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June 10, 2011 11:49 AM   Subscribe

The Washington Post asks: Can Mutants And Humans Really Co-Exist? Metafilter's own Mightygodking responds.
posted by The Whelk (80 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's a lot of verbiage devoted to a spandex soap opera.
posted by ocschwar at 11:57 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The paper that broke the Watergate story, folks!
posted by Legomancer at 12:01 PM on June 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


And the Odyssey is a lot of words for a swords-and-sandals melodrama.

Anyway, don't most mutants pass on the X gene to their offspring? They'd likely interbreed with the normals over a couple of generations as society becomes more accepting, and then everyone's kinda a mutant and there'd be intra-mutant political problems more than mutant/human ones.
posted by klangklangston at 12:03 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's a lot of verbiage devoted to a spandex soap opera.
The paper that broke the Watergate story, folks!


Yeah, god forbid anybody use metaphors from art to talk about society.
posted by COBRA! at 12:04 PM on June 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


Imagine what professional sports leagues and the Olympics would turn into.

(That actually got addressed in several existing comics, with a champion-skier-turned-speedster-superhero being accused of cheating in Marvel and a rogue nation sending a supervillain team to a thinly disguised Olympic Games in DC coming to mind.)
posted by delfin at 12:08 PM on June 10, 2011


If you're not a mutant you might not be human.
posted by loquacious at 12:11 PM on June 10, 2011


Yeah, god forbid anybody use metaphors from art to talk about society.

Yeah, god forbid anyone should lament a loss of engagement with the very real problems in the real world.

Yeah, god forbid anyone should lament a loss of engagement with the very real problems in the real world.

Yeah, god forbid anybody doesn't talk exclusively about whatever real problems you consider most important.

Yeah, god forbid anybody doesn't talk exclusively about whatever real problems you consider most important.

Yeah, god forbid etc etc etc
posted by clockzero at 12:12 PM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


So you've written the Post to complain about the fact that they have a Sports section?
posted by COBRA! at 12:14 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The paper that broke the Watergate story, folks!

It's not like this is page A1 top story, this is Ezra Klein's blog.

This is kind of an interesting topic in comics. The arc of Steeljack in Astro City explores the options of a living metal super villian who attempts to go straight and opt-out of the role imposed on him by being made of living metal. There are also people whith super powers who opt-out all together and choose to live as "normal".

They'd likely interbreed with the normals over a couple of generations as society becomes more accepting, and then everyone's kinda a mutant and there'd be intra-mutant political problems more than mutant/human ones.

Top 10 focuses on the police force of the city of Neopolis, a city where everyone has super powers. There is a family of Godzilla type giant lizards who are always accusing the police of anti-lizard bigotry.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:21 PM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm amazed by how easily we forget that each and every one of us is a mutant created by the unique combining of our parent's DNA. If you'd like to see how a mutant society would be in practice, look around. Some even have extreme mutations, but as often as they help they hurt, are always a matter of perspective, and just as mightygodking writes, they only lead to a path of resentment. Should I have embraced that resentment or turned to crime? Or how about leading a productive and fullfilling life not at all dependent on my mutation? Option C seems best, thanks.
posted by jwells at 12:21 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


In an all-mutant society, the mind controllers would almost inevitably end up running things. They would probably rationalize it on the basis that everyone else was paranoid about them and that they either had to run the whole show or be wiped out, but they'd do it--the X-Men model, where no one minds living with someone who can tell them (and everyone else) what they think about when they masturbate just doesn't jibe with human nature (and, by the way, the thing that the comics have gotten wrong all along is that humans and mutants are not in any way different species--they can interbreed, ergo mutants are just humans with special talents, full stop). Therefore, the outcasts in an all-mutant society would be the ones who couldn't be mind-read or -controlled and therefore beyond the reach of the telepathic ruling class. (Marvel Comics has a special class of mutants--the Omega-level mutant--who typically has cosmic-level powers (think Silver Surfer) that usually includes some sort of psychic power or resistance to same, so they'd probably end up as the ruling class, with the "mere" telepaths/hypnotics as their secret police.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:24 PM on June 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


Oh. Marvel. I just assumed 'mutants' was referring to teabaggers.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:26 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nah, mutants would need to "pay the rent" so to speak.

Octiva Butler sort of covered this in her short story "Blood Child". Set in the future, humans had come into contact with an insectoid like race, which implanted grubs into living hosts to feed on. Naturally, the aliens thought of the humans as fantastic hosts and wanted to enslave them all. But some of them tried a more humane approach. They welcomed some humans into their family and gave said family protection and a home, as long as one of them agreed to be a host. They also worked to developed ways so that some hosts could survive, if they were reached in time.

Naturally, there was all sorts of tension on both sides about this "truce". Buy the collection, read the story and others, very recommended.

X-Men #217 (yes I'm old) briefly poked fun at this idea. After a battle with the Juggernaut, super strong Rogue and energy emitting Dazzler worked together to fix a rail road track destroyed in the battle, while the repairmen just stood around and gawked. They talked briefly about how much trouble they'd be in if the super power types ever went after their jobs.

There's a lot of interesting possibilities that haven't been explored much. No reason a postman can't fly, right? Cyclops would be useful to mining companies. Telekinetics could work with the disabled, telepaths with autistics.

