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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Warren Worthington III
of the X-Men, Defenders, X-Factor
Warren Worthington III, the founding member of the X-Men known originally as the superhero "Angel" and later as "Archangel", is from a very wealthy Episcopalian family. The character was singled out as one of Marvel's most religious superheroes in Infinity Crusade #1, although this may also be attributable to his after-death experience at the hands of Apocalpyse.
Episcopalians are members of the Episcopal Church, which is the American province of the Anglican Communion, with headquarters in England. Archangel can thus also be classified as an Anglican, although like most Episcopalians, he rarely or never refers to himself as such. In the comics, Achangel and his longtime girlfriend Psylocke (a British-born member of the X-Men and a fellow Anglican) have been portrayed attending morning church services together.
However, like most self-identified Episcopalians, Archangel is not a particularly devout Christian, nor is he thought to be a frequent churchgoer. Archangel's tempestuous long-time live-in relationship with Psylocke, and his later relationship with the much-younger Paige Guthrie, are indicative of Archangel's rather relaxed attitudes toward Biblical standards of sexual morality, an attitude shared generally by contemporary Episcopalians.
From: "At DC Comics, Diversity Is No Laughing Matter", published on AOLTimeWarner.com website, 1 November 2001 (http://www.bluecorncomics.com/atdccom.htm; viewed 20 December 2005):
"The original creators of comics, 60 or 70 years ago, were almost all Jewish and Italian kids from various parts of New York," notes DC Comics Executive Vice President and Publisher Paul Levitz. "And the characters they created were pseudo-whitebread Episcopalian. It was almost de rigueur back then to paint people in this idealized American image."
Infinity Crusade: Archangel was one of 33 characters who were identified as the most religious superheroes in the Marvel Universe in Infinity Crusade (June 1993). In this issue, a powerful being who identified herself as "the Goddess" kidnapped the superheroes she had identified as being the most religious active superheroes at the time. The Goddess was a manifestation of the "benevolent" side of Adam Warlock, and she planned to use these heroes in her crusade to rid the galaxy of evil and usher in a new golden age of peace. After these 33 characters had been kidnapped by the Goddess, the remaining superheroes gathered to try to figure out what was going on. The Vision analyzed data about who had been taken and who had not, and explained his analysis (Infinity Crusade #1, page 32):
Now that the appropriate files have been examined I believe I have sufficient hard data to put forth that theory I mentioned earlier. I feel confident I know why these particular paranormals were abducted. All the missing share a common trait or experience... An event or attitude that might be categorized as religious. Many among the missing hold deeply felt moral stands or intense spiritual belief systems. Those who do not fit that profile have all had after-death experiences... My theory does not hold that these attitudes aided in the missing individual's abduction, only that these traits may have determined who would be taken.
Ultimate Angel: Mistaken for an angel from God
From: Ultimate X-Men #40 (February 2004), titled "New Mutants, Part 1"; written by Brian Michael Bendis, pencilled by David Finch, inked by Art Thibert; reprinted in reprinted in Ultimate X-Men Vol. 8: New Mutants, Marvel Entertainment Group: New York City (2004):
[Warren Worthington III, a.k.a. "Angel", arrives for the first time at Xavier's Institute for Gifted Children. Professor Charles Xavier, his wheelchair pushed by Jean Grey. These three have walked through the Westchester mansion and emerge on the back patio. Most of the X-Men are there. Kitty Pryde and Storm are sunbathing. As Angel emerges through the back door, everybody assembled there stare at him for a moment. His wings are quite magnificent, really. Rogue, in particular, stares at Angel. Her mouth hangs open in awe or shock.]
SCOTT SUMMER/CYCLOPS: HI, I'm Scott Summers. We were just setting up the grill. We have hot dogs and burgers, or veggies if that's your preference.
KITTY PRYDE/SHADOWCAT: [Whispering to Storm] Dibs.
ORORO MUNROE/STORM: [Whispering to Kitty] Stop it, Kitty.
JEAN GREY: [to Scott] Did you guys forget my salmon?
SCOTT SUMMER/CYCLOPS: All they had was the smoked--
JEAN GREY: I hate smoked.
SCOTT SUMMER/CYCLOPS: That's why we didn't get it.
PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER: [speaking to Henry McCoy] Henry, show Warren to his room, if you would. Let him get situated. Afterwards we'll make proper introductoins and give him the tour. Unless you want a little time to yourself, Warren?
WARREN WORTHINGTON/ANGEL: Uh, Either way.
HENRY McCOY/BEAST: Come on, you got the room with the big window, which I think you'll . . .
PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER: [noticing that Rogue is still staring at Angel] Is there a problem, Rogue?
