Thursday, 23 October 2008

Twelve Vital X-Men Characters You Probably Don't Know

5: Havok

Who Is He?

Alex Summers, who uses to codename Havok, is a mutant with the power to (and I’m quoting from Wikipedia here) absorb ambient cosmic energy and channel it into powerful plasma blasts which fire out from his body in waves of concentric circles. In essence, he fires giant circles at anyone who gets in his way, and apparently they’re all really powerful and stuff because whenever he shoots someone they always act like they’re really hurt. When you think about it, plasma is actually another word for blood, but Havok doesn’t fire blood at people. Sadly. He does, however, like to “cry havoc” before he attacks people, which must be a bit of a burden on some of those black-ops missions the X-Men have sometimes gone on, but still. He is also a whiny ass who nobody likes.

Over the years, Havok has usually been unhappy with his role within the X-Men, because Cyclops is in charge all the time and never lets Havok have any power. The classic hissy-fits of the character changed recently when Havok was given his own team of X-men to lead, and he did a decent job with them. Then he was killed. Sadly, when he returned (as all X-Men do) he got drawn into a messy, messy love-triangle situation due to a writer called Chuck Austen. Austen pushed a character called Annie into the series, and to make her seem cool he brought back Havok, who was in a coma, and then woke Havok up. When Havok woke up he fell endlessly in love with Annie, and it all went to pot afterwards because he already had a long-term girlfriend. More on her later. Luckily, Havok managed to escape from all that when Austen left the books, and the writers of the franchise have slowly been making him likable again. When he reached the point where he was just about fully redeemed, he got sent into space.

It’s tough to be a fan of Havok. Good thing nobody likes him, then!

Why Is He Important?

I may not give two salty shovels about him, but there’s no denying that he’s important to the rest of the X-Men. For a start, he’s the brother of Cyclops, the one-eyed monster who leads the rest of the gang. He also happens to be dating Polaris, and has been almost since the beginning of the series. It was while she was waiting at the altar to marry him that he went off with that dreadful Annie character, but thankfully that nonsense is over with and Lorna and Alex have got back together again. Those two links there mean that even if he tried; he’s always going to find it near-impossible to leave the X-Men. Heck, he’s tried repeatedly to get away from the rest of them, to no avail. Despite his best attempts to live a normal life away from all the worries of being a mutant, something always seems to happen to him that requires him to dust off his old uniform, which is horrific and looks like this:

So that’s Havok. Havok is a seriously important character to know about with the X-Men, because he’s been there for so long. If you were to go and buy any of the various X-Men crossover events that have taken place over the years, you’ll find Havok has a role within it. Sometimes he appears just because big brother Scott appears, and a lot of stories have centred around their family dynamic. Arguably the best story, ‘Inferno’, boils down to an argument between the two over a woman which eventually allows Hell to open up in the middle of New York, and there are aliens and flying cars and the woman goes mad and calls herself ‘The Goblyn Queen’. And trust me, it’s all just as brilliant as it sounds. Whenever the main X-Men are captured or something happens, it is Alex who is sent with the B-Team to save the day, and it’s amazing that a character who is so well-known to fans of the franchise has never been given a major role in any cartoons or films.

Now sure, Havok is a whiny insecure guy whose main problem is that he doesn’t realise how good a leader he is, because Cyclops always overshadows him. But you know who else is like that? Luigi. And everyone likes Luigi more than Mario! In this case, nobody likes Havok more than Cyclops, but that’s a decent comparison of how important Havok is to the X-Men. He’s always been around, and even now when he’s in space and in jail and useless, he is being built up. The growth of Havok from useless idiot to highly capable team leader and idiot has been one of the slowest plot-lines ever (alongside Rogue’s inability to do anyone, but that’s why everyone loves her so it’s not likely to change anytime soon), but is paying off now. If anything ever happened to Cyclops – it seems likely that it will – it could be quite possible that Havok could take over the X-Men. The only people who’d be surprised would be the neverending masses who’ve never heard of him.

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