Being a member of the X-Men means less these days than it used to, thanks to the sheer volume of mutants that have come through the doors of Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters over the years. So many, in fact, that fan favorite characters can find themselves slipping through the cracks and into obscurity. They can’t all be Wolverine, can they? Blink is one such beloved mutant character that’s been left to dwell in relative obscurity for a number of years now.
The pink-skinned, portal powered teen didn’t last long in the main Marvel universe but thrived in the alternate Age of Apocalypse timeline, picking up something of a cult following before going on to lead the reality-hopping team of mutants known as The Exiles. Now, Clarice Ferguson is having a renaissance, one that started in 2014’s Days of Future Past movie, where she was played by Fan Bingbing, and now by Jamie Chung on Fox’s The Gifted. Not only that, but her Marvel comics counterpart is returning in a brand new Exiles series. Now then seems like the best time to find out everything you didn’t know, as CBR brings you 15 things you never knew about Blink!
15. SHE’S DIED MULTIPLE TIMES
This feels like a given in X-Men continuity at this point, but Blink has, unfortunately, died a good few times in the comics. Much like the X-Men mainstays Cyclops, Jean Grey and Wolverine, Blink knows what it’s like to be killed only to be brought back to life in some strange and highly implausible way.
Blink feels appropriately named in this regard because no sooner was she introduced — in Uncanny X-Men #317 from 1994 — she was killed and blinked out of existence less than a month later. While that seems slightly unfair for a character with such potential, it gets worse. Not only was she rejected for membership of Emma Frost’s rival mutant academy, but she was killed again (off-panel this time) by the Ultimate Universe version of Mojo.
14. HER POWERS TRAUMATISED HER
If fans of fellow X-character Rogue can tell you anything, it’s that it’s not all fun and games getting mutant powers. Being able to control the weather and become a Goddess may suit someone like Storm, but most mutants have it rough when it comes to the super-powered roulette wheel of fate.
Clarice Ferguson may come across as confident and competent when we see her in recent comics, but when her powers first manifested she had no control over how she was able to teleport items and people. Whatever got caught in her “blink wave” would get destroyed. She used that power to her advantage against her foes, but this flaw in her powers ultimately got her killed. In her first appearance, she even mentions waking up in a pool of blood when she first used her “gift.”
13. SHE WAS POSSESSED FOR MONTHS
As is so often the case in comics, those who die don’t stay dead for long. In Blink’s case, however, her main continuity version remained dead for about 20 years, which is a relatively long time. Her resurrection was all thanks to the villain Selene, the near-immortal psychic vampire who brought a number of previously deceased mutants back to life for the 2009 X-Men Event, Necrosha.
It’s revealed by Selene that Blink was never actually dead, but trapped in a pocket reality thanks to her powers, stranded there in constant pain. Selene used this “rescue” as a way to begin manipulating the otherwise good Blink into helping her commit dark deeds in order to overthrow the X-Men and absorb as many souls as she can. Selene’s defeat ultimately leads to Blink’s freedom, but it doesn’t come without a cost.
12. SHE’S KILLED NUMEROUS TIMES
Thanks to Selene, Blink committed some pretty grisly acts with her powers. Before, she used her teleportation powers to kill a Phalanx guard and secure the freedom of the team of mutants who would become Generation X, but after Selene manipulated her, she murdered for far less altruistic reasons.
She used her portals to slice up a guy in New Orleans just so that Selene could have a fancy mansion as her base of operations, and when they teleported to Utopia — then home of the X-Men — she used her powers to shred Archangel’s wings. After aiding Selene for many months, Blink ran away and was planning one final, violent act: killing herself. Luckily she’s saved by Emma Frost who, along with Doctor Strange, is able to purge Selene from Blink’s mind once and for all.
11. SHE’S A DESCENDANT OF APOCALYPSE
Seeing as Apocalypse is widely considered to be the first mutant in the Marvel Universe, it makes sense that many of today’s mutant heroes would be descended from him. One of the few that is explicitly mentioned, however, is Clarice Ferguson, aka Blink. Putting together the narrative jigsaw pieces left in the Apocalypse vs Dracula miniseries, we can see the ancestral link.
