…Callisto’s origin?

While the mutant Callisto, created by Chris Claremont and Paul Smith, was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #169 as leader of the Morlocks, a large group of mutants that had fled from human persecution into the tunnels beneath New York City where they had formed their own community, her history prior to her founding of the Morlocks remained shrouded in mystery for the ensuing hundred issues.

However, while this appears to be the case on the surface, a plot regarded as one of the most disturbing – and obscure – of Claremont’s entire run on the title, appears to provide some valuable clues upon a second viewing.

Consider that the scenes in Uncanny X-Men #259 showing Callisto transformed into a beautiful supermodel [by Masque]…

Figure 01_UXM259_Masque tormentFigure 02_UXM259_Billboard modelFigure 03_UXM259_Model in trouble

…were actually intended by Chris Claremont to hint at the founder of the Morlocks’ original appearance.

This would finally explain the scene in Uncanny X-Men #191, when new mutant, Dani Moonstar, shows Callisto her greatest fear by projecting an image of the attractive woman she once was…

Figure 04_UXM191_Callisto before mutant powers

…and the cryptic scene in #260 with the gang of thugs pursuing her down a dark alley…

Figure 05_UXM260_Model fight back

…was hinting at the event which brought about her mutant abilities.

I’d therefore suggest that when still a supermodel, prior to her mutant powers manifesting, the young woman that became Callisto was pursued by a gang of thugs on the streets at night.  She tries to struggle against their attack but, while she had learned a number of self-defence moves, she was just not built for physical combat.

However, given Claremont’s penchant for revealing mutants’ powers primarily manifesting in life-threatening situations (e.g. Sam Guthrie), I’d further suggest the assault caused her body to transform into that of a hardened warrior…

Figure 06_UXM170_Callisto's powers

…which enabled her to fight off her attackers… but at the price of losing her looks, and modelling career in the process.

This would appear to explain why Claremont named her Callisto.  That is, Callisto, meaning “most beautiful”, was the lovely nymph in Greek mythology that was raped by Zeus and subsequently transformed into a bestial form.

However, the myth goes a step further, and Callisto becomes pregnant as a result of the sexual assault.

So did Claremont intend to reveal that, in addition to manifesting her mutant abilities, Callisto became pregnant as a result of the attack?  If so, where is that child now?

I have some ideas…

Given the bestial form Callisto was transformed into in the myth was a bear, does this provide some clue as to the identity of her child?

It is worth noting that the original version of the name Cheney, Cheynne, means “little Cree” (French) à “little Cris” (Canadian French) à “little Bear” (Greek).  A long way to go about it, but it is there:)

We know Callisto spoke with a British argot (e.g. Uncanny X-Men #211 when she calls the dying Morlock, Annalee, a “dear old duffer”).

Figure 06_UXM211_Callisto's argot

We also know Lila Cheney similarly used British slang.

Figure 07_NMA01_Lila Cheney's accent

So given Cheney’s name means “Little Bear”, it would seem she was intended by Claremont to be the child resulting from Callisto’s assault.

I kind of like the idea that Callisto is Lila Cheney’s mother.  It ties two Claremont characters without origins together.  And they never met during his run.

The only further detail Claremont provided for Lila Cheney’s origins during his run was that someone on Earth had sold her…

Figure 08_NMA01_Earth sold Lila CheneyFigure 09_NM29_Lila stolen and sold

…to an alien who had forced her to participate in intergalactic gladiator tournaments!

Figure 10_NM29_Lila reveals was gladiator

The most logical villain from Claremont’s run to have orchestrated the abduction of Lila as a baby would seem to be Mister Sinister, what with his modus operandi of having mutant children kidnapped (Nanny not having been created at this point).

Figure 11_UXM215_Madelyne Pryor pursued by Marauders

As to the alien, with Lila’s powers working on the basis that she must have previously been to a particular location in order to teleport there later, and given that we find her teleporting across the Imperium in Uncanny X-Men #269…

Figure 12a_UXM269_Lila teleporting across Shi'ar Imperium_a

…and Uncanny X-Men #274-277…

Figure 12b_UXM276_Lila teleporting across Shi'ar ImperiumFigure 12c_UXM276_Lila teleporting across Shi'ar ImperiumFigure 12d_UXM277_Lila teleporting across Shi'ar Imperium

…I’d propose Shi’ar “Big Bad,” the Emperor D’Ken!

