First You May Have Missed: Stepford Cuckoos
Hello everyone and welcome back. Had to take a few weeks off for real life after a few health issues but I am back and slowly returning to normal life. During my forced bed rest I didn't get to read much but I did watch(mostly listen) to a bit of T.V. This is where I caught up on a little show called The Gifted, which if you have not heard is the closest thing we have to an x-men tv show right now. I decided to make this article about one of my favorites on the show (may contain very minor spoilers if you're not up to date on season 2 I would think season 1 is fair game by now so spoilers for season 1 galore lol) here is the first you may have missed Stepford Cuckoos “first step”.
The Stepford cuckoos are made up of not 1 but 3 mutants, (wait) originally not 3 but 5 mutants(ok wait) start over. 5 sisters Celeste, Esme, Irma, Phoebe, and Sophie are quintuplet sisters with telekinetic powers. Alone they are formidable telepaths but together working as one they are one of the strongest minds in the marvel universe. Although in their first appearance in New X-men #118 we are lead to believe they are just run of the mill mutant sisters. We later find out in X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong that the Stepford Cuckoos are not only clones of Emma frost by the weapon x program, (Weapon XIV) but they are also not only 5 but 1000's created to one day collectively use their minds to eliminate all mutants.
During a brief time in the Xavier school the 5 sisters functioned as normal students but ultimately one of the sisters, Sophie was killed stopping an attack that destroyed by Kid Omega, bringing the sisters down to four known. These four sisters continued as normal until Esme alone joined the Mutant Brotherhood under who she believed to be Magneto (it was really Xorn but that's another confusing marvel half planned out story that i will go into another day). Esme's decisions would lead her down a path that eventually puts her against Xorn in a battle that she lost bringing the sister count down to 3.
As Emma Frost and Cyclops rebuild the Xavier School and the X-Men the remaining 3 sisters are once again brought into the fold as the leaders of 1 of the 6 new X teams. The next major accomplishment of the Cuckoos and a true testament to their power is the battle with the phoenix force. The Phoenix force for reasons then unknown returns to earth and ends up possessing the dead sister Sophie's body. The x men with Sophies resistance were able to defeat the phoenix force but a part of it enters Celiest's body essentially possessing her to do its bidding.
It is here learn that the Cuckoos have 1000's of sleeper sisters at the Weapons Plus program waiting to all join together and kill all mutants. This genocide is what the phoenix came to prevent and it did, now actually leaving only 3 sisters. As the sisters lose control of the phoenix force and fearing what it may do next they use a new-found ability of turning to diamond form(as Emma frost does) to absorb the phoenix force into their body's and seal it in their hearts of diamond which apparently the phoenix force can not escape.
The 3 remaining cuckoos went on to be a part of almost ever big x event and even most marvel wide events for years until what i think is one of the most important Stepford story lines ever. Met with mixed reviews Inhumans vs X-men(IVX) had its high and low point's but the inciting event which was covered in the death of X mini-series was a chilling and poetic story which i can only hope makes it to the big screen. The death of Cyclops (one of my top 3 X men ever for sure) even in a world of constant resurrection really hit here.
Seemingly dying at the hands(umm voice) of Black Bolt in front of both Inhumans and x men was a chilling scene and great way to make this war seem meaningful and high stakes. Although somehow the truth behind his death made the story even more tragic and impactful. Cyclops discovered that the terrigen cloud that grants the Inhumans their powers was also the cause of a fatal mutant disease.
When Cyclops went to discover this on his own he actually contracted the disease and died soon after with only his wife Emma frost as a witness. In true tragic form Cyclops tells Emma “don't let it end like this” and Emma knowing she can't force the x-men to agree to help by normal means devises a plan to make it appear as if Cyclops was killed by Black Bolt to gain more support for her cause to destroy the terrigen cloud infecting mutants. How does Emma execute this plan? With the help of the Stepford cuckoos of course.
They use their powers along with Emma to project images of Cyclops into the minds of key characters for most of the mini series and eventually into the minds of Black Bolt and Medusa causing a confrontation that forces Black Bolt to strike the projected Cyclops before he can strike first and giving the appearance that he was killed by the king if the Inhumans himself.
Now onto the Gifted. Fox's X show the Gifted has told an abridged and slightly altered version of the Cuckoos history(still mutant clones) and the rendition on-screen is pretty comic accurate except for Esme actually being one of the surviving sisters. They first appeared on the first season and now are regulars on the 2nd season working as the 2nd in command of the new hellfire club. Pretty interesting stuff and although they may seem like a rehash of a rehash of a rehash, there is actually some good story and staying power with these character's in my opinion. Who knows maybe now that Disney has the X-men they can finally put these god awful live action Inhumans in an early grave with a IVX movie or show.
New X-Men #118. Easy to find in most shops for cheap do to its 127k print run. Not at all what i would call rare but with 1 cover and some time this book can gain some steam just don't expect an overnight success if ever.
Well it feels good to be back, thank you for reading and as always “It is better to have first and flip then to never have first at all–Valiant Horton.