PRODIGY: Page 2 of 4

Publication Date: 6th Jan 2022
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


David’s sister Kim came to the school for a visit, and he showed her around campus with his friends. Kim was in awe of how cool the Xavier Institute seemed, and surprised David by hoping that she could become a mutant like him one day. After a series of strange incidents around school, the New Mutants started talking about the possibility of a ghost haunting the halls. During a training session in the Danger Room, the ghost manifested to Kim in the viewing suite, and she became convinced she had a mutant ability to talk to ghosts. The ghost nearly got all of them killed when it activated an X-Men-level training program against Magneto. Kim was eager to declare herself a mutant and transfer to Xavier’s, despite David’s reluctance. When Noriko threw cold water on her ghost-talking “ability,” Kim claimed David always thought Nori was obnoxious, making things awkward between them.

Although he still wasn’t convinced he believed in ghosts, David helped the other New Mutants pursue the idea that the ghost was of a student who died during Magneto's attack the previous semester. While checking the school cemetery, they had a direct confrontation with the ghost of the young former student, Jeffrey Garrett. After learning more about how Jeffrey went missing during the attack, David and Nori talked about it. Noriko admitted she particularly wanted Kim to like her because David had always been nice to her. She also felt drawn to Jeffrey because her parents hadn’t let her talk to her own little brother since she became a mutant and ran away. They all held a séance in the cafeteria for Jeffrey, who had died mid-teleportation and therefore hadn’t even left a body behind. Jeffrey revealed he approached Kim not because she was a mutant but because she was too young and vulnerable to be at the school, like he had been. Noriko and the New Mutants talked him down, and Jeffrey reenrolled in the school, even as a ghost. David told Kim he was glad she wasn’t a mutant, because of all the consequences that came with it, but she would always be his sister. [New X-Men: Academy X #7-9]

David and Julian Keller continued to butt heads. In a class on leadership and tactics, Julian singled David out for how useless his power was on the battlefield. Looking to prove himself, David had an idea and asked Emma Frost to read him telepathically. She confirmed the knowledge he gained from his powers still existed in the recesses of his mind. He could potentially retain the temporary knowledge he absorbed permanently if not for a mental block affecting his powers. David wanted her to remove that block to access his full potential, but Dani and Emma were concerned about the ramifications. Instead, they pretended to comply and combined their powers to present David with a scenario drawn from his own subconscious fears about what ultimate knowledge might bring.

In less than two decades as the scenario unfolded, David’s knowledge led him to cure all the world’s greatest diseases, thanks to the sacrifice of his friend Josh. He assumed the role of U.S. President, with most of the world’s nations uniting under his banner. He prepared a first strike scenario to wipe out China (for the greater good) and killed the X-Men before they could stop him (for the greater good). After he killed Dani, his own friends in the New Mutants and his wife Noriko teamed up with the Hellions to stop him. Noriko sacrificed herself, overloading her stabilizer gauntlets in a massive explosion that killed her and David, and destroyed the White House. David was horrified when he emerged from Dani and Emma’s scenario, witnessing how far he was willing to go when he thought he knew everything. Having to confront his crush on Dani and his feelings for Noriko only made the vision more personal and uncomfortable. David chose to leave the mental block in place. [New X-Men: Academy X #10-11]

David was haunted by what he saw in the vision for the next few months. He could hardly process how he had loved and betrayed Nori, and shut her out for weeks. The New Mutants slowly fell apart as a group. Josh and Laurie had started dating, but Kevin revealed to the school that Josh and Rahne had been hooking up the previous semester, costing Rahne her job and driving Josh and Laurie apart. David’s judgmental side resurfaced as he shut out his roommate entirely without listening to his side. A group of relative strangers, the New Mutants had no cohesion and slid down the rankings in the Field Day competition.

