A Terribly Incomplete Guide to X-Men: First Class

It's been a while, but in my day I read a lot of X-Men comics. So while watching the previews for X-Men: First Class -- and watching, and watching, since I think I've seen them every weekend for the last two months -- I naturally tried to identify all the characters, to see if I could do it without checking the cast list. Y'know, all the characters except Professor X and Magneto, since those are gimmies. Beast is just as easy, obviously, as is Mystique, though I think she starts out as Raven Darkholme here. The guy sending out the ultra-powerful shock waves: Havok. The blonde wearing all white and sometimes looking sort of diamond-like: Emma Frost, aka the White Queen from the Hellfire Club.

So it's fun doing all this identifying, except it also doesn't really help. Comic book knowledge is getting less and less helpful for movie knowledge, sadly. My childhood reading comic books now feels utterly wasted.

The movie is set in 1962, or thereabouts, so that Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr can be young men. That works fine for the Beast -- he was a founding member of the X-Men team. It can even be made to work for Mystique, since she's supposed to be about a century old. But I can't quite wrap my brain around the whole Havok thing, since he's supposed to be Cyclops' brother. Younger brother, even. The Hellfire Club doesn't appear until 1980, though to be fair, the implication is that they've been around quite a while. The historical Hellfire Clubs, for instance, in Great Britain and Ireland, were first started in the 18th century for those rich people who wanted a safe place to do very bad things, and the comic book Hellfire Club isn't terribly different, really.

Then there's the dark-haired girl with fly wings. My first thought was of the Wasp, except if she's going to be showing up anywhere, it should be in the upcoming Avengers flick. Apparently she's called Angel Salvadore, which is just confusing when there's already a character called Angel, except since he was only in X-Men III, which was pretty bad, maybe he doesn't count or something. To make it more confusing, this new, female Angel is a character that first appeared in 2001.

Anyway, it's cool that they have Moira MacTaggert. People without superpowers tend to get overlooked in the comics, which is unsurprising but a little sad. They also threw in some other random people that I've never heard of, like Darwin and Riptide. The latter is listed as a villain, though really, considering they're trying to stop nuclear missiles and prevent a war in this flick, they hardly need any super-powered villains, so maybe he isn't one yet.

The point is, maybe we should all try to forget everything we might already know about the X-Men before going to see this movie. Sometimes, maybe that's best.

Not your father's X-Men. Not really anybody's X-Men, come to that.


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