Comics/Graphic Novels

The Summers Family: A Brief Guide to the First Family of X-Men

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Chris M. Arnone

Senior Contributor

The son of a librarian, Chris M. Arnone's love of books was as inevitable as gravity. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri - Kansas City. His novel, The Hermes Protocol, was published by Castle Bridge Media in 2023 and the next book in that series is due out in winter 2024. His work can also be found in Adelaide Literary Magazine and FEED Lit Mag. You can find him writing more books, poetry, and acting in Kansas City. You can also follow him on social media (Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, website).

Comic books can be confusing sometimes. I get it. Some of them have been in continuous publication since the 1930s, so the sheer volume of continuity can be difficult to follow. One of the most confusing is the huge and winding Summers family tree.

Everybody knows Cyclops, or Scott Summers, the first field leader of the X-Men. Tall, kinda plain, wears a ruby quartz visor so that his optical blasts don’t fire nonstop. He’s been portrayed as a boring, stick-in-the-mud straight man to Wolverine’s brooding, angry little rage monster. He’s been an icon and visionary. He’s even spent time as a godlike villain.

Like I said, comics can be confusing.

image of Cyclops from X-Men from Marvel Comics

But Scott was only our entry point into the vast mutant Summers family in 1963. Since then, that family tree has grown and twisted in the strangest possible ways. Let me do some unraveling for you with this brief introduction to the Summers family.

Corsair and Katherine: The Summers Family Parents

Corsair, or Chris Summers, is the patriarch of the Summers family. He’s also a space pirate/renegade spacers and the captain of the Starjammers. They’re a group of heroes, for certain, and they’ve often aligned with the X-Men partly due to the family connection. Katherine is largely a footnote in the family history, though. As the story goes, Chris, Katherine, and their two young sons (Scott and Alex) were flying on a private plane when it was attacked by the Shi’ar.

image of Cyclops and Corsair from X-Men from Marvel Comics

Sadly, there was only one parachute available, so Katherine strapped both of her children in and tossed them out of the plane. The boys survived but were left orphaned, believing their parents dead for a long time. They grew up in the foster system until their mutant powers kicked in. Chris actually survived the ordeal, but Katherine wasn’t so fortunate.

The Summers Brothers

Scott Summers, or Cyclops, is the oldest. As I said, he’s also the best-known. He’s been on every major team, in most animated shows and movies, and is a perennial favorite. His younger brother was introduced in 1969. Blonde to his brother’s brunette, Alex, or Havok, has similar energy powers that are fed by ambient cosmic energy. While Scott’s are focused through his eyes, Alex’s are channeled through his entire body. Similar powers, though Havok’s are a magnitude greater.

cover of X-Men Emperor Vulcan 5, Havok versus Vulcan

Here’s where things start to get comic-bookish. The third brother is Gabriel Summers, or Vulcan. He wasn’t introduced until 2005 by way of a big ole retcon. When Scott’s original X-Men team was in peril, Professor X assembled a new team to rescue them, led by Vulcan. However, that team was wiped out as Cyclops watched. How did Professor X deal with a distraught Cyclops? Wipe his mind of not only the event, but the very existence of Gabriel.

So when Vulcan appeared on the scene in 2005, he wasn’t a fan of Professor X or his brothers. After nearly destroying the X-Men, he went rampaging across the universe, eventually even becoming head of the Shi’ar empire for a time. He’s not the happiest of Summers.

The Summers Wives

To make things easy, let’s start with Alexa and Gabriel. Gabriel has never been married and has no children. Whew. Alex has been on-again-off-again with Lorna Dane, or Polaris, for a long time. In one alternate reality, he did marry Janet Van Dyne, or Wasp. That reality was reset, however, erasing that timeline from memory.

Now, there’s Scott. Oh, boy. Scott has been first and most famously attached to and married to Jean Grey. They were together right from the beginning, eventually marrying. Jean died. Came back. Died. Rinse. Repeat.

image of Madeline Pryor and Dark X-Men from Marvel Comics

Scott married Madeline Pryor at one point, too. Who is Madeline Pryor? She’s also called Goblin Queen, and she’s a clone of Jean Grey. Yeah. Ew. During Jean’s longest-lasting death, Scott entered into a long-term relationship with Emma Frost, or White Queen. Now that Jean is back, however, Scott is back with his original love.

Summers Children and Grandchildren

As strange as it may seem, none of the Summers brothers have any children in the present, current timeline. And yet, because we’re talking comics, there are many progenies and most have made their way to the 616, or main Marvel universe. Remember how Havok and Wasp married in that forgotten timeline? They had a child named Katherine, but she was lost with the timeline.

In the Days of Future Past timeline, Jean never became the Phoenix, never died, and she and Scott had one child: Rachel Summers. Think Phoenix-light powers. In the Age of Apocalypse universe, however, Mister Sinister used the genetic materials of Scott and Jean to create Nate Grey, also known as X-Man, an omega-level telepath.

image of Cable from Marvel Comics

But wait, I’m not done. Since we’re talking clones, I have to bring up Madeline Pryor again, the wicked and oft-misunderstood clone of Jean Grey. In yet another alternate reality, Scott and Madeline married, giving birth to Nathan Summers, or Cable. Cable eventually — and I mean in the distant future — had a son named Tyler Dayspring, or Genesis. Oh, and Nathan was cloned, creating the villainous Stryfe.

Still not done. Last up is Hope Summers. After Scarlet Witch said, “No more mutants” at the end of House of M, there were no mutants born for a long time. Then came Hope. She wasn’t born a Summers but rather adopted by Cable. He saw her as the only hope for mutantkind, and so adopted her and took to the future to train and raise her.

Believe it or not, that’s not a complete picture of the Summers family tree, but for the sake of brevity, those are the biggest players. Need to know more? You can check out the full family tree on the Marvel Fandom Wiki and click around through all the different family members. Be warned, though, that’s a rabbit hole from which you never may leave.