Given the general lull in commentators on my reviews (Please don't think that this is a shallow attempt to drum up readers, I'm merely trying to present information engaging enough to promote discussion) I've been trying to identify reasons why people might not feel there's much to talk about. I came to two conclusions. One being that the most recent thing I reviewed is like six years old and everyone is fed up talking about it, but the other is that I tend to look on the bright side of things. I like to be positive about the things I review and appreciate the work that went into them no matter what. So in order to address this second issue, I decided to look at something from the Marvel Universe I utterly despise with a passion. With that said, today I'm addressing Marvel's Massive Mutant Deus Ex Machina, Hope Summers.
Now as with my Scott Summers post, I feel I must put up some information in regards to my knowledge of the character. I think I have read the majority of this character's bibliography with the exception of Second Coming, which I'll get to, I will. I have a very good knowledge of the character up to the completion of her so-called "Destiny" and have continued into her time with Cable and the X-Force, so while I might of missed a few things, basically her entire arc as a baby and since her return from the future is fair game here. having said that, any cameos she might have made elsewhere might have escaped my notice, so I apologise if I miss anything pertinant. Anyway, on with the tyrade.
The History of Hope
After M-Day, the mutant population became a few hundred world wide, many mutants lost their powers and no new ones were activating. So this meant that when Cerebra pinged a new mutant, all hell broke loose.
Not only did the mutants scramble to this one, Purifiers and others attacked. For those of a weak constitution, I'd skip to the next paragraph. The Purifiers, having gone to the town in Alaska where the new mutant was detected, proceeded not just to slaughter people, but also to burn an entire maternity ward full of newborns in an attempt to wipe out the new mutant.
Anyway, I'll be honest in saying the next lot is kind of a blur of stuff, as I was skipping back and forth and primarily following the New X-Men at the time myself, so I'll keep this bullet pointed.
Hope avoids the slaughter, is passed around a few times. Her powers are used to awaken Rogue, Bishop turns on the X-Men as he believes Hope has the potential to do as much harm as good. A lot of insanity takes place and Hope eventually ends up being sent to the future to live with Cable, growing up in his care.
It's at this point I get sketchy, but as I understand it, Hope is raised by Cable in the future whilst Bishop continues to pursue her across time until in a sequence of events I don't fully understand, Hope is separated from a potentially dead Cable (Yeah right, like that'll stick) and returned to the present.
Joining the X-Men, Hope soon starts on her mission to try and gather the newly activated mutants after M-Day, using her own powers to stabilize them and bring them together as her "lights".
During her time in the present there is a lot of typical teen angst and fluff, but the major incidents include finding a mind wiped Sebastian Shaw and bringing him into the X-Men fold and one of the lights, Kenji Uedo, turning traitor and attempting to kill her, only to be destroyed himself.
Then we get the joy that is AVX. So, we begin and Hope takes an opportunity presented by the ongoing war to jump ship and try to do her own thing. Cause that always works out. So while both Avengers and X-Men scramble across the globe trying to find her, she eventually runs into Wolverine, who she convinces to help her. This culminates in a conflict on the Blue area of the Moon where Cyclops is convinced Hope, using the Phoenix, can restore the mutant race, whilst Captain America and the Avengers are convinced it's too risky. So after this utterly omnipotent entity no one can possibly hope to stop should it start to rampage is blown to pieces by some thing Tony Stark threw together last minute, the Phoenix doesn't go to Hope... Yeah, AvX is a another Beast to slay on my journey through Comicdom, but there was no way I wasn't going to mention that part.
So the fragments of the Phoenix gather to the 5 nearest vessels. So that's what, Hope, Cap, Scott... Hmm? What's that? It was coming like a gajillion miles across Space for Hope to decimate Mankind, but instead chose the nearest five mutants all aligned with the X-Men side of the conflict, not one of them Hope? You don't say... I seriously have to stop before this stops being about why Hope is a terrible character.
