December 5, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #404: Vulcan

The other Summers brother is not a nice man.

Sometime in the 90s, Marvel’s various X-books started hinting that there was a third Summers brother besides Cyclops and Havoc.  Who was this third brother?  Rumor mill thought it might be Gambit, but then there was a short-lived character, a half-Shi’ar, half-human mutant named Adam-X the X-Treme, the most 90s name possible.

Eventually, it turned out to be a guy called Vulcan.  And he is a real piece of work.

Vulcan first appeared in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1 from January of 2006.  Written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Trevor Hairsine, Vulcan’s name was Gabriel Summers, and he was the youngest of three, so young that he hadn’t been born yet when Shi’ar spacecraft abducted the private plane that Christopher “Corsair” Summers was flying with his family.  Sons Scott/Cyclops and Alex/Havoc managed to parachute to safety, but Christopher and wife Katherine were not so lucky.  Mad Emperor D’Ken had taken the couple, and when Christopher attempted to escape, D’Ken stabbed the pregnant Katherine, but the unborn child was saved and rapidly grown into a massively powerful mutant.

How powerful?  Well, basically, he can do just about anything with energy he wants to, up to and including psionic resistance and the ability to more or less survive in a vacuum.  He’s basically unstoppable for the most part.  You know, except for those times when someone stopped him, but those moments are few and far between.

As it is, D’Ken took an artificially grown Gabriel and sent him to Earth with his agent Erik the Red, but Gabriel escaped and was found by Moira MacTaggert, and when the original X-Men were captured on Krakoa, Xavier put together a second team to rescue them.

Not the team you’re thinking of.  This team, made up of Vulcan, Darwin, Sway, and Petra, failed miserably and appeared to have been killed.  About all they managed to do was rescue Cyclops, so distraught that Xavier had to mindwipe him of his missing brother, presumed dead, so that the third team that went in was believed to be the second.

Except Vulcan had survived.  So had Darwin, but Darwin’s mutant power is basically just to survive anything.

Anyhoo, after M-Day revived mutant powers, Vulcan came back and took both Scott and Rachel Summers hostage.  Somehow, I would think that would give an idea of how powerful that guy was since, you know, one was sort of the Phoenix force and the other was Cyclops.  Though driven off, Vulcan renounced Scott as a brother and returned to space in order to get even with the Shi’ar.

And to that end, he was largely successful.  Xavier followed with a team of X-Men that included Rachel, Havoc, and the returned Darwin, and despite their best efforts, not only did Vulcan take out D’Ken for the second or third time (because comics), but he met and romanced the dangerous Deathbird,  and eventually overthrew Lilandra and put himself on the throne.  A Shi’ar civil war broke out, and during a massive battle, Corsair was killed (he got better) because Vulcan blamed his father for his mother’s death or something–some people always want to blame everyone else for their problems–and while he banished some of the X-Men back to Earth, the remaining ones that included Havoc and Rachel teamed up with the remaining Starjammers to try and stop him.

That didn’t work.  Lilandra was herself killed in the conflict, and it sure did look like there was no one powerful enough to stop Vulcan…until the Shi’ar picked a fight with the Kree, that were themselves under the control of the Inhumans at the time, and Black Bolt was a whole different story.  The battle between Vulcan and Black Bolt tore a hole in the universe, causing both combatants to disappear, and while Black Bolt turned up later just fine, Vulcan was apparently taken away and experimented on by otherdimensional aliens.

So, when he popped up again in Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men with a revived Sway and Petra, he sure did seem…rather mild.  Apparently, his violent, angry side is being repressed…for now.

Anyway, that’s the last Summers brother.  Assuming, of course, that there isn’t a fourth.

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