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The Flock

     Wings and Genes 
  • I got a load of questions about total. Mainly, how in the heck did he literally grow wings because that is so strange, and their explanation isn't too agreeable. J.P. kind of just shrugged his shoulders and said "Well, mutations or... something."
  • Also this happens a lot in the series and the explanations are usually about the same. That they either were meant to have these powers from the start and the genes just became activated, or that they just keep mutating. Those must be some seriously volatile genetics that can just pick up powers effortlessly.
    • It's been awhile since I've read the books, rather, the manga, but I think the in-universe explanation sit at Max and her "Flock" (ICR), were the result of the some experiments when they were babies. IDR what it was but I think it was something to with gene splicing and that they got wings and hollow bones.

  • What's up with Total knowing more about pop culture and the like than the Flock (who, one would think, spent more time in the outside world). Was he a normal dog with a human's brain put in? What?
    • I believe he is a 98% Dog 1% Human 1% Bird mixture, as he is a dog that can talk and has little tiny wings. He knows a lot about pop culture because, I believe, he actually cares about it.
      • But he was seemingly kept in a lab for most of his life and just seems to understand culture more than the Flock do. Maybe he just has a know-it-all personality, but it just
      • Also, if he were 98% dog and 1% human it'd make him less human than most dogs, not more. Usually, over 80% of the DNA of dogs is identical to human DNA.

  • What's with the wings? They are not long enough to support the flock's body weight. And the whole 'hollow bones' excuse doesn't work, since wouldn't that make the bones more brittle and more breakable?
    • Well, I don't know much about wingspan to body length ratio, so I won't say anything about that. However, contrary to popular belief, hollow bones are just as strong (maybe even stronger, according to some scientists) and as heavy as solid bones. Even though they're hollow, they're actually very dense.
    • For that matter, what's with the hovering? They seem to have wings similar to a hawk's, and I'm pretty sure hawks can't hover.
    • There's also the question of how they can POSSIBLY hide 15 foot long wings behind their backs. The manga is even worse about this, because in one frame their wings extend from above their head almost to their feet...and in the next frame they've completely disappeared.
      • As weird as it sounds, the Flock having a bigger wingspan than expected ties into a lot of RL birds/avian species. How'd they conceal them? They probably fold small enough to be concealed, after all, most of the time we see the flock, they're wearing things like jackets and cloaks.

  • Why do they even have wings at 2% bird.
    • I've always thought of it like ourselves compared to chimpanzees. We're only a few % different from them in terms of DNA and we have the capability of speech and other things.

  • In the first part of ANGEL, Max states how she never thought of how the Flock could have come from different bird genes. However, in a previous book she says what species DNA each member had.
    • I haven't read them in a while, but didn't she just say what their wings looked like?
      • Continuity error.

  • The kids are 2% bird, 98% human, so where the heck are all these powers coming from?!
    • I think Jeb said that the scientists "programmed" a lot of powers into them (but that many powers were spontanouesly appearing) but how they were able to do that is beyond me.
    • In addition, DNA, as we're starting to find out, is not so much a unique serial code for an organism in the sense that ABCDE = bird. It's not even like a blueprint where A = arm, B = leg. DNA is more like a process flow chart: it's just what gets activated, it's also when and in relation to what else is also on at the moment. A difference in a few weeks of a gene activation can create dramatic differences even if nothing else changes. And on a smaller scale, protein behavior is affected by how it's folded. That is, imagine a piece of paper. If you fold it length wise, it's water proof. But if you fold it width wise, it's fire proof. If you fold it both ways, it's now explosive.

  • Where are the powers coming from? Not only does it make no genetic sense for the flock to be mutating fast enough to get random powers throughout the series (without, you know, growing extra arms and the like), but it makes even less sense to program super-speed, magnetism, mind reading, ect. into the human body without rewritting the laws of physics.
    • A way to rectify some of the plotholes and artistic licenses would be to think of Maximum Ride's universe as functioning like Marvel's X-Men/Runaways universe.

     Powers of the Flock 
  • In early books there's that scene where Nudge licks her finger and then runs it over the screen of a computer and magically knows the password. Though any time afterwards, this power is never used again, and there are plenty of times it was needed.

