Sarah (Marrow)

Sorry for the absence! This girl reporter was taking a much-needed vacation.

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First Appearance: Cable #15 (1994)
Created By: Her initial appearance was written and drawn by Jeph Loeb and David Brewer respectively, but Scott Lobdell and Joe Madureira provided some crucial fleshing out of her powers and personality.

Biography

Sarah was one of the Morlocks, a band of mutants who were unable to “pass” as normal humans due to their physical mutations. To stay safe, they chose to live in the tunnels underneath NYC. Needless to say, this was not the optimal place for a little girl to grow up, especially when Mr. Sinister’s Marauders massacred the Morlocks. She witnessed them nearly killing the X-Man Angel (who she’d come to view as a religious icon) and was only spared because Gambit, who had led the Marauders down there, rescued her.

Things got even more awesome (read: not more awesome) when Mikhail Rasputin, the crazy older brother of Colossus, took the survivors to a pocket dimension as an experiment Social Darwinism. As a result, Sarah grew up a fierce fighter and a pretty angry, violent person, especially after her powers, which involved accelerated bone growth, manifested.

Eventually, this group of now-terrorists came back to the main universe. In the pocket dimension, many years had passed, but here they discovered they’d only been gone a couple years. This did not stop Sarah from being crazy vicious and murdering humans. Storm eventually put a stop to this by ripping out Sarah’s heart, but surprise! Sarah had two, so she was totally okay!

Eventually, Sarah joined the X-Men, where she proved to be socially awkward and have a crush on every boy (who can blame her?). Alien technology helped give her some control over her facial bone protrusions, making her “prettier” in her own eyes. But she couldn’t really fit in with that group for long, and she sort of flitted around the Marvel Universe for a while—she had stints as a brainwashed SHIELD agent (note to new Marvel fans from Avengers movie fandom: SHIELD is not always great), a would-be Spider-Man girlfriend, a member of Weapon X, and a born-again terrorist.

After M-Day, though, Sarah found herself powerless, though she still has some extra bone growth and her bad-ass fighting skills. In the wake of this, she went back to the tunnels of her childhood to serve as a spokesperson for the Morlocks and campaigns against mutant registration. Oh, and as a terrorist again. Girl just digs terrorizing.

So What’s So Great About Her?

Depending on who’s doing the art, Sarah’s physical appearance ranges from a rather typical comics “ugly” woman (attractive by Western standards, with a bony forehead ridge and a few other stray protuberances) to truly horrifying. Bones jutting out in a way that you might actually see from a broken human body, stringy mats of hair that can’t quite keep up with the skull growth, twisted and drawn features. It’s not even that she’s ugly per se so much as that she looks like she’s in so much pain.

And you know, I like this, that characters like Sarah—the Morlocks in general—exist, because the mutant world through the eyes of the X-Men as originally depicted by Lee and Kirby is a little hard to take super-seriously these days. “These really hot white teens in the prime of their lives have incredibly powerful super-abilities…FEEL SORRY FOR THEM.” I mean, granted, Cyclops can’t control his eye lasers (he’s also the only one who’s not middle class or higher), which sucks, but all in all, it doesn’t seem like such a bad deal. Even the only one with a physical mutation serious enough that it needs to be hidden, Angel, is arguably the most beautiful of the male team members. (And I mean arguably only in terms of the reader’s preference—I’m sure we’re intended to see Warren as the Paul of the X-Men. Personally, I’d make out with non-furry Hank McCoy all day, every day.)

And then there’s Sarah, who could not be further from all of that. First off, she’s been literally raised in the sewer, not quite the cushy Xavier Mansion. As she rips a bone shard out of her leg and throws it at your face, perhaps the last thing you’ll think is, Jean Grey this is not.

I don’t mean to pick on the original X-Men, who are all characters I love. But Jesus, if being a mutant is supposed to sometimes totally suck, then show us that.

And I especially love Sarah because she’s a character who, rather than become a quivering mass of terror to be gallantly rescued by Team Pretty the X-Men, she’s very obviously been hardened by her numerous traumas and triumphed against them as much as is possible. Is she a totally sane, insecurity-free person? No, but she covers it up quite nicely with bad-assery and a nearly impenetrable emotional shell.

All too often, Sarah has heavy-handed scenes where she’s staring the in the mirror, wistfully wishing she were prettier while I wistfully wish the writer had been gifted with subtlety. (She sort of worships the beauty of Warren, so I guess it makes sense? But eh.) But generally, her ability to fake it until she makes it in terms of self-confidence is kind of awesome and the dual-headed nature of her relationship with her powers—she’s ardently proud of being a mutant to the point of being a pro-mutant terrorist yet isn’t totally in love with the effect her bones protrusions have on her—is pretty interesting too. After all, Sarah’s a complicated gal who’s been in a complicated series of bafflingly horrible situations. In the Marvel Universe, not every mutant is dealt a very good hand in life…something I think most readers can relate to on some level.

Notable Appearances

Cable #15; 42
X-Men Prime
Generation X #6
Uncanny X-Men #325; 346-347; 350; 352-354; 360-380
X-Men #67-92; 95-99
X-Men Unlimited #18; 22-23
Peter Parker: Spider-Man (vol.2) #24
Gambit Annual 1999
Weapon X: The Draft: Marrow
Weapon X (vol.2) #1-13; 19-21
Generation M #4
X-Men Origins: Gambit #1

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One Response to Sarah (Marrow)

  1. H. Savinien says:

    I do really like Marrow (albeit conceptually, as I’ve only read a few comics with her in them). The X-universe’s mutation ideas go through cycles of “uhhh, all the good ones are taken, slap on some colored lights” to “absolutely fricking insane.” She would be on the latter end of the cycle and it’s awesome. How crazy, really. She pulls bone shards out of her own malfunctioning skeleton and throws them at people and bashes people in the face with them. That is sick and amazing and horrifying.

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