Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Nice Guy Syndrome - Why I Hate Warren in Early X-Factor

Recently I've been rereading early issues of X-Factor (because I'm trying to find the bit where Cyclops gives the Talk to Rusty Collins. No luck yet, but I'm determined). Of course, being a Cyclops fan, I have to brace myself a little because even I admit that the whole Maddie/Nathan thing is definitely not Scott's finest hour.

It's not nearly as one-sided as a lot of fans tell it of course, but it's still hard to watch a fictional character completely fuck up his own life.

What surprised me this time around, however, is how much I find myself hating WARREN.

Especially for bits like this:

Fairly understandable reaction

Warren is an asshole.

I think Jean's freak out is fair. She comes back, her boyfriend, who she loved with all her heart, was mentally linked to, and who, though I don't think she remembers it right now, loved her enough to propose marriage when he thought she was still the Dark Phoenix, is suddenly acting like a robot to her.

Tangentially, this gets into one of the most unfair criticisms I've seen tossed at Scott for this arc: namely that he doesn't tell Jean about Maddie. But he tries! I mean, look at this page from X-Factor 1: (click to enlarge)

Worst. Philanderer. Ever.

He's starting to tell her right there! The first time he sees her again!

There are quite a few times like that too. Granted, he could have tried harder, but it's not like it was a hush-hush secret. And considering that Jean's complaint is that he seems to hate her, he's certainly not lying to get into her pants again.

But back to the Warren hate.

See, on one hand, I do get Warren's problem. He's attracted to Jean. He's worried about Jean. And he does not approve of Scott not talking about Maddie.

I don't even disagree with his sentiment. Scott's being a repressive chickenshit who's trying to ignore the problem of impending divorce by Not Thinking About It. Which is a big problem even if Jean weren't in the picture.

But the thing is, the panels are from X-Factor #6. Warren's had quite a bit of alone time with Jean. If he REALLY thinks she deserves to know, there's no reason he couldn't just tell her himself instead of making with the smooth talk.

But see, that would make him the bad guy. The betrayer of trust and confidence. So instead he goes to whack Scott with a clue bat. Which I approve of. He absolutely SHOULD take his friend aside and let him have it. His silence is not only hurting himself, but it's also hurting Jean. It's got to stop!

Warren doesn't DO that though. Instead, he confronts him, in FRONT OF JEAN. He's essentially forcing the conversation himself. Which makes him a two-faced, lying, back-stabbing shit.

See, this way, he gets to play the knight in shining armor, saving damsel Jean from the asshole villain's lies. But at the same time, by forcing a confession from SCOTT, he would get to come off smelling like a rose. He didn't betray a confidence. He's a whistle blower!

Fuck you, Warren. If you're going to back-stab your friend at least have the balls to do it honestly.

Warren in this arc is the quintessential Nice Guy (tm). The girl he loves is pining for a guy who totally doesn't deserve her. A guy who's secretly a dick, but she doesn't know that. When she finds out, she'll drop him like a hot potato and go for someone more worthy of her!

And that attitude is exactly why Nice Guys don't get the girl. Women aren't fucking merit awards. We're not prizes that you get for being a such a swell guy.

Women, like guys, make their own choices in partners. And like guys, sometimes we don't always make the wisest choice. But you know what, that's OUR decision.

That jerk over there? Odds are, he accepts that. Or at the very least doesn't make his utter devaluing of our ability to make our own choices so fucking apparent.

I kind of think this is why so many readers come out of early X-Factor hating Scott. Because we all have a little Nice Guy in us. (Even girls.) And Scott went from being the underappreciated loser in the original run that we all feel for, to BEING the jackass that the girl loves who totally doesn't deserve her. Now he's the enemy.

But the key is, for all of Scott's many many faults, the one thing he's never done was devalue Jean's choice. When Jean dated before they got together, he watched wistfully and thought about missing his chance. When he knew Jean was attracted to Logan, he'd occasionally wish to be a little more like Logan. But even at his worst, he's NEVER acted like he automatically deserved her. He's never acted entitled to her. And THAT, more than anything else, is why she always picks him in the end.

Because he respects her.

And Warren doesn't.

If Warren really disapproves of his friend's conduct so much, he should have taken him aside and confronted him. To be fair, I'm editing to add, he does do this, but...

If Warren truly felt Scott's silence was hurting Jean, then he should have grown some balls and told her himself.

Shut the fuck up and go get Apocalypsed already, Warren. I'm sick of you.


  • At February 12, 2010 4:14 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    It's true. Warren has ALWAYS been a pill. He reeks of entitlement and has from the beginning.

    I'm not saying that Scott is my favorite, but I've ALWAYS disliked Warren.

  • At February 12, 2010 4:25 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I like Warren sometimes, but DAMN if he doesn't get really irritating.

    Especially here. Where it was at least a few days until Scott got down to them from Alaska ANYWAY. (Hence her comment about them keeping him from her.) He could have warned her at any time that her ex-boyfriend was now married. It would have spared her heartbreak/embarassment and also took a burden off his friend as well.

    SUCH a hypocrite!

