October 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #158: Rictor

A longtime Marvel mutant whose most interesting phase may have come when he was powerless.

There are days when I stop to consider I could probably very easily do a solid two to three months of this column on forgotten or sidelined mutants.  Marvel certainly has a lot of them, and not everyone is a Wolverine guaranteed to hang around when a new X-Men line-up pops up.

So, let’s look at Rictor.

The 90s have a lot to answer for…

Rictor, AKA Julio Esteban “Ric” Richter, a man who apparently didn’t have to change his name much when his powers first appeared, had the mutant ability to cause seismic vibrations through his hands.  That seems like a good power for a guy by that name.  He bounced around a bit, starting with X-Factor, then moving on to the New Mutants, and then finally on to X-Force, generally with a haircut that might be kindly termed “unfortunate”.

Then Marvel had one of their mutant culling events, the things that happen from time-to-time, where the Scarlet Witch went a little cray-cray as the kids say.  That one was called House of M, and after she turned the world into a mutant-run paradise that was also a lie, she turned it back by declaring, “No more mutants.”

That seems simple enough.  Were there truly no more mutants?  Actually, no.  Most of the mutants who lost their powers were side characters and lesser-known mutants.  All the immediately recognizable mutants with a few exceptions got to keep theirs.  Can’t have a powerless Wolverine, now can we?

And in fact, a few of those mutants who lost their powers got them back in different ways before the whole “no mutants” thing was forgotten.  My guess is it happened when Marvel was once again reminded the Inhumans will never be a Thing.

However, Rictor was one of those unfortunate mutants to lose his powers, and probably all that glorious hair.  Depressed, he ended up joining X-Factor Investigations under Jaime Madrox, and that was under writer Peter David, and quite frankly I could probably fill another two or three months worth of columns just writing about some of the characters he’s written about in the past.  Rictor’s first appearance in that new series had him contemplating suicide before sometime teammate and sometime love interest Wolfbane came and yelled at him.  She’s good at that.  Don’t mess with the Scottish werewolf.

But that actually leads me to my main conclusion:  Rictor is mostly a horndog.

See, he used to sorta date Wolfbane.

There is so much hair in this picture…

And then when his one-time X-Force teammate Shatterstar returned, we got this:

Less hair…

Now, Rictor and Shatterstar had always been portrayed as having a close relationship, but making them lovers was both unexpected and unsurprising.  It just seemed to fit right.

Oh, and later Rictor got his powers back when the Scarlet Witch figured out how to reverse things, but seriously, I think Marvel has gotten way more mileage out of his love life than his earthquake powers.

Though he was the only other named young mutant in Logan besides X-23.

Does it say much when Rictor is best known for his sexual orientation as a character?  I don’t know.  Maybe some other earthquake-powered types should keep that in mind.

I’m looking at you, Quake.

Being on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t make anyone interesting.
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