X-Men: Polaris and Jean Grey Make a Game-Changing Mutant Tag Team
Brandon Zachary
Jean Grey Polaris feature
Jean Grey Polaris feature
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Men #2 from Marvel Comics, on sale now
The modern era of X-Men comics has introduced the concept of "Mutant Technology," the technical term for when two or more mutants combine their powers to create a new effect. It can be as simple and straightforward as Colossus throwing Wolverine in the "Fastball Special," and as complex and world-changing as the terraforming of Mars by numerous Omega-Level Mutants.
A new such combo was just utilized in X-Men #2 by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia and VC's Clayton Cowles, with Jean Grey and Polaris finding a way to combine their powers to discover a powerful new application of their abilities: shifting through the memories of the recently deceased.
In X-MenCordyceps Jones has been arranging for alien forces to attack Earth and deal with the lifeforms that have long-dominated the planet. His newest attempt sees a group of aliens unleash a minor part of the Annihilation Wave on the planet which, if able to consume enough to grow quickly enough, could wipe out life on Earth. Luckily for humanity, the X-Men are able to detect the assault almost as soon as it begins in Kansas, and quickly relocates to contend with them. Working alongside the residents of a town near the Annihilation Wave's launching point, Cyclops, Rogue, Wolverine, Sunfire, and Synch are able to deftly hold the line and defend the humans from the alien assault.
However, Jean and Polaris end up delving deeper into the wave. Polaris creates a barrier for them using her control of magnetism, and Jean's telepathy ends up affected as it goes through it -- amplifying it as it moved through Polaris' heavy magnetic field and allowing her to pick up the stray memories of the alien who sacrificed himself to unleash the horde in the first place. As Jean explains to Lorna, the alien's brain was swallowed whole by the swarm -- meaning its neurons are still firing. By locating the brain within the creature that ate it, Jean is able to make contact with the creature's mind. The Omega-Level telepath admits to Polaris she's never been able to touch a dead mind with her powers before. But Jean pushing her telepathy through Lorna's magnetism has effectively created an "MRI machine for memories."
This allows Jean to witness the memories of Cordyceps Jones and the black hole he's been using to teleport alien threats to Earth, and give the X-Men an idea of the kind of threat they're facing. Satisfied, Jean is then able to give Sunfire the command to destroy the Wave with his fires. Without Jean and Polaris working together, Sunfire would have merely wiped out the alien horde before anyone could discover the truth about Cordyceps Jones. Instead, the X-Men now have an idea of who they're up against, and what they needed to do against them.
Notably, Jean and Polaris effectively just accidentally discovered a new application of their powers. It seems that by working together, the pair can probe the memories of a brain even after the death of another -- and possibly that of a mind that's still alive. While there might be only a short window before the neurons stop firing upon death and even this tactic becomes impossible, it's an incredible advantage for learning the truth about mysteries. Jean and Polaris might even be able to perform it on living people, giving the pair a pure form of interrogation and information-gathering.
In fact, this application of powers would be perfect for Lorna's former team, X-Factor -- who are assembled to solve the mysteries that befall dead mutants. This could make their investigations -- as well as the espionage efforts of X-Force -- more fruitful. If it can work on living beings, it could even be a key aspect of the upcoming Trial of Magneto, revealing his memories of the event. This is a potentially major development, and could open the door to solving any number of mysteries for the X-Men.