  • At February 12, 2010 4:55 PM, Blogger Seangreyson said…

    I always thought it was a little odd that all 3 of their friends didn't bring up the subject with her though. Warren ended up a bit of jerk about it (and to be fair he does end up kind of losing his wings as a result of all this love quadrangle drama), but Bobby and Hank both also decided to not tell Jean what was up.

    Again it's not like Scott said on the phone, whatever you do don't tell her I'm married. Wouldn't it make a bit of sense to have tried to break it to her gently?

    Plus the fact that the whole team pretty much went along with not talking to the X-men, due to Jean (and the Avengers) freaking out about Magneto also seemed a little weird to me. The others (particularly Scott) knew that Magneto was one of the good guys at this point.

    Yeah Scott doesn't come off well during this period, and doesn't really regain any dignity until well after Inferno honestly. But I've always thought that the rest of the team was at least as bad, since they all bend over backwards to try and avoid any messy situations.

  • At February 12, 2010 6:38 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'll give Bobby and Hank a bit of a pass for the whole mess though. They DID fuck up by not clueing Jean in before Scott came. But then there was the bit later on in X-Factor #1 where they pretty much had to talk Scott off of a pier.

    I mean, the scene might not have been that overt, but there was pretty strong subtext (between the unshaven, crazy look, and the talking about exactly how fucked up he'd made his life and the fact that it was Hammer Bay) that they were talking him down from suicide.

    I'd imagine at that point they probably decided, "Dude, ANYTHING we do right now is going to make things worse." And backed off.

    Oddly enough, I really like this period of comics. You're right about Scott not really getting his dignity back until well after Inferno (which is why I'm somewhat relieved that it looks like X-Factor Forever is starting around there) but that's kind of what makes it so fascinating. He's never really been so obviously BROKEN before or since, IMO.

  • At February 12, 2010 6:41 PM, Blogger kiragecko said…

    I realize Scott and Maddie were having problems before this, and Scott deals with things by pretending they don't exist, but it's awfully hard to forgive him for not even telling Maddie where he was. Though, I've never figured out long he had before she got Marauder-napped. If it was only a week or so, MAYBE it's understandable. Do you know?

  • At February 12, 2010 6:51 PM, Blogger Seangreyson said…

    Now that you mention it, the wharf scene is one of the best written moments from X-factor. Cyclops really was going crazy at that point. So I guess I can make an exception for Hank and Bobby. Though if they told Warren about this, and he was still being this much of a dick about the situation then maybe he deserves to get his wings chopped off.

    I do love this team, and after reading the preview for it I'm actually kind of excited about X-factor Forever.

  • At February 12, 2010 7:04 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    k: I'm pretty sure she knew where he was. When he got the call from Warren, she specifically told him not to go, and that if he went, he shouldn't come back.

    She might not have known exactly where the team headquarters was, but she knew Warren was the one who called, and he's a public enough figure, that she definitely could have contacted him if she wanted to.

    I'm not saying Scott wasn't a dick there, but Maddie wasn't exactly a helpless victim either. She could have gone with him. She could have contacted Warren. She wasn't without options.

    It's always hard to say how long these things are in comic time, but I was always under the impression that it had been only a couple of weeks at the most between him coming down for X-Factor and him going back up to find Maddie. A lot of the early issues seemed to take place in a very short amount of time.


    Seangreyson: Yeah. A lot of early X-Factor was uneven, but I love that scene. There's such a wonderful desperate quality to it.

    I don't know if Warren knew or not. I'd like to think he's not enough of a dick to fuck with someone borderline suicidal. (And as much as I hate being fair, I also don't think Warren realized that Scott had actually LEFT Madelyne. He might have been a bit gentler if he realized that part.)

    I love Simonson, and Inferno, and all that, so I really can't WAIT for it.

  • At February 12, 2010 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    WHAT??? How can you blame Warren!
    1. Scott is the ass that leaves his preg wife for Jean.

    2. Warren doesn't tell Jean because its NOT his place to say anything.

    3. Warren finally gets sick of Cyke being a coward forces the truth out [like the angel he is]

    4. You are putting Warren in a damned if you do damned if you don't situation. If he had told Jean behind cyke's back he comes off as a back-stabber. If he says it in front of Jean he comes off as selfish.

    Which is why I've always thought the 3 of themm would look good in a tri-marriage. Nothing to lie about then cause you would have to pay the price later that night.


  • At February 12, 2010 8:05 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Dude. It's not a damned if you do, damned if you don't thing.

    Warren has three options as a decent person.

    1. Stay the hell out of it, like Bobby and Hank.

    2. Talk to SCOTT, alone. I'd respect his frustration if he'd ever once tried to do this. If he did, and Scott refused to tell Jean, then yeah. Fine. Force the confrontation. But that's not what happened.

    If he actually TALKED to Scott, he'd know that Scott was trying to find a way to tell her. And probably wouldn't have minded if Warren took the burden.

    Neither 1) or 2) require any backstabbing at all.

