It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Writer Jim Krueger had become well known for inserting "Appendices" -- two-page dialogue-only character tidbits and explanations -- into the end of each chapter in the collected editions of Earth X and Universe X. These appendices (plural for "appendix", singular) revealed more about the world of the series in the form of brief conversations between characters. It was yet another bonus for buying the collected books, because even though the comic series themselves filled in a lot of gaps in the Marvel Universe, the appendices filled in even more.
So needless to say, the idea caught on with fans.
At the Krueger X message board on X-Fan, members discuss the series with other fans and put their heads together (with occasional help from Krueger himself) to figure out the intricacies of the universe being revealed in the comics. A few of us (starting with me) started posting our own versions of appendices, just for the fun of it, so Jim Krueger decided to make it an official topic and started giving out prizes for people who posted responses (the prizes are in the mail as of this writing, I understand).
nd the stories themselves? They're pretty interesting. Where else will you find the unkillable Daredevil on a quest to obtain the powerful Ultimate Nullifier, so he can kill himself with it? Where else will you find a suggested reason for Cable's continued existence when all other telepaths on Earth X have been wiped out, or a theory on the heavily-speculated identity of Earth X Daredevil?
What follows is some good stuff. But be warned that they contain spoilers for the Earth/Universe/Paradise X series, and require a bit of knowledge about the series. But a lot of what you need to know is explained. So enjoy. Or be prepared to have your appendix taken out. j/k :D
(This appendix is in reference to Universe X: Beasts, but takes place shortly after the end of Universe X: X.)
"Good to see you again, Bruce."
"Likewise, Scott. How are the students?"
"A handful as usual, but they're good kids. How's the Hulk?"
"Less of a handful than your students, thankfully. Anything I can help you with? Don't know how long this transmission will last. The static's terrible."
"Well, actually, I was looking for Dr. Richards, but since he's not there, I can try again another--"
"I could take a message. Mar-Vell and I have taken up residence here so we can assist Reed."
"I see. But really, it's no big deal. I can try again another time."
"Okay, in that case . . . ."
"You know, Bruce, while I have you on the line, I was thinking about that conversation we had in the Savage Land a while ago."
"Uh, which one?"
"About Xavier's school. About whether or not he was wrong for founding it."
"Oh. Oh yeah. Sorry about that, Scott. I was--"
"You did have a point, to a certain extent, but there's a lot of it you didn't consider."
"Such as your comment about prejudice. How the tension between humans and mutants was never about predudice at all."
"As I said, it has more to do with the balance of power: who has it, and who doesn't."
"Yes, but think about what you said. You said it was never about fear . . . just about the common man being worried about the guy next door who can kill with a thought."
"Or bench-press a building."
"Or kill with 'a sideways glance'. Those were your words, I believe."
"Scott, that wasn't a jab at you. I'm sorry, but--"
"My lack of control over my optic blasts was the whole reason I accepted Xavier's offer to live at the school in the first place. He could help me deal with it. The reason I stayed was because I was intrigued by his cause, and I shared his views."
"You still wear glasses. How has he helped you with your power?"
"He helped me come to terms with it. I couldn't control my power due to brain damage, but he helped me through that. He enabled me to accept myself as a mutant. He did the same for all of his students. I suppose your idea of helping the situation is denying it or making it go away."
"Ouch. What are you trying to say?"
"Only that I'm considering the source of your comments, especially where you said that you know a little about being hunted yourself."
"Yeah, see, there's this tiny little green thing called the Hulk--"
"Yes. A monster inside you with enough power and rage to level mountains. People thought the same thing about each and every mutant: that we were all time bombs waiting to explode."
"What choice did I have but to keep the Hulk subdued? I doubt you had a host of choices about keeping your eyes under control."
"Granted, but the choice about what to do with the Hulk is simple: accept it, or don't. And since the Hulk is a part of you, it's a choice about accepting yourself."
"Accepting the raging monster in me that can kill if I have so much as a bad day? Uh, sorry, Hulk."
"My point exactly. Charles taught me that I had a choice about accepting what my eyes could do. I didn't have to like it, and I certainly didn't have to like showering blind, or keeping red sunglasses or visors on every waking moment--"
"Your eyes are different."
