…the identity of Deathbird’s sister? Part 2 in a series of 3

Lifeguard

Is translating the meaning behind “Claremont” names the key to finally breaking open the mystery behind his longest standing stories?!

My own mother’s maiden being that of the surname of his character, Heather Cameron (aka Lifeguard), this made me recall it is Scottish for ‘crooked nose’. With Heather’s later transformation revealing her Shi’ar royal ancestry, this made me wonder whether the ‘crooked nose’ is meant to imply an avian beak!

Figure 18: Heather Cameron’s changed appearance to resemble the alien Shi’ar race, the cranial markings on her head and crest of feathers indicating she is of Shi’ar royal ancestry, from X-Treme X-Men #14 and #15 respectively

Now given the entry from Destiny’s Diary in X-Treme X-Men #10 reveals that Heather was “Mothered by War”, fans have previously taken this to mean Claremont was implying that her mother was Deathbird.

Figure 19: Hints to Heather’s Shi’ar parentage from Destiny’s Diary in X-Treme X-Men #10

However, given Claremont gave Heather the code-name of LIFEguard, was this meant to clue us in to her mother’s attributes being the polar opposite to that of her murderous sister who represented DEATH?

So did Claremont intend the diary entry to instead suggest that Heather is the half-Shi’ar offspring of Deathbird’s unnamed sister whom she supposedly murdered?

Figure 20: is Lifeguard the half-Shi’ar offspring of Deathbird’s unnamed sister whom she referred to murdering in Ms. Marvel #10?

But I’m not stopping there!

Setting aside her name of Raven, did you know the word Mystique translates directly as ‘air of mystery’?

So not only does Mystique’s surname refer to a ‘bird of death’ but her code-name refers to her mystery being related to ‘AIR’.

Does this finally reveal that Mystique was an Aerie?

Now recall that Lifeguard’s ability to register danger enabled her to obtain the powers, and or forms, necessary to save her or others, the powers and forms she took being determined by the situation she was in and adapting accordingly.

So did Heather inherit her ability to shape-shift from Mystique?

What, you say?!

Well we know that while Heather was in space her shape shifting DNA brought out her natural Shi’ar heritage, but when she was on earth the royal Shi’ar markings had not manifested despite her mutant abilities having done so.

So is this why Mystique showed no obvious signs of Shi’ar heritage – because she had been stationed on Earth for a long while?

If Lifeguard inherited her shape-shifting ability from her mother, did she likewise inherit the ability to register danger?

That is, if Mystique is Heather’s mother did (s)he secretly manage to survive Deathbird’s attempt on her LIFE because, like her daughter, she was able to sense danger within a 30 metre radius, after which she replaced her body with that of a similar Shi’ar and thereafter fled to Earth?

Does this finally explain why Deathbird came to Earth? Did she somehow suspect her sister had survived and intended to seek proof of her treachery so she would no longer be exiled from her empire? That is, had D’Ken and Mystique conspired to kill their mother and frame Deathbird to prevent her claiming the throne since she was the first in line for it?! It just never seemed to make sense that Deathbird would jeopardise her rightful claim, but it didn’t seem to be beyond of the realm of capability of her brother.  A clue here includes Deathbird not necessarily considering herself exiled from her race early on since she indicates in Ms. Marvel #9 that Ms. Marvel’s name will be counted among the Aerie’s most honoured foes.

Figure 21: Deathbird doesn’t necessarily consider herself exiled from the Shi’ar at this point in Ms. Marvel #9

The Shi’ar would surely count Ms. Marvel as an honoured ally if she fought the exiled Deathbird, not a foe!?

So does D’Ken’s sister-in-arms, Mystique, station herself on Earth to their mutual benefit, where she takes up numerous identities, including that of a male Shi’ar agent, Davan Shakari.

On this point, recall how Lilandra had stated in Uncanny X-Men #107 how Shakari had been “our agent on Earth” (see Figure 5 in Part 1). This never seemed to make sense when you consider the reveal in Uncanny X-Men # 105 that he had been exiled to Earth.

Figure 22: Davan Shakari indicates he had been exiled to Earth by Princess Lilandra from Uncanny X-Men #105

However, keeping my above theory in mind it does. That is, Davan Shakari was stationed on Earth by the Shi’ar Empire first as their loyal agent, but upon Mystique fleeing there, fearing the empire would take note that more than one Shi’ar was stationed there, she killed him and took his as one of her many identities.

I would further posit that the original Shakari stationed on Earth had never taken the identity of Eric the Red, but that had instead been Mystique’s doing, her taking utter delight in the irony not only of using the spelling of the Christian name she had adopted upon settling on earth (i.e. Eric Raven) but also an identity previously used by one of the surviving sons of the family her brother had abducted from Earth year’s earlier.

So when did Mystique originally arrive on Earth? Had she been a passenger on the shuttle that abducted Christopher and Kate Summers? At the time Claremont was originally writing these scenes the year these events would have occurred would be approximately 1953. Now why is this year significant in Claremont stories? Despite Claremont’s revelations since returning to the X-titles that Mystique is over one-hundred years old, you’ll recall him revealing during the fox-hunt sequence in Uncanny X-Men #170 that she would not be born for another 170 years from 1783 (i.e. 1953).

Figure 23: Scene which indicates Mystique was born in 1953 from Uncanny X-Men #170

Was this meant to suggest that her life as an Earther didn’t begin until 1953? If so, she would have been deposited on Earth at about the time Christopher and Kate were withdrawn from Earth by her brother.

Interesting is it not, that Mystique first appears in the same title Deathbird is introduced in, Ms. Marvel!

Well if the above has not been enough to whet your appetite, come back for serving 3 next week where I conclude this series and really “crack the internet in half”;)

Return to Part 1 here or Go to Part 3 here

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One Response

  1. Just a few remarks as I read through:

    Given the heavy death-symbolism involved with Mystique (the skulls on her costume and the name Raven), she can’t really be described as the polar opposite of DEATHbird, rather you’d have to say that irrespective of whether it’s Deathbird or Mystique, LIFEguard is the polar opposite of her mother.

    Since Claremont has revealed that Mystique is over 100 years old, does this mean Deathbird, Lilandra and D’ken are too?

    Putting on my Doylist hat for a moment, it was my impression that Deathbird and the Aerie was developed in Ms. Marvel independently from the Shi’ar (in the X-Men) and the two only later were merged.

    Shakari being exiled to Earth in my opinion can easily be reconciled with him being the Shi’ar agent there – it is not unknown on Earth either that an assignment, especially one to a foreign country with fewer modern amenities and/or a harsh climate can be treated as a form of punishment.

    How would Mystique have known that Scott Summers had survived? Or that he would later have briefly used the identity of Erik the Red? And why would she be so obsessed with him that she would also choose her other secret ID to tie in with this? (Of course, if you calculate things through (vide my post to part 1) it seems to me that she must have taken the name Rossi before Scott first dressed as Erik the Red, quite probably even before he became an X-Man).

    How do you arrive at 1953 as the likely year of Scott’s parents’ alien abduction? It might work if you take the early-to-mid 1960s as your starting point (Scott was written as ca. 18-19 years old then, so in 1953 he would have been eight years or a little younger), but starting from the time the Shi’ar entered the picture, i. e. the late 1970s when Scott was written as being in his mid-20s) an abduction in 1953 would have happened when Scott was still a baby or even before he was born.

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