ADAM X, the X-TREME
||Adam Neramani, Forsaken One,
X-Force Annual #2
Jonath (adoptive father),
||formerly Crystal Claws, Foundations
- human/Shi’ar hybrid possessing increased strength, speed, agility, endurance, reaction time, vision, and recuperative powers
- mutant haemo-pyrokinesis enables him to ignite the electrolytes in a victim’s blood once oxygenated, flash-frying them with internal electrical fire
- employs a variety of Thet’je blades to facilitate his mutant power, including shoulder and forearm blades, throwing knives, glaive sticks, katana, and retractable bionic blocking blades from the backs of his hands
The young man who eventually came to be known as Adam X was raised on a Shi’ar border world known both as Ch’ylaritha and Ch’reesharaa. It has not been revealed when and under what circumstances he manifested his mutant powers. His adoptive father was a simple farmer named Jonath, [Captain Marvel (2nd series) #3] and the people of Ch’ylaritha apparently did not have the best of relationships with the Shi’ar Imperium, possibly due to border disputes or an effort to achieve independence from Shi’ar rule. Following a violent skirmish with the Shi’ar Imperial Praetor Guards, the people of Adam’s village took several guardsmen prisoner. The guardsmen were treated well, nursed back to health and released to their kinsmen, presumably as a sign of good faith or respect. Nevertheless, the Praetor Guards soon returned to the village and devastated the very people who had just shown them kindness.
Based on Adam’s accounts, it seems as if his adoptive father and most if not all of his village were massacred. Adam became a wanderer after that, travelling the length and breadth of the Shi’ar Empire in search of a place to belong. His life was filled with conflict and fighting against Shi’ar soldiers, either because he was wanted for the events on Ch’reesharaa or because he simply disagreed with their methods. In an undisclosed series of events, Adam found himself on the planet Earth, with no memory of how he arrived there.
Suffering from an intermittent form of amnesia, Adam eventually crossed paths with the industrialist Martin Henry Strong and his outreach program for mutants, Foundations. Strong intended to find a cure for mutants like himself who were tortured by their abilities, and was willing to rely on both voluntary and involuntary test subjects for his research. Adam agreed to work for Strong as a mutant tracker and recovery agent, in exchange for Martin using his resources to search for clues about Adam’s origins. It was Martin Henry Strong who first gave his ally the name “Adam X” – whether Adam remembered any other name he had before that isn’t clear. He also picked up the nickname “X-Treme” from those who saw him in action on his missions for Strong.
During his time with Strong, Adam X started a romance with one of the voluntary mutant research subjects at Foundations, Michelle Balters, aka Neurotap. Despite their personal relationship, X-Treme was tasked with hunting Michelle down and retrieving her after she fled from Strong Industries. On the retrieval mission, X-Treme faced off against Cable and X-Force, who were independently investigating Strong Industries and their intentions towards mutantkind. Adam fared well against X-Force, and temporarily dropped the entire team when he caught them off-guard with his flash-fry, but departed without Michelle in order to regroup and assess the new players. He tracked X-Force into the desert and, after a prolonged match against the swordsman Shatterstar, eventually relented. Opening up about his own misgivings on Strong’s work, Adam agreed to work with Michelle and X-Force to expose Foundations.
X-Treme infiltrated Strong Industries with two of X-Force posing as his prisoners, then sent out a comm-signal for Cable to lock his bodyslide onto, teleporting the rest of the team into the complex. During a physical struggle with Martin Henry Strong, the industrialist revealed that Michelle was still loyal to him – her “escape” was a ruse to flush out X-Force and anyone else snooping around Foundations. Faced with Strong’s double-crossing and Michelle’s betrayal, X-Treme had had enough and continued to side with X-Force, taking Neurotap down himself. After Cable’s ionic molecular blade finally pierced Strong’s impenetrable outer skin, Adam unleashed the strongest flash-fry he had to tear apart Strong’s artificial outer body, revealing his near-helpless inner form. Adam X and X-Force fled from Strong Industries after that, and X-Treme turned down Cable’s offer to journey with them. [X-Force Annual #2]
Adam continued the search for his past on his own, trying to find some clues to explain the connection he felt to Earth. Instead, the past sought him out. A man named Milbury hired the assassin Arcade to test and attempt to kill X-Treme inside his Murderworld complex. Arcade had also been hired by a separate party to eliminate X-Force’s Shatterstar, and so he decided to make it two-for-one and pitted the two young
X-Treme searched for whatever information he could on Mr. Milbury, but continued running into dead ends. Somehow he uncovered Milbury’s involvement in the Almagordo Research Facility from decades earlier, alongside Alexander Ryking. He tracked down Ryking’s son Carter, aka Hazard, at a prison in New Mexico to learn anything he could about Milbury. Ryking directed Adam to a man named Charles Xavier. [X-Men (2nd series) #38]
Instead of heading to New York, however, Adam’s wanderings took him up to Alaska, along the Canadian border. While hitchhiking down the highway, he saw a rising cloud of smoke that he recognized as a plane crash. The pilot was a man named Philip Summers, and Adam managed to pull him to safety just before the single passenger plane exploded into debris. Trapped in the wilderness for the night, Adam did what he could to build them shelter from the cold and snow. Huddling together for warmth, the two men quickly developed a bond. Adam shared with Philip his extraterrestrial origins, and did his best to describe the miracles of space flight to the veteran pilot.
