There has been a lot of fan speculation about the identity of the mysterious mutant baby who sparked the Messiah Complex crossover event. While the X-writers initially said that the baby was a new character that is not related to any known characters, that didn't stop endless speculation on who the baby is.
One of the most common guesses is that the newborn baby girl is a reborn Jean Grey. While the baby's hair color seemed to change randomly in the first few chapters, as the series went on it became more apparent that the baby has red hair.
This has also sparked some speculation that the baby may be Rachel. It was even asked in an X-Position column on ComicBookResources
Question: I have my own theory as to the baby’s identity. Since the baby was found in Alaska, original place of Madelyn Prior, perhaps the baby is Rachel Summers (and her mother is the aforementioned Madelyn). We have never really been told Rachel’s origin, since it may have occurred in a future that no longer exists thanks to her trip back to the past. Am I warm?
Peter David (X-Factor): I don’t know. I haven’t felt your forehead.
While Rachel's origin is actually quite clear, it could be possible (although highly unlikely) that Rachel would be some how randomly born on Earth-616 without being conceived by Jean Grey and Scott Summers. Although for years now there has been hints that Jean might eventually give birth to a Rachel-616, it's likely that plot line would be reserved for when Jean actually does return.
Also, keep in mind that time travelers are not impacted by changes to their futures. Any time a character like Rachel or Bishop or Cable
travels back in time, even if their future changes, they remain the same. Their future becomes an alternate future. So anything that happens in current continuity will not impact Rachel's future (Days of Future Past, Earth-811), nor will it change Cable's past (the Askani future, Earth-4935).
The writers and editors working on Messiah Complex seem to be toying with readers and feeding this speculation that the baby may be a known character (especially Jean), but it may be nothing more than a misdirection to spark fan interest.
Mike Carey (X-Men: Legacy) had this to say to Newsarama
on the topic:
In terms of the baby’s identity—I think at various points in this story some readers, to a certain extent, are starting to ask a bunch of questions—which is cool. There has been a certain amount of misdirection involved. Lots of people want to know who her parents are—if the union that produced her was significant—there has been fan speculation that she might be an old character brought back from the dead—reborn in some way.
Clearly, the baby is special. She’s definitely unique; otherwise, how could she be born with powers in spite of the Scarlet Witch’s edict? But it’s far from clear that her powers arise from her lineage – from her being, or being born from, somebody who was already significant in X-Men continuity. It remains a possibility, but I’m not sure that that’s the best way to look at it. I can’t say anything more than that at this point though.
Some readers have also guessed that the baby may be some how connected to the Askani, since there have been so many flashbacks to Scott having to give up baby Nathan Christopher to the Askani in X-Factor 67.
The flashbacks in X-Men 207 point towards the sacrifices Scott has had to made. The top is Scott having to entrust the Askani to save baby Nathan Christopher knowing he would never see him again. The left corner is when Scott had to say goodbye to Nathan a second time at the end of the Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix
when Rachel's death forced Jean and Scott's psyches' to return to the present.
The member of the Askani Sisterhood sent back to bring baby Nathan to the future was never specifically named. It was revealed in Cable #7 that she was a volunteer sent by Rachel (Mother Askani), and she had died in the process of bringing Nathan to the future. So she had sacrificed herself to save baby Nathan.
While it could be interesting, albeit a bit confusing, to see the process come full circle - the person who sacrificed her life to save Nathan is the baby whom Nathan raised, it's difficult to say why the baby would end up as a member of the Askani Sisterhood 2000 years in the future as a member of a group formed by Nathan's sister.
There is one clue that the baby has nothing to do with the Askani from Chris Yost in X-Position 35
Question: If the baby is so crucial to Cable’s future, why wouldn’t Cyclops know about it? He spent twelve years there – or is that motivating his decisions?
YOST: Cable’s future is much, much farther away. That baby’s role in his future is ancient history, something Cyclops wouldn’t have casually stumbled across. And we don’t know the baby’s full role yet – it might be something behind the scenes of history, but crucially important. Bottom line, most Americans can’t name more than seven or eight of our presidents. It’s possible this didn’t come up.
This makes it sound like the baby is firmly tied to the immediate future and specifically what potentially causes Bishop's future and mutants to end up in camps.
While that wouldn't directly prohibit her for eventually ending up in the Askani future, that may needlessly complicate the situation.
I think that the flashbacks are only references to what Scott is thinking about without resorting to thought bubbles, not some clue about who the baby is.
The baby could have a role in something mentioned in Askani lore though.
In the Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix
, Mother Askani tells Jean and Scott, that "for almost a century before this, the world enjoyed an almost unprecedented racial harmony. The Age of Xavier was a time when all races lived in peace. A peace Apocalypse used against an unsuspecting, trusting planet. "
It could be that the baby grows up to have some role in causing the Age of Xavier, and Cable wants to ensure that history repeats itself. Or, could it be that Cable wants to alter history so that people aren't quite so peaceful and trusting that they can be prayed upon by a tyrant like Apocalypse?
If the baby’s connection to Cable is only due to her role in history, then what about the locket the baby is seen holding in the flashbacks? One of the clues readers point to that the baby may be Jean or Rachel is baby playing with Scott's locket that has a photo of him and Jean in it. Is it simply something the baby was playing with? A clue that the baby is Jean or related to Jean? Or that Jean was involved in restarting the mutant population some how from the White Hot Room?
Or, is the locket merely one of the "misdirections" Mike Carey referred to?
Marvel continued to toy with fans about Jean's return by releasing a cryptic "Phoenix Rising?"
cover with no details. The image and post seem to imply Jean may be returning, but it is clearly a misdirection and a merely a cover for X-Men: Legacy.
I suspect that all of these hints about the baby being a known character is to simply increase reader interest in the new Cable series, since a major plot will be revealing the background of the messiah baby. Marvel staffers may assume that readers might pick up the book just to find out if the baby turns out to be known character, such as Jean or Rachel. But I think it's highly unlikely that she will be.
This also could be testing the waters for a return of Jean Grey. It seemed like as speculation grew that the baby was Jean, the more "clues" there were that it was her. Cynically, I'd say that was Marvel being mean spirited and messing with emotions of Jean's fans who are desperate for her to return. However, it could have been a light bulb going off at Marvel and the increased number of “clues” is to make sure they leave their options open for one possible way that Jean could return.
When Cable was first introduced, it was never intended that he turn out to be Nathan Christopher Summers. While more planning has likely gone into the story for the Messiah Complex baby then Cable‘s introduction, her ultimate fate, or even her name, might not even be decided yet or could deviate from plan.
So, is the baby Rachel? Or an Askani? It's highly doubtful. Is it Jean? I also highly doubt that, but you never know. My guess is that the baby is the indirect cause of the peaceful Age of Xavier mentioned in the Askani future and a new character.
Edit: A new blog post about the Messiah Complex baby has been added on 7/11/08: Who Is The Messiah Complex Baby?
Labels: Messiah-Complex-Baby, Miscellaneous