Wolverine? Oh, the medical experiments that could be performed, though there's lots of pesky ethical questions. Good luck on getting him strapped to the bed though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:26 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


My mutant power is inappropriate italicization!
posted by FatherDagon at 12:26 PM on June 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think they did something very interesting and perhaps unintended by making the X-Men an all white all privileged team with all the reasons that happened. Magneto becomes clearly in the right while the X-Men are exposed as the pawns of an oppressive system they are. Xavier’s conviction that mutants and humans can coexist peacefully if mutants keep their heads down and follow orders is proved false by the events at the end of the film, without that as a meaningful option Magneto's becomes the only other viable path. Hell, Xavier even has the chutzpah to tell Magneto, a Holocaust survivor, that genocide is forgivable if one is “only following orders”.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:27 PM on June 10, 2011


Wow. That's some epic trolling on that NY Times blog. Sadly, I can't get the mightygodking piece here at work, but...seriously? You're gonna cite "Civil War?" Anything that story arc had to say is entirely shot to hell through shitty writing and the fact that it's entirely predicated on ignoring 40+ years of established character identities. Yes, Cap would stand against it. No, nothing else in the story made any sense at all.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:28 PM on June 10, 2011


And, sorry, I have to say this about Civil War: the author himself, and the company, clearly don't really read what they wrote for that story. The law isn't just registration and training; it's a draft program, yet that part is always routinely ignored. The gov't tries to arrest Captain America before the act is even in place, which is routinely forgotten. And...gah. Why is this story still hyped like it has any redeeming value at all?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:30 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, Ad hominem, remember that the major underclass of Neopolis are the robots (or Ferro-Americans), aka "clickers", with a couple of the cops expressing open prejudice (I can't remember what "-ism" Alan Moore came up with) against them, and the police force eventually being integrated by one Joe Pi, who, in the best Jackie Robinson fashion, was not only incredibly tolerant of all the abuse that was heaped on him, but also ridiculously over-qualified.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:32 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


X-Men? X-Metaphors more like (The X stands for anything you like)

Me, I'm a fan of Morrisons run where he just took the idea of mutants building a new soiety and ran with it, leaving much oif the handwringing behind. Of course, then there's this from mightygodking:

In comments Fistfulloffists says: “Even a society made up entirely of mutants would, realistically, suck.” Which isn’t entirely inaccurate, because all-mutant societies would almost certainly have some degree of labour immobility. Are you a big strong guy? Then society most likely demands – either explicitly or simply through cultural conditioning – that you go be a labourer. Energy blasts? Welcome to the energy sector.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm actually stunned at the positive attention this movie is getting since I found it to be dumb, dull, and uncreative.

Except for casting Kevin Bacon as an evil mastermind operating out of the most tastefully decorated submarine in cinema history. That was a stroke of brilliance. But almost all of the bigger questions central to the X-Men ended up drowned in treacle.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:34 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have problems with the X-men movies, and I guess by association the comics, and this sort of touches on them.

In the movies, "mutants" are presented as being of a new species. But they are obviously capable of interbreeding with humans. And after all, everyone is a mutant; we're mutant Homo-erectus, who are mutant Homo-whatevercamebeforeus, and so on.

And yet there is a machine in the movies that can find the kinds of mutants that it narrowly defines as being real mutants -- those with superpowers. It always comes down to superpowers, doesn't it. Yet, why have no other animals developed the ability to shoot heat beams from their eyes, telekinetically control metal, control minds, fly around or say "bub" all the time?

I guess I have problems with the way the movie sets it all up. And to some extent that's okay, it's really trying to present a metaphor for real-world situations. But to another point no character ever makes a point that I think is obvious, and would love to step into the movie and tell Magneto: You are more human than mutant.
posted by JHarris at 12:37 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm actually stunned at the positive attention this movie is getting since I found it to be dumb, dull, and uncreative.

It's hardly perfect, but it's a giant step forward from the last two X-Men movies (The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine), which were dreadful. Also, the considerable charm of the cast (especially Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence) goes a long way toward obscuring some of the script's shortcomings.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:38 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


And yet there is a machine in the movies that can find the kinds of mutants that it narrowly defines as being real mutants -- those with superpowers. It always comes down to superpowers, doesn't it. Yet, why have no other animals developed the ability to shoot heat beams from their eyes, telekinetically control metal, control minds, fly around or say "bub" all the time?

Geeky answer: Because an ancient race genetically tampered with human DNA to give them eventually gain superpowers. I can't remember who it was though, was in the comics.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:05 PM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Talking of Morrison, I'm really looking forwards to this: Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human
posted by Artw at 1:05 PM on June 10, 2011


I've kind of given up on the X-Men movies, but I'm loving the header of Rex the Wonder Dog on Mightgodking's page.

Sometimes you must fight the crocodile.
posted by marxchivist at 1:06 PM on June 10, 2011


Geeky answer: Because an ancient race genetically tampered with human DNA to give them eventually gain superpowers. I can't remember who it was though, was in the comics.

