So Sayeth the Odinson: The Rise and Fall of Havok: A Life of Chaos

Greetings from the Odinson,

Every so often the Odinson takes a look at the arc for a character over the course of decades of storytelling.  Past entries include The Amazing Arc of Magneto, The Rise and Fall of Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, and probably my personal favorite, AvX Repercussions: The Rise and Fall of Cyclops. In these retrospectives, the Odinson takes a look at the turbulent dramas, the hard decisions, and the life events that shaped and, good or bad, made these fantastic creations the characters they are today. 

This week I shall be shedding the spotlight on another character that has had one of the most turbulent, roller coaster like, and complex histories. 

Scott Summers is a born leader, armed with one of the keenest strategic minds in all of comics, ranked right up there with Captain America and Batman.  Cyclops is a well-known, stalwart hero and a legend in the annuals of X-Men lore. 

Alex Summers is Scott’s brother, and for many years, Alex has lived in his brother’s shadow.     

The Rise and Fall of Havok: A Life of Chaos

Alex Summers, Codenamed: Havok, is a mutant in the Marvel Universe whose super human body acts like a sponge and absorbs massive amounts of solar energy.  Many aspects of Alex’s origins mirror that of his older brother, Scott Summers, the mutant hero known as Cyclops.

When the Summers brothers were children, the plane they were on was going down and the two boys barely escaped, using a single parachute.  Scott hit his head when they landed hard and that is the reason why Cyclops cannot fully control his powerful eye-blasts and has to wear those protective visors to help him control his mutant power.  Scott and Alex’s parents perished when the plane crashed, or so they thought.  Many years later they would discover that their parents were actually abducted by the Shi’ar, an alien race from beyond the stars. 

More on that later.     

Like his brother’s, Alex’s power is immense.  The energy he absorbs builds and pulsates in wave after wave of microwave like heat.  This effect was first depicted beautifully by artist Neal Adams on the classic cover for Uncanny X-Men #58.  That pulsating energy cascading out from Havok’s body became a signature for the character over the years. 

Also like his brother, in the beginning, Alex had a hard time controlling his power.  That black body suit and specially designed helmet he originally wore helped him to contain his energies and focus his immense power.  His plasma blasts are said to be able to shatter mountain peaks.  He has turned giant Sentinel robots into scrap and even pounded the Incredible Hulk to a standstill. 

Havok’s original character design is one of the Odinson’s Top 10 favorites.  Its simplicity is its charm, and it is that very simplicity that helps to make him a visually unique looking character amongst the rest, especially when his mutant powers are on display.

Since his debut back in Uncanny X-Men #54, Alex has spent a lifetime living in the shadow of his brother the hero, being used as a pawn against his loved ones by villains, and being manipulated by powerful men and women.  He has not been lucky in love, as I’ll illustrate in just a moment.  And, he has toed the line between hero and villain his whole life, constantly leaning one way or the other. 

In the beginning it seemed like Havok would follow in his older brother’s footsteps and become a stalwart member of the X-Men.  He was instrumental in defeating the nigh unstoppable Living Monolith.  Like Scott did with Jean Grey, Alex found love with a fellow mutant hero named Polaris.  However, both Havok and Polaris were with the original X-Men when they were taken captive by the living island known as Krakoa.  This is the event that prodded Professor X to recruit an All-New, All-Different team of heroes from around the world that debuted in Giant-Size X-Men #1.    

It is from this moment on that the peaks and valleys of Havok’s life start to become even more severe. 

In Marvel Team-Up #69-70, Alex once again finds himself in the crosshairs of the Living Monolith.  Then, in Uncanny X-Men #97, he is manipulated by the villain Eric the Red into battling his brother and the new X-Men.  The very heroes that saved him from a fate worse than death on the island of Krakoa.  Alex would regain some level of peace as he and Polaris found a home on Muir Island, a safe haven for mutants and home of the X-Men’s ally Moira MacTaggert.  However, this short reprieve was shattered when the immensely powerful mutant parasite Proteus escaped containment.  Then, after surviving Arcade’s notorious Murderworld, an amusement park of deathtraps, Havok and Polaris once again find peace in semiretirement.         

But, it was not meant to last. 

