Cyclops vs Wolverine - who understands the Phoenix Force better?

Recently in Avengers vs X-men, we saw Captain America ask Wolverine for information about the Phoenix force, and later refer to Wolverine as his 'expert' on the matter (Cyclops was, of course, duly unimpressed). Mind you, Wolverine seems like he'd be a pretty good source on the matter (given how much the Phoenix Force seems to show up in his dreams and whatnot), but could he possibly understand Phoenix better than Cyclops? After all, Cyclops was not only married to Jean Grey, but he also dealt with the Phoenix quite a bit in Warsong (and in multiple hosts...). Cyclops has spent more time with the Phoenix, was there when Jean killed herself on the moon all those years ago, he would have been there for Jean to talk to about the Phoenix Force if she ever needed a shoulder to cry on, and in general seems like he would better understand how devastating the Phoenix could be.

So who do you think would be a better source of knowledge on the issue?

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TASTEFUL violence, anyone?

Recently I decided to delve into the world of Hellblazer and read from the first to somewhere around the 70th issue (all in a span of 48 hours, too...) and have since decided to drop the series from my read list. This decision was reached after much thought and consideration, which can essentially be summed up thusly: I sat back and asked myself 'Do I actually enjoy reading this title?'.

Needless to say, the answer was no. That in and of itself can be explained by the nature of the stories themselves- largely due to the fact that they seemed to revolve around levels of violence that I found very unnecessary. Which makes my dislike of the title (and writer) driven purely by personal taste- some people like that kind of thing, I'm told, but I'm not one of those people.

To be frank, I have a fairly weak stomach when it comes to violence, and I'm sad to say that I just can't handle experiencing much of the horror genre, in print or film. Mind you, I'd be the last person to say that violence has no place in the media and/or literature; in fact, I'd go as far as to say that it's an essential part of both, and I have yet to read a good book or comic that didn't feature it to some degree.

That being said, at what point does a writer think to himself "okay, a few issues ago I had a lovely full-page depiction of a grotesque mass of evil-looking cancerous flesh hanging off of the dying form of my main character, and recently Jack the Ripper's demon-thing has been brutally maiming people for a while now, writing this story where a mob of people get killed in various ways for most of the issue will be totally tasteful and not at all overdone"? I'm not saying violence has no place in comics, but it should be better employed. Even in the horror genre one could utilize little to no violence and still come up with something terrifying. For example, the only issues of the Hellblazer title that made me really profoundly uncomfortable were 25-26, which were written by the often impressive Grant Morrison, and featured practically no depicted violence ('told', not 'shown', which can be just as effective when done right). What really had an effect on me was the frenzied, animalistic, malignant nature of the writing and to some degree the inevitability of the events. Perhaps I'm a bit too cerebral when it comes to the horror genre, because I tend to find drawings of blood, gore and the usual sorts of mutilation to be more offensive and irritating than 'scary'. Artistic renderings of the results of horrible brutality aren't usually the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, and a truly talented writer should be skilled enough that they don't have to rely on gruesome images to scare people.

So I ask you, my fellow comic enthusiasts, whether you agree with my sentiments- is over-the-top blood and gore really called for in the horror genre, as a rule?

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Avengers vs X-men, Return of the Phoenix- Now taking bets

(Okay, to be clear, I'm not proposing that money becomes involved in this whatsoever.)

With the whole Avengers vs X-men thing coming up as well as the return of the Phoenix Force (well, official return?), it looks like a lot's going to happen in the Marvel universe in the next few months (especially with the (presumed) wrapping up of the Return of Osborn thing). What I'm getting at is this: before a big game, sports enthusiasts place bets on which teams will win which games, in certain ways, etc., so why not do something similar with the upcoming event; make guesses as to what the end result will be, who survives, what ends up happening, and whatnot?

Personally, I'm betting Hope either ends up depowered, dead, or exiled in some fashion.

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The Marvel Universe's Mutant Classification Levels

Mutant 'power levels' are a considerable source of debate among many Marvel fans, especially fans of the X-men. The system is fairly comprehensive, and it's reasonably logical, but what makes it a topic of much contention is the fact that they are almost entirely fan created and, as something of a byproduct, not every mutant in the Marvel universe is assigned a level. There are seven levels, which I will explain shortly, and every mutant in the Marvel universe can be evaluated as being one of them (more or less). While the definitions of each level can change depending on what source one uses, I did some reading and came up with this basic outline:

OMEGA LEVEL

I previously wrote a post about the thirteen Omega-level mutants in the Marvel universe, which can be found here. For a character to qualify as an Omega level mutant, only one thing is technically necessary- they have to be officially labeled as such. While this scale itself is largely fan-made, every member of the Omega level has been called such by Marvel, and theirs is the only authority that counts in this matter. Sure, there are actual traits that Omega-level mutants must possess, but they're usually vague at best; suffice to say that they have to be really, really, really powerful and able to change their physical body into another state, like psychic energy. Omega mutants are extremely rare (only thirteen exist in the entire Marvel universe) and are, either by coincidence or design, often telepathic. Some notable members of this level are Jean Grey, Iceman, and Franklin Richards.

