…Marvel’s Merlin?

Back in the early days of their pro-hood, Gruenwald, Macchio, Peter  Sanderson, Steven Grant and a few others set about some housecleaning, and one of the things they did was the two part Thor story which made the Space Phantom’s Limbo the same as Immortus’s Limbo (one thing I recall fondly about this story was Keith Pollard’s visual reference to Escher for the idea of Immortus’s palace).

So I sympathise with trying to clean up Merlin. Roy was terribly hungry to be able to tap into the Arthurian thing, and with his meticulous nature, he quickly got rid of the painful Mad Merlin story from the clumsy birth of the Thor strip. (It’s useful, considering that he ended up writing everything, to look at X-Men, starting with #20, as Roy’s first regular strip.  The Moldy Villain’s League was positively Gruenwaldian, the Kukulcán stories betrayed his archaeological bent – and then there was X-Men #30, starring the Warlock, cleaning up the Arthurian plate.

I think it was an unspoken assumption, never acted upon, that Merlin was Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme of that period.  I reckon this is what Peter Gillis was going for as well, since at the tail end of his stint on Doctor Strange, he was starting his own arthurian-themed storyline-and-maybe-strip, the Dragon Circle. He referred to the title Pendragon as a mystic office, an idea I suspect he lifted from C.S. Lewis (That Hideous Strength).  He created a Welsh professor, Dafydd ap Iorwerth, who, unknown to himself, was Earth’s then current Pendragon.  Of course, this all died aborning, but the Dragon Circle, consisting of the non-X-Men members of the Defenders gathered around the Pendragon, appeared to be creating a sort of legacy from a previous Sorcerer Supreme, with Dr. Strange.

Nevertheless, Marvel’s Merlin is a bizarre amalgam of all kinds of other sources, and I guess one of them is T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King” where the wizard lives backwards through time (the implication being that Merlin might actually be T.H. White himself). However, while White’s work is charming, philosophical and wise – and living backwards is a swell conceit – there’s absolutely no ‘why’ to White’s Merlin at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I love T.H. White’s Arthur books, but a more Marvel-ish vision is Lewis’s, with a larger context – and even a daring continuity link to Middle Earth.

With Chris Claremont having revealed in more recent years, in his Excalibur: Die by the Sword mini-series, that Mad Jim Jaspers was merely a tool enabling Merlyn to accomplish his goals, combined with the fact combined with the fact that his Crazy Gang were derived from “Alice in Wonderland”, it is interesting to note that Immortus, self-styled Master of Limbo, often used characters from history, mythology and literature to create his armies. Then recalling that Belasco’s Limbo was also referred to as Otherworld at times, the same “nom de plume” as Merlyn and Roma’s realm, this would all seem to suggest that Merlyn is an older incarnation of Immortus.

So my idea here is that the manipulative, amoral Merlyn from Captain Britain and Excalibur could easily be Immortus, and here’s why:

1. He operates from a “nexus point” which has a special position in the multiverse – much as Limbo does;

2. He deletes realities which present a danger to him;

3. He often chooses to work through 20th century Marvel-Earth heroes;

4. He uses time travel;

5. He has faked his death before now, just like Immortus has;

6. He is a scholar by nature; and

7. He may have had something to do with the rather special bit of time where Camelot happened outside regular history – surely an Immortus plot if ever there was one.

********

Mind you, if Merlin is Immortus, it raises interesting questions about where his daughter comes from.

I don’t necessarily think Ravonna is the mother, though!

Remember that there is only ONE Immortus, not lots of divergent ones. At some point the one Immortus hooks up with Ravonna.  At some point he has a short-lived son Marcus, by an unspecified mother, and Marcus has to get himself reborn by impregnating Carol Danvers for reasons which are never fully explained but seem to do with Immortus “dying”.

However, if one needs a candidate for Merlin’s daughter, my first choice would be Nimue, the Lady of the Lake and Mistress of Avalon.  Of course, there’s always the possibility that the Lady who gave Dane his sword IS Roma’s mother, or Roma herself.  Roma has been known to be attracted to handsome, swashbuckling, rule-breaking heroes before.

