Cassandra Nova


Cassandra Nova

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caption=Cover art for "New X-Men" #121.
Art by Frank Quitely.
character_name=Cassandra Nova
real_name=Cassandra Nova Xavier
species=Mummudrai
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="New X-Men" #114 (July 2001)
creators=Grant Morrison Frank Quitely
alliances=Shi'ar Imperium
aliases= Charles Xavier, The Immensity (by Shi'ar)
powers= Telepathy,
Telekinesis,
DNA duplication,
Accelerated healing factor,
Intangibility,
Shapeshifting|

Cassandra Nova is a fictional enemy of the X-Men in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, Cassandra first appeared in "New X-Men" #114 (July 2001).

Cassandra is a "mummudrai," a parasitic life form born bodiless on the astral plane. The mummudrai that became Cassandra became telepathically entangled with the future Charles Xavier, who possesses vast mutant telepathic powers. This granted Cassandra some psionic powers herself, including the ability to exit the womb and create a body.

Cassandra is Xavier's ideological dark shadow, bent on destruction and genocide. She is most infamous for commanding an army of Sentinels to massacre 16 million mutants within the mutant homeland of Genosha.

Fictional character biography

Origins

Cassandra Nova began life at the same time as Charles Xavier. Conceived without a body, Cassandra improvised one by copying Xavier's DNA to make her own body, effectively becoming his twin sister. She grew with her brother until the time when Charles sensed her monstrous thoughts. Charles attempted to kill the creature, resulting in its physical body being stillborn. Despite this, the creature survived as chaotic cellular matter and clung to a sewer wall for decades, rebuilding its physical form and perfecting its effort to mimic human traits. During this time, she grew convinced that the womb in which she had fought Charles and the universe she now inhabited were one and the same, a universe in which only she and Charles were real, and that her purpose was to destroy every illusion Charles held dear: his dream, his X-Men and his beloved Lilandra.

Jean Grey later discovered that Cassandra Nova is the mummudrai (from a Shi'ar legend, meaning opposite) of Charles Xavier. "Legend says each of us faces our own personal mummudrai in the womb, shortly before birth - it is our first experience of the alien, the other, the different". In reality, the mummudrai are a parasitic species born bodiless on the astral plane, and it was only through becoming entangled with Charles Xavier's developing telepathic mind that Cassandra Nova created a body for herself.

Genocide

After she was able to rebuild herself, Cassandra returned with a vengeance. She convinced the last living relative of Bolivar Trask, Donald Trask III, to activate a pair of enormous wild Sentinels and send them to destroy the mutant homeland of Genosha, killing 16 million mutants. Cassandra duplicated Trask's DNA so she could also issue orders to the Sentinels, programmed to obey only those with the DNA of a Trask. Cassandra infected her own body with millions of nanosentinels just as she was captured by Cyclops and Wolverine. ["New X-Men" #115]

Cassandra was taken to the X-Mansion, where she broke free and defeated most of the X-Men easily. Cassandra then put herself into Xavier's machine Cerebra (an enhanced version of Cerebro) and switched minds with her brother before Emma Frost snapped Cassandra's neck (Emma had been in Genosha teaching during the attack and witnessed her students massacred). Trapped in Cassandra's broken body, Xavier was unable to warn the X-Men before Cassandra, now in Xavier's body, shot him. ["New X-Men" #116]

Imperial

Now in Xavier's body, Cassandra mentally forced the Xavier Institute student Beak to beat Beast into a coma after he discovered that Xavier and Cassandra shared the same DNA. Cassandra Nova then contacted the Shi'ar, whose leader was Majestrix Lilandra, Xavier's lover. Cassandra manipulated the Shi'ar Imperium, driving Lilandra insane and using her to make the Shi'ar Imperial fleet destroy the empire. Cassandra also made Lilandra send the Shi'ar Imperial Guard to wipe out the mutant population of Earth, starting with the X-Men. The Guard fought the X-Men until they were able to show the truth to the Imperial Guard.

