Worst X-Men Villain’s Super Power Can Save All Marvel Mutants
Way of X # 5 reveals that the fate of all mutants is threatened by the return of evil, and that a dastardly villain could be the X-Men’s best hope.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Way of X # 5, available now from Marvel Comics.
The mutant society has made huge achievements lately, but none of these compare to the miraculous rescue of an entire world by the unlikely association of Nightcrawler and Fabian Cortez. By combining their powers, the two opponents managed to save an entire world. Not only that, but the latter of the two might even have the potential to save all of Krakoa’s mutants from an upcoming threat.
In Path of X #5 (by Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, Java Tartaglia, Tom Muller and Clayton Cowles of VC), Nightcrawler is on the surface of the planet Arakko (formerly Mars) alongside newcomer Lost and the loathsome Fabian Cortez. Despite his best efforts to bring these two to some sort of reconciliation over their shared past, Onslaught’s influence turns out to be too great for them to overcome. The evil psionic entity prompts Cortez to use her powers to supercharge Lost’s powers to the point of killing her. In her final moments, Lost clings to the gravity of Phobos, Arakko’s largest moon, placing her on a collision course with the inhabited red planet.
Once the gravity of their situation is realized (literally), Cortez demands that Nightcrawler teleport them to safety, but the veteran hero has another idea. Just as Cortez supercharged Lost’s powers to trigger this cosmic tragedy, Nightcrawler wants Cortez to overload his teleportation ability in an effort to save the planet and avert disaster. It’s a tall order, one that would sound like manic delusions if given by someone else, but somehow even Fabian Cortez knows when to play the hero despite his instincts.
Since its first appearance in 1991 X Men # 1 (by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee), Fabian Cortez stood out as exceptionally gruesome in a sea of despicable villains. Born into a life of unimaginable wealth and status, Cortez was drawn to anything that rocked the perceived slump of his luxurious existence. He became a member of the Upstarts, a group of mutants organized by the villainous Gamesmaster to hunt others for entertainment and sports.
Cortez is best known for training the Acolytes under the pretext of believing in Magneto’s mission. He took the team to the Elder Mutant’s Fortress on Asteroid M before detonating the entire orbital base, all in the name of getting a high score. In the years that followed, Cortez started wars, was killed and resurrected, and was given a place among the heroes of SWORD Despite all of this, Fabian is still widely despised by his mutant brethren, especially Magneto, and is treated with disdain and suspicion. .
However, in this situation, Cortez helps Nightcrawler as requested, saving Arakko in the process. Not only does this highlight just how capable he is of doing good, but it also demonstrates how Fabian’s powers could potentially save his people from the looming threat of Onslaught. If Cortez can empower his brothers enough to defeat the influence of Onslaught, then the psionic entity will no longer be able to draw power from the mutants of Krakoa. Unfortunately, at the end of the issue, it looks like Cortez may be out of service at least temporarily.
After pushing his powers to the brink, Fabian Cortez is in a coma from the strain. To make matters worse, Charles Xavier is unwilling to bring him back in the near future given the role Cortez played in the Phobos incident, as well as his other recent disappointments. When it comes to Xavier, there are more deserving and less disruptive mutants who are better candidates for healing and resurrection.
Without Xavier’s string of questionable decisions over the past few months, this might not be particularly worrying or threatening. However, with confirmation of Onslaught’s imminent presence, there’s a possibility that Xavier will be manipulated, especially the mutant being one of the X-Men’s best chances of overcoming their latest threat.
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