…Apocalypse’s “Twelve” plot?

The TwelveThe plot of “The Twelve” first emerged in X-Factor #13-14.  Firstly referred to by the Master Mold, the Twelve were thought to be the group of mutants who would lead mutantkind in a war against humans, Power Pack #36 revealing nine of those members as Professor X, Apocalypse, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, Moonstar, Cannonball, and Psylocke, with Franklin Richards being named as “the twelfth”.

The next issue to pick up the plot, also penned by Louise Simonson, was issue 39 of X-Factor. While this issue reiterated Storm and Psylocke’s membership, it also added Havok, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Longshot, Archangel, Beast and Iceman to the list.  However, this now increased the list to seventeen.

Then in X-Factor #68, the line-up of the Twelve was reverted back to include Apocalypse, the five original X-Men, Professor X, Storm, Cannonball, and now Cable.

But here I am not interested in the membership of “The Twelve” so much as I am the purpose.

It was also during the Endgame storyline that inklings of “The Twelve” legend emerged as a plot orchestrated by Apocalypse in an effort to gather together the 12 most powerful mutants so he might siphon off their power to grant himself omnipotence.

So where to begin?

I would start by revealing that previous leader of the Hellfire Club, White King Edward Buckman, introduced in the backup story of Classic X-Men #7, uncovers the underlying plan of parties within the Club to increase strife around the world, preparing the world for Apocalypse’s eventual return (as revealed during The Further Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix Limited Series).

But I would suggest that this isn’t all Buckman uncovers.  Following “Endgame” I’d further reveal that he uncovers Apocalypse’s plan to absorb the powers of “The Twelve” most powerful mutants in order to challenge the Space-Gods and survive to be reborn as a Celestial.

It is this knowledge which propels Buckman to throw his financial and technological support behind Stephen Lang’s Sentinel programme, and possibly earlier with Master Mold in the hope of ensuring the human race’s survival.

While the X-Men originally introduced the concept of good and evil mutants, Magneto was later given a degree of moral ambivalence by Claremont, but this new angle would provide an opportunity to explore the anti-mutant rhetoric in a more positive light.

But I’m not finished yet.

Since we have been exposed to Magneto’s moral ambivalence, we could go one step further by shedding a more positive light on Apocalypse’s motivations as well.  This could provide an additional layer of tragedy to the multi-faceted mutant conflict.

To enable this perspective I would reveal that Apocalypse has been preparing the strong for battle against the Celestials on Alpha Day, the day upon which the Celestials will judge mankind, first mentioned in Eternals v.1 #7.

As for how he learned about Alpha Day, I would suggest that he gleaned the knowledge while inside the Ship left behind by the Third Host of Celestials, and would further reveal that his awakening, despite what other stories have shown, occurred upon the Fourth Host’s arrival on Earth.

Once awakened, Apocalypse begins devising his scheme to gather enough power to challenge the Space Gods and prevent them from destroying life on earth.

But I’m not done yet!

In relation to the Sentinels, like Isaac Asimov, I would posit that Bolivar Trask originally anticipated a potential menace in these robots, and so developed fundamental rules for these intelligent machines in order to protect humans. These rules, like Asimov’s, were:

a) that a Sentinel may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;

b) that a Sentinel must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and

c) that a Sentinel must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First and Second Law.

Where I would explain the Sentinel programme as having come unstuck, however, is when, like Asimov, Trask added a further rule to combat a more sinister prospect: “A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

I would then equate Apocalypse’s vision of mutant evolution to Tielhard de Chardin’s apotheosis – the notion that we will all combine into a single macro-entity, almost literally godlike in its knowledge and perception.  Tippler speaks of such a destiny in his book The Physics of Immortality, and Isaac Asimov offered a similar prescription as mankind’s long-range goal, in Foundation’s Edge.

Taking this path I would pen the Sentinel program as a sort of unofficial sequel to Asimov’s famous novels, making more explicit what Isaac was painting all along – the image that conservative robots who fear human transcendence, might actively work to prevent a human singularity for thousands of years, fearing that it would bring us harm. This I would reveal is why they become mutant hunter-killers, as they see the destiny of homo-superior as eventually destroying humanity, just as homo-sapien killed the last remnants of the Neanderthal species.

Postscript

One could even add in here that Machine Man (X-51) was a corrected version of the Sentinel program, having had the Fourth Law erased from his programming.

Now just picture a Sentinel title:

Sentinels are developed to protect mankind from evil mutants, heroes hated by a world that fears machines.  Their enemies include a right wing group supporting eradicating the machines and look upon bots, “robosexuals”, and other human collaborators as the enemy.  But these folks aren’t traditional racists.  In fact, they’ve embraced all of humanity, including mutants – they’ll need as many organics as they can to defeat the metal ones.