...Except Wolverine and all other "wolf" mutants (yes, yes, a Wolverine is fuck all like a wolf) - they are apparently all the descendant of a wolf god or got bitten by a wolf totem or some tedious JMS style bollocks like that. It's all a bit Sword of Superman.
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Except for casting Kevin Bacon as an evil mastermind operating out of the most tastefully decorated submarine in cinema history

This is the only thing I have heard so far that makes me want to see this movie. Does he have shark minions? I hope he has shark minions.
posted by elizardbits at 1:12 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


i misread the title and got all excited about cat mutants :(
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 1:15 PM on June 10, 2011


Does he have shark minions? I hope he has shark minions.

No, but he has a human icepick in a fur-trimmed mini-dress and gogo boots, which is almost half of the action that Frost gets.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:16 PM on June 10, 2011


Because an ancient race genetically tampered with human DNA to give them eventually gain superpowers. I can't remember who it was though, was in the comics.

The Celestials, a race of enormous, generally-inscrutable cosmic beings from Jack Kirby's Eternals series. They took protohumans and genetically engineered them into three groups: Deviants, who didn't breed true from one generation to the next; Eternals, who had various superpowers and were virtually immortal; and humans, with the latent potential to mutate, which really didn't manifest itself (with a few exceptions) until the nuclear age. (The first two groups were mythologized as demons and gods, which really doesn't make sense in the Marvel Universe, which has real demons and gods--the Eternals continuity was retrofitted into the MU.)

Does he have shark minions? I hope he has shark minions.

Sadly, no, but he does have a casino where women walk around in their underwear, if that's your thing. (I think that, with all the time they spend in and around the water, they'd have been better off with someone who can control sharks rather than the weather guy, who seemed a bit derivative of Storm.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:16 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


/gives Halloween Jack a giant kirby-tech thumbs up inscribed with the fomula for Eternals fan knowledge.
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on June 10, 2011


...they are apparently all the descendant of a wolf god or got bitten by a wolf totem or some tedious JMS style bollocks like that

Whaa? Come on, you're joking.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:20 PM on June 10, 2011


I don't think (MeFi's own?) Law & the Multiverse has taken on this particular aspect, but there's a few items in their labor law category. (1st post is about X-Men movie, contains spoilers; which is why I've only skimmed it.)
posted by epersonae at 1:20 PM on June 10, 2011


Wolverine? Oh, the medical experiments that could be performed, though there's lots of pesky ethical questions. Good luck on getting him strapped to the bed though.

I remember a plot-line from the animated show in the '90s that involved a engineered virus that only affected mutants and had no cure. When the team was attacking the underground lair where the stuff was produced, Wolverine got a bunch of the stuff splashed on him. He promptly broke out with all of the symptoms about 100 times faster and 100 worse than most of the mutants that were infected. He just as promptly developed anti-bodies against the disease and cured himself thanks to his super healing. They then extracted the anti-bodies and used them to create a cure/vaccine. I remember thinking at the time, "Why in the hell don't they do that with every incurable disease or infection they can find and do the same thing?
posted by VTX at 1:21 PM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Imagine what professional sports leagues and the Olympics would turn into.

Imagine what would happen to sports gambling if there were mutants in the stands. They'd make a mint without ever being identified as mutants.

Telekinesis: a careful little nudge to the ball could do so much. Fumbles, incomplete passes, missed field goals. Do it subtle and you'd never be caught. You'd certainly beat the spread.

Telepathy: Oh, feeling a little nervous today, are you Luongo?

Weather control:Convenient tailwinds, crosswinds and rain delays.

Electric blasts: Keep it subtle, Electro. A tiny, imperceptible jolt to the right muscle group causing a little tremor and oops that shot didn't even hit the backboard.

Psychic: too easy
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:29 PM on June 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


The Specials, a wildly under-rated superhero flick about the sixth or seventh most powerful superhero team in the world, goes into a bit of it. The guy who can shoot laser beams out of his arms is being wooed in by an industrial facility. Let's face it, being a superhero doesn't really pay the bills. Supervillains do a bit better, but they tend to squander their money on ill-considered lairs. Would Magneto show up to work at the power plant regularly, earn a million bucks a shift, and plan for his own mutant nation?

Or would mutants just run wild? "I have this huge advantage, maybe it is unfair to use it" is just not something that crops up often. And then your'e back to a mutant meritocracy. Your power-sucking mutants would do well, since they would get the drop on the mind-controllers eventually, just slurp the abilities from a speedy mutant and zip! up to some glowy-eyed egomanic named The Imposer and scoop the superpowered goodness from her overly-large braincase like it was a watermelon. *Hides his SYLAR PETRELLI FOR PRESIDENT bumpersticker*

Just the envy alone would crush any chance of co-existence. Families save up for a decade just so one partner can visit the mutant sperm bank, or try to, until The Bamf puts the family courier business into a shallow grave with his ability to courier the shit out of packages.
posted by adipocere at 1:32 PM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


...they are apparently all the descendant of a wolf god or got bitten by a wolf totem or some tedious JMS style bollocks like that

Whaa? Come on, you're joking.


Behold!
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on June 10, 2011


mutants are good for business, adds the elements of danger and the unknown.
posted by clavdivs at 1:37 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


so is the comic business.
posted by clavdivs at 1:38 PM on June 10, 2011


Sorry, Mightygodking, but:

And in the real world, if you’re a big strong dude with no other skills (assuming these mutants wish to use their powers for profit), you’ll end up in manual labour of some sort, and then you will see resentment. How many normal-human construction jobs does a Colossus or a Strong Guy replace? For that matter, how can professional couriers be able to compete with mutants who can fly under their own power?

