Christopher 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 chrisis 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 specialised 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 realise 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.


Jason Wyngarde (Mastermind)

mastermindfilmAnother villain from Brick89‘s list, this time from the mutants‘ world: Mastermind. His movie adaptation is an amalgam of different characters, the first being him, following the unnamed son killed by William Stryker (a recent retcon resurrected him) and Mutant 146: all three together form Jason Stryker, a lobotomized mutant able to cast illusions so powerful that they can trick even the world’s most powerful telepath, Professor X. Jason first appears in X2: X-Men United, portrayed by Michael Reid McKay: in here, he’s Stryker’s son, who as a child was so resentful towards his mutant-hating parents that he tortured them with his powers, leading his mother to suicide. As Stryker started working on Weapon X, he used his son as his first guinea pig, and transformed him into a mindless drone in his total control, and he unleashed him against Professor X to force him to kill all mutants on the planet. He then briefly appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, portrayed by an unnamed kid, frozen by his father in a cryogenic stasis. Now, let’s see who Jason (Wyngarde, not Stryker) is in the comics.

Little or nothing is known about Jason Wyngarde’s early life. He was born somewhere in the South of the United States of America, and he was a mutant in a moment in which most people didn’t even know mutants existed. He had the remarkable advantage of not suffering a physical mutation, as he was capable of projecting extremely accurate and complex illusions in the mind of anybody. As an adult, he trained in the use of his powers bringing them to perfection, so that they could influence every single sense of his target; he used this talent in quite an underwhelming way, however, as he joined a carnival and started working as a mentalist. His show was extremely popular, but nobody could see behind the “trick” Wyngarde used…nobody but a stranger passing by, who immediately recognised him as a mutant. The man turned out to be Magneto, the mutant terrorist, who was mastermindcomics1gathering other mutants from all around the country to form a team able to face the X-Men, the mutant superheroes who had stopped him from taking over Cape Citadel. Jason Wyngarde was exactly the kind of man Magneto was looking for, and the mentalist liked the terrorist’s idea of protecting mutankind from an inevitable racist uprise of humanity: Jason joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as Mastermind, and along with his teammates ToadQuicksilver and Scarlet Witch battled the X-Men more than once. Mastermind proved to be more ambitious than his idealistic leader, and aimed to conquer the world to form a mutant utopia…one in which he would have been much more than the carnival trickster he had always been. Along with his ambition, he also developed a strong desire towards his teammate Scarlet Witch, but her overprotective brother Quicksilver always kept him away from her. Mastermind was kept in high consideration by Magneto, and he was also sent to recruit other mutants to the cause in his stead (even if he failed in convincing Unus the Untouchable). His cooperation with the Brotherhood ended when the cosmic being The Stranger, enraged at Magneto, transformed Mastermind into a statue and brought the Master of Magnetism and Toad on another planet.

Luckily enough, The Stranger’s spell wasn’t permanent, and after a while Mastermind returned to his old fleshy self. Without Magneto around, with his ambition not the least quelled, Wyngarde joined Factor Three, another mutant-based organization with similar aims and ideals to the Brotherhood, but much more pragmatical: they aimed to create a mutant nation capable of rivaling USA and URSS for world supremacy. Factor Three’s plan nearly worked, especially thanks to the forced “help” of Banshee, until the X-Men intervened once again, exposing the team’s leader, Mutant Master, as an alien who sought to conquer Earth. Factor Three and X-Men teamed up to defeat the Mutant Master, and managed to save the planet from an invasion…but the battle attracted the attention of the mutant hunting robots Sentinels, against whom Mastermind’s psychic powers were pretty much useless. Wyngarde was saved by his sworn enemies, the X-Men, and apparently abandoned his criminal ways as a result…but he was the mastermindcomics2master of illusions, and even his “conversion” was nothing but a trick to take time and decide what to do next. He joined the reborn Brotherhood along with fellow Factor Three members Blob and Unus, and finally Magneto came back on Earth and claimed back his leadership. He even created the first artificial mutant, the extremely powerful Alpha…but that proved to be not much of a good idea, as during a fight against the Defenders Alpha rebelled to his creators, and turned them all into children, thus annihilating their powers (mutant powers developed through puberty). At least, Mastermind had learnt to bring his powers to a whole other level, as with Magneto’s help he had casted a powerful illusion on an entire nation (Santo Marco, in South America), helping the Brotherhood to conquer it. As a result, as soon as he came back to his adult age he was contacted by the powerful Hellfire Club, who had become interested in the illusionist. As a test for admission, he managed to manipulate the powerful X-Woman Jean Grey into becoming the new Black Queen in the Club. Finally, Mastermind had found someone who could fully apreciate his talent, someone who could also reward his personal ambition just the way he wanted it…

