…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…


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.

47 Responses

  1. Hey man,

    I apologize for not yet replying to your e-mail, which contained (I believe) the same theory delineated above.

    Some very impressive things in it. I confess that I am still having trouble wrapping my brain around all of it. Something is not “clicking” in my head … this is actually why I did not reply to the e-mail.

    Let me ask you to clarify a few things, if I may:

    If Sinister has the blood-and-tissue sample from Jean from almost the very start, why didn’t he just create the Madelyne clone, bing-bang-boom, and then voila, he’s got his host body?

    Can you explain in more detail why Sinister would kill Lorna’s parents? And how does this explain Zaladane? I am sketchy on how that all connects together.

    If Katherine Ann Summers is the mother of Mr. Sinister, then who is his father? What’s the backstory for all of this?

    Those are my questions for now, but I might have some more.

    It’s a fascinating theory. I just want to make sure I am fully understanding it!

    — Jason

  2. Hi Jason,

    Firstly, many thanks for posting and for being the first commenter on my blog:)

    Secondly, like you some things aren’t “clicking” in my head either, but I felt the need to get my post out there in an effort to generate discussion and hopefully develop a more cohesive theory.

    While Sinister procured the blood-and-tissue sample from Jean Grey from the start, you’ll recall his efforts to clone her weren’t entirely successful, with Madelyne not manifesting her same mutant abilities as he had planned for.

    This I would posit is why he then allowed his captive Scott to escape the Orphanage and eventually end up at the X-Mansion.

    We know that he initially planned to unite Jean with Scott, given his own inability to inseminate her due to his mutant ability trapping him in the body of an 8 year old AND Scott’s genetic signature being close enough to his own due to their having the same biological mother.

    However, his plans to kill Jean’s parents and have her transferred back to the Orphanage were prevented by Charles Xavier getting to her first.

    This required him to alter his plan, so using what samples he’d obtained from Jean when he’d examined her as a youth, he instead created a clone of her, planning to use this clone to seduce young Scott when they were both old enough, after which he would take their offspring and impose his consciousness upon it.

    To his disappointment, however, the clone Madelyne does not manifest Jean’s abilities either at birth of puberty, suggesting that an offspring produced between Scott and her would not possess the ability to wield the phoenix power which he wished to acquire.

    And so Sinister orchestrates Scott’s escape, setting him on the path to Xavier’s Mansion, knowing that Jean will fall for him due to their earlier established telepathic psi-link where she comforted him while he was imprisoned at the Orphanage.

    But fate would hamstring Sinister again, with Jean committing suicide at the conclusion of the Dark Phoenix Saga before she and Scott have a chance to properly consummate their relationship.

    Just as Sinister screams out in frustration that all his years of hard work have been for nothing, Madelyne emerges from her clone tank briefly surrounded by a flaming bird.

    Recognising at this moment that his efforts have not been in vain, he immediately sets Madelyne on the path of seeking out Scott whom she will unite with to create the child Sinister will then abduct and impose his consciousness upon.

    As for why Sinister didn’t impose his own consciousness upon the Madelyne clone, firstly recall that Madelyne didn’t initially manifest Jean’s abilities meaning he would have a host body incapable of wielding the phoenix power.

    Secondly, and more importantly, I would suggest there is an unwritten rule in the Marvel Universe that one cannot impose their consciousness permanently on a clone that does not possess a similar genetic signature to their own. Otherwise we’d have seen instances such as Miles Warren discarding his own body for the younger Peter Parker clone and fostering a relationship with Gwen Stacy without her being any the wiser.

    While I’ve not yet figured out why Sinister would kill Lorna’s parents, I feel it is too much of a coincidence that like the Bogarts, her parents die in a plane crash. This would seem to be a signature method by which Sinister removes parent-figures out of the equation so he can snaffle their mutant children up. Not sure how this fits with Zaladane yet, but I expect Claremont intended to get to that at some point.

    While I’m not sure who fathered young Nathan upon Katherine Summers, I don’t think that was the point. I think the point of the revelation in this instance is that Christopher Summers was not the one who passed the mutant gene onto his children, but rather it was their mother.

    I suspect Katherine was young and upon falling pregnant with young Nate, her parents handed the child over to the Orphanage for adoption as many did many during that era in an effort to prevent the shame a bastard child would bring upon the family.

    The other telling hint that Scott and Maddie’s child would become Sinister’s new host is the fact that they named the child Nathan. I would suggest that he planted a post-hypnotic suggestion in them both to ensure they would provide the child with his name to cement the fact that it would be his new body.

    I hope this makes sense,

  3. Thanks, Nate. Yes, that does all make sense. I always liked that bit in X-Factor where Madelyne says that she named “Nathan” after “her father,” but that Scott didn’t like the name because it reminded him of the weird kid from the orphanage. Neither Maddie nor Scott realizing that those two people were in fact one and the same.

    (It does bring up the question, though, of how Maddie’s false memories worked on the micro-level. She was aware of having a father named “Nathan,” but most of her memories were actually Jean’s memories, imported over by the leftover Phoenix Force. She must’ve had some contradictory memories in this case, right? Some provided by Sinister, some provided by Phoenix? Hmm. Any thoughts on this?)

    You’re right, the fact that Sinister was keen to bring Polaris into the Marauders, combined with her parents dying the same way the Bogarts did, is persuasive. What was going on there?

    There is some interesting stuff to be worked out when it comes to Lorna Dane. It’s moot in the present-day Marvel Universe because they did the (stupid, in my opinion) thing of saying she IS Magneto’s daughter, which is so very problematic. But going back to Claremont and pre-Claremont versions of the character, she is fascinating. There is an interesting tidbit dropped by CC in his earliest Shi’ar stuff about how “Erik the Red learned about the X-Men through Lorna. But he did not say how he learned of *her.*” There is something weird there; a never-explained connection between Lorna Dane and the Shi’ar’s undercover agent on Earth (Davon Shakari, or something? Don’t recall his “real” name.) The very fact that, as his super-villain identity, Davon chose “Erik the Red,” is a strange thing. It goes back to when the X-Men met Lorna back circa X-Men #51, and begs the question of how Erik knew about that, and why he chose that as his identity.

    You make that brief but tantalizing comment above about Sinister having some connection to or relationship with the Shi’ar. Perhaps Lorna had a connection to the Shi’ar as well, and Sinister’s interest in her is tied to that … ?

    I don’t know, something to think about perhaps. (I am okay at posing questions about Claremont’s run, but not so good at coming up with these great unified-field theories that patch a bunch of story-holes in one fell swoop. But I do enjoy reading the work of those who do, such as yourself!)

  4. Thanks Jason,
    Yes, I liked in X-Factor how Simonson was working to ensure her plots were aligning with, if not paving the way for, Claremont’s.
    Given how Maddie’s false memories were so deeply entrenched, it always made me wonder whether a being of similar attributes worked their psionic magic upon Wolverine hence my providing the link with him and the early Marauders.
    As for Maddie’s contradictory memories, I’d suggest that given time the phoenix residue would have burned away the lies Sinister had inlaid, but the fact that they hadn’t immediately is testament to the level of his psionic powers.
    That and perhaps Rachel Grey’s arrival in our reality distracted it further.
    As for Sinister’s father, given the later Third Summers Brother plot suggesting D’Ken fathered a son upon Katherine – and Claremont’s 1996 contention during his interview by Tue Sørensen that a lot of his rejected plots, suddenly cropped up in slightly altered forms the 3 years following his departure – did the Emperor order the abduction of the Summers in an effort to reclaim the bastard child, Nathan.
    Yes, what if Lilandra wasn’t the first Shi’ar to make contact with a human?
    What if her brother, D’Ken had met a young Katherine and the pair had a brief tryst?
    Did Deathbird later come to Earth to hunt down the child, but recognising what her arrival meant Sinister used his vast psionic abilities to make her forget her original mission?
    As for why Sinister was keen to bring Polaris into the Marauders, I think it is connected to the never-explained connection between Lorna Dane and Davan Shakari you so rightly recall.
    Before I dig my teeth into this one though, I would firstly suggest that the only convincing explanation for why Davan Shakari provided Lorna Dane with a costume of Shi’ar design was because she herself was half-Shi’ar.
    Now recall that Jean Grey pointed out that the cranial markings on Heather Cameron’s head and the crest of feathers she had manifested suggested she was of Shi’ar royal ancestry. This would seem to suggest that she and her brother Davis (aka. Slipstream) were further candidates of what woulda appear to be some Shi’ar breeding program on Earth.
    Or given the entry from Destiny’s Diary implying that the siblings were “Mothered by War,” does this instead suggest they are the half-Shi’ar offspring of Deathbird’s unnamed sister whom she murdered? Was Heather’s codename Lifeguard meant to clue us in to her mother’s attributes being polar opposites to those of her murderous sister who represented death? But I digress…
    Given my suggestion that Sinister is in fact Shi’ar royalty, does this explain his interest in bringing Polaris into the Marauders? Was this his way of secretly acknowledging her similar Shi’ar heritage? What purpose then behind his imprinting Malice upon her? Was Malice the surviving spirit of the sister Deathbird murdered?
    With regard to Erik the Red learning of Polaris, if she was an offspring of one of the Royal Family by way of a human, was it Sinister that alerted him?
    Was Sinister having the human parents of mutant Shi’ar-hybrids killed in an effort to have them transferred to his Orphanage?
    Does all of this suggest the Shi’ar had some secret breeding program operating on Earth?
    I would suggest definitely and that this has been Claremont’s plan for the X-Men since he began his run.
    Why else make sci-fi components such a principle element of a title about mutants unless you were intending to reveal that mutant powers are not native to Earth?
    I’d posit that Claremont was heading in the direction of revealing that mutant powers were deliberately engineered by elements of the Shi’ar Empire in an effort to create a secret defence against some impending unimaginable menace?
    What that unimaginable menace is I’m not sure, but could it be what made the inhabitants of the M’Kraan Crystal abandon their city?
    As you can probably tell by now this blog appears to be the perfect vehicle for me to begin generating discussions in an effort to come up with much more elaborate unified-field theories. In isolation it’s much harder to come up with the diamonds, but when others begin picking up on additional questions, this provides me with the necessary inspiration to trigger my diamond-splitting talents! Thanks again.

  5. Hey! You have edited your comment! That last stuff about mutants being the result of a Shi’ar breeding program is not in the one I got in my e-mail!

    I was going to ask, how did Sinister recognize or find out that Scott and Alex were his half-brothers? But I guess if you are positing that he has psi-powers, that wouldn’t be too hard for him.

    Shi’ar conspiracies … interesting stuff, indeed! Polaris is half-Shi’ar … which half? Which is to say, which parent? Is Zaladane half–Shi’ar as well?

    Can Lorna’s being half-alien tie into an explanation for the new and different powers she developed after Zaladane stole her magnetic abilities in Unc 250?

    So why are Shi’ar folk so damn fond of the Summers clan? D’Ken got it on with Katherine, then Lorna pretty much fell for Alex Summers at first sight. I wonder if there is some fluke of the Summers’ genetics that makes them broadcast on the right psychic frequency to attract Shi’ar’s. I bring this up as part of a possible explanation for why Scott’s powers were the only ones capable of hurting Mr. Sinister — himself a psychically-projected avatar for Nathan.

    I suppose Sinister could have alerted Shakari to the existence of Lorna, but it strikes me as also possible that Shakari was simply keeping tabs on Lorna because he knew she was a Shi’ar. If he was an intelligence operative, he could have had access to the names of the Shi’ar half-breeds on earth.

    (I am going off your implication that Lorna was one of many. Who were the others? Hmm, maybe Vertigo was one of them, and that’s why Sinister went all the way to the Savage Land to recruit her … Maybe it’s anyone with green hair!)

    Fascinating stuff. So under this theory, Lilandra is Mr. Sinister’s … aunt?

    The mind boggles!

    • Yes Jason I made a slight adjustment!
      Did Sinister come to understand his heritage quite early and set up the Orphanage as a way station to acquire bloodlines of interest to the Shi’ar before they came back for them, as they usually do through typical alien abduction scenarios? Hence he would have had Davan Shakari under surveillance.
      As for which half of Polaris – and perhaps Zaladane – are Shi’ar, not enough has been revealed to clue us in to this, but can you recall whether the sister and mother of Deathbird were ever shown on panel as their appearances might provide a clue?
      Perhaps you’re correct that Lorna’s ability to take on “new and different powers” is tied to this. If so, it would also suggest the Genoshans had access to the technology required to enable this, given Jenny Ransome initially using telekinetic powers against Psylocke despite later demonstrating tank-like physical strength. Recall the Genoshans switched powers of their mutates in response to those abilities required to serve the states needs.
      I’d suggest the Shi’ar are fond of the Summers clan for their ability to store and channel cosmic energy, just like Abdol Ahmet, the Living Pharaoh was.
      I’m not sure about their ability to broadcast the required energy to attract Shi’ars but it is certainly worth contemplating further, but tying this into Sinister’s destruction is a cogent effort.
      Given the later alliance showcased between Sinister and the Shi’ar Chancellor in X-Men: The End, he possibly was an earth agent for Shakari, but his personality doesn’t suggest he would be someone else’s tool for an extended period of time.
      Yes, I was suggesting that Lorna was one of many, with Heather and Davis Cameron being other candidates.
      Was the Shi’ar royal bloodline weakening through millennia of interbreeding and they were marrying other cultures genetically in an effort to strengthen their genetic pool with the aim of being able to wield the phoenix power themselves and finally gain control over the power of the M’Kraan Crystal?
      Perhaps Vertigo is another candidate as you point out, but then we’d have to further explain some connection between the Shi’ar and the prehistoric reserve that is the Savage Land.
      I wonder if it all goes back to that competition the Skrulls started between the Kree and Cotati. It always seemed odd to me that there wasn’t some Shi’ar involvement given the prominence as a galactic empire.
      I guess an implication of all this is, yes, Lilandra as Mr. Sinister’s aunt.
      The mind certainly does boggle.

