"Snowflake," "Safespace," and the Wolverine
How Did We Get Here?
To many of the comic book world, these three names have little reason to be together. Two of them, Snowflake and Safespace, have been universally label as distasteful and disgusting to those not desperate to appease to the writers of those 'characters;' the last, the Wolverine, is among the foundation of a legacy that transcends the comic book medium itself.
But how are we here to even compare two unknowns with a literal god among mutants? A time and battle-tested warrior with charisma and story that makes him immortal? Well, to find this out we must explore each of these three's existences, therefore the discussion will focus on what each character will bring to the table.
The Legacy of James "Logan" Howlett, the Wolverine
To be perfectly fair, I knew of the Wolverine through video games and cartoon shows. I do not know the very ins and outs of this character's life. How could I? The library to such a feat alone can only be achieved by those that are devoted to the comics; I had no such passion, but it didn't lessen my appreciation of the man, or rather (at the start) the Weapon "X."
From Weapon to Warrior
Born into a rough childhood already, what little upbringing he was given robbed from the jump. Due to his ability, a potent healing factor that can help completely heal from almost any injury or pathogen, a hidden paramilitary group subjugated him into their experimental "Weapon X" project, creating a soulless killing machine designed for one purpose: Kill the Enemy. Somehow, he escaped, but at a grave cost. He lost what memories of his past he even had, and had to rebuild his entire life from the ground up. First as a nomadic vagabond, then a member of a group of resistance fighters from Canada, until finally, he would reach the "home" that would nurture and further craft the legacy: The Charles Xavier School for the Gifted. It is also here that he would wear the iconic uniform that symbolizes the X-Men.
From Warrior to Mentor and Father Figure
The numerous battles fought by Logan are countless as they are legendary, as were the equally countless rivalries that he encountered throughout his life. Wise-cracking like SpiderMan and Deadpool, staunch like Colossus and Cyclops, and ever the flirt with Jean Grey. . . as well as many other women he may have encountered.
Through his fights, we as the readers and "Watchers" of this soul bared witness to the infamous "Berserker's Rage." The unhindered irresistible force of Wolverine's anger was as threatening as the Adamantium Claws he houses in him; focusing almost laser-like at his target and eliminating them with extreme prejudice; a callback to his "Weapon X" days.
But as the years passed, the warrior realized that he, too, was changing. No longer the loner, wanderer, killing machine and vagabond; now a teacher, and mentor to the up and coming generation. Even further into his life, he takes upon his 'claws' yet another like him; a young woman named Laura; another whose life was uprooted by the then-still operational "Weapon X" Project headed by the same organization that created him. Though he did what he could to help stop the organization, he also realized the child needed some guidance; despite not being parented himself for most of his own childhood.
From Life to Death
The greatest contribution that the Wolverine could offer to comic book readers ("Watchers" again) was simply having been born, lived, then died. Through this, the tale is complete; how a man who lost everything early in his life, clawed and fought with all he was, is, and would be and more to build a new and better life than before. His past would not shackle him, his present-day would be molded by him, his future and his death, on his terms. Born a Weapon, Died a Man.
The Legacy of the Wolverine
Endurance. The simple truth. We. Must. Endure. The universal legacy that the Wolverine teaches all of us is the indomitable will to endure. The Healing Factor symbolizes the simple truth that wounds will always go away, but the fact that you endured through them, and allowed time to work its due course means you become whole again. The Berserker's Rage is two-fold: an outward manifestation of refusal to yield or to submit into acceptance; a lashing out. The second purpose of the Rage is to harness that manifestation into a goal and to achieve it as it is the only thing left in your life. No matter the challenge, we must endure. No matter how hard life deals you, you must endure.
Author's Note: As an African American, I can relate Wolverine to the Black Experience. Having our ancestry stripped from us and forced into becoming tools, we slowly but surely endured in our own way; and yet, we also get through the challenges of life and have even reached better standing, even had an African American President.
This is just the tip of the iceberg to Wolverine's legacy, so what about the other two characters. . .?
What is the Issue with Snowflake and Safespace
There are many things to talk about with these two characters to be; most, if not all of it is not receptive nor kind...even so let us take a moment to discuss them.
Author's Note: I have a personal bias against these characters, but it is still necessary to discuss them.
Why Do We Have "Snowflake" and "Savespace" as Characters?
As times are a constant change, the comic industry seeks to make its characters relevant to modern times. This can cause issues with established characters but are not a concern for newer characters. That said, these characters need to be a worthwhile addition to the already legendary cast. Based on who they are. . . the reception is not too kind.
What Is Snowflake?
According to the creators, "Snowflake" is a "gender-neutral" twin that is dark-skinned, can throw shurikens that are ice-based, similar to snowflakes. In terms of creativity, it is very lacking. We already have an established character that is ice-related; appropriately named "Ice Man." That said, the connotation of "Snowflake" has been largely negative. It is a symbol of weakness. It means that it is not able to handle challenges that it will face ahead. So already we are dealing with a person that has been "frozen in fear." This can work with other characters as a means of growth, but when the primary focus on this character is just their fear and timidity, then you question what could make it heroic, if at all. There is also the concern over how a gender-neutral character can even have a relation with its male twin. . .
What is Safespace?
According to the creators, "Safespace" is a male twin to the "gender-neutral Snowflake" that has the capability to provide pink shields to others, but not himself. This proves problematic in that Safespace remains in danger unless he can find a place to hide. This means he is never able to go towards danger as a means to stop it. Others have to go in his place, thereby taking on the danger instead. Paradoxically, this makes the concept of Safespace unsafe entirely. Also, Safespace is equally unoriginal in that he's a male take on any mutant capable of creating kinetic shielding, with the same set of mutants able to shield themselves.
What Legacy Will These Two Lead?
Sadly, Snowflake would be a worse offense than Safespace. As the supposed "first" gender-neutral character, the connotations alone make it seem an insult than an addition. This will be made further problematic by the simple fact that it has a brother and that brother is its twin. That is a flaw in character design and shows a lack of thorough input.
Origins aside, the legacy they will bring will not be uplifting, nor informative. As every Marvel character is a symbol of discriminated people, these two will be a symbol of the hubris these same discriminated people feel; entitlement of being owed something. The difference in Snowflake and Safespace and the Wolverine is simple. Through time, talent, and tenacity, the Wolverine, the X-Men, every Marvel character leading up to these two's inclusion earned their place. They were inspiring to see these people make a difference, even when they were struggling in their stories. Snowflake and Safespace have not even begun their journey, and already they made history by being universally reviled.
This is Not The End. . .
The impact a character can have on the reader, be it a legend or an up and coming idea, makes or breaks the narrative media. For the Wolverine, it simply showcases the unyielding endurance to be not only true to oneself but to not be bound to one's past. For Snowflake and Safespace, their identity will always come into question; never accepted in either the comic world or the real world.
It is always important to take the time to flesh out characters that will be a legacy and a truth to future generations; not to kowtow to fads and trends as they are as fickle as the wind itself. Perhaps that is the lesson we can learn from "Snowflake," "Safespace," and the Wolverine.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Michael Rivers