Characters Appearing: Angel, Beast, Candy Southern, Chris Larmouth, Cloud, Dolly Donahue, Gargoyle (Defender), Iceman, Moondragon, Senator Kelly
Issue(s): Defenders #142
The Beast is back on his college lecture circuit, and he's brought Iceman and Cloud along with him. The students at this campus are enlightened and against the current wave of anti-mutant bigotry, and have organized a protest of Senator Robert Kelly, who is appearing at the school. Kudos to Kelly for appearing in front of a hostile audience and making what, in real life, would be legitimate points.
Also at the school is a young mutant. His powers are not super-hero material: he's got six fingers (which helps him play the piano really well)...
...and he sees on the infa-red spectrum.
He also seemingly has super-strength, but that turns out to be due to an exo-skeleton rigged up by some of his classmates, because his mutant "powers" are also degenerative. The Defenders find out about the exo-skeleton when the mutant, Adrian Castorp, attacks Kelly in an ill-conceived protest, and Cloud stops him with a bolt of lightning.
Afterward, the Beast, who was earlier admonished by Castorp for being a clown, helps the students form MONSTER (Mutants Only Need Sensitivity, Tolerance, and Equal Rights).
According to the Marvel Appendix, MONSTER resurfaces in a Generation X novel, of all places.
There's a number of other good downtime scene in this book as well, as Angel comes to grips with the damage done to Chris Larmouth in the previous storyline, Iceman tries to resolve his problems with Clouds dual genders, Gargoyle hangs out with Dolly, and Moondragon struggles with some inner demons.
As always, this is a good book. Gillis' run is underrated, but here he's doing a good job addressing mutant themes more directly than the X-Books, without resorting to Sentinel attacks or future dystopias. Gillis' single-issue stories are sometimes a little trite due to the number of characters and themes he has to introduce and still reach a satisfying resolution, but on balance this one works.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Bobby makes a note of "strange weather" and funny-smelling wind. There's a footnote to "current issues of ROM". Since the Defenders actually appear in the Wraith War and there's nothing after ROM #65-66 that this could be referring to, this issue has to take place before the Wraith War. The problem is that Moondragon is in her old costume (with headband) in ROM #65, but we'll have to chalk that up to a fashion choice. She is seen throwing up in this issue, so maybe her new costume got dirty.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Those aren't really good points. A person isn't an H-bomb. It can't be a crime to exist. The first X-Men movie handled it well.
"We license people to drive."
"Yes, but not to live."
Posted by: Paul | May 29, 2012 9:45 PM
In retrospect, i guess i'm too easily influenced by politicians. ;-)
I think what i meant to say is that in the real world, a lot of people would agree with Kelly, not that i actually agreed with him.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 29, 2012 10:29 PM
I'm actually going to support some of the concerns of Senator Kelly here, because I think people are way to flippant about there not being a need to do something to prepare for a possible mutant armaggedon.
And while we don't license people to live, we certainly register a whole lot of people. Sex offenders are registered. Foreigners are registered if they want to live in the country. You're registered if you want a firearm. The government does this because there are people who need to have a minimum background check on, or need to keep track of.
One thing that has never been brought up (to my knowledge), that I always thought should have been in the X-Men comics is some obvious "bad" kook who makes wild accusations that mutants have secretly taken control of important defense industries, government research stations, business, government, etc. And then have the well meaning liberal "good" guy - the analogue for the typical reader - write it off as paranoid ramblings.
Except of course, the kook is right. He's not describing a paranoid, false scenario. He's describing the actual Marvel Universe where the Hellfire Club and Mystique have done just that.
Wouldn't it be good to know before you enter business with Frost Technologies that Emma Frost is a high level telepath who is probably stealing your business secrets and mind controlling you to sign bad business contracts?
Or that someone is keeping track of Mesmero or Mastermind, and that they've been known to use their powers for perverted mind controlled sex?
Or that the person pushing through Sentinel authorization and whose company has key contracts to the Sentinel program is himself a mutant?
Or that underneath the sewers of New York there exists a hidden community of dangerous mutants who abducts people and horribly disfigures them, kidnap children, and try to force young teenage girls into marriage with people they don't know?
What would be the reaction of people in the Marvel Universe if this information was revealed? What would be your reaction? What if it was your business that was ruined by Emma Frost, or your daughter mind controlled by Mesmero, or your child abducted by the Morlocks?
Senator Kelly's response would likely seem moderate in comparison - and of course, he was himself targeted for assassination!
Obviously, there are civil rights concerns, and there is a danger that bad things happening. But it seems to me that legitimate solutions to those concerns can be met. Simply dismissing those concerns is arrogant and dangerously naive.
Posted by: Chris | June 1, 2012 9:55 PM
Sex offenders are registered BECAUSE THEY'VE COMMITTED CRIMES. They've done something wrong. Your example would only be valid if we registered every single person who admitted to having sexual attraction to children as a sex offender, regardless of whether or not he intended to act on it. Which we certainly do not.
Again - sex offenders are criminals. They've committed crimes. And even as it is, even with that, there is a large contingent that believes even they shouldn't have to register. And honestly they have a pretty compelling argument.
Emma Frost's powers are her powers, just as any other business person's powers are his powers. She's not cheating, she's using what she's been given to get ahead. Rich people do it every day. You can't justifiably outlaw such things just because the playing field no longer favors you and your pals as it always has - mutancy, at least, is truly democratic.
