x-men blue

eXaminations – Week of 1/10/18

It’s really hard to be an X-Men fan right now.  At least it is for me, and I’ve been through some pretty awful periods of the X-Men.  Two weeks ago, I said on Generation X was doing me in.  Then last week, Iceman threw me a pretty hard stinker.  This week – well, let’s just get to it.  We’re looking at:

  • Cable #153 in which one of the poorer 90’s stories gets dug up and made worse.
  • Phoenix Resurrection The Return of Jean Grey #3 in which the X-Men continue to wait for the series to end so they can get Jean Grey back to start X-Men Red.
  • X-Men Blue #19 in which some back peddling is done with the teenage X-Men.
  • X-Men Gold Annual #1 in which the old Excalibur team reunites for the return of a story that didn’t involve a single one of them.

I also picked up the latest issue of Archie, but I’m going to cover that book in a separate post.  It’s actually really good.

So SPOILER WARNING and all that.

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Partial doesn’t count

Here’s something that really pisses me off.

partialIn this week’s X-Men: Blue #15, writer Cullen Bunn decides to have Kitty Pryde debut a brand new power working in “partial intangibility”.  At least it’s the first time I’ve ever seen her do it.

Okay, so Kitty Pryde’s power is intangibility, or “phasing” as she likes to call it.  Basically when she uses her ability, she becomes untouchable – like trying to grab a shadow.  There’s not really a scientific explanation for it, since it’s FICTION, so creators do their best to cover the bases that may be asked.  For instance, when Kitty phases, why doesn’t she simply fall straight down?  There are little rules set for each character that gives future creators a how-to on using these powers.

But sometimes, creators decide that characters should just do something because.  Like using Cyclops’s concussive force optic blast as a heat ray, for example.  Or Wolverine healing from a charred skeleton.  They think that something would be cool, so they throw it in, and there it goes.  Unfortunately, for nerds like me, when you start to accumulate all that a character can do with their abilities, it gets a bit much.  Instead of coming up with new things for the characters to do with their powers, they come up with new powers for their characters to do.  In that case, they might as well make a new character.

So let’s look at this “partial intangibility”.  I’m going to say that there’s not really a mid-point for it.  You’re either tangible or you’re intangible.  It’s being used as a means to cause discomfort for the person as Kitty phases through them.  Kind of like the effect her power has on electronics.  You want the villain to actually feel that something is moving through them, like swimming through water.  But that doesn’t really work.  You’re not actually going through the molecules of water when you swim.

Kitty’s powers have long been explained as needing crucial focus and concentration, because if she stops phasing whilst a part of her is within a solid object, that part of her would fuse with the object.  Painfully.  And probably messily.  So I would imagine that even if she could refine her phasing to a point where you can kind of, but not really feel her, the process of moving through you would leave your bodily organs in a damaged and non-working state.  And X-Men don’t kill.  Um…I think?

So when you think you need a moment where Kitty makes a move on a villain in battle, don’t try to reinvent the wheel, man.  Just have her phase through the guy, solidify her arm and bop him in the mush.  You’d make nerds like me a lot happier.

EDIT!!!: Commenter SGCEO pointed out that if Kitty was in a partially-tangible phase and rammed into a solid being, she would be the water in my analogy.  That makes sense – she would basically just splat around the guy.  It’s a having your cake and eating it too kind of thing.  You can’t have it both ways.