Madelyne Pryor is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe. As the love interest and first wife of X-Men leader Cyclops (Scott Summers), she became a long-standing member of the X-Men supporting cast, until a series of traumas — including being abandoned by her husband, losing her infant son, and discovering that she was a clone of Jean Grey — eventually led to her being manipulated into becoming a supervillain. Her son with Cyclops, Nathan Christopher Charles Summers, grew up in a future timeline to later return as Cable.
Madelyne's biography has been rendered particularly complicated because of the many retcons involved in the publication history of both her character and that of Jean Grey.
Madelyne Pryor was introduced during the acclaimed 1983 Uncanny X-Men run that saw long-time writer Chris Claremont pair with artist Paul Smith; a series of issues that would see the Jean Grey look-alike marry the retired X-Men leader Scott Summers (Cyclops).
Madelyne's hairstyle was modeled after the book's editor, Louise Jones (later Louise Simonson) — a look the character would retain until 1988. Claremont named the character after Steeleye Span singer Maddy Prior. Claremont had already created a character named "Maddy Pryor", a little girl that appeared very briefly in Avengers Annual #10 (1981). Readers have searched for any in-story connections between the two characters, but there is none. Claremont, nonetheless, years later used the opportunity to indulge in an in-joke: in Uncanny X-Men #238 (1988), a similar child would appear as Madelyne's mental image of herself, wearing the same clothes as the little girl from Avengers Annual #10, repeating the girl's same line of dialogue, but also singing "Gone to America," one of Steeleye Span's biggest hits.
According to Claremont, the original link between Madelyne Pryor and Jean Grey was entirely the product of Mastermind. Seeking revenge against the X-Men after Jean (as Phoenix) had driven him insane, Mastermind used his powers of illusion to convince Scott and the others that Madelyne was Phoenix incarnate - a cosmic threat - in an attempt to have the team kill an innocent. Mastermind's plan failed, and Madelyne and Cyclops were married shortly after the conflict was resolved. Claremont had conceived Madelyne as a device to write Scott Summers out of the X-Men and have him retire "happily ever after" with Madelyne and their child.
The story became more complicated in 1985 when moves by the editors and other writers to reunite the original X-Men, for the new title X-Factor, resulted in Jean Grey's resurrection and Scott leaving his wife and son. The staffers had created a predicament that deeply compromised the character of Cyclops and left little room for Madelyne, and Cyclops' uncharacteristic (at the time) behavior has been controversial with fans ever since. It was then attempted to address these problems through a retcon, in the 1989 Inferno crossover, where Madelyne was not only revealed to be a clone of Jean Grey, created by Mr. Sinister to produce a child with Scott Summers, but corrupted by her anger and demonic influence into the Goblin Queen.
Asked about his intended plans for Madelyne's character, Claremont said: Template:Cquote
Then the character was revived in 1995 as a supporting character in the pages of X-Man, but details are ambiguous due to murky writing and conflicting editor decisions. Whether this was intended to be the true Madelyne or not was further complicated by the character later being supposedly revealed to be a Jean Grey from an alternate reality. In the years following this conclusion (in 2000) of what has become a false start at reviving the character, Madelyne Pryor would be entirely absent and unreferenced within any X-Men related books, until Chris Claremont included the character in his non-canon limited-series, X-Men: The End. However, since 2000, Marvel's writers and editors have made incredibly ironic twists to the circumstances of both Jean Grey and Cyclops.
In 2008, exactly twenty-five years since the character's debut in Uncanny X-Men, Madelyne Pryor was supposedly brought back in the flagship X-Men title; even though in interviews over the following months, Matt Fraction, the book's writer at the time, made contradictory comments as to whether or not it was actually Pryor at all. Not until the following year — twenty years since the Inferno retcons — was the character's identity seemingly confirmed. Afterward, however, Fraction continued to be ambiguous by describing her as not being the real Madelyne Pryor, but a "psychic ghost" manifestation of her Goblin Queen persona, "a devil's echo of what Maddie used to be"; although, what he stated has not been confirmed in the comics, as of yet.
