Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

As in, “Fallen”: I’m a big fan of the fine art of “comic revamp”, in which one or more characters or concepts which seemed appealing and sensible back in the 1950’s get picked up off the shelf, dusted off, and given new life. Of course, a revamp sometimes fails miserably and leaves very, very angry comic book fans screaming about the abomination that you’ve brought forth onto their favorite books. In addition, unwriting revamps takes some very, very clever writing (or some very not-so clever writing, at times, as well- i.e. the Spider-man clone saga. Ouch.). But once in a while, it’s done right. I’d like to demonstrate my point with Warren here. Way back when, I used to think Angel was the lamest superhero ever. And that’s saying something, because Marvel held onto some really lame superheroes on occasion. But a guy who had wings just didn’t interest me- why would he? Plenty of other superheroes had the ability to fly and they really didn’t need aviary-protrusions jutting out of their back to do it. Why have him as an X-Man at all? I mean, it was interesting that he was a founding member and all- but compared to the modern-day X-Men (okay, which at the time was the 1980’s X-Men headed up by Storm and with Wolverine, Colossus, and Nightcrawler) he just didn’t seem to have a lot to contribute. And then? He started going through some serious shit. Like, terrible. He started to make the other X-Men’s lives look like a walk through the park. For starters, he and the rest of the original X-Men had the misfortune of going up against Mr. Sinister’s mutant-hunting Marauders. Back in the day, the Marauders were bad, bad people that you didn’t want to screw with if you didn’t have to. All of there powers were geared towards killing other people in one form or another. Watching the X-Men consistently outwit and overpower Mystique’s Brotherhood looked campy in comparison to seeing them have it out with these trained killers. Most of the Marauders have met their grisly ends by now (usually as a result of their own powers backfiring on them) but that hasn’t stopped Sinister from cloning them. I know. Gross. Anyway, the short story is that one such Marauder, Harpoon, could “charge” objects, kind of like Gambit. As his name implies, his choice of weapons included spears and the like. Harpoon impaled both of Warren’s wings against the wall with two tridents while he and his teammates were trying to stop the Marauders from massacring the Morlocks (mutants who live in New York’s sewers). He barely survived and his wings were mangled. Now, in a really twisted moment of betrayal, Warren’s long time “friend” Cameron Hodge ordered that he have his wings amputated in order to “save” Warren. Hodge was one sick, sick puppy and I think he’d actually be a great candidate for an X-Men movie villain. Hodge was always secretly jealous at Warren’s seemingly charmed life- after all, Warren was rich, had superpowers, and tended to date incredibly hot women (see below). But not only that, Hodge was like the narrow-minded dictator of the Marvel Universe- he was out to wipe Mutantkind off the face of the planet. He had convinced Warren to use his own money to track down and “help” mutants. What Warren didn’t know was that Hodge was doing all sorts of horrendous stuff to the mutants that he and his teammates brought in. Finally, Hodge had Warren killed in a jet liner explosion and framed the whole thing to his teammates as a suicide. Like I said. Sick, sick puppy. But also as in, “Of Death”: Whether or not Warren really died or not is a point of debate. Whatever the case, the mother of all X-Men bad guys, Apocalypse, got his hands on him and resurrected- or at least remade- him. Calling him “Death”, Apocalypse gave Warren new razor-sharp metallic wings that could project paralyzing darts on command. “Death” also had pale-blue corpse-color skin, to add to the creep-out effect. Eventually, Warren snapped out of Apocalypse’s brainwashing and rejoined his teammates- but he was definitely changed. After the whole mess got cleared up, he learned that Hodge had kidnapped and killed his long time girlfriend Candy Southern. In a not-so-Warren-anymore moment, Archangel decapitated Hodge with his wings. In a lot of ways, Warren was like the walking dead. He was sullen and withdrawn and his relationships with the people who use to be in his life (what was left of it, at this point) changed a lot. Also, he