  • In later books Maximum develops that really weird voice in her head that causes incredibly painful headaches and also interferes with technology around. While there is speculation as to who the voice is and why it's been put in her head, they never really explain it well. In earlier books they say it might be Jeb. In the final book they suggest it was angel the whole time and because she can see the future and read minds this is not that impossible except that the voice was not recognized by Max as angel's voice which it normally is right? And the technological stuff is left totally unexplained.
    • Telepathic abilities? Max can read minds, so maybe those abilities mess with technological interferences, too.

  • The Voice. Max hears a voice in her head, she can't tell if it's young or old, male or female, human or machine. In the second book, it is mentioned that Ari has a Voice in his head too. In the third book it is seemingly revealed that the Voice is Jeb. Then in the 4th book, Jeb says that he can imitate the Voice, but he is not really The Voice. So it's back to being a mystery. Then in book 8 Nevermore, the Voice talks to the whole flock and near the end, Angel tells Max that she is the Voice. Despite Angel having mind powers, her being the Voice doesn't really make much sense, especially when in the FANG book, she claimed to be hearing a voice in her own head too.

  • In the book "MAX" maximum and the others are on a submarine and by the end of it they have gills and can breathe underwater, also maximum is immune to deep sea pressure. These are two very convenient and unexplained mutations.

  • I'm aware that living on there own for years and years has given the flock quite a few survival skills that most people don't possess, but Iggy is getting to be seriously impossible. Over the course of the books it's become harder and harder for me, a totally blind person, to suspend my disbelief in regards to Iggy's abilities. He walks alone without a cane or a guide dog, and often without verbal direction, effortlessly threading his way around things in his path. He can fly in pitch battle against Erasers or what have you, when everyone else is too busy to help him, and still has never, as I recall, been seriously injured by someone he may not have heard coming in the commotion. Occasionally people will give him directions on where to go in battle, but that only sparingly. Also, he comments in "Max" that his echolocation works better under water, which makes no sense: If he echo-locates as some blind people do, he uses his ears to tell where the sound is blocked by a wall or other obstacle; this would be completely screwed over when he's under water. If he echo-locates like dolphins do, it would be different, but it's never stated one way or the other.
    • For the echolocation thing, sound actually travels better under water. Underwater echolocation is pretty much the same as above water, they both rely on sound waves bouncing off objects.
      • This could be read in one or two ways. 1) Iggy might not be completely blind, just that his sight is limited to light and dark perception (he is shown with his eyes open or, otherwise, uncovered) or 2) Iggy learned how to live without any aides and so can navigate himself. He was able to see at some point.

  • I would have liked to see more with that language the flock developed. Seriously. It came when it was needed with no buildup, and was never mentioned again. When did they make it? How long have they been using it?
    • Like kids IRL, they probably used their "flockspeak" (we'll call it that) when they were kids. Actually, they're probably still using it but we understand because it's a translation convenience for us.

     Their Parents 
  • This sort of spans the first three books, but what was the deal with the Flock's parents?
    • In The Angel Experiment, Angel reads the minds of some scientists and finds out that Fang's mother was a teenager who thought he died, Nudge's mother also thought she died (and she may or may not be the woman they saw in Arizona), Iggy's mom died in childbirth, and Angel and the Gasman's parents sold them to the School. Angel also says that the Flock were created during amniocentesis, with the implication being that the parents had no idea what was going on.
    • In School's Out - Forever, the documents show that the Flock's family members all seem to be in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area and Iggy's dad's dead but his mom's alive. They later seem to find Iggy's birth parents (who claim that their baby was kidnapped in the hospital and that he had the same birthmark Iggy has). Nudge finds documents seemingly forged by Jeb which allowed the School to take her for experimentation, along with a video of her parents asking for her to be returned, along with the implication that said parents were now dead. The implication is still that the parents were all unwitting.
    • In Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, the Director tells Max that the Flock's birth parents were all various unimportant workers around the School. Jeb later seems to confirm this, when it's revealed that he and Dr. Martinez are Max's parents. But then what was up with all of the above stuff? Jeb says that he thinks it's all red herrings, but did James Patterson really just fill up two or so books with deliberate dead ends? If so, talk about Padding!