Jason Wyngarde is an ambitious man, frustrated by the lack of recognition his talent suffered through all his life. As Mastermind, he has the mutant power to cast powerful illusions on his targets, able to affect every sense; his illusions are so complex and realistic that he’s actually able to kill someone with them (once he made someone believe he was drowning, and even if there wasn’t any actual water the man ceased to breath and died), and he can envelop in his power more than one person per time, once even an entire country. Manipulative and clever, he’s one of the most dangerous mutants around, mostly because he’s constantly, and wrongfully, underestimated…a thing he obviously uses at his own advantage.

Sean Cassidy (Banshee)

bansheefilmTime for the last recurring character appearing in X-Men: Apocalypse, before going to the newcomers: Banshee, portrayed by Caleb Landry Jones. In the movie, he appears very briefly in a series of flashbacks aimed to remind Magneto who he was before breaking bad; the archive footage is all from X-Men: First Class, where Banshee was portrayed as one of Xavier‘s first recruits for both his school and the X-Men, and he was one of his most succesful students, learning also to fly under the telepath’s tutelage. Unfortunately, he’s one of Bolivar Trask‘s victims, and he dies between First Class and Days of Future Past. The character had already appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as one of William Stryker‘s prisoners (he’s the red-haired boy with a muzzle preventing him from screaming), and of course in Generation X, portrayed by Jeremy Ratchford. In this version, Banshee is the director of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters along with Emma Frost, and he acts as a mentor to Jubilee and the other young mutants. Now, let’s see together who this iconic Irish mutant is in the comics.

Sean Cassidy was born in Ireland, the heir of the wealthy and ancient Cassidy family. Rich since his childhood, he could afford the best studies, and he became a Bachelor of Science after graduating from Trinity College in Dublin. With his parents dead, Sean had other plans for himself rather than come back home and run the family’s castle, Cassidy Keep, nurturing the Cassidys’ fortune, and he joined Interpol as a detective. During his first years in the police force, he met Maeve Rourke, a girl she fell in love with: with all the passion and the haste of their youth, Sean and Maeve got married. There had been another turning point in Sean’s life during those years: he had found out he was a mutant, with the power of emitting powerful sonic waves with his voice; he preferred to keep this secret, and hid it from both his wife and his colleagues at Interpol. During a special mission that kept Sean away from home for nearly a year, Maeve found out she was pregnant, and she gave birth to a daughter, Theresa, without her husband knowing anything about it; when Maeve was tragically bansheecomics1killed during an IRA attack, Sean mourned over his dead wife without knowing that he had had a daughter (Theresa, still alive, had been taken by Sean’s cousin and all time rival, Black Tom Cassidy, who was also the only person in the world who knew about Sean’s powers, being a mutant himself). At first, Sean tried to stop pain by throwing himself completely into work, but soon not even Interpol could distract him from his loss; promoted inspector, he nevertheless gave up his work becoming a freelance detective, and soon he ended up being involved in not-so-legal activities. Another mutant, Changeling, found out about his crimes, and invited him to join Factor Three, an all-mutant terrorist organization; seeing how similar Factor Three was to his wife’s killers, Sean refused, but Changeling reacted by having him kidnapped: an explosive headband was placed on Sean’s head, a bomb that would have exploded if Sean refused to follow Factor Three’s orders, or if he tried to remove it. Forced to cooperate, Sean joined Factor Three: codenamed Banshee, he performed a number of crimes, always closely controlled by his “teammates”.

