Morlocks
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Uncanny X-Men #169 (May 1983)
Created byChris Claremont
Paul Smith
In-story information
Base(s)Formerly the Alley, New York sewer system
Formerly the Hill Dimension
Selima Oasis, North Africa
Member(s)Membership

Morlocks are a group of mutant characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The characters are usually depicted as being associated with the X-Men in the Marvel Universe. Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Paul Smith, they were named after the subterranean race of the same name in H. G. Wells' novel The Time Machine, but unlike in the Wells book, they are not a faceless, threatening mass of villains. They first appeared as a group in The Uncanny X-Men #169 (May 1983).[1] Caliban appeared prior to that, but he was not yet a member of the Morlocks.

The Morlocks were depicted as an underground society (both literally and figuratively) of outcast mutants living as tunnel dwellers in the sewers, abandoned tunnels, and abandoned subway lines beneath New York City. The Morlocks were composed of mutant misfits, especially those mutants who, because of physical mutations or other conspicuous manifestations of their mutant genetics, were unable to pass as human in normal society. Subjected to hate, fear, and disgust from human society due to their "deformed" appearances, dangerous mutations, or otherwise outcast or misfit statuses, most of the Morlocks viewed humans (and even more mainstream mutants such as the X-Men) with distrust and anger, and they occasionally committed criminal or antisocial acts upon the above-ground human society.

Due to a series of tragedies, the original Morlocks no longer reside in subterranean New York City (except Marrow, who was one of the original Morlocks as a child), although a violent splinter cell Gene Nation and a comparable group called Those Who Live in Darkness have emerged. Similar groups, called Morlocks by readers and/or the X-Men themselves, have appeared under Chicago and London.

History

According to Callisto, she formed the Morlocks by first recruiting Caliban, and then using his power to track down other mutants who were unable to integrate into normal society. The Morlocks initially squatted in a network of abandoned, interconnected tunnels beneath Manhattan, which had originally been built as Cold War bomb shelters and then forgotten. The Morlocks occasionally emerged to rob humans in Manhattan and would sometimes kidnap certain mutant children.[2]

The X-Men were alerted to the existence of the Morlocks when their leader Callisto kidnapped Angel and intended to make him her mate.[3] This brought Storm to challenge Callisto to a duel for leadership of the Morlocks. Victorious, Storm[2] orders an end to their attacks on normal humans,[4] but she does not assume leadership of the Morlocks full-time. Against her wishes, several Morlocks later kidnap the child superheroes Power Pack so that they could be raised by the Morlock Annalee, who had lost her own children. When Callisto discovers what was going on, she forces Annalee to let them go. They promise to return in the future to keep her company.[5]

A majority of the Morlocks are slaughtered by Mister Sinister's Marauders in the "Mutant Massacre". Most of the survivors move on to join Gene Nation, having lived in a pocket dimension led by Mikhail Rasputin. Leech instead becomes a ward of Generation X. Other survivors include Erg and Beautiful Dreamer (whose whereabouts were unknown until "Decimation"), Thornn, (who would join X-Corporation), and Caliban.

It is later revealed that many of the Morlocks were actually failed experiments of the Dark Beast, although he made certain that they did not remember being tampered with, however Mister Sinister recognized that the Morlocks were based on his own genetic studies (which the Dark Beast learned from the Sinister of his reality), and that's why he ordered the Marauders to kill the entire underground society.

A new group called the Tunnel Rats which also calls itself "Those Who Live in Darkness" have inhabited the sewer tunnels just below the surface of Mutant Town/District X. District X writer David Hine claims to never have intended this group to have any ties to the original Morlocks.[6]

During the "Decimation" storyline, some of the remaining powered Morlocks sought out asylum at the X-Mansion.[7] There were some Morlocks that remained underground under Marrow's protection.[8]

During the "Endangered Species" storyline, Masque and the Morlocks with him began their search for Magneto where they had some future-telling diaries with them where one of them states that Magneto is still a mutant in light of M-Day.[9]

At the time when the Terrigen Cloud was loose on Earth infecting mutants with M-Pox since the "Infinity" storyline, the number of mutants that are living underground had increased. In addition to these mutants, Callisto showed sympathy towards the humans who sought out refuge from the global landscape. As a way to live out the dream of Professor X, this unified society of humans and mutants lived together as the New Morlocks.[10] The Morlock are further decimated by the Mauraders, but Cyclops helps the Chechnyan government expel rebels in exchange for a Morlock sanctuary.[11]

When Krakoa was established as a mutant paradise, the known Morlocks that reside there are Callisto,[12] Caliban,[13] Cybelle,[14] Erg,[14] a revived Healer,[13] Leech,[15] Masque,[16] Marrow,[16] Mole[17] a revived Piper,[14] Skids,[18] and a revived Tommy.[14]

Membership

Founding members

Debuting along with the rest of the Morlocks[3] (with the exception of Caliban)[19] it was revealed[20] that Masque, Caliban, Callisto and Sunder founded the Morlocks under the streets of Manhattan.

Pre-Mutant Massacre

Mutant Massacre

"Berzerker (comics)" redirects here. For the comic book series, see Berserker (comics).

The "Mutant Massacre" was one of Marvel's annual crossovers events, centering on the Morlocks. The event resulted in the Marauders killing many of the Morlocks under orders of Mr. Sinister. Only a few survived, with the protection of the X-Men, X-Factor, Power Pack and Thor. The event spanned The Uncanny X-Men #210–212, X-Factor #9–11, The New Mutants #46, Thor #373–374 and Power Pack #27. Many new Morlocks debuted, although many were killed in their first appearance.

