Thursday, 11 September 2008

Twelve Vital X-Men Characters You Probably Don’t Know

11: Rachel Summers

Who Is She?

Oh, now that’s a bloody difficult question. She first appeared in the alternate-reality storyline “Days Of Future Past”, where she lives in a dystopian future that she wishes to end. To this effect, she sends one of her friends back in time to change the course of history, which her friend succeeds in doing. Then she gets time-displaced as a result, or something, and eventually turns up in the real world. Something like that. If you think that’s a complicated origin story, then boy – you’ve got a lot to learn about the X-Men. Anyway, Rachel is the daughter of an alternate reality Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey, although when she is sent back in time to meet the rest of the X-Men, Jean has since died and Scott is married to someone else. This gives her some, in fairness justified, family issues.

She then went backwards and forwards in time a lot, making her backstory more and more complicated and impossible for anyone to understand. So we’ll ignore it! Rachel, once she realised her mother was dead, renamed herself “Marvel Girl” in tribute to Jean, and wore an outfit not dissimilar to mum’s. Oh, but then her mum came back to life, and that was nice for Rachel. Then Jean died again, and Scott moved in with another woman. So Rachel changed her name to Rachel Grey, in disapproval of dad’s taste in women, and joined the X-Men properly. She looks like this:

She’s currently out in space, making rubbish dating choices and being angry at everyone after most of her family were killed off.

Why Is She Important?

Well for a start, just look at who her parents are: Scott Summers and Jean Grey, arguably the most important X-Men characters who ever existed. As such, she was implanted firmly into the ranks of the X-Men once she arrived, and has since been surrounded by family – grandparents, an uncle, a… cousin? Her family timeline is incredibly confusing to keep up with. Most of them are dead now, apart from cousin, dad, and uncle, but even without any of her family around she remains incredibly important to the X-Men, for one simple reason. She’s the host of the single most dangerous power-source in the galaxy.

Pretty nifty, eh? It’s called The Phoenix Force, and it’s what was responsible for killing her mother the first time round, or something. Anyway, with that power she can fly through space and blow stuff up with energy, on top of her already-formidable telekinetic and telepathic abilities. That could well be why the writers have currently sent her out into space – she’s just too strong.

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