  6. I’m really getting sucked in by this. Curse you, Nate! Your theories have my mind in a whirl.

    The Genoshans having access to Shi’ar technology kind of makes sense. Madelyne said that their technology looked familiar, which was because their creche was almost identical to Sinister’s. And if Sinister is Shi’ar, then it makes sense that Genoshans’ is as well. Why else would they look alike?

    But then, how did they get access to that tech?

    A connection to the Shi’ar and the Savage Land? Hmmm. I’m reminded of that Tom Strong story in which aliens took an old city in the 1800s and just kidnapped the entire thing. They experimented on the people and the vegetation, then put the city back 100 years later — as the first step in an invasion plan. The inhabitants of the city were unaware that 100 years had passed. For them, it had been one night.

    Could the Savage Land be a slice of earth that the Shi’ar stole during prehistoric times and then put it back years later, and this is why it doesn’t “match” the rest of the world? Is there something about it that attracts the Shi’ar hybrids, like Vertigo and Zaladane?

    Alternate theory that doesn’t really dovetail: What if ALL the Marauders are Shi’ar half-breeds, and this is why Sinister recruited them? Too silly? I don’t know. I don’t have the knack for this that you have.

    The sister and mother of Deathbird? I don’t know. I only know Deathbird from her X-Men appearances, which are few and far between. Is her mother not Lilandra’s mother? Are you referring to a sister other than Lilandra?

    Did you read Classic X-Men #43? That is the story in which it is implied that a lot of the coincidental connections between the Shi’ar and the X-Men were pre-ordained (by Phoenix, or perhaps by a higher power) specifically so that — “at the proper time and the proper place” — Jean would be there, as Phoenix, to counter and contain the M’Kraan crystal. Everything, going all the way back to Scott and Alex’s parents getting kidnapped — happened for this purpose. How does that resonate with you and your theory?

    This is great fun. I’m glad you invited me to comment!

  7. Glad you’re getting sucked in. Feel free to invite others to join in or point people my way in one of your reviews.
    Given the possibility of Shi’ar tech in Genosha, as well as Sinister’s lab, could Madelyne’s familiarity with the technology suggest its components are relational to the Reavers’ computer she drove while the X-Men were based in the Australian Outback?
    We’ve not had an intellectually satisfying theory for the origins behind this computer, but I think this connection finally provides one.
    As for how the Genoshans got hold of the tech, did the Shi’ar bargain their technology with the Genoshans and numerous other world governments in exchange for access to a pool of human guinea pigs to impregnate? Much like the Sons of God described in the Book of Enoch.
    As for the Savage Land, given Sinister’s interest in Polaris and her supposed sister being based there and the fact that one of his recruits is a clone of one of the Mutates, this would seem to suggest some connection, however, I always entertained an alternative theory that when the Cotati are sent to the moon by the Skrulls to compete with the Kree, they don’t so much create the wonderful jungle, but rather resurrect the Moon’s past life (which was once part of the Earth). This jungle is perhaps where Moon Boy (that name makes so much sense if he lived there) and Devil Dinosaur frolicked. I’d then suggest that the aliens the pair encountered in Kirby’s original series were the Kree, pissed that they had lost the competition. Then some other aliens, perhaps the Shi’ar, secretly transport this jungle to a hidden place in Antarctica, to preserve it from destruction where it becomes the Savage Land, and to use it as a base out of which some of their initial experiments began.
    Could the Shi’ar’s initial experiments there have resulted in the Neo, who became too powerful for their masters, and so they placed them in suspended animation, or M’Rin’s dimension?
    The idea of ALL the Marauders being Shi’ar half-breeds is interesting, though I don’t like the implications entirely, since that would make Wolverine so as well. However, there is a precedent for it with Fang of the Imperial Guard so maybe.
    For still unknown reasons, Deathbird killed both her mother and her older sister, resulting in the Shi’ar throne immediately defaulting to her brother, D’Ken, as he was third in line for it. She forfeited her right as soon as she performed this heinous act. I suspect their murders ties into this overall plot. It certainly gets more intriguing the further one digs, doesn’t it?
    I did read Classic X-Men #43 back in the day, and it certainly seemed as though events were conspiring to unite Scott and Jean, which is interesting since also appears to be where Sinister’s goals were heading.
    In Uncanny X-Men #239, I recollect his observing young Nathan Christopher and referring to some GAME coming together.
    Who was his challenger?
    Given Sinister’s orchestration of events to unite the genes of Jean with his sleeper Scott, was his opponent in this game the Shadow King who was alternatively manipulating events to unit the genes of Jean with Logan in order to bring about the birth of Rachel Grey whom he would use as a host body in order to effectively wield the phoenix power? Recall in Uncanny X-Men 384, when Tullamore Voge attacks Phoenix (Jean) and Wolverine on the Astral Plane he temporarily turns them into hounds. Voge is a slave trader, and he told Jean and Logan that their offspring would have a skyrocketing, extreme price on the slave market. In the background there were illusionary images of Logan and Jean in…intimate poses. As you may recall, Rachel was the best hound. period. Ahab considered her to be his “favourite hound”. Her telepathy made her such a superb tracker that Rachel became the prototype for the hound program. Aside from her telepathy, Rachel may have also been the best hound because if Logan is her father, then she may have inherited his animal keen senses, which is a useful ability for tracking, especially familiar scents, since she often led Ahab to her friends and family to be killed by one of his energy harpoons.
    Then there is the famous hint that occurs earlier in Uncanny X-Men Annual 14, where Ahab turned Cyclops (and Sue Richards) into his hounds, to track down Rachel. Cyclops was unable to find her. This surprised Ahab, who always thought that hounds can easily track down their blood relatives. This hint does not necessarily allude to Wolverine being Rachel’s father, though it does hint that Cyclops is not her father.
    I would also throw in the example of Logan gutting Rachel in Uncanny #207. Logan’s teammates saw it as him appointing himself the keeper of the X-Men’s conscience. But isn’t it a perfect painting of a child walking in her father’s footsteps while her father is desperate to prevent her from making the same mistakes he did? Why did Logan respond so strongly to everything Rachel went through, while Cyclops was barely affected? The ol’ “Scott’s lame” theory doesn’t explain enough. Why did one man respond on an instinctive level to Rachel while the other barely noticed her as “the new girl”.
    But now? Now there’s no question.
    Most recently, in Uncanny #451, Rachel says about Logan, “I called him ‘Old Man’, Bishop… because in the best sense of the words… that’s what he is to me.”
    Now consider how Caliban was chosen as the First Hound solely based on his ability to psionically sense and track other mutants, while also recalling how Rachel’s mutant tracking ability was the determining factor in her being selected as a candidate for the Hound process. If those intended as Hounds all have tracking abilities, it perhaps makes further sense if Logan is Rachel’s father, since the intention of the Weapon X program he was a subject of was to create a new breed of Sentinel, part-mutant, part-metal, brainwashed and trained to hunt down and kill other mutants. This would suggest that Wolverine and Sabretooth were the initial “hound” prototypes, and makes it even more interesting that Mr. Sinister chose ‘Tooth as one of his Marauders.
    This certainly is great fun. I’m glad you took up my invite!

  8. Also recall that Sinister has a base hidden underneath Genosha. As Chris Claremont revealed in “X-Men The End”. I believe it originally would have been revealed in his Xavier/Mangeto Excalibur series.

    • Thanks for dropping by David. Great that you could make it.
      Yes, I recall reading that Sinister had a base under Genosha, but by this stage the character had an entirely different origin to the one originally proposed by Claremont. Do you think he’d have revealed this tidbit during his original X-Men run though? Would he reveal Sinister as having much more involvement in the Genoshan state? I’m not so sure.
      However there is something certainly afoot when you consider the similarities between the crib Madelyne observed while the team were there and the clone tank she herself emerged from.
      It’s such a pity Madelyne got aced before she had the chance to put together all her suspicions, since I’m certain if she had she’d have figured to include the Reavers’ Computer among her determined list of analogous Shi’ar technologies.

  9. Okay, I have a much more prosaic take on the Reavers’ computer system and the mystery surrounding it. To me, the mystery was satisfactorily explained, even if the plot never came to fruition.

    In the early Outback era, the X-Men are saying that they wonder where the Reavers and their hardware came from. Later, Pierce refers to them as “his original Reavers” (whereas Cole, Macon and Reese are his latter-day Reavers). So, Pierce built them, and their computers.

    Why did the computers seem to be alive in the latter part of the Outbreak era? Because Nastirh and Madelyne put a spell on them. Havok says in issue 240 that “Madelyne must have made some modifications without me” because the computers can now locate the Marauders, whereas before they couldn’t. From what I can see, this was part of Madelyne’s deal with the devil. She told Nastirh at the end of 239, “I want the Marauders found, so they can pay for what they’ve done.” Then in 240, the X-Men use the computers and locate the Marauders. So, the demons did it.

    The computers were not alive from the start. Remember, in issue 252 or 253, one of the Reavers (Bonebreaker, I think) is using the computers and says that they have changed since the last time he used them. Some of the components seem alive, and it is freaking Bonebreaker out. So they couldn’t have been that way from the start.

    Thus, Pierce built the computers; Nastirh altered them into something beyond machinery.

    Your take on Rachel as Logan’s daughter instead of Scott’s is fantastic, Nate. I knew there was a reason I always liked that theory, but could never express why. (For what it’s worth, Claremont has said that the clue in UX Annual 14 was to imply that Logan was the father, but instead that Rachel was a miraculous conception — born of Jean, who was impregnated by the Phoenix Force itself.)

    But I like the Wolverine theory better, and thanks to you I now realize why. Brilliant!

    So if the Shi’ar had this secret history of covert action on Earth, why was Lilandra not aware of it? I assume she couldn’t have known. There’s no way she could’ve been keeping it a secret from a telepathic lover, is there?

    • While I understand that Donald Pierce cyborgised Cole, Macon and Reese, I don’t recollect it ever being stated that he built the “original Reavers”. I was under the impression that Pierce joined them after Bonebreaker sought him out to assist in rebuilding himself, Pretty Boy and Skullbuster after their humiliating defeat in Uncanny #229.
      You cogently point out that Madelyne had made some modifications, and I’d completely forgotten about N’astirh tweaking them as part of her bargain.
      However, would you put down its ability to self-repair as a result of this?
      The computer had some bloody extensive capabilities from the beginning, and while the original Reavers had reasonable technical skills, I don’t believe they were quite that advanced, otherwise repairing themselves would have been a cinch.
      While Claremont later suggested that he intended to reveal that Rachel had been conceived by Jean and the Phoenix Force, I just don’t believe him.
      Recall that the Phoenix Force was only shown as a separate entity when Stern & Byrne brought Jean back.
      Prior to this Claremont had intended the Phoenix to just be the ultimate manifestation of Jean’s mutant abilities, and mutant powers are unlikely to impregnate their vessel.
      I’d suggest Chris only came up with the “immaculate conception” idea after Jean was reintroduced in X-Factor and was not his original plan.
      While he might have suggested the clue in Annual 14 was meant to imply the “miraculous conception” the following story in that annual has Rachel specifically seeking out Logan for what would slyly appear to be approval for her relationship with Franklin and absolution for her earlier actions with Selene. Another example of a daughter seeking her father’s approval!
      As for Lilandra being aware of a secret history of covert action on Earth by the Shi’ar, I’d suggest she was totally aware and had been actually sent as a scout to monitor Charles Xavier after he united all humanity psychically to stay the Z’Nox invasion.
      There has always been something rather unsavoury about Lilandra.
      Recall the revelation during The End that Lilandra’s gift of Shi’ar technology to X-Men’s Mansion was actually a “Trojan horse” as part of her plan to destroy the X-Men once and for all.
      What I never understood is how, if the Phoenix is the legendary guardian of the M’Kraan Crystal, as stated in the Dark Phoenix Saga, why did Lilandra give the order to eradicate the lineage of the Phoenix in End of Greys?
      What if the big secret is that the M’Kraan Crystal had already been tampered with, and D’Ken was actually trying to put things back? And was it this tampering that put Lilandra on the throne and gave them their empire. Remember we only have Lilandra’s word that he was “tampering” and when one considers her acts listed above it’s not so much of a leap.
      Or is there something else going on? During Classic X-Men #14, Xavier’s initial contact with Lilandra showed him seemingly “forcing himself” upon her in a way not inspiring readers to consider it “love at first sight”. The accompanying text stated that he had violated her privacy, and she in fact seemed to be programmed to feel devotion towards him after this initial encounter. In effect, I guess, Xavier “created” an ally.
      But if Charles had been influencing Lilandra all this time, and she had donated Shi’ar technology to be used like a “trojan horse” within the X-Men’s Mansion to lobotomise Phoenix (as manifested in Jean Grey) once and for all, why on earth would he enable this?
      Getting back to Deathbird, given she showed up in Ms. Marvel directly after the Cavourite Crystals, and the fact that the items weren’t given a proper origin by Claremont, were they actually shards taken from the M’Kraan as part of the abovementioned tampering?
      With my above suggestion that D’Ken was actually trying to put things back with the M’Kraan crystal (and it was the tampering that put Lilandra on the Shi’ar throne and gave them their empire), and the fact that Viper coerced the motorcycle stunt riding Team America to later steal the Cavourite crystals from A.I.M., was Deathbird following A.I.M.’s orders in Ms. Marvel #9 in an effort to get her hands on the shards in an effort to whisk them back to the Shi’ar Empire so they could be used to repair the M’Kraan crystal?
      I also seem to recall that it seemed as though one of these Cavourite crystal was housed in the ring Phat Karma was shown wearing on the cover of New Mutants #34. Was this all pointing to the Shadow King having some long term plan for controlling the M’Kraan crystal?
      What’s really bizarre about all this, is that the Shadow King only appeared to gain possession of Karma after Team America managed to steal the Cavourite from A.I.M.
      To add further confusion, go back and look at the panel with featuring Farouk and Xavier’s pitched battle on the Astral Plane in Uncanny #117. Farouk wears armour with a phoenix insignia on his helmet, shown even more prominently on the cover of Classic X-Men #23.
      We’re really covering some ground now!