ALPHA LEVEL

This is probably the class that ends up being the most contested, largely because it's made up of extremely powerful mutants, some of whom people will often argue should count as Omega-level, and they consist of roughly 10% of all mutants. Alpha level mutants are very powerful individuals whose mutation features no significant drawbacks. Note that while Alpha mutants aren't notably hindered by their mutation itself, they can possess other extraneous disabilities, impairments, and general encumberances; an example would be Professor X, who, while unable to use his legs (is he crippled right now? His ability to walk changes so frequently I tend to lose track...), is an extremely formidable telepath. Good examples of this class of mutant are Dazzler, Magneto, Storm, Gambit and Rogue (as she is currently, able to control her power-siphoning abilities). Note that this level also encompasses characters with abilities that are considered more powerful than average that have negative mutations, and therefore covers a very wide range of individuals.

BETA LEVEL

Beta Level mutants are pretty powerful beings, but they are minorly hampered by an aspect of their mutation in a fairly minor fashion- think Alpha level powers with a drawback. These drawbacks can be anything from slightly abnormal physical features (blue skin or fur, for instance) to the inability to turn their powers on or off at will. Controversy regarding this class often stems from deciding exactly what counts as a 'minor' drawback- Cyclops cannot turn his powers on and off at will, so some would classify him as beta-level, but this inability is currently stated to be due to brain damage and is therefore unrelated to the power level of his mutation itself (which is what we're measuring here). Beta level includes Beast, Mystique and Nightcrawler, among others. Wolverine is sometimes placed in this level.

GAMMA LEVEL

A Gamma level has a harmful mutation coupled with superhuman abilities that are above average. Often these mutants are unable to 'pass as human', making it difficult for them to lead ordinary lives. Rogue (apparently) USED to be a member of this category, since not being able to make physical contact with most other living beings makes for a pretty difficult existance, but no longer counts as Gamma level. Some mutants, like Marrow, have pretty minor mutations that cause them near-constant pain and render their appearance inhuman, while others, like Blob, have rather impressive abilities that just make their lives very difficult (he is very morbidly obese).

DELTA LEVEL

While their mutations bear no detrimental qualities, they also aren't all that powerful, but Delta level mutants appear, for the large part, to be ordinary humans. Individuals with highly specific powers are also placed in here, along with passive abilities (powers that are more traits than abilities, like Longshot's good luck or Cypher's omnilinguism). These are about 50% of mutants, and cannot, under most circumstances, really hold their own against their more powerful Omega, Alpha, Beta and Gamma contemporaries. Delta level mutants can have many types of powers, like Forge (who has the mutant power of invention (no, I'm NOT making that up)), Loa (who can pass through solid objects, which causes them to break apart), or Wallflower (pheromone control).

EPSILON LEVEL

To count as an Epsilon level mutant, you have to possess very little to no special abilities and a mutation that extremely negatively effects your day-to-day life. Some mutants of this level are killed by their mutations, like Sally Floyd's daughter, who around a few months of age began growing in reverse. Others have somewhat monstrous appearances, like Glob Herman or Beak. They often cannot function in society without aid, and can even end up hunted down as monsters, like The Worm (he's from District X and doesn't have a page). 20% of mutants fall into this category.

ZETA-LEVEL

The lowest level is home to latent mutants; humans whose children or grandchildren might end up being mutants but do not themselves classify as such. This level is a bit iffy- in some cases it's stated that they bear the x-gene themselves, but in others they just could have children with the gene. Whatever the case, the consensus is that they do not have 'mutant powers'; they may, of course, have other powers or abilities, but none that would come from being a mutant. Spider-man should technically qualify as a zeta-level mutant.

So that's the gist of it. Thank you to Jeff, who prompted me to write this list.

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What Marvel cross-over event made the biggest lasting impact?

