Kevin MacTaggert (Proteus)

proteusfilmAlmost at the end of the characters appearing in X-Men: Apocalypse, we find one of the juiciest cameos of the movie. When Charles Xavier finally visits Moira MacTaggert in her office, we see behind her desk a series of pictures portraying her with her son, a nice kid with blonde hair, whose father is now Moira’s ex-husband (much to Xavier’s relief). The kid, portrayed by a yet unknown actor, is Kevin MacTaggert, and he’s not as innocent and armless as he looks. The character’s name appeared along with many others on William Stryker‘s computer in X2: X-Men United, and it had all the rights to be there, as in the comics Kevin is one of the most powerful mutants on the planet, whose unstable and limitless abilities make him justly feared by anyone, parents included. Let’s see together who one of the most monstrous and unpredictable foes of the X-Men is in the comics.

Kevin MacTaggert’s life was marked by violence since his very conception: when the politician Joseph MacTaggert, drunk, beat and raped his wife, the geneticist Moira Kinross, the woman got pregnant with his child. When she found out she was expecting a baby, Moira left Joseph, and didn’t tell him of her pregnancy, wanting to protect the baby from his father. Kevin grew up with his mother on Muir Island, in Scotland, where Moira ran a research facility on mutants. Ironically, when the boy grew up he started manifesting incredible powers, and a growing hunger for energy: he was a mutant as well. Unfortunately, Kevin was both extremely powerful, and extremely unbalanced, and he just couldn’t control his reality-warping abilities, thus being an unprecedented threat to both himself and other people around him. Moira had no other choice than to lock him up in a special containment room specifically designed for him on Muir Island, studying him so that she would have been able to help him contain his powers in the future; in order not to let anyone of her colleagues know of her relation with proteuscomics1Kevin, she started calling him Mutant X, and so he was known by everyone. In his isolation, Kevin was constantly fed with isoteric energy fields, so that his own body wasn’t burnt out by his powers, but loneliness made him go increasingly unbalanced, and eventually he became completely mad. From the Greek myths that his mother read to him to keep him company, Kevin created a new identity, and started calling himself Proteus; he developed quite a grudge against his parents, blaming indiscriminately his mother and father for his imprisonment. Finally the day of freedom arrived, even if in an unexpected form: the mutant superheroes X-Men were fighting against their nemesis Magneto, and the battle brought them to Muir Island. The facility was heavily damaged, and even Kevin’s cell was inadvertently destroyed. This caused what remained of Kevin’s body to burn out, and the boy found himself free, but in an unstable energy form that needed a host not to be dispersed. Luckily enough, an anti-mutant activist named Angus MacWhirter was on the island, trying to destroy the lab: Proteus possessed him, and as soon as the situation was calm enough, he left Muir Island unseen. He was free at last.

MacWhirter, however, was just a human, his body was too weak to contain his energy form, and he was burning it at a worrying speed: Proteus realised that he needed a stronger body to be able to be truly free, and started checking other candidates among the current residents on Muir Island. The best option seemed to be the powerful telepath known as the Phoenix, one of the X-Men: he started stalking her day and night, waiting for a moment in which the mutant was alone to assault her and to take control of her body. When the moment came, however, too much time had passed, and Proteus was weak: Phoenix easily casted him away with a psyonic attack, and Kevin found himself without a host, rapidly dispersing his energy form. As a temporary solution, he possessed another human body, and then another, and another one again: humans didn’t last long, so he resumed his original plan to possess a mutant body, but he failed to possess Polaris as well. He managed to take over the body of one of Multiple Man‘s copies, but this forced him to reveal himself: alerted, the X-Men started a manhunt to bring him back to his cell. proteuscomics2He hid himself into another human, Fergie Duncan, but one of the X-Men, Wolverine, managed to identify him with his superhuman senses, and he engaged him in battle along with Nightcrawler: Proteus tried to possess Wolverine, but was repelled by the Adamantium in his skeleton (in his energy form he was vulnerable to metals). Weakened, Proteus distorted the space around his two foes and incapacitated them, but was later confronted by Storm: he defeated her as well, but when he was about to claim her body as his new one Moira arrived, threatening him with special bullets designed to destroy him. Forced to flee, Proteus hid himself into yet another host, and finally found something of interest to him: an electoral poster featuring his father, Joseph MacTaggert. Needing a host, Proteus decided he would have taken his father’s body, the perfect revenged for the man who had disowed him: on the road to Edinburgh, the mutant left a path of burnt out bodies on his wake, eager to finally avenge his many years of solitude and isolation. In quite an ironic way, no less.

Kevin MacTaggert (sometimes mispelled MacTaggart) is a completely insane young man: years of solitude nurturing his own grudge against his parents brought him to total madness, and he’s now fueled with an uncontrollable rage and folly. As Proteus, he’s a psionic being entirely composed of energy, without any physical shape, but nonetheless extremely powerful: he needs to constantly consume energy to sustain himself, and thus he possesses the physical bodies of hosts who inevitably die after a while (mutants are more resistant than humans, usually), with each victim making him stronger. He can manipulate reality itself in a limited area around himself, molding space, time, energy and matter with a simple thought; he’s also invulnerable to pretty much everything, apart to metals, which can disrupt his energy fields (that’s why he’s unable to possess the metal-boned Wolverine, or he’s been defeated by the steel-man Colossus). Just as powerful as he is deranged, Proteus is a constant menace to everyone around him, and sometimes to the universe itself: with his power constantly growing, there’s no potential limit to what he’ll be capable of doing.

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  1. […] Kevin MacTaggert (Proteus) […]


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