The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
(Ruth Kirsten Porter-Ogada of the X-Men 2099)
Krystalin was a mutant member of the future X-Men depicted in the comic book series X-Men 2099, which was part of the relatively short-lived Marvel 2099 universe imprint. 35 issues of X-Men 2099 were published, from October 1993 to August 1996.
A novel aspect of Krystalin was her religious affiliation. She was a devout member of an organized religion of that had emerged since contemporary the 20th Century focused on the ancient Norse gods, principally Thor. Adherents of this religion are called "Thorites" in 2099. They look forward to the eventual return of Thor, the Norse god of thunder who dwelt with mortals during the late 20th Century.
Krystalin's father was Reverend Ogada of the Oakland Panthers, a religious group that based their lives and teaching on Wakanda and the Black Panther. This also makes sense as an extrapolation of 20th Century Marvel, because in contemporary Marvel the Black Panther is not only the king of Wakanda, he is also the official head of Wakanda's ancestral religion, which is usually referred to as the "Black Panther Cult." (Obviously "cult" is used here in the older sense of the word - meaning any group of people united by worship or belief - and not in the strictly pejorative connotation the word acquired in the 1900s.)
Given the fact that the ancient Norse/Teutonic gods were very real and present realities in the Marvel Universe, and with Thor a very public hero in contemporary Marvel comics, it made sense to extrapolate these elements into the future and imagine an organized religion built around these gods of Asgard. X-Men 2099 was published while Asatru (a real-world religion that is a revival of ancient Teutonic paganism) was still in its infancy and had few adherents. Krystalin's religion isn't necessarily the "Asatru of 2099," but her religion is indeed centered on the same ancient Teutonic gods that Scandanivians worshipped centuries ago and that revivalist pagans draw inspiration from today.
Krystalin was not a convert to Thor worship. She was born into the religion at a time when it was a well-established religious faith, apparently regarded as a "mainstream" religion and not necessarily unusual. Krystalin's mother was a devoted Thorite.
From: Monolith, "Krystalin" page on "Uncanny X-Men.net" website, last updated 27 June 2004 (http://www.uncannyxmen.net/db/characters/showquestion.asp?fldAuto=624; viewed 7 April 2006):
Real Name: Ruth Kirsten Porter-Ogada
Universe/Timeline: 2099 Universe
Aliases: Krys Porter
First Appearance: X-Men 2099 #1
Powers and Abilities: create crystaline structures of various shapes and colors from atmospheric mineral content
Affiliations: X-Men, Halo City Protectorate, The Chosen / Zhao's New X-Men, Daughters of the Panther
Notes: Krystalin's trading card called her "Ruth Kirsten". Her mother's last name was Porter and her father was Reverend Ogada. In continuity, she was given no first name other than "Krys", which seems like just a shortening of her codename.
From: David Duijsings, review of X-Men 2099 #5, posted on the "Uncanny X-Men.net" website (http://www.uncannyxmen.net/db/issues/showquestion.asp?fldAuto=828; viewed 7 April 2006):
Brief Description: Fitzgerald remembers how he and his teammates went to New York, searching for Meanstreak's friend Jordan Boone. In his apartment they had found clues leading to Alchemax's floating city Valhalla and Phillip Ravage, but then the police came. Everyone escaped except for Fitzgerald, who got arrested. He busts out of custody and intends to meet his friends aboard Valhalla but the travel platform's engines break down. Meanwhile, Krystalin and Bloodhawk are fighting Heimdall, the city's guardian, while Ravage intends to do something about Valhalla's floating system, which is causing ecological damage. They learn that the Aesir are not the actual Asgardians of Norse mythology. They finally defeat Heimdall with the help of Loki, who turns out to be none other than Jordan Boone. He deliberately infiltrated Alchemax's Aesir program to receive power and was able to maintain his own personality by sabotaging the transformation technology. Like Loki planned, Doom arrives, with Fitzgerald, whom he rescued from the fall. Spider-Man and the Punisher are seen making their way to Valhalla too. However one problem remains - Thor, who readies himself to attack the heroes.
Full Synopsis [excerpts]:
In New York City, a transport van of the private police crashes down when their prisoner, Timothy Fitzgerald, uses his powers to escape. He decides to search for his friends in Valhalla, the giant floating base of the Aesir.
Meanwhile Meanstreak, Krystalin and Bloodhawk face Heimdall, the guardian of Valhalla. Heimdall's strength and speed are incredible and they seem to be incapable of defeating him. Loki is watching them from the shadows, revealing in his thoughts that he and Meanstreak are old friends.