While on a mission in New York City, Banshee and the Ogre (his guardian) clashed with a team of mutant superheroes, the X-Men, who eventually captured them both. When the team’s leader, Professor X, learned about the collar, he helped Banshee get rid of it, so Sean was free and willing to help the X-Men take down Factor Three: he led them to the European base of the organization, and together with them he defeated the alien Mutant Master, Factor Three’s leader. After that, Sean was ready to start a new life…but he was soon targeted by the Sentinels, mutant-hunting robots: he survived the experience, but now his true nature as a mutant had been exposed, and it attracted other unwanted attention. The secret organization known as the Secret Empire tried to abduct him to harness his powers and, on the run from them, Banshee fought against Captain America and the Falcon, mistaking them for hunter as well. Finally, free from all his pursuers, Sean came back to Cassidy Keep, where he could resume a peaceful and honest existence…that until Professor X called him, asking him for help: the bansheecomics2X-Men had gone missing while investigating on a massively powerful mutant, and Banshee was asked to be a part of a second team to join a rescue mission. Still grateful after the Factor Three incident, Banshee accepted Xavier’s request, and joined Storm, Wolverine, Thunderbird, Nightcrawler and Colossus in the second incarnation of the X-Men. The rescue mission put the new X-Men against not just a simple mutant, but a living island, Krakoa, who was keeping the original team captive to feed on their energy. After defeating the monster, both teams could come back to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, where the newcomers were invited to stay: wanting to catch the opportunity to give a new direction to his life, Banshee accepted, and despite some initial friction with Cyclops and the other (first) X-Men he settled in pretty well, even learning to use his powers better thanks to the training in the Danger Room. During his time with the X-Men, Sean also met Dr. Moira McTaggart, Xavier’s ex fiancée and long time friend, and he fell in love with her: maybe, this was exactly the turning point Sean was waiting for.

Sean Cassidy is a smart and passionate man, used to live in luxury but still selfless and gentle (if not exactly humble). Gallant and brave, he’s also subject to depression, and it also happened that he fell into alcoholism following some emotional trauma. As Banshee, his lungs, throat and vocal cords are mutated to allow his acoustikinesis, which is the ability to emit powerful soundwaves through voice: his trademark ability is the sonic scream, powerful enough to stun and physically arm an opponent, but he can use his powers also to fly (thanks to special wings designed by Professor X), to create sonic shields, to become a living sonar and much more; he’s also a skilled detective, tactician and unarmed combatant, and he’s also a good teacher and educator and a capable businessman. A leader born and a loyal friend and ally, Banshee is usually the eldest member of the X-Men in nearly every version of the team he’s been in…but that’s one of the reasons he’s also one of the most reliable ones, a reference for his teammates and his students alike.

Frederick J. Dukes (The Blob)

blobfilmA new promotional image for the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse showed us another unexpected character appearing, possibly in just a cameo. We know Angel will be fighting in a cage at the beginning of the movie, and now we know who his first opponent will be: The Blob, portrayed by a yet unknown actor (though I can’t imagine how Angel could ever best Blob in one-on-one combat, but we shall see). Blob already appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, portrayed by Kevin Durand: in this version, he was a mutant with super strength and unbreakable skin, part of Team X; his fat wasn’t part of his powers, but rather it was simply a result of him “letting himself go” over the years. Wolverine tracks him in his boxing gym to obtain informations on the Weapon X facility, and fights with him on the ring (later, Sabretooth tortures him for the same informations, and it’s unknown if Blob survived the experience). Now, waiting to see how the fattest mutant ever will factor in the new timeline, let’s take a look at the original.

Frederick J. Dukes was born in LubbockTexas, from unknown parents. His childhood was a pretty normal one, despite the boy wasn’t exactly the smartest in his school (quite the opposite); problems arrived the moment Fred reached puberty: his body started to grow, accumulating an incredible amount of fat. No diet and no exercise could do anything about it, and even dull Fred realised that was not simple fat: the bigger he became, the stronger he got, until he reached superhuman levels; his mass also made him impervious to any kind of damage, as his skin and flesh couldn’t apparently be pierced by anything…and he soon found out that he had become also unmovable, way beyond his extreme weight could explain. Looking at his new self, Fred couldn’t think of anything better than to join a local circus sideshow as one of the caravan’s freaks. Nicknamed “The Blob”, he lived believing he was just an abnormal man until he was reached by the original X-Men, sent by Professor X to recruit him in their team: smitten by Jean Grey, Fred agreed to follow them to the X-Mansion, where the Professor could confirm that he was indeed a mutant, and renewed his offer for him to join the X-Men (much to the other’s students’ opposition, since they didn’t like Blob’s attitude). The man, arrogant and self-confident, remarked that he was blobcomics1stronger than all the other X-Men put together, and he bluntly refused, later escaping the Mansion to avoid having his memory erased by Professor X. Knowing he was a mutant, Blob believed he was better than all normal humans, and he took on the circus, sending away the former owners; he recruited his friends from the freak carnival, and guided them against the X-Mansion in order to steal Professor X’s superior technology. The freaks managed to overpower the X-Men and to incapacitate them, but Jean Grey freed herself with her telekinesis, and then freed Professor X as well, who used his powers to erase from Dukes and his allies any memory of the X-Mansion or the X-Men. Following that, Blob and the others came back to the circus, and started their normal life from where they left it.