Figure 13_UXM156_D'Ken most likely alien Sinister sold Lila to

As to why Mister Sinister would sell Lila to D’Ken, I’d suggest he did so in order to gain Shi’ar technology, specifically an incubation-accelerator… similar to the one Davan Shakari/ Eric the Red had used to age Magneto in X-Men #104…

Figure 14_UXM104_Shi'ar age accelerator

…which he could use to accelerate his clones to adulthood, like he had with Madelyne Pryor.

Figure 15_UXM240_Mister Sinister's age accelerator

And don’t panic, I’m not avoiding addressing the perpetrators of Callisto’s original assault which led to the manifestation of her mutant abilities (and Lila;).  So let us return to the first hint of such an event, Uncanny X-Men #260.  Most fans will agree with me here that there is something extremely disturbing about the scene in this issue when it becomes clear that the group of attackers are wearing X-Men masks.

Figure 16_UXM260_Peter Nicholas fighting off Callisto's attackers

When viewed on the surface, nothing about the sequence makes any sense.  With the previous issue launching this particular storyline with Masque torturing Callisto, one could argue it was him who sent the attackers.  However, if he did, why did they need to wear masks when Masque could have easily changed their faces with his powers?  Also, Masque certainly couldn’t have known what Psylocke’s new helmeted mask looked like since Betsy had only been wearing her armoured costume since the X-Men had become invisible to electronic scanners and he’d not encountered them since before this time.

Figure 17_UXM232_Psylocke's armour

It’s worth noting here that Masque’s behaviour in this story arc is so much more psychologically sophisticated in its cruelty than anything we’ve previously seen from him – and his use of limousines and organising for Callisto to appear on billboards – such a high-class, highly-financed operation would be out of the league of an outcast who lives in the sewers. Such a scheme is more in keeping with the modus operandi of a villain like Farouk who was previously shown to run various legitimate nightclubs, etc. (e.g. the Fat Karma storyline).

As for the attackers wearing masks, while it could be argued this was Peter Nicholas’ subconscious trying to remind him of his identity as the X-Man, Colossus, the “vision” is also noted by Phillip Moreau.

Figure 18_UXM260_Phillip Moreau sees X-Men masks

I’d therefore alternatively suggest Peter seeing X-Men masks on the faces of Callisto’s attackers was not his subconscious but instead the mutant Aborigine, Gateway, contacting him via the Dreamtime.  The hallucinatory effect of the scene echoes back to Psylocke’s experience in Uncanny X-Men #250, and Madelyne Pryor’s in the lead-up to Inferno. Recall at this point Gateway was imprisoned by the Shadow King (cf. Uncanny X-Men #250 and 253) in his efforts to control the Dreamtime.

Figure 19_UXM250-253_Shadow King controlling DreamtimeGateway’s “Dreamtime” contact to Peter was dual-purposed, firstly as suggested above his effort to speed up the recovery from his amnesia after passing through the Siege Perilous (so he could be restored as Colossus in preparation for the coming battle with the Shadow King), but also revealing subtle clues from the nightmares of characters’ past, in this instance Callisto’s.  That is, what with Gateway being cursed to the service of the Reavers…

Figure 20_UXM269_Gateway bound to Reavers' service

…who were revealed as the Shadow King’s pawns in X-Treme X-Men Annual 2001…

Figure 21_XXMA2001_Donald Pierce as host to Shadow King

…was Claremont using the character as a plot device to subtly reveal their involvement in the past events of his characters?

What’s interesting about the scene with Callisto’s attackers in Uncanny X-Men #260 is that they’re wearing masks of the “Outback Team” of X-Men, Colossus, Havok, Wolverine, Storm, Psylocke, etc.

Figure 22_UXM260_Thugs wearing masks out Outback X-Men

At this time there were only two groups of X-Men villains who were aware of their survival from Dallas, the Reavers and Marauders.

With my having established Gateway’s “Dreamtime” contact, it would seem to make sense his influence was revealing villains mutual to both himself and the X-Men (sadly, Peter is still too Siege-lagged to interpret Gateway’s “vision”, and goes on to fall under the thrall of the Shadow King).

So when the attack on Callisto in Uncanny X-Men #260 is viewed from my above outlined perspective, things start falling into place, don’t they!

