Comics
Published March 29, 2022

The History of Lila Cheney: A Rock Fable

The intergalactic mutant rock star takes the spotlight in Infinity Comic ‘X-Men Unlimited’ #28!

There are hundreds of rock stars on Earth-616, but there’s only one who is truly interstellar: Lila Cheney, teleporting mutant superstar whose fame even eclipses Dazzler’s. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Lila has built somewhat of a reputation in the known universe, both as a musician and as a master thief. Her ability to teleport across vast distances (and even galaxies) pretty much means she can be anywhere she chooses. But instead, Lila has embraced life on Krakoa with the rest of mutantkind.

Infinity Comic X-MEN UNLIMITED #28 by creators Jason Loo, E.J. Su, and Antonio Fabela gives Lila the solo stage for the first time since she moved to the mutant island homeland. The latest (reluctant) participant of So I’m Dating a Rock Star, a cynical Lila blows through potential suitors on a reality show—while wearing a disguise. It sounds like a premise straight out of the Mojoverse, but we do promise that there’s no Mojo in this story.

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #28
X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #28

Before Lila Cheney takes the hot seat, revisit her long and spacey history with the New Mutants, the X-Men, and even Captain Marvel with these comic highlights from Marvel Unlimited.

STEALING THE EARTH, AND SAM’S HEART

Lila made her debut in NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL (1984) #1, when the team stumbled across an alien attempting to assassinate her at her Earth-bound

concert. Lila used her mutant teleportation power to escape with her band, but “accidentally” brought Sam Guthrie (AKA Cannonball) along for the ride and back to her Dyson sphere headquarters in her private paradise of space. Despite their major differences, sparks immediately flew.

The New Mutants mounted a rescue mission to retrieve Sam, and it was eventually revealed that Lila had sold Earth into slavery because she had been sold years before. Fortunately, Lila had a change of heart and helped the New Mutants foil those evil plans before starting a more serious relationship with Sam.

Lila Cheney's first appearance in NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL (1984) #1.
NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL (1984) #1

A ROCK STAR MEETS MOM

Sam and Lila’s (extreme) long-distance relationship developed even further. So much so that in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #42, Sam finally brought Lila home to Kentucky to meet the rest of the Guthrie family. Unfortunately, Sam was so worried about making a good impression on his mother that he lashed out at Lila and accused her of stealing a gift that she intended to present to Sam’s mom. The pair briefly broke up after that, but reconciled when Sam and the New Mutants saved Lila and her band following a plane crash.

Lila not only got back together with Sam, she also put in the extra effort to win the approval of Sam’s mother after realizing that he loved her authentic self.

Lila transforms in time to meet Mrs. Guthrie in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #42.
NEW MUTANTS (1983) #42

DEADLY RIVALS

The downside of dating a galactic celebrity is that there are bound to be rivals for her affection. Sam discovered this the hard way in NEW MUTANTS #55, when Raek, one of Lila’s former associates, showed up to her album release party uninvited. Raek and his gang plotted to kill Sam to get him out the way and to force Lila to help them steal an invaluable object. Once again, Sam’s insecurities got the best of him, and he unwittingly allowed Raek to drug him with a near fatal dosage to deal with the pressure that he was a less-than “perfect” boyfriend. Lila set Sam straight, and helped the New Mutants defeat Raek and his followers.

Sam tries dancing with Lila in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #55.
NEW MUTANTS (1983) #55

ULTIMATE SACRIFICE

Lila played a major role in a multi-part adventure that unfolded in NEW MUTANTS #66-70. Within these issues, readers finally learned that Lila had been sold years ago to a malevolent alien crime lord named Spyder. In the present, Spyder managed to kidnap Lila at a concert despite the best efforts of Sam and the New Mutants. Additionally, a female alien named Gosamyr ingratiated herself with the team by helping them on the rescue mission in space. Unfortunately, Gosamyr’s nature also caused the New Mutants to turn on each other.

Eventually, Gosamyr tried to undo the damage she had caused so that the New Mutants could rescue her family as well, also captives of Spyder. But when Spyder unleashed Gosamyr’s family from their larval state prematurely, they emerged as unstoppable monsters who were capable of destroying planets. Lila was freed from Spyder’s control and, no longer his easy transport, chose to sacrifice herself by teleporting to a nearby sun with Gosamyr’s family in tow. A final act of heroism for a requisite rogue.

Lila sacrifices her life for the universe.
NEW MUTANTS (1983) #70

SAVING THE EMPIRE

Surprise! Lila didn’t die in that sun. And, she made one of her most impressive escapes to date when she survived being thrust into space in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #269 before teleporting to safety. She arrived on Earth in issue #270, and found the X-Men in issue #273 before taking them all the way into Shi'ar space to save the life of Charles Xavier.

However, issues #274-277 revealed that Lila’s mission wasn’t all that simple. Lila partnered with Deathbird, a Shi’ar royal who was an enemy of the X-Men and the Neramani throne. This time, Deathbird truly was on the X-Men’s side against a Skrull invasion. Lila and Deathbird worked together to secure the future of the Shi’ar empire while getting the X-Men and Professor X safely back to Earth.

Deathbird and Lila save the X-Men in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #276.
UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #276

A ROYAL ENGAGEMENT

In CAPTAIN MARVEL (2014) #9, Lila desperately teleported onto Carol Danvers ship to confront the Captain and her alien friend, Tic. Lila explained to them that she was engaged to Prince Yan from Aladna, a world that she had accidentally teleported to when she was a child. In the present, the Aladnean royal family wanted Lila to live up to that commitment even though she didn’t want to (or spend the rest of her life speaking in rhyme). Carol and Tic agreed to help, even when they learned that Yan was a truly noble soul who didn’t want to wed anyone against their will.

Since Lila is a lover and not a fighter, Carol stood as her champion when a rival named Marlo attempted to claim Yan as her own. To satisfy the requirements of Yan’s people, Tic agreed to a marriage of convenience with the prince. And in doing so, spared Lila and Carol from potentially having to wed in her place!

Lila's "wedding" is overturned in CAPTAIN MARVEL (2014) #9.
CAPTAIN MARVEL (2014) #9

SETTING UP ROOTS ON EARTH

Considering that Lila has rarely settled down anywhere, it’s amazing that she has been such a constant presence on Krakoa. In X-FORCE (2019) #9, Lila, Dazzler, and Shark-Girl were first seen as a new band in the Green Lagoon tiki bar. But Lila isn’t limiting herself to entertainment. As seen in S.W.O.R.D. (2020) #1, Lila is a member of the teleport team under the command of Abigail Brand.

During the “Last Annihilation” storyline, Nathan Summers recruited Lila in CABLE: RELOADED #1 for a mission to Breakworld in order to retrieve weapons that could be used against Dormammu. One of the other recruits on the mission was Lila’s ex-boyfriend, Sam. They shared a few cute moments together, and they are clearly still friends even though Sam is married to Smasher: Isabel Kane, and is living full time in Shi’ar space with his wife and son.

Sam and Lila catch up in CABLE: RELOADED (2021) #1.
CABLE: RELOADED (2021) #1

As for Lila’s romantic prospects, you’ll have to read X-MEN UNLIMITED #28 on the Marvel Unlimited app now to see if she’s ready to find love! (Or reality show fame.)

Download the Marvel Unlimited app for iOS or Android devices now for more vertical comics starring favorite Marvel characters. You’ll also gain instant access to 29,000+ digital issues spanning 80 years of Marvel Comics.

 

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