“What About Mutant on Mutant Crime?”
Not to be forgotten in the Comic Con hype, Fox and Marvel dropped the first promo for the second season of the The Gifted. Like Legion, the series exists in its own timeline that has yet to make explicit references to the X-Men cinematic continuity, aside from the familial connections of Polaris (Magneto’s daughter), and the introduction of the Cuckoos and the Hellfire Club. Although it strays far from the floppy book source material, the spirit of the X-Men exists at the core of the series as it delves into allegorical melodrama through the focus on family and usual political nods to the Civil Rights & Human Rights movements of both yesterday and today.
The previous season ended with a rift in the Mutant Underground after they are infiltrated by Esme Frost, one of the famous Cuckoos created by Grant Morrison in his early 2000’s New X-Men run. Tired of running and being hunted by humans, half of the Underground members join the reemerged Hellfire Club. Polaris, Sage, and Andy Strucker defect, leaving Eclipse, Thunderbird, Blink, and Lauren Strucker as the only members of the Underground with any combat-useful powers. (Where’s the Danger Room when you need it?)
“The Mutant Age,“ the tagline for this season, appears to be one of division when the new season begins. Polaris, embracing her heritage as the “Mistress of Mangnetism,” begins the season pregnant and experiencing violent energy surges. The Struker family is torn as Andy follows the path of his mutant supremacist grandparents Fenris. Based on the trailer, it looks like new mutant factions enter the equation as we will get our first live-action interpretation of the sewer-dwelling mutants known as the Morlocks. They are most remembered for “Mutant Massacre” storyline in which the lower level mutants are selected for extermination by mutant eugencist Mr. Sinister (Nathaniel Essex).
Even if one accounts for the time-altering events of the 2016 film Days of Future Past, it is almost impossible to align The Gifted into an X-Men timeline that makes sense. Try doing the same with the multiple timelines and realities in the comics continuity without cursing every “doppelgänger or evil clone” storyline. At best, the series seems to take place not too long before the mutant dystopia as seen in Logan, but it may very well just take place in its own self-contained, post-X-Men and post-Brotherhood world. After all, it would be impossible to explain the presence of Blink in both this series and DOFP. Either way, the series delivers its own mix of the classic X-Men themes with enough finesse to keep the attention of not only old-school fans but also new school audiences alike.
Can it do the same in season 2? Only Polaris’ unborn, omega level mutant child knows for sure. See for yourself when the new season returns this Fall on Tuesday, September 25th, 2018.
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