Hope Summers, Cyclops‘ adopted granddaughter and current Krakoa Quiet Council member, is well-known as a god-tier power mimic and potential Phoenix Force host, but she also has a lesser-known, far more sinister power.
Hope was born during a dark time for mutantkind. Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, was manipulated into depowering the vast majority of the planet’s mutants in an event later known as the Decimation. Mutantkind went from a vibrant, growing subculture to an endangered species of a few hundred, with no new mutants able to be born due to Wanda’s spell. Then came the aptly named Hope, the first mutant baby born since Decimation, who quickly earned the moniker of being the “mutant messiah.” Most of the remaining mutant factions went to war over Hope in 2007’s Messiah Complex event, and she was ultimately rescued by Cyclops’ son Cable, who took her into the future and raised her there. She returned to the present as a teenager in 2010’s Second Coming, which culminated in her presence activating five new young mutants, giving mutants a future once more.
The series that followed, Generation Hope – from Kieron Gillen and a range of artists, including Salva Espin – explored her relationship with the “Five Lights” she helped activate, and their efforts in finding and helping new emerging mutants. Aside from showing Hope acclimate to the present day and learn how to be a leader, not just a soldier, the series shows that Hope is more than just an immensely powerful mimic. She can instinctively manipulate the other Lights into doing what she wants, imbuing them with a supernatural sense of loyalty – a power she hones as the series progresses, to the dissatisfaction of her teammates.
Hope Controls Her Closest Friends
Multiple Lights start questioning whether they’re doing things of their own free will, or because Hope thinks they should. In Gillen and Espin’s Generation Hope #8, a primal, animalistic member of the Lights gives an uncharacteristically thoughtful and eloquent speech defending his desire to stay with Hope against his family’s wishes. In the end, the other members ask themselves if he did so because he really was happy and wanted to stay, or because he is being influenced to place Hope’s priorities over his own. Near the end of the run, Hope literally controls teammate Kenji and his powers in order to calm down a riot on Utopia, causing him to fully turn against her and even attempt to kill her as the ‘mutant Judas.’ This leads Hope to question her abilities as a leader and admit she subtly influenced the team to stick around because she was afraid that they otherwise wouldn’t.
The Five Lights each possessed powers that challenged their humanity and identities – from Velocidad’s ‘superspeed’ causing rapid aging to Oya believing she’s destined to go to Hell – but Hope’s was the most disturbing of all, as it turned out her friends were literally being forced to follow her.
While the rest of the Five Lights (bar Kenji, who dies fighting Hope and his former friends) end up forgiving Hope and maintaining the bonds of friendship, this episode casts a shadow on the mutant messiah. Hope is shown as a flawed character – strong-willed, decisive and powerful, but also clearly troubled by the expectations placed upon her and struggling to live up to them. Since the Krakoan era began, Hope’s status has grown even further, and she’s now one of the major leaders of mutantkind. And while she’s proven to be a moral and capable hero so far, Cyclops‘ granddaughter also has one of the most disturbing mutant powers, messing with the minds of those around her in ways she isn’t even fully able to control.