Polaris has her mind taken over by the evil mutant entity known as Malice.  Havok, along with the X-Men, finds himself fighting for his life against the woman he loves and her new playmates, the Marauders, the very super powered assassins that nearly wiped out the Morlocks and left the X-Men in shambles during the infamous Mutant Massacre.   

Wrought with guilt over not being able to save Polaris from Malice’s evil clutches, Havok begins to become remorseful and melancholy.  His sorry state of mind leaves him vulnerable and easily manipulated by Madelyne Pryor, his own brother’s estranged wife.  He becomes her consort when she succumbs to the dark gifts of the demon N’astirh and transforms into the Goldin Queen thereby igniting the flames for Inferno!

Not long after that, Havok alongside his fellow X-Men, voluntarily enter the Siege Perilous, a magical artifact that grants those that walk through its portal a brand new life.  Alex awakens as a magistrate on the island of Genosha, a police state that enslaves mutants.  Though he eventually regained his memories and helped the X-Men take down the oppressive Genosha government during the X-Tinction Agenda, Alex was livid to have once again been so manipulated by others. 

Then, in a bright turn of events, Alex’s fortune changed as he was recruited to lead a new X-Factor team of heroes, this time sponsored and funded by the U.S. government.  Alex was thrust into the role of leadership, and like his brother, he excelled.  It was at this time that he was finally reunited with Polaris. 

Yet, once again, the good times were not meant to last.

First, Havok was brainwashed by the Age of Apocalypse’s Dark Beast into leading a new Brotherhood of Mutants against the X-Men.  Then, during a time-traveling mishap. Alex found himself transported to a strange new world where the X-Men are more ruthless and many heroes are actually villains.  In this Mutant X Universe, Alex had to hide in plain sight amongst these darker versions of his friends, trying desperately not to cross the moral lines heroes do not cross.  This is one of the most desperate chapters of his life for any misstep could lead to his death, or worse, the death of others.

Once back in his own dimension, Alex Summers found himself at a point in his life where all his personal and romantic relations have been destroyed and he had spent the better part of his life being manipulated by the machinations of others.  He needed a change of scenery, badly. 

This came in the form of Alex and a group of mutant heroes traveling to the far side of the universe to become integral pieces in a Shi’ar Civil War.  The erstwhile frenemies of the X-Men have found themselves once again fractured and besieged when the immensely powerful mutant known as Vulcan threatened the entire empire.  Not only did Alex recently learn that Vulcan was in fact Gabriel Summers, a brother he never knew he had, but it was during this campaign that Alex’s father, Corsair, a father he barely had time to know, was killed.   

In the aftermath of the conflict, Havok took his father’s place as the leader of the Starjammers, a group of space pirates and resistance fighters. Again, like his brother before him, Alex excelled at leadership.  Havok’s Starjammers play an essential role in the War of Kings event before Alex finally returns home to Earth.    

Back home, once again Havok’s triumphs were quickly replaced by heartache.  He was forced to fight against his brother during the Avengers/X-Men War.  During the Marvel Now era, he was forced to watch and do nothing as he saw his brother become the very thing the X-Men have been fighting against their whole lives.  And ultimately, he was forced to watch his brother die during the events of the Inhumans/X-Men War.  

Bereaved and directionless, recently Alex has been seen working alongside other evil mutants to establish mutants as the dominant race on the planet.  This is a radical notion that spits in the face of Professor Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence.  A plot that has put him at odds with not only his former teammates, but Magneto as well.

Havok has become too fanatic for Magneto?  Now that’s scary.

Alex Summers, the mutant known as Havok, has had a long, arduous journey.  He has been a student, a leader, a hero, and a villain.  He has spent a lifetime trying to control the immense power that resides within, power that can destroy and save.  He has spent a life time looking up to his big brother and trying to live up to Scott’s heroic legacy, and, unfortunately, making some of the same mistakes and walking in his brother’s tragic villainous footsteps.

Alex Summers is a very complex man.  One moment he is a stalwart leader of heroes, the next he is a manipulated pawn of villains.  He is a man of great power and passion, and a chaotic soul whose love affairs always end in heartache and tragedy.   

He is Havok, a man whose name best describes his tale.      

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale.  Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.

About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

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