ROGUE: Y'all don't -- I mean -- What? Y'all just -- an angel with -- with wings and the whole thing just walked right in here. An angel! A real-life honest to God -- Y'all don't see that as some kind of sign?
ORORO MUNROE/STORM: Sign?
ROGUE: Way I was raised . . . angels stat walkin' the earth . . . means something bad is about to happen!
ORORO MUNROE/STORM: He didn't just appear. The Profesor found him. He's our age. He's just a guy.
PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER: He's a mutant, Rogue. Just like you. Just like me. Just like all of us.
ROGUE: Alls I'm sayin' is why is he like that? All the things in the world he could look like . . . he looks exactly like that? He's exactly -- he looks like somethin' right outta da Bible. Or a paintin'. Right? Y'see? What am I, nuts here? Look! We got -- over here we got a demon.
[Rogue looks to Kurt Wagner, a.k.a. "Nightcrawler", who looks in some ways like a traditional artistic representation of a demon.]
KURT WAGNER/NIGHTCRAWLER: Demon?
ROGUE: And up over here we got an angel. Why all of a sudden do we got demons and angels? Y'imagine all the kinda things we could mutate into. All the-- the forms . . . And what do we got? We got demons and angels. Looks like something right outta the Apocalypse, alls I'm sayin'-- Why isn't anyone even acknowleding how bizarre it is that we are livin' with angels and devils?
KURT WAGNER/NIGHTCRAWLER: Devils now?
ROGUE: I'm sorry, Kurt. I know you ain't a devil. I just am trying to illustrate to you-- you and the new guy-- it's-- It's something worth discusing. It's biblical. It can't just be a coincidence. It has to mean something. But clearly y'all think I'm being--
PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER: Rogue, there are very few truths in this world, but one of them is that religion is, and will always be, a touchy subject. We will discuss this. We will acknowledge it. But how about, for today, we let Warren settle in? Let him adjust.Just like each of you had to do. The first day at this school is quite an eye-opener. Let him unpack. We can leave the loftier discussion for another day.
ROGUE: See, y'all are mad at me.
ORORO MUNROE/STORM: No one is mad at you.
KURT WAGNER/NIGHTCRAWLER: I'm a little mad at her.
ROGUE: Aw, y'didn't hear what I was sayin'.
KURT WAGNER/NIGHTCRAWLER: You called me the devil.
From: Barry, "For Barry" page, posted 26 March 2006 on "Theo-Dongs" blog website http://theopeckers.blogspot.com/2006/03/for-barry.html; viewed 8 May 2006):
Why are all the cool characters [expletive] Episcopalians? What the hell! Like every hero with a descent power is all rich and beautiful. Look at that list. The Invisible Woman and the Human Torch (multi-millionaires), Warren Worthingtion - the Archangel (also a multi-millionaire), Captain Britain (millionaire and ruler of another dimension), Psylocke (Captain Britain's sister, so, yes, a millionaire), Henry McCoy - the Beast (not really a millionaire but a genius geneticist who lives in a mansion with Charles Xavier who is a millionaire), Jean Grey - the Phoenix (also not personally rich, but is a cosmic god who, when she's living, lives in a mansion with millionaires), and of course Bruce Wayne - Batman (who is not a millionaire, but is, in fact, a billionaire). So, yes. There's you're proof. All Episcopalians are lazy rich people.
From: "Religious Beliefs of Marvel Characters" discussion board started 20 October 2004 on Comic-Forum.com website (http://www.comic-forum.com/marvel/Religious_beliefs_of_Marvel_characters_397905.html; viewed 8 June 2006):
Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:55:56
Subject: Religious beliefs of Marvel characters?
Does anybody know the religious beliefs of various characters?
Date: 20 Oct 2004 23:16:20
From: Samy Merchi
Barring any actual solid evidence in the characters' own books, you could always fall back on the Infinity Crusade and see which sides the characters were on in that conflict. Anybody feel like whipping those issues out and checking these specific characters?
Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:52:34
From: The Black Guardian
Anyway, here's the list of those who "faithfully served" the Goddess: Captain America, Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man, Jean Grey, Namorita, Silhouette, Spider-Man, Puck, Archangel, the Inhuman Crystal, Firelord, Hercules, Shaman, Talisman, Moondragon, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Silver Surfer, Sersi, the Living Lightning, Thor, the Invisible Woman, USAgent, Moon Knight, Wolfsbane, Doctor Strange, Wonder Man, Daredevil, the Black Knight, Windshear, Sasquatch, Storm, Gamora, Sleepwalker.
IIRC, even if you read the crossover, it's still pretty vague in what religions the heroes believed.
Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:57:48
From: Samy Merchi
In many cases, it [Infinity Crusade] is the strongest canonical reference to many of the characters' religious stance. Some lucky ones have been dealt with at more depth in their own books (DD, Rahne, Storm et al.) but for many characters Infinity Crusade is the biggest canonical reference. If we want to go by canon rather than sheer postulation.
From: "Up, up, and oy, vey!", posted 5 February 2006 on MetaFilter.com website (http://www.metafilter.com/39326/Up-up-and-oy-vey; viewed 19 June 2007):
From: "Religion of the X-Men" message board started 15 May 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-58362.html; viewed 13 June 2006):
...By the way, Marvel apparently recognized early on that its original books had been too whitebread. All five of the original X-Men [Cyclops, Iceman, the Beast, Angel and Jean Grey/Marvel Girl] were WASPs ["White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"], but when they revived the book in the 1970's, the new team members (Havok, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine, Thunderbird, Banshee and Sunfire) were WASP, German Catholic, African Pagan, Canadian, Native American, Irish Catholic, and Japanese, respectively...
posted by Asparagirl at 8:14 PM on February 5
From: "X-Men religious affiliations" thread started 1 June 2002 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/78e6830d00083d2f/102a03cd2dab9fda; viewed 13 June 2006):
05-15-2005, 05:56 PM
Do you ever wonder what religion an X-Man is? I know they are just characters, but still, just for the fun of it.
I am wondering if you could guess their religion by their character, or what they've said, etc.
05-15-2005, 06:22 PM
A good rule of thumb comes from the Infinity Crusade, where the "best" of the MU's religious heroes were brainwashed. A short list reveals [among X-Men and characters from related titled]:
The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 07:38 PM
Jamie Madrox was one of the most religious heroes? Weird. Offhand, I can't remember his character ever saying or doing a single thing involving any particular religion whatsoever. Nor did I think Archangel was really putting the "P" back in WASP.
The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 07:38 PM
...As for [other] characters...
Archangel - Protestant...
05-15-2005, 10:48 PM
...I'm surprised to see Warren on that list of most religious.
05-16-2005, 02:11 AM
The problem is that whether they are strongly religious or not.
While some like Nightcrawler, Storm and Sabra are obvious to their beliefs and faith, there are many that I don't think I've ever seen mention their beliefs or gone to church. Angel, Cypher and Havok...
Date: Tues, Jun 4 2002 6:57 pm
Nightcrawler is Catholic. Kitty Pryde is Jewish... As for the others, I don't know. Since most are from America or other European countries they're probably at least nominally Christian. Angel, being a good WASP, is probably an Episcopalian. Chamber is probably C of E. [Church of England] Rogue could be anything, maybe Baptist.
From: "Where are the Christian Superheroes?" forum discussion page started 22 August 2006 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/archive/index.php/t-81451.html; viewed 5 May 2007):
08-22-2006, 10:03 AM
...I pose the question to you, my fellow Talk@Ramanians: If Christianity is the most popular faith in the United States, why aren't there more openly Christian superheroes?
08-22-2006, 11:57 AM
I'm Episcopalian myself, so I remember whenever a hero comes up as one. From what I remember, Beast, Jean Grey..., Archangel, [and] Psylocke were all at some point identified as Episcopal.
From: "What are the religious beliefs of the main mutants in the X-Books?" forum discussion started 16 January 2007 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-160293.html; viewed 16 May 2007):
01-16-2007, 03:51 PM
What do you think the religious beliefs of the following mutants are?
01-16-2007, 04:38 PM
Kitty - Jewish
Jean - Protestant
Magneto - Jewish
Xavier - Protestant
Bobby - Jewish
Wanda - Jewish
Pietro - Jewish
Lorna - Catholic?
Storm - No idea...
Wolverine - Protestant?
Emma - Catholic?
Sam - Baptist?
Angel - Protestant?
Banshee - Catholic?
Chamber - Anglican?
Scott and Alex - Protestant
Psylocke - Protestant or Anglican
01-16-2007, 07:09 PM
Most comic book characters are blandly nondenominational with a tendency towards being WASPs [i.e., "White Anglo-Saxon Protestants"]. The only ones I would consider obviously practicing members of a faith are:
Jean: founder and prophet of the Church of the Phoenix
Storm: Neopagan, Goddess worshipper
The Lucky One
01-19-2007, 12:14 AM
...Since [Psylocke] and Archangel once went to church together, I'm guessing [she isn't an atheist]...
Brian "Vash" Ashby
01-19-2007, 12:37 AM
re: Since she and Archangel once went to church together...
I'm sure Angel dragged her there. She was out of her gord during that time anyway.
Webpage created 31 December 2005. Last modified 19 June 2007.
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