New Mutants-Vember: Bottom 5 New Mutants Members
You know how every action has an equal and opposite reaction? Well, every list of favorite team members has an equal and opposite list of characters I don’t like. I apologize if it’s a bit heavy with DeFilippis/Weir characters, but remember what I said about it being hit or miss; my absolute favorite characters they handled will be largely addressed next week, when I talk about everyone’s favorite frenemy team, the Hellions.
5. Wither: He has the rare distinction of being one of two Hellions I dislike as well. He’s one of those characters whose whole schtick is the reason the X-Men franchise has a reputation for wangst; yes, his powers sucked, but that was literally all there was to him – he had destructive powers & he hated them. He was so absorbed into hating them that he failed to notice when something not crappy (i.e. Mercury was inexplicably smitten with him) was approaching him, and he only went along with Selene because all she cared about were his powers, which were all he was defined as & all that both the character and the writers let him be. He was a flat, boring, angst basket of the worst order, and I’m glad Necrosha killed him off.
4. Elixir: He actually pisses me off because he had a really interesting backstory – he began as an anti-mutant bigot who turned out to be targeted by his ex-allies after his powers revealed. He made some early attempts at addressing this past, and then it all got shelved for the fucking “hot for teacher” soap opera. After his girlfriend was killed off, he became the new resident angst basket on the team and was wholly unlikable in his constant brooding. Granted, the book itself had become super dark at times, but this was also the era where Pixie rose to greatness because she could make people hallucinate unicorns, so it’s not like there’s no room for levity. Putting him on the shelf after Necrosha might give the character a fresh start after a deserved break, however, so we’ll see.
3. Gosamyr: This character is a misogynist’s delight. She was basically Charma without the “hatred in all women” part of the power equation, and she did that her damn self by setting her female teammates against each other for no other reason than “that’s what I’m supposed to do”. While I could see where the writer wanted to baby-step her towards growing & maturing, she wasn’t around long enough to really get that far. She always felt like a female equivalent of Empath, but since she was created in the run where we were suddenly supposed to see the only truly evil Hellion as a poor widdle boy, the failure to realize just how toxic she was sadly isn’t surprising.
2. Sunspot: Until the D/W run, here was my absolute least favorite character. I never like the “alpha jock” personality type in any fiction, and Sunspot was always a particularly bad example of it. The defining “fuck you, bad character” moment is during the “Mutant Massacre”, when he pitches a fit about the dying Morlocks in the next room keeping him from getting enough attention from his teacher. Yes, sorry the massive number of dead & dying is keeping you from kissing up. It wasn’t just that – Doug’s death was all about him, Juliana’s death was all about him, Inferno’s aftermath was all about him, it just kept going. Add to that his habit of macking on any & all ladies (with the only success being Gosamyr), and yeah, he’s not the kind of character I’m going to like. It’s annoying because his family background was actually potentially interesting, since his disgust at his parents’ ambitions trumping their supposed ethics led him to estrange himself. Still, I’ll give him this much – dude probably had every episode of Magnum PI committed to memory.
1. Surge: Ugh, this waste of space. The first thing she does is harass her roommate – an Afghani refugee – about wearing her niqab & bully her by blaring rap music to intentionally “totally stick it” to her. Before that, we were introduced to her as a generic drug-addled homeless person who miraculously sobered up without any sort of withdrawal and cleaned up into a wardrobe of tube tops & cargo pants. Yet people love Surge – the writers (not just her creators) keep trying to sell her as a great hero, fans keep saying she’s a “dynamic new addition” without explaining why, and now people want her in Young Avengers. NO. STOP IT. The only writer that looked past the veneer of authorial favoritism to see what kind of character Surge really is was Christos Gage, who wrote her as the confrontational & antagonistic ass she always was. At least Sunspot’s flaws made him occasionally interesting, whereas the only story that would be interesting with Surge is if she fought Empath & he took her out with a bout of the DTs. I’m sorry, having kewl blue hair doesn’t redeem the fact that she was unlikable immediately and never redeemed that except by fighting really good. X-Men is a character-centric franchise, and there’s no room for a character whose only positive hook is anime hair.
- Magma: Ever have one of those characters who looks really neat but just doesn’t generate a reaction in you at all except for being involved in bad soap opera plots? Here’s their queen. I don’t hate her because “Nova Roma is silly, hurr hurr” (after all, if you’re okay with Limbo, you should be okay with a lost Roman colony), but she just leaves me cold. Which is odd, because her made-of-lava look is anything but boring. Maybe it’s because she was the main girl for a lot of romance plots for a stretch?
- Icarus: If I need to explain why this character is awful, then I can’t help you. Let’s just say that even though D/W tried, they could never wash away the stench of Chuck Austen.