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X-Men ’97: Who is Callisto?


Callisto

Each superhero has a catalog of allies, enemies and surrounding figures. Fans of a hero like Spider-Man will be familiar with a notable handful of characters surrounding the central hero. The X-Men have a beloved cast of heroes and villains before getting into darker lore concepts like the Morloks and their fearless leader Callisto.

The Marvel animated series of the ’90s were probably one of the most pivotal moments for new fans. Disney still produces a lot of Marvel cartoons, but they aren’t as influential as they once were. Fans who don’t read the comics will get a lot out of the films, but they’ll learn everything they need to know from those classic cartoons and their new revivals.

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RELATED: X-Men ’97: Who Is Mister Sinister?

Who is Callisto?

Callisto was created by beloved X-Men author Chris Claremont and designed by Paul Smith. She was introduced in The Uncanny X-Men #169 in 1983. Her first appearance established her as a unique force in the X-Men universe and a longtime rival of Storm. Outside of the comics, she appeared in the original X-Men: The Animated Series and its spiritual successor X-Men Evolution. A version of the character appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand, although it was nothing like the source material. Much of her backstory remains shrouded in mystery, but she is a powerful representative of a secret group of mutants. While Professor X represents peaceful integration and Magneto represents armed resistance, Callisto and her people take a different approach. They survive by literally and figuratively going underground.

Callisto’s early life is unknown. She was born somewhere in Missouri. A mysterious accident claimed her eye and left her disfigured. Callisto sincerely mourns the immense beauty she was once known for. The injury showed Callisto that the people she grew up with didn’t need a mutant, especially one who was no longer beautiful. Callisto renounced the surface world and took up residence in a Cold War-era bomb shelter. Her first new friend was a boy named Caliban. Caliban, an albino mutant, was rejected by his father due to his unusual appearance. Caliban’s mutation allows him to sense other mutants. With Caliban’s help, Callisto transformed the bomb shelter into a home for mutants with nowhere else to turn. Mutants like Sunder and Masque cannot easily blend into human society, so they live among their people in Callisto’s refuge. Callisto rejected the world above and built a kingdom in the world below.

What are Callisto’s mutant powers?

Callisto is a mutant, but her gifts are a bit vague. She isn’t as flashy as most X-Men. Callisto is a natural hunter, fighter, leader, and tactician. Her fighting skills seem entirely natural, earned over a lifetime of fighting powerful enemies. Her mutation appears to be heightened senses. Her eyesight, in particular, is far better than most. She also has a finely tuned kinesthetic sense that allows her to perform impressive acrobatic feats. Callisto can easily heal wounds that could be lethal to a minor victim. Her enhanced perception allows her to predict enemy attacks and develop intricate patterns.

Callisto turned her body into a weapon. She is a master of hand-to-hand combat on the level of Deadpool or Captain America. She is always armed to the teeth. Her most iconic weapons are knives, usually a matching pair of classic Stiletto switchblades. She constantly wears body armor to protect herself from traditional attacks. After clashing with Storm, she adopted a bo-staff capable of absorbing and rechanneling electricity. Under normal circumstances, Callisto would be no match for most of the X-Men, but her tactical genius makes her a tremendous threat.

Who are the Morlocks?

The Morlocks are Callisto’s band of rejected mutants. They borrowed the name from H. G. Wells’ 1895 novel The Time Machine. The Morlocks reside in a series of tunnels beneath New York City. The first to be introduced was Caliban, but initially he was not a Morlock. Morlocks tend to be mutants with obvious physical symptoms that would make it impossible to integrate into normal society. Callisto formed the Morlocks with Caliban’s help, but the pressure gradually undermined his sanity. The X-Men first became aware of the Morlocks when Callisto kidnapped Angel to force him to marry. Storm challenged Callisto to single combat for the fate of the group. Storm won, leading to a long rivalry. However, the X-Men saw the benefits of the Morlocks, and Storm returned the right of command to Callisto. Gradually, the Morlocks became frequent allies of the X-Men.

Callisto is an extremely engaging character who hasn’t had her time in the sun. Rather appropriately, Marvel has kept her underground for too long. There is excellent filmmaking in her mysterious backstory and her ambitious subterranean dreams. Callisto has a tough exterior, but the gothic style and piles of knives hide a heart of gold. Callisto deserves the chance to bring audiences into her world, and X-Men ’97 could give it to her.

MORE: X-Men ’97: Who is Sunspot?

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