the X-Men who, according to them, were characters whom fans "rightfully hated". The failure to take a logical approach to this is stunning. The first example they give is Quicksilver, suggesting they're not very thankful to Stan Lee for all the hard work he did:
In his last few onscreen appearances, Quicksilver has really shone. However, Pietro Maximoff is by no means as impressive in the comics and has been kind of hated by fans over the years.

At the time of his addition to the comics in 1964, it seemed Marvel was desperate to have an answer to The Flash. On top of this, it seems Marvel did not know if they wanted Quicksilver to actually be a bad guy like his father Magneto or a good guy. He played both parts throughout and was a lesser villain in the cartoon series X-Men Evolution in the early 2000s.

Most people saw the character as annoying for most of his time and a poor man’s version of Flash, who could do soooo much more with his powers than Quicksilver even attempted. It angered people to see Marvel basically ignore the abilities of a speedster.

The real issue is that he could never be trusted to stay on the side of good or bad. He has stayed loyal only to his twin sister, Scarlet Witch. He may love her strongly, almost too strong as they were once an actual couple in a comic called The Ultimates.
So, no criticism for Mark Millar either, for making Pietro/Wanda into an incestuous couple in the Ultimates, I see. The first example on the list is one of the poorest written. Definitely not off to a good start. And, no matter how much one may admire Stan Lee, let's be clear: he and any other assigned writer for the MCU in better days was responsible for the alleged inability to decide whether Pietro should be a hero or villain (ultimately, he did end up as the former, and never murdered innocents), and all complaints should be lodged on his doorstep. But, there's no mention of any writers' names here, nor any lamentation that editorial couldn't make up their minds, so I don't see what their beef is. And since when didn't he do anything with his powers? He did slug away with his fists and kick away with his feet, and simultaneously, he wasn't depicted as invincible and unstoppable (nor in fact was Juggernaut, usually depicted as far more a villain than Quicksilver ever was).

The writers fail to recognize that Quicksilver was depicted as a leading example of a guy who had a prejudiced view of mortals not unlike what the Sub-Mariner had in earlier times, yet had redeeming features and didn't engage in murderous conduct like some of the villains he ultimately wound up fighting. It was all part of the character drama, and over the years, Pietro did end up leaning more towards good than evil. On which note, I suspect the Screen Rant writer would rather he be on the side of badness. I must firmly disapprove if that's what they're getting at.

The next example given is Marrow:
In theory, the character Marrow is downright awesome. She can grow bones out of her skin and manage to use them to create weapons like knives that she can use to throw or to swing around and protect herself. These bones also give her relatively useful body armor.

In practice, Marrow turned out to be quite lame and looked absolutely terrible. She would essentially become a terrorist before eventually joining the X-Men. Useful as her powers might seem, her powers were rarely useful in helping the X-Men and the look of the character never seemed to settle well as a super-heroine.

Marrow has since been tough to rely on as her allegiances have shifted frequently. She was eventually de-powered and now may be more useless as a hero than ever. The character had potential, which is most likely the reason many people do think the character could come back in a better version.
Well doesn't that actually confirm there's readers out there who realize it's not the character's fault for poor use in storytelling and characterization? The real culprits are co-creators Jeph Loeb & David Brewer, along with Scott Lobdell. And speaking of the creators, they introduced her in the pages of another badly written hero's book, Cable, who gets some mention in this article yet the writer doesn't seem to complain about how poorly handled he was, and how pointless he thus turned out to be. Nathan Summers/Cable may have originally been a creation of Chris Claremont dating back to 1986, but it was towards the end of the New Mutants in 1990 when sloppy artist Rob Liefeld introduced him in his modern form, and within barely 3 years, he suddenly had his own solo. Another example given here is Skin from Generation X:
This may surprise you, but Skin’s powers revolve around his skin. Take a minute and sit down so you can take that in. e possesses six feet of extra skin. He was capable of stretching and even expanding his skin. Interestingly, it has been pointed out that only his epidermis is manipulated by his powers.

Apparently when you have too much skin, you turn grey. Or at least that is kind of Skin’s thing. He also has an appearance that some consider to be “skin melting.” He found a way to manipulate his skin and even manipulate pigment melanin to look normal. Of course, this gave him a migraine so he had to stop doing it. He looks terrible and is a gross and lame version of Mr. Fantastic.

