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December 2, 2009

Uncanny Questions Surround the X-Men: Who is Hope?

01Once in awhile I get so psyched about a comic book, that I have to divert from my daily routine of puppet making and kitten petting to write about it. Writer Matt Fraction and (shockingly) artist Greg Land have provided one knock out issue in Uncanny X-Men #517! I suppose I should make something clear; I am incredibly and undeniably biased towards the X-Men in practically every respect (have you checked out the Power Rankings yet?); I would choose a NM graded copy of Giant-Size X-Men #1 over 20 minutes alone with Sasha Grey.

Yep. It’s that bad.

Still, whether you’re an X-fiend or not, I think most people would agree that post Messiah Complex, Cyclops and his team of merry mutants have been one intriguing bunch! They’re bolder, older, tougher and more unpredictable than ever before. Their new M.O. under Scott Summers and Emma Frost is to preserve the future of mutantkind at any cost, and this has led the team to find haven in Asteroid M; Magneto’s former military base in space. Only now the asteroid is floating in the waters off the coast of San Francisco, serving as a place of refuge for mutant kind as opposed to a battle station (…I guess it’s still that too, but it’s weapons systems are only used in self defense under the new regime). Cyclops has made it a safe place for all mutants and their families; powered or de-powered, former foe or present ally, if you have an X-gene, you and your family are welcome aboard the island sanctuary, which has been dubbed, Utopia.

The X-Men have experienced plenty of noteworthy events since Messiah Complex, like Messiah War, Utopia and currently Necrosha, and I don’t mean to disregard them, but Uncanny X-Men #517 has opened the door to so many questions and speculations that it’s easy to see the next X-event, X-Men: Second Coming, is going to be HUGE! I’ll touch on the reasons why in a moment, but just understand that this issue has set the stage for an event so big and momentous, that #518 is coming out tomorrow; that’s only 8 days after the release of #517! Before #518 hits the press, I have to bring to light some of the thoughts and predictions I’ve been having about what transpired in Uncanny X-Men #517. If you haven’t read this issue yet, the rest of the article is jam packed with spoilers, so just trust me that this issue is kick ass, read it, and come back later.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!

The first thing that got me psyched about this issue was how well the X-Men worked together as a team. Fraction did a fantastic job of highlighting specific mutants and how well their powers work with others in the heat of battle… and yes, Greg Land did a solid job with the art as well. After Scalphunter’s ship was blasted out of the sky near Utopia via Cyclops’ optic beams, the five mutant hunting Predator X’s that were it’s cargo landed near the mutant island. Obviously, this was a serious danger to the X-Men, so Cyclops planted himself in the thick of things, calling out tactical strikes left and right, just like the old days! This was easy for him to do since he was psychically linked to all of the X-Men thanks to the Stepford Cuckoos. The scene where Magneto, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Iceman, Colossus and Boom Boom worked together in taking out a Predator X was f-ing AWESOME! Since the Predator’s have skin that’s like a metallic armor, Magneto ripped it off. Then Nightcrawler BAMF’ed him out of the combat zone while Northstar kept the wounded beast occupied by running circles around it, pelting it with punches. In swooped Iceman who froze the thing in place while Colossus jumped down on top of it. He cracked through the ice to pry the monster’s mouth open, allowing Boom Boom to plant some time bombs down its throat. Iceman then re-froze that sucker back up so he couldn’t spit the bombs out and KA-BLAMMO!! One Predator X down! It was such a fantastic display of teamwork, that I nearly wet myself.

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So that scene whet my fanboy appetite (especially being a huge Iceman fan), but the moment that nearly sent me over the edge was when Rogue took the spotlight. If you’ve been reading X-Men Legacy, then you’d know that Rogue has come a long way since the 1980s and can now control when to use her absorption powers. This means no more instant comas for those she touches as she controls the degree in which she takes someone’s powers or life essence. While it took six X-Men to take down the previously mentioned Predator X, here Rogue takes one out all by herself- and this is without her Ms. Marvel powers! Anna has seven of the younger X-Men all touch her at once (Rockslide, Nezhno, Anole, Dust, Surge, Mercury and Armor), allowing her to add all of their powers to her arsenal. She then goes to town and literally rips apart the monster, and holy hell it was bad ass. It’s cool that Rogue now has a clean slate, and this maneuver by her was yet another example of the exceptional teamwork displayed by the X-Men in this issue.

