…Callisto’s origin?

While the mutant Callisto, created by Chris Claremont and Paul Smith, was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #169 as leader of the Morlocks, a large group of mutants that had fled from human persecution into the tunnels beneath New York City where they had formed their own community, her history prior to her founding of the Morlocks remained shrouded in mystery for the ensuing hundred issues.

However, while this appears to be the case on the surface, a plot regarded as one of the most disturbing – and obscure – of Claremont’s entire run on the title, appears to provide some valuable clues upon a second viewing.

Consider that the scenes in Uncanny X-Men #259 showing Callisto transformed into a beautiful supermodel [by Masque]…

Figure 01_UXM259_Masque tormentFigure 02_UXM259_Billboard modelFigure 03_UXM259_Model in trouble

…were actually intended by Chris Claremont to hint at the founder of the Morlocks’ original appearance.

This would finally explain the scene in Uncanny X-Men #191, when new mutant, Dani Moonstar, shows Callisto her greatest fear by projecting an image of the attractive woman she once was…

Figure 04_UXM191_Callisto before mutant powers

…and the cryptic scene in #260 with the gang of thugs pursuing her down a dark alley…

Figure 05_UXM260_Model fight back

…was hinting at the event which brought about her mutant abilities.

I’d therefore suggest that when still a supermodel, prior to her mutant powers manifesting, the young woman that became Callisto was pursued by a gang of thugs on the streets at night.  She tries to struggle against their attack but, while she had learned a number of self-defence moves, she was just not built for physical combat.

However, given Claremont’s penchant for revealing mutants’ powers primarily manifesting in life-threatening situations (e.g. Sam Guthrie), I’d further suggest the assault caused her body to transform into that of a hardened warrior…

Figure 06_UXM170_Callisto's powers

…which enabled her to fight off her attackers… but at the price of losing her looks, and modelling career in the process.

This would appear to explain why Claremont named her Callisto.  That is, Callisto, meaning “most beautiful”, was the lovely nymph in Greek mythology that was raped by Zeus and subsequently transformed into a bestial form.

However, the myth goes a step further, and Callisto becomes pregnant as a result of the sexual assault.

So did Claremont intend to reveal that, in addition to manifesting her mutant abilities, Callisto became pregnant as a result of the attack?  If so, where is that child now?

I have some ideas…

Given the bestial form Callisto was transformed into in the myth was a bear, does this provide some clue as to the identity of her child?

It is worth noting that the original version of the name Cheney, Cheynne, means “little Cree” (French) à “little Cris” (Canadian French) à “little Bear” (Greek).  A long way to go about it, but it is there:)

We know Callisto spoke with a British argot (e.g. Uncanny X-Men #211 when she calls the dying Morlock, Annalee, a “dear old duffer”).

Figure 06_UXM211_Callisto's argot

We also know Lila Cheney similarly used British slang.

Figure 07_NMA01_Lila Cheney's accent

So given Cheney’s name means “Little Bear”, it would seem she was intended by Claremont to be the child resulting from Callisto’s assault.

I kind of like the idea that Callisto is Lila Cheney’s mother.  It ties two Claremont characters without origins together.  And they never met during his run.

The only further detail Claremont provided for Lila Cheney’s origins during his run was that someone on Earth had sold her…

Figure 08_NMA01_Earth sold Lila CheneyFigure 09_NM29_Lila stolen and sold

…to an alien who had forced her to participate in intergalactic gladiator tournaments!

Figure 10_NM29_Lila reveals was gladiator

The most logical villain from Claremont’s run to have orchestrated the abduction of Lila as a baby would seem to be Mister Sinister, what with his modus operandi of having mutant children kidnapped (Nanny not having been created at this point).

