Mosaic: Marvel’s Newest Inhuman
Marvel’s latest Inhuman has hit the streets and his name is Mosaic. Written by the famed Geoffrey Thorne and drawn by the talented Khary Randolf, we are introduced to Morris Sackett, former basketball player currently in need of a body.
Mosaic: Prelude doesn’t give us much more than a live fire exercise of our new hero’s abilities in action against a formidable set of opponents: the Agents of Shield.
In it, we learn only that Sackett appears to be able to “body jump” from person to person, taking over the body and able to read the memories of anyone he possesses. This process appears flawless and has very little in the way of easily detectable side effects.
So effective, he penetrates a SHIELD base completely bypassing their scanner technology. He appears to be only what he is, the person whom he is ‘riding’ at the time.
While he is capable of knowing what the person knew, he appears to be limited to what is in their active memory at the time. Things like deep procedures or protocols are possibly available to him but he may have to actually dig for the data and thus can be detected by making mistakes in protocol if he is in a hurry.
While we get no real information about Sackett in this story, we are aware of his capacity to inhabit almost any normal Human, but there is an indication that strong body-mind interface may make such a jump more difficult.
We are also unable to determine if this means he could conceivably possess metahumans whose mental or physical capacities could be problematic for possession.
This character has so far, proven extremely resourceful, highly capable and maybe having a psychological breakdown, since we are not told yet (I had to get this from other sources) he does not have a mortal body to return to.
How this will play out as a character is anyone’s guess but I suspect Thorne will use this as an opportunity to explore the psychology of the Other, how people see themselves and their relationship to other people. It may also challenge ideas of race, racism, empathy and the social contract.
Some of the questions I expect to see answer include:
- What does it mean to be in effect, disembodied, a mind without a permanent home? Are we our body?
- Can a mind exist and retain sanity without an actual place to call home?
- Is there a time limit to his possessions? What do his hosts remember?
- Is there a transfer of information?
- Is said transfer, temporary, to be forgotten when switching bodies or can it be retained in whatever passes for his disembodied psychic template?
This is technically not the first time I have seen this type of character done in speculative fiction. Octavia Butler had a character, Doro, in her Patternist books who could also “body-snatch.”
In Wild Seed, Doro is the story’s antagonist. He is a mutant, born in Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs. As he approaches puberty, Doro learns quite accidentally that he is a “body snatcher,” meaning that his life extended by killing the nearest person to him and subsuming his/her physical body.
Doro is effectively immortal as long as he can jump to a new body and make it his own, permanently. His immortality, therefore, is fueled by cruelty, and a desire for power and control. Long ago he became singularly fixated on breeding superhumans to form a psionic society that will provide him with the human bodies he needs, as well as sexual partners.
Doro’s qualities are god-like, inducing members of his society to simultaneously fear and revere him. However, there is no one on earth that can satisfy his need for companionship, until he meets Anyanwu.
So unlike the cruel and monstrous Doro, Morris Sackett is only a temporary body-swapper, and won’t leave a trail of bodies behind him through history. This temporary nature of his body swapping and the needs of the intelligence agencies for such flawless infiltration means he could make for an interesting and highly capable spy, and after his visit to SHIELD he is likely to end up on their Metahuman Enlistment Program list or on their Most Wanted list.
How Thorne will further differentiate Sackett from Butler’s Doro is anyone’s guess but his history of taut and well-managed character development ensures we should be enjoying the challenges of reading about this disembodied Inhuman for years to come.
When I thought about it, I remembered a movie which utilized a similar body-jumping process, starring Denzel Washington. It was called Fallen (1998): A fallen angel warped by its descent into the mortal plane, becomes a serial killer able to jump from body to body wrecking mayhem until a police detective (Denzel Washington) discovers the crimes and attempts to bring them to a halt. Clever, decent dialogue, and interesting execution with believable bit parts played by John Goodman and Donald Sutherland.
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Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. You can follow him on Twitter or support his writings on Patreon.