Anyway, as the newly christened Phoenix Five start to basically make the world perfect, they also start to tread dangerously close to tyrannical overlord territory. The Avengers attempt to take Hope into their custody, now hoping she can fix the issue... Hypocrisy thy name is Steve Rogers. Anyway with her on Team Avenger now, she is sent to be mentored in the Hidden City by Spider-Man. Whoop whoop for Spidey! Anyway, after initially bitching about not being taught anything, Spidey recites his age old mantra and Hope has an epiphany... Allow me to contain my excitement that Hope, child who can do no wrong, even when she's screwed up horrendously, actually learns from a hero older than her.
After that however, we're right back on form as she begins to question everybody and even gets into a huge fight with Wanda Maximoff over M-Day whilst not doing anything to fix the current problem. Anyway, long story short, Hope uses training from Daniel Rand and her borken version of Rogue's powers to combine both the power of Shao Lao and the Scarlet Witch to once and for all remove the Phoenix fragments from every carrier on Earth and use their power to kick start the mutant race with a new declaration of “No More Phoenix.”
So after seemingly fulfilling her destiny, despite basically relying on just being a relay for these powers to do it, something Rogue could have done through skin contact, Hope is praised as the Mutant Messiah and her reward is the chance to live a normal teenaged life with a foster family away from the craziness of mutants and what not.
Here we have the only time I actually sympathise with Hope. She was raised in war zones, so she has no idea what normal life is like, peace to her is being out cleaning guns whilst bombs and crap whiz by overhead. So a peaceful life is something she can't adjust to. So finding out Cable is back and using this as an excuse to pull one over on Cap, Rogue and Havok all at once, cause for some reason two past and present leaders of Avengers teams and someone who grew up with Mystique can't outwit a 16 year old girl. All the while blaming Cable for leaving her behind as if he's somehow the bad guy. The dude who grew up in identical circumstances, who has not really known peace since the day he was born and decided to give his daughter a chance at a peaceful life neither of them has really ever had, and he's somehow the big dumb jerk in this equation. Anyway, after pretty much strong arming her way onto the team, Hope makes herself a very annoying fixture for a bit before the book crosses over with the other X-Force, who has Bishop on roster. Hunting him down, Hope pretty much is out for his blood, but a combination of Stryfe's involvement, Cable's parenting and apparently just being the better person stops her from killing him. The level of pretentiousness in this character is over 9000.
This, as far as I'm aware brings us more or less up to date with the story of Hope Summers.
Unlike my overview of Scott, where I just started writing and let it work itself out from there, I don't know where to start with Hope, I guess if I look at other characters who have had her sort of position, but then again, no one ever has. The closest is the Scarlet Witch, but she was a thing long before M-Day and her history with other people is coloured by that, not just her significance to the Marvel Universe as a whole. The only people who really have any decent history with Hope are Cable and Bishop, all others only really knowing her since her return, being a few months to a year since. I could compare her to other insanely powerful and influential mutants like Jean Grey or David Haller, whose actions have affected the Marvel Universe as a whole, but they were once again large stories and influences before they made the universe altering moves. Hope always has been the Mutant Messiah. Jean was a founding X-Man, as a matter of fact her resurrection is the only reason we have a Phoenix at all, but it was only with that transformation that she became something that effected everything in the 616. Similarly so, it was only when David tapped the power of Legion and created the Age of Apocalypse. There is no one I know of in Marvel, whose position is as lauded or highly debated as Hope Summers and that's the problem.
The biggest, the one and only, complete failure that this character represents to me is that she is only here to be a thing. She is the almost literal Deus Ex Machina contrived by Marvel to write them out of the corner created by House of M and her influence has been felt through Messiah Complex, Second Coming, Schism and AvX. The entire reason for her character isn't like Wanda, Jean or David. She wasn't there to be a character first and a plot device second. She was always the celebrated Mutant Messiah and in response, when she's around,, the people we've been reading about for a lot longer, the characters we love and grew up with take a back seat to this irritating, self righteous Jean Grey Knock-Off.
