Brovember Day 7 – Doug Ramsey and Warlock
One week into the month of Brovember and there’s no turning back now. Today’s entry, like the first, focuses on a couple of friends of the Xavier Academy, but this time around they’re underclassmen:
Doug Ramsey and Warlock
High school wasn’t easy for most folks. It’s an awkward time in your development as a human being and teenagers are bastards. It’s a popularity contest, and despite what 80s comedies tell you, the underdogs rarely wind up becoming the prom kings. Now, imagine a high school populated with super-powered teenagers… psychics, werewolves, invincible rednecks who can turn their legs into rocket boosters. Now imagine that you transfer in, and your gift is to understand any language. It’s not very sexy, is it? I mean, it’s a very practical job in day to day life, you’d make a killing at the United Nations, but it’s not exactly going to get you laid at Xavier’s Homecoming Dance.
You’ve just imagined yourself into Doug Ramsey’s life. As Cypher, he was sitting in classes with demigods and his gift was an ear for dialect. Thankfully, it wasn’t along before the school welcomed Warlock, a sort of foreign exchange student from the alien race known as the Technarchy. And before you know it, and I have to admit this part was sort of like an 80s movie, the two were best friends. The nerdy kid and the zany alien with the ability to transform into any shape! I just know they’ll save the youth center.
Really, though. As far as comic book friendships goes this one was among the most touching. They quickly became inseparable, Warlock (who had a quirky way of talking ) called Doug “Self-Soul-Friend” which seemed to be outer space for “BFF”. When the New Mutants were outgunned by their enemies, Warlock and Doug would occasionally combine, with the alien shapeshifter forming an armor around the puny polyglot. They eventually took to calling this form “Douglock” and aside from looking cool, it was a creative way for writers to let Doug lend a hand in action-packed stories. As with every other comic character, this design was most appealing when drawn by Alan Davis.
Unfortunately, their friendship hit a bit of a speedbump when Cypher, due in no small part to his overwhelming unpopularity with readers, was killed off during the Fall of the Mutants storyline. And while he did die sacrificing himself for a teammate, which is basically the one constant among X-Men event deaths, it wasn’t exactly a glamorous moment. Nightcrawler, for instance, died when he teleported in between a rampaging human-sentinel hybrid and his would-be prey. Colossus injected himself with a sample of the Legacy virus so as to cure others. Doug Ramsey got shot with a handgun… a handgun fired by the Ani-Mator, a Dr. Moreau knockoff who to my knowledge never even showed up again.
Warlock was devastated. Hell, the whole school was. Even the readers, who’d wanted Cypher out of the picture in life missed him once he was gone. Warlock has a breakdown and goes all “My Girl” at the funeral, even going so far as to try and reanimate Doug’s embalmed corpse.
Naturally, the New Mutants didn’t get too long a break to mourn. Before long, they were out adventuring again in a whirlwind. They spent some time in Limbo, hit up Asgard, and eventually found themselves under the tutelage of Cable, who set about preparing the teenagers for the rough times ahead. When all of the mutant teams ended up the mutant-unfriendly island of Genosha during the X-Tinction Agenda crossover, the time naturally came to off another character so as to give the event some weight. With no Doug to compliment his character, Warlock bit the dust, and in doing so became nothing more than a pile of metallic dust. The surviving students sprinkled Warlock’s ashes on Doug’s grave, and walked into the sunset.
And that could have been it. Sure, they’ve both since been resurrected, but I don’t think there are many people who will argue the quality of recent New Mutants comics over that of the originals. To be fair, the originals aren’t exactly perfect themselves, but the deaths of these characters were among the most engaging parts of that series, so I choose to end this article here.
See you tomorrow, Self-Friends!
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