Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #97: Lifeguard

You know what one power just about every superhero would probably want?  The ability to save lives no matter what the situation.  Someone’s drowning?  You just grew some gills.  Bullets are flying?  Now you’re bulletproof.  A car fell on your grandma?  Now you’re strong enough to life the darn thing.

Why, then, did Lifeguard disappear?

She saves lives. Like, that is literally her only superpower.
She saves lives. Like, that is literally her only superpower.

Lifeguard was originally an Australian…lifeguard.  Just roll with it.

Her name was Heather Cameron.  She and her brother Davis were hanging around the beach one day since that was her job and he was a surfer…seriously, is that all anyone thinks people do on the Australian coast?  Just roll with it.

The long and the short of it was the two were noticed by the X-Treme X-Men team and that team included previous Misplaced Hero Sage.  Sage was one of those Chris Claremont pet characters.  You know the type.  Generally female, really powerful, running everything while everyone automatically defers to the other character’s inherent awesomeness.  Sage had, among her various assortment of difficult-to-use-in-a-narrative-by-anyone-who-isn’t-Chris Claremont powers was the ability to activate latent mutant genes and give people powers, or to activate secondary mutations to give mutants new powers, or whatever.  Anyway, it was noticed both Heather and Davis had latent mutant genes and Sage ended up activating both of them.

What did they get?  Well, Davis got the ability to open portals he could surf through and bring other people along.  He called himself Slipstream.  Heather, on the other hand, got a form of adaptive evolution, like another Misplaced Hero, Darwin.  The difference was Heather’s powers didn’t just adapt to keep herself alive the same way Darwin’s did.  Nope, her powers kicked in whenever she was in a position to save someone’s life which could include her own.  Basically, the two got surfing and lifesaving powers, so their career choices up to that point were actually useful in their nascent superhero training.

However, let’s be honest:  Lifeguard is inherently more interesting, and not just because it was a female mutant written by Chris Claremont.  Her body could adapt to any situation to save people’s lives.  No matter the danger, she should theoretically be up to the task of keeping people alive.  Her brother just got to surf through hyperspace.  That’s a lot more limiting as superpowers go since he would have basically just been the X-Treme team’s bus.

Notice the conditional past tense there?  Yeah, that’s where we find out Davis was also a dick.  See, this was a Chris Claremont book, so it wasn’t enough for them to simply be mutants with nifty powers looking to help.  No they had to have the Claremont typical dense and confusing backstory.  During a mission to space, Heather’s body grew some Shi’ar markings, making her look more like one of them.  Various hints and clues suggested the kids were both half Shi’ar, with their mom potentially being occasional X-Men foe Deathbird.  How did she have two kids without anyone noticing?  Just roll with it.

But who couldn’t roll with it?  Davis.  See. Heather’s body would change, but she never seems to really change back.  And the more missions they went on, the less human she looked, so he ended up thinking his sister, someone he presumably knew his whole life and loved deeply, was a monster.  So, he split.

OK, maybe it was a bit bad.
OK, maybe it was a bit bad.

X-Men comics have always been heavy-handed on the anti-discrimination ideas, but that seemed a bit much since he was a mutant too.  Maybe he was self-hating?

Then again, the reason the X-Men found the two in the first place was their recently deceased father was a crime lord and they were under attack.

Man, their parents were a crime lord and maybe an alien wannabe despot.  It’s probably fortunate these two turned out as well-adjusted as they did.

Anyway, after Davis took off, Heather decided to try finding him, and hasn’t been much more than a background character since.

You know, despite having the best superhero power ever.

tomk74

Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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