Secret Invasion killed Wasp, caused Dark Reign and reminded us how much of a jerk Hank Pym can be (among other things). Civil War divided the superhero community and damaged the world's opinion of superheroes to an extent that is still being seen. Mind you, those are only some of the things the latter events did to change Earth-616, but my point is that they made a significant impact. These were events that made lasting change and involved characters from many different titles. They're big turning points in Marvel history.

But events like Fear Itself, Shadowland and World War Hulk proved to be less earth-shattering. They changed very little, or most of the change that they made didn't last long enough to matter.

These events are all pretty recent, too; being a relative newcomer to the world of comics, I'm somewhat unfamiliar with older events that don't include the X-men. I know that events the Phoenix Saga changed Marvel significantly, but that's almost exclusively an X-men event.

So what event made the most impact?

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I (Really) Don't Like Wolverine

There's no denying that Wolverine is insanely popular- I'd be an idiot to even attempt it. When asked, most people will say that their favourite mutant is Wolverine (especially if the person you're asking is male and is probably trying to make a good impression), and he's one of the top five heroes that Marvel really markets (the others being Iron Man, the Hulk, Spider-man and Thor, though Thor is sometimes replaced by the Thing for some reason). I'm not trying to say that I dislike Wolverine because he's popular; that would be a really stupid reason to like or dislike anything- I just don't see the appeal. People all over the world find his gruff, edgy, masculine attitude charming, and I really don't understand why.

Maybe it's something about my taste in men. I know Wolverine (portrayed by Hugh Jackman) is quite popular with the ladies, actor aside, and I suppose he's a fairly attractive individual, but he doesn't seem like anything special. Sure, there's the whole 'undying, passionate devotion' angle from his obsession with Jean Grey, which is something many people find desirable and admirable. But I don't really give a damn about rude, scruffy people who exude more testosterone than a locker room full of sweaty quarterbacks. There's the 'badass' factor, I suppose, and I'm told Wolverine is very notable for this, but I'm more of the Deadpool type of badass, as opposed to the overly-masculine antics of characters like Wolverine. And while he does get some of the best lines and sometimes has some pretty decent writers, it doesn't really do much to sway my opinion.

All of what I mentioned above would usually lead to me taking a neutral stance on the character, but what actually tips the scales is Schism. Yeah, it was horrendous in so many ways that I don't really know where to start. While Wolverine has, in the past, proven himself to be kind of douchey at times (like that phase during the 90s where he called everyone 'frails'...), his sudden decision to protect the innocence of mutant children was so incredibly out of character and poorly executed that I simply lost all patience for the character. Not only does that new motivation better suit Cyclops, whose personal history would make him the logical 'defender of the innocent', but Wolverine has never really been the type of person that's oriented towards preserving the innocence of the younger generations. If anyone reading this can actually provide me with sound proof to the contrary, I will completely retract that statement.

The icing on the cake was Wolverine's decision to name his new school The Jean Grey Institute of Higher Learning. Dick move, man, dick move.

So in summary, I do not like Wolverine.

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X-treme X-men:What it is, Who's in it, and Why you should read it

As some of you who are familiar with my reviews and strange posts may know of my dislike of Chris Claremont (I'm not exactly discreet about it). And while he does write this series, I must admit that it does contain elements that make it somewhat important for most, if all, X-fans. Here's a few reasons as to why the title should be read:

Characters

X-treme X-men is a team led by Storm, so right away that means that Storm fans will probably want to check it out. No, make that almost definately.

Also featuring prominently are Bishop (in all his pre-M-day 'glory') and Sage. Sage fans will definately want to read this title- it's probably one of the only occasions in which I've seen her appear frequently and take a leading and active position in a team. She takes on a varitey of roles throughout the stories- usually as a mission planner, coordinator and form of communication (think Otacon, except more useful), but she also gets to do the whole 'cop' thing with Bishop from time to time, because apparently one cannot have Bishop appear in a series and not end up doing the 'cop' thing. Her past is explored, and you get to learn more about who she is and how she became a member of the X-men.

Rogue and Gambit are in the title regularly up until issue 19, and fans of the pairing will definately want to check out the ones that include them. Featured in the title are events such as Rogue pulling Gambit back from the brink of death (not entirely to his wishes), one of the lines featured in the little Rogue/Gambit collage in Messiah War ("We've had our moments, remy. They're not enough, they've made me greedy. I want a lifetime."), and all in all a decent source of colsolation for disappointed Rogue/Gambit fans still upset at Rogue being in a relationship with Magneto.