Now before I dive in, I’d suggest a much earlier scene written by Claremont in Callisto’s history provides us with further clues.

Recall in Callisto’s first appearance – Uncanny X-Men #169 – she has Angel kidnapped, stripped of his clothing and his primary feathers cut away in an effort to cripple him.

Figure 23_UXM169_Callisto's kidnapping of Angel

While this scene is explained as her wanting Warren as a “trophy husband”, there always seemed to be more behind her actions than she claimed.  So what if Callisto actually came to knowledge that the gang of her original attackers worked for a rich, blonde male member of the Hellfire Club who had gone on to become member of some super outlaw team?

Now recall in Uncanny X-Men #132 had Angel reveal that he was a member of the Hellfire Club, having inherited the membership from his parents.

Figure 24_UXM132_Angel reveals Hellfire Club membershipSo did Callisto learn of Warren’s Hellfire Club membership and jump to the wrong conclusion, ordering his kidnapping due to a case of mistaken identity?  And the rich, blonde she should really have kidnapped was CEO of Pierce-Consolidated Mining and White King of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle!

So let’s explore this a little further.  We know Pierce had a mad-on for mutants…

Figure 25a_UXM134_Donald Pierce hatred mutantsFigure 25b_UXM253_Donald Pierce hatred mutants

…most likely because he ended up an amputee through a less than positive “interaction” with one!  While this was somewhat revealed in Cable #49 by James Robinson…

Figure 26_CBL49_Donald Pierce reveals the mutant responsible for his condition

…the storyline and characters revealed as responsible were obviously not those intended by Claremont.

So what circumstances did Claremont intend to have caused Donald Pierce’s disablement, and his subsequent hatred of mutants?

Before I begin addressing this apparent abandoned plot, let me first turn my investigation to an interesting statement made by the Pierce from around our period in discussion, Uncanny X-Men #251, where he claims to have created the original Reavers; and that Pretty Boy, Skullbuster and Bonebreaker were the last of this original group.

Figure 27a_UXM251_Donald Pierce responsible for original Reavers

It is worth noting that the original Reavers did not just consist of the abovementioned three.  That is, Uncanny X-Men #229 earlier shows them as part of a much larger group of super-powered cyborgs.

Figure 27b_UXM229_Original Reavers

That same issue Claremont has Longshot express outrage toward the group about giving up their “birthright flesh” and replacing it with machinery, which I’d suggest was his way of indicating that the entire commando-style team of thieves started out as human.

Figure 27c_UXM229_original Reavers had been human

Given their cybernetic enhancements enabled them to become this super-commando team, I’d further suggest that when still purely human they were just a team of thieves.

So what were the circumstances of their own disablement that made them candidates for Pierce’s cybernetic enhancements?  I’m assuming by now you’ve deduced where I’m going with this.

That is, was Pierce and this gang of thieves that went on to become his original Reavers the same group of thugs hinted by Gateway to have been responsible for the attack on the supermodel that became the mutant Callisto?

I would suggest yes, and that the fractures, amputations and internal injuries, that required them to subject themselves to cybernetic enhancement, were sustained as a result of the supermodel’s mutant abilities manifesting during their sexual assault of her.

But, you ask, were members of the Reavers’ really capable of rape?

I’d answer that question by directing you to their very first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #229.  Pretty Boy especially had a penchant for making female victims more “pliable” to his suggestions, including the captured Jessan Hoan (his fibre-optic filaments burrowing into her brain and altering her sense of morality such that she went on to become Tyger Tiger, the new crime lord of Madripoor)…

Figure 28a_UXM229_Pretty Boy mind rape of Jessan Hoan

…Dazzler…

Figure 28b_UXM229_Pretty Boy attempted mind-rape of Dazzler

…Lady Deathstrike…

Figure 28c_UXM252_Pretty Boy attempted mind-rape of Lady Deathstrike

…Polaris…

Figure 28d_UXM255_Pretty Boy attempted mind-rape of Polaris

…Rogue…

Figure 28e_UXM269_Pretty Boy intending to mind-rape Rogue

…and Sage.

Figure 28f_XXMA2001_Pretty Boy about to mind-rape Sage

This would seem to suggest that Pretty Boy’s predatory behaviour towards females existed long before Pierce surgically provided him with the fibre-optic filaments that enabled him to burrow into a victim’s brain and alter their sense of morality, and that Donald in fact outfitted him with this enhancement as it played to his previous strengths.