Angered at Cassandra's treachery and realizing the danger she posed, the Imperial Guard fought Cassandra, who defeated them and headed into the mansion. She had planned on using Cerebra to eliminate all mutants. However, Jean Grey (who was becoming increasingly powerful due to a manifestation of the Phoenix entity) was able to split Xavier's consciousness into pieces and store a little part of him in every single living mutant mind. When Cassandra used Cerebra and focused on all the mutants, the pieces of Xavier's mind were brought back together; at the same time, Jean Grey telephatically attacked the Immensity, successfully defeating her, and forcing Cassandra out of Xavier's body.

Without a body, Cassandra became pure psychic energy, bodiless and blind. Emma Frost tricked Cassandra into returning to what appeared to be her old body, which was in reality the alien polymorph "Stuff."

Cassandra's essence entered the body and was locked into a self-repeating program in the synthetic brain.

Hellfire

Cassandra, back in her original form, returned in the "Danger" story arc of "Astonishing X-Men", alongside Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club. During this arc it was implied that Frost's survival of the destruction of Genosha in "New X-Men" #115 was due to Cassandra Nova catalyzing Frost's secondary mutation. In exchange, Emma was to assist Nova as part of a scheme to infiltrate the X-Men as a sleeper agent (Nova having erased the memory of their encounter at the time). However, it has yet to be stated whether this was real or a false memory implanted by Nova.

This infiltration occurred when Emma tricked Cassandra into entering what appeared to be her original body: Cassandra managed to plant a seed of her consciousness into Emma's brain. She then played up on Emma's survivor guilt over not perishing during the Genosha massacre and also her general guilt over her past life as the villianious White Queen in the Hellfire Club. Cassandra's influence resulted in Emma creating manifestations of Cassandra in her human form, Sebastian Shaw, Emma's younger self as the White Queen (calling herself "Perfection"), and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a former student of Emma's who was killed in Genosha. Emma and these manifestations then proceeded to attack the X-Men; Beast was reduced to a feral animal, Wolverine became a timid child (with a humorously antiquated vocabulary), Kitty lost control of her phasing ability, and Cyclops lost the use of his powers and was rendered catatonic.

Meanwhile, Emma/Cassandra subjected Kitty Pryde to a cruel dystopic vision that tricked her into using her phasing powers to open the containment chamber where Cassandra, trapped in Stuff's form, had been imprisoned. Afterwards, Kitty was to murder Frost and the rest of the X-Men, as Nova's permanent host. Cassandra's plans were foiled by a revived Cyclops, and other students at the Xavier Institute (including Blindfold and Hisako Ichiki). Emma also rebelled against Cassandra's influence and attempted to have Kitty kill her in the hopes that this would thwart Cassandra's plans. Admitting that Kitty was too much of a challenge, Cassandra then attempted to have Emma transfer her mind into Hisako. While Cassandra was attempting to manipulate Emma on the astral plane, Scott was talking to Emma in the physical world, trying to convince her to return Cassandra's mind to Stuff. Emma's only response was to say "Go to hell.", though it is unclear whether she was talking to Scott or Cassandra. It is as yet unknown if Cassandra's possession of Hisako was successful, or if Emma returned her mind to its prison.

Alternative Plotlines

In an interview, Marvel writer Mike Carey stated that one of the more outlandish storylines he had considered involved Cassandra Nova and another mummudrai. A second mummudrai would arrive from space and impregnate Nova, creating a litter of "young mummudrai gestating in the minds of the X-Men." According to Carey, the storyline "...would have been fun to do, but Joss Whedon got to Cassandra before I did." [Garrett Faber. [http://www.chuckpalahniuk.net/interviews/comics/mike-carey Mike Carey Interview] , "http://www.chuckpalahniuk.net/ The Official Chuck Palahniuk Site" May 11, 2008. Accessed May 24, 2008.]