Actually while I loathe the far right wing, and who wouldn’t, there might be a kernel of truth in their argument.  Hans Moravec makes the argument that we are branching and that we’re going to lose. Big Time! Unless we take the Kurzweil route and integrate peacefully into our machines, we’re dust. I could see where organics might not like either option.

Contrarily, another group emerges that wishes to afford these artificial intelligences human rights.  Can you see the potential?

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…the Third Summers Brother plot?

Third Summers Brother 01

With regard to the plot danglers that Chris Claremont left behind when forced off the X-titles in 1991, my own brainpower has managed to come up with the following consistent explanation for Mr. Sinister’s plan involving the Summers family:

We know that prior to Scott Summers “escaping” from the State Home for Foundlings in Omaha, Nebraska, John and Elaine Grey sought out the expertise of a “sinister” doctor to rouse their daughter Jean from the catatonic state she had retreated to after the trauma she experienced from being inside the mind of her friend, Annie Richardson, as she died.

As most X-Fans will know, this doctor was another guise worn by Mr. Sinister.

The “doctor” begins by conducting a physical examination of Jean, taking some blood and tissue samples for his banks. He then enters her mind, but she manifests the Phoenix, striking him with a telepathic bolt which forces him back to the physical world.

This does not, however, deter Sinister, and instead of fleeing in terror, he returns to his base where he hatches a plot to eliminate Jean’s parents and bring her to the orphanage he controlled.

Immediately after the “doctor” leaves their home, a colleague of John’s from Bard College calls referring them to an expert in Westchester County, Professor Charles Xavier to review Jean’s condition.

At this time X-fans will also recollect Mr. Sinister had begun recruiting agents who would come to form the Marauders, including Scalphunter and Sabretooth.

What if Mr. Sinister had recruited subjects from the Weapon X program to act as his assassins?

Sabretooth was perhaps his first recruit from the program, unless there is an untold tale linking Scalphunter to the program… which would actually be quite interesting, moreso if he was revealed to be the brother of Silver Fox.

Since Sabretooth proved to be such a great assassin, Mr. Sinister perhaps decided to bring his relative Wolverine on board.  This could be used to further explain the enmity that Sabretooth held if Logan initially proved to be a more efficient killer than he was. But I digress…

The assassination attempt to off Jean’s parents proceeds, being assigned to both Sabretooth and Wolverine.

The pair break into the Grey home, but Wolverine, upon observing young Jean in her catatonic state, decides to abort the mission and takes Sabretooth down before he can kill John and Elaine. The following morning the Greys, unaware of what has transpired the night before, leave for their appointment in Westchester County with Charles… and the rest as they say is history.

Mr. Sinister, furious when he finds out what has transpired, casts Wolverine out, but not before implanting false memories in his mind – as he did with Scott and later Madelyne – to ensure Logan can’t lead anyone back to him.  This could be used to further explain what was behind Logan finding something familiar about Mr. Sinister when he stated: “who is that dude?” in X-Factor #39. This could also provide a deeper layer to the relationship between Jean and Logan.

Mr. Sinister, never one to accept defeat so easily – and desperate to possess the genetic potential within Jean – returns to the Orphanage where he begins plotting an alternate plan for how he can acquire it, and figures Scott as the crucial element in ensuring this.

Despite previous assumptions, I would reveal here that Mr. Sinister’s primary interest did not initially lie with the Summers line but rather with the Greys, Jean in particular. To support this theory, recall Sinister’s comments during Inferno that he wasn’t interested in Alex Summers, but rather Lorna Dane in X-Factor #39 (something obviously about powerful mutant females able to store vast amounts of energy).

Mr. Sinister then orchestrates events to allow Scott to “escape” the Orphanage, setting him on the path to Xavier’s Mansion where he will unknowingly act as Sinister’s wolf in the fold. He implants within Scott’s brain a telepathic imperative that will compel him to win Jean’s heart and father upon her a child possessing the genetic potential of the Grey line – which Sinister would then lay claim to.

This would resolve what Destiny meant when she foresaw the remote possibility of Cyclops turning evil (cf. X-Factor #9), and how it was that Nanny came into possession of Joey and Gailyn Bailey. I would posit that the mutant cyborg in fact broke them out of Sinister’s Orphanage. The implication of this would be that they came to be in Mr. Sinister’s Orphanage, because he had their mother Sara Grey killed as was his standard method for dealing with parents of mutant children who came into his possession.

This would also finally explain why Mr. Sinister was so desperate in The End to mix the DNA of either Gambit or Scott with one of the Grey women. Claremont finally let slip here that it is Grey DNA that has ever been the focus of his interest – and not necessarily that of the Summers line.

But why does Sinister keep trying to mix Summers DNA with Grey DNA?

Because in my own little universe he is in fact the bastard son of Katherine Anne Summers, since the term SINISTER is the family mark of illegitimacy.

This revelation would be a more intellectually satisfying fix to the whole issue of Scott and Alex having another brother, but also perfectly resolves the motives behind Mr. Sinister’s scheming with regard to the Summers line.