Of particular note is Lifeguard, who not only debuts and is featured prominently in a large amount of issues herein, but who is rarely seen anywhere else. I mention this specifically because she's recently re-surfaced as being part of the X-men's 'Street Team'; a role which suits her powers and personality perfectly. Personally I reccomend picking up this title largely to become familiar with her- she's a fan favourite, and there's a good chance she may become important in the future.

Fans of Cannonball will want to check out issues 24 and onwards, as he gets some fleshing out. As much as I hate to say it, Claremont manages to depict Cannonball quite skillfully- though that should be expected, seeing as how he created the character in the first place. Also featured briefly is Lila Cheney, the rock star- you know, the one that's not Dazzler and that nobody really seems to mention much.

Other characters that appear herein are Red Lotus, Psylocke (she dies pretty early on), Beast, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Professor X, Shadowcat, Thunderbird, Slipstream, Nightcrawler, Rachel Grey, Elias Bogan, Sebastian Shaw, Lady Mastermind and others.

The series also ties into events that occur in the main X-men titles, which means that they kind of aid one in understanding said events a little better. Destiny's Diaries are a focus for some of the series, as well.

Now, for specifics:

Issue 19 features some lovely examples of Jean Grey being really pushy.

And above is from issue 23, in which she is really...corny. Issue 23 also features Storm and Sage essentially disavowing Professor X.

So that's all I can come up with for now.

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District X summarized (so you won't have to actually read it)

A while back I complied a list of all currently known Omega-level mutants in the Marvel universe- an endeavor which required, I'll admit, a good amount of research on my part. One of the members of the list, Mister X, appears in all of two places (House of M nonwithstanding)- District X and the 198 arc in a main X-men title. While writing the list I attempted to track down District X, and only recently actually got my hands on the thing. Needless to say, I read it.

It was crap.

To save you nice folks of the internet from having to go through the disappointing and unrewarding experience of reading the damn thing, I'll try and sum up any/all necessary information here.

Some backround information: the series lasted 14 issues, ran from May 2004 to June 2005 and is what Wikipedia calls a 'police procedural'. It's main characters are Bishop and Ismael Ortega, who are working as policemen in 'District X', in the middle east side of Manhattan (located between Avenues A to D, and between Houston and 14th Streets, as I'm told), and are, in my opinion, not interesting enough to warrant being the focal figures of this title. As for the area, some of you may recognize it as being the headquarters of X-factor investigations for a time, around the start of the series. It's a ghetto of sorts, and boasted really high crime rates. Many of it's citizens were mutants, specifically of the Delta and Epsilon variety (more commonly Epsilon); a mutant that falls into the Delta level has a typically human appearance as well as powers, but those powers are either too weak or require specific conditions to be met or have really narrow applications (Trance, Callisto, Cipher), the Epsilon level is the lowest classification of actual mutants (the only lower one, Zeta level, hosts humans whose descendants could be mutants but aren't mutants themselves, like Spider-man) and covers individuals who have no chance of a regular life due to obvious (and often monstrous or otherwise unappealing) physical deformities and possess either little, no, or harmful superhuman powers (Toad Boy (who is actually from District X and currently has no page on this site), Beak, Artie Maddox). A bit of trivia- apparently Delta-level mutants comprise at least 50% of all mutants, and are therefore the most common, while Epsilon-level mutants are at 20%.

So District X is home to a very sizable number of mutants, who often end to be the variety that gets hunted down for their physical mutations. This right away means that a good amount of it's members are going to be lower-income, if not outright jobless (due to the lack of availability of good jobs for such individuals), individuals, which means they are likely to also be homeless, members of a gang, prostitutes or other members of the sex trade industry (this includes strippers, who aren't necessarily low-income), and involved in criminal activities in general. The residents who don't fall into the low-income category are often (not always) drug dealers, members of a gang (or the mob?), those who chose to live there due to some sort of mutant solidarity thing, or are there to prey off the poorer residents. The buildings are, in general, badly maintained if not outright run-down. Sure, there are nicer parts of it, but in general the area is a bit of a slum.

