In this column, I will spotlight plotlines by writers that probably weren’t a good idea at the time and have only become more problematic in retrospect. I’ll try to stick with stuff that’s more ill-conceived than flat-out offensive (like racist stereotypes of characters during the 1940s).
Today we look at a rather odd revelation in the pages of Uncanny X-Men regarding mutants and, well, AIDS, of all things…
So in 2003’s Uncanny X-Men #423, a bunch of mutant were crucified on the X-Men’s front lawn (how bad guys were able to set up all of those crosses on the X-Men’s lawn without anyone noticing is beyond me). Angel managed to save a few of the dying mutants through the use of his blood, which he had recently discovered had powerful healing properties.
So in #427 (written by Chuck Austen and drawn by fill-in artist Steve Kim and a number of inkers), Husk and Jubilee are at the grave of their friend, Skin, who was one of the mutants who died in #423. While they mourn their friend, they are shocked to learn that he is apparently not allowed to buried there…
Meanwhile, Angel goes to a local hospital and offers up some help to the doctors there while Jubilee and Husk deal with the situation at the cemetery…
And then…the scene. Angel is at the hospital when we learn something rather surprising about mutants…
Yes, let that sink in there. Mutants can’t get AIDS. Mutants cannot get AIDS. I don’t know for sure whether Chuck Austen came up with that idea or whether editorial told him to put it into the comic, but either way, someone had the idea and then someone else approved the idea that it was somehow a good idea to establish that mutants can’t get AIDS.
The big twist in the issue is that the manager of the cemetery, who won’t let a mutant be buried in the cemetery, later discovers that his kid has been healed via Angel’s blood. Austen dropped some dramatic irony on your brains.
Sooo…yeah, that was a bad idea.
If you can think of a good example for this column, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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