Frederick Slade was a member of Clan Akkaba, the group of genetic descendants to Apocalypse around the turn of the 20th Century. He was depicted with pink hair and green eyes and had the ability to teleport (sound familiar?) and in an effort to continue the Clan Akkaba line and therefore secure the genetic lineage of Apocalypse himself, he sired a child with a woman called Miss Ferguson. Seeing as Blink’s real name is Clarice Ferguson, it’s not a stretch to conclude that she’s a descendant of Apocalypse.
10. HER ALTERNATE COUNTERPART IS MORE POPULAR
Strangely enough, the occurrence of alternate universe counterparts is so common in X-Men comics that the opportunity for one to become more popular than the original version is greater than you think. Just look at Old Man Logan, a future version of Wolverine so popular that they made a movie about him.
There have been plenty of times when, rather than resurrect a previously dead character, the X-Men will just recruit an alternate universe version, like the younger Jean Grey currently kicking it in the 616. The Age of Apocalypse storyline dealt exclusively in an alternate timeline, one where Professor X was killed and never formed the X-Men. The version of Blink found in this universe was more skilled, more confident and overall more popular than her original version, earning her a miniseries that further explored her backstory.
9. SHE WAS EXPERIMENTED ON BY DARK BEAST
The Age of Apocalypse counterpart to Hank Mccoy, aka Beast, is affectionately known as Dark Beast, no doubt because of his twisted, macabre medical experiments and lack of morals when it comes to cutting up mutants in the name of “science.” One such victim of his deadly curiosity was Blink, who, as we’ve learned at this point, really hasn’t had a great life.
As seen in flashback, a young Clarice Ferguson was discovered by Dark Beast when Apocalypse came to power. He took her in and carried out his grim experiments, which caused her powers to manifest in a way they never did in the 616. This becomes the reason why Blink is so different in the Apocalypse universe, and why she’s so skilled and deadly with her teleporting powers. After all, she learned from the best, and by “best” we mean exceptionally deadly.
8. SHE IS SABRETOOTH’S ADOPTED DAUGHTER
The Age of Apocalypse version of Blink, like the majority of mutants in that dark and twisted timeline, suffered greatly as they grew up. Captured by Dark Beast from an early age and subjected to torturous experiments, it took the rogue resistance team known as the X-Men to come to her rescue and free her from the mad professor’s clutches.
The X-Men in that timeline were very different to what we know of them in the regular continuity. Here, the team contained Sabretooth and Weapon X, usually of X-Force, and it’s these two rebels who free Blink from her capture. She is taken under the wing of Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth, who becomes her adopted father and is always referred to as “Mr. Creed” by the grateful Blink.
7. SHE DATED ANNIHILUS
Being a member of the X-Men can be a weird and wild experience. One minute you’re an alternate reality version of yourself born into a world where Apocalypse rules the planet, the next you’ve got amnesia and transported to the Negative Zone, becoming romantically involved with the Fantastic Four supervillain Annihilus. Crazy times.
During a miniseries dedicated to exploring her backstory, it’s revealed that Blink traveled to the Negative Zone to find a way to defeat Apocalypse. The inter-dimensional trip partially wiped her memory, however, and through circumstance, she ended up joining a resistance force against the evil Blastaar and falling in love with Ahmyor, a fellow fighter. It’s later revealed that Ahmyor is a young Annihilus who had also lost his memory, regressing to a younger stage of life after a fight against Blastaar, who stole his throne from him.
6. SHE AND MAGICK WERE CAPTIVES OF THE SUGAR MAN
Sugar Man is one of those X-Men villains that makes your skin crawl. Much like Mojo, Sugar Man is essentially a creepy meatball with an unfeasibly large mouth and a penchant for torture. First created for the Age of Apocalypse universe, Sugar Man made the jump to the 616 and continued to torment the X-Men in regular continuity too.