    3) If it came down to it, tell Jean himself. It wouldn't be backstabbing, it'd be choosing one's well-being over another. Scott made his mess, Jean's suffering from it. So yeah, he would be justified in telling her. (Even if I do think a friend of Scott's should try 2) first.)

    Instead Warren doesn't choose any of these. He spends most of the quiet time in the first few issues trying to vibe with Jean. I think he DOES care about Jean, but he's selfish. He's forcing the confrontation in a way that casts him as the hero and Scott as the villain. When really, it's not about Warren at all.

    That's why I blame him. :-)

    I can't see a tri-marriage with those three, because Warren's too self-absorbed and determinedly blind to deal with the other two's issues. (Now LOGAN on the other hand, might actually manage to balance them nicely.)

  • At February 12, 2010 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tri-marriage of Logan, Jean and Scott. I smell post fodder. Or fic fodder. And lots and lots of fodder for Rule 34 regardless.

    But anyway. Warren. That's the kind of shit I'd pull only on someone I actually hated or was actively trying to ruin.

    Actually no, I'd flat out lay down the truth to either one or both of them rather than play the passive-aggressive martyr. It's much more refreshing and creates much less stress and moral dissonance.

    What a douche.

  • At February 12, 2010 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hmmm I concede you are right on Warren's choices... though I guess I am not sure I completely blame him. He has two friends one a guy one a girl. Who does he owe his allegiance to?

    If Warren was a girl (and I am not making this into a lesbo thing) wouldn't we automatically assume that Warren has allegiance to Jean and should tell her about the problem?

    I mean can you imagine if Warren did keep quiet and she eventually found out. Scott wouldn't have told her... well MAYBE eventually. Jean would have been royally pissed at Bobby, Warren, and Hank. And with good reason... so much for friendship.

    And exactly why are Bobby and Hank keeping quiet? Is this part of the guy code, if your guy friend is having girl problems don't get involved? But what if your girl friend is having guy problems? well then of course you get involved to protect her. BUT now what if your guy friend AND your girl friend are both having problems. Choose the guy friendship over the girl friendship? Bobby and Hank chose Cyke over Jean. Warren chose Jean.

    As for teh tri marriage idea of course it works:
    Cyke: repressed super-ego
    Angel: hedonistic id
    Jean: ego: rationally balances both sides


  • At February 12, 2010 11:30 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'm pretty sure Bobby and Hank aren't keeping quiet from guy code so much as a "we just had to talk him off of a wharf" thing.

    And Scott did TRY to tell her, but kept getting interrupted.

    That said, I don't think Warren was wrong in wanting her to know (or in siding with Jean at all.). But he should have just told Jean. (Or tried talking Scott into telling Jean, look man, you have to tell her, or I will.)

    I just think his methods revealed a much more selfish motive. :-)

  • At February 12, 2010 11:50 PM, Blogger Seangreyson said…

    We're ignoring one other fairly major point with Warren. His entire point seems to be that Scott's married and thus it's wrong to lead on Jean.

    But at this point Candy Southern is sitting at Warren's house in Colorado probably wondering where he is. So honestly Warren's kind of being a bit hypocritical with all this as well.

  • At February 13, 2010 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    LOL totally forgot about Candy heh! Yeah... that warren is a bastard... forget that crap... guess that puts the kibosh on the tri-marriage as well. . . sheesh these X-guys are really a trip... not a decent one among them... Calisto had the right idea when she wanted to clip his wings and cage him


  • At February 13, 2010 5:02 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    ...I completely forgot about Candy too. Warren's totally putting the moves on Jean while Candy exists.

    DAMN, he IS a hypocrite.

    (Also, more of an excuse for Hank and Bobby, I reread XF 1, and they don't meet Jean until after Scott did. Warren actually sends them after Scott because he up and vanished after they "exchanged words."

    It does mean I was wrong about the timeline, because it seems like a few weeks in between him meeting Jean again and the pier scene. Which probably won't help his case with k. :-) Personally, I'll give him a pass because it looks like he was losing his mind. YMMV)

  • At February 13, 2010 6:12 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    I think that Candy and Warren had split up between the end of New Defenders and the start of X-Factor. I remember them not actually being together when Warren unsuccessfully tries to rescue her from Cameron Hodge...

  • At February 13, 2010 6:49 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    Re. the pier scene in X-Factor #1: Puleez! That's not Hank and Bobby having to talk Scott out of suicide at all. Please remember that by the time Bobby and Hank entered the picture, Scott had already gone missing "a few weeks" (X-Factor #1 p. 28 panel 3). He had had plenty of time to kill himself, but of course that would have meant making up his mind and deciding on a course of action, and early X-Factor Scott was all about avoiding just that. Scott was at that pier because it was on Jamaica Bay, the place where the Phoenix had replaced Jean (another case showing how bad the writing was - Scott and Warren spend weeks looking for Scott, but without the genius of Hank McCoy nobody thought to look at that obvious place?) Also, if they thought that Scott was a basket case close to suicide, shouldn't they as his friends be putting him into therapy instead of PRESSURING HIM INTO BEING THEIR LEADER in the new X-Factor scheme? It only stands to reason that Scott's psychological problems affected his leadership (The early issues of X-Factor and Scott's not completely unreasonable attempt to saddle Warren with all the blame for the negative effects of X-Factor, Inc., and its anti-mutant propaganda during the confrontation in XF #6 clearly shows that his personal problems and his unwillingness to face them was badly affecting Scott's decisions).