"How? You have to be mad at someone or something in order for the Hulk to do any damage. All I have to do is open my eyes without protective glasses. We both spent the better part of lives thrying to keep our personal monsters in. You only accept the Hulk now because he's tame and he protects you. Imagine how you would have viewed your Hulk side if you had someplace like Xavier's school to turn."
"That's just it: I didn't have that option, what with the military hunting me."
"But was Xavier wrong for giving mutants that option? You were looking at the situation in terms of how normal people react to superhumans. The issue is really about how superhumans see themselves."
"You're telling me this whole thing is a self-esteem issue?"
"You claimed it was never about fear, but but being nervous about somebody powerful next door sounds like fear to me. And it's about prejudice and bigotry in that the common people were led to believe that every mutant had the destructive power of a Magneto or a Hulk or a Cyclops. How better to educate people than a school? But before we could teach the world about us, we had to learn about ourselves. I'll admit the X-Men were sidetracked from that a lot by the various crises that came up."
"Okay, you've made your point. So now that everyone is a mutant, why have you recreated the X-Men?"
"I'm a leader, Bruce. Charles helped me to realize that about myself. I really don't have much a goal in life other than to lead. It gives me a sense of purpose."
"So you drag those kids into the life of an X-Men, for your own self-fulfillment."
"They came to me, Bruce. They wanted me to teach them. So I did. And you know what? I like to teach just as much as I like to lead and plot strategy."
"But what about your students?" "They were a circus troupe who toured the country with Daredevil. They didn't have much of a purpose either, before they met me. And do you have any idea what I might be like right now if I'd never met Xavier?"
"I'd be dead right now. I was orphaned in a plane explosion, Bruce. I was never adopted, and I lived on the streets. I was a juvenile delinquent, committing crimes to survive. I don't think I'd have lived this long had it not been for Xavier."
"Scott, I'm sorry. I had no idea."
"It's not something I talk about, or like to think about. But it's why I drive myself so hard in the X-Men. It's why I drive my students so hard; I don't want them to be on the streets like I was. They're good kids. I've been training them for three years now."
"Well, good luck on that. And again, I'm sorry about what I said. I guess I was just being a cranky old man. I may not look it, but I'm older than you."
"I know. At least you don't have to worry about wrinkles or comb-overs, right? I'll talk to you some other time. I have to go."
"All right. But tell me: why did you need to talk to Reed?"
"I need back the Cerebro helmet he 'borrowed'. I and my students are hard at work repairing Xavier's school."
"Oh . . . in that case, I'll give him the message. Good luck, Scott."
(Note: This isn't a specific appendix to any chapter or special within the X series. I'm presenting my interpretation of the Earth X Daredevil's origin, which shouldn't be confused with whatever Jim and Alex had planned for him. This is just my theory on who Daredevil is.)
"There you are, Nighthawk. Finally found you."
"Daredevil. Good to see you again. But just call me Kyle now."
"Okay, got it. I see you have a new 'double-vision' thing goin'. Looks cool."
"It's hard to explain, but it's part of my newfound omniscience given to me by Mar-Vell. I now exist everywhere, and I see everything."
"Great. So that means you can tell me where to find that robot guy. X-21 . . . ?"
"X-51. Or Aaron Stack. He prefers the latter. Anyway, he lives on the moon, at the Watcher's observatory. Why?"
"'Cause I heard he has something to cure what ails me."
"And what ails you is your life. You've been trying to kill yourself repeatedly."
"Yeah, and it's gettin' harder to do now that I have a bunch of copies of myself hangin' around. That's why I need his help: he has some doohickey called the Ultimate Nullifier, I hear. If that thing can't kill me -- or us, I should say -- nothin' can."
"You're right: it would kill us. 'Us' as in everyone. And there's a problem, Simon: X-51 no longer has the Ultimate Nullifier. Mar-Vell does."
"Oh yeah. Forgot about that. So in that case, where can I find Mar-- WHAT did you call me?"
"Simon. Simon Williams. That is your name, right?"
"Uh, no. You have the wrong guy."
"I do, and I don't. It's complicated, but I should remind you that I can see everything, even things you're not aware of. Do you know who Simon Williams is?"
"Not off the top of my head. Wasn't he lead singer in some rock group?"
