First Appearances: Cassandra Nova
See the early days of the mental megalomaniac Cassandra Nova as she terrorizes Jean Grey in this week's X-Men Red #11!
Every week we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to celebrate a major character's first appearance in the hallowed halls of the House of Ideas.
This week finds Jean Grey's X-team at the end of their collective ropes because of their ongoing battle with Cassandra Nova. Tom Taylor and Roge Antonio have put the squad through their paces by way of Charles Xavier's pseudo-twin with none of the morals and all of the power in the series finale of X-MEN RED!
The psychic sociopath's origins go back to 2001's NEW X-MEN #114-#126, written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely. She debuted in the very first issue of that celebrated run that shook the mutant world to its core.
In that story, we meet the strange little woman as she drags Bolivar Trask's nephew, a dentist from Albuquerque, through South America to a secret Sentinel Master Mold facility set up to build the mutant-killing machines out of whatever materials happened to be on hand. Nova needed this lesser Trask around to activate the wild Sentinels and also give her enough time to completely copy his DNA and voice before getting rid of him.
Her presence pinged on the then-new Cerebra, which led Professor X to send Cyclops and Wolverine to check it out. They lost their new mutant recruit, but seemingly managed to incapacitate their new foe and take her back home. However, the move seemed somewhat futile in the wake of news that she'd launched an attack on Genosha that killed millions of mutants.
Upon examining Nova's body, Beast came to realize that nothing like her had ever existed. He posited that she killed mutants to survive, implicitly understanding that humanity itself would be extinct in just a few generations.
Later, Jean Grey used her incredible mental abilities to figure out where Nova came from; Cassandra and Charles were actually twins, but Nova came into being without a body and wanted her brothers'. In utero, she tried to kill him, but he used his powers to stop her. She managed to copy his DNA and slowly build a body around herself leading up to this attack.
Upon breaking out of her cage, Cassandra viciously attacked the X-Men. Emma Frost returned to the mansion and broke the creature's neck, but that proved insufficient, so Charles shot her several times.
Though it seemed like the threat had ended, Cassandra had actually switched bodies with Charles. Before anyone realized, she outed her brother and his students as mutants before calling Lilandra for a vacation that would secretly allow him to take over their advanced technology and use it to destroy all mutants.
Though incredibly powerful and mostly successful, Cassandra Nova didn't account for new additions to the team like Emma Frost, the Stepford Cuckoos, Angel, Beak, and Xorn who all pitched in to stop the megalomaniacal murderer.
It's nearly impossible to destroy a mind, especially one as powerful as Nova's. She's been hopping around bodies and using miniature Sentinels to stop Jean Grey's plans for creating a mutant nation all throughout X-MEN: RED. We'll see if and how the team finally puts a stop to her machinations in today's series finale!
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