Of all the monsters in folklore, vampires are arguably the most popular when it comes to featuring in stories. Readers and writers have constantly been drawn to their dark magnetism and the image of the vampire is well formed. Comics are no different, but there are characters who break the mould, such as Emplate. An enemy of the X-Men, Marius St Croix is an energy vampire that feeds on mutants.
When a comic character is adapted for film, they are often changed to fit the background of a movie. The X-Men franchise has done this for years, and one of the characters who has been altered the most is Mystique. Most recently, the shapeshifting mutant has been played by Jennifer Lawrence, who’s done an admirable job with what she’s been given. But the comic version of Mystique is far more compelling, and here’s a look into her history.
In recent years, the best thing that’s happened to comics is Marvel and DC are being more diverse with their characters. A great example of this is presenting a Pakistani Ms Marvel in Kamala Khan. Another interesting character is Indian mutant Paras Gavaskar. Taking the codename Indra after the Hindu God of war, Paras joined the X-Men to learn how to control his powers. A follower of Jainism, Paras’ faith played a role in his development.
One of the most recognisable things about Wolverine’s character is his healing factor. It’s his primary mutant ability and he can recover from a variety of wounds. Some might assume that his healing factor makes him indestructible, but it’s important to note that Wolverine’s abilities don’t make him immortal. Many times he’s been pushed to the brink and here I take an in-depth look at Wolverine’s healing factor, including what he’s survived and what his limits are.
The X-Men offer some of the most diverse characters in comics, with Gambit being a key member of the group. Many comic fans know him best as the guy who throws cards that explode on contact. Yet Gambit’s powers go much deeper than charging up a pack of playing cards. He has the potential to be one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, and here I explore the Ragin Cajun’s abilities to find out what makes him so explosive.
“It’s a common misconception among humans and even among mutants that we are defined by our powers. Mutation, though, is adaptation. I was born with the power to shape metal. But I was forged into the man I am today. It is my conviction, not my abilities, that make me who I am.” – Magneto
For as long as I’ve been into comics, Magneto has stood out as one of the most fascinating characters in popular culture. His motivations are very relatable and human, so when I came across the Magneto: Reversals graphic novel, I just had to review it. Written by Cullen Bunn, the story centres on the Master of Magnetism’s one-man crusade to protect mutants at all costs. Along the way, he confronts his past as a Holocaust survivor in the form of the Red Skull, who’s stolen the powers of Charles Xavier and is using them to cull mutants. The stakes couldn’t be any more personal.
“Ororo Munroe. Storm. Goddess-queen-teacher-leader of mutantkind. She stood up for the underdogs, despite what everyone said. Then she suffered the terrible consequences. But she endured and was redeemed. And now she returns in triumph. Not a bad story. But what really makes it sing is how she gives up that glory. Like Cincinnatus turning his back on the crown and returning to the farm after the war. She could be riding a hurricane, ruling a nation. But instead, she answers her emails, teaches her classes, chairs a plagiarism hearing, and most exciting of all…checks up on the mould problem.”
Some of my favourite stories involve strong female protagonists who are relatable and down to earth. Storm: Bring The Thunder ticks all the right boxes, as it follows Storm on a journey to clear her name after she’s framed for a crime she didn’t commit. The graphic novel is written by Greg Pak with art duties handled by Victor Ibanez and Neil Edwards. There are themes of friendship, cultural identity and female spirit all wrapped up into a compelling story.