Figure 11_UXM215_Madelyne Pryor pursued by Marauders

As to the alien, with Lila’s powers working on the basis that she must have previously been to a particular location in order to teleport there later, and given that we find her teleporting across the Imperium in Uncanny X-Men #269…

Figure 12a_UXM269_Lila teleporting across Shi'ar Imperium_a

…and Uncanny X-Men #274-277…

Figure 12b_UXM276_Lila teleporting across Shi'ar ImperiumFigure 12c_UXM276_Lila teleporting across Shi'ar ImperiumFigure 12d_UXM277_Lila teleporting across Shi'ar Imperium

…I’d propose Shi’ar “Big Bad,” the Emperor D’Ken!

Figure 13_UXM156_D'Ken most likely alien Sinister sold Lila to

As to why Mister Sinister would sell Lila to D’Ken, I’d suggest he did so in order to gain Shi’ar technology, specifically an incubation-accelerator… similar to the one Davan Shakari/ Eric the Red had used to age Magneto in X-Men #104…

Figure 14_UXM104_Shi'ar age accelerator

…which he could use to accelerate his clones to adulthood, like he had with Madelyne Pryor.

Figure 15_UXM240_Mister Sinister's age accelerator

And don’t panic, I’m not avoiding addressing the perpetrators of Callisto’s original assault which led to the manifestation of her mutant abilities (and Lila;).  So let us return to the first hint of such an event, Uncanny X-Men #260.  Most fans will agree with me here that there is something extremely disturbing about the scene in this issue when it becomes clear that the group of attackers are wearing X-Men masks.

Figure 16_UXM260_Peter Nicholas fighting off Callisto's attackers

When viewed on the surface, nothing about the sequence makes any sense.  With the previous issue launching this particular storyline with Masque torturing Callisto, one could argue it was him who sent the attackers.  However, if he did, why did they need to wear masks when Masque could have easily changed their faces with his powers?  Also, Masque certainly couldn’t have known what Psylocke’s new helmeted mask looked like since Betsy had only been wearing her armoured costume since the X-Men had become invisible to electronic scanners and he’d not encountered them since before this time.

Figure 17_UXM232_Psylocke's armour

It’s worth noting here that Masque’s behaviour in this story arc is so much more psychologically sophisticated in its cruelty than anything we’ve previously seen from him – and his use of limousines and organising for Callisto to appear on billboards – such a high-class, highly-financed operation would be out of the league of an outcast who lives in the sewers. Such a scheme is more in keeping with the modus operandi of a villain like Farouk who was previously shown to run various legitimate nightclubs, etc. (e.g. the Fat Karma storyline).

As for the attackers wearing masks, while it could be argued this was Peter Nicholas’ subconscious trying to remind him of his identity as the X-Man, Colossus, the “vision” is also noted by Phillip Moreau.

Figure 18_UXM260_Phillip Moreau sees X-Men masks

I’d therefore alternatively suggest Peter seeing X-Men masks on the faces of Callisto’s attackers was not his subconscious but instead the mutant Aborigine, Gateway, contacting him via the Dreamtime.  The hallucinatory effect of the scene echoes back to Psylocke’s experience in Uncanny X-Men #250, and Madelyne Pryor’s in the lead-up to Inferno. Recall at this point Gateway was imprisoned by the Shadow King (cf. Uncanny X-Men #250 and 253) in his efforts to control the Dreamtime.

Figure 19_UXM250-253_Shadow King controlling DreamtimeGateway’s “Dreamtime” contact to Peter was dual-purposed, firstly as suggested above his effort to speed up the recovery from his amnesia after passing through the Siege Perilous (so he could be restored as Colossus in preparation for the coming battle with the Shadow King), but also revealing subtle clues from the nightmares of characters’ past, in this instance Callisto’s.  That is, what with Gateway being cursed to the service of the Reavers…

Figure 20_UXM269_Gateway bound to Reavers' service

…who were revealed as the Shadow King’s pawns in X-Treme X-Men Annual 2001…

Figure 21_XXMA2001_Donald Pierce as host to Shadow King

…was Claremont using the character as a plot device to subtly reveal their involvement in the past events of his characters?