The X-Men never truly needed a character like this. We have people who shoot beams out of their eyes, control the weather, control minds, can steal powers, and even teleport. We then have a man with extra skin that is apparently making him grey that he can somewhat manipulate? The character has been seen as one of the lamest X-Men of all time and his stay on the team was relatively short-lived compared to others on the list.
Umm, wasn't that because he was moved into the aforementioned spinoff series in 1994? And if that's what they think of him, do they also consider a beastly figure like Sasquatch of Alpha Flight "lame"? In that case, why not just simplify their character components by turning them into non-powered co-stars who could serve as good friends to the stars, sort of like Ben Urich was to Matt Murdock as Daredevil? These "progressives" will never be satisfied with anything. On the one hand, they'll say there should be more deformed-looking characters, on the other, they'll say there shouldn't be. They can't make up their minds.

And with that, let's turn now to what's surely the most hilarious moment in this unintentional comedy of an article, the part about Jubilee:
Jubilee is one of those fun characters that was, to most, the ultimate teen of her time. She was actually added to the Uncanny X-Men series in 1989 and was basically a bratty teen of the late ’80s/early ’90s. She trended with the times, and that is kind of the problem.

Her powers are basically nothing of note– basically she shot fireworks. She worked well with what Gambit brought to the table, but she wasn’t as cool as the Cajun.

Remember how Jubilee was someone added in to work for the times? Shocker, she lost her powers and then eventually became a vampire, which was somehow more tolerable. Despite this, the annoyance of Marvel basically making Jubilee their trend go-to girl has become an issue for fans of the X-Men series.

Jubilee never truly fit, but she did manage to draw enough interest for FOX to want her in the X-Men movie series.
Before I comment on her entrance to merchandise...whoa. Gambit was one of the most poorly developed characters in the X-franchise, saddled with a silly getup and a ridiculous southern drawl, and they call him "cool"? It's pretty obvious after all these years, what with a spinoff series in 1999 that otherwise proved unsuccessful, that he was never as phenomenally popular as some like to claim he was. The whole backstory, including the cheaply named Thieves & Assassins Guilds, some of which was conceived by Scott Lobdell himself, is abysmally poor, and the "revelation" Gambit had a role in the Mutant Massacre by Mr. Sinister in 1986 didn't help matters either. Yet they think Gambit's "cool" despite all the mistakes made by hack writers making it impossible to appreciate even that much? Please.

As for Jubilee, what bothered me was the costume, supposedly a parody of the Robin costume (with Wolverine serving as the Batman-like mentor later on), which I thought made her look like a teen hooker. I think there was an early story from 1990 where she went roller skating around the X-mansion in her outfit; a real laugh riot. And the costume kept when, shortly after her 1989 debut, she became one of the TV cartoon's cast along with Gambit. I've thought in hindsight that at least a few of the characters from Claremont's last few years as writer were introduced more as fodder for ventures into merchandise than they were as comics protagonists with their own agency, and I'm probably right. Another example they give is X-Man, a product of the Age of Apocalypse crossover from the mid-90s:
Nate Grey was just your ordinary random guy who happened to be exactly like well known character in Marvel, Cable. This was because he was somehow an alternative universe version of Cable. The disappearance of the real Cable opened the door for Grey to enter. He was also born out of the relationship of his universe’s Jean Grey and Scott Summers. However, he was also affected by genetic tampering from Mr. Sinister.

Originally meant to last a few issues under the X-Man comic, X-Man was added to the normal universe but never landed well with fans, as the original Cable had already been a favorite among fans of the comic series for years. He had all the powers Cable had, but was more powerful. He was even known as the most powerful mutant around during his stay in the X-Men.

What makes things so weird is that his code name, “X-Man”, was never explained. The use of the character was absolutely insane as they could have just used the guy we all love– Cable– instead of a clone, of sorts. The story of X-Man is over, and that may simply be because of the lack of love the character had.
Naturally, no questions raised as to whether Cable was handled any better. His solo book, launched just 3 years after his adult incarnation turned up in New Mutants, was a big nothing. Too little personality to speak of, and not very interesting adventures to go with it, so the book getting as far as nearly a decade in publication was inexplicable. Only rabid collectors really loved it. The bland characterization wasn't Cable's fault. It wasn't even X-Man's fault. It was the writers, and their failure to acknowledge that only obscures the really challenging issues.