Fictional character biographyEdit
Madelyne Pryor was an Alaskan charter pilot working for the grandparents of Cyclops (Scott Summers), where the two met during a Summers family reunion and quickly began a relationship. Mystery however surrounded her from the beginning: not only did she bear a striking resemblance to Scott's dead love, Jean Grey/Phoenix, but was the sole survivor of an airplane crash that occurred the same day Phoenix died on the moon. In addition, Professor X was unable to scan her mind (which, he noted, was occasionally possible among normal humans). Scott, still recovering from Jean's death, became obsessed with the idea that Madelyne was her reincarnation, eventually confronting her with his suspicions. Madelyne, furious and hurt, punched Scott and seemingly transformed into the Dark Phoenix. This, however, was revealed to be the doing of Mastermind, who had been manipulating the X-Men for months — as revenge for being driven temporarily insane by Phoenix due to his involvement in her corruption. After the conflict, Scott finally came to terms with the fact that Jean Grey was dead and that Madelyne was not her, and that he loved her all the same. The two were soon married, and Scott retired from active duty with the X-Men.
Giving up the life of an adventurer proved harder for Scott than imagined. Early in Madelyne and Scott's marriage, they (along with Alpha Flight and the rest of the X-Men) would have a brief but dramatic encounter with the Norse trickster-god Loki. Entirely for his own purposes, Loki magically endowed mystical powers on a small group of normal humans, transforming Madelyne into a mystical healer of virtually any injury, illness, or physical-defect, and given the name "Anodyne". Among Madelyne's acts of healing was the curing of Scott's childhood head injury, enabling him to control his optic blasts without the use of ruby-quartz lenses. When it was discovered that Loki's intentions were never altruistic, and that his gift was badly flawed - as one of the costs of those powers was the loss of individual creativity and imagination - the assembled heroes turned against him. His plans ruined, Loki spitefully removed all the powers he had granted, and Madelyne and the other beneficiaries of his gifts were reverted back to their original states, as were Scott and anyone else who had been healed by Madelyne.
It was during this adventure that Madelyne's pregnancy was announced.
Madelyne gave birth to a baby boy (later named Nathan Christopher Charles Summers) alone in the X-Mansion. When the X-Men did return, the others seemed more interested in the baby than Scott. Sensing a reluctance on Scott's part to retire to family life, a powerless Storm challenged him to a duel for leadership of the team. She won, in effect forcing him out of the X-Men and into accepting his new role as a husband and father.
Although Scott tried to live a normal family life in Alaska, he was not happy. He would often obsessively think of Jean Grey, and of his life with the X-Men. Maddie tried her best to make Scott happy, but her efforts seemed wasted. Finally Scott received a call from his former teammate Angel that Jean Grey had miraculously been found alive. Without explaining himself, Scott left Madelyne and their son to reunite with his lost love. Furious, Maddie told him that if he were to leave, to not return. Scott left nonetheless and formed X-Factor with his old friends from the original team of X-Men. Madelyne and young Nathan Christopher were shortly thereafter attacked by Mr. Sinister's Marauders, and the child was kidnapped and Madelyne hospitalized. A guilt-racked and increasingly unstable Scott returned home to find his house empty, and all records of his family's existence erased.
Alone and on the run, Madelyne called the X-Men for help; they arrived and fought off another attack by the Marauders. Unable to find her son, she stayed with the X-Men as they sacrificed their lives to stop the Adversary from remaking the world in The Fall of the Mutants. Despite Scott abandoning her, Maddie videotaped a message for him, pleading that he find their child. With the world thinking them dead, Madelyne and the X-Men were resurrected by the Omniversal Guardian Roma and began a new era working secretly out of an abandoned Reavers base in Australia, and Madelyne became the team's technical support. During this time, Madelyne and her brother-in-law, Alex Summers (Havok), were growing closer; both of them were lonely — Alex himself had lost his long-time love Polaris, whose body had been taken over by the Marauder Malice.
