Steve’s Stryfe Files: Skids

I won’t be going through these in any kind of remotely coherent order. Today I wanted to write about Skids (a statement which makes me unique amongst writers for the last decade) and so here we are. A former Morlock turned X-Terminator turned Agent of SHIELD, Skids has changed her mind more often than Psylocke has changed her body. Which is a lot! 

What I find most interesting about Skids is that her story arc resolved itself several decades ago, but nobody ever properly nailed the lid down on things – so she keeps popping up again. Most well known as one half of a romance story, her boyfriend Rusty appeared in just about every single comic that she did. You wouldn’t ever find one without the other, it simply wasn’t something that happened. But when a big storyline needed to justify the villain, and make him seem to be a huge important character-killing deal? Rusty was the mutant they chose to be his cannon-fodder. Skids has struggled since.

Styled on Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde, Skids has a really strange ability to null friction, creating a forcefield around herself but also making it impossible for anybody to grab her or land a punch. Every attack launched at her ‘skids’ off the mark, which is how she got her codename. She typically wears a beret, and is notable for being one of the few original Morlock characters to have escaped death. There’s her, and Callisto, Masque… and I think that’s basically it, really. 

Sally – because she’s the only superhero called Sally – was most prominent around the time of Inferno, an event which threw all the NYC-based mutants into hell for a bit, and watched to see how they’d do. Skids was one of those, with her beret clamped tightly on at all times so readers wouldn’t mistake her for Magik.

Yet it was when Rusty died that the character started to really change into something unexpected, showing up as part of a strike team at the end of Chris Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men run. And weird though it is, that run on X-Treme X-Men seems to have been one of the main influences on Ed Brubaker’s run with Uncanny X-Men – which also used Skids, and gave her a promotion as well.

In that, it was revealed that she’d moved up once more, and was now working as an Agent of SHIELD, protecting mutants from up high. She may also be a double agent for Magneto, who knows! If nothing else, her career has seen her promoted remarkably quickly, despite having rarely done anything particularly noteworthy. I suppose her key skill, more than anything else, is her ability to move on to something else. 

That and “not getting killed”, of course. Which she’s done a pretty good job of. And if she manages to keep up the whole “not being killed” thing, maybe she’ll be Director of SHIELD one day. Then she’ll get access to their resurrection machines, she can bring back Rusty… it’ll all go full circle again. I like Skids. She’s not an important character, but she’s an unexplored and intriguing presence in the Marvel universe and seems like she’d be exactly the sort of character that somebody like Brian Michael Bendis would want to revamp at some point in future.


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