Really? Seriously?

How many normal human construction jobs does Colossus replace? One. Maybe one and a front end loader. It's not like we still routinely have a bunch of people cooperate to pick up heavy things and move them around. We long since replaced that with machinery that one person can operate. Surely there must be something more imaginative we could do with Colossus than that.

That's assuming Colossus decides that, as long as he's got an uber strong metal body, he has to do something that involves that. There's no reason to think he's stupider than anyone else. Why couldn't he get a liberal arts degree and a middle management job like any other schlub and turn into super-strong living metal on the weekends?
posted by Naberius at 1:47 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cyclops would be useful to mining companies.

I think you misspelled "whining."

(Counterpoint.)
posted by No-sword at 2:03 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


WRT Colossus: it's been established for a while that Peter Rasputin is interested in the visual arts; I don't know if he's any good in the MU, but in the second movie, he whips out a pretty decent caricature of Rogue and Iceman in nothing flat. My guess is that, in a mutant-tolerant world, he'd end up working his way through art school either by being a bouncer or, what the heck, stripping. (Imagine the kind of tips he could get with a unit that someone could literally do chin-ups on.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:06 PM on June 10, 2011


Magneto becomes clearly in the right while the X-Men are exposed as the pawns of an oppressive system they are.

I disagree with this. Though I sympathize with Magneto's motivation (and the beginning of the film is clearly intended to further cultivate that feeling in the audience), his goal for a mutant-run (homo superior) society and the lengths he is willing to go to to make that happen is far too close to paralleling the mindset of the Nazis for me to see him as 'clearly in the right'.

I don't think that's inconsistent with his character, by the way; we are shaped by what we've endured, and as much as he hates what the Nazis did to him and to his family, Magneto is doomed to live under the shadow of their influence.

I also feel that there was a bit of Deus Ex Machina in the "rainbow coalition" deciding to team up with Magneto. Though some of Xavier's protegees had good reason to turn to Magneto (trying not to spoil too much here for those who haven't seen X-Men: First Class), choosing Magneto necessitates allying themselves with other mutants whose motives and methods are suspect at best and who they've personally witnessed go after their mutant friends (Azazel and Frost).

[The worst tactical move in the film, though, is the aforementioned gaffe where Zavier tries to talk Magneto down with the argument that the humans are "just following orders". How could anyone with extraordinary psychic abilities, let alone anyone who knew even the slightest about Magneto's personal history, make such an unforgivable error in strategy?]

It's hardly perfect, but it's a giant step forward from the last two X-Men movies (The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine), which were dreadful.

Actually, I found Origins: Wolverine quite entertaining. It's internally consistent, Sabertooth's and Wolverine's personalities and motivations are well-established (Liev Schreiber is excellent), Cyclops has a redemptive moment to balance the character's utter inanity in the earlier films, and Gambit, possibly my favorite X-man of all, is introduced in a neat little seedy gambling-hall sequence.

I did miss Magneto (any film is made better by the introduction of Sir Ian McKellan), and Duke and John Wraith (aka Kestrel, played by Will.i.am) annoyed the hell out of me, but it wasn't long until they met their untimely demise, so it's all good as far as I'm concerned.
posted by misha at 2:07 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


They then extracted the anti-bodies and used them to create a cure/vaccine. I remember thinking at the time, "Why in the hell don't they do that with every incurable disease or infection they can find and do the same thing?

VTX, reminds me of:

"Starfleet Medical forbids the use of transporters to cure all injuries, diseases, or provide immortality. For some reason."

(from "Instruction Manuals for the USS Enterprise)
posted by IAmBroom at 2:20 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Imagine the kind of tips he could get with a unit that someone could literally do chin-ups on.)

Oh, my. Now I can't not imagine that.
posted by asperity at 2:26 PM on June 10, 2011


Opinion: in any kind of society you have the problem of the mind controlling mutants. They have way too much power with respect to effort and i kind of think they'd form their own society based around complete and total access to anyone elses' head, which makes them a dangerous, creepy subculture to deal with and they would be really sought by govtbusiness.

Mightygodking wrote something aout Saturn Girl that I thought fits, she sees nothing wrong with erasing memories or brain locking people or Anything, Cuse she's from a World where everyone is a Telepath, so these is no issue of intent in their legal system, brains are open books and you can decide what is best for everyone and just do it and then be judged. There is never an issue of motive or free will. Everyone just knows.

So besides the occasional earth shattering mutant who can devour stars, the real issue is a society of amoral mind readers who don't think the rules apply to them.
posted by The Whelk at 2:28 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I haven't gotten around to seeing the Wolverine movie. Every time I feel the urge, I watch the Wolverine: the Musical trailer instead.
posted by asperity at 2:30 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


So besides the occasional earth shattering mutant who can devour stars

This right here would seem to be the true danger of nuclear weapons. Not that they blow things up on their own, but that they release Magic Rays that can turn people into galaxy-eaters.
posted by JHarris at 2:47 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many normal human construction jobs does Colossus replace? One.

