One of Marvel Comics’ most popular and iconic franchise characters are the X-Men. Created in 1963 by writer Stan Lee and artist/co-writer Jack Kirby, and achieving mainstream success in the 1990’s thanks to their successful Saturday morning cartoon show on Fox Kids in the 1990’s, this sub-species of humans who are born with superhuman abilities and who fight for peace and equality between normal humans and mutants in a world where antimutant bigotry is fierce and widespread, are among the most recognizable and lucrative intellectual properties of Marvel Comics, appearing in numerous books, television shows, films, and video games…..
….Just not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the cries of a million fanboys can be heard across the cosmos.
Why not, you may ask? It’s because of the ongoing tug-of-war between Disney/Marvel and 20th Century Fox, who currently hold the film rights to the mutants.
“The X-Men are OURS! We created them! Hand them over! We want to cross them over with the Guardians of the Galaxy!”
-“No, they’re OURS! You gave the rights away! No take-backs! We need the mutants! The Simpsons aren’t funny anymore!”
Fox isn’t about to relinquish the rights to the X-Men Franchise as long as their films are putting butts into seats, but Disney/Marvel wants to use them real bad. They have had to bite their tongues about it so much that their tongues look like a dog’s chew toy. In the first 2 seasons of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., whenever someone would debunk psychics as being fake, what they were really saying was:
“We can’t reference the X-Men because 20th Century Fox still holds the movie rights.”
Unable to utilize the muties for the MCU, Marvel has turned its’ attention to another sub-species of super-powered individuals, The Inhumans.
For those who don’t know, the Inhumans are are a fictional race of superhumans which first appeared in Fantastic Four #45 (December 1965), though members Medusa and Gorgon appeared in earlier issues of that series (#36 and #44, respectively). Their comic book series has usually focused more specifically on the adventures of the Inhuman Royal Family, and many people associate the name “Inhumans” with this particular team of super-powered characters. Their home, the city of Attilan, is described as the home of a race existing alongside of humans that was evolutionarily advanced when human beings were still in the Stone Age.
Since Marvel can’t use the X-Men, they’ve subsequently introduced Inhumans into the the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and they will also be featured in the film Inhumans, set for release on July 12, 2019.
But wait, there’s more: in the comics, there has recently been a story arc which begins with a Terrigen Bomb (the principal Inhumans were given their special powers due to experimentation with a mutagenic Terrigen Mist — a process known as Terrigenesis) going off and spreading Terrigen Mist all over the place. This mist has begun sterilizing Earth’s existing mutants as well as preventing humans from giving birth to new mutants, basically spelling the extinction of the mutant race, and this same mist has started created new Inhumans in various places, thus effectively making Inhumans the new Mutants. Marvel must be figuring “If WE can’t have the mutants, then NO ONE can!”
“WHAT? Ah finally git muh powers under control so ah can finally go on a date with a fella without puttin’ him in a coma, an’ now they’re tryin’ to wipe us out in favor of Black Bolt’s crew?? Now, don’t that just churn your butter?!”
-Now it’s worth mentioning that mutants have faced near-extinction in the comics before; the Legacy Virus and the House of M storyline, to name only 2 examples, so this whole mess could easily be undone with a corporate meeting and a universe-sweeping retcon, but if Marvel is truly planning to change the rules regarding their super-freaks and remake their mutant population, then I’d like to offer some suggestions of my own. Just some things I’d personally like to see altered regarding the Mutant/Inhuman (or whatever they end up calling them) over at Marvel.
- TOO MANY MUTANTS
I don’t think Mutants/Inhumans need to go away, but I definitely feel the mutant herd needs to be thinned out considerably. For a time in the comics, there were so many mutants in the Marvel Universe that not only were there 2 X-Men teams (Blue and Gold), but there were also numerous offshoot mutant teams: X-Force, X-Factor, Excalibur, Generation X, X-Treme, X-Perts, X-Rays, X-Thems, X-YZ, X-Marks The Spot…I’d personally do away with all that and just have one single mutant team. Regarding the Inhumans, I like the idea of all the Mutants/Inhumans all coming from a single bloodline or Royal Family; they could all originally reside in one single citadel before being “discovered” by human beings.
Advanced civilization. Advanced technology. Increased rent.
I like that idea a lot more than mutants just being random people who keep popping up all over the globe. After all, if every 10th person on the planet is a mutant, then what’s so special about being an X-Man? I’d also give the Mutant/Imhumans a special mark or royal seal that they’d all bear, like a snazzy tattoo:
Like in ‘Mortal Kombat Annihilation’, only not lame.
The seal could also be a bar code on the back of their necks a la “Dark Angel” (for the 2 of you who remember that show) if you want the mark to be more Mad Science-y. The Inhumans were originally experimented on by the alien Kree, after all.
I’d definitely keep the Mutant/Inhuman race small and self-contained and keep the mutations within the same clique of clans.
“Ever’body on Atillan is kin folk, some in 2 or 3 diff’rent ways. Know whut ah mean?”