  • At February 13, 2010 7:12 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Menshevik: here's the scene for yourself:

    Page 1

    Page 2.

    Between "you can't run from us/your problems", "we have a second chance", and "come back with us, we'll work things out", the scene is VERY evocative of talking someone off of a ledge.

    And notice, Scott wasn't AT the bay for that long. He'd been retracing the important places to his and Jean's life.

    The bay, where she died/the Phoenix replaced her would be the last stop.

    Think about that for a second.


    As for getting him therapy rather than making him leader. These are X-Men we're talking about. Same guys who saw him date a clone of Jean, who even told them in the same issue he married her that he'd ASKED Madelyne if she were Jean reborn* and they didn't see it as a cry for help.

    Psychological insight was not this team's strong suit.

  • At February 13, 2010 7:14 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    Menshevik -- Dude... I'm SO not sure I want to have a "psychology of suicide" conversation with you, but.. Just because an extremely depressed person someone was alone for a while and had an opportunity to hurt themselves before DOES NOT mean they won't hurt themselves after you've found them.

    Hell, they are most likely WANTING to find a reason not to, and if you talk to them and not catch what's wrong they might conclude no one cares and it's time to end it all.

    Really, if you find a friend in that state and don't take into account that he might hurt himself because he hasn't already, then you could very well be responsible for his death.

  • At February 13, 2010 8:04 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    @Kalinara -
    well, I don't get that vibe at all (and I didn't get it the first time I read that story in 1985 or on the numerous occasions I've reread it since, including just before I wrote my previous post). But even assuming you're right, that would not excuse much of their subsequent behaviour (which you dismiss so lightly I suspect because you like Hank and Bobby better than Warren) and it IMO provides NO excuse for them not informing Jean. Hank made Scott a promise ( and then did not keep it (I don't think that "We'll work things out! You'll see!" translates as "We'll leave you to angst about your problems without actually helping you or Jean while you're being passive-agressive towards her.") Last stop before what? Returning to his family in Anchorage?

    Maybe some of the differences between ourselves are rooted in the fact that I read those stories when they first came out and thus do not have a tendency to invariably interpret them with ex-post info in mind (on a tangent: people would not learn Madelyne was Jean's clone until Inferno, Jean at that point probably would not have known about Scott proposing to Phoenix (she only got a few Phoenix-related memories from touching the Shi'ar globe in her parents' home, but AFAIK not that) and the mental link had been established between Phoenix and Scott during the Dark Phoenix Saga, not between Jean and Scott, so Jean only learned about all that later (IIRC when Scott eventually spilled the beans when during a battle he could no longer differentiate between Jean and Phoenix.)

  • At February 13, 2010 8:19 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    "Last stop before what" is exactly my point man. I don't think he's planning on going back to Anchorage in that scene.

    It may be less about the later info (as I recall, I never brought up anything Inferno in this argument) and more to do with personal experience.

    If you've ever found yourself in Bobby or Hank's position you might find their words familiar. That's all I'm saying.

  • At February 13, 2010 8:34 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'll add that Hank might be brilliant, but neither he nor Bobby has, as far as we know anyway, any real training with regards to possibly suicidally depressed teammates.

    You can argue that they're fucking up by keeping quiet/staying out of it. (I agree actually. It would be far kinder and more helpful to both Scott and Jean if they stepped in.) But fucking up is not unrealistic for people completely out of their depth.

    At the very least, they lack Warren's borderline maliciousness, whether or not he was dating Candy still at the time.

  • At February 13, 2010 8:44 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    Damn Blogger ate my first post, so now I'll have to write it out again. Onwards...

    A general observation: the really early X-Factor (pre-Louise Simonson) was some of the worst writing in X-comics of all time, although it is not always possible to tell whether the bad characterization sprang from bad plotting or vice versa in every case. But basically the result was that all four male X-Factorites came off as acting reprehensibly and at times illogically to fit the general master plot. (For instance, the X-Factor people were written as so paranoid that they cut their ties not just with their former teammates, the X-Men, but also with their friends and family, yet they had no problems accepting the transparently unworkable X-Factor scheme on the authority of a glib-talking PR guy they (with the exception of Warren) had never laid eyes on before? I always thought of Warren and Bobby as pretty dumb, but Hank, Scott, and Jean should have seen the faults before the first mission). Similarly I suspect Layton and Guice wanted to milk their "Scott can't bring himself to be honest to Jean" plot for what it was worth without caring how it made the other three appear by colluding with Scott.