The internet tells me that colossus can lift 100 tons. He also has some kind of superhuman endurance. That's a lot of power.

Let's put him in a generator and give him a piston to push. Let's say he can move the piston back and forth 1m every 2 seconds, applying a force equivalent to lifting a 100 ton weight. Let's also assume he can apply the same force pulling the piston back down. Thumbnail calculation tells me that he'd be putting out just a bit shy of a megawatt of power. Pessimistically, let's say that he can hand-power a 500 kW generator. At 5 cents per kW/h he's making $2500 an hour. Quite a lot of that would need to go to generator maintenance, but he's clearly not going to go broke.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:08 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


How could anyone with extraordinary psychic abilities, let alone anyone who knew even the slightest about Magneto's personal history, make such an unforgivable error in strategy?

Maybe Charles has zero experience trying to be tactful with someone whose mind he can't read?
posted by straight at 4:21 PM on June 10, 2011


Actually, I found Origins: Wolverine quite entertaining. It's internally consistent, Sabertooth's and Wolverine's personalities and motivations are well-established (Liev Schreiber is excellent), Cyclops has a redemptive moment to balance the character's utter inanity in the earlier films, and Gambit, possibly my favorite X-man of all, is introduced in a neat little seedy gambling-hall sequence.

I did miss Magneto (any film is made better by the introduction of Sir Ian McKellan), and Duke and John Wraith (aka Kestrel, played by Will.i.am) annoyed the hell out of me, but it wasn't long until they met their untimely demise, so it's all good as far as I'm concerned.


I agree that Schreiber was far and away the best thing about the movie, and it frustrated me to think how his performance was mostly wasted in a pretty typical Hollywood action flick. Jackman was reliably good, but the script was a mess. It totally mucked up two awesome characters. Also, Gambit happens to be my favorite X-Man as well, and I was pretty underwhelmed by his portrayal. And by the end of the movie, they're just cramming in as many mutants as they can for no other reason than blatant fan service. Cyclops! Guardian and Vindicator! Emma Frost! And then there's the terrible, digitally altered cameo by Patrick Stewart at the end. (In fact, the best thing First Class did was pretty much ignore Emma's appearance and Charles' crippling in Origins, which the newer movie totally contradicts.)
posted by Rangeboy at 5:17 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reading my previous comment, I feel compelled to point out that I have, in fact, kissed a girl before. Really.
posted by Rangeboy at 5:19 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


At 5 cents per kW/h he's making $2500 an hour.

This is beyond nerdy, but why when you can just buy or rent a standardized diesel generator that can run 24/7 for an extended period of time? Especially you'd have to build a custom 500kW generator for him to crank and it connect to the rest of your standardized electrical system. I'd say the obvious job for someone like Colossus would involve something like emergency hazmat operations where you can't buy the hardware "off the shelf," would probably need to destroy it afterward if you did, and having a real person look around to assess the situation would be invaluable.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:46 PM on June 10, 2011


"Starfleet Medical forbids the use of transporters to cure all injuries, diseases, or provide immortality. For some reason."

Or to transport babies out of the uterus when their mothers are having them unexpectedly during cliffhanger episodes.
posted by emjaybee at 5:52 PM on June 10, 2011


Or to transport babies out of the uterus when their mothers are having them unexpectedly during cliffhanger episodes.

They had too much trouble with malfunctions resulting in babies with goatees.
posted by JHarris at 5:58 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd say the obvious job for someone like Colossus would involve something like emergency hazmat operations where you can't buy the hardware "off the shelf," would probably need to destroy it afterward if you did, and having a real person look around to assess the situation would be invaluable.

Colossus doesn't need to breathe either.
posted by Scoo at 6:00 PM on June 10, 2011


but he does have a casino where women walk around in their underwear, if that's your thing

that is indeed my thing, hoorays!
posted by elizardbits at 7:01 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I think that, with all the time they spend in and around the water, they'd have been better off with someone who can control sharks rather than the weather guy, who seemed a bit derivative of Storm.)

I'm pretty sure no one has ever been better off with Aquaman than [some other superhero].

At 5 cents per kW/h he's making $2500 an hour.

And he just pushes a piston all day, and he has the temperament of an artist...which means he'd do it for about a day or two, tops, anytime he needed the money, in between working as a painter or anything else somewhat less utterly soul-crushing. You and Mightygodking both seem to be imagining that mutants wouldn't have much free will to decide their own fates, that their job would be entirely determined by the invisible hand of the market or the not-so-invisible-hands of government coercion (which seems like it would require other mutants willing to do the coercing, in many cases, and there you go down the Civil War storyline sidetrack...hey, speaking of Mightygodking...).

Agreed with other posters that the big problem is the telepaths, particularly the ones capable of mind control like Professor X. I imagine that any telepath strong enough (barring the ones of a saintly/extremely idealistic disposition) would more-or-less permanently seize control of a bunch of followers, basically putting themselves in charge of a hive mind. The introduction of telepaths into the human race would basically turn us from individuals to something more like ant hives; I expect even the "nicer" telepaths like Xavier, who like to allow autonomy generally, might step in to prevent one of "their people" from getting swallowed up into some other telepath's hive/group.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:38 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


In fact, the best thing First Class did was pretty much ignore Emma's appearance and Charles' crippling in Origins, which the newer movie totally contradicts.