In addition, Donald Pierce exhibited similarly creepy behaviour towards Lady Deathstrike, who acknowledged his control over her.

Figure 29a_UXM252_Donald Pierce controlling Lady DeathstrikeFigure 29b_UXM253_Donald Pierce with Lady Deathstrike

It’s worth noting that his first name, Donald, means “ruler of the world” and his surname Pierce is derived from the Greek Petros, the ammonite shila form by which Zeus was worshipped.

So there you have it, Donald Pierce and his gang of thieves, stumbling across the supermodel that went on to become Callisto while they were taking down one of their scores, decided to “sate their appetites” when her powers kicked in and she cut through them like a knife through butter, becoming the mutant responsible for the original Reavers!

Now while this resolves the circumstances of Callisto’s assault and subsequent transformation, Lila Cheney’s conception and eventual sale to D’Ken (and later escape from her intergalactic enslavement*), if this was Claremont’s plan, I’ve not yet addressed why Callisto didn’t attempt to track down her daughter after the abduction.  Well, while her mutant powers manifested during her sexual assault and she ended up permanently disabling her attackers, they’d be no match against the Marauders when those assassins came to abduct baby Lila from her for their employer, Mister Sinister.  While she’d have been able to put up a fight, recall during Claremont’s run these were the deadliest group of mutants the X-Men had ever faced and Callisto would have been alone against them.  While she survived the encounter, there’s no way she wouldn’t have walked away unscathed, so I’d suggest that it was this battle that was responsible for her missing right eye and the scars on her cheeks, most likely meted out by Sabretooth.

I’d even go a further step to suggest that, as it is unlikely for a sole fighter to survive an encounter with the Marauders, Callisto, despite sustaining her injuries, managed to flee from them into the sewers beneath Manhattan and kept running until she stumbled across one of the series of abandoned military tunnels constructed during the Cold War; the Marauders unable to track her and finish their job due to the Alley blocking psionic scanning.

Figure 30a_UXM169 212_Morlock tunnels psychic interference

Having now experienced two near-death attacks upon her person, by humans AND mutants, I’d posit that Callisto lost any sense of safety and so, like Harvey Elder, upon finding the security of the Alley, decided to create a makeshift home there. And after encountering Caliban, Sunder, Masque and Plague who similarly fled there to avoid human persecution, with their help went on to form the community of mutant outcasts called the Morlocks.

So could this be the reason for the later Morlock Massacre?  That is, Callisto is perhaps the first one (i.e. mutant) that got away from an assassination ordered by Mister Sinister.  So when he eventually heard rumours of her established community of mutant outcasts, he ordered it wiped out from existence.

Post-script: As to the circumstances of Lila Cheney’s eventual escape from her enslavement as a human gladiator in the Shi’ar Imperium, I’d suggest Claremont also provides the answer to that plot thread in Uncanny X-Men #276, in particular the scene where upon her hesitation to teleport away after Deathbird commands her to, thereby abandoning Gambit and Jubilee to defend themselves against Gladiator and War-Skrull Xavier (despite the two X-Men having freed them from imprisonment), the Majestrix guilts her into action by reminding Lila of her pledge of loyalty and service to her.

Figure 30_UXM276_Lila's pledge to Deathbird

While leaving behind these two new members of the X-Men might be able to be overlooked once, given she has never met them before, Lila bails out on team members she has previously worked alongside again when they are under attack by Warskrull agents on a further occasion in this issue.  Twice when they are in desperate need of assistance seems entirely out of character for the Lila we have previously known.  That is, unless Deathbird was the one who helped her escape from her original intergalactic enslavement!  And if D’Ken as I posit was the one who placed Lila into gladiatorial enslavement in the first place, releasing a victim of the brother who unseated her from the Shi’ar throne and procuring them as an ally would seem entirely ‘in character’ for the Deathbird we know, and love.  In fact Deathbird’s behaviour as written by Claremont during the entire War-Skrull storyline (officially titled “Crossroads”) makes me believe that D’Ken was behind the murder of his mother and unnamed sister, and he orchestrated events so that Deathbird, next in line to the Shi’ar throne, would take the blame and he could take her place as Emperor.  After all, it is rather interesting that she ends up exiled to the planet her brother had a Shi’ar agent running agendas for him!  But that, I’m afraid, will have to be a FIX for another time;)

