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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Father Michael Bowen
ally of Cloak & Dagger; uncle of Dagger; friend of Karma


Father Michael Bowen is a Catholic priest who is the uncle of Tandy Bowen, the superheroine known as "Dagger." Father Bowen has been an ally to Cloak and Dagger as well as to the New Mutants. Father Bowen assisted Karma and her family in coming from Vietnam to America.

Father Michael Bowen first appeared in Marvel Team-Up vol. 1 #100, the issue that introduced Karma, the Vietnamese mutant who became a founding member of the New Mutants.

Father Bowen's sister is Melissa Bowen, who is the mother of Tandy Bowen (Dagger).

Father Bowen was eventually murdered by a villain named "Mister Jip," who usurped the kind priest's form.

Father Michael Bowen also appeared in New Mutants vol. 1 #s 23-25; The Uncanny X-Men #196; Cloak & Dagger vol. 2 #3; Strange Tales vol. 2 #s 13-17; Cloak & Dagger vol. 3 #s 1-9, 11-13; and Marvel Comics Presents #115.

From: "Karma" page on "Marvel Directory" website (http://www.marveldirectory.com/individuals/k/karma.htm; viewed 9 January 2006):

General Coy later arranged for Xi'an's [Karma's] family to leave Vietnam, which was now entirely under a Communist government, but only Tran was sent abroad. Eventually, the rest of the family left Vietnam on a small, crowded boat. Xi'an's father was murdered by attacking pirates, who assaulted the women; her mother died the day the survivors were rescued by the United States Navy. Xi'an, her younger brother Leong, and her younger sister Nga, were sent to the United States to be reunited with her uncle Nguyen and Tran. General Coy had become a powerful and prosperous criminal in the United States (although he was publicly known as a businessman), and Tran was using his powers in his uncle's employ. When Coy asked Xi'an to use her powers in his service, she refused. She sought help from a Catholic priest, Father Michael Bowen, whom she had known in Vietnam. With Father Bowen's aid Xi'an secured employment and an apartment and enrolled her younger siblings in school.

But then General Coy kidnapped Leong and Nga in an effort to blackmail her into working for him. Desperate, she located Spider-Man, whom she believed to be a criminal from accounts in the New York Daily Bugle, and took possession of his mind so she could use his powers to rescue the children. While possessed by Xi'an, Spider-Man fought three members of the Fantastic Four, who were present at a party Coy was hosting, unaware that he was a criminal. Xi'an was forced to release Spider-Man's mind without having freed the children. Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four located Xi'an and Bowen, learned her story, and agreed to help her. Tran used his powers to take control of the Fantastic Four and have them attack Spider-Man. To save Spider-Man, whom she now knew was no criminal, Xi'an was forced to kill her brother by absorbing his life essence into herself. Xi'an was then reunited with Leong and Nga.

From: "The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe" website (http://www.marvunapp.com/master/bopbq.htm; viewed 9 January 2006):
BOWEN, FATHER MICHAEL - uncle of Dagger, brother of Melissa, priest, murdered + form usurped by Mister Jip
*D*--Marvel Team-Up I#100 (New Mutants I#23-25, UXM196 [C+D II#3] StrT II#13-17 C+D III#1-9 [11(fb)] 12,13 MCP#115/4

Discussion

From: "Religion in God Loves, Man Kills: Using the clergy as a bad guy" forum discussion page, started 2 September 2003, on "Captain Comics" website (http://www.captaincomics.us/forums/index.php?showtopic=754):
The Culture Vulture
Sep 4 2003, 10:52 AM
Cloak and Dagger did have a pastor friend/advisor in the early days - he ran the mission in Hell's Kitchen.
From: "The Nightcrawler as a Roman Catholic Superhero FAQ" message board started 18 December 2005 on "Nightscrawlers" website (http://www.nightscrawlers.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=5447; viewed 3 June 2006):
Nandireya
posted on 23/12/05 at 03:14

Kurt has been shown in confessional many times... but he has had a close bond with a few priests... Michael Bowen (Uncanny X-Men #196) and Father Whitney (Nightcrawler mini... Uncanny X-Men #423), both of whom accepted him (more or less) for who he is...

From: "Claremont's 'Revenge' / CC Trademarks" thread on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/b6c76ad39ebedbac/82cfea80ebc7bade; viewed 12 June 2006):
From: Samy Merchi
Date: Mon, May 11 1998 12:00 am

re: "I was originally complaining about Claremont's tendencies of ignoring character's religious beliefs except in major stories, and of treating certain religious characters (notably clergy) as intolerant."

Reverend Craig and Reverend Stryker vs. Father Bowen and Reverend Conover. 50-50 ratio. I'd say he was fairly balanced at using clergy for both good and evil.

From: "Religion and X-Men" thread started 21 July 1998 on rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks/browse_thread/thread/b61ff5d2e422d0a5/1ebe80a26a7df2e5; viewed 13 June 2006):
From: Alan D. Earhart
Date: Tues, Jul 21 1998 12:00 am

Some of the recent discussion got me thinking about this once again.

When has religion been used as a plot device in an xbook? [i.e., a comic book series related to the X-Men]


From: David R. Henry
Date: Wed, Jul 22 1998 12:00 am

...While I wince at the shoehorn that forced them into the mutant books, Cloak & Dagger had a supporting character who was a priest [Father Michael Bowen] who was rather well-developed.


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