Days of Future Present


Days of Future Present
"Days of Future Present"

Cover of X-Men Annual 14 (1990).Art by Art Adams.
Publisher Marvel Comics
Publication date 1990
Genre

Superhero

Crossover
Title(s) Fantastic Four Annual #23
New Mutants Annual #6
X-Factor Annual #5
X-Men Annual #14
Main character(s) X-Men
X-Factor
New Mutants
Fantastic Four
Franklin Richards
Rachel Summers
Ahab
Creative team
Writer(s) Walter Simonson
Louise Simonson
Chris Claremont
Penciller(s) Jackson Guice
Jon Bogdanove
Terry Shoemaker
Chris Wozniak
Art Adams
Mark Heikel

"Days of Future Present" is a storyline published by Marvel Comics, appearing in the 1990 issues of Fantastic Four Annual, X-Factor Annual, New Mutants Annual and X-Men Annual. Centered around the appearance of an adult version of the powerful mutant Franklin Richards, it is a sequel to the popular "Days of Future Past" story arc from Uncanny X-Men #141-142 (January-February 1981). The storyline unites the Fantastic Four, X-Factor, the New Mutants, and the remnants of a then-disbanded X-Men against a common foe from a dystopian alternate future. It is also noteworthy for featuring the first appearance of Gambit,[1][2] and the first encounter between Jean Grey and her alternate future daughter Rachel Summers. It should also be noted that Cyclops' baby son Nathan Christopher Charles Summers and the full-grown mutant antihero Cable are depicted in this story as two separate individuals, although they are subsequently revealed to be one and the same.[3]

Contents

Plot summary

Part 1: Fantastic Four Annual #23

The Fantastic Four (Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, the She-Thing, and a powerless Ben Grimm) and young Franklin Richards return to their headquarters at New York City's Four Freedoms Plaza to discover that it has been inexplicably replaced by their previous headquarters, the Baxter Building.[4][5] Upon investigating, they encounter a slightly younger version of the team from an alternate timeline. After the present-day FF is defeated in battle, an alternate adult version of Franklin reveals himself. Confused by the sight of the younger present-day Franklin, the adult Franklin uses his mutant power to flee, restoring Four Freedoms Plaza with his departure. In doing so, his energy signature is sensed by Rachel Summers (who is in Great Britain with the team Excalibur), X-Men members Forge and Banshee (also in New York City), and a futuristic mutant-hunter named Ahab. After defeating a group of miniature Sentinel droids, the Fantastic Four (joined by Forge and Banshee) search for the adult Franklin at the home of Dr. James Power,[6] father of the preteen superheroes Power Pack.[7] They find him there, but their efforts to reach out to the confused man fail, and he disappears.

Part 2: X-Factor Annual #5

  • ^1 Although labelled "Part 2", the events in X-Factor Annual #5 actually take place after New Mutants Annual #6, which was released later and was labelled "Part 3".

The adult Franklin observes the skyscraper-like extraterrestrial Ship which serves as X-Factor's Manhattan headquarters.[8] Perceiving that the Ship does not belong in his memory of the past, he causes it to vanish. Having noticed the Ship's disappearance, Forge, Banshee and the Fantastic Four arrive, and team up with X-Factor (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Archangel, Iceman, and the Beast) to locate the adult Franklin. Above the Statue of Liberty, the adult Franklin encounters the woman who was his true love in his own time: Rachel Summers. Having journeyed to the present some time ago,[9] Rachel is now able to access the Phoenix Force.[10] She is confused, as she witnessed Franklin's death in the future at the hands of the Sentinels.[11] While the collective heroes protect the adult Franklin from a Sentinel attack, Jean Grey meets Rachel for the first time. Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean refuse to accept that Rachel is their daughter from a future where Scott's baby son (Nathan Christopher Charles Summers) does not exist. Rachel repels an attack from Ahab, who was her master during her many years as a mutant-hunting Hound.[12] Afterward, she flees the area, stung by her parents' rejection. The heroes are joined by the New Mutants (Sunspot, Warlock, Boom Boom, and Cannonball) and their new leader, Cable. Collectively, they manage to force Ahab to retreat. However, the adult Franklin returns after the battle. Noticing baby Nathan,[13] who does not exist in his future timeline, Franklin causes the child to vanish. Cyclops collapses in shock and grief.

Part 3: New Mutants Annual #6

  • ^2 Although labelled "Part 3", the events in New Mutants Annual #6 actually take place before X-Factor Annual #5, which was released earlier and was labelled "Part 2".