Post-postscript: As for Masque’s transformation of Callisto into her former supermodel self, I’d suggest he didn’t just do this so he could take leadership of the Morlocks from her, but also at the Shadow King’s behest so that Peter would fall in love with her thus enabling them to manipulate him to provide them with access codes to the X-Mansion’s underground basement.  Despite Masque’s defeat in Uncanny X-Men #263…

Figure 31_UXM263_Masque's defeat

…and what would appear to be a happy ending for Peter and Callisto in Uncanny X-Men #264…

Figure 32_UXM264_Callisto and Colossus's happy ending

…when next we see him it becomes clear that Masque’s scheme has worked despite Gateway’s efforts, and Colossus has indeed fallen under the Shadow King’s thrall:(

Figure 33_UXM279_Colossus under the Shadow King's thrall

 

 

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15 Responses

  1. I’ll start by saying, I hate criticizing these entries. Because the author obviously put a lot of time, effort and research into it and also his own creativity to further suggest what could have been…..so I hate that I just spend like 5 minutes reading it and then begin to excoriate, but, here it goes anyways 🙂

    Callisto- I have no doubts that here origin was that she used to be a super model that likely was assaulted sexually or otherwise, however, I had always presumed that she got her scars and lost here eye in that attack, which is still lending credibility to the reason why she chose the name Callisto

    Then there is also the fact that her character was in constant evolution and she was drawn differently by different artists. I mean, usually people that are attractive will still be attractive even if they have a massive scar, and in early issues Callisto is drawn to be quite ugly looking. There is also the suggestion that many Morlocks were originally normal looking and Masque disfigured them. So, Callisto could have been further disfigured by Masque. I always assumed her “unattractive physique” was the result of a diet from surviving in the sewers and working out…I don’t know if that was supposed to be part of her mutation. Silvestri used to draw her as a larger looking woman later on, so, the character was always in flux.

    Lila Cheney- I don’t think just because Lila and Callisto are both white women with dark hair and dressed in kind of 80s punk clothing (it was a style back then) is necessarily proof that they were supposed to be related. Claremont was often good at seeding hints in some capacity or another and there was never really any suggesting that..

    However, I do find your theory with Mr Sinister interesting as to how he got his materials by trading babies to the Shi’ar in exchange for tech.

    The Warskrull story where Lila is implied to be in Deathbird’s debt wasn’t solely written by Claremont if I recall. Lee had a hand in that. Also, I don’t think that Lila pledged loyalty to Deathbird because of some event that happened to her as a child, it was likely due to the unforeseen events where Lila escapes from the Shi’iar in the interlude in an issue a couple of issues before that particular arc begins, the one from the image in your post. It was just never fully clarified and never really mentioned again.

    The men that attack Callisto in X-Men masks- The Outback X-Men team (Havok, Colossus, Psylocke, Wolverine etc.) were famous after the events of “Fall of the Mutants”. There is even an issue of Excalibur that shows that particular team on a cover of a magazine. So, I just honestly think it was likely a random act of violence by some guys who bought, or made, X-Men masks.

    The Reavers and Callisto- I think the Reavers largely made themselves into cyborgs by choice in attempts to become more powerful. The only ones that seemed to augment themselves due to being eviscerated by a mutant was Cole, Macon and Reese. None of the other Reavers really mention a direct hatred for mutants. They apparently just did what they did for money and because they were villains. Most of them were apparently Australian as well, it would suggest that they were petty criminals from Australia who went to America to coincidentally attempt to rape Callisto and go back to Australia to become Cyborgs.

    The Shadow King being involved with Masque- There would have to of been a lot of coincidences to be relied on for Callisto to fall in love with Colossus….including manipulating Colossus to reciprocate feelings….I don’t buy it. Considering time in Marvel back then used to pass in real time, it is completely logical that the billboards Callisto sees are ones that she recently posed for as the time she is changed to the time she meets Colossus is nearly a year. Also, how would she get the codes for the X-Mansion sub basement if Colossus had no memory of his time with the X-Men?? And why would Shadow King even care about the sub basement??

