by Joshie Jaxon
Did you ever wonder what would happen if Mr. Sinister succeeded in his mission to create a genetically perfect mutant? Well, in the Age of Apocalypse, he did. The product of a cross between Scott Summers and Jean Grey, the X-Man, Nate Grey, was created to be a weapon against Apocalypse himself. It wasn’t until Nate was a child that Sinister even bothered to give him a name.
Wanting more for himself, Nate broke out into the world, and found friends that actually cared for him. He allied himself with Forge, who taught him to be a hero, and how to use his powers. Under his care, Nate not only gained control of his incredible psionic powers, he harnessed them to the point of being able to fly. His happiness was short lived, when Sinister killed Forge, and told Nate of the purpose he was created for. Avenging his friend and mentor, Nate surprised Sinister by mortally wounding him, and leaving him to die.
I didn’t follow the Age of Apocalypse when it originally ran, so I missed the initial appearance of our dear X-Man. I was involved in the life of Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. However, during the Onslaught storyline, I got exposed to Nate. I know he’s a comic book character, but Nate is gorgeous. Blue/gray eyes, depending on the publication, short to medium brown hair, with white streaks in the front, and that classic hero physique swimmer’s build. Plus he’s powerful. It was stated that he’s the most powerful psionic in any reality, and I’d believe it.
Nate can read minds and it’s a good thing he’s fictional, cause my teenage thoughts were less than platonic. No, I never whacked it to his comics. Couldn’t risk damaging them. I kid, of course. Or do I? You’ll never know. Ok, here’s the T, he was cute, but not I’m about to ruin a perfectly good book for him cute. Besides, I was still in the closet back then, and knew I liked Nate but not fully understanding why.
Like Nate, I too grew up without a lot of friends. Where I felt like a stranger in the world around me, Nate actually was. He was brought from his reality to Earth 616, where he eventually crossed paths with Peter Parker. Being a telepath, Nate was able to know Spider-Man out of costume. In fact, he got Peter out of his clothes faster than anyone. Lucky bastard. The two became friends, and had an adventure or two. They’re two of my favorite, and most crush worthy people in the Marvel universe.
As the early 2000’s hit, so did adult hood. Comic book money was applied to things like bills, and rent. Slowly, I lost touch with most of my colorful tights wearing friends. I still retained my childlike love of fictional worlds, but it wasn’t until my life stabilized, as well as my finances, that I was able to play catchup on the stories I’d missed. I’m glad that the internet is what it is, and that trade paperbacks are as readily available as they are. While most adults forget the things that used to bring them joy, and resign themselves to the doldrums of life, I plan on retaining the sense wonder that helps make adulthood better. Though he may no longer be the subject of fantasy or daydreams, the X-Man will always be one of my first character crushes.