"Not quite. He was Wonder Man, an Avenger. He started out as a manipulated member of the Masters of Evil who befriended the Avengers and gave his life to save them--"
"Sounds like a cool guy. But if he's dead, how can he be me?"
"You have amnesia about your past before Plague X, yet you're certain you can't be him?"
"How did you know--? Oh yeah, you can see everything."
"After Simon's death, he was resurrected on several occasions as an energy being. A mass of ionic particles that convinced itself it was a living human. It 'died' quite a few times, but came back because, as some religions hold, life and death are only energy pushed and pulled. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, Daredevil. It can only seek another form."
"And that form was me?"
"Somewhat. In the last remaining days before the release of the Terrigen Mists -- called Plague X by the world's mutated people -- Wonder Man's energy was at an all-time low. It could scarcely hold itself together. Yet even though it knew it was actually dead, an echo of a human soul, it refused to die again."
"See, now I know that's not me. I'm TRYING to die."
"I'm not finished. I said this was complicated."
"Okay, okay. I'll shut up and listen. You wouldn't happen to have any Anthrax I can snack on, would you?"
"Anyway, the ionic particles once known as Wonder Man needed a way to keep itself together. Out of options, it bonded to a homeless person it found dying in an alley, merging the two different beings into one. It allowed both sides to live. You see, the human in question, a boy named Daniel, was in the process of committing suicide."
"And Wondy stopped it? Some hero he turned out be."
"The new binary being was a mess of flesh and energy. It could now hold itself together, but it had trouble figuring out how to live. Its lungs pumped air when part of it asserted that it shouldn't, and its heart beat while its consciousness screamed that the heart should be cold and lifeless. The new being was a walking contradiction devoid of memory."
"And that's supposed to be me."
"Not until Plague X hit. Then Daniel's latent mutant ability manifested: the ability to control the shape of energy. You were able to control your physical appearance better to allow your human and energy sides to coexist. But since you had no memory, you knew nothing of what you were before the plague . . . except for your overwhelming need to commit suicide. But your new body could not die."
"My first memories WERE of being real disoriented an' in bad shape, so your explanation does kinda make sense."
"It also explains why you became both a circus performer and a superhero: Simon Williams enjoyed a brief stint as an aspiring actor, so you were compelled to become an entertainer as well. And you donned the Daredevil garb out of a vaguely-remembered desire to be a superhero, even though you couldn't remember which one you were before."
"Okay, see, I became a circus act because I was broke and I needed to make money off of my stupid immortality shtick. That, and I wanted to see if anybody could actually succeed in killing me. And I went by 'Daredevil' because it fit my act."
"But you aided Captain America in his quest against the Skull."
"Because hanging him was a surefire way to get myself hamburgered. Or so I thought at the time. Believe me, all I want is to die, not to be a hero."
"But heroes often die for their causes, no matter how selfish."
"So how do you explain my splitting up into so many copies of myself after being torn apart?"
"Your vague attempt at an explanation involved your costume's unstable molecular fabric. The reality was that your energy form retains its self-image and attempts to restore itself. Since you were ripped into several pieces at the time, each piece reassembled into what you considered to be your 'default' form: Daredevil. It's actually been a long time since you've even worn an actual costume; you only think you do."
"So what're you sayin', Kyle? I'm never gonna die?"
"What I'm saying is that, again, energy can only seek another form. So you could actually die if part of you -- the part that is an ionic Simon Williams -- lets go of its self-preservation and agrees with the rest of you."
"But the part of me that's an energy being is dead set against dying, so it'll keep repairing me no matter how hard I try?"
"I knew heroes were nothin' but trouble. This bites; I'm outta here."
(somewhere inbetween the end of Universe X and the Xen issue and this is just my interpretation of events)
"I'm worried. Everywhere I look, I'm seeing people in pain. Many of them should be dead, but aren't. It's horrible, Kyle. What's going on? Why aren't people dying anymore?"
"The Ultimate Nullifier has been used, Aaron. Death's rule has been ended and Mar-Vell has finished his crusade against her. That is why no one can die."
"Mar-Vell killed death? I thought that would be a good thing, but now I'm not so sure. It's getting so hard to separate the good and the evil. Why did he do it? Didn't he know?"