  10. Oh my gosh! Nathan! Did you post a lot of these theories to another message board years ago? I read all those posts, relatively recently. I actually saved a bunch of those posts to my hard drive, because they were so fascinating and because I wanted to look over them in more detail later on.

    I had no idea you were that same guy! But I remember your theory about D’Ken and Deathbrid being the real “good guys” and Lilandra’s agenda being sinister. (As opposed to her *nephew* being Sinister.) I remember you cited the fact that in X-Me #277, we learn that Xavier actually telepathically SOS’d Deathbird rather than Lilandra.

    My problem with this theory, though, is the very story you bring up: Classic X-Men #14. Lilandra seems fairly noble in this story, and D’Ken is both a nasty chap (he did murder Kate Summers years earlier, after all) and the one in power. Why would he be the one trying to “set things right”? He is the emperor and apparently always was, while Lilandra is powerless. Your theory has a compelling “everything you thought you knew was a lie” quality to it (very Alan Moore-ish!). But I find it hard to get behind given that Lilandra was portrayed as the underdog in most of her appearances.

    Regarding the Reavers, Donald Pierce refers to Bonebreaker, Pretty Boy and Skullbuster as “MY original Reavers.” I’ll be sure to note that quote when I re-read it for the review on Geoff’s blog. I’m pretty sure it’s issue 253. It always read as a good implication that he built them, and that he built them BEFORE he created Cole, Macon and Reese. (Which raises the question of WHEN exactly he did this, and why? Was it before he joined the Hellfire Club?)

    Did the computers in the Reavers’ hideout ever self-repair pre-“Inferno”? My recollection is that the computer was just talked about as a really sophisticated computer, in the early issues. It wasn’t until “Inferno” and afterward that we got the computer self-repairing, and murmurs that it might be alive. (Again, note that Bonebreaker says in issue 252 that the system has been altered since the last time HE used it. So a lot of the computer’s weird elements were not in place when the Reavers first occupied the base.)

    That’s a good point about the immaculate-conception thing being unlikely at the start, since Claremont never intended the Phoenix force to be a separate entity. Still, I have never heard him say that he ever intended Logan to be Rachel’s real father. Don’t get me wrong, I *love* the idea. I already liked it before, and your ruminations on it have only made me warm to the concept more. I just wonder if it was ever Claremont’s intention. I don’t think he’ll ever admit it if it was!

    Hey, have you read the 1960s X-Men stories? I had this thought the other day, thanks to our conversations: In the original first appearance of Lorna, she is one of many people called to Mesmero’s hideout by a telepathic signal. She and the others are referred to as “the latent mutants.” Later, we learn that Mesmero’s whole plan to collect these “latents” was actually the plan of a robot-duplicate of Magneto.

    What if those latent mutants are the Shi’ar hybrids? We were never told (except in an Official Handbook, I think) who created the Magneto robot and why. Perhaps it was created by Shakari or Sinister, specifically programmed to seek out a telepath (Mesmero) and broadcast a signal on the right frequency to collect the Shi’ar hybrids.

    This would explain why, when the Sentinels are reactivated only five issues later and called upon to collect mutants, they seem to go after every known mutant (which was only two dozen back in the Silver Age), but they ignore all those “latent mutants” from the Mesmero story. It’s because the “latents” are not really mutants, they are alien hybrids.

    I never connected Farouk’s helmet with the Phoenix emblem. I have to go back and look at that. Fascinating! And the idea that the crystal from the AIM story is a shard from the M’Kraan crystal is intriguing as well. How did it get to Earth?

    • Yes Jason that was me posting back about 5 years ago. I’ve since lost my original files after my previous hard drive went belly up so would appreciate if you could forward those you have onto me:)
      With regard to Lilandra, perhaps Charles contacting Deathbird over her was related to his time with the Starjammers and discovering that she wasn’t as noble as she projected. However, it was also later revealed that Xavier contacted Deathbird due to Skrull infiltration.
      Was Lilandra altogether innocent in this coup though given her later use of Warskrulls in The End?
      Thanks for the Alan Moore comparison. The clues make me wonder whether Lilandra’s “underdog” status was part of her cover! Recall she would do ANYTHING for her beloved Empire and that might include eradicating the threat of those capable of pushing back an alien invasion with their minds. Had she manipulated Charles to think he had made her his ally?
      With regard to the Reavers I do recall Donald Pierce referring to making Bonebreaker, Pretty Boy and Skullbuster of “sterner stuff” in issue 253. What I don’t get is that if he enhanced them first, why did we not become aware of them much sooner? It is strange that his later Reavers, Cole, Macon and Reese are shown as cyborgs much earlier than the original trio. And why were they just petty thieves? If they were his agents, why had they not gone after our mutants much earlier? It seemed the only reason they finally did was due to our heroes’ interference with their criminal activities.
      And if Pierce could build such a sophisticated computer on his lonesome, how is it that his original Reavers were beaten so badly by our mutants?
      I’ll admit the whole self-repairing aspect sounds more like Master Mold.
      In addition, the scenes between Bonebreaker and Pierce in issue 252 suggest that Pierce was quite ignorant about how the computer worked, referring to Bonebreaker as the expert in its operation, so this would seem to imply that he had nothing to do with its construction.
      In addition to Bonebreaker stating that “the system had been altered since the last time HE used it”, Pretty Boy and Skullbuster earlier note that the network of tunnels have also been altered.
      I think the question that needs answering here is where Pierce obtained the technology to build this computer, since it was obviously more advanced than the components he was using to build his Reavers, even before the tampering by Madelyne and N’astirh?
      The other element we’ve overlooked is just how immense the Reavers’ base is. It contains highly advanced technology and a massive underground complex, analogous to the underground complexes of the X-Mansion and Sinister’s Orphanage and Genoshan base. There are certainly similarities, and when you consider how the primary component of technology within the X-Mansion is Shi’ar, it’s not difficult to adduce the same for these other complexes now is it?
      While Claremont never said he intended Logan to be the father of Rachel, he’s a commercial writer so is not going to disclose elements of a story which he claims he has had a plan for from day one so some other writer can steal it now is he!
      One primary example of his “feinting east and striking west” is in regard to his origin for Mystique. Claremont has repeatedly stated in interviews that Raven was born a biological female, yet he tripped himself up on Comixfan back in 2003, stating that: “Mystique abandoned him [Nightcrawler] because she was totally freaked by this indigo-furred creature with ‘deformed’ appendages and a forked tail! At that point, Mystique had no idea (s)he was a mutant, or a metamorph; (s)he simply reacted as many normal folks would in similar circumstances.”
      Now during Chris’s X-Men: True Friends limited series, set in Edinburgh, Scotland in the year 1936, Mystique is portrayed working alongside Logan and Irene Adler as a MAN called “Raven”.
      If Mystique was not aware that (s)he was a mutant until AFTER Kurt’s birth, as Claremont above claims, and was portrayed as a male in 1936, the implication of all this is that Raven Darkholme was born a MALE and DID NOT metamorph into a female until after he impregnated Destiny.
      And I think you’re right, I don’t think he’ll ever admit to it if it is.
      Upon reading Lee & Ditko’s first “Mutants” story, I had briefly entertained the idea that Mesmero had been the mutant who had summoned Tad Carter.
      I’d suggest that Claremont intended to reveal that the Magneto robot who summoned the “latents” did so on behalf of Shakari whose later recruiting of the real Magneto and Polaris was meant as a major hint toward this. So yes, I agree that Claremont intended to reveal Shakari as the one who programmed the Magneto-robot to seek out Mesmero for signalling the Shi’ar hybrids.
      If we accept all this though (that Shakari consequently recruited Polaris and Havok due to their obvious connections with the Shi’ar), would we need to further accept his recruiting Magneto suggest the master of magnetism is a Shi’ar hybrid as well?
      Also interesting that Shakari restored Magneto’s age before Sinister got a chance to get his clutches into the infant!
      And I totally agree that Claremont’s following Sentinel tale where they overlooked those “latent mutants” from the Mesmero story was meant to suggest that they were Shi’ar hybrids.
      With regard to Farouk’s helmet with the Phoenix emblem, I’ve emailed you two .jpg’s.
      Oh, and I’d posit that perhaps the Cavourite crystal got to Earth by way of Shakari. Or was it Lilandra?

  11. Thanks for the pics! You’re right … it is particularly blatant on the new Classic cover by Art Adams, which is pretty telling. (But of what?)

    My problem with using “The End” as evidence is that it is so far after everything else. I don’t know how much of it can really be integrated well into the original 1974-1991 run. Scott and Emma are still marred in “The End,” and Cassie Nova is the major villain, etc. etc.

    Re: Donald Pierce, I sort of had the notion in my mind that he created the original Reavers just as an experiment. He wanted to see if he could do it. So he did it, and then he just let them loose into the world, but told them, “I may come back for you someday. And when I do, you’d best fall in line. I made you, I can break you.”

    That’s what I concocted in my own head, at any rate.

    Perhaps the computer was built thanks to the resources of the Hellfire Club. Pierce seemed to have gone renegade by the time of the New Mutants graphic novel, and he is captured and detained by the Hellfire Club at the end of that story. Pierce isn’t even in the second Hellfire story (in X-Men 151 and 152) although two of his cyborgs are.

    I like the idea that Mystique started as a man … except! Tt raises the question as to why she reverts to the blue-female form when knocked unconscious and such. If that is not her “real” form, then why is it her default even when she is not awake? And as I think you noted on those old forums, Destiny as Nightcrawler’s mother is weird because why then was she never as interested in Nightcrawler’s well-being as Mystique always was?

    Why would Shakari or Lilandra have brought a shard of the crystal? Hmm, could it be that it was brought to earth earlier? Was, in fact, used in the Shi’ar experimentations on humans that led to mutants?

    Here’s something else I was tooling around with today while bored at work. I was playing with that idea that all the Marauders are Shi’ar hybrids. You said you didn’t like that because it made Sabretooth and Wolverine part Shi’ar. I agree, I don’t like that either..

    But what if Sabretooth was not a hybrid, but WAS a result of genetic engineering by the Shi’ar? Say that, before they decided to “seed” the human race with an x-factor that led to mutation at birth, they played with mutating ADULT human specimens. Suppose most of these specimens died, but the only time it worked led to a man becoming Sabretooth?

    This means that Sabretooth is not a true “mutant” (not born with the x-gene), and thus neither is Wolverine, having inherited his powers from the altered genes passed down to him by Sabretooth. This would explain why the techie tells Steven Lang that Wolverine doesn’t read as a mutant (“His readings are nothing like the others”), and why Magneto’s mutant-power-dampening field didn’t entirely work on Wolverine in issue 150 (recall that Wolverine could still smell Cyclops, even though he couldn’t recognize who it was, he still “smelled” a man lurking around — and Wolverine didn’t seem to feel any ill effects from his adamantium, which implies that the dampening field also didn’t get rid of Wolverine’s healing factor.)

    So Sabretooth and Wolverine would not be mutants, but they also are not aliens. But by the same token, Sabretooth would still be Shi’ar handiwork, and thus of interest to Sinister.

    Also, it is possible that the Shi’ar’s success with Sabretooth led to them going back home and using the same process on one of their own, which is what led to Fang.

    I say no to Magneto being a hybrid. Magneto’s a bit sacrosanct to me. I prefer his origin to be the pure one, unsullied by too many sci-fi elements — until X-Men #1, of course. (I even reject canonical stuff in this case. To this day, I do not accept that Quicksilver and Wanda are his children. He had one child, Anya, who died, and that is his tragic story. I will never accept otherwise!!!)

    I once wondered whether Claremont wanted to reveal that Shakari actually WAS Mesmero. In an early X-Men issue, there is a panel which shows Shakari out of his helmet, but his head is in shadow. As if he was supposed to be *somebody*. And Shakari had the same power as Mesmero — hypnotism. (But then so do a lot of X-Men villains, I suppose …) If this was the case, it must’ve been thrown out quickly, as Mesmero shows up to put the X-Men in a carnival later, and he is obviously NOT Erik the Red.

    Anyway, now I prefer the idea that Shakari created the Magneto android and manipulated Mesmero into broadcasting the signal to collect the Shi’ar hybrids.

    Then again, an alternate theory is that Sinister was the one who made the robot. And all the people who responded to Mesmero’s clarion call (including Lorna) were actually soon-to-be Marauders! This would be interesting — the plan in that original X-Men story was that Mesmero manipulated Lorna’s mind, coercing her into agreeing to become a villain. The X-Men foiled the plan, but eventually Sinister tried his plan again, using Malice. And this time, it worked!

    God, this is addicting!