Some of the aforementioned residents include: Lorelei Travis the 'exotic dancer' with pink prehensile hair(seen in this title as well as the 198 storyline); the aforementioned Toad Boy, who secreted powerful hallucinogens in his blood, sweat, tears and possibly other bodily emissions; Jazz the blue-skinned drug dealer; Hanna Levy, a nice girl with cute freckles that eats bugs for an unspecified reason; Lara the Illusionist, who works as both or either a stripper or a prostitute and can cast illusions of unknown power (she usually uses them to make herself look like celebrities like Marilyn Monroe); Sylvie Lauziere, a waitress with a slightly feline appearance; Porcupine, who can make quills shoot from his body from pimple-like holes in his skin and can make his arm extend or something (they don't even come close to explaining what the hell he actually does); Daniel “Shaky” Kaufman, a drug lord who stutters and is generally a mean guy; and the aforementioned Mr. M, an old man from Belgium who fixes appliances like toasters for his neighbours and also happens to be an Omega-level mutant who can re-shape pretty much any form of matter and absorb/channel most if not all forms of energy.

Now that we've established the setting, let's look at the nature of the story itself- essentially one of those cop shows with a bit of CSI thrown in. Keep in mind that this series was started in 2004, in which shows like Law and Order and CSI were really, really popular; this makes the fact that Marvel put out an X-men cop drama comic somewhat more logical.

Now, I don't know if Bishop was a fan favorite at that time, but it's worth stating that he appeared in X-treme X-men which ran from 2001-2004 and had him play a similar role as well as showing up in New X-men for a few issues investigating the shooting of Emma Frost. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, he grew up in a future where mutants were imprisoned in death camps and somehow became a cop and eventually travelled to Earth-616 and joined the X-men, who can absorb and re-channel energy in a variety of forms that ended up spending a long time chasing Cable into the future in order to assassinate an infant. Bishop also showed up in Civil War relatively prominently, which hints at him being at least somewhat known within the comic community. I've never really liked him that much myself. He can be summed up with such stereotypes: 'a cop', a 'hard-ass', 'serious', 'that buff guy', 'determined' and 'a good guy'.

Ismael Ortega appears for the first time in this title and is, as far as I know, confined to this title and it's House of M counterpart, Mutopia X. His nickname is Izzy, which is a really odd thing to call a grown man, let alone a father of two children, Chamymyra and Esteban (Seriously, what kind of a name is Chamymyra? It sounds like a disease of some sort). His wife, Armena, is one of those 'strong, opinionated woman' types, a Delta-level mutant who grows a strange removeable membrane around herself in her sleep, and comes across as annoying, rude and treats her husband rather unfairly. His character and those of his family seem to be rife with racial undertones that I'm incredibly unfamiliar with (he's American-born Cuban, if that means anything in particular...) and I suspect were supposed to add some manner of complexity and depth to an otherwise bland set of individuals. Work takes a lot out of him, his wife seemingly jumps at the opportunity to yell at him whenever she can, he doesn't get enough sleep and copes with incredible amounts of stress. By the end of the story, he turns to 'drug and alcohol abuse'- he ends up frequently taking medication that looked to me like caffeine pills (does that actually count as drug abuse?) that make him kind of edgy, and I think gets drunk like twice throughout both 'X' titles. He has an affair with Lara the Illusionist and after House of M he re-unites with his now human wife after his daughter dies and he swears 'never to use a gun again'.

There's really not that much that takes place in this series that I'd consider relevant to the rest of the Marvel universe except for the events involving Mr. M. Wither appeared in District X itself for a little while and the Wikipedia article mentions him appearing in the comic, but I don't remember seeing him anywhere in the title. Fortunately, the general unimportance of the events makes it a lot easier to summarize them, and so the series pretty much goes like this:

Ismael Ortega and his partner Gus Kucharsky police District X, which is violent and has a lot of mutants. Gus kills two people and gets shot in the head, Ismael covers for him and says he didn't shoot the people and then gets Bishop assigned as a partner. Fighting breaks out between two rivaling crime lords, “Shaky” Kaufman and “Filthy Frankie” Zapruder, over who gets to have Toad Boy, whose secretions can be and are sold for ridiculous amounts of money. Turns out Toad Boy's secretions (that sounds so icky...) are lethal to humans, making them die in a really weird way that I don't feel like explaining. Enter Mr. M, a weird old guy in a wifebeater that fixes toasters. After seeing Toad Boy being used by everyone around him (including, and especially, his mother, who is completely and utterly addicted to the drugs her son produces and whose idea of heaven is sitting around licking her son all day) and noticing that Toad Boy has no option of leading a life in which he gets to make his own choices, Mr. M walks up to the boy a removes his mutation. Toad Boy is delighted until his mother flips out and declares her son is dead to her. This makes Mr. M upset and he decides 'fuck it, I'll just destroy everything', which he almost does, but gets stopped by the cooperative efforts of Lara the Illusionist, Hana Levy, and the police department. He goes to jail for a little while, completely willingly.