Monitoring news transmissions, Madelyne learned that Jean Grey was alive and with Scott. Seeing the evidence of Scott's betrayal, Madelyne punched the computer monitor's screen, breaking it and causing electrical feedback that rendered her unconscious. Illyana Rasputin's treacherous Limbo-demon, S'ym, then invaded Madelyne's mind during her unconscious state, and offered her the power to hurt Scott just as he had hurt her. Helpless and in confusion, she unwittingly accepted the offer; the formerly heroic woman began the transformation into the Goblin Queen.
Madelyne kept the existence of the original X-Men as X-Factor — and of the "resurrected" Jean Grey — secret from the others. Later accidentally captured by the Genoshans and taken by force to their island-nation, Madelyne was subjected to psychic torture intended to transform her into a docile slave who served the state. Madelyne instinctively lashed out with some powerful subconscious abilities which caused the deaths of her torturers, but the damage was done, as the process deprived her of all motherly instincts. In the recorded images of the psychic probe performed on Madelyne, her appearance reflected her change into the Goblin Queen, while Genosha's Genegineer appeared in Mr. Sinister's outfit. Shortly after being rescued by the X-Men, Madelyne struck an additional bargain with another demon, N'astirh, to find her missing son; also, she and Alex began an affair. Her latent telekinetic and telepathic powers fully activated, Madelyne completed her transformation into the Goblin Queen, sparking the Inferno crossover.
This crossover retconned a new origin for Madelyne. N'astirh took Madelyne to the orphanage in Nebraska where Scott grew up, which was actually a front for Sinister's genetic laboratory. There, Sinister revealed himself as her "father" and began to tell her all about her creation and purpose. Believing a child of Scott Summers and Jean Grey would be a mutant of great power, Sinister created a clone of Jean specifically to fall in love with Scott and produce a child. (The child, it would later be revealed, was Sinister's intended secret weapon against his master Apocalypse.) When Phoenix took her own life, a part of the Phoenix Force entered the clone and gave it life. Sinister named the clone "Madelyne Pryor," created a false background and implanted memories, and sent her to Alaska where she and Scott Summers met and fell in love. However when Jean Grey returned, Madelyne was no longer needed and now a liability, so Sinister ordered his Marauders to kill her and abduct the child.
Those revelations — and that her entire existence was nothing more than a facsimile of her hated rival Jean Grey — destroyed Madelyne's tenuous grip on sanity. N'astirh returned with her son, intending to sacrifice him to open the gates of Limbo and ensure a permanent demonic presence on Earth. In a last ditch effort to hurt both her husband and her "father", Madelyne was now all too willing to go along with the destruction of her son Nathan Christopher.
Returning to New York City, where Inferno and the demonic invasion was already in full swing, she pitted the X-Men against Scott, Jean and the rest of X-Factor by reverting to her normal appearance and claiming that Scott wanted to take her baby away. Madelyne meanwhile convinced Alex to join her as her "Goblin Prince".
The X-Men and X-Factor eventually defeated N'astirh, but Madelyne, determined to destroy her rival, encased herself, Jean Grey, and baby Nathan Christopher in a telekinetic bubble. The heroes broke through the bubble and Cyclops rescued his son, but Madelyne committed suicide in an attempt to telepathically take Jean with her. The Phoenix Force appeared to Jean and offered to save her, but in order to survive Jean had to integrate the tainted essence of both the Phoenix and Madelyne, gaining their memories and personalities. The teams then returned to the fresh ruins of the Mansion for a showdown with Mr. Sinister, whom they recognized as the true villain. Sinister revealed a long history of meddling in Scott's life, and Scott, with one powerful optic blast, seemingly destroyed Sinister, leaving only a smoking skeleton.
Scott was reunited with his son Nathan Christopher at the end of Inferno, and Jean, having re-absorbed her stray essence imbued in Madelyne, inherited her maternal feelings for the child and became his stand-in mother. They would raise Nathan Christopher until Apocalypse, seeing the potential threat in the child, infected him with a techno-organic virus. Dying, the child was saved by Askani and taken 2,000 years into the future to be cured. Around this time, a mysterious new character called Cable debuted. Cable was eventually established to be Madelyne and Scott's aged son returned from the future.