    — Jason

  12. As for the Australian computer, it was shown with bizarre, half-human organs connected to it’s circuitry before “Inferno”. As soon as Madelyne Pryor began tinkering with it, you could tell from the artwork that something strange was going on with it. It is another subplot by Chris Claremont which remains unresolved.

    As for the concept that Sinister having his base underneath Genosha, I think the implications are intriguing. Claremont put it there on purpose. Sinister would have had an entire nation of mutants to use for his experiments and genetic testing. I think CC was setting Sinister up as the main adversary in “Excalibur” with Magneto and Charles Xavier on Genosha. Unfortunately, the series didn’t last anywhere near long enough to reveal this.

    Personally, I still think the Phoenix Force and Jean Grey are the true parents to our spirited Rachel Summers. I suspect Claremont liked the obvious “God/Jesus Christ” connection and would have revealed it eventually in “Excalibur”. As he was setting it up with Moira MacTaggert. It’s amusing all these interesting plots Claremont sets up, and so many never get delivered upon. We have to find them out in interviews and the like.

    • David kindly reminded me of those pics, but what they allude to I’m unsure, but it’s not there for no reason.
      This has got me to thinking whether Jean was necessarily the only one able to wield the phoenix power. When considering Xavier’s effort to unite every human mind to repel the Z’Nox, was this the trigger? If Jean had the Phoenix gene – if there is such a thing – surely the Shi’ar would have showed up at her birth. It certainly seemed to be more complicated than that – and I would posit that contact with the phoenix force happened only in the context of the team. A complicated point – but for all of Rachel’s horrible future life and all the stress there – once again she only begins to get in touch with the Phoenix in the context of the X-Men. And Chris and John’s original idea for the sentence of the Shi’ar on Dark Phoenix was to nullify all her mutant powers – remove her from the group. Why?
      A satisfactory answer would be that there is no Phoenix gene, nor combination of genes. The Phoenix is not activated easily – the Shi’Ar know about it, but the Kree, Skrullls etc. don’t. Verrrrry rare. So rather than just old ‘Earth is Special thing, the context is that it takes a certain critical mass of the Genetic Weapon to access the Phoenix power. The X-Men, in this case, is the gun, and Jean was the firing pin.
      Think of a global Uni-Mind tapped into the Phoenix power.
      With regard to there being no Phoenix gene and still explaining Rachel’s manifestation of the Phoenix power, I’d take a clue from the way Chris structured Rachel’s story: she was a bloodhound in that alternate history, and nothing else. It was only after long companionship with the X-Men that she showed any signs of accessing the Phoenix power.
      (And, one assumes, that the Shi’Ar, Skrulls and Kree and everyone else would be keeping tabs on li’l Rachel. If there were the least possibility that she might have inherited the Phoenix power, she’d be on an alien dissecting table double quick. A good explanation of why this didn’t happen is that everyone who scanned her came up with nothing – just telekinesis.
      Rachel, like Jean, only started accessing the Phoenix after being around the X-Men.
      If I were doing the comic, I’d explain it visually, using a Qabbalistic tree of Life: every station has to be occupied with a proper ‘mutant’. Once that happens, the Phoenix can appear, which is what occurred in issue 108 when Jean entered the M’Kraan crystal and repaired it. Claremont referred to her as “Tiphareth, child of the sun, child of life, the vision of the harmony of things.” The energy lattice she formed to contain the neutron galaxy was “shaped like the mystic tree of life – with Xavier at its lofty crown and Colossus at its base. Each X-Man has a place, each a purpose greater than himself or herself.”
      Theoretically, the phoenix could jump from member to member.
      The whole thing might explain the interest Lilandra took in Charles Xavier…who also stood at the centre of an ensemble that blew away an entire race…
      (Oh, and the reason that Dark Phoenix arose is that it takes a group mind to deal with it. Jean was doomed from the start. The guilty party in this case would be Xavier, for maintaining a telepathic network among the X-Men, tripping the Phoenix trigger with too small a group.)
      Had the Shadow King previously been part of ancient group of Stygian wizards that had teamed up to use the power, and he became a disembodied wraith?
      David certainly makes some interesting points with regard to the Reavers’ computer. Jason what are your thoughts? Do you think something was going on with it before Inferno now?
      As for the Reavers, I always thought they were an interesting take on non-mutant villains given their being normal humans who became cyborgs, representing one way humanity might develop to combat the “mutant threat”.
      We never learned how Claremont intended Donald Pierce to have obtained his own cybernetic enhancements, but since he was initially conferred the title of the Hellfire Club’s White Bishop, this would seem to suggest that he was brought into the Council by White King, Edward Buckman (cf. Classic X-Men #7), who went on to throw his financial and technological support behind Dr. Stephen Lang’s construction of the third known series of Sentinels.
      I wonder if Buckman was also funded a secret program established by Lang to develop a human equivalent of Weapon X whereby anti-mutant followers would be subjected to cybernetic enhancements in an effort to create human sentinels.
      This would finally explain why Tessa considered Pierce such a threat to the mutant Inner Circle, and promised to deal with him (cf. Marvel Graphic Novel #4).
      Despite Claremont not revealing his origin, I suspect Pierce’s hatred of mutants arose from his losing his arms and legs after an encounter with some unknown mutant, and that he was later approached to become the first candidate for this secret programme. But the program did not proceed as planned, due to Buckman’s life being cut short.
      It is interesting if Donald Pierce was intended as a human Sentinel, why he would attempt to recruit the mutant Cannonball to his side (though I like the idea of finally tying this in to explain Cable’s later interest in Guthrie over the stupid Externals plot).
      But what was Sebastian Shaw doing with a base in Cumberland? Did he orchestrate the accident that lead to Sam’s powers triggering? Did Pierce intend to get hold of Guthrie before Shaw did? Why did Pierce later get imprisoned in the Cumberland base?
      John Byrne’s notes from the latter part of his Uncanny run revealed an upcoming plot involving Cyclops and a new breed of Sentinels. Did Claremont have some plot planned where the X-Men’s closest friends would be revealed as sleeper Sentinels who would attack them from within; Cyclops’ involvement related to his friendship with Misty Knight another human Sentinel candidate?
      So say we have Misty Knight, then Donald Pierce, then Forge, and later down the track Cable. Could each of these individuals secretly be sleeper agents of this secret “Human- or Living- Sentinels” program which Stephen Lang and his anti-mutant faction were responsible for (my theory), where they selected subjects who had sustained physical disabilities from some mutant incident.
      It is interesting that Mojo was at one time revealed as responsible not only for Spiral’s cybernetic arms, but for the bionic transformations of the Reavers, and Psylocke’s bionic eyes so did Claremont intend to reveal him as responsible for Misty Knight and Donald Pierce’s as well?
      What’s also interesting here is that Cameron Hodge was to lead a cadre of Living Sentinels (referred to in the initial solicits for the X-Tinction Agenda) and he had a bath chair almost identical to that of Mojo during this crossover. Were revelations afoot that Mojo and Spiral were responsible for this new line of Sentinels powered by the Transmode Virus?
      Recall that the ectoplasmic residue which covered the X-Men from Longshot’s arrival in the Danger Room was identified by Douglock as having the energy pattern of the Technarch Transmode Virus. This would seem to suggest that Mojoworld was familiar with the Virus.
      Then, when you consider the Genoshans outfitting Hodge with his bath chair and the Genegineer’s Transmodation Process, might this suggest Mojo as being behind the development of the slave state of Genosha? I find this much more convincing than that grotesque oaf Sugar Man.
      With regard to Mystique starting out as a man yet reverting to female form when knocked unconscious, did her ability arise out of the fact that she had the biology of a male but her psychology felt as though she should be female, essentially a transsexual whose mutant abilities emerged to provide her with the capacity to make her dreams a reality.
      As for Irene never showing any particular interest in Kurt, she may have had a bias against males but I did once entertain the idea that his father was the Vanisher, though Claremont’s earlier idea of Nightmare would have been a better match.
      As for what Shakari or Lilandra were doing with a shard of the crystal, I’ll recant that.
      Given the Shadow King’s helmet insignia, had his group somehow obtained it during the Hyborian era. Recall that he did not re-emerge after his death until Team America stole the crystal from A.I.M. Did he have some previous connection with the shard and it provided the trigger which awoke his essence on the astral plane?
      I love the idea of Sabretooth’s engineering finally explaining why Wolverine didn’t read as a mutant and why Magneto’s dampening field didn’t work on him either. Utterly brilliant and nicely explains Sinister’s interest in him.
      Re: Fang it would all depend on whether he was born before or after.
      You’ll note from my blog links how much a fan I am of Claremont’s origin for Magneto, so like yourself am not attracted to the idea of Magneto being a hybrid, and was never happy with the revelation of Wanda and Pietro being his children (though Neal Adams started that ball rolling). But why when Shakari was attempting to recruit Shi’ar hybrids, would he awaken Magneto as well, and use a Magneto android for that matter?
      I do like the idea of he and Mesmero having some connection though, and wonder about a green-skinned mutant summoning a green-haired one.
      I’m not that keen on Sinister being the one who made the robot, but do like the idea with regard to summoning the Marauders. What other mutants did Mesmero attempt to summon?
      And what was the deal with Malice?
      Finally, while I know Claremont later intended Jean/Phoenix/Rachel as the Trinity, this was only after others revealed that the Phoenix was a separate force like Excalibur. From his original story though it was just the ultimate manifestation of Jean’s psionic capabilities.

  13. Very good, though long, post Nathan. You say that Rachel Summers only connected with the Phoenix Force in her time with the X-Men. Specifically manifesting it in the classic Uncanny X-Men 199. However, there is a strong hint that the force which thrust Rachel from her horrific future world, and into our own 616 Earth, was a force of unimaginable power. This is hinted to around Uncanny X-Men 192, as Katherine Pryde (an older Kitty) enters Project Nimrod and sends Rachel headlong into the past. I don’t remember the exact wording but it’s strongly implied the Phoenix sends Rachel back into our timeline. And I assumed it’s Rachel’s own inherent connection with the Phoenix Force which does this job.

    I suspect Rachel was connected with the Phoenix from birth. As was Jean Grey. But it takes an event of extraordinary emotion or stress to bring it out of them. Or even more likely, the Phoenix only surfaces when IT wants to.

    Nathan, I also like your theory on Donald Pierce’s true origin and how he came by those mechanical enhancements. The inclusion of Buckman makes true sense and I definitely agree that Chris Claremont planned more with Buckman’s involvement. Albeit in the past since Buckman died in Classic X-Men.

    You say John Byrne revealed a plot where Claremont created new breed of Sentinels. Do you recall any details about it?

    • Yes, sorry about the long post. You both obviously bring that out in me:)
      Thanks for pointing that out about Rachel. I’ll need to contemplate that further, but I’m sure Jason will have something to say. Perhaps the What If Phoenix hadn’t Died issues might provide a clue.
      Re: Pierce, as you know I’ve had this theory for quite some time, and I expect it was going to be linked with the Sentinels story by Byrne before he unfortunately exited the title. It was going to involve Cyclops and I am sure it had something to do with allies close to some of the individual members, hence my suggestion of Misty Knight. Buckman and Lang’s involvement to me are a given, and I have a post on the pair’s machinations that I’ll be posting up sometime soon.
      Also feel free to provide me with other plot danglers you’re both keen on seeing me tackle and I’ll add them to my list.

  14. David, I don’t suppose you could point to some issues, pages, panels of the Reaver computers pre-“Inferno” that implied they were in some way alive … ? I realize it’s only a handful of issues, and I could just go check them myself, but … well, I am lazy. And in my re-read/review project, I am already past “Inferno.” Again, I am hanging a lot on Bonebreaker in issue 252, saying specifically, “Things have changed since we were last hear. Some of these enhancements almost seem ORGANIC.” Which again, implies that the computers went crazy *after* the X-Men moved in, and that there was nothing about the computers that were alive when the Reavers were there. Why would Bonebreaker be so freaked out at organic materials if the computers were already alive?

    Regarding Rachel … Nathan, I love the idea of the gestalt being necessary for Phoenix to emerge. Tying in the kaballah tree is a great idea, as it was such a centerpiece of the “M’kraan Crystal” climax, and Claremont felt strongly enough about it to use it as the climactic image in “The End.”

    As for the Phoenix being responsible for Rachel’s time-jump … I don’t get this from the flashback in issue 192, necessarily, but that just might be a flaw in my reading. I know that Alan Davis’ story in Excalibur 52 tried to create a unified-field-theory for the Phoenix’s chronology, factoring in all the time-jumping and stuff. It made sense and I like it, even though the details never seem to stick with me. I always have to re-read it to remind myself of how Davis worked it all out. On the bad side, no mention is ever made of a gestalt being required for Phoenix to emerge.

    Death doesn’t mention this either, when he lectures Phoenix in Classic X-Men 43. He says simply that Jean has the power to wield it, as will her descendants. She is like King Arthur to Excalibur. (Clever bit there, retroactively foreshadowing Jean’s “descendant” joining a team called Excalibur.)

    Still, it’s a cool notion.

    Nathan, since you’re taking requests … talk to us about Apocalypse. In the awesome, Claremont-scripted X-Factor issues 65-68, Apocalypse says, “You all knew I was weeding out the weak … but you never asked why.” And then he … doesn’t really answer that question. Not to my satisfaction, at any rate. What was Apocalypse’s “endgame”?

    And who and what are “The Twelve”?

    Also, Wolverine’s skeleton. Who did it? Was it Apocalypse? If so, why … ?

    (I know there are canonical answers to these questions, but how would YOU answer them, based just on Claremont stuff, and material that was contemporary with Claremont’s stuff?)

