When the techno-organic alien Phalanx started abducting young mutants, Bahamian-born Clarice was one of those taken. Though she was notably freaked out by her teleportation powers, she ended up using them to cut apart one of the Phalanx and save the day. Unfortunately, she was so inexperienced that she also killed herself in the process. Recently, Clarice was resurrected by the ancient psychic-vampire Selene, who manipulated her into doing her bidding.
Meanwhile, in an alternate universe where Apocalypse ruled, Clarice was rescued from slavery by Sabretooth of all people and taken to join the renegade X-Men. She idolized her mentor, ‘Mr. Creed,” who helped her heal and come into her own after years of degradation and sexual abuse. She became a valued member of the team and was prepared to go down fighting with the rest of them when their universe was ostensibly tearing apart at the seams.
At that point, however, Clarice found herself transported to a new world by a being called the Timebroker. He told her, along with a few others, that there was a new mission at hand—to travel to alternate universes and right wrongs. Clarice became the leader of the group and eventually started up a relationship with one of the others, Mimic. Over the years, the Exiles have lost and gained several members, including Blink, but she seems to have a way of coming back to the team.
So What’s So Great About Her?
One thing I love about Blink is how we get to see the duality of her character. In the mainstream Marvel universe, where we first lay eyes on her, she’s a scared teenager in a ridiculously horrible situation. Considering she was already traumatized by the manifestation of her mutant powers (which involved waking up in a pool of blood), it’s no wonder she’s freaked out. She ends up saving the day, but she’s inexperienced and dies doing it, thereby making herself what would normally be a heroic footnote in X-Men lore.
But then came the Age of Apocalypse, and oh em gee. I must say, I was still in my comics fan infancy when AoA ran its course, so it seemed like a HUGE deal to me. And it was…at the time. But over 15 years later, there are very few lingering AoA influences left in the Marvel U — for example, Dark Beast, an evil and truly horrifying version of Hank McCoy; X-Man, a son of Cyclops and Jean Grey; and Blink.
It can be hard to predict who’s going to end up becoming a breakout character, and I truly think Marvel expected it to be X-Man; after all, he survived the destruction of AoA’s universe and crossed over to mainstream Marvel to star in his own outgoing. But really, how could it have been anyone but Clarice? She’s got it all! Her pink-and-purple coloring, paired with a green fantasy-novel-elf-slash-video-game-heroine outfit, is memorable and gorgeous. She has an even more ridiculously horrible situation in her background, and overcomes it to become a valuable member of the X-Men. And to top it all off, Sabretooth is her daddy! That’s right — murderous, sadistic Victor Creed is, in AoA, rather domesticated, thanks in part to a spritely young girl he more or less adopts. Compelling? I should say so.
I know you might not believe me when I say this, but — all this, and she’s really not a Mary Sue.
There’s no wonder there’s pretty much been a constant outcry to bring back Blink since AoA ended. I don’t really care that they brought back the original Clarice, who seems to have reverted to her ‘scared and confused” characterization, but I’m grateful we had Exiles for as long as we did, because that way we got to keep the Clarice and see her grow. Because for all she participated in X-Menning, she was still (rightfully, I guess) treated as a teenager (she was often the designated babysitter for Magneto and Rogue’s son, for example). Plopped into yet another ridiculously horrible situation, and we got to see her pretty much finish growing into womanhood, becoming more assertive and less dependent on Creed emotionally, and evolve into an effective leader and warrior.
While I’m really bummed that she’s been retconned as the survivor sexual abuse (traumatic enough to make her go mute as a girl, but apparently totally over it now — that’s quality writing, kids), Blink’s badass design and growth as a character mostly make up for it. I just hope the AoA version of her pops up again sometimes soon.
Uncanny X-Men #317
Astonishing X-Men #1-4
Tales from the Age of Apocalypse
Exiles (vol.1) #1-100
Exiles Annual #1
X-Men: Die By the Sword #1-5
Exiles: Days of Then and Now
Exiles (vol. 2) #1-6
X-Men: To Serve and Protect #3