2. FIVE ON ONE HAND, HALF OF TEN ON THE OTHER.
Come closer, I’d like to share a little secret I have with you all. Ready? Here it is:
-In it’s current dimensions, I think that the X-Men mythos only really works when mutants are the only super-powered beings on the planet; they don’t really work alongside other super heroes.
T’is true. If you’re really gonna milk the whole “People hate and fear mutants because they’re scared of their powers and worried that they’re gonna take over and turn on humanity, yada yada yada” shtick, then that kind of falls apart once you start adding radioactive spider-men, gamma-radiated green giants, Asgardian gods, serum-augmented super-soldiers, aliens, wizards, and cosmic ray-bombared space explorers into the mix. That then raises questions like “Then don’t people also think Hulk and Spider-Man are mutants?” or “Why don’t people pelt Captain America, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers with rotten fruit?” or “What about Iron Man? How many people are that smart? How do we know that he doesn’t possess an x-gene that increases his intellect tenfold?” To boot, several mutant and non-mutant heroes have the same or similar powers. For example, this is Crystal of Atillan.
She can psionically control the forces of air, earth, fire and water, i.e., controlling the elements.
And this is Storm of the X-Men.
She can mentally command and control the forces of wind, rain, thunder and lighting, i.e., controlling the elements.
-See the problem here?
I say if you’re going to place Mutants/Inhumans alongside other costumed heroes, then you have to make them in some way unique from the other capes.
Here’s my idea: I would establish that the mutants of Atillan would have been exposed to four varieties of Terrigen Mist: yellow, red, green and blue, each one creating 1 of 4 specific varieties of Mutant, inspired by the syndicated series Mutant X. (Bonus points to anyone who saw that show.)
You’d have FERALS, mutants exposed to yellow mist who possess both human and animal DNA: canines, felines, birds, reptiles, amphibians, etc.
“Dino Power! AHH!”
ELEMENTALS, mutants exposed to the green mist, who can manipulate nature: pyrokinietics, cryokinetics, electrokinietics, all the kinetics.
MOLECULARS, mutants exposed to the red mist, who can alter their physical forms and/or defy physical science, i.e., speedsters, shape-shifters, teleporters, etc.
And PSIONICS, mutants exposed to the blue mist. Those would be your telepaths, telekinetics, telempaths, precognitives, intiuitives, technopaths, technokinetics, and New Age nuts.
And Marvel would have to be strict with themselves; the Mutant/Inhumans could only possess power sets in one of these 4 categories or some combination thereof, and no other heroes in the Marvel Universe could possess these same abilities. Heck, why not give the Inhumans unusual-colored skin while we’re at it?
“Rainbow Power, suckas!”
This way, combined with the tattoo thing I mentioned earlier, would be a way to effectively distinguish mutants from all the other caped heroes in the MU.
“Alls I’m sayin’ is you put a mutant an’ a mutate next to each other, an’ I can’t tell ’em apart!”
3. CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
This is the other major thing that’s always bugged me about the X-Men mythos: look, the X-Men have been fighting the good fight since 1963. It’s been 52 years already; shouldn’t mutant/human relations have improved some by now? Even a little? Mutants still have to live in secrecy and can’t walk the streets without getting rotten egged, despite them saving the world countless times. I get that the writers want to keep the angst factor up because they think that’ll sell more books, but that whole things makes no sense. A fellow poster on the interwebz explained it to me once: “Think of it like there’s a cop or a fireman who’s really good at his job and dedicated to helping and protecting to their community, but he/she also happens to be gay or a Muslim. Even though this person does nothing but good for the community and always puts the needs of other people before his/herself, there are still those who don’t trust this person due to their being Muslim or gay or whatever.” I get that, but that theory falls apart because in the Marvel universe, no one would let a mutant be a cop or a fireman in the first place. If it were me, I’d have humans for the most part learn to co-exist with mutants. Sure, there’d still be bigots who wouldn’t trust them and bad muties who want to take over, but for the most part, humans and mutants would be able to peacefully live alongside of one another with few difficulties. It’d be like on The Super Hero Squad Show; yes, I’m drawing inspiration from a parody kids’ cartoon.
-That’s what I’d do, anyway. I do feel that there should be some form of mutants in the MCU, as they represent something which no other comic book superheroes represent: the nature and stupidity of prejudice. Everyone has felt isolated from society in some way, shape or form, be they black, white, Latino, Jewish, Muslim, LGBT or whatever, and X-Men speaks to that. So I’m sure there will always be some form of mutants in Marvel, even with some alterations made to them, and with different names and identities.
“‘Cept for me, bub! Mutant, Inhuman, potato, po-tah-to. As long as I’m bein’ worshiped by the fanboys and keep on eatin’, sweatin’ and bleedin’ money fer Marvel, the Ol’ Canuckle Head ain’t goin’ anywhere! The fans would chew their own arms off ta see me in the next Avengers movie!”