Madelyne mysteriously reappeared many years later as an amnesiac to Nate Grey (X-Man) — the "genetic son" of Scott Summers and Jean Grey from the alternate reality known as The Age of Apocalypse — when he came to Earth-616. Under the tutelage of Selene, Madelyne eventually served as the Hellfire Club's Black Rook, had her memories of her previous life restored by Tessa, and would meet her aged son Cable in an uneasy truce.
It was later revealed that Madelyne was a "psychic construct", unconsciously resurrected by Nate Grey's psionic powers. The two would be companions until, near death, Madelyne went her own way. Cyclops and Cable later encountered her psionic ghost on the astral plane, apparently stripped of all her powers.
Soon afterwards she once again returned to the living, this time with a new revelation: this Madelyne was actually an impostor, a Jean Grey from another alternate reality. Details are ambiguous however: at one point the impostor implied that she had been impersonating the resurrected Madelyne all along, but at another time she claimed she "replaced ... Maddie several months ago."
Recently, a mysterious woman calling herself the "Red Queen" emerged, manipulating occasional X-Men enemy Empath and a so-called "Hellfire Cult". When the X-Men locate and enter the Cult's hideout, the Red Queen slips away unseen. But afterward, she takes on the guise of Cyclops' current love, Emma Frost, and seduces him. Later, Cyclops is surprised at the sight of a familiar woman observing him from a distance, but loses her amongst a crowd; Scott tells Emma that the woman he saw was Madelyne. Almost simultaneously, the Red Queen is shown in Madripoor, recruiting Chimera into a new group, the "Sisterhood of Mutants". With Martinique Jason (recruited before the Cult's exposure) and Chimera accompanying her, the Red Queen recruited Spiral and Lady Deathstrike into the Sisterhood as well.
The Red Queen includes a peculiar offer to all the Sisterhood recruits: as rewards for accepting membership, each are promised the resurrection of a deceased person of their choice. Each woman joins the Red Queen for their own individual reasons, though some seem to take her strange promise seriously.
The Red Queen and her Sisterhood approach Martinique's half-sister, Lady Mastermind, who accepts membership for the chance to bring back their father. Later, the Red Queen and the Sisterhood perform a procedure involving Revanche's corpse and a captive Psylocke. The ritual reconstitutes Psylocke's original body and her mind is transplanted into it. Explaining the procedure's real purpose afterward, the Red Queen reveals her promised resurrections to be untried and uncertain; this causes some of her members to react violently against her, but she convinces them to continue following her. The Sisterhood then commences a surprise raid on the X-Men's base, quickly neutralizing several of the main X-members. Recovering from the initial attacks, the X-Men force the Sisterhood (now including a brainwashed Psylocke) to retreat; but the entire battle is only a distraction, while "Madelyne" steals a lock of Jean Grey's hair.
Madelyne uses the hair sample to locate Grey's gravesite, and then attempts to repeat the ritual with her corpse. But Cyclops had arranged for Grey's body to be substituted with someone else's, and it somehow causes "Madelyne" to either discorporate or become absorbed into the fake.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
As a clone of Jean Grey, Madelyne Pryor also possessed mutant abilities of telekinesis and telepathy. These powers remained latent while she was believed to be a baseline human, but later manifested in ways that Jean's never had. As the Goblin Queen, her mutant powers were exponentially enhanced by demonic eldritch magic to the point where she could warp reality within a localized area.
As Anodyne, Madelyne possessed the ability to wield Asgardian magic that manifested as eldritch flames with the power to heal and cure. Among her beneficial actions were fixing the childhood brain injury that prevented Cyclops from controlling his optic blasts, curing Puck of his mystically induced dwarfism, unifying Aurora's multiple personalities, and giving Rogue the ability to control her mutant power. When transformed into Anodyne, Madelyne also took on the stature of an Asgardian, possibly also gaining the hardier physiology and strength of that race.