What’s interesting about the scene with Callisto’s attackers in Uncanny X-Men #260 is that they’re wearing masks of the “Outback Team” of X-Men, Colossus, Havok, Wolverine, Storm, Psylocke, etc.

Figure 22_UXM260_Thugs wearing masks out Outback X-Men

At this time there were only two groups of X-Men villains who were aware of their survival from Dallas, the Reavers and Marauders.

With my having established Gateway’s “Dreamtime” contact, it would seem to make sense his influence was revealing villains mutual to both himself and the X-Men (sadly, Peter is still too Siege-lagged to interpret Gateway’s “vision”, and goes on to fall under the thrall of the Shadow King).

So when the attack on Callisto in Uncanny X-Men #260 is viewed from my above outlined perspective, things start falling into place, don’t they!

Now before I dive in, I’d suggest a much earlier scene written by Claremont in Callisto’s history provides us with further clues.

Recall in Callisto’s first appearance – Uncanny X-Men #169 – she has Angel kidnapped, stripped of his clothing and his primary feathers cut away in an effort to cripple him.

Figure 23_UXM169_Callisto's kidnapping of Angel

While this scene is explained as her wanting Warren as a “trophy husband”, there always seemed to be more behind her actions than she claimed.  So what if Callisto actually came to knowledge that the gang of her original attackers worked for a rich, blonde male member of the Hellfire Club who had gone on to become member of some super outlaw team?

Now recall in Uncanny X-Men #132 had Angel reveal that he was a member of the Hellfire Club, having inherited the membership from his parents.

Figure 24_UXM132_Angel reveals Hellfire Club membershipSo did Callisto learn of Warren’s Hellfire Club membership and jump to the wrong conclusion, ordering his kidnapping due to a case of mistaken identity?  And the rich, blonde she should really have kidnapped was CEO of Pierce-Consolidated Mining and White King of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle!

So let’s explore this a little further.  We know Pierce had a mad-on for mutants…

Figure 25a_UXM134_Donald Pierce hatred mutantsFigure 25b_UXM253_Donald Pierce hatred mutants

…most likely because he ended up an amputee through a less than positive “interaction” with one!  While this was somewhat revealed in Cable #49 by James Robinson…

Figure 26_CBL49_Donald Pierce reveals the mutant responsible for his condition

…the storyline and characters revealed as responsible were obviously not those intended by Claremont.

So what circumstances did Claremont intend to have caused Donald Pierce’s disablement, and his subsequent hatred of mutants?

Before I begin addressing this apparent abandoned plot, let me first turn my investigation to an interesting statement made by the Pierce from around our period in discussion, Uncanny X-Men #251, where he claims to have created the original Reavers; and that Pretty Boy, Skullbuster and Bonebreaker were the last of this original group.

Figure 27a_UXM251_Donald Pierce responsible for original Reavers

It is worth noting that the original Reavers did not just consist of the abovementioned three.  That is, Uncanny X-Men #229 earlier shows them as part of a much larger group of super-powered cyborgs.

Figure 27b_UXM229_Original Reavers

That same issue Claremont has Longshot express outrage toward the group about giving up their “birthright flesh” and replacing it with machinery, which I’d suggest was his way of indicating that the entire commando-style team of thieves started out as human.

Figure 27c_UXM229_original Reavers had been human

Given their cybernetic enhancements enabled them to become this super-commando team, I’d further suggest that when still purely human they were just a team of thieves.

So what were the circumstances of their own disablement that made them candidates for Pierce’s cybernetic enhancements?  I’m assuming by now you’ve deduced where I’m going with this.

That is, was Pierce and this gang of thieves that went on to become his original Reavers the same group of thugs hinted by Gateway to have been responsible for the attack on the supermodel that became the mutant Callisto?

I would suggest yes, and that the fractures, amputations and internal injuries, that required them to subject themselves to cybernetic enhancement, were sustained as a result of the supermodel’s mutant abilities manifesting during their sexual assault of her.

But, you ask, were members of the Reavers’ really capable of rape?

