Normally I am all for character deaths being permanent. In general, I think that if a comic book character is killed off, their death should signify something. Death is death -- it's a big deal. There's no coming back from death; and if comic creators begin to view life and death in this way, then death will carry that much more significance in comics. I would argue this for practically every case in comics -- until I get to thinking about Fantomex.
Putting my feelings for the character to the side, I would argue that he should be present in comics right now, and that having him alive would be better than having him dead. If you've been keeping up with UNCANNY X-FORCE by Rick Remender then you know that the writer recently "killed" Fantomex off in a very poignant scene -- in an effort to save Betsy Braddock from the Skinless Man, Fantomex threw himself into harm's way, and as a result, was murdered as the Skinless Man thrust his fist through his chest and pulled out his heart. I guess if you have to go at the hand of your enemy, that's one way to do it. The thing is, the character is better off alive than he is dead.== TEASER ==
Recently we got a look at a preview for issue #30 of UNCANNY X-Force and Evan (Genesis) seems to be at the center of it all. To catch those of you who haven't been following up to speed, Evan is the clone of a young Apocalypse who is essentially created by Fantomex. We delved into Genesis' character back in May a little bit and begged the question of whether or not the character has any free will.
Whether he [Fantomex] simply wanted to test a theory, or whether he did it because he felt some remorse at murdering what was still an innocent child; he decided to clone Genesis. He began raising the cloned child in a controlled, virtual environment where he could influence everything that happened to him. By controlling his environment and giving him a very different kind of life, would the boy with these same genes still eventually grow up to become the evil Apocalypse? Would the healthy, loving environment provided by Fantomex affect his free will? Would it influence him to become a good person, disproving the idea that his genetics predetermined whether or not he would grow up to be evil?
Back when I wrote that article, things were very different. Genesis was still a part of the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning and was featured in a big way in Jason Aaron's WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. More recently, however, he has been kidnapped by Daken and he has undergone some massive changes. Thrust back into a virtual world, Evan will be manipulated by external forces in UNCANNY X-FORCE #30. Those who follow Apocalypse will manipulate Evan by using a vision of Fantomex, in an effort to turn the boy against his mentor, "Uncle Cluster." This is a pretty big deal.
Imagine what it would be like to be told that everything you have ever known and learned was a complete lie? The repercussions are tremendous, and although the outcome does seem like it will be predictable (anyone else see Evan turning to the "dark side"?), I still can't help but hold out hope for the character, who would make a far more interesting hero than he would a villain. I mean, who doesn't love a great "overcoming the odds" story? I would much rather read about a character that is able to make his own decisions, rather than be bound by predetermination and his DNA -- but I'm not so sure he could do that without the help of the real Fantomex.
No one has been honest with Evan, not even Jean-Philippe. The character still does not know he is a clone of Apocalypse, and something tells me that once that fact is revealed to him, the only individual that could prevent his downward spiral is the only father figure he's ever had. Granted, I totally get that the situation is a little bit weird. Evan is, essentially, a lab rat. He's been conditioned to be what Fantomex wanted him to be, but at the same time, "Uncle Cluster" is a father figure to him. He might be the only one that could save him.
So, is there a chance that Fantomex could return in a way that isn't weird and cliche? I would like to think so. E.V.A. was Fantomex's biggest asset -- she was an extension of Fantomex's nervous system; and although that connection was severed following Fantomex's death, I would still like to think that there are some remnants of him that could live on through her. There's also the fact that Fantomex previously "fixed" himself when he got into a sticky situation. Back in NEW X-MEN # 129, Fantomex placed himself in a state of "light auto-hypnosis" in order to heal his own body. Yet, even if he can't do it on his own, there is always E.V.A., an extension of himself. I mean, E.V.A. was birthed from Fantomex, (according to NEW X-MEN #30) so is it that far out there to think that E.V.A. could bring him back? After all, Fantomex wasn't born, he was created. He was Weapon XIII.
What do you think? Do you think Fantomex should return, if so, how? Do you think the character is better off dead? What do you think will happen to Evan? Do you think he will become Apocalypse, or do you believe there is still a chance he can be saved? And what will this mean for the X-Men?