    As I was well aware of Warren's immediately preceding behaviour, notably his dalliance with Dazzler despite living with Candy (@Lurker Without: Warren was living with Candy in New Mexico, apparently happily, in X-Factor #1 pp. 4-9, until he heard of Jean's return). So I did not really get a "Nice Guy" vibe from him, but rather saw him in a situation comparable to Scott's, only in his case Jean would have been aware that Candy was Warren's girlfriend/partner (she had been since the 1960s) and thus had cause to distrust his approaches to her. And like I said, Warren always was pretty dumb (heck, the New Defenders elected non-powered Candy Southern their leader, not him!), so I don't see him as having the brains necessary for the calculating behaviour you ascribe to him in the confrontation. To me he was simply reacting to the distress Jean was feeling due to Scott's treatment of her (she was literally in tears). Up until that moment (i.e. the preceding 2 1/2 pages) he had taken no part at all in the exchange, and in the end all he achieved was to provide a pretext for Scott to fly into a self-righteous rage and thereby avoid adressing the question Jean had put to him. And that is another important thing: As the panels you reprinted show, Jean had already deduced that Scott was being dishonest to her: "you're keeping things from me... but I don't know what and I don't know why!" I see no reason to heap hate on Warren for confirming Jean's accusation/question which, though unspoken, also puts the other three on the spot (if Scott is keeping things from Jean that they know of, then they are his accomplices against her).

  • At February 13, 2010 8:55 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I actually like the writing. It's subtle, but if you reread carefully, there's a lot more there than initially apparent. And while not terribly flattering to Scott, Jean and Warren particularly, the characterizations are consistent.

    I don't hate Warren for telling her, I hate Warren for forcing the confrontation right there in a way that casts Scott, and only Scott, as the villain of the piece.

    Yes, in the sense that Scott's keeping things from her (though in the issue right before that, he's about to tell her before alarms go off), Warren, Bobby and Hank are his accomplices and are equally guilty with one another.

    But Warren's the only one trying to shift it ALL onto Scott. If he said "Okay, Jean, you're right. We've ALL been keeping something from you." Then I would respect him more.

    He's had PLENTY of opportunity (I mean, hell, in the weeks between Scott meeting Jean/leaving and Bobby and Hank arriving, for one. You're telling me she never once asked Warren "What in the world was THAT about?") to tell her and didn't. Regardless about how guilty Bobby and Hank are, Warren's the only one compiling hypocrisy onto his misdeeds.

  • At February 13, 2010 9:02 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    To clarify: Warren and Candy were not just dating, they had been living together for years at that point, so in effect by leaving her and making time with Jean what he did was as reprehensible as what Scott did re. Madelyne. The Angel obviously was no angel himself here, but Jean could and should have known that (as she remembered Candy from the old days).

  • At February 13, 2010 9:16 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    As devil's advocate, I'll point out that Warren and Candy don't seem to be living together now, since he seems to be domiciled with X-Factor. I still think he's a hypocrite though.

    My other big problem though is that I really think Warren's being a terrible friend here.

    If he'd ever taken the time to talk to Scott rather than villainizing him, even just a "Why haven't you told Jean that you're married?" he would have found out that Scott had left Madelyne (presumably for good), that he knew he had to talk to Jean but couldn't get the words out, and was generally fucked up about the whole situation.

    I don't mind him choosing Jean's well-being over Scott's but he could do it in a way that didn't make him look like such a shitty friend. :-(

  • At February 13, 2010 9:40 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    I got your "last stop" thing the first time around, my reply to it was just phrasing my disagreement as a rhethorical question.

    Hank may not be an experienced psychologist or psychiatrist, but he has shown interest in such matters in the past (reading up on the subject), which combined with his genius intelligence probably makes him the non-telepath best qualified in such matters among the X-Men. And of course there was nothing that prevented him from calling in an expert, indeed if you interpret the scene in XF#1 as Hank (and Bobby) talking Scott down from suicide then it is more astonishing to me and irresponsible of Hank not to have done this. And in that context Hank and Bobby pressuring Scott to become their leader while he still hasn't worked out the problems that preoccupy him 24/7 is not just crazy with regards to their friendship with him, but also to their sense of simple self-preservation.

    I'm no fan of Warren, but at least he had an understandable, if selfish reason for not telling Jean (and it was tied to strong emotions over which he had no control). Hank and Bobby didn't even have that, one suspects that they did it out of a misguided sense of obligation towards their friend Scott (unless we want to believe that they expected Jean to uncontrollably react in a way that would drive Scott into suicide, IOW rather a lack of respect for their supposed friend Jean).

    (Re. the writing: I hugely admire Louise Simonson for how over time she salvaged X-Factor, but the issues before her are "The Horror! The Horror!" The worst kind of professional fan-fiction, indeed it was what first awoke my distrust of comicbook fans turning pro and writing the titles of which they were fans).

  • At February 13, 2010 9:54 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    X-Factor #2 pp. 4 and 5:

    Scott: "Warren, please! Just leave me alone. I have to think this out."
    Warren: "I'm sorry Scott. I was just giving some friendly advice! If your friends can't help you, who can? I just think that it's time you spoke to Madelyne, Scott, you have a wife and kid waiting for you in Alaska--"
    Scott: "Don't you think I know that, Warren? [Cut expository dialogue]"
    Warren: "Scotty, Maddy is your wife. You have a commitment to her, you have to tell her what's happened. For that matter, you've got to tell Jean you're married!"
    Scott: "How can I explain anything to Madelyne or Jean? I'm still not sure what's going on myself! Jean Grey was the first woman I ever loved. She gave my life meaning. And Madelyne...forget it. A playboy like you wouldn't understand."
    Warren: "I think that's my cue. Just remember I only wanted to help."

