I think my single biggest problem with the Marvel universe (in terms of world building) is the lack of support of the X-Men/mutantkind by the rest of the Mavel Universe.

Like, I want writers to look me in the eyes and say that freaking “I served in World War 2” Steve Rogers…

There ARE actual differences between mutants and other superhumans, but they’re never explored in any meaningful way, thus allowing the status quo horse to be beaten silly. Allow me to explain:

Mutants differ from other superhumans (such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk) in that they have a near-certain prospect of gaining powers as it is in their very genetics; they typically manifest in puberty, as a natural part of their growth. The naturalization of superpowers into the human experience separates them from those who gained their powers and are ‘first generation’.

All that being said, so what? The counterpoint to any differences between those genetically evolved from conception/birth and those altered far after the fact, is whether those divisions really matter in the long run. Of course, some can and will use points of divergence in order to discriminate, but if these points were ever brought up concretely in the first place, at least there could be an active opposition that supports mutants and show that, yeah, their efforts actaully are going somewhere, instead of the constant one step forward, two steps back pattern that makes the entire narrative seem pointless.

That’s without even bringing up the issues of both the sliding timescale and the ever-growing single generation of heroes who are always the same people. (Though DC has not been much better in this regard)

I think the way Mutants are treated differently for acquiring their powers naturally IS important and very telling, even without a 600 book arc dedicated to it. Allow me to explain:

Reed Richard is literally one of the absolute worst, morally gray, assholes in Mavel but he will never face the discrimination a mutant will because he got his powers in an accident. Everyone pretty much lets him do whatever he wants— good or bad— because he is a white, educated, middle/upper class, dude. There have been many times where he has disregarded peoples’ lives just because he simple didn’t give a fuck or it got in the way of science or whatever. To most of the Marvel world, he is an ally.

Now take Magneto. Also morally gray (to put it lightly), a Holocaust survivor, Jewish, smart, and mutant who, like Reed Richards, has his own agenda. Do the Avengers view him as an ally? Sometimes. Do people in the Marvel world as a whole trust him? Rarely. But when they do it’s usually with deep suspicion and concern that Magneto is going to fuck things up for everyone because he can’t be trusted.

Now take Spider-Man. The Marvel world is sort of split on how they feel about him (some writers write the public as loving him, some write the public as feeling he’s a menace— depends) but generally, people like Spidey. They actually have no idea if he’s a mutant or not (I’m pretty sure? Correct me if I’m wrong) but because he hangs around the Avengers, very publicly, he’s given the benefit of the doubt. He generally is on the side of the good but sometimes he fucks up.

So, if we’re using the mutants as an analogy for let’s say… gay people, here we have a straight guy (Reed), an outwardly gay man (Magneto), and someone ambiguous who the world assumes to be straight because that is the norm, right?? (Spider-Man). I think we can all agree even with my super simple examples that superhumans who acquired their powers unnaturally and hell, even ALIENS, get treated a LOT better than mutants.

Why? They all have powers, don’t they?

Because mutants represent a minority and minorities still face institutionalized bigotry.

What I don’t get is, how do people know?

Like, sure, everybody knows about Cap and the super-soldier serum.  But, like, the Wasp?  She shrinks, grows wings and zappy-blasts.  Unless she went on record somewhere as not being a mutant (granted she probably has by now, but even when the Avengers were still into secret identities, nobody gave her guff about this), how does anybody tell whether she’s a mutant or a human science experiment?

And yet the only non-mutant superhero anybody’s ever spread mutant rumors about is Spider-man.  Because JJJ loves riding his case, of course, but it doesn’t make sense that he’d be the only one.  Well, and maybe Daredevil, but he spends his life deliberately terrorizing people, so.  Half the West Side thinks he’s an actual demon.

Like, what about freaking Hawkeye?  Dude never misses, joined the Avengers the same time as the Scarlet Witch, and he can keep up with superhumans and Cap, but the public’s first assumption is that he’s just human?

I’ve just always been baffled by this.  It’s not like public opinion is psychic.

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