It’s revealed that, in the Age of Apocalypse timeline, Sugar Man was a jailer and torturer for the mutant ruler, and in his time he was a student of the equally devious Mr. Sinister. He was a capable geneticist in his lab at Niagara Falls and tortured humans and mutants alike. He regularly abused his captives, and it was shown in a flashback that he was the jailer that held a young Magick — aka Illyana Rasputin — and Blink, before she was rescued by Sabretooth and the X-Men.
5. SHE WAS ONCE UNHINGED FROM REALITY
The Age of Apocalypse reality came about due to the time-traveling escapades of the mutant Legion, who altered history so that Professor X was killed before forming the X-Men. It seems only appropriate then that the universe is returned to normal by another time-traveler, in this case, Bishop, who set in motion events that prevented Xavier’s death and therefore stopped the alternate universe from forming.
Once the universe ceased to exist, so too did all of the characters from it, right? Well, in theory, yes, but plenty have found their way out of the fan-favorite realm, including Blink herself. It was discovered that she had become unhinged from reality following the destruction of her universe. She was later rescued by a being called the Timebroker, who had further plans for her than just her safe rescue…
4. SHE LED A REALITY-HOPPING X-MEN TEAM
When she was saved from the destruction of her native Age of Apocalypse universe by a being called the Timebroker, Blink should have suspected that it wasn’t going to that simple. Instead of merely saving her, Timebroker gave her a mission: she, along with similarly time-displaced heroes, must team-up and travel through alternate dimensions and right the cosmic wrongs of those universes.
Calling themselves the Exiles, these mutants all hailed from alternate dimensions but were promised safe passage home if they succeeded. Blink, however, wasn’t so fortunate. If she did not help to save these alternate worlds, she would cease to exist, due to the fact that her home dimension was similarly non-existent. Not only did she comply, she took charge of the Exiles, leading the reality-hopping team through many adventures and saving countless lives.
3. SHE’S FOUGHT HULK, GALACTUS AND HYPERION
Through her work with the Exiles, Blink saw many more opportunities to become the hero she was always destined to be, and being part of a powerful team of alternate dimension X-Men didn’t hurt either. In her time as leader of the Exiles, they traveled to many different dimensions and fought against foes far more powerful than any of them would have been able to defeat alone.
Some of those villains included the Hulk, the planet-eating cosmic being known as Galactus, and the Superman-like Hyperion, who’s had his own experiences with alternate realities. These are just a few of the world-ending threats that the Exiles faced, and due to the nature of the team, the mortality rate was far greater than on a regular-universe X-Men team, meaning that readers were never sure who would make it out of a mission alive.
2. PROTEUS WAS IN LOVE WITH HER
Proteus was one of the most powerful mutants that the original X-Men ever faced. In the now infamous “Proteus Saga,” we first meet Kevin Mactaggart, who was the son of prominent Scottish geneticist Moira Mactaggart. Due to his all-powerful reality-altering and possession powers, he spent most of his life locked away on Muir Island, until his confrontation and eventual defeat by the X-Men.
The reality-changing House of M event found Proteus reborn, causing the Exiles to give chase when he hops from one dimension to the next. At this point in the team’s history, Blink had forged a romantic relationship with fellow member Mimic, so when Proteus possessed and ultimately killed Mimic, he retained some of Mimic’s emotions. One result of this meant that for a while, Proteus professed his love to Blink in a way that warped and twisted Mimic’s memory.
1. SHE ENDED ALL HUMAN/MUTANT CONFLICT
Marvel’s What If comics were always a wild mixed bag of content. Each issue would start by asking a simple question (“what if…?”) and spun a whole new universe out of the differences that would occur if a simple change had happened in the history of the 616. One such issue asked “What if Blink had not died?” claiming that her powers caused reality bubbles to form around her after she alone survived the Phalanx attack.
Coming into contact with the cosmic being known as the In-Betweener, Blink defeated him and absorbed his powers, giving her greater reality-altering abilities. She proceeded to make thousands of tiny changes to these reality bubbles, which resulted in the end of all human/mutant conflict. Eventually, the timestream fought back against these changes, returning reality to normal, but for a while there Blink had solved all of the X-Men’s problems.
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