We may have to assume that there are various alternate-timeline Camelots around too.  Apart from the various dramatically different versions of Arthur and his knights, and the three Merlins, it is hard to reconcile the legendary Matter of Britain even with itself let alone the Iron Man, Torch/ Thing, Black Knight, Dr Doom, Bizarre Adventures and other Marvel versions.  We also have to explain the fact that it never actually happened in history, so Dane is claiming descent from a mythical ancestor anyway.

It would be interesting to see Dane tied in to Morgan’s family tree, but I suspect she would have commented on it in some way in Avengers #1-3 if it was so.  After all, Dane would have made a much better lieutenant than her nephew Mordred.

My own preferred explanation would be that during “the Enchantment of Britain”, the time between the wounding of the Grail King and Arthur’s final battle at Camlaan, there was effectively a divergent timeline where all this Arthur stuff happened, and there were divergences from that in the usual Marvel way when time-travellers appear from the future which explain all the various Camelot visits.  Clearly those days, although expurgated from history (an Immortus trick if ever there was one) still case echoes.  The Black Knight seems to be one of them.

Quick summary of the three Merlins according to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe, by the way: #1 was allegedly the demon-sired son of the princess of Dyfed, (as described by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of Britain around the 12th century).  #2 was a psionic mutant impostor from the dawn of time who wielded a fragment of the Bloodstone Gem.  This one was exposed by Sersi (!), and placed in suspended animation by the real Merlin.  This is the guy who battled Thor in Journey into Mystery, and later became the Maha Yogi who plagued the X-Men and Hulk.  #3 was the Otherworldly master of deception (who may or many not be the same as #1) who imbued Captain Britain with powers (and indeed ALL Captain Britains in all the realities they exist in), was the father of Roma, Goddess of the Northern Skies, and plays with time.

Captain Britain’s Merlin also operates from the Otherworld, a strange nexus place (not to be confused with the Man-Thing’s nexus, of course; this one focuses on Brian Braddock’s lighthouse).  If Merlin is Immortus, is the Otherworld really Limbo?

This further makes the fact that Merlin was one of the Space Phantom/ Dire Wraith champions of Immortus in Avengers #10 more fun, too!

Then there’s that other Arthurian Immortus sighting in STRANGE TALES #134 vol.1:

In this issue Kang has, as I mentioned, gone to conquer Camelot. He begins by first imprisoning Merlin, Arthur’s “secret weapon”.

He then defeats knight after knight in a jousting competition, until he is made King. Arthur and his faithful are then sent into exile.

Kang then assembles an army and prepares to sweep it across the Earth.

Back in the 20th Century, The Watcher appears to the Thing and the Human Torch and informs them of what has transpired. He then enlists their aid to come back into time to defeat Kang. They agree.

He then informs them:

“The method I shall use to send you back into time is totally alien to you that there are no words with which I can describe it! But let us join hands – -”

The Watcher then has the two FF members hold hands with him and they begin to do a slow fade, he continues as this occurs:

“You shall travel to the days of King Arthur without me, for there is no reason for me to join you! My power is such that I can observe all that transpires no matter WHICH age I find myself in! Thus I shall remain in LIMBO — silently watching, and waiting to RETURN you to the present — IF YOU SURVIVE!”

The due does defeat Kang, but only by first freeing Merlin, and the “Watcher” then appears to return them quickly home.

–END–

Ok, innocent enough.  BUT, in the Kang History presented in THOR ANNUAL #17 (part 2 of CITIZEN KANG) Kang reflects on this adventure, and says:

“Soon the legendary CAMELOT was mine! I planned to CREATE an ALTERNATE reality in which MY Britain would CONQUER the GLOBE and SUPER HEROES would NEVER arise! Acting OUT of CHARACTER, UATU the Watcher enlisted the THING and HUMAN TORCH to STOP me…but WAS he UATU? He CLAIMED he was BASED in LIMBO…the REALM OF IMMORTUS!”

So, what do you think? Kang thinks it’s Immortus pretending to be Uatu.

(Making his “LIMBO” remark a slip of the tongue – which Kang must have viewed later in one of his Chrono-viewers)

Immortus doesn’t need to stop Kang here.  It’s a divergent reality after all.  But possibly…quite possibly… the Merlin from this era is important somehow and needed freeing.