With Bloodhawk and Meanstreak down, Krystalin has to face Heimdall alone, but she is snatched away by Ravage, who uses a cable to swing over the platform in Tarzan-style. Ravage tells Krystalin that Hela, one of the Aesir who tried to kill him, in fact was an old friend of his - the Aesir are definitely fake and not the real legendary Norse gods. Ravage thinks that the Aesir's purpose is to serve as a distraction, while the floating city's faulty anti-grav tech does environmental damage. Touching her hammer-shaped necklace, Krys thinks of her mother who believed in Norse mythology. She is glad that her mother didn't live to see these pretenders.
In one of New York's parks, a guy with some kind of floating platform offers to take any Thor worshippers up to Valhalla. Fitzgerald wants onto the platform, but is told to wait in line like the other followers. He uses his powers to scare away those people and it works (he notes that he now seems to be able to control his blasts). He then forces the platform-man to take him up. Tim remembers how he, the two X-Men and Bloodhawk entered New York in search of Meanstreak's friend, Jordan Boone...
On the floating city, Krystalin tries to defend Bloodhawk from Heimdall, who offers her to stay with them on Valhalla, since she has proven her courage and the small hammer around her neck proves her to be a Thorite. Krystalin then denounces the Aesir's Thor as the real Thor and Heimdall gets angry. Meanstreak wakes up and is face to face with a wolf that shapeshifts into Loki. He tells Meanstreak that Heimdall's powers are enhanced with neurotechnology and offers him a device that can shut those enhancements down. Meanstreak accepts knowing that it is his only chance to save Krystalin. He uses the device and Heimdall is suddenly blinded. Bloodhawk seizes the opportunity and knocks him out.
Loki then tells the X-Men his reasons to help them. He turns out to be Jordan Boone who invaded the Valhalla-project to gain his new powers (as a way to compete with Meanstreak's mutant powers). He broke into the research banks and altered his own data to match the Loki criteria so he would be chosen for the transformation. However, unlike the other Aesir, Boone retained his sense of identity since he sabotaged the technology.
Doom then enters with Fitzgerald whom he saved from the fall. Loki claims that Doom, the X-Men, Ravage and Spider-Man are all there as he had planned. Doom refuses to believe that he is there at Loki's direction, but Loki tells them that they are all part of his big game. Bloodhawk becomes furious at the word 'game', telling him that Valhalla is destroying the environment. He flies away to destroy it, but is hit by a lightning bolt. That's when Thor makes his entrance.
From: "Religious Characters In Marvel" forum discussion started 15 September 2006 on "Comic Book Resources" website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-143850.html; viewed 25 May 2007):
09-15-2006, 09:01 PM
The other day I was thinking about religion and comic books... What I'm interested in is the way religious characters are portrayed in comic books...
I think the first step is listing what characters are what religion...
09-16-2006, 09:15 AM
On a different note, does anyone here know of Norse worshipers in the MU?
If I remember correctly in the 2099 continuity worship of the Norse was the most commonly practiced religion. The majority of the population, including main characters, Punisher 2099 for example, were members of the Church of Thor. In fact, a whole major crossover arc was done where a company endowed people with enhanced strength and technological weapons, then brainwashed them to believe they really were the Norse Gods, but were eventually defeated by the heroes of 2099.
From: "Gods and Champions" forum discussion, started 11 September 2004 on "HERO Games" website (http://www.herogames.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-21728.html; viewed 12 July 2007):
Sep 11th, '04, 04:46 AM
Doesn't it seem that religious based Superheroes get a sort of lopsided treatment? Characters like Thor, Hercules and others never seem to catch much flak for claiming to be pagan gods and such, but Christian based supers are either unheard of or portrayed as over zealous wack jobs. I'm not a particularly religious person so please don't take this a some sort of rant, just something I've noticed.
I think characters like Thor should be facing some major PR [public relations] issues, more so than mutants, really. Claiming not only to be divine, but Pagan would raise some serious issues in some places. Maybe there would be an organization like the Church of the Archangel Michael or other mutant hate groups, but religiously inspired and dedicated to putting down/debunking the false gods. Has anyone done anything like this in their campaigns?
Sep 11th, '04, 04:51 PM
...I think that the body-on-the-street thinks that people like Thor and Hercules are just picking those names, based on mythological beings, because they have powers that happen to match, kind of like old Pro Wrestlers like Zeus and, again, Hercules.
Another thing comes down to just how one defines 'god' vs 'God', for lack of a better way to put it. Thor and Hercules and their ilk are extra-dimensional beings who were once worshipped by humanity and possess significant power. God, in the Christian sense, is a being of unproven existance in whom people have faith. Nobody worships Thor or Hercules anymore (at least, not in an organized sense, as far as I know), so nobody raises a fuss.
Now, the Spider-Man 2099 comic did an interesting take on this... Thor actually had a following of worshippers, dubbed simply enough 'Thorites'...
Webpage created 7 April 2006. Last modified 12 July 2007.
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