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These two battles were perfect fanboy eye candy, but the scene that really got my motor running was when the Phoenix Force left the Stepford Cuckoos. After the events of Phoenix Warsong, the Cuckoos had remnants of the Phoenix Force locked inside of their hearts (which have been diamond all this time in order to keep it contained). Well, it escaped them somehow and flew into space, which is EXACTLY what happened to Rachel Summers and then Korvus’ sword in X-Men Kingbreaker; the Phoenix Force left them in the heat of battle. Is this a coincidence? Why has this happened?

My thoughts are that it’s in preparation for the X-Men Second Coming event when Hope returns to 616 continuity. This would of course mean that the Phoenix Force is somehow tied to Hope, which raises the question; who the heck is Hope? One thing we know for sure about her is that in Bishop’s time line she destroys a plethora of humans, prompting them to round up mutants and put them into the concentration camps we X-fans have become so familiar with. What would give Hope the power to do this? Well, the Phoenix Force would be the obvious answer, and since it’s leaving everyone in the 616 Universe who had any pieces of it, it would seem as though it’s preparing to attach itself to another host. The Pheonix Force always craves the most powerful telepath, and a viable host will be returning to the 616 Universe very soon: Hope.

Is Hope Jean Grey? That would be the obvious answer, but I don’t think so. Before I give my hypothesis on her identity, it should be pointed out that the children of Scott Summers all seem to suddenly be congregating in the 616 Universe; X-Man is making his return in Dark X-Men, Rachel Summers is in space with the Starjammers (which is where the Phoenix Force is hanging out- in space!), and Cable is set to return from the future with Hope very soon. I’m sure you’re asking why am I categorizing Hope with these other Summers children? The reason is that I believe Hope to be the 616 Universe’s version of Rachel Summers. It makes total sense; not only does Hope’s appearance fit the bill, but there is no 616 version of Rachel in existence! The current Rachel running around is from Earth 811, leaving the door wide open for Hope to fill that void. Remember that you heard it here first!

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There are plenty of other questions that this issue of Uncanny X-Men has left dangling in front of our anxious faces, like what will happen to the Cuckoos who are now KO’ed due to the abruptness of the Phoenix’s departure? With them out of commission and Emma stuck in diamond form, the X-Men are without their major telepaths, making them blind to any outside attacks. Not to mention that they’re now without that psychic link which did wonders for them in battle. This of course leads to the inevitable show down between Emma Frost and that sliver of The Void that’s stuck in her head, thanks to the lobotomy she gave Sentry during the Utopia event. Cyclops has made it clear that Emma’s telepathic prowess is too valuable to be wasted, and that this confrontation between her and The Void needs to happen immediately. The results could be disastrous for Emma, or she could come out ok and become even more powerful than before… maybe even powerful enough for the Phoenix Force to select her as its new host!

The questions abound!

There’s never been a better time to be an X-fan, and with the sequel to this issue coming out tomorrow, the excitement of The Second Coming will only get more intense. What are your thoughts on who Hope is?

Now if you’ll excuse me, the kittens eagerly await my presence.

Andy Liegl
andy@comicattack.net

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21 Comments


  1. DecapitatedDan

    “Once in awhile I get so psyched about a comic book, that I have to divert from my daily routine of puppet making and kitten petting to write about it.” Funniest thing I read all day.

    If Emma became the pheonix it would be a sad day in hell and most would wonder why Jean died in the first place.

    Now as for your theory. While I think your right about it being Rachel, why does it always have to be some form of a Summers? Seriously is that all you can come up with Marvel? We need a new super mutant. I know lets make him/her a Summers. No one will see that coming. If that were true then Cyclops gets around more than Tiger Woods.

    I mean Iceman is an Omega Level mutant yet he’s not a Summers. Just more crap from the House of Crap



  2. You’re so bitter!

    I think the X-books are f-in’ AWESOME right now! I’m loving every moment and am on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next!

    But I do agree: Iceman needs to become more of a prominent player.


  3. billy

    I’m really excited about this arc that’s upcoming too Andy. Lol, my favorite part of the whole entire book…”Sup, Bee-otches”.