Maybe Merlin created the Forever Crystal…

Maybe…

Postscript: Despite previous suggestions, I have come up with something better than having the Ebony Blade be Excalibur in disguise too (and I can see somebody eagerly doing a story which does just that). I’ll steal from another SF/ Fantasy writer, Fred Saberhagen, and posit something like the existence of Twelve Great Swords, scattered throughout infinity. Dormant, they can be almost anywhere, but activated by a person of power, they can do great things. Excalibur is one, Stormbringer another, Mournblade a third, and Andúril yet another. (and maybe the Odinsword still another.) They are entities on their own, and the activation never ends well.

Arthur is dead, the Round Table broken. Excalibur ultimately worked its doom upon Arthur, and the Lady of the Lake had taken both the body of Arthur and the sword Excalibur which, the bond now broken, is once again inert.

Despite all the tragedy, Merlin’s greater purpose was fulfilled: the Flame of the West would not be extinguished: though Rome had failed and would not be restored, civilization, the Celts would keep learning alive while Europe plunged into darkness, and the legend of Camelot would keep civilised men dedicated where the more savage and ugly history of Rome would not. the chain of light that stretched back to Númenor would not go dark.

But, as his time was going to end soon, he had to make sure the west still had supernatural defences. and so Merlin, in one of his last magical acts, brought from elsewhere another of the Great Swords.  Maybe Stormbringer, maybe another whose name only the Wise know. He sealed it in its inertness, and gave it to the utterly loyal Sir Percy of Scandia and his heirs to keep.

Sir Percy was a valiant but ordinary knight: the Ebony Blade would never come to life in his hands, or any of his descendants. The line of the Black Knights would stand eternally ready – ready to hand the blade to the one who needed it.

It is said that the grandson of Sir Percy gave it to Roland, who christened it Durendal (a mental echo of Andúril?) and fought the battle that ensured Europe would not be a branch of a Muslim Empire.  It is also said that the power of the awakened sword killed Roland as surely as if it had slit his throat. saddened, the Black Knight of that era took back the Ebony Blade, which fell asleep in his hand.

It began to look as if the Blade might be needed again in World War II, when Hitler found the Spear of Longinus. This awoke the Blade enough to bring the line of Sandia out of their long sleep. However, the latest heir, Dane Whitman, seemed to have lost the critical faculty of inertness with respect to the blade. His mission was to keep it safe, and he was awakening it instead.

The solution was to give it to Brunnhilde the Valkyrie. Now whether the Lady Of The Lake was in fact of the Valkyrior, or whether they just practiced the same craft, the Ebony Blade was calmed by Brunnhilde’s handling in the same way that the Lady brought Excalibur to rest while they took the hero Arthur to his reward. After a time, she gave Dane Whitman back the blade, judging that he would be able to handle it now.

Doesn’t fit everything in, probably, and there’s a lot of recent stuff I’m completely unaware of. But it’s pretty good, eh?

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…Crystal’s infidelity?

Crystal gets a lot of disrespect from Avengers fans for her occasional lapses in marital fidelity, but I feel her actions could be understood in a different light.

Crystal is the second-oldest “young” superheroine in the Marvel Universe. The Invisible Girl, the Wasp, and even the Scarlet Witch were all depicted as fully grown women from their first appearances (although Wanda was portrayed as younger when she joined the Avengers than she first appeared to be in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants). Only Marvel Girl of the X-Men predates Crystal in the role of superheroic ingénue.

In a sense, Crystal was created to be a romance interest. From her first appearance in Fantastic Four #45 it was clear that she was meant for Johnny Storm, and we never saw the human Torch more proactive or more motivated than when he was trying to get to Crystal. She in turn seems to have had a “love at first sight” experience (nicely portrayed from her perspective for the first time in the Fantastic Four: Fireworks limited series). This mutual passion led to Crystal being willing for the first time to defy her family and risk everything to be with Johnny, leading to the dry-run Romeo and Juliet plotline which avoided the rather permanently tragic ending.

