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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
of the X-Men, X-Factor
Alexander "Alex" Summers, better known as "Havok," is a member of the mutant superhero team known as the X-Men, who are among the most popular characters in comics history, and whose stories are told in a number of comic book series published by Marvel Comics. At times, Havok has also been a member of other super-hero teams, most notably the government-sponsored team X-Factor, for which Havok was the leader.
Alex Summers was raised as a Catholic, but he was not born into Catholicism. Alex and his older brother Scott Summers (who would become the X-Man known as Cyclops) were with their parents in a small airplane being flown by their father, test pilot Christopher Summers, when the aircraft was attacked by a Shi'ar spaceship. Damaged by the attack, the plane began to crash, so Alex and Scott's parents pushed them out of the airplane with a parachute.
Alex and Scott survived landing via parachute, but their parents apparently died when the airplane crashed. (Their parents were actually abducted by the Shi'ar, and although their mother was soon killed, their father survived and was later reunited with his sons after they were adults.) Scott and Alex Summers were put in an orphanage and Alex was soon adopted. Alex was raised by the Blandings, who were churchgoing Catholics. Havok became a Catholic, but as an adult he has apparently been lapsed in this faith and has not been portrayed as an active churchgoer.
Havok's Catholicism is far less important to him than it is to some other Catholic superheroes, such as Daredevil and his fellow X-Man Nightcrawler. But Havok's Catholic religious affiliation (which he does not share by his never-adopted brother Scott, a.k.a. Cyclops) has been overtly mentioned in a few stories. Notable among these was the 2003 "Holy War" storyline, written by Chuck Austen in Uncanny X-Men, including issues 425 and 426, a two-part story titled "Sacred Vows." During the "Holy War" stories, Alex spoke with considerable bitterness when he spoke about the Bible and quoted verses from it, indicating that Havok had received a fair degree of Catholic education, but he had since become lapsed. (Havok's surprisingly negative sentiments here were regarded by many as out of character, and little more than a reflection of Chuck Austen's anti-Catholic storyline.)
In general, neither Catholicism nor rejection of his Catholic upbringing have ever been a significant aspect of Havok's character. Havok's Catholic upbringing was briefly mentioned long before the "Holy War" storyline, however. This is not an invention of Chuck Austen's (whose is better known for de-Catholicizing characters as much as possible, as he attempted to do with Nightcrawler).
Below: Lorna Dane (Polaris) jokingly suggests that Havok concoct a cover story for himself in which he tells people that his sisters are converts to Zoroastrianism. In actuality, Havok has no sisters and his brothers (including Cyclops of the X-Men) are not converts to Zoroastrianism.
[Source: X-Men #180, published by Marvel Comics (2006), page 6; reprinted in X-Men: The Day After trade paperback (2006); written by Peter Milligan, pencilled by Roger Cruz, inked by Victor Olazaba with Don Hillsman III.
From: "Who's Catholic in the Marvel Universe" forum discussion started 5 February 2005 on "HCRealms" website (http://www.hcrealms.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123637; viewed 10 May 2007):
I know a lot of characters are Jewish, so I was wondering who is officially Catholic?
I know Daredevil is. It's a major part of his personality and often occurs in storylines.
I also believe Firebird from the West Coast Avengers... After that, I'm pretty much stumped.
Anyone have any others?
For Marvel, Havok is Catholic, and on the DC side, Blue Devil is as well.
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):
...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: "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):
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, 06:53 PM
...We know that Alex is raised as a Catholic from the infamous Holy War...
The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 07:38 PM
...As for [other] characters...
Havok - Catholic, apparently...
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...
The Lucky One
05-16-2005, 06:31 AM
Havok I have no idea about, as that was Austenland. Warren and Betsy once attended morning church services together, so obviously they both still have some faith. Cypher, we really don't know about; he was buried in a religious ceremony, but that's about it.
From: "Archangel is Episcopalian" message posted 20 March 2006 by "Crucified Ego" on "Doublestuffed" blogwebsite (http://doublestuffed.livejournal.com/246311.html; viewed 14 May 2007):
Ever wonder what religion the X-Men were? No, me neither.
If for some reason this is interesting to you, there is a site for Comic Book Religion [http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html]. I found it on Something Awful. I think it's all BS, because why would Havok be Catholic, Jean Grey be Episcopalian, and Cycolps be Protestant? I'm calling shenanigans on the whole thing, but I am greatly amused this site even exists.
Just FYI, if you click on the religion listed next to the name it will send you to a page where it attempts to classify why that particular hero is considered to belong to that religion.
From: Visconde Carlo Vergara, "The Faith of Heroes (Superhero Religious Trivia)", posted 14 May 2006 on "Carver's House" blog website (http://carverhouse.blogspot.com/2006/05/sony-buys-us-rights-to-iranian-comic.html; viewed 15 May 2007):
What do Havok, Polaris and Banshee have in common aside from being mutants and affiliated with the X-Men? According to an article on Adherents.com, the three are Catholics... The site also cites the comics issues where the religious affiliations were suggested or revealed.
More heroes are presented in a table on this page [link to: http://adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html]. If you want pictures, look through this other page [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_collage.html].
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
Webpage created 3 January 2006. Last modified 19 June 2007.
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