The adult Franklin travels to Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, where he finds the mansion reduced to rubble and the X-Men gone.[14] Ahab immediately locates him and sends a group of Hounds to retrieve him. Cable and the New Mutants (Sunspot, Warlock, Boom Boom, Cannonball, Rictor and Wolfsbane) encounter Franklin and an adult incarnation of the team. Surprisingly, their number includes Cypher, who was killed during a New Mutants adventure months earlier.[15] After the ensuing fight, the future team is revealed to have been conjured by Franklin, who disappears. Banshee and the Fantastic Four arrive with the present-day Franklin, and the heroes are all attacked by Ahab and his Hounds. Appearing at the American Museum of Natural History, the adult Franklin remembers a futuristic Sentinel attack. In response, he lashes out with his power, destroying the Hounds in the present while the present-day Franklin watches. Horrified at the destructive nature of their powers and believing themselves to be responsible for the devastation in the alternate future, the two Franklins work in tandem to block young Franklin's power, ensuring that it can never be used again. Young Franklin lapses into a coma-like unconsciousness, and adult Franklin disappears. Afterward, Rictor notes the physical resemblance between Cable and Ahab.[16]

Part 4: Uncanny X-Men Annual #14

After their last encounter, Rachel and the adult Franklin reunite and declare their love for one another again. They reappear at Four Freedoms Plaza, stating that they now have a second chance at happiness. Adult Franklin causes Cyclops, Jean Grey and Reed & Sue Richards to forget about Ahab, baby Nathan, and X-Factor's Ship until after their departure. Young Franklin, still unconscious, grows weaker. Meanwhile at Xavier's School, Cable and the New Mutants are joined by X-Men leader Storm and her new companion: a mutant named Gambit.[17] After hearing about the adult Franklin Richards, Storm realizes that something is amiss, for she has learned about the future from both Rachel and the Kitty Pryde of Rachel's timeline (and thus knows that the adult Franklin was killed by the Sentinels). Ahab transforms Cyclops and the Invisible Woman into Hounds, and uses them to locate and capture Rachel, the adult Franklin and baby Nathan. Meanwhile, Storm briefs the collective heroes from all four teams (X-Men, X-Factor, New Mutants, Fantastic Four) on Rachel's dystopian future, where the Sentinels have conquered North America and almost all super-powered beings have been slain or imprisoned in internment camps.[18] Storm notes that the X-Men thought that this timeline had been averted when they prevented the assassination of U.S. Senator Robert Kelly.[19] Now fully aware of the consequences of failure, the heroes track down Ahab, who taunts Cable regarding the physical resemblance between the two men.[16] In the end, Ahab is defeated by the heroes, but he flees into the future, leaving Cyclops and the Invisible Woman as Hounds. Eventually, it is revealed that the "adult Franklin" is actually the psychic essence of the real Franklin, who died in the future but sent one of his "dream-selves" into the past at the last possible moment. To sustain himself, he has been subconsciously draining energy from his younger self and Rachel, both of whom are immensely powerful. Realizing that this would eventually kill them both, the adult Franklin releases the energies and allows himself to discorporate. The young Franklin regains consciousness with his latent powers intact, and Rachel apparently sacrifices her existence in the timeline to use the Phoenix Force to genetically restore Cyclops and the Invisible Woman to their natural forms. X-Factor's Ship reappears in Manhattan. However, the heroes are left with no way of determining if anything they have done will prevent the Sentinel-dominated timeline from coming to pass.

The entire experience causes the Fantastic Four to achieve a new sense of closeness with X-Factor and the X-Men, and they subsequently consider themselves to be family. However Rachel is shocked to discover that she still exists, horrified that she may have to potentially relive the terrible future in which she was raised all over again. Jean reaches out to comfort her, but pulls back at the last moment. Devastated by this, Rachel departs, too upset to hear Jean's calls for her to come back. Later at her parents' house in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, Jean studies the Shi'ar holempathic matrix crystal which Lilandra gave the Greys years ago after Jean's supposed death.[20][21] The crystal is imbued with the essence of both Rachel and the Phoenix Force,[22] and Jean can learn everything she seeks to know about both of them simply by touching it. Filled with curiosity, fear and uncertainty, Jean silently wonders what she should do.