    The reason for Mr Sinister slaughtering the Morlocks has now been revealed with the AoA, Sugar Man, retcon nonsense, but I don’t think Claremont ever had a solid reason for it wile he was writing. Lots of Claremonts run was marred with interference from editorial forcing him to change his plans….take Magneto and the Hellfire Club for example, Magneto and Storm were to divide the White King title and they (the X-Men) were to become allies with the Hellfire Club….that whole plot line went nowhere and was basically forgotten for a time until Simonson recalled it and somewhat hackneyed it. What I am saying here is a lot of Claremonts work was just random stuff that vaguely connected sometimes….escpecially during the end of his original run….which this post draws a lot from.

    Again, I hate to look at someone’s hard work and just shit on it. But, I guess it could be called “constructive criticism”

    • I believe Claremont was subtly mirroring the origin of the Callisto of myth, so her lost eye and scars were sustained not in the initial attack but afterward. And I was suggesting that he transformation into being less physically attractive was also the result of her mutant powers making for her a body that was more practical for physical combat enough that it would be able to throw off attackers at the skill level of Donald Pierce’s then human associates.

      As for Lila’s pledged loyalty to Deathbird, this was only suggested in the dialogue. That is, Jim Lee’s art didn’t necessarily suggest any such debt, just that they were working alongside one another. So to me the suggestion was pure Claremont.

      While the attackers may have known about the team of X-Men through the media coverage from their sacrifice during Fall of the Mutants, you missed my mention of one wearing the mask of Psylocke’s new armour which she didn’t acquire until after the team’s “death” and invisibility to electronic scanners.

      So I must kindly “shake it off” on this and the remainder of your points;)

      • >”I believe Claremont was subtly mirroring the origin of the Callisto of myth, so her lost eye and scars were sustained not in the initial attack but afterward. And I was suggesting that he transformation into being less physically attractive was also the result of her mutant powers making for her a body that was more practical for physical combat enough that it would be able to throw off attackers at the skill level of Donald Pierce’s then human associates.”

        The problem is that it’s rarely referenced in Claremont’s run that she is a mutant and what exactly her powers were supposed to be and if she is supposed have some sort of super physical abilities. I mean, when she takes residence at Muir Island she is just engaging in regular exercise, like pull ups. And why would a gain in muscle mass emaciate her?? Usually mutants who had gained physical abilities would get larger. And why would it make her look so unattractive?? An attractive person usually remains attractive no matter what…unless Masque disfigured her further.

        Also, while I admire the creativity in your theories, I just find the idea that Pierce had roving rape gangs that just coincidentally were responsible for “creating” Callisto to be a bit silly.

        >”As for Lila’s pledged loyalty to Deathbird, this was only suggested in the dialogue. That is, Jim Lee’s art didn’t necessarily suggest any such debt, just that they were working alongside one another. So to me the suggestion was pure Claremont.”

        Jim Lee co plotted it. I am not saying that it was Jim Lee’s idea or anything, I am merely acknowledging that Claremont had lost creative control at this time and it is hard to decipher if he actually really had a plan with some of the stuff at this time. Although Lila is loyal to Deathbird during this arc it is still not shown as to how she escapes the Shi’ar initially and could have had something to do with that.

        >”While the attackers may have known about the team of X-Men through the media coverage from their sacrifice during Fall of the Mutants, you missed my mention of one wearing the mask of Psylocke’s new armour which she didn’t acquire until after the team’s “death” and invisibility to electronic scanners”

        Claremont wasn’t perfect, there was plenty of times between X-Tinction Agenda and The Muir Island Saga when the X-Men who were saved by Roma (Storm, Rogue, Wolverine etc.) appear on scanners and monitors without explanation. (The X-Men watch Wolverine fight Archangel on a monitor when captured during X Agenda). The guy would forget his own continuity every now and then and make mistakes is my point.

        Also, it’s not really known how Claremont detailed his scripts, If someone was supposed to have a Psylocke mask Silvestri probably wasn’t thinking of how the world would have remembered her seeing as he drew Fall of the Mutants years before that. I think you are just assuming too much and assuming Claremont or Silvestri was putting way too much thought into something that was just supposed to be a gang of criminals.

