Heroes Never Rust #41 by Sean Ironman
To What End?
New X-Men #137 shows Quentin Quire’s riot, his rebellion against Xavier’s ideals, a rebellion meant to change the school, if not the world. The riot was Quentin standing up against humanity, against mutants who stand by while humans murder mutants in the streets. Three issues have built to riot. And what does Quentin accomplish? Nothing.
Don’t get me wrong. I never believed Quentin would succeed. But instead of seeing the birth of a supervillain, Quentin shows who he truly is here—a child. An angry, ignorant child.
The previous issue ended with Quentin shouting “Riot!” over a bullhorn. This issue begins in the middle of the action. And what action, you ask? Why none. There are a few students in front of the school with signs that read such enlightening things such as “Riot,” “Fight for your rights,” and “No more lies.” Quentin gives a nice speech in the opening. “We’re not international criminals. We’re not famous super terrorists. It’s true we want to tear down everything you’ve created and replace it. But it’s not because we’re monsters. It’s because we’re young and it’s our right.” Quentin means to sound serious, but he shows his age. He shows he doesn’t really understand the world.
After hearing Quentin scream riot, the X-Men basically stand around. Emma Frost and Beast kind of walk over to the protesters. Even after Herman, a mutant made of wax, is lit on fire and sends fireballs into the crowd, the X-Men still just kind of stand around. They know they are dealing with children. This isn’t a fight. This is martial arts practice. Professor X may be a captive, but he’s calm as he speaks to Quentin. The protesters are angry, but unfocused. The X-Men know that they are still in control.
Wolverine makes his way into the main building and leans against the wall at the staircase. He knows Quentin’s gang has Professor X, but he waits around like he’s bored. “Do yourself some hard thinking before blood starts pouring outta this drug-induced prank you started.” He doesn’t even pop his claws. Quentin defeats him easily, entering Wolverine’s mind and sending him into his past, but he’s still unharmed. On his way out of the building, one of Quentin’s gang asks, “So, how far are we taking this, baby? Quentin?”
Quentin responds, “I don’t know—I’ve never done this before. How far do you get?”
For all his anger, Quentin Quire never bothered to really put any thought into what he’s doing. He has some protesters with signs. Sets off an explosion. And for what? Emma Frost says it best. “Oh, for Heaven’s sake! Seize the school and then what? And then what?”
The tragedy of the riot isn’t that Quentin doesn’t succeed, or even that he really didn’t have any plan to begin with but to throw a temper tantrum. The tragedy is that mutants die. Quentin’s gang doesn’t mean to kill anyone. If they did, they could have killed many more. Dummy, a member of the Special Class I love so much and a mutant who is basically a gas in a suit, gets his suit torn in half and he evaporates. Sophie, a member of Emma Frost’s prodigies, The Stepford Cuckoos, is killed putting a stop to Quentin’s riot. And, in the end, as he lays bloody and defeated on the school’s front steps, Quentin comes out and says that he “doesn’t even know anymore” why he did it.
They can do so much if they think through their actions. A small group of powerful mutants attacking a school. Of course, there would be casualties. But all Quentin cared about is finding someone to blame. He didn’t like the way he saw the world, so he blamed Professor X and the X-Men, thinking they didn’t do enough. Quentin won’t go down as one of the X-Men’s greatest enemies. He’s no Magneto, or Apocalypse, or Mister Sinister. He’s not even Blob, or Pyro. He’s a hiccup. After Professor X escapes, he tells Quentin, “You’ve caused some property damage and hurt some people, but it’s over now…the revolution lasted minutes.” If only Quentin and the Omega gang had thought ahead.
Sean Ironman is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida, where he also serves as Managing Editor of The Florida Review and as President of the Graduate Writers’ Association. His art has appeared online at River Teeth. His writing can be read in Breakers: An Anthology of Comics and Redivider.