Post-Mutant Massacre

Most of the surviving Morlocks relocated themselves throughout New York City after the massacre. Few, however, returned to the Alley, their original home. There, Masque assumed leadership. Many new surviving Morlocks were introduced when Sabretooth decided to finish his original task.[45] He is stopped by a newly "upgraded" Caliban.[46] Later, a splinter group of the Morlocks is introduced. This group, led by Pixie, attempts to escape Masque.[47]

The Hill

With Masque presumed killed, an insane Mikhail Rasputin takes over as leader of the Morlocks in The Uncanny X-Men #293. He floods the tunnels, attempting to destroy the remaining Morlocks. It is revealed later that he actually transported the Morlocks to another dimension dubbed the Hill, whose timeline moved faster than the main Marvel Universe. There, he set himself up as their king and forced them to fight for the right to live.

Africa/Gene Nation

With the Morlocks presumed dead from the floods caused by Mikhail Rasputin, some of the remaining Morlocks were relocated to Selima Oasis in North Africa. When attacked by Humanity's Last Stand, an emotional backlash caused D'Gard to assume control over Storm, who relinquished her leadership role. In X-Men: Prime many of the Hill Morlocks returned to found Gene Nation. As the new group, they attacked the human oppressors of the past Morlocks under the leadership of Marrow. It is unknown whether the remaining Morlocks of Africa stayed there or relocated to New York. A few have been seen there since, as well as a few Morlocks who chose to remain in New York City despite previous attempts on their lives.

After M-Day

After M-Day, some former Morlocks who lost their powers were Angel Dust, Boost, Callisto, Delphi, Irving, Marrow, Postman, Qwerty, Shatter, Tether and the probability of Feral and Thornn. However, Feral and Thornn were later seen re-powered; but this was later to be revealed in Wolverine vol. 3 #54-55 that only their physical mutations were restored, not their mutant powers, which led to Feral being killed by Sabretooth.

In one of Generation M's "Ex-Mutants' Diaries", Sally interviews Marrow about the Morlocks. Marrow reports that 80% of the remaining Morlocks (which was most likely already very small) are depowered now and look like humans. She states that most of them are still afraid about going out of the tunnels.

Currently, Marrow works as a watchman of the Morlocks, as she is called by the remaining ones when problems occur. She explained this status in the aftermath of thirteen depowered Morlocks murdered by Ghoul.

One character commented that, post-M-Day, the chance of meeting a Morlock in the tunnels under New York is now harder than meeting an alligator in the Floridian sewers.

Some former Morlocks who actually kept their powers sought refuge at Xavier's Institute and became known as the 198. They are Beautiful Dreamer, Caliban, Erg, Leech, and Skids.

Dark Beast and Mikhail Rasputin are also still powered, though Mikhail is in Kapalan.

The Extremists

During Ed Brubaker's "The Extremists" arc, the Morlocks reappear under the leadership of Masque and now consisting of Bliss, Erg, Litterbug, Skids and a recently captured Leech. Later in this story, it was revealed Skids only joined the Morlocks to spy on them on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Morlocks Appearing During the Decimation Era

Powered

Depowered

Former leaders not involved with group

Other groups

There are other groups that are related to the main Morlocks group:

Chicago Morlocks

In June 2002, Marvel released a four-part limited series, Morlocks. In it, a small group of mutants living in the sewers of Chicago help each other to fulfill their one last wish on the surface while trying to escape the mutant-hunting Sentinels.

London Tunnel Dwellers

In The Uncanny X-Men #397–398, parts 3 and 4 of the Poptopia story, a group of Morlocks living in the tunnels of London are introduced. They were being pursued by an agent of the Church of Humanity named Mr. Clean, a genetically engineered human who was stalking and killing mutants. This was their only appearance. It is unknown whether or not they survived the persecution of the Church of Humanity.

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In the 10th anniversary of the Age of Apocalypse event, which takes place after the nuclear attack in X-Men: Omega, several characters who were not in the original storyline are introduced, among them are the Morlocks which includes Feral, Leech, Marrow, Skids and Thornn among many other unnamed mutants.

The Morlocks were largely a peaceful group that refused to follow Apocalypse's regime and for that decision they were all captured and imprisoned in the Breeding Pens for gruesome experiments by Sinister and the Beast. One known Morlock member was Artemis.[89]

After the fall of Apocalypse, a trail of escaped mutants from the Breeding Pens lead the X-Men underground, they encountered a group of scared, orphaned children called the Morlocks. The X-Men offered to help bring them out of hiding in the sewers, but the Morlocks lashed out at them for fear of being locked up and thrown back into cages by the X-Men, now mutant-hunting officers of the newly restored human government. The X-Men emerged victorious and the Morlocks were brought back to the Xavier Institute where they were detained.[90]

Ultimate Marvel

The Morlocks in the Ultimate Marvel universe have a more sophisticated underground living situation than the mainstream Morlocks, including at least one mutant with energy-generating powers to provide electricity, hydroponic gardens to provide or supplement their food supply, and external air-exchange vents.

In Ultimate X-Men #80 Nightcrawler saves the Morlock named Pyro, who was outnumbered while fighting the Friends of Humanity and the police. Other members shown as of issue #82 are Caliban, Callisto, Sparks and Sunder (who was the leader). After a fight with the X-Men (who were trying to rescue Toad), the Morlocks elected Nightcrawler as their new leader. In #90 Mister Sinister finishes his 10 mutant kills at the Morlock base. His kills include Leech and Angel.

In other media

Film

Television

Video games

Reception

The Morlocks were ranked #14 on a listing of Marvel Comics' monster characters in 2015.[91]

References

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