As for all the villains and other mutants you name, those things you mentioned are CRIMES. In themselves. You deal with them as crimes, if you deal with them at all. I don't see what the confusion here is.
You don't seem concerned with civil rights at all. I can probably accurately guess your real-life politics based on that post. It's people like you who allow the military-industrial complex to continue humming, and TSA screeners to molest grandmothers.
Posted by: Paul | June 5, 2012 2:12 AM
I mostly agree with Paul, but i'm not as quick to dismiss the point Chris raises about Emma Frost. If i were physically forced to sign a contract by a big guy, that would be illegal and i'd have recourse to the law - it doesn't matter that your 250lb frame was a "natural" ability. The fact that Frost could do the same thing mentally, and i wouldn't even know about it, is problematic.
It's a good debate. I do agree with Chris that in the comics it's generally been skewed towards one side, and i appreciate him making a case for the opposite side (and doing a better job than Senator Kelly here). But, personally, i do agree with Paul that in most cases existing law, or maybe registration only for those who have criminally abused their powers, would suffice.
That said, let's keep this discussion civil. I am confident in predicting that Chris is not pro-grandma molestation.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 5, 2012 9:23 AM
I notice Paul doesn't bother addressing that 2 of the 3 groups I mentioned haven't committed crimes. If a firearm is dangerous enough that a background check is necessary, why not someone who could be potentially more dangerous? Does Paul believe firearms don't need to be registered?
Again, there are lots of registrations that occur that have nothing to do with people being criminals. Birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports. You get finger printed for any number of jobs. Some of these are voluntary, some mandatory, some standard practice for everyone.
And the idea that it is OK for Emma Frost to read people's minds or mind control them is just absurd.
Paul says he have a problem with that. Really? What if the government or police hired Emma Frost to read people's minds to find criminals? Does Paul have a problem with that? I'm pretty sure he would.
Paul is also inconsistent. He first says there is no problem with Emma Frost using her powers, and then he says its an example of a crime. Which is it?
And not all of my examples are crimes. Sebastian Shaw owning the company producing Sentinels isn't against the law, but wouldn't it be a good example of something that the public has a right to know? Wouldn't that be an important question - why is a mutant building robots to hunt mutants? Is it because he's just civic minded and thinks normal people need a line of defense, or is he fighting some kind of mutant civil war and wants to eliminate a particular function, or does he intend to sabotage the whole project? Aren't these questions important? Shouldn't there be some kind of oversight?
And the other thing, is how do you know some of these crimes are being committed? If Emma Frost reads someone mind how is anyone going to know about?
What's important is to find the right balance between public safety and civil rights.
If Paul read my comments closely, he'd have noticed I wrote things like "some of the concerns" and that there were real concerns with civil rights. But I guess Paul was too busy being hysterically outraged about my comments on a fictional universe.
Anyway, please excuse me, I have to find some grandmother to molest.
BTW, you guessed wrong on my real-life politics.
Posted by: Chris | June 6, 2012 12:27 AM
The major hypocrisy in this is that the X-Men have no problem spying on other mutants using Cerebro, even ones like Kitty and Dazzler that have committed no crimes, and that data has gotten into the wrong hands on multiple occasions, but they always object to proposed Mutant Registration Acts.
Posted by: Michael | June 6, 2012 7:58 AM
Chris Larmouth technically technically appears in this issue. Frozen in a block of ice as Angel broods about his fate.
Posted by: AF | January 10, 2016 4:19 AM
Added Chris. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 10, 2016 4:56 PM
I think the dilemma of super powered registration is much more complex than how Marvel usually presents it, with stories often siding implicitly with anti-registration characters. I was intrigued that they were bringing up the argument again during Civil War, then disappointed again when the pro-registration side started cloning Thor and tossing people into Negative Zone gulags, basically presented themselves as morally compromised. I was eager for a true ethical argument about a totally fantastical situation in between the superpowered slugfests.
Because while we don't license people to live, if this was the real world we wouldn't want to just dismiss the presence of mutants like Proteus or Siena Blaze who could just destroy the world, forget about just their dormitory or city block. I think Senator Kelly has a point that we should be concerned about the kid who has H-bomb powers; I don't know that registration is the answer, but some kind of oversight would be needed.
As Michael posts above, the X-Men basically did this, and was their major function up to at least the Dark Phoenix Saga. When Cerebro would find a new mutant, they went to check the mutant out and offer training, and then Prof X kept tabs on them. What's the difference between that and some kind of registration?
Posted by: Charles Roig | January 13, 2016 5:08 PM
Of course, supposedly Mark Millar intended for the pro-reg side to be the good guys (which is why they end up winning), but Marvel readers and writers were predisposed to think of "registration acts" as a bad thing and Captain America as the Marvel universe's moral center, so the argument was doomed from the start. Perhaps if the main series had been more than a series of slugfests and had spent more time fleshing out the merits of both sides, and if there had been more editorial control, there might have been a more nuanced argument and "whose side are you on?" wouldn't have felt so hollow.
In any case, I don't think "MONSTER" is the best name for a *pro*-mutant organization...
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 26, 2017 8:49 PM
Comments are now closed.
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