  2. Claremont actually did reference Callisto being a mutant, so while it might not have been often (not constantly hitting us over the head to remind us), fact remains she was one, and was an extremely skilled fighter, something her model-self while having basic self-defence skills, didn’t have the physical capability for full on attack. Callisto did so reading between the lines instead of just the surface as so many fans tend to with Claremont’s work. Sigh! As for engaging in regular exercise, she was a lean mean fighting machine. Not everyone gains muscle mass from exercise. I’ve got Marfan Syndrome (my mutation) and when overdoing it I become emaciated (Claremont read more widely than comic fans). And if you wonder how an attractive person remains attractive no matter what, I’d direct you to Mickey Rourke who while attractive in his younger years, became less so the more prize-fighting he competed in. So your suggestion there doesn’t hold up.

    While Claremont might have been losing control, the sentence structure of the dialogue was his.

    As for the “Plan Omega” X-Men appearing on scanners and monitors between X-Tinction Agenda and the Muir Island Saga, artists were getting swapped around left, right and centre and obviously forgetting to include the invisibility. And their pages were coming in so late, Claremont wasn’t in a position to request they be redrawn. And Bill Jaaska was quite clear about the level of detail Claremont included for artists in his scripts, and given he had a reasonably long working relationship with Marc Silvestri, I don’t agree that the gang member wearing Psylocke’s armoured mask was an oversight.

    • >”Claremont actually did reference Callisto being a mutant, so while it might not have been often (not constantly hitting us over the head to remind us), fact remains she was one, and was an extremely skilled fighter, something her model-self while having basic self-defence skills, didn’t have the physical capability for full on attack. Callisto did so reading between the lines instead of just the surface as so many fans tend to with Claremont’s work. Sigh! As for engaging in regular exercise, she was a lean mean fighting machine. Not everyone gains muscle mass from exercise. I’ve got Marfan Syndrome (my mutation) and when overdoing it I become emaciated (Claremont read more widely than comic fans). And if you wonder how an attractive person remains attractive no matter what, I’d direct you to Mickey Rourke who while attractive in his younger years, became less so the more prize-fighting he competed in. So your suggestion there doesn’t hold up.”

      I agree with you that Callisto was likely a supermodel that was a victim of some sort of assault. I just don’t see any precedent where you can claim (other than theorizing) that it was intended that Callisto developed abilities during this. Is it even ever stated in Claremonts run that Callisto has superhuman physical abilities??

      At any rate, Micky Rourke did a lot of drugs, consumed a lot of alcohol has had a lot of plastic surgery in his life….so you’re more conceding to my point that Callisto looks the way she does due to probably having the nutrition someone living in the sewers would have.and Masque probably altered her looks a bit.

      Marfan syndrome is something that usually effects really tall people. Callisto is never seen to be above an average women’s height. Regardless, you are suggesting that Callisto develops a form of this disease while she obtains her mutant powers, which is a bit too specific.

      >”While Claremont might have been losing control, the sentence structure of the dialogue was his.”

      Not the point. The point is he didn’t have full creative control at this time. So not every single thing that happened was some long term, in depth, plot.

      >”As for the “Plan Omega” X-Men appearing on scanners and monitors between X-Tinction Agenda and the Muir Island Saga, artists were getting swapped around left, right and centre and obviously forgetting to include the invisibility. And their pages were coming in so late, Claremont wasn’t in a position to request they be redrawn. And Bill Jaaska was quite clear about the level of detail Claremont included for artists in his scripts, and given he had a reasonably long working relationship with Marc Silvestri, I don’t agree that the gang member wearing Psylocke’s armoured mask was an oversight.”

      Claremont wasn’t perfect. There was plenty of plots and characters that never get resolved or end up going missing, it’s one of the biggest criticisms people have about his original run. The guy wasn’t infallible, mistakes can happen. There is an issue in the story arc where the Reavers attack Muir Island where Sunder claims he wasn’t harmed by one of Reavers assault rifles because he was wearing armor (the uniforms Forge designed, he is wearing one on the cover)…even though he wasn’t wearing one…possibly because Silvestri forgot to draw it….or Claremont forgot to include it. So yeah, mistakes and gaffes can be made.

      I Just think you are looking far too deep into something that was likely a mistake and didn’t really mean anything.

      Do you have a link to the quote by Bill Jaaska? I would like to read that interview.

      • With regard to your question of whether it was “even ever stated in Claremont’s run that Callisto has superhuman physical abilities” I don’t think you’ve been reading the same comics I did from his run!? I included the relevant image in my post. She was established as a mutant in Uncanny X-Men #169, and in #170, captions establish Callisto as “a born huntress, her mutant genes giving her enhanced physical abilities that rival Wolverine’s.”