Not much later, Dukes was contacted by yet another charismatic mutant leader, Magneto, who wanted to recruit him in his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. At first, Blob bluntly refused as he did with the X-Men, but then Magneto hit him hard on his head, making him regain his memory about his previous fight with Professor X and his students. Eager to exact his revenge, Blob followed Magneto and the Brotherhood in their war against the X-Men, but he soon lost his faith in his new boss, as Magneto didn’t seem to care at all for his safety. At a certain point, at the battle’s climax, Magneto launched a powerful torpedo on his enemies…but Blob was there as well, and took the entire explosion. Not even the missile could seriously harm him, but the message was clear, and Blob refused to follow a leader who treated him as cannon fodder. Even more embittered, he came back to his circus once again. Of course, Blob had made his first step in a much wider world, and the circus wasn’t meant to hold him for long: soon after, he met and joined forces with another mutant, Unus the Untouchable, who became his best friend. The two together tried to frame the X-Men for bank robbery, and than joined Factor Three, another mutant criminal organization similar to the Brotherhood. He eventually came back to the Brotherhood as well, this time in the version of the team led by Mystique, and fought against the X-Men once again; when the government increased its anti-mutant activity, Mystique reinvented her Brotherhood into a black-ops squad at the Government’s orders, Freedom Force, something that Blob pretty blobcomics2much enjoyed: now he could still indulge in violence, fight his old foes the X-Men and Magneto, as well as new ones like X-Force and the Avengers, but he had a government’s paycheck to pay his bills. In the meanwhile, he kept working with his friend Unus, and battled other heroes with him (and he found out he wasn’t so immovable when put against the likes of Hulk). A brand new chapter in his life opened when Unus got killed: the loss of his friend made Blob go completely berserk, and he nearly killed Spider-Man and Black Cat in his rage. When he stopped grieving, the new Blob was much more embittered towards the world and towards humans in particular: playtime was over, it was time to get serious.

Fred Dukes is a violent and greedy man, with quite some problem of anger management and characterised by a remarkable lack of intelligence. Rude and arrogant, Dukes hides behind self-importance and an obnoxious personality the wounds he suffered for his grotesque appearance, and constantly looks for somebody he can relate to. As Blob, he possesses quite a unique physiology, with a nearly impenetrable skin and a massive amount of body fat that make him close to invulnerable to any kind of arm, blades and bullets included, and if any projectile is shot at him (from cannonballs to Hawkeye‘s arrows), he can embed it within his body, and recoil it just by flexing his muscles. Apart from being extremely strong and durable, Blob possesses also his own personal gravity field, being able to manipulate gravity in a five feet radius at least, usually using this ability to make himself completely unmovable. More powerful than he looks, less idealistic than most of the usual followers of Magneto or Mystique, Blob is looking only for a a group he can call family, searching it in his circus, in the Brotherhood, in Freedom Force and in many other wrong crowds…unfortunately, his bad attitude doesn’t help him in this at all.

Victor Creed (Sabretooth)

sabretoothfilmYet another famous mutant from casualgamer‘s list, one of the biggest and baddest…at least, most of the times. Let’s meet Sabretooth, one of the most vicious murderers in the Marvel Universe! He first appeared in the X-Men movie, portrayed by stuntman Tyler Mane: in here, he was depicted as a member of Magneto‘s Brotherhood of Mutants, and he showed from the very beginning to have quite a past with an amnesiac Wolverine, who couldn’t remember him. He was defeated by Cyclops before we could learn anything more…but in X-Men Origins: Wolverine we found out that Sabretooth, portrayed in a not-yet-so-feral version by Liev Schreiber (one of the few good things of the movie), was actually Wolverine’s half-brother, and he grew up with him and accompanied him for nearly a century, before stumbling upon William Stryker and his Weapon X, a reality that forced the two brothers to an opposite choice of fields. Now, the comics version is pretty different: first of all, he is not Wolverine’s brother; second, he never interacted much with Magneto or any incarnation of his Brotherhood. Let’s see together.