I’d answer that question by directing you to their very first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #229.  Pretty Boy especially had a penchant for making female victims more “pliable” to his suggestions, including the captured Jessan Hoan (his fibre-optic filaments burrowing into her brain and altering her sense of morality such that she went on to become Tyger Tiger, the new crime lord of Madripoor)…

Figure 28a_UXM229_Pretty Boy mind rape of Jessan Hoan

…Dazzler…

Figure 28b_UXM229_Pretty Boy attempted mind-rape of Dazzler

…Lady Deathstrike…

Figure 28c_UXM252_Pretty Boy attempted mind-rape of Lady Deathstrike

…Polaris…

Figure 28d_UXM255_Pretty Boy attempted mind-rape of Polaris

…Rogue…

Figure 28e_UXM269_Pretty Boy intending to mind-rape Rogue

…and Sage.

Figure 28f_XXMA2001_Pretty Boy about to mind-rape Sage

This would seem to suggest that Pretty Boy’s predatory behaviour towards females existed long before Pierce surgically provided him with the fibre-optic filaments that enabled him to burrow into a victim’s brain and alter their sense of morality, and that Donald in fact outfitted him with this enhancement as it played to his previous strengths.

In addition, Donald Pierce exhibited similarly creepy behaviour towards Lady Deathstrike, who acknowledged his control over her.

Figure 29a_UXM252_Donald Pierce controlling Lady DeathstrikeFigure 29b_UXM253_Donald Pierce with Lady Deathstrike

It’s worth noting that his first name, Donald, means “ruler of the world” and his surname Pierce is derived from the Greek Petros, the ammonite shila form by which Zeus was worshipped.

So there you have it, Donald Pierce and his gang of thieves, stumbling across the supermodel that went on to become Callisto while they were taking down one of their scores, decided to “sate their appetites” when her powers kicked in and she cut through them like a knife through butter, becoming the mutant responsible for the original Reavers!

Now while this resolves the circumstances of Callisto’s assault and subsequent transformation, Lila Cheney’s conception and eventual sale to D’Ken (and later escape from her intergalactic enslavement*), if this was Claremont’s plan, I’ve not yet addressed why Callisto didn’t attempt to track down her daughter after the abduction.  Well, while her mutant powers manifested during her sexual assault and she ended up permanently disabling her attackers, they’d be no match against the Marauders when those assassins came to abduct baby Lila from her for their employer, Mister Sinister.  While she’d have been able to put up a fight, recall during Claremont’s run these were the deadliest group of mutants the X-Men had ever faced and Callisto would have been alone against them.  While she survived the encounter, there’s no way she wouldn’t have walked away unscathed, so I’d suggest that it was this battle that was responsible for her missing right eye and the scars on her cheeks, most likely meted out by Sabretooth.

I’d even go a further step to suggest that, as it is unlikely for a sole fighter to survive an encounter with the Marauders, Callisto, despite sustaining her injuries, managed to flee from them into the sewers beneath Manhattan and kept running until she stumbled across one of the series of abandoned military tunnels constructed during the Cold War; the Marauders unable to track her and finish their job due to the Alley blocking psionic scanning.

Figure 30a_UXM169 212_Morlock tunnels psychic interference

Having now experienced two near-death attacks upon her person, by humans AND mutants, I’d posit that Callisto lost any sense of safety and so, like Harvey Elder, upon finding the security of the Alley, decided to create a makeshift home there. And after encountering Caliban, Sunder, Masque and Plague who similarly fled there to avoid human persecution, with their help went on to form the community of mutant outcasts called the Morlocks.

So could this be the reason for the later Morlock Massacre?  That is, Callisto is perhaps the first one (i.e. mutant) that got away from an assassination ordered by Mister Sinister.  So when he eventually heard rumours of her established community of mutant outcasts, he ordered it wiped out from existence.