There's some blackouts and some deaths, which turn out to be related to a group of sewer-dwellers, who are also known by the charming term of 'C.H.U.D's (cannibalistic humanoid underground dweller, which is a term from the movie CHUD). Some painter can apparently paint the future and paints a picture of Bishop felled by a grotesque being with Ortega looking on and smiling. The pair find out the being in the picture is a mutant- a child, in fact, who has been monstrous since birth and kills all the underground inhabitants and wounding Bishop who is saved by Ortega, who then kills the being, known as The Worm. This storyline is notably rather bleak and needlessly depressing while at the same time being utter crap and poorly written.

Meanwhile Ismael is having trouble at home- he fights with his wife and his kids start to dislike him- especially his son, who is only really notable for saying things like 'you're MEAN' to his father. No, that's pretty much word for word what he said. At some point Bishop and Armena are talking and Armena gets all sad because her husband is all stressed out and things are tense between them (while still taking no responsibility for her contributions to this state) and Bishop gives her a hug; Ismael walks in at this exact moment and flips out. Things escalate, Armena yells at him yet again for 'being hostile' so he grabs her by the throat, pins her against the wall and yells 'THIS IS HOSTILITY'. Things decline in Ortega's family life from then on and he seeks solace in the arms of Lara the Illusionist.

There's a completely unimportant issue in which Bishop talks to Porcupine, who has Sylvie the waitress held hostage, in an attempt to make the kid give himself up. An assassin snipes Porcupine, everyone goes on with their lives. Note that there's a reference to the movie 'Freaks', which is mentioned at least twice in the first 20 or so issues of X-factor by Madrox and Layla Miller, respectively.

In the end, Ismael gets kicked out of his own house by Armena, and he's seen wandering the streets in the last issue.

And there you have it, that's really all you need to know about District X! It's pointlessly and gracelessly gloomy and dismal, riding on the popularity of criminal investigation shows. Nothing of much import happens within it, and I hope I wrote this well enough so that those of you who read this won't have to go through the boredom of actually reading District X!

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Kid Omega and X-man: an awesome team that will never exist

Poor, poor Quentin Quire. As of Wolverine and the X-men: Alpha and Omega, his character has officially been ruined, and he's doomed to be depicted as that one pretty smart 'rebellious' kind in High School who calls other people sheep. Not that I ever liked the guy or anything, but at least he was somewhat complex before.

X-man, however, seems to be doing really well- he's dropped some of the angst I found to be endemic within his self-titled series, and has new friends and a new home as part of the New Mutants. He's calmer, more mature, and despite being knocked back to basic telekinesis (for the moment) he seems remarkably well-adjusted. His character is being handled quite well, and I for one am looking forward to seeing what the writers have in store for him in the future.

Now, for those of you who don't remember (and it makes me kind of sad that I do...), here are Kid Omega and X-man's powers, respectively:

KID OMEGA

- Omega-level telepath

- Super-human intellect

- Hyper-intellect (he thinks really, really fast)

- Has a pink pseudo-hawk and dresses like a British hipster

FEATS: Quentin has:

+ created a replica of Magneto's psi-blocking helmet from instructions 'on the internet'

+ invented fully-functional anti-gravity floaters for No-girl, seemingly in his free time

+ subconsciously influenced classmates to form a gang with him and start a riot at Xavier's (yeah, Wolverine, great sort of person to bring to your new school...)

+ managed to telepathically neutralize Wolverine, apparently effortlessly, within seconds at said riot

+ been a host of the Phoenix Force

+ become a being of pure psychic energy

X-MAN

- Omega-level telepath and telekinetic

- Psychometry

- Has travelled to different dimensions, has knowledge of the future

- Is a member of the Summers family tree

FEATS: Nate has:

+ turned himself into a being of pure psychic energy and successfully possessed Norman Osborn for an impressive amount of time

+ ripped a psychic being out of the astral plane, something which was thought to be impossible

+ learned how to fully utilize the astral plane

+ too much more to list in an expedient fashion.

The premise- Nate as he was around the end of his titular series; powerful and young and still very new to our mainstream reality, but with skill he's developed over the years and the unprecedented strength of the ultimate Summers scion. Quentin around the time of his brief appearance in Nation X, still incorporeal. Under unspecified circumstances Nate returns Quentin to his physical body and is charged with reining in the troublesome young telepath. Two young mutants with extraordinary abilities and uncharted potential, both powerful telepaths, both tend to not work well in X-teams (to say the least in Quentin's case). Out on their own, doing....stuff - be it aiding those in peril, conducting panty raids, fighting the good fight, or just playing Unreal Tournament together.