    • Sorry I can’t remember the panels myself with regard to the Reavers computer. I’ll need to give it some further thought, but would be great if David could recall the particulars, I agree.
      If N’astirh had something to do with the change, was this before or after he’d been transmoded, since this might explain it seeming alive. That is, had it become infected with the Transmode Virus?
      Pierce’s dependence upon Bonebreaker to explain the computer’s operation has me convinced he was not the one responsible for its creation. Given this, who was responsible for its creation?
      Thanks. I thought the Qabbalistic tree was a nice touch that tied it all together nicely and it was there at the start of all this! And it also resolved my issues with the implications of the Z’Nox repulsion not being picked up.
      Re: Rachel’s time-jump I considered it but thought that was a result of Excalibur 52. Perhaps going back and reconsidering is in order, hey David!
      While Davis never mentions a gestalt being required for Phoenix to emerge, while he made an admirable effort, I prefer to ignore others’ work when attempting to resolve Claremont’s danglers and work off the pure source.
      While John Kowalski doesn’t mention the gestalt either, remember this story was written after Jean Grey was resurrected and I expect it was partly Claremont’s attempt to resolve the complication left over as a result of this and was not his original attention.
      You’ll recall the back-up stories in Classic X-Men became a place where Chris cleaned up a lot of continuity, for example he didn’t originally intend Apocalypse to have been responsible for Moses Magnum.
      It looks like I’ll have to move Apocalypse up the list:)
      While I loved the scripting in issues 65-68 of X-Factor, I don’t think Claremont ever intended Apocalypse to have placed the weapon that Jean used to commit suicide. But thanks!
      I’ll not only get to explaining how I would fix Apocalypse’s Endgame, I’ll make sure I cover the Twelve, Apocalypse’s true connection with the Celestials and how the Sentinels might save us from the Fifth Host.
      I’m not sure I’ll include Wolverine’s skeleton in this though, since I was never entirely comfortable with the idea of Apocalypse being responsible for Weapon X, and will never quite understand why people overlooked a certain master of magnetism as possessing the ability to bond metal to bone.
      Do you have an interest in any danglers outside of Claremont’s X-Men? While the rest of the Marvel Universe combined can’t hold a candle to those left by Chris, there are some reasonably significant ones, so I’d be interested to know if you have an interest in me tackling any, and if so which ones?
      You might be interested to know I have one coming up that explains my ideas with regard to how Englehart would have ended his Occult History of America saga before his Dr. Strange run was cut short. And while you’re thinking since it doesn’t include X-Men how could I possibly be interested, given the Claremont devotee I am, all roads with regard to this theory will lead back to our merry mutants. And if that hasn’t piqued your interest I don’t know what will.
      Oh, and if you’re wondering about my other obsessions, review my Links list and you’ll get a bit of an idea for what might be coming up!
      Now getting back to the subject of this page, I think I’ve finally come up with a fix for why Sinister had the Morlocks massacred after all this high-altitude mapping!
      I have previously entertained the idea that Magneto would eventually mobilise the Morlocks to become his army. Why? Does Magneto, through his exploration of the mutant gene through such experiments as the Savage Land Mutates, come to discover that many of Earth’s so-called mutants are actually Shi’ar hybrids? What does this have to do with the Morlocks you ask? Perhaps he determines that they are mutants of true Earth origin, untainted by Shi’ar tampering.
      Upon this discovery, Magneto begins orchestrating a plan where he will build an army of earth-strain mutants who will stand against the alien hybrids when the Shi’ar activate them to take over the Earth.
      Then if Sinister is working for some faction of the Shi’ar, does he discover Magneto’s plans and so rushes to prevent this by having the Morlocks massacred?
      Why doesn’t Sinister confront Magneto directly though? Perhaps the same reason he didn’t go after Jean once Xavier got hold of her. Recall Magneto had reasonably strong psionic capabilities, and if matched against him might have revealed the secret of his not only being a mutant child but also a Shi’ar hybrid.
      Whatever the reason might be, since he doesn’t, I’d suggest the Shi’ar behind this decide to take a more active role and task another one of their hybrids to confront the master of magnetism directly.
      I’d suggest that agent to be Fabian Cortez.
      When introduced he was referred to as being of royal blood, but the details were never disclosed.
      What if Cortez was one of these Shi’ar hybrids, and he was tasked with taking out Magneto on the Empire’s behalf (which he performed admirably I might add)? I would suggest that he was found to be the most suitable agent to begin erasing mutants of true Earth origin as a result of his ability to turn their own powers against them.
      The other clue for me is how Wolverine recognises Cortez’s scent, but is unable to place how, just as he seemingly acknowledged something familiar about Sinister in X-Factor #39. I’d suggest this as indicating Logan was recognising the scent as Shi’ar but his other senses were confused due to their additional human scent.

    • With regard to Lilandra being unable to hide knowledge of the Shi’ar conducting a breeding program on earth from Xavier, I would beg to differ. You yourself point out in your review of Classic X-Men #14 Xavier’s statement that her mind was specifically trained to repel the slightest psychic invasion. The implication here is that Xavier gained entry into her mind not under his own volition but because she permitted it. This to me would seem to suggest that Lilandra has been playing the “shrinking violet” and was trained specifically to monitor Xavier and the threat of the X-Men gestalt.

      Some further thoughts with regard to Donald Pierce:
      With Donald Pierce shown to be heavily dependent upon Bonebreaker to explain things to him about their computer during issue 252, are you still convinced he created it? If not, have you come up with an alternate suggestion?
      Do you think my idea that the computer seeming organic was a result of N’astirh infecting it with his recently obtained Transmode Virus has merit?
      What with your pointing out how Bonebreaker, Pretty Boy and Skullbuster were referred to as Pierce’s original Reavers, do you have any suggestions for why we didn’t become aware of them sooner than Cole, Macon and Reese, or why they were introduced as petty thieves instead of mutant hunters? You’ll recall Pierce was quite obsessed with killing mutants so it seems out of character for him to cybernetically enhance a trio of mercenaries and not immediately put them to use in his anti-mutant campaigns.
      So what was Donald Pierce really up to? Why did he set up a base for his mercenaries in the Australian outback of all places? It must have something to do with Gateway, given the later revelations in the XXM Annual that Pierce had been a dupe of the Shadow King who was attempting to conquer the Australian Aborigine’s Dreamtime.
      What connection does this have with Bonebreaker’s comments that Gateway’s people are slaves to “outsign spirits”? Who are these outsign spirits and what connection do they have to the Shadow King?
      And how does this connect with Gateway Technologies shown in Excalibur #2? Is the Reavers’ computer based on technology from this company? What is further interesting is that Widget, another character capable of teleportation was first introduced in one of their factories.

      With regard to Wolvie’s adamantium skeleton, do you have any particular theories as to where Claremont originally intended to go with this?
      While this is a one major element of Logan’s origin that he never got around to, I don’t know about you, but I’m not particularly keen with one particular revelation he has managed to tie up, that being Sabretooth as his father.
      With Claremont intending Gambit as another incarnation of ‘orphanage’ Nathan, I would suggest that he created this particular persona to snatch young mutants, particularly when you consider how he hooked up with the regressed Ororo.
      Did Chris intended Gambit’s reputation as a thief to really be connected to his smuggling of mutant children, and not goods and chattels from the hoarding-vaults of the super-elite, but this was the cover, just like the arms smuggling of the Hellfire Club in Ms. Marvel was.
      Better yet, what if the truth behind Gambit’s involvement with the Marauders was that they had originally been mutant children he had kidnapped and returned to the Orphanage to be aged into Mr. Sinister’s assassins?!
      This would turn John Byrne’s suggestion that Sabretooth was initially intended as Logan’s father completely on its head.
      What if instead Sabretooth was actually Wolverine’s son and Logan’s becoming a subject of the Weapon X project was used as an opportunity to kidnap a young ‘Tooth (i.e. Wildchild) so he could then be aged to become Sinister’s greatest assassin. ‘Tooth’s reference to Logan as “sloppy seconds” might actually mean that he believed he was the improved upon version and his harboured hatred toward him might be related to issues of abandonment. This might further explain Wolvie’s seeming acknowledgement that there was something about Mr. Sinister he found familiar (cf. X-Factor #39). I’d therefore suggest that Wolvie’s taking on and initial training of Wildchild may have been an attempt to redeem himself for his abandonment of Kyle as a wee bairn.
      There is certainly a precedent for Wildchild being the original Sabertooth, particularly when he escaped from prison and was unable to control his violent urges, proceeding to kill 9 people in Ottawa (As he said, “Because… I… have… to”) (cf. MCP #51-52 – BTS).
      Perhaps Mr. Sinister aged these children the same way he had young Maddy Pryor (cf. Avengers Annual #10).
      If Mr. Sinister was responsible for cloning the Marauders from young children in the State Home for Foundlings, the above would further suggest his possible involvement in the Weapon X program. What that role would be has yet to be revealed, however…

  15. Jason Powell, as for your question about the Australian computer. In Uncanny X-Men 232 on PAge 13, Panel 4, shows a large organ within the computer room. Madelyne Pryor sits at the main console, and in the forefront is an object which resembles a human organ. Hooked to it are valves, or pumps. Some organ holes are empty with no pumps attached. It looks very strange and odd. This is substantially before “Interno”.

    Often during these issues, the artwork shows much circuitry and wires intertwined with one another in bizarre ways. There are often panels showing Madelyne seated in the background, with all this circuitry in the fore ground, giving it a bizarre appearance. Was the computer mutating?

    I also noticed in Uncanny X-Men 231, Page 8, a building is shown in the old Australian town, and it has the year “1890” written on it’s front. It was not at all unusual in that time period for makers of buildings and structures to mark the year on their front. I myself was just in an old town here in northern California yesterday, and nearly all the buildings had their birth date printed on them. So if Chris Claremont is so careful with details, was this any sort of hint? Why date the town? Was a book published in 1890 which could have influenced Claremont in the creation of this Australian town and plot?

    • Thanks David for all your great posts and for helping us out by tracking down the earlier organic development of the Reavers’ computer.
      With regard to the 1890 signpost I’d always considered this indicated the date white settlers had butchered Gateway’s people, as there are countless incidents of this occurring in Australia, as there were in your own Native America.
      I’d suggest these settlers further desecrated their spirits by constructing their town over it, which would possibly explain Bonebreaker’s comments that Gateway’s people are slaves to “outsign spirits”. That is, his people are unable to rest due to the desecration of their sacred ground.

  16. The problem for me in given Magneto this hidden agenda is that Magneto really never played his cards that close to his chest. He was always clear and out there with his aims, and usually was telling the X-Men to join him, because they were on the same side. I can’t see Magneto having this secret plan and not just telling the X-Men about it, in an attempt to gain their help. So, I don’t know. (Then again, we were talking about Zaladane possibly being a hybrid, and Magneto did go to the Savage Land specifically with the intent to defeat her … hmmm …)

    The idea of there being a Morlock mastermind is fascinating, and saying that this is why Sinister had them killed… compelling. I find myself coming again to the notion that the Marauders were all Shi’ar hybrids, and that this is why they seemed to kinship with any other mutant faction. Even the Brotherhood used to occasionally try to convince the X-Men to switch sides. The Hellfire Club as well had a pro-mutant agenda, despite antagonizing the X-Men specifically. But the Marauders just wanted to kill other mutants. If they are Sh’iar hybrids, then their lack of compassion for “fellow” mutants is quite a natural thing.

    But could someone else other than Magneto have been the one amassing a Morlock army? I’m not sure who …

    Regarding Wolverine’s claws, you think Magneto gave Logan his adamantium? Any theories as to why he would do such a thing?

    And if it wasn’t Apocalypse, what do we make of Uncanny 242 (THAT issue again?), wherein Wolverine detects something “familiar … pain” in the scent of the modified, Death-version of the Angel?

