For years, the cast of Marvel Comics' X-Men have been charged with protecting a world that fears and hates them. The ones harboring the most hate have made for dangerous and implacable enemies, but they've never been able to attain enough power to make their dreams of a mutant genocide a reality. What would happen, though, if a virulent anti-mutant coalition took over America, and possibly the world? And, what if that Coalition used their authority and military might to keep the X-Men from ever forming?
Writer Mike Carey and a host of talented artists star answering those questions and more this month when they kick of "Age of X," a seven part crossover storyline that begins on January 26 with the one-shot "Age of X: Alpha" before continuing in issues of "X-Men: Legacy" and "New Mutants." In "Age of X," Carey takes readers to a world where the X-Men never formed and mutants have been declared enemies of the state. With their species teetering on the brink of oblivion, the world's remaining mutants have banded together for one last desperate attempt at survival.
Since the forces of anti-mutant hysteria gained the upper hand early on, the cast of "Age of X" have decidedly different back stories than their counter parts on Earth 616, the main Marvel Earth. In our multi-part feature THE AGE OF X COMMUNIQUÉS, Mike Carey has been helping readers get better acquainted with the major mutant players of his story by sharing the classified intelligence reports of anti-mutant government operative Henry Peter Gyrich. Last week, in part one of our feature, Gyrich profiled Magneto, Basilisk and Legacy. This week he offers up this thoughts on Cannonball, Gambit and the mysterious Revenant.
From: Henry Peter Gyrich, Anti-Mutant Task Force
To: Simon Trask, Director Ops
Stephen Lang, Deputy Ops
As requested, summary information on mutants known to be behind the "Fortress X" barricade. Full files and supporting documentation available on request.
Samuel Zachary Guthrie
Extremely numerous. Father, died in mining accident, main shaft, Barton and Marshall Mines Cumberland facility.
Paige Guthrie (Husk), sister, at large and known to have taken refuge at Fortress X
Mother and remaining siblings died while resisting arrest (See: Operation Clean-Sweep).
Field observations by surviving Exonim officers who have engaged with the mutants behind the force walls indicate that Guthrie is a high-ranking field commander and possibly i/c mutant combat units as far as day-to-day operations go. He's a good choice, from their point of view. Has a history of turning bad situations around and running up crazy but successful battle strategies out of whole cloth.
He's vulnerable, though. His blast field only protects him from attack while he's moving, and he can't move all the time. Exonim forward units are drilled in the necessity to track Guthrie while he's in motion, but not to fire until he stops to give orders or assists to other mutant forces. I'm confident that this patience will bear fruit.
Moreover, the deaths of his family damaged him. I never got the chance to interrogate him myself, but our infiltrator in the X Force combat cell, Vanessa Carlysle (aka Copycat) indicates in her reports that he talks a lot about his mother, and his guilt at not having saved her. Carlysle described a rift between Paige Guthrie and her brother, caused by Paige's resentment at her brother's apparent unwillingness to embark on a campaign of violence in retaliation for their own loss.
It was Paige who pushed Samuel to form the X Force cell, and directed their combat operations before they made contact with Magneto and joined the Fortress X resistance group. Knowing what we now do about Samuel himself, it seems his willingness to let his sister take the lead in those early operations arose from his ambivalence about the levels of violence that X Force was using.
Footnote: it was Paige Guthrie who ultimately unmasked Carlysle, and – we believe – killed her rather than allow her to complete her mission and download remaining intel to us.
Remy Etienne LeBeau.
No blood relatives.
Adoptive father, Jean-Luc LeBeau, currently in long-term custody at Angola.
LeBeau was a career criminal even before his mutant powers kicked in, and – as far as our records can show – he continued to be involved in crimes of theft and breaking and entering for a long time thereafter, avoiding detection as a mutant through his own skills and his extensive contacts in the New Orleans criminal underworld.
The bureau suspected for a long time that there might be a mutant working for one of the Louisiana crime syndicates, and twice came close to arresting him – once when he left his home territory and traveled to Europe in connection with a jewel theft. The breakthrough, though, came when one of LeBeau's own confederates, Julien Boudreaux, handed him over to us as part of a plea-bargain.
We tried to turn him, obviously: his cynicism and criminal background made him prime material, as far as we could see. Turned out, though, that he hated the authorities enough to resist all offers and all attempts to condition him. The decision was made to transfer him to Alcatraz and put him on the list for execution.
Great plan, in principle: in practice, though, he never got there. Some idiot let him get one of his hands free, and the armored truck they were transporting him in went up like a home-made cherry bomb. Officers on the ground couldn't identify any of the body parts, and another idiot certified LeBeau as dead at the scene. By the time I got onto it and the threw a dragnet out, he was gone.
The next time he surfaced was in Fortress X.
Oh, that gun he carries? It's a Jennings Volition Repeating rifle that dates from 1850 – a priceless antique. We don't know where he sources the hollow-ball ammunition, but we do know he uses his bio-kinetic energy powers to charge up the bullets before he fires. You should think of that as a bazooka on his shoulder, rather than a rifle.
Not fully determined.
I'm not prone to nightmares, but if I was, I'd probably be having them about this mutant. I was going to say "woman," but what is she, really? Long range analysis seems to indicate that there's no actual flesh-and-blood body under there, just a field of patterned plasma. She/it uses the designation Revenant, which as you know is just an old-fashioned word for a ghost, something that comes back from the dead.
So is she saying she's Jean Grey? That somehow she survived the Albany explosion and the subsequent USAF bombing strikes, and came back as a ghost made out of ionized gases? I mean, if that's the message Magneto wants us to get, then why not just go ahead and call her Phoenix?
What rattles me is that we haven't been able to find out anything – not one, single detail – about Revenant's life prior to Fortress X or her arrival there. We have no visuals, no CI statements, no clue from wiretap or remote-listening files, no whiff of a clue as to who she is or where she came from.
What we do know is that she's telekinetic – one of the mutants who renew the force walls when they start to fail under our bombardment – and that the energy halo she trails around with her mimics the shape and configuration of the Phoenix effect reported and partially investigated during the Albany disaster.
Then again, if she's Phoenix, why haven't they turned her loose on us? Maybe they're scared of her, too.