And then, who next should come up in this farcical piece but Angel, one of the earliest cast members:
Angel was able to grow angelic wings in his teen years, something his family was not happy about, but many mutants considered him beautiful. Interestingly, he’s similar to Wolverine in that he can heal relatively quickly. He is a skilled fighter as well. However, the main thing known of him is that he can fly. Marvel knew the character was useful, but needed to add an edge, so they made him into a weapon of Apocalypse.

Here, he would be known as Archangel. This time, his edge was combined with a unique set of wings similar to what was shown off in the X-Men: Apocalypse film. The character was wonderful as a villain but Angel would eventually turn good again, then back to bad, and so on.

Overall, the character has always been boring because his unique abilities are rarely spoken of and flight is his biggest thing, when we have several heroes that already do that and then some.
"Always"? Wow, they sure know how to obscure any and all of the best character-driven moments from the early days of Warren Worthington's introduction. What about the time when his uncle turned out to be a powermongering criminal called the Dazzler (this was nearly a decade before Alison Blaire was given the codename along with her own solo book), who murdered Warren's father to keep his mouth shut about his criminal activities, in a story written by Jerry Siegel, the last comics story he wrote, published in 1970-71? And it's shameful how they push the cliche that any character they decide upon works better in every way as a villain. It's a loathesome concept that's ruined plenty of superhero comics. And since when weren't his powers of flight spoken of? They certainly were in the early days. They also fail to consider the character drama elements, which are decidedly more important than the superpowers. It's not the powers alone that build a character. It's the writing beyond that which does. This laughable segment reminds me that Hawkman and Hawkgirl may have also been victimized by the same nonsensical arguments.

And then, the X-Man who tops their list, disturbingly enough, is the most famous veteran field leader, Cyclops. What they have to say here is an insult to every sane fan:
Voted by almost everyone as the most unpopular X-Men member almost every year is Cyclops, who is hated for the most understandable reasons known to man.

Let’s start with the obvious stuff. In the original X-Men comics, Scott whined constantly. From there, Jean Grey dies, he immediately goes out hunting tail. Jean dies again, and he hooks up with a random blonde. She dies again, and then Cyclops starts a thing with a girl who looks exactly like Jean; Madelyn Pryor. She was Jean’s clone for those wondering. They marry and have a child, aka Cable. Cyclops then abandons his young wife and child when he finds out Jean is alive, yet again.

He finally marries Jean Grey, then cheats on her with Emma Frost. Jean dies again, and then his relationship with Frost is made official. Because he’s an awesome lover, he then stabs Frost literally in the back and takes the powers she just acquires which involved The Phoenix Force.

If all of that doesn’t do it for you, he encourages the animal side of X-23, despite Wolverine’s wishes, just so he can kill his own son, Cable. This is, of course, after he sends the entire X-Force after Cable. Oh yeah, and he kills Professor X because he disagrees with anyone having The Phoenix Force. These are just some of the many reasons fans hate Cyclops.
So everybody hates Cyclops, and nobody's angry at Brian Bendis or any other writers involved for taking a flawed but kind-hearted guy and turning him into a monster for the sake of publicity stunts. Yup, they sure love to obscure the obvious, don't they. And the whole goof with Pryor in the late 80s was Claremont's fault, but he doesn't come up for drubbing either. Because in their psychologically stunted minds, Scott Summers is a real-life person they bumped into on the street (or in a vodka bar where he got them stuck in a corner while trying to tell them a shaggy dog story), and not a character seen in the pages of a comics panel, where he'll never pop out of. After checking this segment, I have decidedly had enough of this article. I am convinced the people running such a crappy movie site aren't interested in good writing, but are SJWs devoted to destroying every last microbe of potential for fictional characters as storytelling vehicles. They sure don't even seem interested in asking for Jean Grey to be exonerated of any wrongdoing in stories where this took place and be resurrected. So, why are they writing about comics when they don't like any mainstream superhero creations? They should just stick with movies and not insult everyone's intellect with their crude substitutes for objectivity.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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