had this creepy habit of suddenly slipping into trance-like rages in the middle of fights. It would be like bloodthirstiness would overtake him and all of this pseudo-Apocalypse-lingo would start pouring out of his mouth. His teammates usually helped keep him from doing anything he might regret- but after a while, Warren started to realize that his wings had a “mind” of their own. They craved blood and subtly played with his emotions, like a sword begging its owner to use it so it could “eat.” Sometimes, Warren’s accidents seemed like more than just coincidence- I remember this issue where some mutant who was part of Stryfe’s Mutant Liberation Front flew right at Warren. He just turned his body, not even paying attention to the guy rocketing towards him from behind- one of his wings took the mutant’s head clean off. Was stuff like that just an accident, or the wings actually acting of their own accord? You had to wonder… Interestingly, some of Warren’s worst episodes used to happen when he got around Wolverine. The two had never really gotten along- but when things got tense between the old team and the new(er) team of X-Men during Inferno for example, Wolverine went berserk after smelling something “not right” in Warren’s scent. It was like they were two agitated animals whenever they got around each other. Recently, the man has been going through some changes. A few years back, Sabretooth smashed his wings pretty bad- and surprisingly, his old feathery wing set grew back underneath his wounded metal ones, shattering them open. He even got his old, original skin tone back- these changes were due to Warren’s “secondary mutation”, kind of like Emma Frost’s diamond-form-thing. In his case, he’s got a healing factor AND his blood actually has healing properties when it’s mixed with other’s bloods. However, he had a cameo in the newest incarnation of X-Force and has wound up with metal wings and blue skin (the how and why of this hasn’t been written at this time, I believe. They better have a good reason dreamed up for this one). Most Eligible Bachelor: Warren Worthington has dated some hot women in the Marvel Universe. Seriously. While his love life has been a little on the tragic side, his hit-list rivals Tony Stark. Among his love interests are: Jean Grey: Okay, they never dated. But originally, Warren was introduced as a potential rival to Scott Summers. He even seemed more of a natural leader than Scott did in the early pages of the X-Men. Jean still leans on Warren for support, here and there. If Scott and Logan were ripped off the face of the planet, you can be pretty sure that Warren and Jean would be a hot item. In fact, at one point, Warren’s girlfriend Candy thought Jean and Warren were having an affair and ended her relationship with the guy. So you see my point. Candice “Candy” Southern: Warren’s now deceased long-time love interest. Candy basically had a smattering of jobs in big business, and at one point became the C.E.O. of the Worthington family business herself. She even acted (briefly) as the unofficial leader of the Defenders (of which Angel was a member of and has got to be in the top five weirdest super-hero teams ever). I give the man bonus points here for fulfilling my adolescent fantasy of dating a woman who goes by the name “Candy." Elizabeth “Psylocke” Braddock: Hot telepathic ninja. Enough said. Paige “Husk” Guthrie: Somewhat controversial, Warren has been shacking up with Cannonball’s younger sister. I’m a little bummed she didn’t end up with Chamber from Generation X- but I admit that having a relationship with a guy who has had half of his body ripped open might have been difficult. Suggested Reading: Mutant Massacre (Features the original X-Factor, the X-Men, Power Pack, and even Thor, going up against the Marauders) The Fall of the Mutants (The X-Men, X-Factor, and the New Mutants get curb-stomped by tons of villains and Apocalypse remakes our hero into “Death”) X-Tinction Agenda (Hodge comes back as a creepy cyborg, with- I swear- JUST HIS HEAD attached to this techno-arachnid body. This story is BRUTAL. Archangel and Wolverine get put into this semi-gladitorial arena to fight, at one point) X-cutioners Song (The X-Men have to team-up with Archangel “father” Apocalypse in order to save Xavier and fight Stryfe) World War Hulk: Hercules (Warren and Hercules go way back- in fact, they were part of a super-hero team named the “Champions”, who rival the Defenders in weirdness)