Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Nate Grey returns! What fate awaits the uncanny X-Man?


picFollowing his less-than-stellar performance during the Dark Reign event, fan favorite character Nate Grey AKA X-Man has returned with a fury in New Mutants under former Marvel Cosmic scribes Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

In a CBR interview, when asked by poster Renaldo – “Is Nate going to be a future (New Mutants) roster member or is he just there for a certain mission? How would you see his role as a member of the team?” – DnA responded: “Waaaayy too many spoilers to be able to talk about that right now!”

So by that we know this very unique young man will be a special part of the scribes plans, no?

So who is this uncanny X-Man? Glad you asked!

“X-Man” (Nate) is actually an equivalent of the Earth-616 Cable (wellllll, sort of), hailing from the Age of Apocalypse reality, AKA Earth-295. He is the biological son of his dimension’s Scott Summers and Jean Grey, born of genetic tampering by Mr. Sinister. His first name is derived from his creator -- Mr. Sinister's real name, Nathaniel Essex -- and his last name from his genetic mother. Due to not being infected by a techno-organic virus as Cable was, Nate achieved vast telepathic and telekinetic powers and is one of the most powerful mutants on this or any Earth.

Despite his moniker, Nate was only briefly a member of the X-Men, both in the Age of Apocalypse reality and in the 616 reality. Initially the character was referred to only by his real name. Shortly before the Onslaught crossover event, Nate began to be sporadically referred to as “X-Man,” without explanation for the in-universe origin of the code name.

It was at the climax of the AoA reality’s existence that Nate was involved in a slobberknocker with Apocalypse, this particular bout occurring during a time when the alternate X-Men were beginning their final gambit: defeating this reality with the M’Kraan Crystal. Holocaust interrupted Nate's battle with Apocalypse as the X-Men’s plan succeeded and the Age of Apocalypse was washed away. In response, an angry Nate impaled Holocaust with a shard of the Crystal. The consequences of that act were unexpected and far-reaching, as Nate was transported to the 616 reality.

Nate found himself in Switzerland and, in his confusion, unconsciously resurrected Madelyne Pryor in a subconscious attempt to reach out to his “mother.” Pryor helped Nate adjust to this reality, but they were both separated soon afterward. Nate wandered the Earth, being contacted and confronted by many who would want to be his ally, only for his own suspicious nature to drive them away. During this time, he unintentionally contributed to the eventual manifestation of Onslaught when he sensed Professor X spying on him in astral form and dragged him into the real world, this feat -- something that Xavier had believed impossible – “inspiring” the aspects of Onslaught in Xavier's mind to create a psychic body for himself and resulting in the villain manifesting an independent body.

Eventually, Nate began to find himself (with the help of Sinister's old underling, Threnody) and took refuge in New York following Onslaught's defeat. Later believing Threnody to be dead (and later this builds to one of the weirder stories of his adventures), Nate took up a firm if tentative friendship with Spider-Man.

When Zero Tolerance troops attacked Xavier’s mansion in Westchester and downloaded Cerebro’s files, Nate was telepathically alerted by Cable that he was the only one close enough to rescue the children of Jean’s sister, Sara, from the Prime Sentinels. Nate did as requested and left Joey and Gailyn in the care of their grandparents.

During the next few weeks, Nate kept a low profile. One night, he went clubbing with friends and many recognized him. Nate agreed to sing at the club and it was here he was confronted by Jackknife, one of the many misfits belonging to the Abomination’s group. It turned out that, during Nate’s battle with the jade giant, he accidentally unlocked Jack’s latent psychic powers. Jack couldn’t handle himself and became psychotic, blaming Nate for the voices in his head. In direct battle, Nate defeated the mentally-imbalanced misfit. When the police arrived, they asked him to surrender but the crowd intervened, claiming that Nate was a hero.

