Tag Archives: x-men

Character Study: Carol Danvers

Okay, for the record, this is my version of Carol for my X-Men RP. We obviously don’t know what direction the movies are going to go in, so I can’t make commentary on that yet. But since I play her on the RP and have for several years, with the drop of the new trailer, I thought it a good idea to talk about what I love about the character, and what some of the pitfalls are.

My first introduction into Carol Danvers was actually the animated X-Men cartoon from the 90’s, where she was in a coma and a spectra in Rogue’s head that first hinted at Rogue’s backstory. And that was a really baaaad intro to her, because that version of Carol, for sake of plot, was angry, vengeful, and not very understanding. It was all of her bad traits, and none of her good ones. Many of my early fanfic readings concurred with this interpretation of the character, so I obviously wasn’t her biggest fan.

But then we were figuring out how to do Carol’s plot for our X-Men RP, and since the original plan was to kill Carol, I decided I had better play her in order to avoid upsetting someone. This required me to figure out a lot more about this character and what her overall personality was like. Some of the other cartoons I saw didn’t help much, they fell right in line with what I already knew, but then I started to finally hit a groove that helped me understand the character better. (Reading the Mockingverse fanfiction for the MCU has helped confirm that, the writer does an excellent job with Carol.)

What I found was a very confident and yet self-aware person. She had to be, in order to thumb her nose at the idea that she wasn’t going to have her parents’ help to go to college because she was a girl, which got her into the Air Force and finding her love of flying. It was really easy for me to weave in a fear of being found out about being a mutant into that background (we have a firm no-alien policy in the RP, so her powers became a mutation rather than alien shenanigans). Her confidence and leadership abilities are a completely unapologetic part of her personality–she will take control of a situation if someone else doesn’t beat her to it, and even if they do, if they are going to be a dumb ass about it, she’s going to stage a coup.

So bossy and vengeful is how an outsider would view this character if they didn’t like her, right? Except that still wasn’t the complete picture of Carol, and boiling her down to just that isn’t fair. It’s part of why she comes across as either a great character or a pretentious bitch, the latter happens when writers stop at the worst of her personality traits and her leadership capabilities. Because while she is all these things, there is also a layer of humor and playfulness that while we only see flashes of it or too much of it in other heroes in Marvel, Carol has it in this perfect balance with the rest of her personality that knows when to be serious and when she can relax with her friends.

Mind, Carol’s humor also usually lines up with mine. It’s sass and sarcasm, teasing and ruffling feathers in ways that won’t offend someone to having a fit, which requires a very good perception of personalities. I’ve also made her an absolutely outrageous flirt if she’s interested in someone, something that she’s currently been keeping toned-down for her interest’s sensibilities, but since he’s being a doofus, she’s going to have to take the lid off and push him a bit.

Alright, now to some specifics here to the RP. What part of Carol’s power set stayed? I wanted to avoid overpowering here, since we are working with the idea that mutants come in classes, with Class 5 like Phoenix, Rogue, and Remy being very rare, and that’s normally where Carol’s powers would lump her. Of all the classes we had (err, I had, I world-built like a nut), we really didn’t have someone with a Class 2 mutation–something completely totally passive, with Class 1 being a purely physical mutation such as Hank’s blue fur or Kurt’s appearance. So I kept her super strength, flight, and six-sense of immediate danger/threats for her mutation, sending the rest to the trash bin, and made them all passive mutations. What that means is Carol doesn’t know when her physical, muscular strength turns into her mutation’s super strength, and that if she goes to jump, she might also fly.

(Yeah, I cut all her energy absorption/bolts/redirection. It was way too similar to other X-Men powers that we already had, and like I said, Carol can very easily lean towards overpowered, so some nerfing was required.)

I mentioned a love interest up above, but I highly recommend not looking too much into it. Carol Danvers doesn’t have much going for her as far as romance is concerned, which you know, I’m actually okay with? She’s had a lot of bad luck, but I think it’s great that she has all of this story going on for her without romance being a key part of it. But I’ll be honest, romance is what saved her from death in the RP. For some bizarre reason that I can’t remember, I decided to give her an unrequited crush on Hank McCoy, a.k.a. Beast. And now this has blossomed into a whole THING, and while I am about crying in amusement over what happens to get them from Point A to Point B, it is also the crackiest of all crackships, and I’m okay with that.

