The Daily DeX 10/15/2019: Superheroes Pick Up Where Ancient Myths Left Off—Sometimes In Strange And Mysterious Ways

+“Even Marvel’s Heroes Think the X-Men Are Weird Right Now” | CBR | Ian Cardona

“For the past three months, writer Jonathan Hickman and artists Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva have been redefining the X-Men and their place in the Marvel Universe with the dual series House of X and Powers of X. The two titles have drastically altered the past, present and future of the X-Men in ways that will be felt for years to come. Both series have delivered their shares of shocking twists and revelations, from Moira MacTaggert’s many alternate lives to the newly-implemented resurrection protocols of the mutant species. While the X-Men went through big changes throughout House of X and Powers of X, there has definitely been something off about them, as Cyclops’ encounter with the Fantastic Four revealed. Some fans would even argue they’ve been acting rather cult-like in recent issues of both titles. But while there are many more answers yet to come, for the time being, the X-Men remains somewhat of a question mark. And that fact isn’t lost on certain heroes of the Marvel Universe.”

1) Many have long compared the Marvel and DC universes of heroes and stories to Coke and Pepsi. I reject this because I could never really tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, and because the fundamental structures of each universe couldn’t be more distinct. The fulcrum of the DC universe is a group of heroes (The Justice League) modeled on the greek/roman pantheon of gods. The Hall of Justice is Mount Olympus. Superman is Zeus. Wonder Woman is Athena. Batman is Vulcan. Aquaman is Poseidon. Green Lantern is Apollo. The Flash is Mercury. Hawkman is Ares. The Green Arrow is Artemis. Black Canary is Aphrodite. Cyborg is Hephaestus.

2) In the way that the Third World gods of the pantheon replaced the old gods of the Second World known as “the Titans,” so they have been replaced as well by the core Justice League “heroes” who are the “gods” of the Fourth World, our current age. (The First World was the unknowable Source, “which was the only existence.” On my understanding of Jack Kirby’s comics mythos, Fourth World cosmology applies to both DC and Marvel universes.)

3) Superheroes “mirroring” mythic archetypes is replete throughout the DC Universe. On deeper levels, it explains why many DC heroes and their arch-villains are doubles or counterparts with similar or opposite powers/skills but highly divergent personalities. Superman/Lex Luthor, Batman/Joker, The Flash/Zoom, and Green Arrow/Merlin are just a few examples. Likewise, mirroring also explains why DC’s major heroes have their own geographical domains (Metropolis, Gotham City, etc.), as well as their own families of similar, somewhat lesser or junior heroes, such as Robin, Kid Flash, etc. Lastly, mythological mirroring explains why each of DC’s “Olympic” identities is really a mantle that can be passed on to worthy successors when the original hero is no longer capable or willing to continue. All of these mirroring mechanisms emphasize the essentially mythological (therefore timeless and enduring) nature of the DC Universe. Because myths never die, within this universe there will always be a Superman, a Batman, a Wonder Woman, and a Justice League. This world could not survive without them.

4) If my analysis is reasonable, then perhaps the most interesting difference between the DC and Marvel universes is that the former seems to be the inevitable product of a mythic and historical process that began eons ago, while the latter is the product of myriad contingencies set in motion less than a century ago. There’s nothing in or about the Marvel universe that had to happen. Because of this, that reality’s most fundamental aspects are essentially human

5) While the DC universe is modeled on mythic structures we’ve understood for thousands of years (Superman is a Christ figure, for instance), the major franchises of the Marvel universe are modeled on very modern social and political structures. The Fantastic Four is a family. The Avengers is a corporation. The Defenders is a support group. And The X-Men is a cult. Specifically, Charles Xavier’s X-men is Charles Manson’s The Family. Xavier’s mansion is Spahn Ranch. Xavier is Manson. Scott Summers is Tex Watson. Wolverine is Bobby Beausoleil. Jean Grey is Susan Atkins. Kitty Pride is “Squeaky” Fromm. Among the X-Men, just as within The Family, there are complex emotional, political, and sexual relationships set against the apocalyptic backdrop of Days of Future Past, which is Helter Skelter—both of which are literally race wars. 

@ProjectDeX

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Image Source: marvel.com (fair use)

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