The next day, one of Nate’s friends, Jam, lost an arm in a motorcycle crash. When Nate and friends Bux and Marita visited her in the hospital, the bizarre occurred. After touching Nate, one of the medics developed the ability to heal and Jam's arm was restored. The miracle boosted Nate’s popularity and the AoA survivor was now admired by hundreds of followers and called a “messiah.”

Still not knowing what happened to Threnody, Nate would have been surprised by the events occurring in New York over the past months. Shortly after her body had been brought to a morgue, her corpse rose and Threnody just -- walked out! In her wake, several of the dead reanimated themselves, following Threnody and chanting her name. She made her way to the loft that she and Nate had shared and kept track of Nate’s activities. Over time, her appearance slightly changed as her belly grew, apparently from pregnancy!

Threnody then tracked Nate via his unique energies, first to Alaska and then to Seattle where he collapsed in an alley after a battle. She took him to her refuge under the Seattle piers. While he lay unconscious for a week, she was sustained by her zomboids who had grown addicted to Threnody. Nate woke to see the zomboids hungrily clawing at Threnody, who seemed to be in a delusional state. When Nate pulled her free, she was as svelte and slim as the day they met. All signs of her apparent pregnancy were gone. (See what I meant?)

Nate comes to regard himself as a “mutant shaman,” setting out to make a real difference in this world he never made. Nate had few qualms about using his great power to mete out justice to his fellow mutants. Along his travels, he confronted the Anti-Man, an alien sent to Earth to insinuate his genetic code into all living cells on the planet so that his people could harvest the resulting energy. To save the world from destruction, Nate merged himself with the Anti-Man, in essence “poisoning” the cells of Earth with his presence, and dissipating both of them across the globe.

Nate eventually resurfaces in a small town, where his presence causes several of the inhabitants to dream walk and continuously repeat “I'm an X-Man.” Norman Osborn sends his own team of “Dark” X-Men to investigate. As the team delves into this mystery, both Mimic and Omega are overwhelmed with Nate's energies and go on a rampage, leaving Mystique and Dark Beast. Nate then angrily attacks Dark Beast but doesn't realize that a nearby “Jean Grey” is actually the shape-shifter Mystique (he thinks it is Mom), who manages to distract Nate long enough to save the Dark Beast.

Following that incident Osborn tasks his X-Men to hunt down and possibly capture Nate for experimentation and to feed Weapon Omega. In order to do that, Osborn's X-Men go to HAMMER’s PSI Division. The Division manages to contact Nate only for him to absorb most of their psychic energies and to learn what has happened to the world and to the mutant race in his absence. Angrily he demands to know what "they" (presumably Osborn's X-Men) had done.

After a battle, and unbeknownst to most of the Dark X-Men, Nate takes possession of Norman's body; however, Mystique notices. After trying and failing to persuade Nate to remove the tech in her body which is rigged to explode should she betray Norman, she recruits the rest of the Dark X-Men to invade Norman's mind and to confront Nate. While Nate and Norman are engaged in a battle of wills, Norman gloats that he and Nate are evenly matched. Yet Nate reveals that this was his plan all along and that while he and Norman are deadlocked his X-Men are free to roam the deepest recesses of Norman's mind -- there to unlock the "Green Goblin personality!"

Unfortunately, Nate is soon defeated when the Goblin forces Mimic to replicate Omega's powers, turning the pair into a mighty siphon that drains Nate's energies. Now returned to the physical world, a powerless Nate is tortured in front of the Dark X-Men as an example to them, after which Norman asks him if he has any last words before he's “used as coal” in Dark Beast's Omega Machine. A gloating Osborn cuts off Nate before he has a chance to finish speaking, and the "son" of Scott and Jean is taken away to the machine where his fate remained unknown …

... Until now, as Nate Grey returns in the pages of New Mutants! What adventures face the powerful X-Man? Will it be as a member of Dani’s team? Will he become the hero he has so strived to be? Only DnA know for sure, and they ain’t talking!