Back in 1993, Fabian Nicieza and Andy Kubert published “A Tale of the X-Men,” in which Mister Sinister drops a vague hint about Scott Summers’ family. He talks about “brothers” in the plural sense, the first hint readers ever got about there being more Summers brothers than just Scott and Alex. Once Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine created X-Men: Deadly Genesis in 2005, readers finally got to find out who the third Summers brother Sinister alluded to was: Gabriel Summers. But the mystery didn’t end there.
In 1994, Nicieza and Terry Dodson created X-Men #39. In this story, titled “Birds of a Feather,” Nicieza laid the seeds of who he wanted to be the third Summers brother, Adam X. The issue revolves around how Adam saves Philip Summers, Scott and Alex’s grandfather. While Adam’s parentage isn’t touched on here, it’s clear what Nicieza is doing: Philip comments how similar he is to Scott and Alex, how he feels like family, etc. For a while it seemed the Adam X question would remain just that, as no one outside of Nicieza really seemed to care about this plotline — that is, until X-Men: Legends.
X-Men: Legends #1 isn’t an easy read if you don’t know the lore behind this character, as several story beats from ’90s X-Men (particularly Adam X’s lore) are mentioned. Fortunately, the comic employs the ’90s technique of editors notes, directing readers to important issues; this is a practice the current X-line should employ as it continues to expand, in all honesty.
Nicieza’s writing feels plucked right out of his old run, and he proves he still knows the voices of these characters quite well. Scott and Alex sound just like the two characters people have known and loved for years, and of course, Adam X seems the same on his end as well. The art, however, is unfortunately quite noisy. For certain longtime X-readers who don’t vibe with the vast directional change of the Hickman-era X-Men line, X-Men Legends probably feels like a breath of fresh air in many ways.
Reading X-Men Legends #1 has a nostalgic feel to it despite its 2021 publication date, with the characters and setting feeling reminiscent to greeting an old friend you’ve lost contact with. It’s a trip down memory lane in its own right, the X-Men before Scott and Emma took the school, before Utopia, before Krakoa.
It’s hard to imagine this story won’t have some bearing in the Krakoa era, as one of the “Sinister Secrets” portions of House of X alluded to another Summers sibling outside of Scott, Alex, and Gabriel — Adam X felt like the obvious (yet admittedly lackluster) choice. The sad truth is Adam X simply feels unneeded and unexciting now that Gabriel is in the picture.
By the issue’s end, a major question has been answered — or has it? It’s clear there’s more to this story. For further questions, readers will simply have to wait for issue #2, but the reveal will undoubtedly have massive consequences moving forward for the Summers family. It’s certainly exciting to see this mystery finally unfold if nothing else.
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