As mentioned above, upon sampling the power of the Phoenix, Sinister becomes obsessed with acquiring control of it.

Given Claremont’s revelation that Mr. Sinister was the supervillain identity of Cyclops’ friend Nathan from the Orphanage as shown in Classic X-Men #41-2 – whose mutant power restricted him to age one year for every 10 of everybody else – I would posit that he took the long range view of needing to father a child upon Jean which he would then clone and transfer his consciousness into so he could possess a body capable of possessing the phoenix power.

However, realising that Jean would be past child-bearing age by the time he was physically mature enough to perform the deed himself – given he would not become an adult for another 50 years due to his anti-ageing power – he recognised the necessity of finding someone as close to his genetic signature as possible in order that his plan could still proceed.

The closest genetics would only be found in a brother; hence why he set about ensuring his half-brother Scott Summers was transferred to “his” Orphanage.

What a tremendous stroke of luck then that the Shi’ar stole Scott’s parents away thus saving him the need to have them killed.

Or did he have some deal going with the Shi’ar Empire?

But I digress…

Given Alex Summers contained the ability to house immense volumes of cosmic energy, as Havok, it would go without saying that Scott’s genes would carry the same potential as well.

By manipulating Scott to father Jean’s offspring, he would then steal the child away to his Orphanage, clone it, after which he would impose his consciousness upon the clone and thus possess the ability through which to wield the phoenix power.

He doesn’t anticipate Jean being killed on the Moon, however.

When this reality becomes apparent to him, instead of abandoning his plans, he instead accelerates the growth of her clone Madelyne, and sends her out to seduce Scott to hatch his designer baby.

Upon the birth of Scott and Madelyne’s son, the fates conspire to be in Sinister’s favour, providing him the opportunity needed to send his Marauders to assassinate the child’s mother, steal the child and cover his tracks all at the same time.

His success is only fleeting, however, since Inferno ignites and young Nathan Christopher is stolen from him by N’astirh’s demons before he obtains an opportunity to clone the child.

You’ll agree that the above tale resolves numerous major plotlines left dangling by Claremont, including Mr. Sinister’s true motives and the relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth.

However, I’ve discovered another hinted at relationship it could finally resolve, that between Zaladane and Polaris.

Here I would reveal that, like he did with Rick and Trish Bogart who wished to adopt Scott, Mr. Sinister engineered the plane crash Lorna’s parents die in, ensuring she is adopted like his brother Alex Summers.

On a final note, though, did Mr. Sinister successfully clone Scott and Madelyne’s child, and upon Cyclops “killing” him in X-Factor #39, he transfers his conscious into the clone, accelerates its growth, and emerges from the clone tank as Gambit?

Nevertheless, you’d have to agree that this ties up the whole “Gambit as the Third Summers Brother” herring quite brilliantly.

All very interesting then how editorial rewrote things after Claremont’s departure so young Nathan Christopher would be cloned, becoming Stryfe, who would serve as the host for Apocalypse so he could effectively channel the Phoenix Force.

While it appears that Claremont is now taking the alternative path that Mr. Sinister was obsessed with cloning mutants in an effort to ensure the survival of Homo Superior by providing them with identical bodies to transfer their consciousness into when their original bodies began showing signs of early ageing as a result of overuse of their powers (the amoral saviour of mutantkind so to speak), I think my above resolution could have worked just as successfully, if not moreso, to resolve all the dangling plotlines left behind with regard to this character.

But getting back to Mr. Sinister… all that’s needed to finalise this fan-fix is to come up with an intellectually satisfying reason behind his ordering the massacre upon the Morlocks…

Postscript

Before I wrap this up, I believe there is another candidate for the identity of the Third Summers Brother that is RIGHT THERE… and yet “no one sees it, but how in the hell can they MISS it?”

Before being removed from the various X-titles due to a dispute with then editor-in-chief Bob Harras, you’ll recall that Fabian Nicieza introduced the character Adam X the X-Treme with the intention of eventually revealing him as the son of D’Ken and Katherine Anne Summers.

What if said dispute was over Nicieza’s introduction of the Adam X character, when Harras had given him explicit instructions for another character to be revealed as the Third Summers Brother?

It is interesting that when Exodus was first introduced, interviews with both Harras and Scott Lobdell stated the character was one we already knew.

And there was something particularly familiar about the character’s appearance…

…his eyebrows, facial markings and hairstyle indicating a resemblance to the Shi’ar, along with his regally adorned costume.

This all seems to lead to the conclusion that Exodus was originally intended as half-Shi’ar, and the intended son of Emperor D’Ken and Katherine Summers.

However, during his appearance in the X-Force issue of the Fatal Attractions crossover, Nicieza has Warpath imply that the character was a Native American so he can introduce his alternative plot for the identity of the Third Summers Brother.