Later, Crystal came to live at the Baxter building as a member of the Fantastic Four (although there was absolutely NO indication that there were ever any nocturnal wanderings on her or Johnny’s part – Crystal and Johnny seem to have had the sort of chaste love that wouldn’t have been out of place in a 1960’s My Love comic). She and Johnny seemed to be happily joined at the hip for a while until Crystal’s health deteriorated because of the pollutants of modern civilisation and she had to return to Attilan.

It was whilst returning to Attilan that Crystal became enmeshed in a plot of Diablo’s and eventually was taken by Lockjaw to the wounded Quicksilver who was trapped in the collapsing Australian Sentinel base. Despite a ruling that outsiders were not allowed in Attilan (which had kept Johnny away previously) Crystal brought Pietro home with her and nursed him to health. That they fell in love off-panel is one of the greatest failures in comics’ narration and goes a long way to explaining why this couple has never enjoyed the popularity of, say, Cyclops and Jean Grey or the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.

So Crystal breaks Johnny’s heart and marries Quicksilver. The Inhumans get over their prejudices about outsiders enough to allow this to happen, and apart from a guest appearance by Ultron at the wedding everything goes OK for a while. Quicksilver stays in Attilan, putting his Avengers training to good use as leader of the defence militia, and inexplicably failing to call his old comrades in when the city is attacked by a variety of menaces from Shatterstar to Maelstrom to the Enclave. Eventually Crystal has a baby, who is names Luna. Luna is extraordinarily human.

Now things get more complicated. In an excellent Byrne Thing story we see Crystal resisting her family’s efforts to expose Luna to the Terrigen Mists. Quicksilver is all for it. He doesn’t want to have a homo sapiens daughter. This is the first major schism between the young lovers, even though all appears to be restored to status quo afterwards. The story ends when Lockjaw speaks for the first time, claiming to be an Inhuman who was terribly changed by the Mists. Although this revelation has since been retconned as a joke on Ben, the actual story does not support this. Lockjaw’s speech is the pivotal point of a very dramatic and serious storyline. Nobody was going to be pulling jokes. It was this sudden interference by Lockjaw which convinces Pietro not to mutate Luna.

The next major development is of course Crystal’s adultery with the rather shallow real estate salesman (Norm somebody?) over in the Vision & Scarlet Witch Limited Series. Crystal’s motivations for this are depicted as being an increasing schism between her and Pietro. Later retcons have attributed it (and Quicksilver’s turning to the darkside of the force for a while) to Maximus’ mental manipulations. Suffice to say that this was the trigger for Crystal and Pietro to split up (though I was never that disappointed by it since I didn’t like them getting together in the first place).

The Inhumans do not appear to have been very sympathetic to Crystal about her troubles. When she decides to rejoin the FF there is a lot of resistance from her family and she is very closely monitored around Johnny Storm. Clearly there is much of the old attraction still intact on both sides, but Crystal overcomes temptation and eventually gets recalled to Attilan for a family-ordained reunion with the apparently repentant Pietro. The estranged couple remain together in a rather uncomfortable no-man’s land until the Avengers Collection Obsession storyline which leads to Crystal joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (bad idea). Quicksilver joins X-Factor shortly afterwards (worse idea).

Two things happen during Crystal’s time with the Avengers. First she has to cope with a growing mutual attraction to Dane Whitman, the Black Knight (another bad idea). Secondly she has to deal with attempts from Pietro to reconcile (even worse idea). And being Crystal she lets both of these things go too far. The story never makes clear whether Crystal and Dane consummate their affection (although there is an implication that they certainly did something down in the Mansion’s gardens, watched by Sersi and possibly the fake Vision – now that’s a couple I could get into), but they are certainly more than friends. And it is this last complicated triangle, or quadrilateral, or whatever, that has branded Crystal a slut in the eyes of many Avengers readers. When Tuc, Crystal’s alternate-future son, appeared in The Crossing, it was unclear as to whether Pietro or Dane was his father (I’d prefer Johnny as the one since I’m still convinced he is Luna’s pa too).

So much is history, and a simplified version at that. But the Inhumans limited series by Jae Lee introduced a new concept which could force us all to re-evaluate little Crystal’s behaviour.