Agreed with regard to Emma Frost. But I chose to view Xavier's digitally altered walking cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the telepathically implanted image of Xavier that he projected into Cyclops' and the other young mutants' minds, which explains why bald Xavier walked and why he just looked wrong. This illusion comforts me.

I am a girl who has in fact been kissed as well! Really!
posted by misha at 8:42 PM on June 10, 2011


I don't think (MeFi's own?) Law & the Multiverse has taken on this particular aspect, but there's a few items in their labor law category. (1st post is about X-Men movie, contains spoilers; which is why I've only skimmed it.)

Yep, definitely MeFi's own. Our series on mutants and anti-discrimination laws (parts one, two, and three) is probably of interest here as well.
posted by jedicus at 8:43 PM on June 10, 2011


And he just pushes a piston all day, and he has the temperament of an artist...which means he'd do it for about a day or two, tops, anytime he needed the money, in between working as a painter or anything else somewhat less utterly soul-crushing.

What exactly is the temperament of an artist? Because most of the ones I know either have full time day job and then come home and do art or are hustling their ass off in a crappy economy just to put a roof over their head.

As to Colossus, in the comics he grew up on a Russian farm. Hard work was not unfamiliar concept. Being invulnerable, super strong and having no need to eat, drink or breathe could make him useful in any number of ways. He's probably enjoy operating some scientific equipment or sensors in places humans couldn't survive, such as the edge of volcanoes, underwater or the south pole. He'd be really useful in constructing space stations, all that strength, yet not needing a space suit.

Doing of the above would give him lots of visual images and he'd be able to command a high price for his unique abilities. Yet Colossus enjoys doing things for the greater good, so he'd probably do a lot of charity work or stuff to help out somewhere.

I am a guy and I've done a helluva lot more than kiss a woman.
We played video games!!!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:17 PM on June 10, 2011


Don't disagree with you on any particular point, Brandon Blatcher - but note that operating scientific equipment in places humans couldn't survive and doing charity work are a lot different (and a lot more interesting) from the previous example of pushing a piston to generate electricity. Which seemed to me to be a bit like putting Quicksilver on a hamster wheel; the guy's got those powers, and you think he's gonna do that, just because it would pay well?

As for the temperament of an artist, well, I know a lot of artists too, and they, too have day jobs or rock the starving artist stereotype (or both), but the vast majority of them would drop their day-job (or scale back to 6 hours a week or something) in a cocaine heartbeat to concentrate on their art if they could (without starving, etc.).

In other words, what I'm getting at is: I can definitely see Colossus being a rescue worker, or an artist, or an explorer - based on what he felt like doing. I can't see him pushing an electricity-generating piston for 40 hours a week, just because that's what his mutant powers seem to ideally suit him for in some sort of bizarro X-Men-vs-Ayn-Rand crossover universe.

Is the disclaimer really necessary? Something something post-sexist something grumble something. Not only have I kissed a woman, I've also (gasp!) talked about superheroes with women! :P

But I chose to view Xavier's digitally altered walking cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the telepathically implanted image of Xavier that he projected into Cyclops' and the other young mutants' minds, which explains why bald Xavier walked and why he just looked wrong.

I definitely like this. (It's not gonna get me to forgive them for Deadpool though.) Although it was pointed out to me that Xavier does some walking around in flashbacks in Last Stand as well, not sure that works quite so well. Of course on the list of reasons to declare Last Stand non-canon I guess that might be pretty low.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:45 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


This whole thread makes me want to see the X-Men tackle a supervillain called The Economist, btw. (Or possibly Econo-man?) I just can't figure out what powers they'd have, the ability to make vague and mostly inaccurate predictions doesn't seem quite sufficient. Maybe a telepathic ability to cause mass panic for no particular reason?
posted by mstokes650 at 11:02 PM on June 10, 2011


Yes, it's marketing for a movie, but it also raises an interesting question. What do we do with the beginnings of speciation?

There's a good reason why there's only one species currently in Genus Homo. We have killed off everything that competes with us in our environmental niche. The evidence is obviously messy and very difficult to parse, but we've all heard of Neanderthals. There have been a huge number of near-humans or parallel branches in the seven-or-so million years since we came down from the trees onto the African plains. Humans have left Africa time and time again - but only the group that left 70,000 years ago exists today.

Every time our direct ancestors came across another species occupying our environmental niche (something like: hunter gatherer, "jogging hunter", pastoralist etc.) we eliminated them in very short order. Who knows how? I expect and guess it would be the usual tribal behaviour you see in kids; "you're in our valley now" "you took that food, that was going to be my food, you have to pay" etc. etc. Once the funny-looking people who have the best part of the valley provided us with enough excuses to make it worth the effort, our ability to work in larger groups has worked out as a success factor every time. We either over-run the "other" or we simply eat everything they rely on, stressing their group into extinction.