Other versions

Here Comes Tomorrow

In the Here Comes Tomorrow future timeline, Cassandra's reeducation was a complete success; she had embraced Xavier's dream and went on to become Headmistress of the Xavier Institute. Instead of simply going by the name of Cassandra Nova, she added the Xavier surname to her own, now calling herself Cassandra Nova Xavier. Alongside Wolverine, the three remaining Stepford Cuckoos (now calling themselves the Three-in-One), Beak's grandson Tito Jr, E.V.A. and No-Girl (Martha Johansson), Cassandra became one of the X-Men, fighting against Sublime and its armies of Crawlers, led by Apollyon. Cassandra was destroyed by Sublime after it unleashed Phoenix on the X-Men.

However, this timeline diverged from Earth-616 when Jean Grey reached back and psychically forced Cyclops to accept Emma's offer to run the Xavier Institute together. In the current timeline, Cassandra remembered her original identity.

X-Men: The End

Cassandra factors prominently in the future depicted in storyline (Book 3). In this timeline she remains a villain. She is primarily responsible for the Shi'ar attacks on the X-Men, which she had manipulated in the hopes of gaining control of Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force. Her hope was to bond with the Phoenix and thus be able to destroy all existence. Though she was successful, Jean and Psylocke are able to subdue Cassandra. Jean then tells Cassandra that they are all going to transcend reality. Jean uses her connection to the Phoenix to bring a host of X-Men together (both dead and living) so that they can all become one with the universe while bringing others back to Earth. Xavier and Cassandra admit that they are scared of each other, and Jean tells them that this is part of being human. Then, she and the resurrected X-Men form a giant Phoenix and become part of the universe itself.

Ernst

It was hinted in Morrison's run that Cassandra Nova took on the form of Ernst once she was placed inside the body of Stuff as part of her reprogramming. The final hint was in "Here Comes Tomorrow" ("New X-Men" #153), where she tells Martha Johansson, who Ernst was always seen around, that "of course you can still call me Ernst."

Subsequent writers have tried to contradict this, under presumed editorial edict. Chuck Austen's "New X-Men", Cyclops and Beast investigate Cassandra's containment unit following the destruction of the mansion, only to never find it (and seeming not to care once they don't); this would seem to suggest she was either not Ernst or they didn't know she was Ernst (Xorn, Ernst's own teacher, did not know but suspected Ernst was more than she seemed). ["New X-Men" #156] Joss Whedon "Astonishing X-Men" apparently contradicts it by showing Cassandra Nova still in Stuff's form. Likewise, Ernst has been distinctly shown along side the student body in other publications. However, these attempts at retcons have not successfully ruled out yet the possibility that Ernst may very well be a derived part of Cassandra Nova.

Powers and abilities

The mummudrai are usually forced to fight with the mind of their host over a body. However, given the vast potential in Xavier's genome, Cassandra Nova is able to build her own body, mimicking human traits as best she can. Cassandra can also manipulate the DNA it has copied to act as a rapid healing factor or to phase through solid matter.

First using her DNA copying ability, she mimics Donald Trask III, a relative of Bolivar Trask, so that she can voice command the Sentinels, who obey the Trask family line, to attack Genosha. ["New X-Men" #114]

After copying the DNA of Charles Xavier, the mummudrai Cassandra Nova accesses the full spectrum of latent mutant functions in his genome (she has the powers of Charles Xavier, the ones he could have and the ones he might receive as a result of latent mutation), granting itself vast psionic powers.Fact|date=February 2007 These powers include: telepathy, telekinesis, a healing factor, phasing, and the ability to replicate the DNA sequence of other beings. She has all the powers of the "average" mummudrai as well, which are astral projection and mental possession.

References

External links

* [http://www.uncannyxmen.net/db/article/showquestion.asp?faq=4&fldAuto=216 Cassandra Complexities at UncannyXmen.net]
* [http://marvel.com/universe/Nova%2C_Cassandra Cassandra Nova on the Marvel Universe Character Bio Wiki]


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