Part 4.1: "The Fundamental Things"

  • ^3 The events of this story take place between pages 10 and 11 of Part 4.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 contains a back-up story entitled "The Fundamental Things", written by Chris Claremont and pencilled by Mark Heikel. The story is set in Madripoor, where Wolverine (accompanied by Psylocke) tells his new teenage companion Jubilee about Charles Xavier and the X-Men. In the middle of the discussion, Rachel and the adult Franklin appear. Wolverine challenges Rachel's "the-ends-justify-the-means" method of confronting threats like the vampiric mutant Selene, the current Black Queen of the Hellfire Club.[23] Franklin causes Psylocke and Jubilee to vanish, as they are not part of his timeline. Wolverine lectures Franklin and Rachel on the virtues of the X-Men's ideals, and the need for the powerful to use their power responsibly and with restraint. Taking the man's words to heart, Franklin brings Psylocke and Jubilee back, along with baby Nathan. After Rachel and Franklin thank Wolverine for his advice, the two of them (and Nathan) disappear.[24]

References

  1. ^ Although Gambit's first full story appeared in Uncanny X-Men #266 (Late Aug. 1990), his first actual appearance was in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14, which was released weeks earlier.
  2. ^ The events depicted in Uncanny X-Men #266-267 (Late Aug.-Early Sept. 1990) occur before those depicted in "Days of Future Present".
  3. ^ Cable #6 (Dec. 1993).
  4. ^ The original Baxter Building was destroyed by Kristoff Vernard in Fantastic Four #278 (May 1985).
  5. ^ Ben Grimm lost his powers as the Thing in Fantastic Four #327 (June 1989). His powers were restored by Doctor Doom in issue #350 (March 1991).
  6. ^ James Power and his wife Margaret frequently babysat Franklin during Fantastic Four missions.
  7. ^ Franklin joined Power Pack and received the code name "Tattletale" in Power Pack (vol. 1) #17 (Dec. 1985).
  8. ^ The Ship was appropriated from Apocalypse after the events of X-Factor (vol. 1) #24-26 (Jan.-Mar. 1988).
  9. ^ New Mutants #18 (Aug. 1984); Uncanny X-Men #184 (Aug. 1984).
  10. ^ Rachel claimed the power of the Phoenix in Uncanny X-Men #199 (Nov. 1985).
  11. ^ Uncanny X-Men #141 (Jan. 1981).
  12. ^ Rachel's experience as a Hound is first mentioned in Uncanny X-Men #189 (Jan. 1985).
  13. ^ Nathan is referred to as "Christopher" in this issue.
  14. ^ The X-Mansion was destroyed by Mr. Sinister in Uncanny X-Men #243 (Apr. 1989).
  15. ^ New Mutants #60 (Feb. 1988).
  16. ^ a b This plot thread is never pursued after "Days of Future Present", and Cable is ultimately revealed to be the future version of baby Nathan Christopher Charles Summers.
  17. ^ As she appears in this story, Storm's body has been physically de-aged to preadolescence by the Nanny. However, her full memories are intact, as seen in Uncanny X-Men #267 (Early Sept. 1990).
  18. ^ Uncanny X-Men #141-142 (Jan.-Feb. 1981).
  19. ^ The X-Men narrowly prevented Kelly from being assassinated by Mystique and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Uncanny X-Men #142 (Feb. 1981).
  20. ^ For some time, it was believed that Jean Grey, as Phoenix, committed suicide to avoid losing control of her near-limitless powers and destroying the universe. Uncanny X-Men #137 (Sept. 1980). However, it was later revealed that the Phoenix was a separate entity disguised as Jean, who was later discovered alive at the bottom of Jamaica Bay near New York's JFK Airport. Avengers #263 (Jan. 1986); Fantastic Four #286 (Jan. 1986).
  21. ^ The Greys received the crystal, imbued with an imprint of the Jean Grey-Phoenix's personality, in Uncanny X-Men #138 (Oct. 1980).
  22. ^ Rachel added her own essence to the crystal in Uncanny X-Men #201 (Jan. 1986).
  23. ^ Wolverine once stabbed Rachel in the chest with his adamantium claws to prevent her from murdering Selene. Uncanny X-Men #207 (July 1986).
  24. ^ Wolverine learned about Rachel and Franklin's timeline from Kitty Pryde in Uncanny X-Men #141 (Jan. 1981). Because of this (and his heightened senses), he apparently recognizes the adult Franklin, and thus does not question the circumstances surrounding the couple's sudden appearance.

See also


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