  • About Iggy's parents, it's stated multiple times that he was kidnapped in the hospital, but once the father says that he was taken from their home. That's probably a error in the continuity, this is a more headscratchers question: If they were able to look him over enough to realize he had a birthmark in a specific place (near his hip or some other place where it wouldn't really be obvious if I remember right), how did they not notice wings coming out of his back? Max even stated that when Angel was a baby she had "Weird little chicken wings", so they have them when they're young.
    • You're right that this is extremely weird, even given the premise of the story. For instance, in The Angel Experiment, Max is convinced that she is a test-tube baby. While it's true that she can still have parents who donated an egg and sperm, the likelihood of the bird kids having been live babies carried to term by their human mothers is slim in this respect—because they were born with wings. Either at least the mother would have to be compliant to the plan—Jeb stated that he and Dr. Martinez agreed to donate their genetic material to create Max—with full knowledge of the results, or Itex would have to be doing some seriously wonky stuff to pregnant ladies. (In what is generally considered to be the beta idea for the Maximum Ride series, When the Wind Blows/The Lake House, pregnant women have their fetuses modified in utero without their knowledge, and then the doctors in control tell them they have miscarried when they deliver the baby.) This troper cannot realistically see a bird baby being born non-bird and then later having their DNA modified while they are fully-formed.
      • An explanation for this is that the Iggy we're familiar with is a clone, while the original Iggy wasn't.

     Blonde or Brunette 
  • Is she a blond or a brunette? Seriously. Is it too much to ask for a little consistency with that? Especially considering that all the other characters have consistent hair colors when mentioned?
    • It's dirty blonde. It's stated several times in the books. And she gets highlights in New York. So by the fourth it had probably gone back to normal.
    • JP never actually comes out and says that it's that it's dirty blonde. He alternates between brown and blonde, depending on what book it is. I've heard tell that it gets blonde in the summer and brown in the winter, although that may just be fan speculation.
      • Bronde with highlights, though her hair is probably colored similar to her wings and she probably molts it like she might with wing feathers.

     The tank 
  • In MAX, Max said that she once drove a TANK and the only other thing she said about it is that it "Smells like old socks". Where, when, why or how did she get her hands on this MILITARY vehicle?

     Hide 'n Seek with Angel and Gazzy 
  • Am I the only one that finds it weird that Angel couldn't figure out what Gazzy was when they were playing a game? I mean.. she reads minds.
    • She could have purposefully not done it so the game wasn't ruined.

  • What happened to Celeste, anyway? The bear just... disappeared.
    • Max mentions at one point in FANG that Angel no longer plays with Celeste as much as she used to. So I guess we assume she's still got it, just not as interested.

     Theft or no 
  • What is with the flock and stealing? They seem to bounce from being ok with it to being uncomfortable with it in the first book. First they break into a cabin and take a lot of food plus a backpack, then they take from a campsite, and later they wonder if taking a car is the right thing to do and Max says stealing is their last resort when theyre in New York.
    • I always thought that stealing is a lot easier when no one is around, the cabin had obviously been uninhabited for awhile and what they took was mostly little desperately needed things, like food. In New York with the car however, there was people there, and they would actually be consequences, such as getting pulled over and being found out by the law for the stolen car/reckless driving, and then the fact that they have wings. So, I don't thinks it's about their morals so much as how risky would it be for them to take such and such.
    • There's a scene in the first book where they steal a guy's credit card or something (I don't remember exactly, sorry) and justify it by saying he was a jerk. But he didn't actually do anything to them, he was just being rude to someone he was speaking with on his phone. That bit always puzzled me, not because of the stealing but because of how they justified it.
    • It seems to be a "steal to survive" thing. Taking food from an empty cabin, stealing money/credit cards from people to buy food, stealing cars, of course no one would do those things under normal circumstances. But these are bird kids who are constantly on the run, there's no telling when they'd be able to get their next meal so they eat when they can. They wouldn't steal a car unless they had to get somewhere fast and they couldn't fly there for whatever reason.