"He didn't kill her, Aaron. Thanos used the nullifier on her."
"What? Thanos? Why would Thanos turn on the one being he idolized? That doesn't make any sense."
"It's simple Aaron. The same reasons that Mar-Vell had for killing the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree. The reason Thor cried on the moon and why he now plans and schemes with Loki to overthrow Asgard."
"I don't see what your getting at Kyle. Mar-Vell killed Supremor for many reasons. I was there, Kyle, I watched the whole thing. And Thor cried because she saw..."
"The Truth, Aaron. Thor learned the truth. That she had been manipulated and created by a man she had called father. Everything she had been told was a lie. And now like all who have been lied to, they are angry, they wish revenge."
"OK, I can see that Kyle. Mar-Vell killed Supremor for the years of manipulations. He did it out of anger. I saw that. But, how does this relate to Thanos and Death?"
"It goes all the way back to the Kree-Skrull War. And the lone survivor Alars found on Titan."
"Thanos' mother? Sui-San? I remember watching you and Gargoyle arguing over her."
"Yes, Aaron. What no one knew was that Sui-San was in fact a Skrull. A refugee from the battle with the Kree that had destroyed the Eternals of Uranus. Fearing Alars' reaction to her, she hid her true form and appeared as an Eternal. They fell in love and began to repopulate Titan with their children. Thanos was their first born. I would think you would have seen all this with the Watcher's equipment, Aaron."
"I- I never thought to look. So all the Eternals of Titan are half-Skrull?"
"Yes. Thanos was the first to discover his mother's secret. Walking in on her as she was in her true form. Afraid of possible harm from her husband and from more Kree, she convinced the young Thanos to keep her secret. And out of love for his mother, he did. Soon he would meet and fall in love with Death as well, and Alars would banish young Thanos from Titan. While banished, he would again meet who he thought was his mother. She bid him to attack Titan to keep her safe from those who would harm her."
"But that doesn't make sense, Kyle. Thanos killed his mother during this attack your speaking about. Why would she put herself in harms way like that?"
"Because Aaron, it was not her who came to Thanos. Thanos never accepted that his mother was killed during that battle. As a child he knew that she was different, and that he like her was different. To him she was with him that day as he attacked Titan."
"How is that possible?"
"Death had taken the form of Sui-San in her appearances and revelations to Thanos."
"So for all these years Thanos' infatuation with the entity Death was nothing more than misplaced love for his mother?"
"Yes, although, it became more and more the need of love and approval and acceptance from her. Death had chosen him to be her agent in life. Manipulating him with the image and need for his lost mother. Deep down Thanos knew that she was not really his mother. He had heard of her supposed death on Titan. That is why he always set himself up for failure in his grand schemes. Each time he almost won, each time he unconciously let himself lose. Adam Warlock, perhaps his only friend in life, tried to speak to him of this once but was dismissed by Thanos. When Mar-Vell finally received the whole of the Cosmic Conciousness he saw what had happened to his old enemey. The similarities between the two became a common bond for Mar-Vell and in a moment of compassion he confronted Thanos with the truth. And the truth let Thanos acknowledge what had happened to him. And in anger Thanos avenged his mother."
"I can't see it anymore. Uatu was right. There isn't any good or evil in the universe. It's all tangled up. So where is Thanos now? In the Paradise you spoke of before?"
"No Aaron. He walks the streets of the land of the dead. He is dressed as a bum and carries a sign in protest as he walks. The sign reads "The End Was Here." He is also searching for his mother."
"What is he protesting agianst?"
"Paradise and Mar-Vell."
"Thanos knows how similar he and Mar-Vell really are. He knows what he would do with the power that Mar-Vell now has."
(This appendix comes sometime during Paradise X but before Iron Maiden frees Cable from the Savage Land. Also, I didn't do real extensive research into this but I think it can still be applied.)
"Why have you brought us here to the Savage Land?"
"We are here to help an old soldier."
"Magneto? But he has found his redemption. He has made his peace with Mortimer."
"I am not referring to Erik, Aaron, I am speaking about Cable."
"Cable? But Karen, the Iron Maiden, is helping him. What can we do?"
"We can show Nathan the truth. He has fought a long battle with himself, Apocalypse, and the rest of this world, and it is time for his reward."