    • While I agree that Magneto was more open after his experience with the CIA, you’ll recall he was secretly providing information to Mossad while he was working for them so we can’t totally rule it out, particularly when he had gone on to take up membership in the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle.
      Did Storm teach him the importance of secret agenda’s when the pair shared the title of White King?
      David has previously entertained an interesting theory that the promise
      And as you point it, it might explain why he was so intent in defeating Zaladane.
      I agree that if the Morlocks are some of the purest strain of mutants there are, it would explain the Marauders being so ruthless if they are Shi’ar hybrids.
      I wonder if a clue could be the Morlock Masque indicating wanting to create a Master Race?
      All this still hasn’t been explained why there was a tunnel running from beneath the X-Mansion directly to The Alley either.
      With regard to someone else being the one amassing a Morlock army, while Apocalypse is an interesting idea, we know that Claremont never intended to derive a direct connection between him and Mr. Sinister. But given his Celestial connection, I do like the idea of the Morlocks being similar to the army the Deviant Priesthood were amassing.
      While I agree that Magneto was more open after his experience with the CIA, you’ll recall he was secretly providing information to Mossad while he was working for them so we can’t totally rule it out, particularly when he had gone on to take up membership in the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle.
      Did Storm teach him the importance of secret agenda’s when the pair shared the title of White King?
      David has previously entertained an interesting theory that the promise
      And as you point it, it might explain why he was so intent in defeating Zaladane.
      I agree that if the Morlocks are some of the purest strain of mutants there are, it would explain the Marauders being so ruthless if they are Shi’ar hybrids.
      I wonder if a clue could be the Morlock Masque indicating wanting to create a Master Race?
      All this still hasn’t been explained why there was a tunnel running from beneath the X-Mansion directly to The Alley either.
      With regard to someone else being the one amassing a Morlock army, while Apocalypse is an interesting idea, we know that Claremont never intended to derive a direct connection between him and Mr. Sinister. But given his Celestial connection, I do like the idea of the Morlocks being similar to the army the Deviant Priesthood were amassing.
      I have my own theories with regard to Wolverine’s background, including who his father is, but will begin by discussing Chris’s revelation that he initially intended a classic Marvel villain to be behind Weapon X and the programme’s bonding of adamantium to Logan’s skeleton. Madripoor Knights might provide clues to who this villain was.
      The Red Skull had ordered Baron Strucker to travel to the Far East to form the terrorist organisation Hydra, with assistance from Japanese secret society, the Hand. Von Strucker forms an alliance with the Hand, who sought out young Natalia Romanova with the intention of making her their Master Assassin.
      However, had the alliance been made with the Hand because they were the ones to hold the secret of bonding mystical metal to human bone? Was Strucker perhaps assisting the Hand to capture an individual with a bloodline of significance to make as their first candidate for this bonding process? Natalia was known to be a descendant of the Romanov royal family and a relation of Nicholas the 2nd of Russia. Perhaps this was the true purpose behind the bloodline the Nazis, Farouk and the Hellfire Club sought in True Friends?! Or was Strucker sent to Japan as a result of Nazi intelligence about a gaijin there with a healing factor who sounded identical to the Canadian he and Geist had clashed with during True Friends. It is interesting that this story additionally revealed that the Shadow King got his idea for his “hounds” as a result of his encounter with Rachel Grey. But I digress…
      What with the idea of Strucker being the classic villain behind Weapon X and the adamantium process, had Farouk manipulated the Red Skull during this alliance to initiate setting up the beginnings of a “Hound” program, by manipulating him to seconder Strucker to the Far East to track down the mutant most likely to survive the adamantium bonding process (based on rumours that Logan called Japan his second home)?
      Perhaps then the plot involving the Hand hunting down young ‘Tasha was a red herring reconnaissance mission, just as we know the Hand’s later transformation of Psylocke was meant to lure Logan to them so they could plant the seeds of the Dark Wolverine Saga and Matsuo and the Strucker Twins. That is, when Von Strucker discovers what a thorn in the side of the Hand Logan is, he bestows upon the assassins the task of kidnapping young Natalia to supposedly make her their master assassin, relying on Logan coming to her aid, so he can observe the runt’s healing factor in action. The mission is a resounding success (and I would suggest it is this far back that the idea of Wolverine being made master assassin of the Hand begins).
      Von Strucker then sets his scientists the task of working alongside the Hand’s forgers to refine the process of bonding adamantium to human bone, but despite the Hand’s success with other mystical metals, their efforts bear no fruit with regard to adamantium.
      While we’re on the subject of the Baron’s ability for subterfuge, I would further suggest that his hunting down Gabrielle Haller was a smokescreen, and upon the physical death of his host, Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King sends out a psychic cry to Strucker, setting him on the path to conflict with Charles and Magnus. Hence, Gabrielle Haller provides the Baron with a convincing excuse to keep Charles and Magnus under observation.
      Perhaps the Shadow King becomes aware that Charles will come upon Magnus, so orchestrates the physical death of his host to distract Charles from his true intentions. That is, Farouk figures that if he sends the Nazis against Magnus, this would set the Jew on the path to become the infamous mutant terrorist. And that is exactly what happens – in the course of his encounter with Strucker, Magnus uses his powers openly, becoming violent and agitated, killing them against Charles pleas. This event goes on to convince Magnus to join Mossad, and infiltrate the CIA to act as a mutant agent who tracks down those Nazis bartering German scientists to the American OSS to escape war crime prosecution and make themselves useful in questionable CIA operations. This leads Magnus to acquiesce with being secondered to the Weapon X programme by his handler, Control, so he can determine whether rumours of experimentation upon mutants by the government is correct.
      Whilst Wolverine: Jungle Adventure implies that Apocalypse gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton, despite Logan finding plans from Weapon X whilst fighting an Apocalypse robot in the Savage Land, this doesn’t necessarily mean the villain was Apocalypse. I suspect the hint here was the location, not the villain. You’ll recall the only other villain possessing a base in the Savage Land was Magneto. Upon building a citadel there, Magnus conducted genetic experiments on the locals, mutating them into his slaves, using his own life force and magnetic powers.
      His citadel later collapsed in battle with the X-Men.
      I would therefore argue that Apocalypse built his lair in the Savage Land out of the remnants of Magneto’s citadel, and the Weapon X plans Wolverine found there were originally left behind by the master of magnetism.
      Upon arriving at the Program, Magnus discovers his unique talents of magnetic manipulation are required to bond the indestructible metal known as adamantium to Logan’s skeleton. Knowing the process would kill the feral mutant without his surgical electromagnetic precision – and realising he was already on shaky ground with Control getting closer to discovering his work as a double-agent for the Israeli government – he agrees to participate in the surgery. I would further suggest that the group of scientists he assists are Advanced Idea Mechanics, infiltrating government programmes as part of Hydra’s plans of subversion.
      Magneto’s time at the facility reveals to him that the objective of the programme is to create a breed of Sentinels, part-man, part-metal, brainwashed and trained to hunt down and kill their mutant brethren. This programme is the first stage of what would become the Hound programme (and why the unit responsible for it was referred to as Department H). This was the catalyst that set Magnus upon the path of organising a resistance movement to stop governments around the world exploiting mutants, and perhaps further explains why Wolverine was so antagonistic toward him.

  17. Nice! Lots of good stuff here. I like your ideas regarding the Hand. It strikes me as entirely possible — under your scenario — that it was The Hand who prevailed upon Shingen Yoshida to marry off his daughter to some patsy. Like the Natasha scenario, this was just another way to lure Wolverine into conflict with them.


    • Yes, I suspect the Hand had very long ranging plans for Logan ever since Baron Strucker formed his alliance with them and suspect Madripoor Knights was an intelligence gathering mission.
      Did Farouk develop an interest in Logan from his appearance during True Friends and later use Strucker as his pawn to set things in motion? Recall during this tale he also became fascinated with Rachel’s “hound” persona. Did he recognise that she would become a suitable host for him and influence Wolverine to evetually join the X-Men and pursue a relationship with Jean which would lead to Rachel’s birth; Sinister discovers this and goes out of his way to ensure Cyclops beats him to the punch? Is this the GAME Sinister refers to in issue 239? Are they both vying for control of the phoenix power?

  18. Yes, Nathan, a lot of good stuff there over the Hand. I also think Ogun was used in an attempt to brainwash Logan, as was hinted to in the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine limited series.

    I also noticed in Chris Claremont’s later years on Uncanny X-Men, he was sowing the seed that Logan had been fighting the Hand for a really long time. Perhaps even before World War 2. And this was a long standing rivalry.

    Not a day goes by I don’t feel regret the Dark Wolverine saga never saw print. So much interesting and good stuff would have come out of it.

  19. Yes David, it would be great to find out the Ogun connection since he was the primary antagonist in the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine limited series then Claremont rarely uses him after that.
    I agree that Claremont was definitely suggesting that there was a very long-standing enmity between Logan and the Hand. It’s a wonder that Wolverine didn’t “twig” that he wasn’t actually stopping their schemes but was providing them with valuable intel about himself. And we still know nothing of “The Beast” they worshipped, but it certainly could have been of N’Garai persuasion.
    And I am constantly disappointed that we don’t see Wolverine’s very own “Dark Phoenix Saga”.
    Isn’t it interesting how two characters following the dark path (i.e. Jean and Logan) have a daughter who becomes the greatest Hound against their own kind!?

  20. Did Sinister have the Morlocks killed as he foresaw Ahab returning to our timeline and co-opting them to become his Hounds?

  21. Yeah, for all that Pierce brags about it a couple of times, it is all distinctly free of specifics. As you questioned before, why did he create these folks and then apparently just let them go around doing whatever they wanted?

    Re-reading those issues, I started to really like your idea that the Reavers were connected to Buchmann’s Sentinel program. (Pierce is called the “deposed White King” in a lot of these issues, which is not what he was called back when he first appeared — he was the Bishop, was he not? — but that resonance with Buchmann’s title is indeed hard to ignore.)

    Perhaps he built the Reavers as part of a planned coup of the Hellfire Club, similar to what Shaw did in Classic #7. He maybe was keeping the Reavers undercover, content with more covert mutiny (i.e. his actions in the New Mutants Graphic Novel), and was holding the Reavers in reserve for the full-on takeover of the Club. Instead, he gets captured at the end of that New Mutants GN, and the Reavers decide, hey, no point in hiding now– and go out to rape and pillage. This would explain why (as you pointed out) the Reavers knew the computer system but Pierce didn’t. They found that base after Pierce was captured. It is strange, though, that there were *so many* Reavers in issue 229. Odd that Pierce had so many soldiers at his disposal and didn’t immediately takeover the club. What was he waiting for, I wonder?

    And it does indeed still leave the question of who built the computer. Although I don’t see it as entirely ridiculous that the Reavers might’ve done it themselves. There’s no rule that says that some of them wouldn’t be smart enough to build a computer that is more sophisicated than something Pierce could have built on his own.

    I still maintain that demons changed the computers after the Reavers were kicked out. Claremont pounds this point home several times in Uncanny 252. More than once, the Reavers comment “This place has changed since the X-Men took over.” According to 252, not only the computers have mutated and become organic, but entire new corridors exist!!! The actual layout of the complex has been altered!!!

    — Jason

    • In panel 1 on page 23 of Uncanny #117, Farouk refers to playing the “Great Game” which makes me recall Mr. Sinister’s comments about “the game”.

      However, the more interesting thing about this panel is how on the astral plane he has blue-skin and yellow eyes similar to Mystique and Nightcrawler. Does this suggest a connection between the trio?

      In addition, panel 2 of page 24 he appears similar to Mojo. Following this, Xavier comments that “Farouk changed forms like a chameleon”.

  22. Going back to our Shi’ar Breeding Program theory, you’ll recall I had a notion that Sabretooth was genetically engineered by the Shi’ar, and this is why his offspring, Wolverine, doesn’t “read” as a mutant.

    Suppose Sabretooth was one of two subjects who were genetically engineered in much the same way, the other being Fang. (“Tooth and Fang”!). (This could help explain why their original costumes were so similar to each other’s, and Wolverine might have sensed Fang’s connection to his hated father and this is why he singled him out for attack during the first X-Men/Imperial battle.)

    Anyway — going back to the original experiment … while Sabretooth was left on Earth, the Shi’ar scientists took Fang with them when they returned to the Empire, and eventually Fang was adopted as Fang’s personal assassin (There would be a nice irony here if — as you suggest — D’Ken is the father of Mr. Sinister. This would mean that both the father and son both took one of the two tiger-men as their chief enforcers, then later integrated them into an entire team (the Imperial Guard and the Marauders, respectively).

    At any rate, at some point D’Ken decides that Deathbird is a political obstacle as she will inherit the throne rather than he. So he has Fang assassinate their sister and mother, and FRAMES Deathbird for it. This ensures Deathbird’s exile and puts D’Ken in line for the throne.

    Deathbird figures out that Fang is the one who framed her, but cannot prove it. Still, before her exile, she swears she will eventually avenge herself on Fang. This is why when she allied herself with the Brood, she ended up giving them Fang as part of their dealings.

    While the Brood themselves state that they killed Fang because it suited them, just as they would kill Deathbird when she outlived her usefulness to them, while it didn’t seem like any deal from their comments, maybe that was just bravado on those Broods’ parts. After all they never did get around to killing Deathbird.

  23. If this is about figuring out the “Third Summers” brother and keeping everything in line with that – that’s pretty easy to resolve (not sure why you over complicated it with mentions of cloning Jean, or Zaladane, etc)…

    Fabian who first wrote it – published (not Clairemont) for the “Summers Brothers” (not stating how many, only more than a singular brother)… –

    I want to refer to X-Men #23, page 8. Sinister is quoted as saying:

    “… I care Scott. Selfishly, I’ll grant you, for the
    fruitful pursuit of my own self-interests… But I
    care enough to wish you and your BROTHERS to be
    protected from this illness.”

    Cyclops even asks him about the “brothers” comment, and Sinister brushes it off as his own mistake – and that he had meant brother, as in Alex.

    And when I wrote Fabian (who I had strong contacts with because I also run newwarriors.com) about if Adam-X was intended to be the 3rd Summers Brother (since he wrote the segment that first mentions additional brothers) he wrote back –

    “The character [X-Treme] WAS created to be the 3rd brother, but once I left the x-books, the following writers/editors chose to ignore the sub-plot(which is their call to make). the good news is that no writer/editor contradicted the storyline plans I had, so maybe someday I could still pick it up.

