So, after my last WTF post about Sentry: Fallen Sun, it seems nothing’s touched a nerve the way his ‘thing’ with Rogue has. Mike Carey, who currently writes an amazing Rogue in X-Men Legacy, has even commented on it after questions from fans through his Facebook:
Mike Carey: Wow. I need another cup of coffee.
Okay, guys, I’m going to comment here in a fairly circumspect way. I’ve responded to some of you in one-to-one message threads, and I’m going to ask you not to come back to me on this, because there won’t be anything I can add.
As everybody knows, I try not to do ret-cons – and as I type that, my nose just … grew by about a foot and a half. What I try not to do is “type 2” invasive ret-cons that erase things that are commonly supposed to have happened. I’m shameless about type 1 ret-cons, where stuff happened but you just didn’t know about it until now. The whole of the Professor X incarnation of Legacy was made up of stories of that kind.
This is a type 1: it happened, because Rogue says on-panel that it happened. It was behind the scenes, invisible, and the chronology isn’t clear, but it happened. Is it surprising? I think so. In terms of Rogue’s behaviour in relationships, her sexual morality insofar as we can infer it, her personal history up to this point, this revelation is hard – on the face of it – to reconcile.
But as someone says above (sorry, thread is too long to find the reference again quickly) what we know is minimal, and we can fill in an infinite number of stories around these few details. There are ways it could have happened that would make sense. I won’t be the one who tells the story of how it actually did happen, but I’m accepting that it happened and the story is there to be told.
Characters in a shared fictional space are created by a kind of consensus. Someone dreams them up and puts them onto the stage, but a whole lot of someone elses then fill in the blanks. When you get contradictions, or apparent contradictions, fans build their own conception of the character from the parts they like most or believe in most.
This is a dangerous and frivolous analogy, but look at the Bible. I’m an atheist, but I’m happy to acknowledge that there’s a core of teachings in the Bible that vast numbers of people base their lives on – but crucially, it tends to be a different core for each of them. You take what makes sense to you, and you view the rest with some mixture of tolerance and caution.
I think you have to do the same with shared universes.
I really like this guy.
If you haven’t already been reading the comments section of EruditeChick’s post at All Things Fangirl, please do. As far as I’m concerned, there are few fans above EC when it comes to Rogue knowledge, and I love every point she makes in the comments.
As for my theory, it’s the only way I can put Fallen Sun into some context that doesn’t make me want to rip my face off every time I think about it: this is all some giant Screw You to Marvel/Bendis from Paul Jenkins for messing with Sentry over the years. I know Jenkins wrote the original Sentry mini, which I’ve heard not only was a little different, but actually went in a direction that might have been interesting for the character.
And then, of course, Bendis turned Bob into a schizophrenic junkie.
I absolutely wouldn’t blame Jenkins if this was some sort of ‘see how it feels like when I fuck with your characters!’ dig. In fact, I kind of hope it is and would buy him a beer for it. …Then again, he wrote the incredibly dumb Civil War special, so. (You know what I’m talking about if you’ve read it. Cap needs to watch American Idol to get in touch with America again! Okay then.)
Yeah, this is pure fanwank, but you know what? It makes me less homicidal, and that’s all that matters as far as I’m concerned.