Brew's Crew: Lila Cheney
(Editor’s note: This is the latest in a new series of columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and their many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
In my days of reading and collecting X-Men, I always was enthused by a character that, if not cosmic, had the potential to be cosmic. Phoenix, Magneto, Apocalypse – all powerful characters who, if and when they chose, would probably make great cosmic characters as well. (Havok and Polaris in the Starjammers, for instance.)
Thus it was with the sometimes-girl friend of Cannonball, Lila Cheney.
Lila is an Earth mutant with the ability to generate a teleportational field about herself with which she can transport herself and other people/objects across interstellar distances, even across the galaxy. But she can't teleport across distances shorter than several light years. Hence, when she teleports from one spot on Earth to another, she actually teleports herself to her Dyson sphere from her starting point and then teleports herself from the sphere to the other point on Earth. Apparently, she must specifically know any location to which she teleports herself in order to do so. (Otherwise, ouch!)
Born in England, Lila is mostly known on Earth-616 as a musician, often performing with the band Cats Laughing. (Another singer with mutant abilities, Dazzler, has performed with Lila in the past.) Previously, Lila also used her powers for personal gain as a thief.
As I recall, the New Mutants first met Lila when Sunspot took them to one of her concerts, where they subsequently foiled an assassination attempt made upon her by an alien race called the Vrakanin. At that time, Lila had attempted to "steal" the Earth and sell its population on the intergalactic black market as slaves. It was here the New Mutants encountered Lila's home away from home, a Dyson sphere.
The New Mutants would become fans of Lila's, which ended up with them invited to an Earth-based party she was involved with. A jealous admirer of Lila would drug and then attempt to kill Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) in the skies outside.
Lila's blossoming romantic relationship with Sam included a proposal for a music video with the New Mutants and plans to visit Sam's home (in my native Kentucky!) to meet his mother and siblings. Sam was worried as Lila's far-reaching, dramatic lifestyle was very different from his family's Kentuckyfarm life. They meet beforehand and things are soured when Sam accuses her of stealing the gift she had planned to give to Sam's mother. An argument ensues and the gift, a crystal statue, slightly cracks due to the negative emotions. Sam flies off. Before the two can later reconcile, Lila's plane crashes in the mountains. Nobody is killed but Lila had been knocked out, making her unable to rescue anyone. Sam and his brother Josh work with Dazzler, who was touring with Lila, to free everyone. Dazzler berates Sam, revealing Lila had spent a month mining the crystal and even longer shaping it. The slightest mistake could have demolished it. Later, the two reconcile on the front porch of the farm, Lila with the still-flawed gift and dressed in a simple black dress and blue jacket, because she recognizes that this image was what Sam desired.
The alien crimelord Spyder once desired to own Lila. He would finance a group of unidentified beings. They did succeed in capturing Lila, but Spyder assists Lila in escaping. The beings were ruined and Lila's contract is sold to Spyder himself.
During one of Lila's concerts, attended by the New Mutants, Spyder's forces, called “accountants,” were sent to Earth. They succeeded in kidnapping Cheney. A being called Gosamyr had stowed away with the accountants and had stolen a ship from them. The New Mutants use the ship to pursue Cheney. Over the course of battling Spyder's forces, it is learned that several entities of Gosamyr's race are about to undergo a transformation into very powerful, very destructive beings. Lila teleports them to the nearest sun, apparently losing her life in the process. She, of course, survives in an unrevealed manner, as it would not have been possible for her to go to the sun if she had not been there before.
Lila would encounter the X-Men many times. When the Shi'ar are invaded by the Skrull empire, she comes to Earth to fetch as many X-Men as she can. Later, she would assist former X-Men Longshot and Dazzler in their fight against the inter-dimensional madman Mojo. Unfortunately, Mojo proves able to intercept Lila's teleport beams.
Lila was performing a concert in a nightclub in Valle Soleada one night when a young woman named Marie D'Acanto attempted to detonate a bomb, to avenge the deaths of her parents at the hands of mutants. Cannonball and Rogue foiled this murder attempt and took Marie D'Acanto into their custody.
Lila is seen in the pages of X-Treme X-Men where she renews her relationship with Sam. Much later, she was one of the mutants who had retained their mutant abilities after M-Day.
Certainly Lila is no stranger to cosmic adventures, even when touched with the mutant flair. No reason not to see her someday involved in a quest with our cosmic champions, eh?