Lee’s Inhumans are more than just a race of mutants or some other super-powered variant species of humanity. The storyline in the current series implies that the Inhumans are effectively a designer organism, each gaining powers from the Terrigen mist which enable them to fulfil some social function within the society as a whole. In other words, each Inhuman is born to a place within Inhuman culture, just as an ant has a fixed role within its live. What that role is becomes clear at the time of Terrigen metamorphosis for an Inhuman. Whether it is the destiny of that person to be a food-generator, a guard, a drone, or a king, it is all regulated in some way by the collective need of the race which we now know to be truly Inhuman.

Yet even amongst the Inhumans this is understood only by Maximus the Mad, and perhaps Black Bolt.

This function is not just about power. An Inhumans’ special ability is only a reflection of the core of their nature. Hence the mutation of the mists only manifests the role which they have been genetically engineered to play from birth.

So what does this say about Crystal’s function in Inhuman society? Is it only the whimsy of a silly girl that led her to Johnny Storm and later to Pietro Maximoff and Dane Whitman? Or does Crystal have some sort of cultural imperative which makes her seek out the unknown and embrace it? Of all the Inhumans’ royal family Crystal is the only one who has willingly sought out adventure beyond Attilan.

There is something almost mystical about the way the Mists manifest skills within the Inhumans in anticipation of what they will need. Just at the time that contact with other cultures was going to be critical to the survival of the Inhumans, Crystal came along to seek out liaison with the Human Torch, and through him others who had power to achieve what the current Inhumans could not. Her instinct seemed to be to bond, physically, emotionally, totally, with some gifted male from outside her own culture. Denied access to Johnny Storm she was taken (by Lockjaw!) to Pietro Maximoff.

Lockjaw remains an enigma (although I hear that Inhumans series addresses him but I don’t know how). Although his sentience has been portrayed as a joke by Inhumans such as Karnak and Gorgon ever since Byrne left the FF, I don’t entirely trust the Inhuman royal family to always speak the truth to outsiders. Certainly a culture which has created and enslaved the Alpha Primitives would have few qualms in mutating one of its own and making them a dumb beast. But whether dumb beast or not, his pivotal role at two vital moments of Crystal’s life cannot be ignored. Perhaps Lockjaw’s function was to do whatever was necessary to bring about the conception and preservation of Luna?

As to the estate agent, I can only plead that Crystal’s instincts are clearly very strong.

Still, the Inhuman collective imperative does seem to require “fresh blood” for the future. There has been more interaction between Inhumans and the outside world in the few years since the FF first met Medusa than in all the centuries before that. And Crystal’s urge to join with a non-Inhuman man do not seem to have diminished. Even her very personality – nurturing, gentle, loving, and kind – seems to suit her for the role placed upon her.

So what do you think? Is there more to Crystal’s actions than meets the eye? Is there an explanation for how a loving and caring woman could break first Johnny’s then Pietro’s hearts? Is Crystal as much victim as perpetrator? Has she any way to avoid her genetically-impelled destiny?

The “victim/perpetrator” concept reminds one of the viewpoint on Lucrezia Borgia. Used as a lovely tool for political alliances, which were often destroyed by her family when they were no longer necessary (including her one true love, who was stabbed and later murdered on her own brother’s command). It sparks the imagination, but I would be concerned that any of the Inhumans (except Maximus) would consciously have such cold-hearted intentions. What are your thoughts on this?

There are a number of dark shadows at the edge of the Inhumans stories. Apart from the Alpha Primitives, and the later depicted genetic snobbery based upon the Terrigen Mist mutations, there is also the mystery of Lockjaw, the only mutated apparent animal we have ever seen in Attilan, and also the questions around Medusa’s child.

We have seen the Inhumans drag Crystal home on a number of occasions when her behaviour has been considered inappropriate by Inhuman society. Conversely, we have seen Quicksilver treated with contempt by them even as he has been struggling for their lives. We have seen the very strict regimen under which Inhuman culture is operated, by never-fully-depicted codes as complex and impenetrable as many of the older cultures of our own world.

All of this seems to suggest that the Inhumans are not, as they often appear to be, merely the Addams Family of the Marvel Universe, or another lost tribe, but something very different… Inhuman in fact. It may even be that the Inhuman organism is, on one level, the culture, not the individual. And if so, judging any of the Inhumans’ interactions by human standards will always leave us somewhat puzzled.