So how does that relate to a group that is speciating inside modern, urban humanity? My thoughts run like this:

If they can form *better* groups - we're screwed. This seems to be the bit that we lucked into, that gives us the advantage over the (serially extinct) other races of Genus Homo. I don't know what better means in this context - my human brain and my limited experience of other sentient species hampers me here. I'm kind-a-sort-a thinking of the most social person you could imagine... remembers everyone they've ever met. Releases pheromones so you always feel good around them. Makes you feel like you are a really important person when they are listening to you. Kind of a super-cooperator? The kind of person who makes you feel good when you conform to their needs - like helping them meet and marrying more of their kind...

If they have visibly different abilities (e.g. superpowers), then *they* are screwed. We'll form up against the "other", just like we have every time and we'll make sure they are so stressed and hassled that they don't get a successful breeding programme or colony going. The evidence shows we've done it before over and over again. We always make sure that the "other" has no chance for peace and quiet. The X-Men stories are not the beginnings of a new species - they are the end, as we isolate and pressure them in a variety of ways to stop breeding and finally go extinct.

One final thought. A recent realisation is that jogging is one of our very specialised abilities that gives us a huge advantage over other predators. We can literally run our prey to ground, heat-stressing them into being unable to resist our group hunting style (plenty of men with sharp sticks). While the deer has evolved to run for a short while to evade the lion, it can't keep it up for hour after hour like we can - we simply keep going with our efficient thermal regulation and our weird muscle composition until the deer collapses from heat stress. This certainly wasn't taught in school as the reason we are so successful, it's a relatively new realisation.

Jogging doesn't provide us with any advantage at all as an urban species - but what weird adaptation could you have that *would* give an advantage to an urban competitor species? Vampirism? Psychopaths-with-empathy?

Surely something we *haven't* thought of will be the bit that points to that critical change. The change that created a new species in Genus Homo?
posted by Hugh Routley at 1:03 AM on June 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


What if you can do that for real, I mean not in a comic book world but in the real world.
posted by Authorized User at 2:14 AM on June 11, 2011


Which seemed to me to be a bit like putting Quicksilver on a hamster wheel; the guy's got those powers, and you think he's gonna do that, just because it would pay well?

Not exactly, but like I said Colossus, at least as written in the comics, was big on doing for the general good. Plus he was into weight lifting, so it's easy for me to imagine he'd be quite wiling to turn the generator for a couple of hours a day. Make it a generator for a small town and he gets free room and board and small stipend and he'll probably be thrilled.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:21 AM on June 11, 2011


Wolverine? Oh, the medical experiments that could be performed, though there's lots of pesky ethical questions. Good luck on getting him strapped to the bed though.

If it's anything like what the vivisectionist did to Tempus in Thieve's World, they better make sure the straps hold, cause Wolverine is gonna be pissed.

Whaa? Come on, you're joking.

Behold!


WTF.
posted by homunculus at 10:13 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


All of this is predicated on mutants being really rare and high-powered mutants even rarer. Less then one percent of the population, if mutation can be transmitted via genes, you end up with mutant gene banks and favoriable powers spread out, maybe less strong, maybe less extensive, but soon everyone is super so no one is super.

Or you end up with the mutant elite.
posted by The Whelk at 10:48 AM on June 11, 2011


Or the Jersey Shore, but with telepaths and shapeshifters.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:33 AM on June 11, 2011


Ha! I remember some review in ...I wanna say Suck about the first X Men movie, saying it didn't go far enough cause all our media stars are basically mutants to begin with.
posted by The Whelk at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2011


^ In an all-mutant society, the mind controllers would almost inevitably end up running things. They would probably rationalize it on the basis that everyone else was paranoid about them and that they either had to run the whole show or be wiped out, but they'd do it

Several months ago, I determined that if there was a secret society running the world, they're fucking up in a BIG way. (ipso facto the George W. Bush Presidency, the Republican party, Fox News, U.S. Tax Law, U.S. Energy Policy, U.S. Health Care, etc.)

If, in fact, there *is* a coordinated conspiracy, the way they're running things will certainly lead to the destruction of sentience on the planet, unless the overlords have a back-door strategy they're not telling us about.
posted by vhsiv at 5:17 PM on June 11, 2011


In other words, what I'm getting at is: I can definitely see Colossus being a rescue worker, or an artist, or an explorer - based on what he felt like doing. I can't see him pushing an electricity-generating piston for 40 hours a week, just because that's what his mutant powers seem to ideally suit him for in some sort of bizarro X-Men-vs-Ayn-Rand crossover universe.

Well, let's face it - X-Men characters are pretty much defined by their powers, so personality and aspirations in life are always going to line up. That's why we don't much hear about Superstremgth guy doomed to push pistons all day instead of being a brainsurgeon. Well, there's a touch of that in all the mutant angst, but it's all crafted rather than arbitary.

Plus it's set in a superhero universe, where dressing funny and fighting crime totally makes sense, where in our world it totally doesn't, so applying all kinds of real world stuff to isn't necessarily helpful.
posted by Artw at 5:31 PM on June 11, 2011


Several months ago, I determined that if there was a secret society running the world, they're fucking up in a BIG way.

Well it depends on what their goals are. If it's to generate enormous wealth for a chosen few, they're getting an A+.

Plus it's set in a superhero universe, where dressing funny and fighting crime totally makes sense, where in our world it totally doesn't, so applying all kinds of real world stuff to isn't necessarily helpful.

