Wednesday, November 19, 2014

That Darn Cat! Er, Flerken

Before we continue with the reviews, I wanted to step back and explore something in some more depth, if possible. Carol Danvers' cat/Flerken, Chewie.

Based on what we learned over these last two issues, Chewie was the last known Flerken in the universe, prior to giving birth to a whole bunch of baby Flerkens. So why did Chewie end up with Carol Danvers?

The fact that Rocket was sure the Flerkens had a language that could be translated and understood, combined with certain of Chewie's actions, suggests Flerkens have some level of intelligence. Chewie understood Carol was leaving her behind, and that Tic didn't want to be left behind either, and was able to transport the two of them safely onto Carol's ship, even as it was starting to move. Which suggests a certain level of comprehension and memory. All of which makes me believe the Flerken sought Carol out. Because this is a superhero comic and there's no such thing as coincidence in an fictional universe where even the concept of Chaos has a personification known as "Master Chaos". How can chaos have a master?

As near I can tell, Chewie and Carol met during House of M, when Carol defeated someone named Warren Traveler by literally throwing a cat at him. Traveler showed up after House of M ended, in the Brian Reed-written Ms. Marvel, and attacked Carol again, but she eventually beat him with an assist from Dr. Strange. The cat actually showed up right before Traveler launched that second attack, and Carol apparently just decided to keep her.

So Carol first met Chewie during a fight with a powerful magician in an altered version of her timeline. I think we're meant to read it as Traveler took the cat with him wherever he vanished to at the end of that fight, and then brought it with him as a warning to Carol. Except why not kill the cat? He's a crazy bad guy. No really, he was kind of nuts because he had melted down the Wand of Watoomb and turned it into a false eye, which had a predictably bad effect on his sanity. If the cat cost him the win, and he's back for revenge, why spare the cat? Unless the cat is actually an intelligent alien species that was able to counter or avoid his attacks - by using dimensional portals to either dodge or divert the magic - until it could find a way back to Carol, presenting itself as a warning to her of the imminent threat.

This still raises the question of why Chewie would care. Why did Chewie, when thrown at Traveler, actually attack him, rather than just running? Why warn Carol? Why stay with Carol after? For that matter, why would there only be one Flerken left in the universe? Given the Flerken's dimensional pocket abilities, it hardly seems like the sort of thing people would drive to extinction. Rather, you would expect interested parties to raise Flerkens, like they raise horses. Breed them to access larger pockets, until they can transport entire starships, or to be able to traverse galaxies, or to not cover the things the store in pink slime. Unless that made them too dangerous. A creature that could transport a small, but powerful bomb anywhere in the universe would be a great equalizer for outgunned factions or planets. Maybe the dominant empires didn't want Flerkens around to shift the balance of power.

Or maybe the Flerkens perceived how they were going to be exploited and ran like hell. Maybe Chewie wasn't the last of the species, just the last one that stuck around in this universe. All the others high-tailed it to some safer universe where they would be looked at like a resource to exploit. Chewie might even have been doing the same, but got knocked off-kilter by Wanda's reality-altering. During House of M, perhaps Chewie was just an ordinary cat, because that world's rules were everyone gets their fondest desire, and maybe Chewie's was to not be hunted.

So Chewie becomes just an everyday cat, nothing special, but that means she can't access her abilities to get where all her friends went. Carol is sort of nice to her (though she also throws Chewie at a crazy sorcerer), and so when things snap back to normal, Chewie seeks Carol out again. Carol can shield Chewie from danger, and by hanging around someone who flies and shoots zappy bolts, Chewie won't stand out as much. Just a cat, on a world that's never heard of Flerkens. A world full of other crazy stuff, that most of the major interstellar species give a wide berth to, because it's so crazy and dangerous. Even if someone learned there was a Flerken on Earth, they might not want to go after it and risk fighting the Fantastic Four, or the X-Men or whoever. Maybe Chewie wasn't initially looking for Carol specifically, she was just the first person Chewie happened upon who seemed like a good person to hang out with.

Of course, that brings it back to a coincidence, at least as far as it being Carol and not say, Nightcrawler or She-Hulk, but it sort of makes sense that way. I can't figure why Chewie would seek Carol Danvers out specifically. What would an alien that can hop dimensions want with Carol? Is it something to do with those "white holes" she draws power from to become Binary? Those lead to another universe on the other end, maybe the one the Flerken fled to. Maybe Chewie can't make it across on her own any longer, and will ultimately need Carol's assistance (just as soon as they learn how to communicate complex concepts to each other). At the time Chewie found her, Carol hadn't been out in space for quite awhile, so I don't know that would be much of a factor. Unless the Flerkens are natural foes of the Brood. The Brood try to lay eggs in people, the Flerkens could just transport the eggs out in space, or store them somewhere until they aren't viable. Which would make Flerken unpopular with the Brood, and Carol hates the Brood, so. . .

* I tried using my old reviews to pin this down, but failed. Fortunately, a person on the Internet had cataloged basically every appearance Chewie had made prior to the current series. It's here, if you're curious.

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