     What do they eat? 
  • In the first book Fang tries to gross-out Nudge by pretending that kabob meat is rat. When Max hears about it she seems amused and exasperated "I met Fang’s eyes over her shoulder and mouthed Rats? silently. A flicker of a grin crossed his lips and then was gone." Later in the series she talks about eating rats like it is something that the flock does on a regular basis, and you shouldn't judge or be grossed-out. There was also a scene in the first book where Fang pretended that hot dogs were racoon meat, which also horrified Nudge.
    • The average person might not be so inclined to eat rats or raccoons, though, if we're going off their wings, Nudge being squicked out by the subject of raccoon meat might make even more sense, as it's tied into which bird she's been spliced with (whatever that bird may be), said bird not eating small animals in their diet, while Max (who has eagle or hawk wings) and Fang (corvid?) wouldn't be as disgusted.

  • Prior to the events of The Angel Experiment, how did they get food? Max says something like she "hopes the food fairies had come during the night" in the first chapter, but I assumed it was just a turn of phrase being used to sort of brush the issue under the rug. It's something that's always bugged this troper. I mean, Jeb rescued them and was with them for a few years, but they've been alone for at least two. They seem to be pretty skilled at stealing right from the start of the series, but their cliff-side house seemed to be pretty far away from civilisation for safety reasons, so it seems unlikely they'd have regularly stolen without raising an alarm from locals.
    • Didn't it reveal later on that The School knew all along where the flock was? Maybe they were monitoring the cabin and keeping things like food and electricity going, since the flock never knew a live outside of that, they just kinda rolled with it.

E'erything else.

     They Killed Ari Again! 
  • How do they keep bringing Ari back to life? That happens plenty of times and this suggests that in general, bringing people back to life can be done, so how did they do it? In "maximum ride forever" Dylan uses the technology in his own body to bring Fang back to life but it kills him and the technology in him is brand new stuff. What were they using before then and did it require killing someone else, every time or did Dylan just really not want to live anymore? That's a tough one.
    • According to a couple of chapters, Itex does clone their experiments, so Ari wasn't so much "revived" as he was cloned. On that subject, Fang wasn't dead, he was in stasis, and Dylan knew how much Max loved Fang, so it was a Iwant My Beloved To Be Happy thing.

     Anne and Marian 
  • What happened to Anne Walker and Marian Janssen? I'm biased since they're two of my favorite characters, but seriously, where are they? Anne disappears halfway through book 3 and we don't see what happens to Marian after Max and Nudge save her.

  • What happened to Itex?
    • The implication at the end of the third book was that the German police stopped the riot and arrested everyone. If so, that just raises even more questions, like how a company is apparently powerful enough to sponsor massive numbers of unethical and illegal tests, organize killings and kidnappings, and arrange to eliminate one half of the world's population, and can't wiggle out of charges by the cops.
      • I'm going with my head canon that, in actuality, Itex was on the brink of falling apart by itself and holding on by the tips of it's metaphorical fingers with one hand not knowing what the other was doing, but the Flock never knew. The By Half Plan never existed (As we never hear anything about how it works, this seems plausible) and the name and idea was merely put there to keep the completely-insane and mercy-kill worthy Director happy, the Flock and the other experiments were created Aperture Science-style as last-gasp money grabbers and nothing else, and after the police came in the whole company simply imploded and was absorbed by its hungry competitors.

  • So what happened to those other experiments that the Flock freed in the first book? There are a few issues with it. First, why didn't the Flock go with them? These are other people just like them, and they aren't even going to interact or try to make plans? After they leave, the Flock never even THINKS about the experiments they rescued again, not even so much as a "Hey, where do you think those experiments we rescued in New York went?". Second, why didn't they make sure they got to safety first? A lot of them were obviously very weak and sick, it just makes me assume that nearly all of them were recaptured almost immediately after they escaped. Three... What was the point? It never led up to anything, and after all these books have gone by I kind of doubt it will.

  • Just one question. How the hell did six kids escape The School, which has to be very powerful if it can hire scientist to do illegal experimentation and not get caught, even if they had Jeb's help!
    • They were let go. Sort of a "Make them think they escaped but really we're letting them go" scenario.
    • According to the movie, Jeb snuck them out one by one in the middle of the night. Since later books claim that the School intentionally let them escape, security intentionally let Jeb get away with it.

  • Here's one for you guys: anyone got a reason why Itex never got a visit from a SEAL? Surely a company like that can't keep birdkids secret from the MILITARY... if they're supposedly as much a danger as the Flock makes them, why were they never eliminated?
    • Because the government doesn’t exactly have a sterling track record for pinpointing and wiping out evil corporations to begin with.