  4. […] your LCS (Local Comic Shop) to see what’s new this week. If you didn’t read it already, check out the article I published yesterday about the events that transpired in the previous issue, Uncanny X-Men #517. It was crazy! […]



  5. OH MAN! #518 was freakin’ awesome!!

    That Void is a tricky mo-fo!!



  6. […] I think Hope is Jean Grey reincarnated. The only other plausible theory I’ve heard is that Hope is this universe’s (616) Rachel Summers (Copyright- Andy). I’m cool with either one but I think Jean coming back again is kind of […]


  7. infinite speech

    Marvel has us all fooled…it’s Doop!



  8. […] everything that’s been happening in the other X books that seem to tie into what or who Hope is, I’m almost excited about this new arc.  So […]



  9. […] moments where I truly geek out on something are few and far between, but after reading this article I guarantee that you will join […]



  10. So, who checked out today’s issue of Previews?

    Anyone notice how in the March 2010 solicits Hope is now being referenced as Hope SUMMERS!?!??

    I’ve said it from the beginning: She’s the 616 Rachel Summers!!


  11. Jeff Jackson

    That was a good issue, despite the Land art.

    Interesting theory about Rachel/Hope. Only time will tell…


  12. Matt

    The current Rachel Summers is the child of both the Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey (Phoenix, one that did not go dark and one that was not coccooned at the bottom of the ocean) from the days of future past storyline. Cable is the son of Scott Summers and Madelyn Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey created because Jean Grey/Phoenix was dead and Jean Grey/non phoenix state was coccooned). Nate Grey is the engineered child of Scott Summers and Jean Grey from the Age of Apocalypse. Stryfe is a clone of Cable created by the Askani and the Cuckoos are clones of Emma Frost created by Sublime in order to entrap the phoenix force. Bishop is a guy from another alternate reality coming into this one and &#%^$ stuff up.

    So exactly what Summers gave birth to Hope? Or will they say she is an engineered clone by Sinister? Neither. Hope got the name Hope Summers because Cable gave it to her in the future. It was the name of his wife. Not because she is an actual child of a Summers.

    At the same time Hope is coming back so is the current Rachel Grey/Marvel Girl along with Havok and Polaris. So is Cable and Bishop. Vulcan is in my opinion just a figment of the Scarlet Witches imagination along with Daken and Skaar and her two twins. All characters appear after the House of M storyline. Even in Deadly Genesis one of the first lines is “what happened to all that power from depowered mutants?” The answer is that Vulcan fills the hole. He appears and the universe is ret conned to allow for him. Same as Logan gains these “memories” and one is a son that has been around for year only now we meet him?

    Askani is Rachel Grey in the far future and is the same one from the days of futures past storyline. Both Bishop and Rachel have the M tattoo but from different futures. Both of those futures have not come to past.

    In interviews they have said that Hope Summers directly relates to the return of Jean Grey. In my opinion Hope will bring about the return of Jean Grey/Phoenix. This is because the current Marvel Universe is in nothing more than another elaborate illusion of the Scarlet Witch and the Phoenix wants back in. This I think will lead to a larger Marvel event where the reality gets warped back to what it should have been prior to the House of M.

    Will Marvel have a universe with two Cables? A Nathan Summers and a Nathan Grey… again? And have two Rachel Summers and no Jean Grey? Doubtful. Jean Grey and Rachel Summer have never “shared” the phoenix force. It picks one or the other. The are almost exclusively not around at the same time either. Rachel Summers does not come back into the Marvel Universe from the future till after Jean Grey dies. Rachel also comes from the same future as Ahab and Nimrod/Bastion. She gains memories and the Phoenix from Jean who left them in the holempathic matrix crystal. She then switches from Summers to Grey. There has been only one time where both Jean Grey and Rachel are even together and that is the “Days of Future Present” storyline. Which involves another reality warping mutant. Jonathan Richards.

    They will most likely say that Jean Grey has always been the Phoenix since her powers first manifested and she can force herself back into existence. It was Professor X that put blocks in place to slow her powers. Also look at the End of Greys storyline from a few years ago. The Shiar kill off or attempt to kill every Grey to prevent the Phoenix from returning. So it splits amongst telepaths and the X-Men. Then comes the House of M. That changes everything even more.

    You also have two people from alternate realities with simular events. Bishop and Rachel Summers. Both are messing arround in a universe altering things trying to prevent their realities in a reality that isn’t the one they came from.