After her apparent resurrection by Nate Grey, Madelyne's telepathy was reduced to a lower level, limiting her to reading minds, broadcasting her thoughts, creating illusions, changing or erasing memories, and defending herself against other telepaths. Her telekinesis was still considerable, such that Madelyne could lift and manipulate large objects, levitate, fire powerful mental force-blasts, form protective shields, and even rearrange objects on a molecular level. Madelyne also developed powers that Jean never possessed: she was able to teleport over long distances by psychokinetically shifting in and out of the astral plane (and was shown to be able to carry along at least one other person with her when teleporting), and also able to channel psionic energies from other psionic-powered mutants to boost her own abilities or those of another (usually Nate Grey, and on occasion Cable). Madelyne has also utilized her powers to augment her physical strength and agility, to a level of being lethal in hand-to-hand combat.
The Red Queen apparently possesses telepathy, and has other considerable powers of a mysterious nature, referred to as "magic". Also, the Red Queen is an entity, not corporeal, which is motivating most of her plans and actions. Moreover, she mentions that her previous host had been destroyed and that there were only two beings in existence that could house her disembodied form. While Jean Grey was revealed to be one of the two, the other remains unknown.
In one alternate reality (Earth-89112), Madelyne Pryor and S'ym were successful in opening a portal between Limbo and Earth (having killed baby Nathan Christopher) and demons overan the planet. The X-Men and X-Factor were dead (with the exception of a possessed Wolverine), and the only resistance left was led by Doctor Strange, who attempted to summon the Phoenix Force through Rachel Summers, the reality-hopping daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey. Madelyne however was successful in quelling the resistance and wresting control of the Phoenix Force from Rachel, but was ultimately betrayed and killed by S'ym, using Wolverine's reanimated adamantium skeleton. Rachel, reassuming the mantle of the Phoenix, used the Force to cleanse the planet of the demon plague.
On Earth-9250, most mutants in the city of Manhattan are vampires ruled by Wolverine. Madelyne wasn't infected, but became the Goblyn Queen and planned on releasing a demon army to wipe out the vampire mutants and dominate the world. Madelyne made contact with the lord of the Dark Dimension, Dormammu, who became her ally. However, the vampiric Marvel Girl (Jean Grey) bonded with the Phoenix Force, became Dark Phoenix, and killed Madelyne and Dormammu.
Another reality saw Madelyne Pryor as a member of an "X-Men" team formed by Mr. Sinister alongside Cyclops (Scott Summers), Havok (Alex Summers) and Sabretooth. However this version of Madelyne had never been awakened by the Phoenix Force, so was simply a mindless shell inhabited by the psychic entity Malice. Scott noticed his physical attraction to Madelyne, but could not respond to her advances; when he encountered Professor Xavier's X-Men and their leader Jean Grey, however, much deeper emotions were stirred. Sinister called for their deaths, and under his orders Cyclops and Havok infiltrated Xavier’s X-Men as double agents.
In the alternate reality known as the Mutant X universe, young Scott Summers was abducted into space along with his father Christopher and mother Kate, leaving his brother Alex to become one of the founders of the X-Men as Havok. As in the main Marvel universe, Jean Grey died and was replaced by her clone, Madelyne Pryor. But this reality's Madelyne fell in love with Alex and had a son, named Scotty, with him. She also made a deal with S'ym and N'astirh and initiated the "Inferno Crisis", unlocking her latent mental abilities. As "Marvel Woman", Madelyne survived the crisis and left with her husband when he formed the splinter group called "The Six". Her evil side resurfaced a number of times, first as the "Goblyn Queen" and later as the "Goblyn Force". When it returned a second time, it merged with the Beyonder to form a nigh-omnipotent being. Havok supposedly saved Madelyne by placing the "Nexus of Realities" in her body, purging her of the malevolent Goblyn Force and reuniting her with her son Scotty, before Havok returned once more to the void.
In the Marvel Mangaverse title Legacy of Fire, Madelyne Pryor was reinvented as Madelyne Pyre, a powerful sorceress and possessor of the Phoenix Sword, who was training her sister Jena to be her successor.