Nate has an inherent nobility and sense of justice that would allow him to function as a sort of moral compass and positive influence. Quentin is cruel and arrogant, but he's shown himself to be just as uncertain and emotionally unsure as anyone his age, and has displayed the ability to care for others. There's practically no limit to what Nate can teach Quentin, and given the right circumstances the two could work together to be an almost ridiculous powerhouse that could pretty much do anything they wanted.

Quentin is full of himself, but will he be able to keep up his air of superiority around someone who is so much more powerful than he is? Can Nate's telepathy even affect Quentin (he has a 'see-through (aka transparent)' mind, or so we're told)? Will the two form an unlikely teacher/pupil bond and become great friends and develop into better-adjusted people? Will Nate influence Quentin to become a better, kinder person, or will Quentin cause Nate to become less sympathetic towards humankind?

Nope. Because there's no way in hell Marvel will ever, ever write any of this!

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A Beginner's Look at the Summers-Grey Family

Within the world of the X-men, the Summers(-Grey) family is without a doubt the single most important family unit, past and present. Two of it's members are founding X-men, three are confirmed Omega-level mutants, two have been long-time hosts of the Phoenix Force, and four are active members of X-men teams. Many stories have either completely or in part focused on this bloodline, and there's actually a villain who had, for years, focused exclusively on genetic research on the Summers family (Mr. Sinister).

However, it can be hard for a new reader to understand exactly who the Summers family is, as well as why it's members are important, not to mention the history that surrounds them. In order to help introduce a friend to the X-men universe, I've prepared this brief rundown of the Summers family tree, explaining it to the best of my knowledge, to be a simple explanation of 'those people everyone keeps going on about'. For simplicity's sake, we'll focus on the more essential members (therefore leaving out less important relatives). Alternate reality characters will only be mentioned if they have played a large enough part in Earth-616(mainstream Marvel reality)'s timeline .

For the sake of this introduction, the Summers-Grey family tree begins with two families, explained as such:

- John Grey + Elaine Grey = Jean Grey

- Katherine Anne Summers + Christopher Summers (Corsair) = Scott Summers (Cyclops), Alexander Summers (Havok), Gabriel Summers (Vulcan)

So already we have two Omega-level mutants (Jean Grey and Vulcan) and two founding X-men (Jean Grey and Cyclops). Assuming one already has a basic grasp of who the two aforementioned characters are, I'll explain briefly who Corsair, Havok and Vulcan are:

- Corsair: Former leader of the Starjammers (think space pirates), swordsman, pilot. Had to throw Cyclops and Havok out of a plane when they were younger (I believe because him and his wife were being abducted by aliens?), felt guilty for the rest of his life about not coming back for them.

- Havok: Alpha-level mutant, absorbs solar energy and can emit blasts of pure...well,energy. Former X-man, current whereabouts and affiliations indefinate. Long-time romantic partner of Lorna Dane (Polaris), former member of X-factor. Heroic and generally well-intentioned but tends to clash with authority figures, such as Cyclops. After being thrown out of the plane, he got adopted while Cyclops stayed in an orphanage until found by Professor X.

- Vulcan: Megalomaniac Omega-level mutant, could manipulate many varieties of energy in vast amounts (among other things). Was ripped from his mother's womb by Da'ken (former emperor of the Shi'ar, a group of vaguely avian aliens, the 'triangle-heads') and aged to adulthood to be a slave, broke free and decided to take revenge on the Shi'ar (a group of vaguely avian aliens, the 'triangle-heads'). Became emperor, drove the Shi'ar empire to near ruin, died in space fighting Black Bolt.

Consider the fact that before Gabriel was introduced as a character, it was stated (by Sinister) that there were more than two Summers brothers. The third was supposed to be Adam-X the X-treme, but the writers got changed and that plot thread was left dangling until the introduction of Vulcan. So the Summers brothers can be neatly explained in this equation: Summers Brothers > 2.

Here is where things begin to get a bit more complex. Jean died, and her clone (Madelyne Pryor, created by Sinister to beget the offspring of the Summers/Grey bloodlines) married Cyclops, and they had a son. So now:

Madelyne Pryor (Jean Grey) + Scott Summers (Cyclops) = Nathan Summers (Cable)

Cyclops left Madelyne very shortly after the birth of his son (he wasn't even there for the birth, actually) to join X-factor alongside the now not dead Jean Grey (for the sake of expediency, I'm not going to explain her resurrections). Upon seeing Jean, Madelyne had something of a freak-out and ended up essentially selling her soul to the demon N'asrith (a Limbo demon, see the Magik page for further reference), starting a relationship with Havok (who promised he would take care of his brother's wife, even though his brother had abandoned her) and began the event known as Inferno (hailed as one of the must-read story arcs in X-men history). Madelyne died, but she's come back from the dead before and there's a decent chance she won't stay dead.