Advertisements

Character Study: Paint (X-Men)

So I (somehow, there is no explaining crack ships) fell in love with this idea of Carol Danvers and Hank McCoy having a relationship in our X-Men RP. But the price was that I had to make Hank’s player’s OTP come true and take over playing Lance Avers, a version of Avalanche that appears in X-Men: Evolution and is frequently shipped with Kitty. Of course, I agreed.

Which left poor Piotr out in the cold to figure out what to do with him.

That’s when I remembered a character that I saw pop up in fanfiction a lot. In the comics, there isn’t much to her–she alters pigment, is covered in tattoos, that’s about it when I last looked at her Wiki article. She was very much just part of the mutant population. But could I apply her to movie verse? Well, then I remember a girl in one of Xavier’s classes in X-3 who was taking notes without a pen, just gliding her hand across the page. Ah-ha, I had a basis for Paint.

Unfortunately, not only was the actress uncredited, but there was basically a little wiki-stub article on the comic character and maybe thirty seconds of screen time. I was going to have to come up with the rest of this character, using what I had as the bones. So what did I know? Well, we had dark hair, blonde in the comics, with power over pigment (only in the skin in the comics, but obviously the movie had more fun with it). The comic counterpart eventually ends up married, which I ignored, but was kicked out of her parents’ house when they freaked out of her mutation. We’d already established the Mordocks in Remy’s history.

So I went the route of Paint being homeless in New York, hanging out with Marrow, and eventually them getting found and recruited by Storm and the professor. The actress wasn’t Hispanic, but I liked the idea of her being the daughter of a Spanish immigrant instead, which fit with fact I was trying to merge dark hair and blonde together (very Spain). Unfortunately, I needed a new playby because all of the angles were awkward, so I tagged Jessica Szhor as my new Paint, whose birth name I dubbed Isabella Cortez.

But how to make her different from…all the other characters I was playing. I had a lot of freedom in terms of personality, so I decided to try and think about the situation and what the effects would be. She doesn’t have an offensive mutation at all, in fact hers would almost be dubbed useless by the mutant community. But at the same time, she is a mutant and wouldn’t be welcomed among “normal” people. I went with her being very confident as a child and full of energy…but once she was kicked out of the house, she completely drew back into her shell.

Current Paint is very shy under the public eye, but relaxes when it’s one-on-one or a very small group. This helps with her selective mutism, which flares up when she’s feeling anxious. She tends to think very little of herself, and assumes all the blame if something goes wrong where she is. But there are two areas where she is confident–one is her art, which is mostly abstract but she has a wide knowledge base and talent, which her mutation helps her with. The other is with the younger children, who she has taken over watching over while Storm is busy with the rest of the school.

Illyana ends up being the catalyst for Piotr and Paint to meet, since she falls into Paint’s kiddies (as we call her little collection of kids who follow her like ducklings). While Paint had been one of the older kids helping with the evacuation in X-2, he was a little busy and didn’t really notice the help he was getting from the quiet girl. However, Paint has been a little in love with him, just…hiding it very well. Kitty and Piotr have just now broken up, but with her social issues, it’s going to take a while for anything to happen, but the potential is there.

I feel like Paint fills a necessary hole in the RP as well. She’s not really helpful in an offensive sense, but she can run the security of the mansion and the children trust her. She ends up being an important corner stone to guard the home front as it were, and eventually the core-teacher for the younger children which just cements that fact.

Does her and Piotr’s pace drive me nuts? Oh yes. It is the slowest of the slow burns. But you know, it will probably be one of the more steady relationships in the mansion, so it will be worth it.


Nothing Good Comes Out of Ultimates

Wasn’t entirely sure where to stick this, since it’s not entirely a review, but more of a nerd rant… So it sort of got tossed around in various places. Slight Avengers: Age of Ultron spoilers because that’s what sparked this whole discussion in the first place.

