Now, I know I said I’m going to primarily be the video games guy, and whenever there’s genre, specifically comic-related video games, I’ll be the one posting about them, I assure you. However, I came to this site originally as a comic journalist/critic, and they are still a major love of mine. To that end, I’m going to do a
light side and dark side column here at Blog@. My first “dark side” edition, My Opinion is Right, has already seen an issue, and now it’s time to be positive with Non-Jaded Comics Fan. Yes, this column will absolutely seem familiar to fans of Blog@, as my friends there used to run a column called I <3 Comics. This is absolutely a hat tip to that column, one of my favorites (Thanks, JK!).
Anyway, the topic for today will be the other major family of Marvel Comics (with a nod to the Richards clan), the Summers Family. A lot of people have a problem with the Summers Family, whether its over exposure, near-constant death and resurrection, or the clones and alternate timelines. These things are, funny enough, some of the reasons I love these crazy characters.
I initially came to comics via the 90s X-Men Animated Series. One day I was sick, and my mom bought me some X-Men comics from the local grocery store, and I was hooked. This was in the midst of X-Cutioner’s Song, one of the first 90s X-overs, and brought me headfirst into the lives of these characters, all centered
around Cable. Since that time, Cable has been a favorite character of mine, now having collected every (!) appearance of his. Through Cable, I became quickly intrigued by this family of his, including his father, Scott, his uncle, Alex, and his…kinda-mother Jean? Wait, what?
Thanks to my natural love for history, over the years I decided to get into the full story of the Summers clan. Cyclops and Jean Grey, being founding members of the X-Men, are the clear center of the family, but they’ve had many branch-offs. Cable remains my favorite, history wise, because of how utterly ridiculous his story really is. Here’s the very abridged version for those uninitiated:
Jean Grey is cloned by Mr. Sinister, who had guided the Summers and Grey family trees to result in the ultimate mutant. Madelyne Pryor and Scott Summers had a kid, named Nathan Christopher Charles Summers; Nathan after Scott’s orphanage administrator (ironically, Mr. Sinister in disguise), Christopher after Scott and Alex’s father, Charles after Xavier. He notably manifested his abilities as a mere infant, able to use telekinesis instinctively to protect himself.
Lots of drama (resurrection, separation, deals with various devils, etc) eventually leads to baby Nathan being infected with a techno-organic virus (see: Phalanx, Technarcy, Warlock for more) and needing a cure that can only be found in the far future. Mother Askani, Nathan’s genetic sister from an alternate timeline who was flung into the far future of this one as an old lady and the guide of the remainder of humanity, takes him into her care a couple millenia from now via one of her followers. Here’s where it gets complicated.
Rachel had Nathan cloned in order to preserve his destiny of taking down Apocalypse, the despot of the far future. The clone would grow to be Stryfe, raised by Apocalypse himself. That’s a story for another day.
Scott and Jean, now finally married, are taken into the far future (well, their minds into gentically accurate grown bodies, all arranged by Mother “yup, I’m Rachel your alternate daughter” Askani), where they spend more than a decade raising Nathan as their own. When they come back to the past, they’re brought back to nearly the exact moment they left, but with the memories and connection to Nathan intact.
That’s most of the fun stuff. Nathan grew into the man called Cable, led the resistance in the future, came back in time, led a couple teams, lost his powers, gained his powers, lost his powers, gained his powers, greatly reduced his powers, and is now back in the future, caring for the unnamed red-haired female mutant savior baby. For awhile, he had a genetic twin from an alternate timeline named Nate Grey (X-Man) that ran around (and was enamored for awhile with Madelyne Pryor, his genetic mother twice removed, gross), through whom he found out that the TO virus actually saved him; without it, Nathan’s ridiculously high power level would have eaten him alive.
Well, this started as a love letter to the Summers, but became one to Cable specifically. That’s ok, though, just means there’s more fodder for future columns. This ridiculous soldier from the future/past with ties to many characters in the X-Universe (and outside it, like Captain America), is a testament to the fun outlandishness that comics can provide. He couldn’t have been conceived of or lasted as long in any other medium. I could hate the complications, but instead I love them, cause I’m a non-jaded comics fan.
The Summers Family, and Cable in particular, do you love ‘em or hate ‘em? How come? Sound off!
Thanks to uncannyxmen.net for the easy-to-find images!
Next time: Continuity