        As for your point about Marfan Syndrome. I was born with it, and you’re generalising, since while many with it are tall, not everyone experiencing the condition is.

        As for Lila and Deathbird, while he might not have had creative control, the phraseology has the classic purple prose flourish of Claremont. So I’ll disagree with you, sorry.

        Re: Jaaska, he was quoted on the old RACMX FAQ which is a shadow of its former self sorry.

  3. Wow. That was really very well-written and laid out. Makes sense to me, and I definitely learned new things about both Callisto and Lila Cheney. Never saw the connection between those two at all, bot you make a very convincing argument. I won’t be to not look at them like that from now on.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

    Name’s Mr. Morbid, and if you’re interested, here’s a link to my own blog, aptly titled Mr. Morbid’s House of Fun.

  4. There’s not really a lot to argue with here. It’s all very well laid out. My misgivings about Gateway being able to use the Dreamtime to make masks that Peter and Phillip can both see aside, this was well done. Kudo!

    • Thanks Brian:) Alternatively, the masks might be the first item of evidence that the Shadow King was exerting his control over the Dreamtime and weakening the walls between it and our reality. Reasonable?

      • It’s reasonable. It opens up Gateway getting caught helping the X-Men though. It’d be a balancing act.

  5. >”With regard to your question of whether it was “even ever stated in Claremont’s run that Callisto has superhuman physical abilities” I don’t think you’ve been reading the same comics I did from his run!? I included the relevant image in my post. She was established as a mutant in Uncanny X-Men #169, and in #170, captions establish Callisto as “a born huntress, her mutant genes giving her enhanced physical abilities that rival Wolverine’s.”

    OK. No need to be snooty.

    The caption your referencing also points out that she was a born huntress and has been fighting all her life…which circles back to what I said about the character always being in flux. How was she fighting all her life if she was a model for half of it? A growth of tone muscle mass just made her ugly?? It’s inconsistent.

    >”As for Lila and Deathbird, while he might not have had creative control, the phraseology has the classic purple prose flourish of Claremont. So I’ll disagree with you, sorry.”

    Again, I never said Claremont didn’t write it. I am just suggesting that nothing was really meant by it.

    I remember when the TV show “Lost” was on air people use to speculate about the myriad of mysteries in the show for weeks, connecting, or attempting to connect any little happening or any certain phrase spoken by a character to some other event on the show, or some event in literature, or event in the Bible…..and in the end it would just turn out to be a simplistic explanation like “The island is just magic”.

    What I am saying is while it’s fun to speculate, and these entries are awesome to read and remind me of why I loved Claremonts run on the X-Men so much, not everything has an ulterior motive or story. I mean, there is an entry on this site, which is great by the way, but none the less claims Claremont put the X-Men in the Outback because of some link he intended the characters to have with Vibranium mounds…I remember several years ago I went to a convention where Claremont fielded questions for the release of the hardcover TPB of his “Marada The She Wolf” series and a person asked why he put the X-Men in the Outback of Australia in the 80s and his answer was something along the lines of “I liked the Mad Max movies and wanted the X-Men to be more global”. So, not everything he writes is some super underlying suggestion to another story or character or some sinister events.

    • Not being snooty, but Callisto having “enhanced physical abilities” was her mentioned schtick from the start. You might also check out X-Treme X-Men #38.

      Her having to fight all her life, her argot suggested origins of working class so that could just refer to having to fight to break fashion’s glass ceiling (of class) to reach the runways of Madison Avenue. So again I disagree that it’s inconsistent.

      Re: Lila’s pledge to Deathbird, I again disagree that Claremont didn’t mean anything by it. I’m confident he’d have picked up such a blatant dropped thread later. So we’ve reached an impasse I’m afraid.

      And as for the TV show “Lost”, no comparison as it threw out more abandoned plots in one season than Claremont did in his entire 17 year run!

      And if you want to discount my “Gateway’s origin” post (thanks for reading it, though:), I think it’s deserving of a bigger effort than one dismissive sentence (i.e. an equivalent sized post proving he didn’t intend that;)

  6. […] As you may imagine, Chris Claremont’s tenure on X-Men provides Nathan with a wealth of material. Here he gives us an article on “How Would You Fix Callisto’s Origin?” […]

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