July 20, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comics Hero Case Files #17: Maggot

"Save us, worm guy!"
“Save us, worm guy!”

Some superhero characters often give off the feeling that the rules are being made up as the creators go along.  There’s a longstanding tradition for such things.  After all, Superman in his earliest appearances could only jump long distances rather than fly, and special vision powers were out of the question.  Batman was more inclined to use lethal force, or at least not fret too much if an opponent did something that got himself killed.  But longstanding tradition is one thing.  More recent attempts to do so often look haphazard and may or may not work out.  Supposedly, all Rob Liefeld originally had in mind for Cable was a cyborg with a big gun.  Making him Cyclops’ son was nowhere near the front of his mind.

I don’t know how much of Maggot was planned out before he joined the X-Men, but there did seem to be a very much making-it-up as they went along feel for the guy.

In his first appearance, Maggot was a massive, blue-skinned guy looking for the X-Men for some unknown reason, accompanied by two giant, metallic grubs.  His accent seemed to be Australian, but I could be wrong about that.  He was being set up as a potential bad guy, but that was about it.  Who was this guy, the reader was meant to wonder, and what does he want?

Did we care?

A big blue man with giant worms, well, he was appearing about the time the X-Men were adding new members, one of whom might have been less useful than Maggot (Ceclia Reyes, who made forcefields that did not stop the pain of impacts and refused to get a codename).

Maggot eventually joined the team somewhere off panel and it turned out he was from South Africa.  He was black, smaller than he’d appeared to be up until then since he was maybe 17,  and only turned blue when he had a lot of power charging him up.  In his first official issue as a member of the team, he was threatening the Juggernaut, who mostly looked like he had no idea what this kid was talking about.

Basically, the worms would go out and eat stuff.  The stuff would charge Maggot up, and that’s when he’d turn blue and gain superstrength and stuff like that.  The worms seemed able to eat just about anything.  The downside, and because he’s a mutant in the X-Men there’s always a downside, was the worms were also his digestive tract, and without them burrowing painfully back inside his torso every so often, he could starve to death.  Someone noticing he didn’t eat with the others was everyone’s first clue.

Because, you know, he couldn’t.

Marvel heroes requirement #7:  tragic origin.
Marvel hero requirement #7: tragic origin.

At some point, someone noticed Maggot was actually not quite an adult yet, and there was a mutant team affiliated with the X-Men that was made up of mutants his age that he could go join, namely Generation X.  I actually thought that was a good fit for the guy.  He wasn’t really a bad character, just not overly interesting.

He lasted all of one issue with Generation X.

"I'm gonna put down roots here...roots in shallow earth that are easy to pull up, but roots all the same."
“I’m gonna put down roots here…roots in shallow earth that are easy to pull up, but roots all the same.”

The funny thing was, Maggot didn’t quit because he couldn’t get along with the rest of the team.  Some big game hunter type captured his worms and he had to go rescue them, and rather than stay with the team that could help him defend himself, he figured he needed to go deal with stuff before he became a regular.

That was pretty much the last time I saw the guy.  He apparently was taken to a  mutant concentration camp in Canada where he died, and was brought back in some storyline where Selene was reviving dead mutants.  He may or may not have died again after that.  But with a name like that, somehow being a rotting corpse seems to fit in very well.