Sabretooth’s life is a pretty long one, and his memory has been messed up by several people, so there’s no certainty about his origins…but some details have been revealed nevertheless. His true name was Victor Creed: he was born in Canada, at the end of the XIX Century, the son of a religious couple, Zebediah and Victoria Creed. Victor grew up with his brothers, Luther and Saul, and his sister Clara. The relationship between the siblings weren’t exactly idyllic, as Luther, the oldest brother, often bullied the younger ones, and Victor in turned beat Saul regularly; the only member of the family Victor had a good relation with was his mother, the only one who loved him unconditionally, and who managed to earn love from him. When he was still a child, Victor’s mutant powers manifested for the first time during a fight with Luther, and he unwillingly slaughtered him with razor-sharp claws and fangs. Shocked by what had happened to his firstborn, Zebediah locked Victor in the basement as if he was a savage beast; believing his son was possessed by the Devil, Zebediah pulled out Victor’s fangs, believing he would have freed his son from demons after taking away enough of his “satanic” teeth. The boy’s healing factor sabretoothcomics1made the fangs grow again day after day, in an everlasting pain that made Victor’s grudge and hatred towards his father grow. After years of confinement in the basement, finally, the boy managed to free himself by chowing his own hand off: he killed Zebediah and ran away, coming back only to torture Saul in a twisted version of what he considered “family”, and to take his mother away, hiding her from the world and making sure she had the comfortable life she deserved to his eyes. A thirteen years old sociopath, Victor was now unleashed, venting all the rage bottled up in years of abuses on whoever he met, becoming a wanted serial killer. At fifteen years old, he started working for the railroad, and he earned the fear of his coworkers when he gutted a man thrice his size who bullied on him. Becoming a grown man, Victor, who was now renowned as “Sabretooth” because of his appearance and his feral tendencies, sold his skills to the better offerer, working as a bailiff, as a hunter, as an enforcer, as a bounty hunter, even as a soldier for a while. He even worked for geneticist Nathaniel Essex, hunting for him a man named Logan, who would have become a recurring presence in his life.

In the 1910s, Creed worked for a man named Hudson, who enlisted him for a special mission: he would have led a band of mercenaries to wipe out a tribe of Blackfoot indians standing on the “wrong” territory. Sabretooth wiped out all men, women and children…with a tasty bonus, as he found out that Logan was living with the Indians at the time, and that he had a lover there, Silverfox. Creed took a particular pleasure into raping and murdering Silverfox, leaving fake evidence for Logan to find that pointed to a rival tribe. Distraught, Logan savagely murdered the men he deemed responsible for what had happened to the Blackfoot village, and Sabretooth observed him as he surrendered to his feral instincts. From that day, Sabretooth decided he would have made Logan just like him: prey to his animalistic urge to kill, without bonds or control…something that he did by hunting him down wherever he was in the world, and taking away everything (and everyone) allowing him to keep his humanity (he was also responsible for the murder of Logan’s Japanese wife Itsu). Tormenting his rival from year to year, usually for his sabretoothcomics2birthday, Creed also led his regular life, and decades later he ended up serving in the military during the Korean War; stationed in Madripoor, he was contacted by international spy Nick Fury, who enlisted him in his black ops team, the Avengers, in a mission to stop a Red Skull imitator from creating a Fourth Reich. In exchange of his service with the Avengers, all of Sabretooth’s previous crimes received pardons, and he was free to walk freely again. After that Sabretooth joined another black ops special team, this time in Canada: Team X, a secret elite squad formed by mutants only. Along with Creed there were other mutants: Kestrel, Maverick and Wolverine…the latter being the same Logan he had been hunting down the previous decades. Team X disbanded the moment Sabretooth killed a scientist, a precious asset, during a battle with Russian super-soldier Omega Red. The Canadian government, however, decided they could have used Creed’s skills despite of habit of murdering innocent bystanders, and kidnapped him, erasing much of his memory and making him a part of the Weapon X Program. The experimentations Sabretooth suffered only increased his already remarkable thirst for blood: the moment Weapon X was shut down, a ruthless and sadistic butcher was released on the world once again…

