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X-Men: First Class Character Profile: Banshee

Just how loud can this young lad scream?

Out of all the mutants set to appear in FIRST CLASS, Banshee looks he’s been changed the most. “How so?” you ask. Isn’t he still a ginger Irishman who can scream at outrageously high decibels and fly at super-sonic speeds?

Well, you all knew he started off as a foe of the X-Men, right?

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The adventurer otherwise known as Sean Cassidy debuted in X-MEN #28 as an adult super-villain who battled the still-teenage first class during their feud with the criminal outfit, Factor Three. Don’t count that against him, though. He was using his sonic scream to knock up jewelry stores because Factor Three’s Ogre had slapped a mind-controlling headband on him. Once the “strangest superheroes of them all” broke that headband, he more-or-less stopped what he was doing, apologized and then went on his merry way.

== TEASER ==
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Years later, Banshee returned as a member of the famous all-new, all-different X-Men line-up that also brought the likes of Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Wolverine into the fold. He’d leave the team soon after and return every now and then before taking his most significant role as headmaster of Generation X, the third class of Xavier Institute students. Oddly enough, it was this era that would lead to Banshee's first portrayal in a live-action show. He was played by Jeremy Ratchford in the ’96 made-for-TV GENERATION X movie.

Banshee might’ve been the densest collection of Irish stereotypes in his earliest incarnation. His codename evoked a (female) ghost of Celtic folklore, he was the lord of a magic, shoreline castle and he had a penchant for pipes, bushy red muttonchops and the color green. All he was lacking was a derby hat, a pot of gold and a shillelagh (which would even be the weapon of choice for his evil cousin, Black Tom Cassidy.) Those… national qualities have been toned steadily over the years until now we’ve got this movie’s Banshee, an awkward American teen who isn’t too smooth with girls.

Banshee’s profile teaser shows him getting a lot of one-on-one instruction with Professor X regarding the limits of his power. While Havok's major hurdle involves control, Banshee’s seems to be about him not utilizing his sonic scream to its fullest potential. In the clip, we see Xavier telling the young lad that his mutated larynx is a muscle like any other; something that can grow stronger with purposeful exercise. His training eventually allows him to adjust his scream to specific resonant frequencies and then also create enough blow-back into his manta-ray like cape that he can float and fly at super sonic speeds. Interestingly, this Banshee also seems to be taking advantage of the greater potency of sound through liquid, as we him casually spook fish in aquarium tank and then later attack a submarine underwater.

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Banshee’s estranged daughter, Siryn, has actually appeared in these movies already. You might remember her cameo in X2. She’s the young girl who shrieks loud enough to get everybody in Xavier’s mansion covering their ears when Stryker’s commandos’ invasion wakes her in the night. While the timeline easily works out for this young man to eventually be that young girl’s father, I don’t expect any references to a possible connection.

Banshee has a fairly convoluted backstory that includes time spent as an Interpol agent and a NYPD cop that will (wisely) not be alluded to. Interestingly enough, he’s also had a long on-and-off romance with Moira MacTaggert in the comics and I suspect that’s another relationship that (wisely) won’t be alluded to. Considering how she’s one his adult supervisors and is also set up as a love interest for Xavier, anything beyond harmless flirting will get very weird.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk