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Why Marvel’s Strongest X-Men Villain and Clone Is Coming Back

In Hellions #16, Emma Frost teases the resurrection of a classic X-Men villain who is also one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful clones.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Hellions #16, on sale now from Marvel Comics.

In 1983, Uncanny X-Men #168, by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek, Glynis Wein, and Tom Orzechowski featured the debut of Madelyne Pryor, who entered the X-Men’s lives when they were grieving the death of Jean Grey. In time, she became an accepted member of the team and even married the team’s first field leader,  Cyclops. Unfortunately, her life took a tragic turn when it was revealed that she was a clone of Jean, who had returned to life. Abandoned by her supposed “family” in favor of the real Jean, Madelyne gave into madness and became one of the X-Men’s deadliest foes, using her psionic abilities to terrorize those who had turned their backs on her.

Unlike many of the X-Men’s other mutant villains, Madelyne did not accept Charles Xavier’s offer to live on the newly-formed mutant nation of Krakoa, and her failed plan to destroy the X-Men’s new home resulted in her death. Although Krakoa’s unique resurrection protocols can revive deceased mutants by implanting their consciousness into cloned bodies, Krakoa’s ruling Quiet Council decided to postpone Madelyne’s resurrection indefinitely. However, Hellions #16 (by Zeb Wells, Steven Segovia, Rain Beredo, and VC’s Ariana Maher) reveals that Emma Frost has appealed that decision on behalf of Alex Summers, aka Havok, potentially paving the way for Madelyne to make what is sure to be an eventful return.

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Emma’s decision to advocate for Madelyne’s resurrection is a surprising one; as a member of the Quiet Council, Emma was one of the mutants who voted that she and other clones of already-existing mutants would not be resurrected. The Five, the group of mutants who make Krakoa’s unique process of resurrection possible, would eventually break this rule by reviving Scout, a clone of Laura Kinney, deciding that clones deserved the chance to live their own lives. While this opened up the possibility of Madelyne’s revival, the Quiet Council appeared to have put a pin on the issue for the foreseeable future.

Emma’s change-of-heart is primarily motivated by her desire to assist Havok, Cylcops’s brother, and Madelyne’s former love interest. Havok was one of the few to stand by Madelyne when Jean Grey’s return drove the rest of the team to abandon her, as he was dealing with a similar situation with Polaris. The two eventually began an affair, and Havok briefly followed Madelyne into villainy before her willingness to destroy Nate Summers, her son, convinced him to turn on her. While he ultimately helped stop her, Havok still cared for Madelyne, despite everything she’d done and would go on to do.

Shortly after becoming a member of the Hellions, Havok was sent to destroy one of Mister Sinister’s old cloning facilities. There, he discovered that Madelyne had used the facility to create an army of Marauder clones, which she planned to use against Krakoa. In the battle that followed, she was mortally wounded and died in Havok’s arms, begging him to remember her as her person and not a clone. The Quiet Council’s decision to not resurrect Madelyne deeply affected Havok, and he became obsessed with changing the council’s mind. After another disastrous mission with the Hellions resulted in the “death” of a digital backup of Psylocke’s daughter, Emma revealed a change of heart concerning Madelyne, and assured Havok that she would appeal to the rest of the quiet Council about allowing her to be resurrected.

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Resurrecting Madelyne is a dangerous gamble to say the least, and could bring untold disaster to Krakoa. With her powerful psionic abilities, the Jean Grey clone could devastate Krakoa and its people in unimaginable ways. That being said, Krakoa’s very existence was built on the promise of renewal, and it’s home to more than a few powerful mutants who could keep Madelyne in check as she’s integrated into Krakoan society. With this in mind, perhaps she could finally receive the compassion that was denied to her long ago.

Madelyne’s return could end in Krakoa adding another enemy to an already long list. Or, it could give a woman who has suffered unimaginable tragedy a fresh start and a chance to be herself.

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