    That was FOUR ISSUES before the scene that made you hate Warren so much. :-(

  • At February 13, 2010 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rereading the first scene you've posted Warren is really being a good guy [ignoring the Candy bit]
    Jean is severely emotionally distressed. Warren breaks down after seeing her pain. I still think this is a matter of choosing sides. Warren seeing Jean's pain breaks down and tells her the truth. In a heat of passion kind of way.
    To break it down clearly:
    Jean is immense pain.
    Scott responds with aloofness.
    Warren empathizes with Jeans pain and can't see her break down like this.
    Warren chooses Jean over Scott and tells her what Scott won't tell her.

    If we were to split Scott's team into followers and rebels, obviously Hank, Bobby, and Jean would always follow their hero-leader, Scott.

    But Havock, Polaris, and Angel were the very types to know that Scotty wasn't always right in what he did.

    - Seafire

  • At February 13, 2010 10:04 AM, Blogger Seangreyson said…

    @Lurker Without

    In X-factor 1, Candy and Warren are still living together (and Hank and Bobby, who were moving out) when Reed Richards calls Warren to tell him Jean's alive.

    They even seem pretty close as Warren is quoted as, "Hang on, sweet-cheeks and your love bird will take you for the ride of your life!"

    Innuendo aside, it sounds like they were dating. :)

  • At February 13, 2010 10:15 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Menshevik: Fair enough. I DID forget that scene. :-)

    That does get rid of reason 2 for hating him.

    Reason 1 still remains though:

    He still had the time between calling Scott and him coming down to tell Jean. He had the weeks between Scott leaving and the other two finding him to tell Jean. And six issues to tell Jean. He didn't. So I believe he's being hypocritical.

    I don't think Bobby and Hank's inactivity is a reflection on their opinion of Jean. It's a reflection on the fact that as far as they can tell, their friend is in a very precarious mental state right now. In that position, you don't KNOW what will be the last straw. They're handling him with kid gloves. I think they're making a mistake, but I think it's an understandable one.

    Seafire: I disagree. As I mentioned, Warren had many opportunities to handle this with Jean privately if all he cared about was her feelings.

    All he ever had to say was "Jean, I'm sorry, but he's married."

    Especially now that (to his credit) he DID try to talk to Scott. There's still no reason to turn it into what amounts to be a public attack on someone he knows (thanks to that same scene Menshevik linked that absolves him of one of my accusations) is in a really difficult situation.

    Seangreyson: Heh, he's definitely involved with Candy in some capacity. To what extent is probably up to debate.

    Still pretty hypocritical.

  • At February 13, 2010 10:17 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    "unless we want to believe that they expected Jean to uncontrollably react in a way that would drive Scott into suicide, IOW rather a lack of respect for their supposed friend Jean"

    I love Jeannie, but she's under a lot of stress there too. And really, in one case someone might be a bit hurt you underestimated. In the other, the guy dies. I'd err on the side of protecting Scott here, and apologize to jean later. She WOULD understand.

  • At February 13, 2010 10:30 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    And in that context Hank and Bobby pressuring Scott to become their leader while he still hasn't worked out the problems that preoccupy him 24/7 is not just crazy with regards to their friendship with him, but also to their sense of simple self-preservation.

    Because X-men and derivatives always make sure their leaders are sane and don't have personal issues overflowing onto the team.

    Dude, there was a period in the 90s where almost every team except Excalibur was lead by a Summers.

    (For the record: I blame Xavier. His curriculum clearly did not emphasize the importance of mental health in leaders.)

  • At February 13, 2010 11:09 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    Basically, if Scott behaves like an utter asshole, then he's conflicted and complex and people will bend over backwards to think up excuses for him, even revise continuity (Inferno!) to make him come up smelling of roses. But when Warren acts remotely like an asshole, then its just because he's an asshole. I think the scene that I quoted reflects the image, when Scott tells Warren that his feelings are simply not as meaningful as Scott's. I mean, it is not as if Warren was a completely shallow person, and he's been through quite a bit of trauma himself - e.g. both his parents were murdered (Scott still has his father and is Xavier's pet), Jean rejected him, and of course later he lost his wings, saw Candy Southern killed etc. etc. Like I hinted at earlier, I've never really been a fan of Warren (and actually, before X-Factor Cyclops was my favourite among the original five X-Men), but it annoys me when people try to think up reasons to heap blame on him (especially ones that turn out to be not just baseless, but demonstrably false) while thinking up excuses for everybody else.