    Rachel came into the current Marvel Universe from one like hers but events spun off differently when Sen. Kelly was killed. Bishop comes from a future with no Cable, no Rachel Summers, No Apocalypse think about it he never mentions them ever. He comes back to stop who he believes will betray the X-Men and lead to his future. Bishop thinks it’s Gambit and joins the X-Men. Thus making a future that has Bishop as a member. Yet Bishop comes from a future in which he was NOT a member of the X-Men. So in essence he is an insane guy in another time period trying to prevent a betrayal of the X-Men that is actually causing himself.

    You also have someone like Mr.Sinister manipulating the Summers bloodline for years along with the Greys so that they will have a child that can kill Apocalypse. Apocalypse awakens at the birth of Cable (a child of Scott Summers and a clone of Jean Grey) Also it is a boy, in Rachels world there is no Cable and when Scott Summers and Jean Grey have a child it is a girl. Sinisters attempt at getting that child. Sinister exists because Askani/Rachel Summers in the far future sends Cyclops and Phoenix to the past, it awakens Apocalypse who converts Nathaniel Essex into Sinister. Apocaypse then sleeps again only to awaken when Cable is born. Sinister then spends centuries engineering people to beget one day Scott Summers and Jean Grey.

    The Age of Apocalypse comes about because Bishop is in the past allows Legion to kill Xavier. Once again Bishop @#$@&$ it up. Then a few years later Bishop still with the X-Men gets involved when Xavier mindwipes Magneto. Then Xavier becomes Onslaught and he along with reality warping Franklin Richards remove the rest of the Marvel Universe. Once again Bishop is around and reality gets $%&@ up.

    Bishop then shoots Xavier and goes nuts chasing Hope and Cable around the future *^%#$ing stuff up.

    Still in the Marvel Universe Scott Summers and Jean Grey have yet to have any kids. One or the other is either dead, coccooned, possessed by Apocalypse, or dead again.

    In the end Bishop, Cable,and Hope come back from the future. Rachel, Havok and Polaris are coming back from space. Apocalyse has yet to be seen or heard from but you are seeing his Horsemen reverting back to how he made them. Gambit and Angel. You also have Stryfe, an alternative Stryfe interested by Hope who might want in. And you have Mr. Sinister who is dead? Or in a females body who happens to be a telepath and a telekinetic.

    Go figure the guy who once cloned Jean Grey is in a body of a woman that is a telepath and a telekinetic. Add to that who was Hope’s Mother? Right after the Beast visits the Scarlet Witch who is without powers by her own doing and has no memory of what she has done. The very next thing that happens is Hope is born. In Alaska where the Summers family is from and where Sinister bases himself at times.

    Also I feel they will say that Jean may have another power that shows up at times. She warps reality herself. At the same time she fully came into her Phoenix powers she saved herself in a state without the Phoenix. Right after the Dark Phoenix dies Rachel Summers/Phoenix shows up. When Jean Grey, Rachel meet it involves Jonathan Richards a reality warping mutant and a return to the days of future past. Right after that Rachel goes into the far far future and Jean Grey…. becomes the Phoenix. Jean Grey dies/prevents a reality from happening (Here comes tomorrow). Right after that Rachel Summers returns. Now we have Hope coming into her powers and the Phoenix leaving everyone it was in. And a whole bunch of people out of their time/reality all converging.



  13. Holy shit.


  14. Billy

    In the above monologue, it reads “where did all the powers go from the depowered mutants” or something like that. I remember that loose end being tied up in a comic where some dude named Michael absorbed all the powers and he killed Alpha Flight. Anybody else remember that? I can’t recall what book it was.



  15. […] a fragment of the Phoenix Force bonded with each of the sisters, but in the recent issue of Uncanny X-Men #517 the Phoenix Force left the girls and took to space, its whereabouts […]



  16. I highly doubt that Hope is Rachel.

    Like Matt said, Rachel is the child of Jean and Scott. So, unless in some weird and convoluted way Jean was pregnant when she died and perhaps the embryo was then transplanted into another woman who gave birth in Alaska. That, of course, also discounts the fact that, with their marriage falling apart, Jean and Scott were not likely to be sleeping together prior to her death.

    Another clue is something Duane Swierczynski has said over and over again – in the beginning, Hope is just a mission to Cable. They have no personal connection. Calbe knows who she is and why she is important. But the connection between them is just that.