Post-script: As to the circumstances of Lila Cheney’s eventual escape from her enslavement as a human gladiator in the Shi’ar Imperium, I’d suggest Claremont also provides the answer to that plot thread in Uncanny X-Men #276, in particular the scene where upon her hesitation to teleport away after Deathbird commands her to, thereby abandoning Gambit and Jubilee to defend themselves against Gladiator and War-Skrull Xavier (despite the two X-Men having freed them from imprisonment), the Majestrix guilts her into action by reminding Lila of her pledge of loyalty and service to her.

Figure 30_UXM276_Lila's pledge to Deathbird

While leaving behind these two new members of the X-Men might be able to be overlooked once, given she has never met them before, Lila bails out on team members she has previously worked alongside again when they are under attack by Warskrull agents on a further occasion in this issue.  Twice when they are in desperate need of assistance seems entirely out of character for the Lila we have previously known.  That is, unless Deathbird was the one who helped her escape from her original intergalactic enslavement!  And if D’Ken as I posit was the one who placed Lila into gladiatorial enslavement in the first place, releasing a victim of the brother who unseated her from the Shi’ar throne and procuring them as an ally would seem entirely ‘in character’ for the Deathbird we know, and love.  In fact Deathbird’s behaviour as written by Claremont during the entire War-Skrull storyline (officially titled “Crossroads”) makes me believe that D’Ken was behind the murder of his mother and unnamed sister, and he orchestrated events so that Deathbird, next in line to the Shi’ar throne, would take the blame and he could take her place as Emperor.  After all, it is rather interesting that she ends up exiled to the planet her brother had a Shi’ar agent running agendas for him!  But that, I’m afraid, will have to be a FIX for another time;)

Post-postscript: As for Masque’s transformation of Callisto into her former supermodel self, I’d suggest he didn’t just do this so he could take leadership of the Morlocks from her, but also at the Shadow King’s behest so that Peter would fall in love with her thus enabling them to manipulate him to provide them with access codes to the X-Mansion’s underground basement.  Despite Masque’s defeat in Uncanny X-Men #263…

Figure 31_UXM263_Masque's defeat

…and what would appear to be a happy ending for Peter and Callisto in Uncanny X-Men #264…

Figure 32_UXM264_Callisto and Colossus's happy ending

…when next we see him it becomes clear that Masque’s scheme has worked despite Gateway’s efforts, and Colossus has indeed fallen under the Shadow King’s thrall:(

Figure 33_UXM279_Colossus under the Shadow King's thrall

 

 

…Ahab’s origin?

Days of Future Present trade cover by Mike Mignola

Figure 1: Ahab's introduction in the Days of Future Present crossover.

Ahab was the “Master of the Hounds” from the Days of Future Past future – the one that Rachel Grey hailed from.  Hounds were mutants with powers useful for tracking other mutants, who were controlled by Ahab in that timeline.  Back when Cable still didn’t have a past, Ahab was introduced in the Days of Future Present crossover (Fantastic Four Annual #23, X-Factor Annual #5, New Mutants Annual #6, Uncanny X-Men Annual #14).  During one fight scene during this crossover, Cable and Ahab get close to one another, and Cable is shocked to recognise something familiar in Ahab, reinforced to readers further when Ahab says: “What’s wrong Cable? See someone you know?” (cf. Uncanny X-Men Annual #14).

Ahab coming to blows with Cable for the first time?

Figure 2: When Cable meets Ahab face-to-face he appears to recognise him; but how?! from X-Men Annual #14, p.31

Now, although Rictor was the first to point out that Cable looked like Ahab

Rictor being the first to point out Cable looking like Ahab

Figure 3: The panel that started it all - Rictor being the 1st to note a physical resemblance between Cable and Ahab, from New Mutants Annual #6, p.45

I believe his judgement was clouded by his guilt over killing the Hound

Rictor demonstrating a heightened state of stress due to killing one of Ahab's "Hounds"

Figure 4: Was Rictor's judgement clouded by his guilt over killing the Hound? from New Mutants Annual #6, p.31

and his reluctance to trust Cable (cf. New Mutants #89, p.30)

first indications of Rictor's grudge towards Cable

Figure 5: First indication of Rictor's grudge towards Cable, from New Mutants #89, p.30

due to his belief that Cable set his father up to get killed  (cf. New Mutants #90, p. 14 & 18)

Rictor taking Cable on about setting his father up to get killed

Figure 6: The reason for the animosity is that Rictor believes Cable is responsible for killing his father, from New Mutants #90, p.18

and his recollection that when he was a child – prior to manifesting his powers – Cable seemed like such a monster (cf. New Mutants #93, page 14).

