There are stories that use Aliens to express diversity and innovation, and then there are the ones that turn humans into different beings. X-Men is a mix of both, but it mostly deals with earth-based individuals who are genetically different as compared to humans. Hence they’re called mutants. Their mutation evolves in different and unique ways providing them certain abilities and appearances that regular people don’t have. Some Muties express attributes that are more subtle and invisible to the eye, while some have more much easily noticeable. It’s similar to the dominant and recessive traits in humans. That’s why certain mutants look almost alien. That’s why some of them have blue skin.
There’s actual science behind this and a biology professor at Duke University, Dr. Eric Spana has given us a breakdown as to why mutants like Mystique, Beast, Nightcrawler and even Lord Apocalypse are actually blue. He took their genetic differences based upon the Animal Kingdom. He said:
“For the X-Men, two of the above examples could actually explain how they get blue – humans don’t make chitin, so that’s out. The keratin protein is not only a major protein component of feathers, but also human hair – and nails, etc. So might Beast’s blue fur derive from two different mutations: one that causes long fur/hair and another that organizes the keratin in the hair to reflect blue light like a blue jay? Nightcrawler, however, doesn’t have that excess hair, but has blue skin. His mutation might be one like the ordered collagen fibers seen on the noses and backsides of mandrills and give him blue skin all over.”
He went on to talk about the genetic makeup and the science behind blue skin. He said:
“We can sum up color into two broad categories: Structural color and pigment color. Pigment color is what makes your jeans, pen ink and stained-glass blue. Structural color is a physics effect of light absorption and reflection where only the blue light is reflected and seen by your eyes. There are only a few organisms on Earth that can make a blue pigment – a few butterfly species, for example, and there are no vertebrates.”
There are obviously real-life examples of humans having blue-tinted skin from back in the 1800s and the 90s. Specifically talking about Fugate family, the Article given by Dr. Spana says that this family suffered from methemoglobinemia, a recessive genetic trait that prevents the blood from carrying or providing the necessary amount of oxygen. He wrote:
“In severe cases of this condition, altered oxygen binding to that form of hemoglobin causes lowered oxygen availability and cyanosis which is a bluish skin trait. This seems unlikely for X-Men as the low oxygen causes substantial health problems, not superhero traits.”
Well, people may not be literally blue, but there is a lot of sadness and the feeling of blue out there common amongst all. Sure people are happy on the outside, but there is something that always makes us all sad. No matter the differences, people are happy and they’re sad. That’s a common feeling which makes us all human. But just imagine if people with Blue skin existed. Do you think it would have been because of the science explained above?
It’d be interesting to see if Marvel dives into the science of mutants further than the people at Fox ever did. They’d need a solid reason to explain the emergence of mutants all of a sudden since Feige has already announced a project involving the mutants in development. We’ve been told that the X-Men will be very different in the MCU. Using science as a tool to explain their differences with humans would be a key element that could be brought in. So, let’s see what happens.