    A few other points:
    The reasons you give for excusing Hank and Bobby for not telling Jean about Scott's family must equally apply to Warren. There is no reason to assume that Warren would think that Scott would have to be handled with kid gloves less than they did. Indeed, if Hank and Bobby had to be treated like a live handgrenade (just the kind of person I would want to lead me into battle), it is safe to assume that they would have told Warren not to tell Jean (off-panel, just as their reflections as to it why it was too dangerous to tell Jean are off-panel (or would be, if they existed)).
    Which leaves us with Warren's choice not to tell Jean about Scott's marriage in X-Factor #1. Here I would say it is pretty clear he kept mum out of a misguided sense of loyalty to Scott, and that does not make him liable to be singled out as an object of hate or more of a hypocrite than Bobby or Hank.

    Re. Hank's, Bobby's (and Warren's) lack of a sense in self-preservation in pressuring Scott to be their leader: All three had been members of other teams with a more sensible choice of leaders (the Champions, Avengers and New Defenders).

  • At February 13, 2010 11:12 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    Sorry, that should read:
    "Indeed, if Hank and Bobby thought Scott had to be treated like a live handgrenade [...] it is safe to assume that they would have told Warren not to tell Jean [...]."

  • At February 13, 2010 11:25 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…


    Scott was orphaned traumatically, raised by Mr. Sinister, then Jack O'Diamonds, then Prof X. He has brain damage and can't take his glasses off without killing people.

    He despises himself and is extremely unstable because of his background.

    Warren is rich, handsome, and has powers that make him look like a divine messenger. He can have almost anything he wants and do almost anything he wants. He can fly, dammit.

    Warren has a good self-image, and is fairly stable--having almost nothing comparably traumatic in his background.

    So yes, Warren acting like an asshole means Warren is an asshole. He doesn't have any reason to lash out or manipulate yet. (Apocalypse fixes this.) There's nothing to help him with that would make him stop being an asshole, he is just--at base--an asshole. Were he to hate himself for being an asshole, perhaps I could get behind him. But he doesn't, he just thinks other people are assholes because he's projecting.

    Basically, it's the same logic that makes Quicksilver a sympathetic character. The "if I couldn't turn off superspeed and my father was Magneto, I'd probably be a dick to everyone too" thought.

    Warren? Doesn't have anything to make you feel bad for him until he goes blue, and even then I want to say fuck off to him because he's still this ethereally gorgeous guy WHO CAN FLY.

  • At February 13, 2010 11:27 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Menshevik: If you have a problem with the biases I express on MY BLOG, you're welcome to leave it.

    Blogspot is free, feel free to start your own.

  • At February 13, 2010 11:43 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    @Ragnell -
    yeah, seeing both your parents murdered, blaming yourself for not being there to protect them, and having no other relatives than the slimeball uncle responsible for both their deaths (all this happened before GSXM #1 clearly is no big deal.

    On Bizarro World.

  • At February 13, 2010 11:47 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    well, I'll leave this thread alone now, but I hope you won't mind if I return to your blog in future, as I really enjoy reading your opinions and talking about points you raise.

  • At February 13, 2010 11:53 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    It's all good, man. Just keep in mind that I AM going to be biased in favor of my favorite characters. It's why they're my favorites.

    Scott could probably shoot a puppy in the face and I'd be all "That was dickish...but oh, the PAIN he must be going through!"

    So on this blog, you'll pretty much get all my biases unchecked. :-)

  • At February 13, 2010 11:53 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    Menshevik -- Oh, dude. There needs character consistency. If that was the real root here, he'd be driven to take revenge on his uncle rather than trying to fuck Jean.

    Scott's fucked up view of himself has him unable to talk to Jean, and unable to save his marriage. This assholishness fits.

  • At February 13, 2010 12:08 PM, Blogger Seangreyson said…

    This is why I love comics and comic fans. 41 sometimes-heated comments debating which of two characters was the biggest jerk in the mid-80's.

    Though you do have to wonder, if Scott goes back to Madeline, how much (if anything) changes?

  • At February 13, 2010 12:12 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    It's wonderful sometimes, isn't it?

    I'm not sure I follow your question though. Can you clarify what you mean?

  • At February 13, 2010 12:59 PM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    If you like Cyclops, you're going to LOVE X-Factor #14. That was one of the most awesome comics in the history of creation when I was a kid. Scott Vs. the Master Mold, a morphing Sentinel.

  • At February 13, 2010 1:30 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I love that issue. It's Scott simultaneously at his craziest and most awesome.

    I also liked the Marvel Comics Presents sequel to that: Cyclops, Moira MacTaggart and Callisto (for some reason) versus Master Mold and his evil plague.

    Granted he spends less time screaming at a hallucination of Xavier, but it's still awesome.

  • At February 13, 2010 4:00 PM, Blogger Seangreyson said…

    I guess what I meant with the question is more of a "what-if" issue.

    Cyclops decides to go back to Madeline, rather than stay in New York to join X-factor. What changes?

    This decision led directly to the first confrontations with the Marauders, X-factor's early successes and failures, obviously Inferno.

    Some of the secondary What-if's might be interesting, for example: the Fall of the Mutants (say Scott and Madeline both end up with the X-men, does it play out the same way with the X-men having an actual leader for most of the events).

    Just kind of an interesting question.

