Fox's latest X-Men spinoff, The Gifted, has introduced us to a dark dystopia in which the world's mutants are hated and feared. It's a world policed by Sentinel Services, where even an accidental use of a mutant power can be classified as an act of terrorism, and where mutant rights are pretty much nonexistent. Although the show doesn't (yet) feature any main X-Men characters, the series clearly pays homage to a wide range of classic comic book concepts.
Recently, ComicBook.com confirmed that we're about to see another comic book character make his small-screen debut. What's more, he'll play a far more important role than you'd expect.
Meet Pulse, A Terrifying New Threat
Zach Roerig will be playing Pulse, a dangerous mutant whose power is to negate the abilities of other mutants around him. According to ComicBook.com, he's an old friend of Blair Redford's Thunderbird, but Redford refused to go into detail about the character's history. All he'd reveal was that Pulse will be a dangerous enemy.
"Pulse himself, the character is a really formidable opponent for the group to go up against. He has the power to suppress other mutants' abilities that are in his vicinity. It's clearly something that can change the game if a guy like that gets involved in the fight.2
The character is something of a deep cut, created by Peter Milligan and Salvador Larocca back in 2005. He was introduced as part of a strange, uncomfortable arc in which Rogue's foster mother, Mystique, attempted to split up Gambit and Rogue. Feeling Gambit wasn't fit to be with her daughter, Mystique infiltrated the X-Mansion as a student and made an unsuccessful attempt to seduce the Cajun. Pulse was her second attempt, a mutant she felt was much more suited to Rogue, not the least of which because his ability meant they could actually touch.
The Milligan era is heavily criticized by many #XMen fans, but this repurposing of Pulse reminds us that, in the right hands, any character can be developed into someone engaging. It will be fascinating to see how The Gifted adapts this new mutant villain.
The First Of The Hounds
Pulse is actually a surprisingly important character, given The Gifted seems to be loosely inspired by a classic comic book run. In the famous Days of Future Past timeline, an act of mutant terrorism led to the mutant race being policed by the Sentinels. One important figure was a scientist named Roderick Campbell, who became a prominent mutant researcher and a key figure in the Sentinel program. Campbell has already been introduced in The Gifted, played by Garret Dillahunt.
In the comics, Campbell ultimately became the mutant-hunter known as Ahab. His method of controlling mutants involved forcing them to work for him as so-called mutant-tracking 'Hounds', most famously Rachel Summers. In The Gifted, it's clear that Pulse is the first of Campbell's Hounds. At this early stage in the program, it's possible that Sentinel Services has simply offered pardons to mutants whose powers they deem useful. Further down the line, we should expect their methods to become far more questionable.
The Gifted is a fascinating series, and there's an added layer of tension for fans of the comics. We can see how every detail is carefully setting up an apocalyptic future for the show, one that will shake the mutant race to its core. Can the mutant underground ultimately prevent the dystopian timeline of Days of Future Past? Or will things get a lot worse before they get better?
Do you think The Gifted will eventually use the character of Rachel Summers? Let me know in the comments!