    If Hope was Jean or Rachel, then the mission and whatever Hope’s significance is would be secondary. Cable has already said that he owes Rachel a debt that can never be fully repaid.

    Even if Cable knew Hope was destined to destroy the planet and that Bishop was right for wanting to kill her, if Hope was Rachel (or Jean) he would save her. It would be about family then and protecting his family, not protecting baby Hope because of what she will do for mutantkind.

    Now, eventually Nathan does develop a father/daughter relationship with Hope, and that will undoubtedly be a factor in the way he’s defending her in Second Coming. But that’s the important relationship from what Duane has said he was writing Cable. If it ends up being retconned that Hope is Jean or Rachel, then essentially everything Duane was doing in Cable with Nathan and Hope’s relationship would need to be tossed out the window. I think there was too much planning for that to happen.

    I don’t think Hope is related to Jean or the Summers family. And I believe her powers are to mimic or copy other mutants powers. That’s why she has Jean’s powers – because she’s mimicking Nathan’s. And she mimic Rogue’s when she healed her.

    Her birth may have been connected with the Phoenix Force – either directly (like Jean trying to counteract Wanda’s No More Mutants) or the Phoenix Force taking an interest in her when she was in-utero. And perhaps when she arrived back in the present, the Phoenix Force goes to investigate her arrival, taking all of the pieces from others (Rachel, Korvus, the Cuckoos).

    I think Hope’s importance to Cable ties into something Rachel says as Mother Askani in The Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix. In the Askani future, there was an extended period of peace between humans and mutants called the Age of Xavier. That was disrupted by Poccy, and with no one to stand against him, he easily took over.

    I think this is similar to the Bishop & Cable storyline in the X-Men Animated Series. Hope is seen as a villain to Bishop because he’s looking at the short term. Cable is looking at the long term, and without Hope, some event would never have happened. I think that event(s) is what leads to the Age of Xavier mentioned in TAoC&P.



  17. “Like Matt said, Rachel is the child of Jean and Scott.”

    Everyone brings this up, but it’s not really a factor. Here’s why:

    The current Rachel is from a different U, therefore meaning Hope’s parents (assuming she is the 616 Rachel) could be different people in the 616 U. In Exiles and New Exiles, the team runs into different versions of characters from all over the Multiverse who have different parents than their 616 counterparts: like Gambit in New Exiles. His mom was Sue Storm and his dad was Namor but he was still the “Gambit” in that universe.

    Since the current Rachel is not the 616 Rachel Summers, it would make sense that her parents may be different than Hope, my proposed 616 Rachel.

    After all, Hope’s last name is already dubbed as Summers via Cable and she was born in Alaska…



  18. According to Claremont and Davis in Excalibur, Rachel is unique in the multiverse. She does not have any counterparts in other alternate realities. However, we have seen some “Rachels” in other timelines (such as Hyperstorm’s mother), but Claremont has stated that these are simply other people named Rachel Summers, not “Rachel”.

    But in Earth-616, theoretically, her counterpart is Nathan. Instead of Jean and Scott marrying and having Rachel after Dark Phoenix (like in E-811), Jean dies, Scott marries Madelyn and Nathan is born.

    If anything that Claremont intended for Rachel is used with Hope, it’s the concept that Rachel’s father was not Scott, but the Phoenix Force. Scott Lobdell tried to utterly erase all of that nonsense by having Sinister declare once and for all that Scott is Rachel’s father genetically, but it’s something that could be used with Hope – with the Phoenix Force jumpstarting the mutant population with an immaculate conception.



  19. I knew about the Claremont thing in Excalibur, but in this day and age of comics nothing is sacred and everything can be retconned.

    Good theory of Cable being the alternate Rachel in 616…I hadn’t thought of that before and based on what I said above, it would fit.

    Phoenix Force = immaculate conception is another great point.

    Still though, I think Hope is the 616 Rachel!



  20. […] has been hyped for quite some time and during that time we are just flooded with more and more questions and we’re all hoping that the answers come with this event here. I will admit that this issue […]



  21. […] There hasn’t been even a refernce to them that I can recall. This is one of the reasons for Andy’s speculation on Rachel being a big part of the current X-Men storyline involving Hope Summers. It is a theory by […]



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