  • At February 13, 2010 5:36 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Well, I think if we're taking Sinister's revelations in Inferno into account, we'd basically get X-Factor 13/14 twelve issues earlier.

    Since Sinister said that he'd planned to get rid of Madelyne as soon as Jean was discovered so that the duplication wouldn't be discovered and betray his machinations.

    I'm not sure how Scott would have taken it without the team being there. On one hand, he'd avoid the additional angst of Warren's wing loss/"death" and Cameron Hodge fucking with his head/driving him crazy(er). On the other, he wouldn't have even had the support base/distraction of the team.

    However, if say he'd asked or Madelyne offered to come WITH him when he came down to NY to see Jean in the first place, Sinister wouldn't have had time to get rid of her. The mess with Jean probably wouldn't have started (unless of course Sinister had additional back up programs for this situation. :-P) and the rest of X-Factor might have been very different.

    It'd make a neat What-If.

  • At February 13, 2010 5:49 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    I loved how, in the scene with Hank, Bobby, and Scott at the pier, the artist uses the classic comics shorthand for a male character hitting rock bottom:
    week-old razor stubble!

    Although I'm mostly on Kalinara's side re: Warren's behavior, I have to correct Ragnell on one minor point.

    Nothing comparably traumatic in Warren's background? What would you call having a big ol' pair of wings grow out of his back at puberty? I'd call that pretty friggin' traumatic, especially since he can't retract them and has to hide them from his peers using a restrictive harness for fear of being persecuted like a freak.

  • At February 13, 2010 6:27 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I think Ragnell's argument is that while that is certainly traumatic, as mutant powers go, wings are pretty benign.

    Hiding them is uncomfortable and unpleasant, sure. It's sad. And it's undoubtedly a psychological stress and worthy of empathy.

    But compared to say dissolving everything you look at when you open your, it's not quite the same level of trauma.

  • At February 14, 2010 9:41 AM, Blogger Marshall Ryan Maresca said…

    But early X-Factor Warren would hold business meetings in his underwear.

  • At February 14, 2010 11:55 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    It's quite possible that Warren would have held meetings in his underwear even if he didn't HAVE wings.

    Warren is a little obsessed with how wonderful he is. Booster Gold without the charm.

  • At February 15, 2010 2:50 AM, Blogger notintheface said…

    So Ragnell's not saying that Warren hasn't experienced major trauma, merely that he hasn't experienced Scott-level trauma.

    What can I say? I totally concede.

  • At February 15, 2010 5:15 AM, Blogger Menshevik said…

    Good thing I said "for now" in my last post here...

    Well, just because Scott went through a bigger trauma, Warren's trauma (to which we e.g. have to add e.g. his being kidnapped and coming close to being raped by Callisto in UXM #169-170) is not meaningless.

    Part of the problem with Angel is that while Scott continued to function as a leading character among the X-Men after UXM #94, Warren was shifted from title to title (Champions, Defenders, Dazzler, occasional guest-appearances in UXM) but always as a fairly minor supporting character. I suspect that a lot of the people writing him did not even know his full back story.

    Personally, I think it is possible to see that a bit of what went wrong in early X-Factor can in fact be attributed to problems in Warren's past, not just the traumas we've mentioned, but also the chips on his shoulder due to rejection. Firstly I think it is not unlikely that he had not entirely gotten over Jean rejecting him in favour of Scott and thus he did not resist the the unexpected opportunity to try to romance Jean again. Personally I think that - purely pragmatically - he'd have at least doubled his chances, such as they were (given Warren's public notoriety as a "playboy" and the fact that Jean knew he was with Candy) quite a bit if he had immediately told Jean that Scott was married (it was forseeable that Jean did not want to become a homebreaker).

    But even more important was his rejection by the X-Men. After the old members left in UXM #94, the new guys got along fine without calling them back. Worse, Professor X and Cyclops apparently felt they could carry on perfectly well without him (and without Bobby, Hank, Alex and Lorna). What must have been even more painful for him was when he returned to the team after the Dark Phoenix Saga, when he saw Wolverine as unworthy of being an X-Man and told Xavier it was either him or Logan on the team, Xavier (whom Warren looked on as a kind of surrogate father too) chose Logan and drove him out of the place he still considered his home. (That Xavier would later also admit Rogue to the team could only fuel this resentment and that the unloved new guys had to come and rescue him when he was helpless and at Callisto's mercy did not help).

    This, I think, is probably the key to Warren going from his earlier status as a follower (in the Defenders he was happy to leave leadership to his non-superpowered girlfriend!) to bulldozing his friends into joining him into setting up X-Factor, Inc. That was, I think, to a large extent Warren trying to get a kind of revenge on Xavier and the "All-New, All-Different" team by showing them up with his new/old team.

  • At February 15, 2010 5:23 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    Yeah.. That.. Xavier's a dick, but that really doesn't make Warren look much better.

  • At February 15, 2010 5:27 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Menshevik, dude, you're free to think Warren's background makes his assholishness sympathetic. That's the same reason, after all, that I find Scott sympathetic.

    But we're not all going to agree with you.

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