    So my theory is something along the lines of:

    – We know that Ed Brubaker (don’t get me started) introduced Vulcan MANY years later in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1 as the “Third Summers” brother
    – Ed changes the fact that Katherine was actually pregnant when the Shi’ar attack (compared to how she’s originally shown during the abduction in Uncanny X-Men #156)
    – Scott and Alex were throw out of the plane when the Shi’ar first nabbed Christopher (Corsair) Summers and Katherine (see UXM #156).
    – Look how old Scott and Alex are when they meet the Starjammers for the first time in UXM #104. I’d say about 10 to 15 years have gone by (I figure Scott was probably about 11 when he was thrown out – his specific age may have been given, I don’t recall – and at the time of UXM #104, I’d say he’s about 25).
    – I’d wager that Corsair spent about 5 years in those slave mines, when he finally managed to get some people to back him up and pull off this rebellion.
    – This gives D’Ken 5 years of having Katherine as a “sex slave” as it were, before Corsair attempted the rescue – more than enough time for Katherine to have a child, born of D’Ken.
    – When D’Ken stabs and kills Katherine Summers – in Uncanny X-Men #156, she simply dies. In Deadly Genesis, she – and it appears the child (Gabriel Summers/Vulcan) dies.
    – Vulcan survives and apparently (according to his origin) spent his time on the Shi’ar Throne World, where eventually he makes his way to Earth and becomes a part of the X-Men. (I won’t go into my dislike of Vulcan’s entire back story…)
    – However, Katherine was clearly kept alive by D’Ken for some time – and, according to Uncanny X-Men #156, it states that: when Corsair speaks of it: “… until a teleport beam yanked us aboard the starship. It was a Shi’ar scouting mission. To them, Anne and I were zoo – logical specimens, representing the HIGHER ORDERS OF LIFE ON EARTH. We were separated. On the Imperial Throne World, I escaped the slave pens and set out to find her. She was with the Emperor [D’Ken]. My mistake then was in trying not to kill him with my bare hands instead of shooting him down where he stood. Guards came to his rescue, they wanted to execute me on the spot, but D’Ken had other ideas…”
    – Being the “Highest Order of Life on Earth” D’Ken could have easily either mated with or experimented with Katherine Summers, while she was his prisoner – which could have led to the birthing of Adam-X, which would explain the rest of his origin.
    – Captain Marvel #3 Erik the Red reveals: “You have been dubbed the Forsaken One, Adam – but that was a mistake on the Majestor’s part, those many years ago. Truly had you been rightfully admitted into the family, we would not be in this predicament today… I am talking about your destiny here… and that is something obviously enough by the intricate plans of the Crystal Claws which should not be rushed! Empress Lilandra sits on the throne this day only because Majestor D’Ken was driven mad by his experiences inside the M’Krann Crystal! She was not meant to guide the Imperium. You see Adam, YOURS is the destiny of power – for you were bred to introduce a HYBRID of specific genetic potential into the Shi’ar monarchy! Adam-X, you were born to rule the Shi’ar Imperium!… Who else should be the heir to the throne of the Imperium but you – the only living child of Majestor D’Ken?!”
    – In X-Men #40 (I believe it was), when Adam-X saves Phillip Summers (Scott Summers grandfather) it’s noted: “…love that goes beyond explanation… Scott feels that his fractured family lines have been made stronger because of this near tragedy… Little does he know how terrifyingly right he is…”

    – This would logically explain how Adam-X is still a “Summers” brother (being born from Katherine Summers and D’Ken), and it would explain how he’s the son of D’Ken (as noted by Erik the Red) and still a family member of the Summers.

    • >>Interesting – because it was it Fabian who first wrote it –

      Yep Adam, but if you cast your mind back to Claremont’s interview with Tue Sørensen in 1996 he mentions how:

      “A lot of my stories were rejected, and have suddenly come up in the last 3 years as X-Men stories.”

      …and he revealed around this time that he had plans for Katherine Ann to have had another son (but apparently before she met Christopher so the child would not have been a Summers). This way he would have ensured the reveal that Scott and Alex had inherited the X-gene from their mother and not their father.

      >>”The character [X-Treme] WAS created to be the 3rd brother, but once I left the x-books, the following writers/editors chose to ignore the sub-plot(which is their call to make). the good news is that no writer/editor contradicted the storyline plans I had, so maybe someday I could still pick it up.

      Harras himself intended the Third Summers Brother as Exodus, and got pretty pissed when Fabian, not happy about what it would do to his plot, had Warpath suggest he was Native American in X-Force #25.

      But yep, I’m very aware of Fabian’s intent for Adam X (though for a time there I would loved for him to be revealed as the son of Charles and Lilandra, the “X” standing for Xavier).

      Oh, and including Jean’s cloning and Zaladane isn’t overcomplicating it, but drawing further parallels in Mr. Sinister’s work when you consider Lorna Dan’e parents were killed in a plane crash similar to the one he engineered for Rick and Trish Bogart who were going to adopt young Scott from his orphanage.

  24. nice idea for sinister since the main reason he has been after summers and grey dna is to make a baby mostly to destroy apocolypse. as for adam x. fabien when it was finaly revealed who the third summers brother was aka vulcan. stated the clues pointed to adam x as the intended brother. though Marvel one time stated that maybe sinister ment more then one unknown summers brother.

  25. Using Sinister as linch pin between the Grey family, Summers clan, Gambit, Wolverine, Sabretooth, the Phoenix Force and possibly even the Shi’ar Empire? Very ambitious and your theory would help tie up a lot of loose ends. I remember back in the early 90s when they introduced Adam X (to no avail), there was a lot of talk about him being the 3rd Summers brother, but I ultimately came to nothing. As if it was swiftly swept under the rug. But your theory has ground as in CC’s “The End” he technically places Gambit as the 3rd brother or at least begins to bring his original plan to fruition. Funny how Fabian wrote Gambit in his solo series as being vastly powerful well inadvance before “The End” and yet it alll fits. Gambit at best is a midlevel mutant, if he was infact built with Summers DNA his “New Sun” abilites make sense, even more so why Sinister was ever involved in the matter.

  26. Hey Don,

    Glad you think my theory helps tie up a lot of loose ends as that was the aim:)

    While I’m aware of Nicieza’s plan for Adam X, I have my own resolution which doesn’t include him as Katherine’s son.

    And while I loved Claremont’s original idea for Gambit, I wasn’t pleased with the way the resolution was played out in “The End” and given how much of a mangled mess his origin became I’d love to start with him from scratch again.

  27. The major clue for me was the fact that the child who created Mr. Sinister is known as “Lefty” at the State Home for Foundlings.

    Sinister is the left-sign in heraldry indicating a bastard line.

    This would mean that Claremont was suggesting that young Nathan was the bastard line of a mutant family. Given his interest primarily surrounded Scott, it was not difficult to adduce which “mutant family” Claremont intended.

  28. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and your more recent post about the origin of Mr Sinister, but unless I’m missing something isn’t there a problem with him being a Summers brother in that when Scott is at the orphanage Nathan is already supposed to be about 50 years old so would surely have been born well before either of Scott’s parents?

    The Sinister as use for a bastard line seems highly likely to be a significant clue.

    Surely Sinister must in that case be from an older illegitemate Summers line (or perhaps Katherine’s family). Better still it might simply be that Sinister is actually Nathan Summers and the ‘illegitemate’ line refers to him being the child of Madelyne rather than Jean. In that scenario he has somehow become displaced in time and his story would be remarkably similar to what was eventually used as Cable’s background.

    It would also involve a temporal loop and paradox as Sinister would have created his own mother and engineered his own birth.

    Could Sinister’s interest in the Summers and Grey lines merely be to ensure his own birth?

    • If young Nate/ Mister Sinister is Scott and Madelyne’s son, why does Weezie have little Nathan Christopher with different mutant powers than Claremont’s intended mutant power of him slowly ageing?

      Or for that matter why would he let Malice possess his uncle’s girlfriend, Lorna, and become leader of the mutant assassins, the Marauders?

      Or for that matter why if Scott’s son, would he want the Morlocks massacred?

      And finally, why attempt to raise little Nathan Christopher in the orphanage instead of trusting Scott to do so?

      • ”If young Nate/ Mister Sinister is Scott and Madelyne’s son, why does Weezie have little Nathan Christopher with different mutant powers than Claremont’s intended mutant power of him slowly ageing?”

        That’s a good question. I don’t know but I’m not convinced that it’s necessarily a deal breaker. Perhaps Nathan’s power isn’t either of those specifically but is something else that manifests in the form of both those abilities (perhaps something like Franklin Richards failure to age…Ho, ho, ho.)?

        ”Or for that matter why would he let Malice possess his uncle’s girlfriend, Lorna, and become leader of the mutant assassins, the Marauders?…
        And finally, why attempt to raise little Nathan Christopher in the orphanage instead of trusting Scott to do so?”

        I don’t see these as real objections. I’m assuming that in this scenario Nathan has some kind of grudge or resentment against his parents and family (much as Stryfe and to some extent Cable did -that notion could’ve conceivably been plundered from Claremont’s plans for Sinister. Indeed, branding himself as the bastard line would tend to indicate as much). Taking infant Nathan to the orphanage might even be some attempt to perform an experiment on him to enable him to age normally (but actually be a causality loop that proves to be the cause of Sinister’s retarded aging…).

        ”Or for that matter why if Scott’s son, would he want the Morlocks massacred?”

        Well, in fairness I’m trying to divine what Claremont’s intention might have been rather than trying to espouse a universal fix -which is perhaps slightly different to your endeavors. I’m not convinced that we have enough info to figure out the Morlock Massacre. Your theory seems a bit tentative to me. I like the connection of the Morlock tunnels to Almogordo and to Kurt Marko and Brian Xavier but I’m not convinced by the assumed connection to Sinister.

        Simple answer: I don’t know.

        I do think that the objection that Weezie shows Nathan with a different power is a very significant sign that my theory is wrong -but not a death blow. It ties in well with his attitudes towards Maddy and Scott and his cryptic remarks. It also ties well with the hints that Sinister was a time traveller. That in turn answers some of your questions elsewhere about where Sinister could’ve got the advanced tech and know how that he has -answer: the future.

        Certainly the problem remains that Sinister is too old to be Katherine Summers son. That seems a bigger problem than the ‘wrong power’ one to me. An answer to that might be that he’s a time traveller too but seems a little tortuous. Why has he travelled into the past in that instance and if of Scott and Alex’s generation you’ve got to ask if the tech he brings back with him would be advanced enough?

        On balance I do think that being Nathan Christopher makes more sense and seems more likely than being the third Summers brother. Both ideas do present their own sets of problems but you’ve got to figure that the fact that the kid who’s supposed to be Sinister in the orphanage (although that dual identity was unrevealed back then) was actually called Nate can easily be read as a pretty big clue. Misdirection perhaps -but perhaps not.

      • Yes, I entirely believe that Stryfe’s grudge against Scott and Jean in X-Cutioner’s Song was mined by Harras, Lobdell and Nicieza from Claremont’s intended origin for young Nate from the Orphanage, just like so many other dangling plots they raped and reused. Perhaps Mister Sinister’s penchant for magical casting, which I uncovered in my fix for his origin, might be inherited from his mother, Madelyne also!?

        But rather than a causality loop, we know Claremont was a huge fan of T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King” so did baby Nate’s time in Limbo cause him to begin “living backwards in time”?

        When Mister Sinister says in X-Factor #39 that time is on his side, does he actually mean that he knows the future because he was born there, and is growing backwards.

        Perhaps when he is grown up he establishes the orphanage in the past to entrap his father? Doesn’t that work better than Mister Sinister being a time-traveller, since a fix then isn’t necessarily required? So is young Nate an anthropomorphised tachyon?

        So with this in mind, why does he want revenge on Scott? Handing him over to Askani? What was so bad about that when the aim was to cure him from Apocalypse infecting the wee bairn with the Techno-Organic Virus?

        I have previously stated that Mister Sinister was young Nathan from Askani’s side-reality, the cure for the T-O virus stunting his growth, and he travels back in time to take control of the State Home for Foundlings (as shown in Classic X-Men #41) so he can get his father transferred there before Apocalypse can savage him (while Askani refers to Nathan’s father being savaged by Apocalypse in her future’s past, in our timeline Scott was savaged by Mister Sinister), with the aim to prepare him to be able to instead defeat the blue-lipped mutant. As for the grudge, is it for Scott dumping him on Askani, or as payback for abandoning his mother to reunite with the resurrected Jean? The latter doesn’t make sense since why, as Mister Sinister, create his own mother, Madelyne, from Jean’s DNA knowing Scott would leave her the moment Jean did what phoenixes do and returned to life? This would effectively mean he creates his mother knowing full well that his father would abandon her, which is even worse than what his father did. Is his rage at his father that blinding? As for Askani, the only etymology I can come up with for her name is askance, “a look of disapproval”. So she comes to take young Nate because of some disapproval for what has led to his plight, perhaps a disapproval of Scott as a father?

  29. ”Doesn’t that work better that Mister Sinister being a time-traveller, since a fix then isn’t necessarily required?”

    Yeah, that’s definitely a cool idea. As far as misdirection goes wouldn’t it be cool if when Claremont talks about Nathan/Sinister having been alive since around mid-century he was really, rather mischeviously, meaning from the mid-21st C rather than the mid-20th. I had a look at the Inferno issues after this (if only to reacquaint myself with them so as not to make a total fool of myself when conversing with someone who obviously has a far greater grasp on these continuities than I do). In X-Men 239 Sinister saying:

    ”A game ends…another begins…the mistakes of one generation rectified in the next. For each piece that’s broken…there’s a better one forged.”

    leading up to one of his utterances of his catchphrase ‘Time is on my side.’ Attractive as the Once and Future King option is I can’t help but feel that a time loop is implied by this speech. This is followed by:

    ”because in the long run…Mr Sinister will win and you…Nathan Christopher Charles Summers…will help me do it.”

    I think it’s possible to take the X Factor stuff about Maddy naming the baby after her father and Scott being unsettled by his childhood bully’s name as being indicative of that too (although it can just as easily be dismissed as only reflecting Sinister’s dual role in the past).

    ”So with this in mind, why does he want revenge on Scott? Handing him over to Askani? What was so bad about that when the aim was to cure him from Apocalypse infecting the wee bairn with the Techno-Organic Virus?”

    To be honest I wasn’t really considering the whole Askani storyline. Whether rightly or wrongly I had assumed that was a Jim Lee/Whilce Portacio thing as that was when Lee and Bob Harrass were wresting control of the X-franchise away from Claremont and he was becoming a passenger with his long term continuity plans being shredded -again (leading to his and Weezie’s rapid departure).