Their son, Cable, caught the Transmode virus and was sent into the future in hopes of finding a cure. He has come back and forth in time and reality to aid and sometimes assault the X-men, and was most recently hopping around in time raising his adoptive daughter (Hope Summers, who will be explained better later). He died during the battle of the Second Coming, but has been seen up and about and doing something that involved the Avengers. His powers have been many and variable over the years, but they do include telekinesis, which is an important trademark of Summers-Grey children.

During the early 80s, possibly before Cable was introduced, Rachel Grey (from Earth 811). In her timeline, Senator Kelly (someone who is now unimportant but had been a vocal disparager of mutants) was assassinated and mutants were being hunted down and killed. Rachel, the daughter of Jean Grey and Cyclops from that reality, was captured as a young teenager and trained as a 'hound' (due to her telepathy) to track down other mutants. Before the Days of Future Past, she managed to escape and warned the X-men of the plot on Kelly's life and prevented her timeline from occuring. Since then, she has served as a member of Excalibur and the X-men. Rachel has proven to be 'spunky', somewhat rebellious, fixated on Jean Grey, whom she adresses as mother (due to the trauma of seeing her own parents killed?), held the codenames of Phoenix and Marvel Girl (again, mother issues) and has been a long-term host of the Phoenix Force. After a few years in space dealing with the Shi'ar, Rachel is back on Earth, kissing Wolverine and helping out with his school is Westchester. In terms of powers, Rachel is essentially a photocopy of Jean Grey, and has been verified as an Omega-level mutant (her skills, however, are fairly unrefined and is thusly not as powerful a telepath as she could be). Note that Rachel currently/usually uses her mother's surname, instead of the proper Summers.

So Rachel's family tree looks like this:

Jean Grey (811) + Scott Summers (811) = Rachel Grey (811)

During the 90s, something called the Age of Apocalypse occurred after Legion went back in time to kill Magneto and accidentally killed Professor Xavier instead. Therein Mr. Sinister had biologically engineered the perfect child of the Summers-Grey bloodline, Nathan Grey (who will be referred to as Nate). Nate was aged to teenagehood and escaped, eventually being mentored by Forge and ended up defeating Apocalypse. After that, he donned the name X-man and spent time travelling between dimensions, eventually ending up in Earth-616. He had been absent for some time before showing up during Dark Reign, in which he was captured by Norman Osborn and strapped to the Omega Machine, which drew on his powers and caused him severe damage that resulted in his abilities being reduced to fairly low-level telekinesis (though it's highly unlikely he'll stay that way). Nate is a telekinetic and a telepath, and a master in both fields (he could manipulate sub-atomic particles telekinetically to create holograms, give himself physical enhancements, etc., and he could manipulate the astral plane in a variety of ways at will). His power levels were stated to surpass those of Dark Phoenix (who ate a solar system once, just saying), and he was skilled in pretty much every aspect of his abilities. Currently alive, he is a member of the New Mutants, who are based in San Francisco. His codename is X-man.

So now, the Summers-Grey family tree looks something like this:

John Grey + Elaine Grey = Jean Grey (who essentially equals Madelyne Pryor)

Katherine Anne Summers + Christopher Summers = Cyclops, Havoc, Vulcan

Cyclops + Jean Grey = Rachel Grey (811), Nathan Grey (AoA)

Cyclops + Madelyne Pryor = Cable

Then there's Hope Summers, the adopted daughter of Cable. The first mutant born after M-day, she's known as the 'mutant messiah' and has activated the abilities of five new mutants. She grew up hopping forwards in time with Cable attempting to escape the wrath of Bishop, who was hellbent on killing her ever since he heard of her birth. Eventually Hope killed Bishop and her and Cable travelled back in time to mainstream Earth-616 reality, in which she has become a member of Cyclops' team of X-men on Utopia. Hope is an Omega-level mimic of unspecified power, range and potential, and has remained relatively untested as of late. It's been stated on multiple occasions that Hope is also the current host of the Phoenix Force, though not much has been explained in that respect.

That's about as brief as I can make it. Comments, suggestions, corrections, anyone?

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