Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Loud and proud: Banshee screams again!


Although I did not particularly enjoy its space-oriented follow-up, “The Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire” (strange, admittedly, for one who has been dubbed by “What the D’ast?” fans as “Captain Cosmic”), I think the limited series X-Men: Deadly Genesis may be one of Ed Brubaker’s finest pieces of writing and certainly one that made me most uncomfortable … which is how you should feel when such a retcon is unfolding. There was only one part about it which displeased me: the death of Sean Cassidy, the Banshee, one of my beloved “all-new, all-different” X-Men. I appreciated the manner in which it was done; I just hated to see the deed. But in December, as the Chaos War goes on, a number of deceased X-Men – including longtime team co-leader Banshee – will walk the Earth again, trying to quench the destructive thirsts of the mad Chaos King! And co-scribe of Chaos War: X-Men, Louise Simonson (X-Factor), has indicated Banshee will be a key player in this side book. For those just coming out from under their rocks, Sean Cassidy is the heir to both a small fortune and a castle in Cassidy Keep, Ireland, where he was born. In his youth, he marries Maeve Rourke and takes a job with Interpol as an inspector. While Cassidy is away on a long mission, his wife discovers she is pregnant and gives birth to their daughter, Theresa Cassidy. Not much later, Maeve dies in an IRA bombing. With no means to contact Sean, his cousin Tom takes care of Theresa. When Sean returns to learn of his wife’s death, he is devastated. Before Tom can even tell him of the existence of his daughter, Sean lashes out at Tom with his sonic scream for not having taken better care of Maeve. While Sean flies away in anger, Tom falls into a chasm, breaking his leg as a result of the attack, which leaves him with a limp. Angrily, Tom swears to make Sean pay and vows to never tell him about his daughter, raising her himself instead. Cassidy leaves Interpol (later retconned as being due to Deadpool unintentionally botching one of Sean's missions), and becomes a freelance detective. The villainous Changeling discovers him through the group Factor Three and invites him to join the organization. Cassidy is appalled upon learning Factor Three's goals and adamantly refuses. However, Factor Three, with the Ogre, captures him and places a headband containing explosives around his head to force him to obey them. Code-named after the banshee, a spirit from Irish myth, Cassidy is forced to obey Factor Three's commands and performs various criminal missions for the organization. On a mission in New York City, Banshee encounters the X-Men. Professor X is able to use his telepathy to disarm the headband and remove it, allowing Banshee to help the X-Men defeat Factor Three. Later, Factor Three again captures him but he helps the X-Men defeat Factor Three's ally, the Mutant Master. The Sentinels capture him, but he is released from their captivity. While on the run from the Secret Empire, who were capturing mutants in order to harness their powers, he fights Captain America and the Falcon, mistaking their then fugitive status for a link to his pursuers. A few years later, Xavier approaches Banshee to join his third group of X-Men and Banshee accepts. After the mission at Krakoa, Banshee remains with Xavier and, along with Cyclops, Storm, Wolverione, Colossus, Nightmare and Thunderbird, becomes a part of the first core team of "new X-Men." Banshee accompanies the team on many different missions and is present for several key moments in the X-Men's history, including the first appearance of the Phoenix and the team's first encounter with the Shi’ar. While with the X-Men, he meets the X-Men's ally, Dr. Moira MacTaggert, and falls in love with her. Alongside the X-Men, he first fights his cousin Black Tom Cassidy and the Juggernaut. However, Banshee loses the use of his powers when his vocal cords are severely damaged in battle with the terrorist Moses Magnum and leaves the X-Men to stay with Moira. Banshee later learns of his daughter Theresa's existence. Theresa has developed sonic powers of her own, which she uses under the alias of Siryn. Siryn feels obliged to assist Black Tom with his crimes, as he had raised her. Siryn reforms after the pair were defeated by Spider-Woman and the X-Men, and she is reunited with her true father. Banshee's powers gradually return as he heals, and he remains an ally of the X-Men and especially of Moira. Eventually, Sean heals fully and regains his sonic powers. After the near dissolution of the team following the events of Inferno, Banshee is instrumental in piecing the X-Men together and returns to the team for a second stint. Shortly after the team is formed into the "Blue" and "Gold" teams, Banshee's jaw is broken in battle, and he leaves the X-Men again to be with Moira. For a time, Banshee is the co-headmaster at the Massachusetts Academy, where he teaches the young mutants of Generation X in the use of their powers alongside Emma Frost. Banshee and his students investigate odd occurrences and Cassidy Keep. Banshee also becomes part-guardian, for a time, to Franklin Richards, Artie and Leech. However, the Academy eventually closes its doors due to the students abandoning their teachers. During this time period, Dr. MacTaggert dies from injuries sustained in an explosion set up by Mystique. Banshee, distraught and possibly suffering from a breakdown, founded the X-Corps,  a group of mutant adventurers who came into conflict with the X-Men over their questionable methodology and membership. Among the group are several former members of the Brotherhood of Mutants. It is revealed that Banshee was having the new Mastermind, daughter of the deceased original, manipulate the Brotherhood's members into having them work with him. However, it turns out that Mystique was posing as one of the members, Surge, and she was working with the new Mastermind behind Banshee's back. Mystique helps the brainwashed members revolt; two members of the X-Corps are killed and Mystique stabs Banshee through the throat before being stopped by the X-Men. Banshee survives the attack and recuperates in the hospital. Siryn later joins a similarly-named yet less militant organization known as the X-Corporation in order to atone for what she perceives as her father's misdeeds. Banshee attempts to save an airplane full of innocents from Vulcan in Bru’s limited series, but the attempt fails. The Blackbird, piloted by Vulcan, flies straight through Sean and collides with the passenger plane. Wolverine and Nightcrawler find Sean's lifeless body in the crashed Blackbird and confirm that he and all the civilians died in the crash. Cyclops delivers the news of Banshee's death to his daughter, Siryn. Siryn is given a video tape that Banshee made for his daughter in the event of his death. In the message, Banshee states that he felt he had done more good than bad in his life, and that he hoped St. Peter would allow him entrance into Heaven. He expresses the hope that he would there be reunited with Siryn's mother. In his will, Sean gave his daughter tCassidy Keep as well as his pipe. Some time later, Siryn is pregnant with Jamie Madrox’s child and, upon his birth, names him Sean in honor of her late father. The child dies soon after, however (he is inadvertently absorbed by Madrox into his own body, due to a mix-up of the condition of his birth and Jamie's mutant powers), and Siryn falls into deep mourning for both her losses. Now Sean Cassidy prepares to walk the Earth anew. It is hoped his leadership and powers are played well and these strengths help this rogue gathering of ex-X-Men in the success needed against a being who was once everything! Chaos War: X-Men begins in December