    On that assumption I was simply thinking along the lines of Nathan growing up in the next generation (in the 21st C rather than in the 40th C) -but as the bastard child who was not cared for or priviledged in the way that Jean’s offspring (Rachel?) were. Essentially the classic literary portrayal of bastards (eg Edmund from King Lear) where they are jealous of their half-siblings for whatever perceived slight and resentful of their parents. It would also depend on what future they came from.

    I’d vaguely supposed some potential future following a cataclysm of some kind (whether that be a Days of Future Past, Age of Apocalypse, or an XSE type future) in which records of the past are fragmentary so Sinister has limited knowledge about his origins. Travels back in time to change his fate only for, to his shock, Jean to die on the moon without children. His legitimate rivals can never exist now. Having already sampled Jean’s DNA for what ever nefarious purpose to use against his hated half-siblings in the future then makes a clone with a view to recreating himself as the legitimate heir and change his fate -only for the real Jean to come back and the establishment of himself as the bastard line once more. He inadvertently becomes the architect of his own illegitemacy. Causality loop/self fulfilling paradox. Anyway, that had been the lines I was thinking along -though very sketchily. Considering the problems that Jean’s resurrection had caused Claremont’s long term plans and his need to rethink them something along those lines might well have occurred to him.

    Sinister does speechify in Uncanny 239 about how humanity should be removed from the evolutionary stage so he is apparently a mutant supremacist. Perhaps his aim is to seize rulership of mutant kind from the legitimate Summers/Grey line in the future by altering the past (and perhaps the Morlocks had interfered with his plans in the future and thus needed to be exterminated in the past)?

    The time paradox notion does of course come a cropper of continuity Czar Mark Grunewald’s rule that time travel always creates an alternate reality so it could easily not be viable on that basis. So maybe I’m getting the wrong end of the stick or just seeing what I expect to?

    I understand that Claremont originally envisaged Gambit as a clone of himself whose age had been artificially accelerated so that he could get it on with Rogue. The whole idea of producing a Grey heir via Cyclops that he can inhabit and thereby wrest control of the ‘Phoenix Force’ (don’t get me started on that -let’s just stick with the power of the Greys…) seems a bit too similar a story line for both to be viable. Also, if he can accelerate the growth of a clone of himself to get his jollies can’t he just use that to make babies with Jean or Maddy rather than relying on Scott to do the heavy lifting on his behalf?

    Regarding Sinister’s powers is it possible that the force field that is shown protecting young Nathan Christopher is also what prevents him from aging (lack of exposure to outside stimuli preventing his body from developing at the normal rate as it keeps out all toxins, bacteria and anything else that might be construed as harmful? His body literally doesn’t know how old it is as a result. Or something) As a kid I got the impression that all Sinister’s demonstrated powers were technological in nature and the reveal that he’s actually an android seems to support this. Even the abilities that appear to be psionic may actually be achieved via technology or through psychological conditioning (is there anything he’s shown doing in the dream world that isn’t comparable to the abilities of Doctor Faustus?). I think the affect he has on Scott where he stops him from using his powers and causes him headaches could easily be down to psychological conditioning and psychosematic responses.

    • Yes it would be totally cool if when Claremont talks about Nathan/Sinister having been alive since around mid-century he was really, rather mischievously, meaning from the mid-21st C rather than the mid-20th.

      Uncanny X-Men #239 is a watershed issues when it comes to Mister Sinister.

      What is the game that ends?

      What is the game that begins?

      What are the mistakes of one generation?

      How are these mistakes rectified in the next generation?

      What are the pieces that are broken?

      What are the better pieces that are forged?

      In X-Factor #35 Louise completely stuffed up Cyclops’/ Sinister’s suggested origin since in the flashback scenes at the orphanage she refers to the boy that physically bullied Scott as young Nate when we know from Classic X-Men #41 that boy was Toby Rails.

      I don’t think we can completely write off Endgame with Askani as Claremont dropped some real pearlers in the dialogue there.

      The one question I keep having here though is why Mister Sinister would consider himself the “bastard son” when Scott legitimately married Madelyne!? Plus if he was that incensed about not being cared for in the way Rachel was, why did he show absolutely no interest in her when since he had two opportunities, one just before the Morlock Massacre and upon her return just in time for Inferno?

      Claremont certainly would not have intended a cataclysm following Age of Apocalypse, or an XSE type future.

      Sampling Jean’s DNA was perhaps connected to his “the mistakes of one generation” comment!?

      It’s interesting that Nathan Grey upon shifting across to our reality has somewhat of a relationship with Madelyne which made me think back why did young Nate require Scott when he could have transferred his own consciousness into Nathan Christopher, or mixed his own genetics in with Madelyne’s to create a child-clone!?

      I like him inadvertently becoming the architect of his own illegitimacy though, and something that occurred to Claremont after Jean’s stupid stupid return:) Did you know he initially proposed young Nate with Dave Cockrum? I’d suggest this was during their second run together, but wonder why they never got around to introducing him that far back!? But perhaps young Maddie Pryor in Avengers Annual #10 was the first step, and Claremont is not being honest how that plot was the start of his intended plot!? When I communicated with Paty she asked whether I had considered young Nate was somehow the bastard child of Professor X, and he was pissed at Cyclops because he was basically Charles’s substitute son?

      Re: the Morlocks I wondered whether they had originally been the first group of Genoshan mutants that had escaped the Transmodation Process? I also believe Claremont intended Ahab to return and get trapped in our timeline at the end of 1991 and establish a base in the Alley whereby he would convert the Morlocks into his Hounds, a plot later changed to introduce the dumb dumb dumb Trevor Fitzroy.

      Mark Grunewald’s rule that time travel always creates an alternate reality was ridiculous since it meant that all time travel tales had no importance, and totally went against the grain of Lee & Kirby’s early introduction of these types of tales.

      I’ve always wondered what the importance of Gambit hooking up with Rogue was!?

      And yes I agree producing a Grey heir via Cyclops that he can inhabit and thereby wrest control of the ‘Phoenix Force’ does not seem that viable. And likewise don’t get me started on it as not being just the power of the Greys.

      When Claremont finally dealt with this plot, he salvaged it by revealing Mister Sinister had always wanted a child with Scott (finally legitimising the villains Frank N. Furter costume;)

      I’m still convinced that young Nathan’s force field has something to do with his time in Limbo!? Madelyne Pryor appeared to have a version of the Eye of Agamotto fastened to her Goblin Queen outfit too. So just how long was she in Limbo for, and did she obtain it from S’ym or N’astirh? Or was she sent to some side-reality from Limbo as part of a trial they set her to acquire it? It would be interesting to see more of her tutelage under S’ym IMHO. It seems her outfit came with her title, which seemed also to echo Jean’s own time as the Black Queen.

      Mister Sinister’s being an android able to wield mystical powers seems the most cogent explanation, so glad you feel the same way. I still think the crimson gem is connected to the Ruby Gem of Cyttorak or Ruby Scarab. I wonder if his consideration of being the “bastard line” is somehow connected to Cain Marko’s own resentment of his step-brother Charles!? He would have hated Scott dubbing his son Nathan Christopher CHARLES Summers then, wouldn’t he?

      As for the importance of Endgame, if Claremont was still attempting to salvage his original plans with young Nate, recall it is revealed that a time-travel mishap turned Askani into pure energy, and she’s only going to live long enough to complete her mission of rescuing young Nathan Summers (known as “Lord Nathan” in her future) from Apocalypse and taking him to the future to cure him from the T-O virus.

      While she refers to young Nathan as “little brother”, her additional reference to “our father” when talking to him would seem to rule her out as connected to Rachel since Uncanny X-Men Annual #14, also penned by Claremont, ruled out Scott as Rachel’s father.

      This might instead suggest that Askani is a future child of Scott’s with Jean, given she has psionic powers what with her psychic knife and Phoenix symbol at the centre of her forehead.

      However, she also refers to “The Chosen’s family” instead of her own, implying she is not related.

      If you check closely, you’ll recall she is also not red-haired like Jean or Rachel but was more auburn.

      She also refers to Nathan’s father being savaged by Apocalypse in her future’s past, yet in our timeline Scott was savaged by Mister Sinister.

      She also uses phrases like “praise the light” and “merciful bright lady”, terms known to be regularly used by Ororo, not Rachel.

      So who did he intend this character from a side-reality to be?

  30. Yeah, many questions.

    In trying to divine Claremont’s intentions I think it’s worth bearing in mind that those were in flux. He’d had at least two major events against his will which had caused him to alter his plans. Jean being killed and then Jean coming back. The characters those most directly affect are Maddy and Rachel, though naturally the knock on effect to Scott and Jean are immense too.

    Obviously this complicates the picture substantially when trying to divine the underlying mythology.

    ”The one question I keep having here though is why Mister Sinister would consider himself the “bastard son” when Scott legitimately married Madelyne!? ”

    The first question is easily answered I think. The return of Jean made the Madelyne plot that had been devised specifically to compensate for Jean’s absence illegitemate. Similarly, in world, Scott had abandoned Maddy and child for Jean. If Scott were to have a family with Jean then they are the ones he’d be likely to live with, be a proper father to etc. Maddy and Nathan would remain the abandoned odd ones out. So in that sense they are the bastard line, the imposters, in any real sense -whatever the letter of the law might say. Any fan is going to see Jean as the real deal and Maddy and her family as the fakes (clone or not).

    ”Plus if he was that incensed about not being cared for in the way Rachel was, why did he show absolutely no interest in her when since he had two opportunities, one just before the Morlock Massacre and upon her return just in time for Inferno?”

    Keeping Rachel away from Sinister at that juncture may have been intentional so as not to give the game away. Alternatively Sinister may be from a future that was Rachel -less (or from a non-Days of Future Past future where Rachel was very different. Again encountering the established version of Rachel might necessitate giving too much away. Incidentally, I certainly wouldn’t have expected Claremont to have AoA or the XSE in mind but I’d be surprised if he hadn’t considered using alternative futures that were mutant dominated in contrast to DoFP).

    Of course the simple answer may be that Claremont had already decided that she’s not Scott’s daughter (which I seriously doubt was his original intent -I think that’s a post-Jean Grey Lives development, but exactly when he came up with that remains debateable. personally I’d prefer to ignore it and I certainly have no wish to make it all about Logan as usual. The evidence you cite for Logan as the daddy seems to all come from much later so is hardly conclusive for the intention at the time. Changing from Scott as her father to Immaculate Conception seems more likely in that case. Personally I’d hate to see the drama of Rachel’s relationship with Scott in the JRjr days be invalidated so i’m much happier with that remaining an undeveloped seed. Incidentally, wasn’t Logan’s Jean thing one way originally. IIRC Jeans’s susceptibility to his ‘animal magnetism’ only got retconned into X-Men Classics and subsequent encounters following her resurrection. Still, I suppose it gives hope to short, ugly, hirsute men everywhere…Still it wasn’t until Jim Lee that the dream of the X-Men as a headlights mag would be achieved). In that case, if Sinister knew it, she wouldn’t be a ‘legitimate’ Summers rival to him at all.

    ”Mark Grunewald’s rule that time travel always creates an alternate reality was ridiculous since it meant that all time travel tales had no importance, and totally went against the grain of Lee & Kirby’s early introduction of these types of tales.”

    It’s certainly a bit doctrinaire but perhaps is best regarded as a standing rule that can be broken but only if taken up the chain of command to make sure that you don’t break the Marvel Universe (as happened in fairly short order once Shooter was ousted from the hot seat -indeed, lack of decent editorial control on the X-books played a big part in that). It was also something that was intended for the writers to know not the readership -so time travel stories still seemed potentially calamitous even though editorial mandated that the potential $#!+storms could never actually happen. It makes sense because its important that the MU not diverge from our reality too much (unlike DC where superheroes can go around preventing world hunger and solving the energy crisis).

    ”Did you know he initially proposed young Nate with Dave Cockrum? I’d suggest this was during their second run together, but wonder why they never got around to introducing him that far back!?”

    Yeah, I read about that. My guess would be that they conceived of the general idea back then but that it remained undeveloped and Claremont took it up later on and attached a suitable back story to it to suit his purposes at that time.

    ”I’ve always wondered what the importance of Gambit hooking up with Rogue was!?”

    I suppose that might very well depend on who Rogue is. dies she have some greater significance (Dane sister? As Malice and when super strong her hairstyle and Zaladane’s are strikingly similar to Rogue’s. Not something I would identify as being particularly period related either).

    ”Mister Sinister’s being an android able to wield mystical powers seems the most cogent explanation, so glad you feel the same way.”

    I’m completely sold on the android part but I’ll have to give further thought to the mystic gem part. I think that Sinister can do everything we see him do with technology and psychology so magic wouldn’t necessarily be needed.

    ”I don’t think we can completely write off Endgame with Askani as Claremont dropped some real pearlers in the dialogue there.”

    Yeah, those are choppy waters. By that time it’s hard top know who’s responsible for what. Is Claremont seeding his own ideas or Lee’s? Is he trying to do both to leave himself room for maneuver? That story may have the characteristically empty and inexpressive art style of the time but does’t display the complete lack of the first clue of how to write a comic that Uncanny 281 and subsequent efforts did. That suggests that there was a hand other than Lee’s involved in the plotting as well as the script. Claremont’s credited for scripting IIRC but whether he was the helping hand on the plot is hard to say.

    It’s possible the various references to familial relationships may simply be in order to evoke the vision of Clan bonds having become the defining features of society in the future that’s posited rather than seeding soap opera elements.

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