Christopher “Chris” Bradley (Bolt)

boltfilmSpeaking of Logan, there’s a couple of name-drops worth noticing, and one of them refers to a character we previously met in the franchise. When we see all the children developed by Alkali, some of them are the artificial children of mutants we know, with their DNA allegedly taken from the old Weapon X archives and labs: there’s also a chubby African-American boy with the power to generate electricity, and his files tells us he’s the biological son of Christopher Bradley. We already met Bradley in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, portrayed by Dominic Monaghan (how Monaghan can have a black child from a Mexican mother is beyond my comprehension). In the movie, he is a member of Team X with the ability to remotely control electronics; after the team disbands, he starts working in a carnival, using his powers to make money… until Sabretooth finds him and kills him, so that his powers are later added to Deadpool‘s arsenal. The comics version is totally different, starting from his powers. Let’s see together.

Christopher Bradley was born in Duchess CountyNew York, a perfectly normal boy from a perfectly normal family. He had a normal childhood, and grew up to become a high school student. He had a best friend he spent most of his time with, Jeff, and he had quite a crush on Donna Funaro, a girl from his class. Again, nothing strange here… until he started suffering from headaches. At first it was nothing, but then the pain started to be stronger and more frequent, to the point that Chris was sincerely worried he was seriously ill… until one day, at school, the headaches were revealed for what they really were: the first symptoms of an emerging mutation. Chris was a mutant, and he discovered it in one of the worst ways possible: by losing control in public. His first crisis happened in his boltcomics1house, but he merely noticed any difference with the ordinary headaches (albeit, if he paid any attention to it, he would have noticed that all the electrical devices in his house had been fried). After a day at home, he came back to school, starting in the best way imaginable, finally finding the courage to ask Donna Funaro out. While in class, however, he started to unconsciously absorb static electricity from the surroundings, generating electric bolts as a result; unable to control himself, first he tried to hide in the bathroom, but as the phenomenon kept growing, he warned everybody to step away from him… until he lost his senses. When he woke up, he was with two people he had never seen before: they were Phoenix and Gambit of the X-Men, mutant superheroes and teachers in a school specialized in young mutants. The two mutants brought Chris back home, and had a chat with his parents, explaining to them that their son was a mutant, and that they offered them the opportunity to enroll him in the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, where he would have been trained in the control of his powers, and where he would have completed his education. Chris overheard their conversation… and panicked, running away from home, not wanting to abandon his old life. Of course, he ran to the only place he was always welcome, Jeff’s house.

Soon, however, Chris Bradley had to realize that much of his world had been lost already: as soon as he saw him, Jeff panicked, still scared for what had happened at school that morning. When Chris tried to explain himself to him, things didn’t get any better: not wanting to have anything to do with a “mutie”, Jeff rejected him. Chris came back home and followed Phoenix and Gambit to their school, where he continued his studies and learnt how to control his powers. He was still just a student when he learned that he had contracted the Legacy Virus, the plague that was decimating the mutant population. Knowing he would have eventually died, but not knowing how much time he still had, Chris cut ties with the X-Men and left the school, coming back home. Something good came out from all of that, as he finally started dating Donna, who still wanted despite him to be a (dying) mutant. His parents insisted him to visit several clinics in the desperate search for a cure… and it was in one of these that he was attacked by the Friends boltcomics2of Humanity, an extremist anti-mutant group. Chris was saved by Maverick, another Legacy-infected mutant, who told him to look for him if he ever needed help. The time came sooner than expected, as the Friends burnt the Bradleys’ house to the ground: Chris left to look for Maverick… thus leading his enemies right to him. Chris fought alongside Maverick against the Friends of humanity, and the two won the battle thanks to the intervention of two other X-Men, Iceman and Wolverine; after that, Maverick helped the Bradleys to start a new life in Florida, with a false identity. Known as Brian Johnson, Chris resumed a normal life… until the Legacy Virus made him lose control of his powers. Back to New York, he ran into Maverick again, and the hero encouraged him to value what remained of his life, making him chose a nickname and fight groups like the Friends of Humanity. Chris listened to the one he now considered his mentor, and joined the New Warriors as Bolt: he didn’t know how much time he still had to live, but he would have made his best to make it count.

Christopher “Chris” Bradley is a young man haunted by bad luck; despite losing and suffering much, he managed to turn his scars into strength, and he’s now a brave and selfless hero. As Bolt, he’s able to absorb, generate and control electricity, and he can use it in a variety of ways, from shooting shocking lightning bolts to generating energy shields, from damaging electrical devices to creating a distorted aura around himself to hide his features. Not afraid to die since the Legacy Virus is killing him nevertheless, Bolt always puts himself on the first line, in a reckless yet heroic way to use the time he has left to make something meaningful with his life.


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  1. […] Christopher Bradley (Bolt) […]

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