When I say, “Ultimates,” I am referring to a line of comics Marvel released that rebooted several of their popular series, all with the preface of “Ultimate” in front of them. I actually read the beginnings of the X-Men one, then lost track of it until I heard that the line basically imploded because of how “WTF?” it was. Now, I’m not big on most comic books (despite loving certain superheroes). Why? Because I can’t keep up with the multiple timelines and verses and the contradictory information… It makes me want to scream. I do better with stand alone graphic novels or short runs. Ultimates should have worked for me, since it was short by necessity and most things comic fans (or at least, the fans I knew at the time, this was back during the hermit days of freshman year) complained about, I liked.

Oh, no. They were right about Ultimates.

So with my crazy way of read comics, rather than being particularly attached to timelines or plots, I pick heroes that I care about. Doesn’t matter what’s going on with the other characters, in fact I will skip whole issues if my characters aren’t in them, and I only try to understand the bigger plots so I know what this personally means for those characters. Their numbers are few…but mighty. And the Marvel ones are, in order of priority:

  1. Rogue
  2. Remy “Gambit” Lebeau
  3. Clint “Hawkeye” Barton
  4. Bobbi “Mockingbird” Morse
  5. Laura “Talon,” “X-23” Kinney
  6. Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff

Rogue doesn’t have a name on this list because she has different names depending on continuity. 😛 The others are pretty consistent.

But with that list in hand, let’s take a brief walk through what Ultimates does to my poor babies. Bobbi and Laura are spared, they aren’t even in the series. This immediately means my Hawkingbird ship is dead, but you know, as long as it isn’t Clintasha, I can live with this (I love Red, I do, but she and Clint would kill each other). As for Wanda, she gets off light in that she only has an incestuous relationship with Pietro. (Yes, incest is “light” and “only,” does that tell you how bad this is about to get yet?)

Top two’s turn. There’s a brief side story of much sadness with Remy, living as a petty thief on the streets and getting his guilt issues going. Then we get to Rogue, here named Marian Carlyle after “Robin Hood’s gal,” a reference I absolutely love. She does her stint as a villain, as is tradition with her, and then she hops over to the good side. Much like in the movies, she has to get left by Bobby for Kitty (because this is such a good pairing, ya’ll /sarcasm). But she has a madcap adventure with crazy-curly-haired Gambit, and then they go off on thieving adventure together. If they had left it there, life would have been good. But no. You see, Rogue was at one point a partner with Juggernaut during the villain stint, and he wants her back. One big bad fight in Vegas later, Juggernaut is taken care of… And Remy is dying. So what’s the solution? Rogue kisses him until she absorbs him to death.

I threw that volume across the room and refused to read the rest of the series except one later volume I indulged in for the gay!Piotr story.

So there’s most of my list down and dead or not involved. Surely things aren’t so bad with Hawkeye right? Here is where you all who don’t want spoiled for Age of Ultron need to turn away, because this is the version they are working from in the films. So Clint obviously isn’t with Bobbi, instead he secretly dates and marries a girl named Laura, completely off of SHIELD records for her own safety. They have three kids, the youngest still a baby. All is going well. Until there is a traitor among the Avengers-esque Ultimates Team…who proceeds to track down his family, violently murder them all down to the baby, and then leave their bodies for him to find. And it doesn’t end there. Instead Clint finds the traitor and kills them for vengeance for his family. And then, because we haven’t tortured him enough, he becomes a glorified death-seeker. For my fellow Final Fantasy X/X-2 fans, he becomes Nooj. Nooj. They turned Gippal into Nooj!

Yeah, try to wrap your head around that one.

I’m excited about the MCU. I love the movies, and I feel like they are how superhero movies should be done. But man, picking that version of Hawkeye makes me all sorts of sad and dreading the upcoming films. I don’t want to see that ugly fallout in live-action…

End nerd-rant.


Forum RP: To Follow or Ignore Canon

So, all of my forum RPs are based off of other worlds, making them almost collaborative fanfic as much as they are RPs. My current ones are a Harry Potter, X-Men, Firefly, and Avengers. Now, what makes this relevant to this post is…all of these have a LOT of different versions of them. I mean, dear lord, Marvel has HOW many different universes now? I gave up keeping them all straight a long time ago, and just kinda wade through them the best that I can. But because there are so many takes on the same worlds, sometimes it’s hard to pick what your RP treats as canon and what it politely ignores.

