Friday, June 6, 2014

The Summers Family Tree

The Summers-Grey family is essentially the first mutant family of the Marvel Universe. However, with dozens of realities and timelines crisscrossing the X-Men mythos it is very hard to keep a track of all the relatives/descendants of Cyclops. In order to simplify this rather tedious job, I have compiled the following infographic regarding the relationships of the characters from the Marvel Universe.

NOTE: I have deliberately left out some characters, and only displayed those characters which have been the part of the mainstream Earth-616 Universe in some form or another.

Key to the infographic:
  1. D'Ken Neramani (Earth-616)
  2. Katherine Summers (Earth-616)
  3. Christopher Summers (Earth-616)
  4. Scott Summers (Earth-616)
  5. Alexander Summers (Earth-616)
  6. Gabriel Summers (Earth-616)
  7. Jean Grey (Earth-616)
  8. Madelyne Pryor
  9. Adam Neramani (Earth-616)
  10. Rachel Summers (Earth-811)
  11. Nathan Summers (Earth-616)
  12. Nathan Summers (Stryfe) (Earth-4935)
  13. Nathaniel Grey (Earth-295)
  14. Franklin Richards (Earth-616)
  15. Aliya Dayspring (Earth-4935)
  16. Jonathan Richards (Earth-967)
  17. Tyler Dayspring (Earth-4935)
  18. Hope Summers (Earth-616)
  19. Nathaniel Essex (Earth-616)

In case I have missed something, your suggestions are more than welcome.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to form a Superhero team of your own?

Be it Justice League, Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Teen Titans, Stormwatch or even the Defenders, superhero teams are far more interesting than the usual standalone solo adventures of a comicbook character. Obviously, everybody loves a good crossover with complicated plots bunching totally different characters together like a big dysfunctional family only to ultimately keep aside their differences and come together as a unit to save the day.

Alright, enough with the crappy introduction. I've been thinking about writing this post for a longtime now. What motivated me to write this post was the fact that I've been able to observe almost a pattern in the ways these popular superhero teams are formed. Broadly speaking the core group of the teams is almost the same: You need a Tactician, a Bruiser, a Cosmic Power, a Telepath etc. in your superhero team. So, what follows are the types of members you are bound to find in a superhero team.


Tactician Logic!
The League has Batman and the Martian Manhunter, Avengers have Cap (Even Tony Stark), X-Men have Cyclops and the Fantastic Four have Mr. Fantastic to fall back to every time they need to devise a strategy. Also, it is for the tactician to lead and organize the team. It is more than often the case that when all seems lost, the ever reliant tactician delivers the proverbial ace in the hole sucker-punching the the super-vile schemers, saving the day and earning respect from their peers all at the same time.


That's right folks, the bruiser plays the second-fiddle, ALWAYS!
With the Tactician accounting for the brains, the team needs brawn. Superhuman strength with nigh invulnerability is exactly what you need from your Bruiser. Superman-Wonder Woman for the League, Hulk and Thor for the Avengers, Thing for the FF and Colossus for the X-Men serve as the hard hitters for their respective teams.They get the job done when you need to smash monsters, smash buildings, smash comets, smash meteors and smashing other gazillion things.


With the superhuman threats varying from an overgrown starfish (wishing to enslave the world) to jealous/mischievous gods (played on screen by a beloved English actor), you need to have a demi-god  and/or (if possible) a god on your side. Because time and again they will inform you of some mystic artifact, or call upon their kin from the legends to help you out, or even ask their almighty fathers to resurrect you! Thor is a god, a well known one. Wonder Woman is a demi-goddess although in the New 52 continuity, she is the new goddess of war among the Olympians.


The Doctor's in! (Also the most cliched line concerning a medical practitioner)
What about magical threats then? Superman is as helpless against magic as a water-hose being peed upon by a territory conscious dog. What do you do? That's right you call upon an expert. Dr. Fate, Zattana and Zattara aid the League whereas Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange and Brother Voodoo are the resident sorcerers at the Avengers Tower. As far as the X-Men are concerned Illyana Rasputin is on the rosters of the X-Men and her codename is Magick for obvious reasons.


For your team to be super-cool you need to have super-cool comm devices, hypersonic jets, space ships advanced computers, teleporters and every other bit of far-fetched instrumentation a comicbook scribe can possibly imagine of. But, the question remains: "Who will build that shit for'ya?" Gee... that's why keep the guy running around in the creepy Batsuit (Also, that he pays their bills, we'll come to that later)! Batman is said to have designed the Watchtower satellite and the Javelin jets for the League and Tony Stark's prowess is all too well known. Beast works as the tinkerer at the X-Mansion.


One of those Hawkward moments. Don't worry Hawkeye is totally used to being helpless!
A super-hero team needs to run it's recon missions to get hold of the enemy motives and tactics. As such even the most useless (read powerless) former spy team members can be put to some work. Black Widow and Hawkeye for the Avengers for an instance. On the other hand Ninjas are cool! Batman is a Ninja and Batman is COOL, so Ninjas are definitely cool!


What is worse than a dead Jean Grey? A live hipster one!
Ask a Star Wars fan, what do they like about the Jedi. The the first and foremost answer you are likely to receive is "the Jedi Mind Tricks", better known as telepathy. A telepath is a really handy member for the purpose of interrogations, and also long distance secure communication. Also, to fight a battle on an astral plane and possibly win it you need an expert telepath like the Manhunter, Jean Grey, Charles Xavier or Emma Frost by your side.


If you know what she meant!
"Quick, it's a hostage situation".. "Oh no! Luthor has planted boombs across the city".. "Only if we could travel back to time to stop him!" .. "How are we going to disarm them? There are like 100 of them!" 
Who's going to be your go-to man? Definitely not the pokemon named Slowpoke! Flash? Maybe Quicksilver? The super-fast guys are going to run errands for you and stop the shit from hitting the fan!


What if a pan-galactic empire comes knocking at your door and they are not interested in trading Justin Beiber for flying skateboards? In that case you need several weapons of mass destruction at a cosmic scale (or even a negligent space-cop using a ring for a badge would suffice) to negotiate peace and to function as a mediator and trade Beiber and his Beliebers off the planet anyway. There are 5 Green lanterns in the DC Universe for that purpose. 6, if you count the GL from the 40s too. Quasar, Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel are some Avengers with a cosmic repute as well. Although the X-Men beat all the other superteams by light-years in terms of cosmic diplomacy, they've had their fair share of ahem..  cosmic adventures.


Alright. You've got your team. You can build your headquarters with the state-of-the-art machinery sophisticated security systems, uber cool jets, satellites and the stuff geeks drool about. But hey! Wait a sec, who do you think is going to write your checks? Aaaand... that is exacly why you need a "Billionaire, philanthropist, playboy genius.. yadda yadda". That's right. Batman and Iron Man are seemingly powerless but they possess the most significant power of them all: "Being disgustingly rich!!" Money is all that matters after all! (Tyrion Lannister fan here? Anybody?) 

Wrapping it up, this one was tooooo long an article. I had some other minor super-hero archetypes in my mind. Left them out for some other time. Please "like" and/or "share" this article if you find it good. And feel free to leave in your comments below.