Victor Creed is, simply put, a bloodthirsty savage: years and years of abuses and tortures made him a man who has no consideration at all for human life, quite the opposite, he enjoys killing so much that he simply can’t restrain himself…not that he’d want. As Sabretooth, he possesses a regenerative healing factor that makes him nearly immortal, immune from any disease, unaging, able to recover from nearly any wound, even fatal; he also possesses razor-sharp claws and fangs, as well as animalistic enhanced senses, and superhuman strength, agility, speed and durability; having being trained by a variety of organizations (CIA, Weapon X, HydraThe Hand among others), he’s an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, an expert marksman, a skilled tactician and manipulator, an infallible hunter and also a proficient martial artist. Differently from Wolverine, who always tries to control his brutal and feral side, Sabretooth fully embraces it, and enjoys the world as if it were his personal hunting ground, in which everybody, man, woman and child, is just another prey for him to kill.

Remy Etienne LeBeau (Gambit)

gambitfilmAnother popular mutant right from casualgamer‘s list: this time it’s everyone’s favourite Cajun, Gambit! So far, the character only had one live action appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, portrayed by Taylor Kitsch. In the movie, he is the only mutant to ever escape William Stryker‘s facility on Three Mile Island, and Wolverine tracks him down in order to convince him to help him enter the facility…something that he does, after the usual brawl. A new version of the character is set to arrive on the big screen this year (?) in a solo movie exploring Gambit’s origins; this time, Channing Tatum will portray the cajun mutant, and it’s more than likely that the Origins portrayal will be completely ignored…as it happened to most elements in the film. Waiting to see Tatum’s take on Gambit, let’s take a look at the original one.

Remy LeBeau was born in New OrleansLousiana; his parents abandoned him in the hospital the moment they realised he was a mutant, born with red eyes. The local Thieves Guild, upon hearing of the “cursed” baby’s birth, believed him to be Le Diable Blanc (the “white devil”), the prophesied child who would have brought peace among the Guilds, engulfed in a neverending war; that very night, the thieves stole the baby from the hospital, and entrusted him to the Fagan’s Mob, one of the street gangs affiliated to the Guild. The child grew up as an orphan in the streets, and arrived at ten years old with no name and no family, trained as a thief by Fagan. One day, he tried to pick the pocket of a man who turned out to be Jean-Luc LeBeau, the patriarch of the Thieves Guild. The man obviously managed to stop the kid but, impressed by his skills, he decided to adopt him as his own son: he named him Remy LeBeau, and brought him to his house, raising him as a member of his own family. Living with LeBeau, Remy also developed his mutant powers, but he kept them hidden from his family and friends, practicing in secret. At 15 years gambitcomics1old, Remy participated to the Tithing, the initiation test to enter the Guild, along with his cousin Etienne Marceaux; the two were ordered to steal an item from Candra, an immortal mutant. Candra, however, proved to be a tough cookie for the boys, and they were soon captured by the woman, who sold them to The Pig, a mutant slaver. The Pig, in turn, recognised the boys’ skills and decided to sell them to HYDRA as recruits, but Remy managed to escape his cell, and to free his cousin in the process. Risking to be caught again by Pig, Remy for the first time grabbed a playing card and used his powers to charge it with energy, then threw it to the slaver and took out his eye: in the following escape, Remy and Etienne dove into the ocean, but only the first emerged alive, while the second drowned. Back to the Guild, Remy continued his training, until Jean-Luc told him he was the one meant to bring peace among the guilds…by marrying Bella Donna Boudreaux, the daughter of the patriarch of the Assassin’s Guild. Remy and Bella Donna accepted, but Julien Boudreaux, the girl’s brother, didn’t, and challenged LeBeau to a duel. Remy was forced to kill his adversary in self-defense, but after that, he was forced to abandon the Thieves and New Orleans, always in order to ensure peace among the Guilds.