When the cold started to take the weakened and injured old man, Adam made a desperate attempt to use his powers in a new way, to warm Philip’s blood from within his veins without burning him like normal. The effect sustained Philip Summers long enough for the rescue party to find their camp the next morning. Adam made himself scarce as Philip was airlifted for treatment to avoid any difficult questions, but returned to check on Philip at the hospital in Anchorage a few days later. He was caught visiting Philip’s room by his granddaughter-in-law, Jean Grey, who thanked Adam for his efforts. Although Philip was blinded by his ordeal, Jean assisted Adam with her telepathic powers in giving the old pilot his memories of flying and dogfighting in outer space. Adam departed, somehow feeling a stronger connection to Earth and its people after his encounter with Philip Summers. [X-Men (2nd series) #39]
Adam moved on after that, and during his wanderings he came across the Shi’ar deep cover agent, Davan Shikari, aka Eric the Red, facing him in battle. [X-Men (2nd series) #41] Adam lost, and was exposed to Eric’s brainwashing process, conditioned to act as a disciple of Shi’ar sect called the Crystal Claws. He spent two months under the control of Eric the Red at the Aerie, a Shi’ar outpost high in the Andes Mountains of Argentina. X-Treme’s ordeal came to an end when Eric dispatched him to eliminate Legacy, the half-Kree son of Captain Mar-Vell, who had involved himself in other matters of the Crystal Claws, and needed to be silenced. He attacked Legacy on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, trading Thet’je blades for positronic blasts, until Legacy slammed his nega-bands together, dispatching them to the Negative Zone.
As the distortion area effect transmuted their bodies from matter to anti-matter, it also negated the effects of Shikari’s mind control, freeing Adam to act on his own. X-Treme and Legacy teamed up to return to the Aerie and confront the transcendent of the Crystal Claws. After fighting their way through his Sidri guards, the young duo demanded an audience with Eric the Red. Eric explained Adam’s origins to him, revealing that he was of royal Shi’ar blood, the child of deposed Majestor D’Ken, and the product of a genetic engineering program to produce a hybrid monarch of considerable power. The Crystal Claws were a secret order who had long opposed the more benign rule of D’Ken’s younger sister, present Majestrix Lilandra, and hoped to groom Adam to replace her on the throne and return the Shi’ar Imperium to what it was under D’Ken’s reign.
X-Treme renounced Shikari’s plans for him, and struck out against the agent. As Shikari’s armor surrounded him with a crackling field of energy, X-Treme saw his opening and unleashed the largest flash-fry he was capable of. The electrical fire running through Eric the Red combined with his energy field to light him up like a wicker man, and the chain reaction destroyed the entire Aerie in a massive explosion. Adam X and Legacy rode out the explosion in the Negative Zone, and the two parted as friends as Adam chose to continue his wanderings on Earth. [Captain Marvel (2nd series) #2-3]
[Note: Fabian Nicieza was the author of all X-Treme's appearances up til this point, and also responsible for creating the so-called "Third Summers Brother" storyline. Nicieza has stated in interviews that he always intended Adam X to be the additional brother referred to by Mister Sinister in X-Men (2nd series) #23. Strictly speaking, Adam would have been a half-brother, and not a Summers – as he was supposedly the son of D'Ken and Katherine Anne Summers, conceived after she and Christopher Summers were captured and separated by the Shi'ar decades ago. Sinister's interest in Adam X was one of the major clues: "Mr. Milbury" from X-Force (1st series) #30 is one of Sinister's classic aliases, and he was also seen watching Eric the Red as he was spying on Adam in X-Men (1st series) #39. Since Nicieza left the X-titles, Vulcan has been introduced as the official answer to the Third Summers Brother mystery. Nothing yet in continuity precludes Adam X from also being related to the Summers clan, but so far the matter remains unexplored.]
Many years later, Adam X was among the mutants who congregated in San Francisco after the X-Men took residence in the city and established an outreach center at Graymalkin Industries. He was part of the pro-mutant demonstrators who opposed Simon Trask and his Humanity NOW! Movement, who sought to legislate and control mutant reproductive rights. Race riots began to break out in the city, leading Norman Osborn and HAMMER to step in and declare martial law. [Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1] A citywide curfew was declared, and Osborn’s Avengers were called in to enforce it.
Despite Osborn’s public speechmaking about equal concerns for both sides, Adam and some of the more hotheaded mutants in San Francisco still felt like they were being stepped on by the government. After a night of drinking and poor decision making, they decided to make a public and violent show of civil disobedience in Union Square. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #513] Unfortunately, this only hurt the X-Men’s cause, as it gave Norman an excuse to trot out his H.A.M.M.E.R. sponsored team of X-Men to crush the rioters. X-Treme was struck down and captured by Cloak and Dagger, who took him into custody on Alcatraz Island. [Dark Avengers #7]
While many of Osborn’s prisoners were rescued by the X-Men before they left for Utopia island, Adam had already been transferred out of Alcatraz, and remained in H.A.M.M.E.R. custody for several weeks. He was later transferred to the Peak under S.W.O.R.D. jurisdiction during Henry Peter Gyrich's repatriation initiative to exile any and all aliens living in the United States off-planet. [S.W.O.R.D. #2] Adam was later freed by the Beast and Agent Brand when they reassumed control of S.W.O.R.D. from Gyrich. According to Brand’s aide Sydren, the paperwork on anyone Osborn arrested for “something foolish” was lost in the system, which apparently included X-Treme. [S.W.O.R.D. #5]
Adam returned to San Francisco and Utopia, and attended the call to arms when the Serpent-augmented Juggernaut began his march on San Francisco. Cyclops dispatched X-Treme to try and use his flash-fry on Juggernaut. Somehow Adam succeeded in cutting the supercharged Marko, igniting the oxydized blood, but the results were catastrophic. Juggernaut continued to advance despite burning from the inside-out, and was now setting fire to anything he touched. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #542]