As prom came around, David was still avoiding Nori and offered to take Laurie to the dance as friends so they weren’t alone. Magma of the New Mutants arrived at the dance as a new teacher and spoke to Josh about waking her from her coma months ago. Laurie got jealous about Josh moving in on another teacher and used her pheromone powers to make David kiss her on the dance floor. Josh misunderstood and left, furious that his roommate would do this to him. David was equally upset towards Laurie for manipulating his emotions. At the Field Day awards ceremony, the New Mutants and Hellions came together to stop an attack by the Blob, but even that victory wasn’t enough to mend fences between the squad members. David, Josh, Laurie and Noriko were all prepared to leave the New Mutants come the next school year. [New X-Men: Academy X #12-15]

Sofia ended up arranging a campfire to bring her friends together and heal their wounds as a squad. Josh finally learned David was influenced by Laurie’s pheromones to kiss her, and David and Laurie heard out Josh about how he stopped seeing Rahne before things got serious with Laurie, in order to pursue her better. David also took Noriko aside and explained the details of his dream. He apologized for letting a possible future color their present friendship. As David was trying to explain how he felt about her, Noriko took the initiative and kissed him, and soon he kissed her back. [New X-Men: Academy X Yearbook #1]

Mutantkind soon experienced an unprecedented attack when over 90% of the mutants on Earth suddenly lost their powers. David was among those Decimated on M-Day, along with Dani Moonstar, Sofia and the majority of the school, leaving only about twenty mutant students. The still-telekinetic Julian Keller was even more obnoxious to David than usual after his power loss, but David was hesitant to leave Nori and his friends behind. He began looking into colleges in New York near the Westchester school to remain close to them. David’s reluctance to leave ultimately saved his life. Emma Frost and the X-Men tried to sneak the Decimated human students out of the Institute under cover of night. However, the fanatical Reverend Stryker and his Purifiers had knowledge from the future and staged a missile strike on the bus, killing forty-two more of Xavier’s students. [New X-Men (2nd series) #20-24]

After the bus massacre, Cyclops contacted David’s parents and they all agreed David would remain at the school, for fear he would be targeted as well if he tried to leave. He reluctantly became the only human student attending the Xavier Institute. The mansion wasn’t any safer than the world at large, though. While Sofia left safely before the bus attack, Laurie and Jay were killed by Purifiers in the days that followed, culminating in another murderous raid on the mansion by Stryker and his zealots. David was caught in the crossfire – he took a bullet in the leg keeping the Stepford Cuckoos safe from the Purifiers. A bitter and grieving Josh ended the siege when he turned his healing powers towards darker uses, killing Stryker with a touch before falling into a catatonia. [New X-Men (2nd series) #26-27]

As the remaining students struggled to recover, David pieced together some of Stryker’s ranting with other bits of information from the last few days. He realized the Purifiers had had access to Nimrod, the Super-Sentinel from the future which was now missing. Cyclops and the senior X-Men seemed to dismiss David’s concerns as they left the mansion. Only after the Blackbird departed did Nori receive a cry for help. Her Forge-built gauntlets conducted a holographic plea from Forge that he was being held by Nimrod at his Eagle Plaza base in Texas. Emma Frost had combined the remnants of the New Mutants and Hellions into a New X-Men training squad under Surge and Hellion, and they were determined to save Forge, if possible. David convinced Noriko to let him come along by bluffing that he still knew how to fly the second Blackbird.

David barely got the New X-Men to Dallas before Nimrod shot down their jet, sending it crashing into the street. Nimrod had fully restored itself, despite Forge’s efforts to stymie its repairs. The New X-Men were able to hold Nimrod at bay temporarily, but it would inevitably counter their powers, given time. Forge and David compared notes and realized that, while Nimrod’s self-repairing nanotech was practically indestructible, the time device it had stolen from Forge was not. X-23 and Mercury managed to force open a gap in Nimrod’s armor for Surge to overload the time machine, displacing Nimrod permanently from their time and space. David and the New X-Men had defeated a threat that gave the adult team a run for their money. [New X-Men (2nd series) #28-31]

Back at the mansion, Cyclops apologized to David and Nori. The X-Men had known Nimrod was potentially back, but they hid the information from the students in a misguided effort to protect them. Cyclops commended them on leading their team to victory with no further casualties. He gave the New X-Men his full support for missions and training, naming the team the official protectors of what remained of the student body. When Mercury was kidnapped by the Facility, David worked with Emma and the Cuckoos to find her, and the New X-Men and X-Men joined forces on the rescue mission. [New X-Men (2nd series) #32-36]