On the other hand, the Inhuman Royal family and some others have been shown as noble, compassionate, and selfless. It may be that like many cultures the Inhumans maintain a “public face” for outsiders and have a rich, complicated sub-strata which is reserved for insiders only. Or there may be those things that all Inhumans know, but never speak about (think about the Victorian culture of our own history, and the taboos which it had, such as homosexuality; things still went on, but were never acknowledged).

That said, one’s impression is that even the Inhumans themselves do not understand how deep their genetic imperatives go. Perhaps that is why Maximus, who seems to comprehend them best, is mad, and why Black Bolt, who is the wisdom of his people, can shatter worlds with his voice.

So what about Crystal’s place as a specialised breeder to stimulate the otherwise inbred Inhuman community?

First, the Inhumans have been around for a very long time, and isolated for nearly all of their history. We have never heard anything about inbreeding problems in their community before, presumably because the mutative effects of the Terrigen Mist go far beyond simply giving people fins and wings and so on, and negate the sort of problematic cross-breeding that humans would have suffered in that time. So we need a different reason for Crystal’s (hypothesised) imperative.

However, the Inhuman Terrigen transformation is more than just a genetic change. Like the Gamma radiation which has created several super-powered beings, the Terrigen Mists seem to unlock what is already inside a person. Hence manipulative Maximus becomes a mind-bender, fierce bullish Gorgon gains hooves and a powerful stamp, and responsible, brooding Black Bolt gains electron control at the cost of his voice (the only Inhuman with two different powers, which is interesting).

And the transformation allows the young Inhuman to take their place in society, setting their social status and life-role. So the transformation is more than genetic, making this a far more complex system than the different instinctive roles of an insect hive.

As mentioned above, even Crystal would have to be a damn sight sluttier to make a significant difference to the Inhuman gene pool. So there is clearly some other reason why she might need to conceive a child by an outsider, and who turns out to be entirely human.

There is evidence to argue that the Inhumans bring forth the individuals that their society will need, somehow unconsciously anticipating what is to come. If rebellious, heart-led Crystal had not struck up her romance with Johnny Storm, the entire Inhuman population might have been destroyed, or at least subjugated by Maximus and later by the Kree. If Crystal had not birthed Luna then the Avengers would not have survived the Crossing. And who knows what need the Inhumans might have for Luna in the days to come?

Or perhaps it was just time for the Inhumans to stop hiding. It is perhaps significant that within weeks of the Inhumans being discovered the world was visited for the first time by Galactus. Within a few years of their “discovery” the Inhumans would be involved in all kinds of world-shattering events from invasions to Infernos. Was this all somehow anticipated, and Crystal spawned to prepare for it?

My other point is about the origins of the Inhumans. Remember that they were an early, forgotten, genetic experiment by the Kree. This takes on a new relevance in the light of the Supreme Intelligence’s sacrifice of the entire Kree galaxy in order to promote the genetic advancement of his race.

We have never seen anything like an Inhumans experiment on another planet, yet somehow this unique accomplishment, which has significant military value and which had both a Sentinel and Shatterstar set to watch over it was overlooked for millennia. Only the Supreme Intelligence himself could bury data that well. And the Inhumans started interacting with the outside world just as the Skrulls began their major campaign on Earth, and shortly before the Kree/Skrull War (in which they also played a role).

Is there still Kree programming somewhere in the genetic code of the Inhumans? Is the Supreme Intelligence saving this experiment for something special, perhaps something to do with his plans to revitalise the Kree genetic inheritance? Has the Supreme Intelligence got a purpose for Luna?

These what-if games can get very deep, can’t they? Perhaps it’s safer to assume that Crystal is a fallible, all-too human girl who has made good judgements and bad in her time. Not the culmination of an ancient plot by the Supreme Intelligence to exploit the genetic potential of humankind and spread his power across the stars.  But the latter sounds like much more fun!!!