Rictor runs ahead of Sunspot and Wolfsbane, but Sunspot tells him to wait up, reminding Rictor that the problem he has with Cable has caused difficulties for them before - Rictor interrupts, telling Bobby to drop it, as it is over, and that there won’t be anymore problems, as they are a team and will stay a team. Rictor wonders however, how Cable fits into this, and remembers that when he was a child, Cable seemed like a monster, but now he isn’t so sure.

Figure 7: Rictor recalls that when he was a child Cable seemed like such a monster, from New Mutants #93, p.14

This along with noticing superficial physical similarities – scar over right eye, and bionic left arm and shoulder (cf. X-Factor #61, p. 6 among others)

Cable tells himself that Wipeout's power blocks somehow makes him unable to control his bionic left arm, rendering it useless

Figure 8: Cable notes his left arm as the bionic arm, etc. from X-Factor #61, p.6

– while experiencing a heightened state of stress, provides a reasonable excuse for Rictor’s misplaced paranoia.

I do think Louise Simonson had somewhat of a plan for Cable negative relationship with Rictor – and no I don’t think it was the later revelation of Stryfe being his doppelganger – which I believe was somehow tied into his having previously worked as a government agent who went “rogue” (cf. New Mutants #88), his past with Moira MacTaggert (cf. New Mutants #89), his past connection with Sunfire and the Yashida Clan (cf. New Mutants #93) and the outstanding scores with Wolverine and his previous link to Madripoor.

However, I’m certain the intention was NOT to impose Ahab’s origin onto Cable to resolve the fact that they didn’t initially have a background for him, but that it was planted as a RED HERRING!

Fabian Nicieza claims the latter, suggesting Bob Harras pushed for the dialogue in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14; though I’m not entirely convinced it was him primarily since the dialogue at the time seemed indicative of Claremont’s well-known catch phrases – which I’ll expound below.

While Cable and Ahab did have some similar features, there are more distinct differences, than similarities, during Ahab’s introduction in the Days of Future Present Annuals.

While both characters had similar scars across their right eyes, Cable’s left eye was the bionic one.

Even though his Physical Description from the Marvel Universe Master Edition #3 at the time suggested otherwise,

Figure 9: Physical Description notes mistakenly that Cable has bionic right eye, from Marvel Universe Master Edition #3.

Figure 9: Physical Description notes mistakenly that Cable has bionic right eye, from Marvel Universe Master Edition #3.

New Mutants #89 (p. 26)

Cable indicates his left eye as the bionic one.

Figure 10: Cable indicates his left eye as the bionic one - unlike Ahab's which is the right one - from New Mutants #89, p.26.

and Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (p. 17) proved the original intention since Cable’s right eye was blue,

Panel showing the original intention since Cable’s right eye was blue.

Figure 11: Further proof the original intention that Cable's left eye is the bionic one, as this panel shows the right eye is blue, from X-Men Annual #14, p.17

page 18 showing Ahab’s left eye as brown, his right eye being the bionic one.

Ahab’s left eye being shown as brown, his right eye being the bionic one.

Figure 12: Panel showing Ahab’s left eye as brown - the right eye being the bionic one, from X-Men Annual #14, p.18

While the rendering on their bionic left arms was awfully similar, the renderings appeared to suggest Forge’s design, since they were practically identical to how his prosthesis was depicted as in New Mutants #65 (p. 24, panel 4)

Forge’s prosthetic having identical renderings to those of Cable and Ahab's.

