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Missing Links – The Deaths of Nightcrawler and Cable

Death and resurrection in comics have become such commonplace occurrences that it is often hard to take them seriously when they happen.

Too often they are done for shock value or to show off just how “badass” a villain is and then, within the span of a few years or even months, the “dead” character is back through some editorially mandated mumbo-jumbo.

Note: one character was “reality punched” back to life.

Seriously.

No joke.

Superboy Prime–Punching people back to life since 2005

So, we, the readers can be forgiven if we barely blanche when a beloved character is killed off. After all, most characters find their ways back, even two of the former “Sacred Cows,” Marvel’s James “Bucky” Buchanan and DC’s Barry “The Flash” Allen.

Still, there are those characters that, upon their death, really make you wonder if this is really the end, if we just witnessed their last hurrah, or if they can just walk it off and cure their undead fever with a judicious application of some more cowbell.

And so we look back at two major players in the X-Universe, two very different mutants with very different roles that met their demise this past year and what it means for the X-Men going forward.

Actually, silly teaser, TWO X-Men here wound up dying…

During Second Coming, Hope, the now adolescent first new mutant birth since M-Day, returned to the present. Her arrival did not sit well with the android-sentinel Bastion and his cabal of likeminded mutant-hating zealots. Using technology from the future, Bastion launched a crusade to wipe out what little remained of the mutant species, especially Hope.

Naturally, the X-Men did not take this affront lying down and a brutal war ensued. Part of the strategy was keeping Hope off the playing field until Bastion could be neutralized. But Hope, uncomfortable with being viewed as some sort of mutant messiah, was less than cooperative and fled, causing Rogue and Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler, to retrieve her.

But the mutant trio ran into an upgraded Bastion and before he could deliver the killing blow on Hope, Nightcrawler intervened, his faith in Hope leading to the ultimate sacrifice.

The Death of Nightcrawler–Totally bamfed up…

Eventually, Cyclops sent X-Force and Cable into the future to shut down Bastion’s sentinel technology. Originally believed to be a one-way trip, X-Force succeeded and was returned to the present when Cable submitted his body to the techno-organic virus he had battled since infancy, leading to his own death.

Nightcrawler’s mutant appearance led him to perform in circuses because he had no way of passing for human, though his entertainment value did little to stem the ignorance of villagers who sought to kill him.

Cable, Nathan Summers, was born of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor and was destined to be used as a weapon against Apocalypse, who feared the child so much he infected him with a virus as an infant. Only a trip to the future saved his life and enable him to return to the present.

My daughter and I have had many outings like this…

One a man of faith, the other a man of war, both mutants never asked to be involved in the trials and tribulations that come with being an X-Man. But neither of them thought twice before laying down their lives in defense of Xavier’s dream, leaving two very different holes in the overall fabric of mutantkind.

Nightcrawler’s teleportation powers were valued, but it was his deep religious conviction to do good that drove him and without his presence, the X-Men are missing their moral sounding board, that little angel on the shoulder that was there to help keep the ship on course. Already without the logical center since Beast quit the team, the void left by Nightcrawler presents a deeper challenge in the leadership of Cyclops.

Cable, the consummate soldier, leave the X-Men with one less brilliant strategist and his death is sure to take its toll on Cyclops, who has lost his wife, father, and brother (OK, so that one was a villain, it still counts!) in recent years and now must cope with the death of his son (even though he authorized X-Force to kill him a few months back, but, hey, that’s how they roll in the Summers’ homestead).

With much of mutantkind looking towards Cyclops to lead them, and old colleagues questioning the direction he is taking them, how long is it before his head, deprived of the jovial morality and spirituality of Kurt Wagner and the familial bedrock of Nathan Summers, becomes far too heavy to wear the crown?

Cycleto–The Ghost of X-Mas Future..?
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