Wandering the world Remy, who now went by the name Gambit, became an even more skilled thief, and he even learnt to master his mutant power…which however proved to be hard to control. In order to be able to charge objects with energy without destroying them upon touch, he seeked the help of Mr. Sinister, a geneticist he had worked for during his time in the Guild. Sinister removed a part of Gambit’s brain, making him less powerful, but fully able to control his abilities. In return, the geneticist asked Remy to gather for him a team. Gambit obeyed, and formed the group that would have become the Marauders; he even accompanied them in the underground tunnels of New York City, where the Marauders, following Sinister’s orders, started slaughtering the mutant outcasts known as Morlocks. Horrified by the massacre, Gambit tried to stop the mercenaries, but he nearly got killed by Sabretooth; barely escaping with his life, he nevertheless managed to save Sarah, a Morlock child. Gambit ran as far as he could from Sinister, and he stumbled upon another child, Ororo, a young thief he became the mentor of. gambitcomics2The two formed quite a formidable couple, and Gambit helped the girl survive in the streets. Ororo, however, was followed by a powerful mutant, the Shadow King, and only Gambit’s intervention allowed her to survive the encounter. Gambit and Ororo travelled to the Gulf of Mexico, but they were eventually found by Charles Xavier, the leader of the X-Men, who had just come back from a long adventure in space. Xavier revealed that young Ororo was actually one of the X-Men, Storm, reduced to an amnesiac child by Nanny and Orphan-Maker, two evil and deranged scientists. Back to herself thanks to Xavier’s powers, Storm convinced the professor to invite Gambit to join the X-Men…an offer that the cajun thief surprisingly accepted. The other X-Men, upon hearing what he had done for Storm, welcomed Gambit in their ranks…with the only exception of Wolverine, who challenged the thief to a duel in the Danger Room. Gambit defeated his opponent (albeit cheating…), thus winning even the last resistance. Within the X-Men, Remy found something he never truly experienced: a family…and even something more, as he soon fell in love with teammate Rogue, blessed and cursed with a power that prevented the two of them from ever touching each other.

Apparently, Remy LeBeau is an easy-going, carefree ladies’ man, a charming and arrogant adventurer with a taste for risk; his most vulnerable and fragile side is visible only to a few people, and the many scars he hides have made him a good and somewhat noble man, always ready to protect the ones unable to defend themselves. As Gambit, his mutant powers allow him to take the potential energy of any inanimate object and to convert it into kinetic energy through skin contact, usually with the result of making it explode; this ability, mixed with his training as a member of the Thieves Guild, make him an extraordinary combatant, an acrobat and martial artist who can use anything around him (usually his trademark playing cards) as weapons. Gambit can also use the energy on himself to enhance his physical condition, his strength, speed, balance and durability, or to heal faster. A fascinating scundrel, an irresistible and irritating braggart, Gambit is an essential member of the X-Men, a mutant adventurer who has always an ace up his sleeve…as well as the rest of the royal flush.

Emma Grace Frost (White Queen)

whitequeenfilmLet’s continue with casualgamer‘s list: this time, we meet one of the major mutants from the Marvel Universe, Emma Frost. She first appeared in the Generation X tv movie, portrayed by Finola Hughes: in here, she was the headmistress of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters along with Banshee, and since her previous students, the Hellions, had all been killed, she takes the task of training the young mutants very seriously. She then appeared in the unlucky X-Men Origins: Wolverine, portrayed by Tahyna Tozzi: in this version, she was the younger sister of Kayla Silverfox, a prisoner William Stryker used to control Kayla. She later escapes with all the other prisoners and is taken by Charles Xavier to his school. The younger version of Emma is considered non-canon (as much of the movie), and the character appeared again in X-Men: First Class, this time portrayed by January Jones: a mamber of the Hellfire Club, she loyally follows Sebastian Shaw, until he’s killed by Magneto; after that, she joins his Brotherhood of Mutants. We learn in Days of Future Past that she’s been tortured and killed by Bolivar Trask in the following years. Now, let’s take a look at the original White Queen.

