Comic Books-this was for a Socy 227 project.

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Comic Books

In the world of comics, the subservient culture within the imagination of the creator springs forth onto the illustrated pages of the creative short story. X-Men 2099 provides multiple examples of how deviance plays a pivotal role in the development of character traits as well as the driving forces behind certain characters' actions. The story is developed through the eyes of the three central figures in the story; Timothy Sean Fitzgerald, a nomad and outcast carrying a secret deep within, Xi'An Chi Xan, mutant leader of the growing population of outsiders in the Nuevo Sol Arcology, and Noah Synge, new head of the syndicate as well as oppressor of mutant-kind.

From the outset of the story, Fitzgerald is seen as deviant based on his appearance; his rags and haggard exterior depict him as a man without a home or any real direction. He is wandering the desert searching for acceptance with some group.

Later in the story, the reader discovers why Fitzgerald has become an outcast. He had discovered that his body absorbs electrical power and he blew up his house in an explosion of energy from within. After this traumatic event, he came to the realization that if he were to remain in his home he would become a living experiment much like a lab rat. Left with no other option, he fled his hometown in search of acceptance. George Herbert Mead's theory of the Looking Glass self is evident in this decision. The societal reflection of his action would be fear and loathing, neither of which would promote positive social interactions with his peers. His entire concept of his self was greatly altered; he was no longer a member of the society around him. He was, instead, an outsider in what was once his home.

Xi'An Chi Xan, referred to as Xi'An by friends and foes, is the next crucial character within the story. He acts as the inspirational leader of the outsider colony in the Nuevo Sol Arcology. He has been stigmatized, as Goffman theorized, because of his mutant powers, a distinguishing feature that labeled him as an outsider in society. He also suffered from stigmatization suffered because of the physical disfiguration of one of his hands, an external result of his genetic mutation. Xi'An's power is immense; he has the ability to alter the molecular structure of anything he touches. Instead of wielding this ungodly power to suppress his oppressors in a violent and brutal onslaught, he uses his ability to articulate to rally support amongst those with similar afflictions. He does, however, use his power to warn his oppressors, Synge and members of the Syndicate, that he and his followers would soon be forced to revolt if the tyranny did not end. According to Lemert's labeling theory, Xi'An falls under the category of a secondary deviant. He has been labeled as deviant and all he is known for is his deviant actions and not his ability to create a peaceful society with those who suffer from the same genetic disposition as Xi'An.

By preaching to his followers, Xi'An is not only rallying support, but is expressing a problem that has evolved in the society of 2099. As Darehendolf stipulated, the probability of enforcement of legal norms increases as the congruence between the cultural and behavioral norms or authorities decreases. Also, as the power of the lower subjects decreases, the probability of enforcement increases. The mutant population has fallen outside of legal norms; they have lost their rights as citizens and as humans. Essentially, they are the lowest rung on the social ladder and suffer from the frequent yet unjustified attacks on their compound by the corrupt authorities. One of the mutants, an avid follower of Xi'An said, "The establishment always responds to the empowered minority with violence and oppression," almost restating Darehendolf's theory. As the social gap between mutant and "normal" people grew, the persecution of the minority population increased.

Noah Synge is the final prime contributor to the storyline. He has become the new head of the Syndicate, a powerful organization that appears to have taken control of policing and other governmental roles. Along with this, his son also provides entertainment by savagely killing captured mutants on television. After Xi'An leaves Synge permanently scarred from a warning, he violently retaliates against the mutants in what culminates into a full-scale attack on the Nuevo Sol civilization. However, he is acting according to Chambliss' Conflict Theory. This theory stipulates that the state is organized to serve the interests of the dominant economic class. Once the mutants had been labeled and separated, they became the poor minority. As head of the syndicate, Synge has organized a social order in which the economic elite is protected while those beneath suffer. This also shows, within the conflict theory, a conflict very similar to that between the rich and poor, although it does not directly deal with the rich and poor. In place of rich and poor, the conflict is between the upper "normal" class and the lower mutant class. The tension between the two mounts into violence and fighting, mainly because the mutants are viewed as social miscreants and therefore deviant.

Although comic books are the result of a vivid imagination, the underlying principles beneath the actions of the characters mimic social problems in actual life. At present, there is no documentation of individuals with mutant powers, yet the disposition they suffered from is very real. Because of deformities or other oddities setting them apart from society, these people, whether fictional or real, have become labeled as deviant and are no longer allowed to contribute to society. Because of his mutant powers, Fitzgerald realized that he would be labeled a deviant and fled his home. Xi'An used his deviant label to his advantage; he was able to use his power to rally support from those like him. Synge acted as the higher authority, the source of stigmatization to those he saw as deviant. Through him and like-minded individuals, he was able to suppress those he saw as deviant through the use of law and enforcement.