It’s strange, but there’s something about Hope that’s just never quite ‘clicked’ in everybody’s eyes. You want to know how she works? It might surprise you – and maybe it gives a hint of what the future has in store for the Mutant Messiah…
The Phoenix Force is a cosmic power that, amongst other things, really digs evolution; check out my thoughts in The Phoenix Force 101 part 1 and 2. So when the Scarlet Witch brought an end to the mutant race, the Phoenix Force intervened. A human child was chosen as an avatar of the Phoenix Force, to be the one who would bring the mutant race back from the brink.
But first the baby had to survive, and everybody – from the Purifiers to Sinister to Mystique to Bishop – had an agenda. Bishop’s was perhaps the darkest of these, because he revealed that his timeline was in play once again, and that Hope had the potential to bring about the nightmare we saw in his time. Hold on to that thought.
Cable rescued the baby and took her into the future, and so began a merry chase through time. Hope didn’t exactly have a normal upbringing; she was a survivor from the start, battling against the odds, while Bishop tried to kill her before her powers manifested. He failed, and she was brought back to the present in time to kick-start the Second Coming arc that sadly killed Nightcrawler (at least, until the current run of Amazing X-Men!).
As Second Coming came to an end, Hope released a burst of Phoenix power that seems to have started it all off; a small number of new mutants were created, the ‘Five Lights’, and over time Hope realised that her destiny seemed to be intertwined with theirs. She also seemed to have a creepy amount of control over them…
But the Phoenix Force came to Earth, and got on the wrong side of Tony Stark, meaning we got AvX (seriously, how many arcs can revolve around this girl?). In the final battle of AvX, Hope took on the mantle of the Phoenix and, together with Wanda, did something that’s still pretty unexplained; weaving the spell “No more Phoenix,” the energy of the Phoenix Force apparently dissipated across the world and re-ignited the X-gene. Given that there’s a future Quentin Quire running around who wields the Phoenix Force, this story clearly isn’t over.
Now here’s the catch: I think there’s a lot more to Hope than Marvel are yet tapping into. If you’re reading Cable and X-Force, you’ll notice she’s been kept suspiciously distant from any new mutants – and this makes me wonder if she has the same kind of connection with the new mutants that she had with the Five Lights.
Combine that with Bishop’s memories of Hope igniting a war between man and mutant, and you have a character whose destiny is nowhere near played out. I can’t help wondering whether or not Marvel are playing the long game, keeping the girl down in order to draw her into a very, very dark place.
Is it ominous that a future Hope wears Stryfe’s armour?