Daughter of Winston and Hazel Frost, Emma was the third heir of the wealthy and respected Frost family of Boston. She had an older brother, Christian, and two sisters, Adrienne and Cordelia. Winston was an abusive father, who imposed impossible standards to his children, while Hazel turned to prescription drugs to escape her tense family life; the only person Emma was really close to was her big brother Christian. In the exclusive Snow Valley School for Girls, Emma’s low grades made Winston despise her, while all her schoolmates, sisters included, bullied her; the only friend she had was a teacher, Ian Kendall, the only one who believed in her. Finally, reached puberty, Emma’s mutant powers manifested, and she stopped suffering from her usual migraines: she found out she could read the mind of other people, and she used this skill to improve her results in school. She also became a tutor for other students, and Kendall, impressed by her empathic abilities, suggested a career as a teacher for her…something that Winston Frost forbid with all his strength. One day, back home, Emma ended up kissing Ian whitequeencomics1Kendall…only to be seen and recorded by her sister Adrienne, who gave the tape to her father. Winston had Kendall fired, thus hoping to make Emma give up on her teaching desires, but in retaliation the girl started blackmailing her father using the information she had gathered on his run of Frost Enterprises. Winston was impressed: when the time came he chose a worthy heir, he skipped Christian, who had been revealed to be gay by Adrienne and was now a drug addict, but he even ignored Adrienne, the one who had been ruining her siblings’ life in order to assure herself the position; instead, he chose Emma. When Christian was sent into a mental asylum for his “condition”, however, Emma strongly refused the offer, and stated she would have made her own fortune, far away from her father’s influence. She lived on her own for a while, until she met Troy Killkelly, a man she fell in love with. Troy had problems with a loan shark, and Emma tried to use her powers to solve his financial problems, but the shark, Lucien, didn’t fall for it, and Emma simulated her own kidnapping so that her father would have paid a ransom…something that Winston refused to do. Troy was killed, and eventually Winston was forced by Adrienne to pay the ransom: Emma forced the kidnappers to kill each other with her powers, took the money for herself, and moved to New York City, where she attended Empire State University.

In University she met Astrid Bloom, another telepath, who became her friend…and she also met again Ian Kendall, who still had the habit of dating his students, this time Emma’s roommate Christine McDermott. Emma seduced Ian once again, but when Christine tried to intervene, it became clear that Ian was acting under Astrid’s control. Enraged, Emma fought and defeated her former friend, absorbing her knowledge of telepathy and sending her into a coma. Despite Emma had saved his job (and maybe life), Ian left her in disgust when he learnt she was a mutant, something that deeply changed the girl’s perspective on humankind. Using her powers without restraint, she absorbed any knowledge and skill she could, until she became CEO of a powerful conglomerate, which she renamed Frost International. With her wealth, power, beauty and skills, Emma Frost was invited to join the Hellfire Club, a secret organization of influent people bent on world domination from behind the curtains; the White King of the Club, Edward Buckman, was planning to erase mutankind from the world, and to achieve that he had scientist Steven Lang build special Sentinels for the task; Emma learnt of Buckman’s plans with her powers, and informed whitequeencomics2of it another mutant of the Club, Sebastian Shaw. The two formed an alliance, and together they overthrew the entire Council of the Chosen, the leading members of the Hellfire Club. Emma Frost, as the new White Queen, joined Sebastian Shaw, now the Black King, and completely changed the Hellfire Club, making it a group controlled by mutants, still planning to influence the world’s powers from the shadows, but under a totally new perspective. Emma ruled the Hellfire Club at Shaw’s side, equal in power…until she defied him for the first time: looking for a new White King, Shaw refused Tony Stark‘s candidacy, and offered the position to Namor of Atlantis, but the king harshly refused. Enraged, Shaw sent Emma to him, in order to have her wipe his mind and make him accept, but the two fell in love, and Emma sided with him. In response, Shaw launched an all-out attack on Atlantis, at the end of which he had Selene, the Black Queen, wipe Frost’s mind, erasing the experience of her betrayal and making her loyal to the Club once again. The seed of rebellion, however, had been planted already, and the White Queen was only awaiting another chance to join a higher cause than the Club’s one…even if she didn’t remember it.

Emma Frost is a brilliant and unscrupolous woman, strong and determined, who uses the delusions and betrayals she suffered during her life to fuel her distrust and despise towards the rest of humanity; deep inside her, however, there’s still the justice-thirsty girl she used to be, only waiting to come out again. As the White Queen, she’s a powerful telepath, able to cast illusions, to control minds, to absorb knowledge, memories and skills, to create mind links, to track people’s presence, to erase memories and much more; a secondary mutation occured during the attack on Genosha gave her the ability to turn her skin into organic diamond, gaining super strength, durability and stamina, and making her immune to others’ telepathy, but she can’t access her primary power while in diamond form. A villainess turned heroine, Emma brings within many scars and traumas, but she only gained strength from them…as well as a character and an attitude just as hard as her diamond skin.