A week ago, there were a few conversation threads on The X-Men group that caught my attention. Usually I ignore a lot of threads that start going on about which characters are stronger than another. This is because, more often than not it degenerates into a vicious argument over which fans favorite character is better than another’s, and when you get arguing on personal opinion and fandom, no one’s a winner.
Anyway this last week something really interesting happened, there were a couple of really well thought out discussions and studies and I wanted to develop (a little bit) and shine a light on a specific response someone had to Telepathy and other powers of the mind and how they relate to each other and individuals. I asked the author for permission to reprint and use what he had used so jlf Christians, here it is. Thanks for letting me use this. Check below the break for the goods.
Imagine that each manifestation (TP,TK, Possession, holofear etc) is a place. A physical destination. (for those who have played Final Fantasy X, imagine the sphere grid), each of these destinations may lay inside the same general area relatively close in some instances, others further away from one another. For the sake of a metaphor, letspicture a big dark murky forest. All the psychics we know of (emma, jean, betsy, dani, karma etc.) stood on the outskirts of this forests and were then forced to walk into it, finding their first “destination”, that is when they realize they have powers.
over the years, the psychics familiarize themselves with the surroundings, learning more about their gifts and expanding the zone of the forest which they know by heart.
Technically, one could run straight through the forest and access another “destination”, but the forest is large and dark and it may be very difficult to even imagine that there is something else out there. Besides the time and dedication it takes to master a “destination,” the biggest problem is finding YOUR OWN path to the destination.
For example, Jean found her own telekinetic destination. Over time, Xavier showed her how to reach out and search the forest to find a telepathic destination (which for her was relatively close). Jean’s Forrest was pretty much omnipotently expanded due to the Pheonix force, and many of the pathways to other destinations in the forest were left open making Jean the formidable Psi she was, until Magneto/Xorn/thing? killed her. For All-New Jean, thrust into the present day and experiencing her whole life through the memories of Beast and others, has seemingly kick started her expansion into the TP destination earlier than she should have been.
Psylocke, inhabited a TP destination and she developed it in the form of her Psycho blasts and the butterfly effect. For a while she was fairly comfortable in this destination until she entered the Siege Perilous where she was turned inside out, soul and mind, and swapped bodies with Kwannon. At this point she had to start over and with the evil machinations of the Mandarin, became lady Mandarin. This new aggressive form saw Psylocke re-learning her destination with a new mentality. Not all the same memories, but in the same forest. This re-education resulted in the more offensive knife.
What happened in the six-month gap?
Later on Jean and Betsy’s friendship allowed for them both to open up to each other, calling out to one another from their individual destinations within the Psi-forrest, and each of them forged a path between the two, sharing and exchanging theories and experiences. (To me, I see two warriors trained in wildly different schools, who happily exchange their knowledge to help the other grow.) This is how I understand the six-month gap exchange where the two of themseemingly swapped powers and could not access any aspect of their former ability. Jean gained a form of Betsy’s eye/power effect, and Betsy channeled her new TK into the TK katana, simply being Betsy trying out an old trick in a new way.
Emma on the other hand, had relatively few allied psychics or mentors, but rather people whom she had to deceive or protect herself. We could write a whole post on her interactions with Astrid Bloom where we first learn about the difference between Skill and raw power where Telepathy is concerned. Within this interaction, Bloom and Frost, each inhabiting their own TP destinations, ventured into each others. Bloom had planned this to be a way to subjugate Emma, but soon learned Emma was by far the superior telepath despite not having the same skill that Bloom had honed. This was a blessing and a curse for Emma. Emma didn’t venture from her own destination as far as other varied power destinations go. However, she stayed in her own sweet spot and learned all she could about her own power, remodeling her destination into a fort of sorts. This could also be a metaphor for the eventual secondary mutation of a diamond form able to cut herself off from TP while protecting herself from other destinations.
What about Emma and Telekinesis?
There were a couple of instances where Synch borrowed Emma’s powers and showed a form of telekinesis. Synch had a slightly different approach to the forest. Coming from a totally different destination, from perhaps somewhere not even located within the forest, was able to notice and access a couple of different locations and tapped into a destination Emma could not. This is possibly because Emma had focused on her own destination as a form of self preservation rather than reaching out to possible telepathic friends and peers. Blooms betrayal could be the cause of this. She either hadn’t had time to find a new destination, didn’t know it was there, or didn’t care enough to learn the path.
Another example of this is Emma’s possession of Ice-man. Emma automatically started using Bobby’s powers in ways he never imagined, but couldn’t figure out how to turn back to a human form (something bobby does without thinking). Emma simply saw Bobby’s “forest” differently then he did, and saw different paths than those bobby had learned over the years. This further explains the whole “emma using TK while possessed by Jean.” Unfortunately for Emma, due to the power of the pheonix, Emma has seemingly been Gridlocked to a small portion of her own destination. She know’s all the ins and out of her destination but is powerless to move around in it.
Rachel is possibly one of my favorite X-Men. And possibly one of the most powerful Telepaths of all those previously and to be mentioned. Rachel is the daughter of an alternate Jean Grey who through drugs and mind control became a hound for Ahab. In the Psi Forrest metaphor, this makes her, potentially the most adaptive, ingenius and skilled Psi. As a hound, Rachel’s whole life for a while was hunting other mutants. She even sent Kathrin Prydes, consciousness, back in time to a younger version of herself, in the attempt to change their dark future happening. Unfortunately she got the wrong past, but she managed to find an alternate young kitty Pryde and that takes some doing.
With this in mind, I would guess, Rachel would be all about the exploring of the Psi Forrest. With her Abilities and raw power, our former Pheonix host could very easily find other destinations. She already has, TP, TK, Possession, Mental Time travel, Astral plane abilities, among other lesser Psi abilities.
That said, Rachel could fall into the “Jack of all Trades” conundrum. She may have raw power, able to break barriers and create pathways to new destinations, but does she spread herself thin? Her mission in Hong Kong with Emma Frost would definitely suggest that. Another example of A Psi character who is in full control and ability within the one destination (Emma), able to overcome a more powerful combatant with several destination pathways under her belt (Rachel).
I’ve discussed (briefly)only four X-Men in this post. Next week, we’ll take a look at Xavier, Kid Omega, Fixx and the Cuckoos, and we’ll finish off the Psi Forrest metaphor with three other relevant points.
What do you think? feel free to comment below.