To the earlier point, and I have seen similar behaviour in many real women who definitely weren’t sluts, I am interested by the later idea that the Inhumans are not really individuals but parts of one organism, with each playing its assigned social function (this raises some really big questions about Maximus, though, and whether he is a slipped cog or a vital part of the machine. In that concept, Crystal is either totally betraying the hive-society by her actions or else is performing some vital function.

On the question of Inhuman morals, they seem to place a massive emphasis on the sanctity of marriage. This is presumably because they have a society based upon genetic lines, so parentage is very important. The hint we have sometimes had about Maximus’ forbidden passion, and possibly affair, with Medusa raises some very dark questions over the Inhuman Royal Family.

On the question of Inhuman morals, they seem to place a massive emphasis on the sanctity of marriage. This is presumably because they have a society based upon genetic lines, so parentage is very important. The hint we have sometimes had about Maximus’ forbidden passion, and possibly affair, with Medusa raises some very dark questions over the Inhuman Royal Family.

Maybe Crystal is a “selective Xeno-breeder.”

Bear with me, I might lose even myself here.

The sentence above, “This is presumably because they have a society based upon genetic lines, so parentage is important” sets off bells in me noggin’.

The Inhumans keep careful watch of their breeding. They are a small society made up of genetic time-bombs (fused by the Terrigen Mists), so they must be very careful of inbreeding, more so than other small societies.

The smaller the society the harder it would be to keep relatives (especially distant ones) from breeding. This is why many states have blood testing before marriage.

Crystal could perhaps be meant to breed outside of her species to introduce new genetic material to the Inhumans bloodline.

When dog breeders breed their dogs they look for the best possible mate they could find. They do research and check all documents to make sure inbreeding won’t occur. In breeding is bad.

Ok, so assuming Crystal is a “selective Xeno-breeder”, what’s the “selective” part mean?

Look who she chose to breed with on Earth. Her first choice was a Homo Sapien that had been changed by cosmic ray bombardment, he was a public figure, a hero, and roughly her age.

Her second choice: a Homo Superior that had been severely injured while committing a heroic deed (Pietro’s bloodline is actually worshipped by some Mutants on Marvel Earth).

Her third? Well, let’s just say this is what makes Crystal’s function also risky to the Inhumans. A “selective breeder” with misguided judgement.

Or maybe she just was trying to gain back Pietro’s attention by hooking up with Norm the real estate agent. Maybe she had found love. Pietro’s a cold dude though, and he’s not innocent in their relationship problems.

Her fourth. A Homo Sapien that had been a hero in two centuries, an Avenger, a scientist, and a master sword-fighter to boot.

Crystal is also an elemental, which also raises questions on her connection to earthly type things.

My point: Maybe Crystal is MEANT to breed with exceptional males that are not Inhuman to bring in new genes to the gene pool. This would be a very hard position for her, because the Inhumans are very serious about marriage, and her genetic role would be to seek mates.

Crystal did however accomplish her “mission” (if this were actual continuity), she successfully had a child with a Homo Superior Pietro. Luna is like a breath of fresh air(no pun intended) for the Inhumans and their scrutinised gene pool. The Royal Family gets the gold.

Maybe.

Also, close society have a high percentage of endogamy. That comes with a lot of disease and sickness to them. The percentage between genome mutations is higher than in other more open/ mixed cultures. When that happens, a society like such can even vanish, dying all their members. Then the cross with another population can health that sick population, the hybrid vigour like its name, can save them. Then, if correct, Crystal’s role in her society is vital. They have to mix with human or some close species just to survive (but then you need more than one Luna to accomplish that).

Something entirely different. To have a baby is an honour between Inhumans. Their reproduction is politically controlled (Like we saw in Vision & SW LS II). They can´t have children if their government (Royal family?) don’t allow it. When a couple have a baby it is consider a gift and their prestige elevates (suggesting everything is programmed).

And we have never yet seen how they “know” that it is right to reproduce.

One interesting thought: we have some evidence that Inhumans are longer lived than homo sapiens. We also have evidence that they have very long courtships (Medusa and Black Bolt, for example). Is it because Inhumans have to be genetically and socially “right” for each other before they are allowed to breed?

About Crystal betraying the society, well Inhumans don’t like her behaviour but then perhaps they don´t even know Crystal part is crucial for them.