The X-Men are now all but immortal. Through the resurrection protocols enacted by The Five — Hope Summers, Goldballs, Proteus, Tempus, and Elixir — combined with the mental backups stored by Professor X in Cerebro, any mutant who dies can be reborn in a new body. These bodies are aged to their peak physical condition and then uploaded with a copy of that mutant’s memories dating no further back than a week old. But as Marvel's lead X-Men writer Jonathan Hickman explains, there’s some ambiguity in the system. Does aging a character to their peak mean tweaking inherent weaknesses in their mutant powers? Hickman says they’ve already revealed that it’s possible.
“We’ve already shown a couple of interesting tweaks like Monet being able to assume a Penance form and Warren being able to be both regular angel and Archangel,” Hickman tells Adventures in Poor Taste. “So there seems to be some ability to tweak the finished version of a resurrected mutant. Is that also true about their age? Or about other aspects of their physical condition? What about their gender? What about if they want to be backed up from an earlier version? One that hasn’t suffered a particular trauma or had their heart broken?"
Monet St. Croix and Warren Worthington are two mutants who both harbor a dark side. That dark side — Penance for Monet, Archangel for Warren — could, at times, overtake their personality. It seems, through the Five’s resurrection process, that both now have control over their darker halves and may transform at will, gaining the power of Penance or Archangel without the mental anguish. It should be noted that in the pages of Astonishing X-Men, Professor X gifted Archangel with a similar ability to control Archangel. At this time, it’s unclear if this is a continuity oversight or if Hickman is deliberately calling back to that moment for a purpose.
Hickman broached this topic while discussing how Wolverine gets his adamantium skeleton back after undergoing resurrection problems, pointing out that there are more interesting questions to be asked. “What the more interesting question is is why does Cyclops need a visor?” Hickman suggested. “Why doesn’t Chamber have a jaw? Does the imprinting of the backup of their mind mean they have to be broken in that familiar way to actually be them?”
What do you think the answer is? Let us know in the comments. X-Men #1 is on sale now.