Now don't take everything I've said as biased hatred towards the character or the idea that a new character could be better than an older one. I love seeing people be clever and pulling one over on others, especially if it's an upheaval like getting a one up on the likes of Captain America and I'm just fine whether this is an older, tried and tested character, or someone just out of the starting gate. It's the fact that Hope seemingly does this on a regular basis to everyone.
What did she do on Utopia? She chewed out Magneto and Professor X. Men who survived the Holocaust and the Korean war, men who have been doing this crap for decades and who she waltzes up to as if she has all the answers and gives them crap for having an outdated view on things.
In AvX, she evades the best scanning equipment the Avengers and X-Men can put together using some battery powered thing she hobbles together at Radio Shack.
Most recently, she goes up against Cap, Havok and Rogue, and whilst I will admit doing something fairly clever to stop the former two, only has a way to escape Rogue by pure luck and yet still comes across as a stuck up brat about it.
Cable and Bishop? Two men who have essentially lived a life just like hers twice over, whose decisions are based on either looking out for her welfare or the potential welfare of millions, the comics make it seem like they have to suck it up and apologise for these decisions.
There are times when I sympathise with Hope, there are. There were points in Generation Hope that she honestly made me feel for her predicament of being the so-called messiah and yet having no idea of how to do that. But for every one of those fish out of water moments where I actually begin to like Hope Summers, there's half a dozen moments where she's being presented as the Great Mutant Hope (Hope as in the word, not her name) who can do no wrong and everyone must immediately recognize the mad skills of, or else wind up with egg on their faces.
Her status as a glorified plot device has only been pretty much confirmed in my mind since the moment her seeming destiny has been fulfilled, her only role in the comics since has been to tag along with Cable's team, where she doesn't formally join until about halfway through and hasn't done anything a billion other X-Men haven't done a million times over. She really doesn't add anything to the universe any more. Her significance as a whole has seemingly dwindled to Jubilee level and she only really exists to give Cable a reason to stupidly try to save her when she cocks it up.
Even her name, Hope Summers. Ignoring the obvious implications of her first name which fills my stomach with bile, who the hell decided this kid needed to be related to the Summers family? I get she's only adopted into it, but she could have kept her own name, we find it out later and since we already know there are two handy time travelling dudes on hand, why could it not have been Cable's turn to go crazy and let Bishop raise the kid? Is it because he's, you know, a 'M' word?
Still, I guess even addressing her first name, I get she's the Mutant Messiah and all, but really, Hope? I thought we were well beyond this time of the 'Named for your super power' deal when Stan Lee stopped writing comics. Anywho, time to move on
The Present Future
As opposed to the future future in which Hope actually lived. As it stands, I don't see much hope for Hope's character in Marvel. All the things that made her a big deal have faded. The Lights are either scattered, dead or in nappies, delegated to minor character roles across the X-Books. The mutants are repowered and repopulating and the Phoenix focus is squarely on Quentin Quire these days.
That's not to say there's no chance she can't become a strong staple, but the writers at Marvel would really have to try and push the boat out again. Give Hope something other than a glorified sidekick role, though I won't lie, there's a lot of interesting characters I'd pick long before I got to her, and that is biased hatred of the character. Her powers alone are as boring as they come, and while there's the sorta Tank-Girl Post Apocalyptic badass part of her back story, it kinda rings hollow in a team book, where she can essentially become as strong as everyone else combined just by standing near them and hold onto this level of power for several hours. If anything, as much as I am loathe to say it, they'd be better off giving her a solo series, like X-23. Allow her to explore her roots before the Purifiers started up the Baby Barbecue and maybe build some intrigue with some distant mutant relations or something, I dunno, I'm no comic writer. (Poorly executed fanfiction is my bread and butter)
Anyway, that's my two cents on Hope Summers. I find her pretentious, pernicious and at current, pointless. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did doing things that actually make me happy as opposed to thinking about this awful awful character.