Art by Mark Brooks (Cover of New X-Men #24)
- Name: Cessily Kincaid
- Code Names: Mercury
- First Appearance: New Mutants #2 (August 2003)
- Powers: Liquid Metal Form
- Teams Affiliation: Hellions, New X-Men
One of the biggest challenges of being a teenager is trying to balance the person you are with the person others want you to be. Some of the worst feelings from that age is getting rejected when you put yourself, the real you, out there for someone and get rejected. There is a constant struggle between who your parents want you to be, who your friends want you to be, who you want you to be, and who you really are. X-Men has always been a franchise that works well as an allegory for the teenage experience and readers have often related to the struggles of the characters, characters like Cessily Kincaid.
Cessily was a good kid, her parents loved her, she was popular with her friends, it was a nice life for a teenager. That changed one morning as she was getting ready, her skin began to shift from her perfect clear peach to a smooth silver. Her knees got weak, her shoulders started dripping, she couldn’t keep herself together any longer. She screamed out for help, calling for her father to help her. Her parents kept her indoors, away from school, shut off from all her friends, no one was willing to accept her for who she was. Eventually they found out about the Xavier Institute and decided it would be for the best to send her there. Cessily didn’t want to leave her family in Portland but she was happy to finally be allowed to be herself among her peers.
Art by Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Brian Reber
The Xavier Institute was where Cessily thrived. She was assigned to Emma Frost’s team of Hellions and she worked well with the highly competitive squad. She felt at home with teammates that looked like her and even thought about starting a relationship with her friend Wither. Though some members, like team leader Hellion, were antagonistic towards their classmates, Cessily was a friend to all. She took on the code name Mercury and worked to be the best person she could be.
Cessily wasn’t welcomed home for the summer and decided to spend it with her teammates at Hellion’s home in LA. There the Hellions called on the services of the Kingmaker who offered them one wish. For Mercury, there was no second guessing the wish, she just wanted her parents to accept her. Taking the Kingmakers offer, Cessily went home and to her surprise her parents wanted her. They were even proud enough to stand up to a neighbor and declare that their daughter was a mutant and they were proud. She made the mistake of thinking she would get her wish fulfilled for no cost and the Kingmaker blackmailed the Hellions into working for him to retrieve a biological weapon. The kids couldn’t go through with being terrorists, even if it meant losing their hearts desires and they turned the weapon and the Kingmaker over to SHIELD. The damage was done for Mercury, her parents were even more disappointed with their daughter now and Cessily feared that they would never care for her again.
Art by Clayton Henry, Morales & Leisten, and Wil Quintana
M-Day hurt the students of the Xavier Institute harder than any other group. Only 23 students retained their abilities and Mercury was distraught to be among them. Emma gathered the remaining students into the Danger Room for a knock-down, drag out brawl and the last 7 students standing would be trained as the New X-Men. Mercury fought hard and found her way onto the squad. The depowered students, including the Hellion Tag, were put on buses and sent home, but horrors of the day weren’t over yet. A rocket flew through the sky and destroyed one of the buses, killing all forty-two aboard. The rocket came from the Purifiers and the New X-Men made it their mission to get revenge for their friends. They defended the school against the Purifiers assault and continued to battle large scale threats to the mutants, like a rebuilt Nimrod.
Art by Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Brian Reber
Mercury became close with her teammate X-23 and hoped to help Laura better integrate herself into the school. This caused Cessily to get caught in the crossfire when Laura’s former handler Kimura came for her. Kimura captured Mercury and performed terrible experiments on her. Kimura was developing a new mutant hunting weapon known as Predator X and it had already taken the life of the elephant mutant Mammomax. She wanted to perfect her weapon using Mercury’s liquid metal skin and tortured Cessily to get what she wanted. The New X-Men were able to rescue their friend but Cess was scared by the experience.
Art by Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Brian Reber
Mercury was conflicted about her life as an X-Man, she stood strong and courageous against the demon lord Belasco and the blood lusting Hulk. As her courage grew in battle, her grief increased outside of it, she was able to end the Hulk’s warpath only by showing him how much loss the X-Men had seen recently. She began asking all the students their age because she believed that the youngest remaining mutant would be the next to be killed. Still she continued her training and stood strong in battles against the Purifiers and Predator X during the Messiah CompleX.
Art by Andrea DiVito and Laura Villari
Mercury followed the X-Men to California and made her home on Utopia with the rest for the mutant population. Life at the Kincaid household had drastically changed since Cess last saw her parents. Her parents had divorced and her father was battling to get custody of his daughter and take her home, a matter complicated by the sovereign status of Utopia. Norman Osborn had paid him a large sum of money to publicly campaign to get his daughter back and Cessily was devastated, even selflessly offering to leave the X-Men to make the problem go away. Cyclops enlisted Deadpool to help resolve the situation but the plan went awry when Wade decided that attempting to kill Mr. Kincaid on live television while wearing an X-Men uniform was the best plan. The assassination didn’t go as planned and Mr. Kincaid moved himself into HAMMER custody for safety. Unfortunately Norman Osborn wanted the frame the X-Men for a murder more than he wanted Kincaid alive and attempted to kill him but the combined efforts of Deadpool and the X-Men were enough to prevent it and clear the X-Men’s names. For Mercury though, it only worked to damage an already fragile relationship.
Art by Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Marte Gracia
Mercury went with Wolverine to the new Jean Grey School to continue her studies and hasn’t been in the spotlight since. Still with her classmates recently showing up it is only a matter of time before Mercury rises again.
Mercury first appeared in the second volume of New Mutants as an antagonist. Not that she was mean, that wouldn’t be like Cess, just battling against the heroes of the book. Because of that Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir didn’t have much time to develop her, or most of the Hellions, as a character for a while, but when they decided to shift focus things changed. New X-Men: Hellions was a great look into what really made these characters, Mercury included, tick. You start to understand that the Hellions aren’t really bad and they have hopes and dreams of their own. After reading this series it isn’t surprising that the main New X-Men book made a significant shift away from its original cast and focused on the Hellions. They were just much more interesting. This story can be found on Marvel Unlimited or in one nice little trade.
Art by Clayton Henry
Cess is one of my favorite of that generation of kid X-Men. She is a great mirror for a coming out story, or more generally just teenage years being tough. She has a great power set that is always dynamic to see and a very realistic attitude. She hasn’t been the centerpiece of a lot of stories but she always makes a page better when she shows up. Looking at the current list we have three early 2000’s kid close to each other with Glob Herman at 12 and Armor and Elixir at 14 and 15 respectively. Elixir has had better complete arcs but he isn’t all that enjoyable for me to read. Armor was great in Astonishing but hasn’t done much for me in any other arc. Because of that Mercury will have to rank above them. Glob is a weird story because I really like him, he has fantastic design, and he is enjoyable on every page he is on. Lemire’s Extraordinary has done work with Glob recently that has really elevated the character so I don’t see Cess going above him. Between the two young mutants we have Pete Wisdom and I’ll be frank, I would read Mercury #1 way more than another Pete Wisdom series. Mercury is going to work her way into a respectable #13 in the Xavier Files.
Mercury was requested by /u/Blazer4500 on reddit Thanks for the request I hope you enjoyed it! If YOU have a character you want me to do, leave a comment and I’ll get it added to the list.
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Next week I have no shame doing a media tie-in as we journey into the mind of En Sabah Nur. The First One himself will shoot for a spot on the list as Apocalypse joins the Xavier Files. See you then.
Zachary Jenkins runs ComicsXF and is a co-host on the podcast “Battle of the Atom.” Shocking everyone, he has a full and vibrant life outside of all this.