X-Men: The EndEdit
Madelyne Pryor appears in an important role late in X-Men: The End, Chris Claremont's limited series about a "possible future". In the story, Madelyne - through circumstances left unexplained - makes a surprise return, implied as being the first time since Inferno, with no references to Nate Grey whatsoever (although she and Cable are later shown to be already familiar). Mysteriously joined with the X-Men's alien enemies, the Skrulls and the Shi'ar, Madelyne affected a disguise to infiltrate the X-Men, planting herself near Cyclops for the rest of the series. No longer insane, but still seeking revenge against her former husband, Madelyne nonetheless hesitated and instead took to protecting him, after eavesdropping on him expressing remorse for everything that happened to her, and even implying that he genuinely loved her. Cyclops later admitted to having recognized her at some point, and an understanding and peace was finally reached between them, for the sake of aiding their son Cable in battle. When Cable's effort leaves him dying, a grief-stricken Madelyne is accepted back with the X-Men again. After Cyclops and Jean Grey are also killed, Madelyne cryptically reveals that, since the very beginning, she was always both Madelyne Pryor and a crucial portion of Jean Grey herself (and even hinted to being the Dark Phoenix), explaining that she is the part of Jean that truly and completely loved Scott, and that was why Jean and Scott's marriage failed. Madelyne then sacrifices herself by turning into energy and fusing with Jean Grey, who is once again resurrected. Jean is able to use her power to its fullest again, which allows her and all the dead X-Men to merge with the Phoenix and transcend to a new level of existence. In the story's final panel, Madelyne's image is present next to Cyclops' among the X-Men who died heroically.
- ↑ The X-Men Companion, Volume II. 1982. Fantagraphics Books, Inc.. p5, 108.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Uncanny X-Men #174
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Uncanny X-Men #175
- ↑ 
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 X-Man #5 (July 1995)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 X-Man #67 (September 2000)
- ↑ Ekstrom, Steve (November 3, 2008). "Matt Fraction on Uncanny X-Men: Madelyne and More". Newsarama. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/110803-Uncanny-Fraction.html.
- ↑ Strom, Marc (April 7, 2009). "Uncanny X-Men: Sisterhood". Marvel.com. http://www.marvel.com/news/comicstories.7530.Uncanny_X-Men~colon~_Sisterhood.
- ↑ Richards, Dave (April 16, 2009). "Matt Fraction Talks Uncanny X-Men". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=20846.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Uncanny X-Men #511
- ↑ 
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #168 (April 1983)
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #170 (June 1983)
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #171 (July 1983)
- ↑ X-Men and Alpha Flight #1-2 (December 1985 & January 1986)
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #200
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #201
- ↑ X-Factor vol. 1 #1
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #206
- ↑ X-Factor vol. 1 #13
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #221-222
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #225-227
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #229-230
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #232
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #234
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #235
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #237 (October 1988)
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #238 (November 1988)
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #239 (December 1988)
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 Uncanny X-Men #240 (January 1989)
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #241 (February 1989)
- ↑ X-Factor vol. 1 #37 (February 1989)
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 Uncanny X-Men #242 (March 1989)
- ↑ X-Factor vol. 1 #38 (March 1989)
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #243 (April 1989)
- ↑ X-Factor vol. 1 #39 (April 1989)
- ↑ New Mutants vol. 1 #87 (March 1990)
- ↑ Cable vol. 2 #6
- ↑ X-Man #7-24 (September 1995 - February 1997)
- ↑ X-Man Annual ‘96
- ↑ Cable vol. 2 #44 & #50
- ↑ X-Man #25 (March 1997)
- ↑ X-Man #52 (June 1999)
- ↑ Cable vol. 2 #76 (February 2000)
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #501
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #502
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 Uncanny X-Men #503
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #499
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #504
- ↑ 50.0 50.1 Uncanny X-Men #508
- ↑ 51.0 51.1 Uncanny X-Men #509
- ↑ 52.0 52.1 Uncanny X-Men #510
- ↑ What If...? vol. 2 #6 (November 1989)
- ↑ What If...? vol. 2 #37 (May 1992)
- ↑ What If...? vol. 2 #74 (July 1995)