Actually a superhero universe doesn't make much sense at all. Adding real world stuff makes it more interesting. Can you imagine what North Korea would be like if it had a Storm and Magneto? Or hell, what if Storm was American and decide to make beautiful weather for just the states, turning it in the literal bread basket of the world? The reaction of the rest of the world would be interesting to say the least.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:47 PM on June 11, 2011


Those are the sort of story that always work best in limited series, because once you start pulling at that string, and start accepting logical consequences, it all comes apart rather quickly.
posted by Artw at 6:09 PM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those are the sort of story that always work best in limited series, because once you start pulling at that string, and start accepting logical consequences, it all comes apart rather quickly.

Well, you've just nailed the problem with comics: they never end, so you can't get a story without going through logical contortions to ignore the past history written by 50 different writers.

That and comics is smash and grab operation, tell a halfway decent enough story, rake in the cash and move on, future planning be damned.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:20 PM on June 11, 2011


Well, that's more long running shared world continuities whose characters represent some highly branded IP that is more or less immutable due to commercial considerations, rather than comics as such.
posted by Artw at 6:29 PM on June 11, 2011


On further thought, maybe or maybe not. Cerebus was long running and far from a highly branded IP, but it become fairly incomprehensible.

The problem may simply be long form stories. Trying to tell a coherent story over decades presents problems. Luckily coherent doesn't have much to do with profitable.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:47 PM on June 11, 2011


Brandon Blatcher:Can you imagine what North Korea would be like if it had a Storm and Magneto?

Like David Dunn and Elijah Price? Was Shyalaman a prophet, after all?

(Honestly, M. Night oughtta have stuck with the literary metaphors and abandoned the twist endings and f'ed-up genre mash-ups.)
posted by vhsiv at 8:18 PM on June 11, 2011


applying all kinds of real world stuff to isn't necessarily helpful.

Well, sure, but that pretty much kills the whole thread and the links it's based on. Not really helpful, no, but interesting (in an endless nerd-debate like Pirates-vs.-Ninjas sort of way).

Much like a lot of David Lynch movies, individual elements make sense even if the whole thing taken together is tough to make sense of. Individual scenes, individual characters, etc., can be transferred to a more "realistic" setting pretty much intact (as evidenced by the movies, really) if you're choosy enough.

And then you can have the nerdy arguments about what should be transferred and how it could be transferred and what it'd look like when it got there.

It's a fair point though, that X-Men (like oh-so-many fictional characters) tend to be easily able to be summed up in a sentence or so, maybe a paragraph tops, covering all their powers and their complete personality (come to think of it, somewhere in storage I have a binder full of Marvel superhero trading cards from the early 90s which did exactly that on the back of each one...heh, I hadn't thought about those in years), which does make the list of what jobs they'd do or not do a little bit unrealistically fixed.

Trying to tell a coherent story over decades presents problems.

To keep running with our arbitrarily chosen example, try making sense of the Marvel wiki page on Colossus. I think you're right that it's a long-form and/or multiple author problem rather than just the strictly commercial nature of things that causes the problems, though. Though I expect the constant need to do something bigger and more spectacular than the previous stuff in order to sell more comics is a compounding factor.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:30 PM on June 11, 2011


Um, actually-filter:

It's pretty well established the being a "mutant" in the Marvel Universe is different than being what a scientist would call a "mutant" in our world. Mutants in the MU have a so-called "x-gene" which grants them their amazing abilities. (How a gene allows a person to shoot concussive blasts from their eyes or control the weather is never really explained).

How the x-gene is spread among populations is not really clearly explained either. The number of named and unnamed mutants in the MU seemed to exponentially expand over the years. At one point there's a whole nation of mutants controlled by Magneto (Genosha), but they blew that up, or something. There were so many mutants that Marvel had to invent an event (The Decimation) to seriously reduce the number of mutants.

In addition to the ancient Lupine mutants and the ancient Egyptian En Sabah Nur (aka Apocalypse) there's also angelic/demonic line of mutants. Nightcrawler (RIP) is descended from the demonic line (his dad, Azazel, is in X-men: First Class) and Angel (Warren Worthington III that is, not Angel from First Class) is descended from the angelic line. They've been fighting some ancient blah, blah war since the dawn of mankind or something.

It was always my understanding that the mutant population exploded because of atmospheric atomic tests in the fifties (and Stan Lee's desire not to have to make up a new origin for every character), so it doesn't make a lot of sense that these other "mutants" have been around for thousands of years.

They have done some storylines with mutated characters weren't actually capital M mutants but just your standard human mutation with no x-gene. There were also mutants in Genosha with the x-gene who didn't have any flashy powers and so were on the bottom of mutant society. If your power is that you can grow your index finger extra long and everyone else can fly you're pretty much on the bottom of the heap.

I would love to see a good run of x-comics where the United States, fearing a group of people with enough power between them to level whole cities, doesn't attack them or try to arrest them, but just seeds the air around Utopia (currently floating in the San Francisco Bay where I could see it from work if I lived in the MU) with the mutant "cure" of which many have appeared over the years. Then you just have a long run of comics dealing with these characters as characters, not as power sets with a thin veneer of attitude.

Then, when that gets boring, make with the pewpew and the snikt and bamf (RIP again).
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:38 AM on June 12, 2011


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