I’m going to use the X-Men as my wonderful example here, focusing on my character, a version of Rogue, partly because she’s an adoption and serves as the perfect example. Anyone who grew up watching the 90’s cartoon of Rogue has a very clear idea of the character, the same character that is usually presented in the comics in some way or fashion. But each version has it’s quirks, particularly some of the non-comic affiliated ones. X-Men: Evolution, for example, turned her into a goth. The Ultimates universe gave her a different name than the one we’ve commonly associated with Rogue. And let’s not go into some of the other really weird things Marvel has done over time. But the big kink in all the plans was how Rogue was written in the movies: meek, quiet, and nervous. The exact opposite of the fiery Southern Belle that we all know and love.

Between the actions of the previous RPer and how I set Rogue up in my head, I managed to make the meek behavior into a phase, like all teenagers go through. The fact that, even as horrible as it was, Last Stand gave her the beginnings of a backbone helped a good deal. But there were a lot of set facts about the fandom and comic book canon that I had to decide whether or not to accept them. Mystique adopted Rogue at one point, even turned her against the X-Men. I could have taken that on as a plot point, but I decided against it. Partly because of the fact we were beginning to incorporate bits and pieces of First Class lore without making that movie canon into the RP, but mostly because of Mystique’s reaction to Rogue. We never saw that mother/daughter, strained relationship that even Evolution played with at least a little bit. Besides, I borked her childhood up enough without turning one of her numerous foster parents into a shapeshifting mutant intent on using her for her own plans.

As for her childhood, again, I had a lot of different options. One version of Rogue’s past has her living with her parents, her father being abusive. Another version that is often tied together with the first has her parents as part of a sort of hippie commune. There’s where she was mostly raised by her Aunt Carrie, or by Irene. And then there’s what the movie gives us, which isn’t much to go on at all. In the end, I actually took bits and pieces from everything and threw them all together into a mess, if only because that really gave the character some much needed depths that I wasn’t getting from anywhere else in the RP besides the voices in her head.

I guess the biggest decisions we had to make about the RP as a whole was the addition of other movies, such as Wolverine: Origins, First Class, and now The Wolverine and Days of Future Past. In the end, as a group, we decided to treat the movies a lot like how we treat the comic books and the TV shows. Nothing except for the first three movies is strict, must-be-followed-on-pain-of-death canon. Everything else can be pulled from if we like the bit of information, but it doesn’t have to be strict. (I completely ignore First Class having Xavier start the school that young, for example, or how it contradictorily gets him into a wheelchair at the end of the movie despite him being able to walk after Origins and ugh.) For example, we follow Origins pretty religiously, with some tweaking, but we break bits and pieces of First Class away to use and pretty much ignore The Wolverine. Most of our group has not read any of the comics, with me serving as a weird bridge between the religious followers of them and the ones who haven’t touched them, so we treat them like we do First Class, and the same for the animated series.

By now, I’m sure you’re begging the question as to why the heck we do this. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make everything canon? And the answer is, yes…if things were consistent. But Marvel and consistency don’t belong in the same sentence together most of the time. Even JK Rowling had her blips where she had a contradiction. It’s completely unavoidable, and in some cases just happens to be worse than others. But in an RP setting, there has to be some manner of consistency, if only because things have to be fair for all the players, so the same information has to be readily available, or if it is changed, it’s changed for character reasons and the player at least knows about it.

This doesn’t mean I advocate change in the name of change. Even though a couple members of the group grumbled, I refused to bring in Cassandra Nova, because it made no sense to me. We knew the man at the end of the movie was Xavier’s twin brother. Twin, not part of a triplet. And not only a twin, an IDENTICAL twin. The boys pulled out all sorts of Marvel logic on me. I won only because it has been stated that the brain-dead twin that Xavier takes over when his own body is destroyed at the end of Last Stand is her cinematic double, something they couldn’t argue with because it was canon as we were following it.

I guess my point is, don’t be afraid to ignore something that contradicts what you’ve already RPed that isn’t easily fixed or seems completely illogical. Especially if other material provides alternate solutions that you can pull from or excite you to play out. But at the same time, don’t ignore canon just to get away with doing what you want to do. Canon exists to create a level field for all the RPers, and so as a group, you have to decide what is and isn’t canon and stick with that.

So when most of the group says “No aliens!”, you have to suck it up and deal with it.