"The truth? His reward? Kyle, you're beginning to remind me of Uatu. You are speaking quite cryptically."
"Forgive me, Aaron. You have had access to all of Uatu's tools and equipment. Tell me what you know about Cable. Excuse me, tell me what you think you know about Cable."
"Okay. I know that he was born in the distant future where Apocalypse ruled the world. It was there that Nathan was exposed to the techo-organic virus that has now overtaken him and has made him a prisoner here under the grounds of the Savage Land."
"Let me stop you there, Aaron. As I said, 'what you think you know."
"What are you saying? Cable was not exposed to the techno-organic virus?"
"Yes and no. As you have experienced in your crusade with your heralds, there are multiple realities. And, in each of these realities there is the Celestial embryo. In turn, don't you think there would also be vibranium in each of these worlds?"
"I suppose so. But, what does vibranium have to do with Cable?"
"Everything. You see, in the alternate reality that Cable comes from Apocalypse discovered the true potential of the vibranium that was at the core of the planet. How do you think he became so powerful? He used the vibranium to spawn the 'techno-organic' virus. As a baby, Nathan was exposed to this vibranium hybrid and it was that which triggered his dormant seed."
"You, of course, are referring to his telekinesis and telepathy powers, right?"
"Kyle, your hesitance leads me to believe that what you're about to tell me will unhinge every 'fact' I know about Cable."
"Aaron, how can you explain the reason that Cable did not perish along with the world's telepaths?"
"I...I assumed that it was due to his techno-organic virus, or his inhabitance underground in the Savage Land, or maybe both. Wait a second...are you trying to tell me Cable was not a telepath?"
"Precisely. Cable's mutant powers were not of telepathy or telekinesis. His powers are similar to that of the Iron Maiden's. Except, his are one thousand fold. You know, Aaron, even with the sort of omniscience that I have, I still haven't lost my sense of irony."
"Don't you see it? Cable sought out Karen to tell her that she has more control over vibranium that she thought. When all along he has been much more powerful than she, except that he doesn't even know it."
"This doesn't make any sense, Kyle. How do you explain his telekinesis."
"Vibranium had seeped throughout the ground of the entire world. Obvously, this nutrient of sorts is bound to circulate within plant life and affect every other thing on Earth. Everything, when broken down to its essential parts originates from the earth. So, on one level or another, everything contains vibranium."
"And that's how Cable is able to move objects with his thoughts. By manipulating the vibranium inside them."
"OK, that's his telekinesis. How does he project his thoughts into other people's minds? How was he able to contact Karen to tell her to go to the Savage Land?"
"Aaron, think about what I had said about Nathan's abilities and then think about the Black Knight?"
"The son of Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans? What does he...of course, that all makes sense now. Just as the Black Knight is able to convey his words through his vibranium suit and tuning fork, so can Cable. Except, because of his utter mastery over his manipulations instead of conveying the sound waves audibly, he can send them right into the brain."
"I see that you are beginning to realize the truth. Now, there should only be one questions that remains with you?"
"Yes, how is Cable able to contact the astral plane and other such things only a telepath could do?"
"This one's a little more complicated. You see, I am not the only person who knows the truth about Cable. Charles Xavier knew it as well. However, in order to protect his own agenda he expanded his own powers to extend to Nathan, sort of like an umbrella. Xavier constantly kept track of Nathan's thoughts, and whenever he sensed Nathan about to use his 'telepathy', Xavier helped him."
"Why would Xavier do this? Why didn't he let Cable or any others know the truth? What was his own agenda?"
"Aaron, X-51, as a robot I thought that you were so incapable of being so naive. If Nathan had known about his complete mastery over vibranium, what do you think would have happened?"
"Well, I suppose he would not have become a prisoner of his own powers and that he would have been a great asset to the world in its battle with the Celestials and the repolarization of Earth."
"Indeed. In fact, he would have been a tremendous asset, so much so that it would have left little reason for anyone to use time travel to create more alternate universes. You see, Aaron, Mephisto's reach went much farther than you think."
"Are you telling me that Xavier had made a deal with Mephisto?"
"That is a story for another day, Aaron, for now, let's help this old soldier and tell him who he really is."
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