Figure 13: Bionic renderings appeared to suggest Forge’s design, from New Mutants #65, p.24

and on the cover of New Mutants #66

Cover of New Mutants #66 with further demonstration of Forge's bionic design.

Figure 14: Further evidence of Forge's bionic design, from New Mutants #66 cover.

(given the similarity of Forge’s design it is most interesting that he claimed credit for Misty Knight’s cyborg arm in UXM #264).

Forge claiming credit for Misty Knight’s cyborg arm

Figure 15: Forge claiming credit for Misty Knight’s cyborg arm in Uncanny X-Men #264, p.8.

In addition, on page 18 of X-Men Annual #14 (1990) Ahab calls Cyclops “laddie-buck”, definitely not indicative of Cable’s speech patterns.

Panel of Ahab calling Cyclops “laddie-buck”.

Figure 16: Ahab calling Cyclops “laddie-buck” - definitely not indicative of Cable’s speech patterns - from X-Men Annual #14, p.18

This was a well-known Claremont idiom regularly used by his Welsh character Dai Thomas, who I might add he originally introduced as an anti-superhero police officer and friend/ member of Joseph MacTaggert’s infantry in the Royal Marine Commandos.

Also, according to Banshee in New Mutants Annual #6 (p. 18) Cable was in Madripoor at the time Ahab was rounding up fellow mutants with Rachel.

Banshee explains that Cable was in Madripoor at the time Ahab was rounding up fellow mutants with Rachel.

Figure 17: Banshee explaining that Cable is in Madripoor at the time Ahab was rounding up fellow mutants with Rachel, from Banshee in New Mutants Annual #6, p.18

What this all suggests is that Cable obviously recognised Ahab in Annual #14, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he was recognising himself.  It could alternatively suggest that Cable may have encountered Ahab in his former identity, before he became “Master of the Hounds”.

What was that former identity, you ask?

The one thing that has been completely overlooked in the two decades since Ahab’s introduction is his going grey in a really unusual pattern.

I still can’t believe I am the only one who picked this up, but I’ve noted no one else make the same particular reference online over this whole time.

The only question remaining with regard to Ahab is whether he is Rogue’s father, brother or son.

Unlikely that he is her father or brother since Ahab is obviously Welsh or Scottish and Rogue was born in Mississippi.

However, could he be Rogue’s son?

During Uncanny X-Men #278 the Shadow King seduces Rogue.

Panel of Rogue being seduced by the Shadow King

Figure 18: The Shadow King seduces Rogue, from Uncanny X-Men #278, p.17

What if Claremont intended her to become pregnant by him, with Ahab?

When she comes to realise what has occurred, perhaps Claremont didn’t originally intend her to return to the team right away, but rather have her remain on Muir Island to give birth.

She swears Moira to secrecy about the pregnancy (who likely empathises Moira, given the father of her own child was a monster), and after giving birth returns to the X-Men.

But not before leaving the child with Moira to rear (drawing a nice parallel to Mystique’s own giving up of Kurt).

Moira, not unfamiliar with raising other bairns (i.e. Rahne), raises the child, who upon reaching his teens, like Crystal’s child, Luna, goes on to develop no powers.

He develops a crush on Rachel, who rejects him for Franklin Richards!

He takes the rejection harshly, considering the reason being because he is not a mutant, and goes on to develop a burning prejudice against mutants (much like the latter-introduced Graydon Creed).

This anti-mutant prejudice brings him into some conflict, and he is left for dead (without arms, his right eye and left leg).

But like Cameron Hodge before him, he survives, and submits himself to a process developed by the Genoshans, becoming “Master of the Hounds”, going on to enslave and humiliate Rachel; developing the Hound process in tribute to his father the Shadow King.

Note: His being raised on Muir Island would perhaps explain the accent Claremont imbued him with in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14; his crazy hair perhaps be explained by having Legion be the biological father (who was possessed by the Shadow King at the time).