PRODIGY: Page 3 of 4

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


Josh recovered from his catatonia and was eager to explore the new limits on his powers. He had the Cuckoos telepathically upload everything Dr. McCoy knew about medicine and genetics into his head. One of the first things he did was heal David’s vision so he no longer needed his glasses. The X-Men faced an unexpected threat when the mansion was drawn into Limbo by the returning Belasco. The demon lord had sensed the temporary resurrection of Illyana Rasputin during the House of M reality warp. He wanted to interrogate the students who had been close to her, unaware in his mania that they had no recollection of that reality. When David told Belasco that Illyana was dead, the furious sorcerer plunged his hand into David’s chest, ripping out his heart and discarding his body on the floor of the castle. 

Elixir and X-23 made a break for it after seeing David fall. As X tried to free the others, Josh called upon his bio-kinesis and improved understanding of anatomy to conjure a new heart out of stray molecules and seal David’s chest. With only moments having passed, David’s death proved mercifully brief and his body recovered. David realized Belasco had taken specific precautions with the Cuckoos, and prioritized freeing them from their telepathy-proof helmets. Reinforcements arrived in the form of the other students and Sentinel Squad, allowing David to release the Cuckoos and direct their telepathic powers to strip away Belasco’s self-deluding lies. Belasco was defeated and so the mansion and its inhabitants were returned to Earth. [New X-Men (2nd series) #37-41]

Despite their survival, Limbo proved to be a breaking point in David and Nori’s relationship. Surge and Hellion had been trapped back on Earth at first when Belasco stole the mansion, and they received a report from the escaping Trance that David had been killed. Noriko had been tasked as team leader and protector of the students by Cyclops and Emma Frost, and the trauma of having lost so many friends in the past few months threatened to overwhelm her. She thought to push David away because she loved him too much to see him die in the X-Men’s service. Noriko suddenly kissing Julian in the school’s day room was hurtful and confusing to both young men. [New X-Men (2nd series) #42]

Her actions seemed to have the desired effect, as a humiliated David started packing his room to leave the school behind.  Before he could leave, however, the Stepford Cuckoos appeared in his room. The Cuckoos remembered how David helped them during Stryker’s attack, and they in turn wanted to help him defend himself. They could telepathically restore the memory connections for past knowledge he had assimilated. David still wouldn’t be able to access new information from the minds of people anymore, but the accumulated knowledge of everyone he ever met before losing his powers would be at his fingertips. With this mental awakening, Prodigy felt confident enough to remain at the school. He confronted Surge and Hellion, telling Nori that they were through but he was staying on with the team regardless. [New X-Men (2nd series) #43]

Prodigy’s awakening would have other repercussions for his life as well. David had struggled throughout puberty with acknowledging his own bisexuality. Because his powers gave him some perspective and impressions from other people’s minds, he was left in a state of doubt over whether some of what he was feeling was truly his. After researching online and finding some allegedly scientific articles claiming bisexuality “wasn’t real,” David resolved to simply act straight, regardless of whatever else he might be feeling. When the Cuckoos opened his mind, though, the flood of experiences gave him perspective enough to sort out his own feelings from the rest. His relationship with Noriko was still over, but David was able to acknowledge his bisexuality, even if only to himself at this time. [Young Avengers (2nd series) #8, Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1]

Despite Prodigy’s new commitment to the team, the X-Men fell apart soon after. The first new mutant manifested since M-Day, sending the X-Men, Marauders and Purifiers scrambling to gain control of this miraculous infant. After casualties on both sides, Cyclops had the baby sent into the future with his son Cable for safekeeping and disbanded the X-Men after the destruction of the mansion. [Messiah CompleX crossover] After a few weeks of recovery, Cyclops reorganized the X-Men in California at the mutant-friendly city of San Francisco. All mutants and past X-Men were welcome to join them, and Prodigy was among the students who returned, lending his knowledge to Beast’s efforts reconstructing Cerebra on site. [X-Men: Legacy (1st series) #215]

Although the child was a sign of hope, Cyclops led the mutant race in a bunker mentality, trying to hold out until the Decimation could somehow be undone. Prodigy remained out of the field for most of this time, serving the X-Men more in the area of data research and analytics. He frequently assisted Beast, Cypher and the X-Club in these areas, and in the realm of tactical coordination. Once the child returned (now a teenager named Hope Summers), the evolved Nimrod called Bastion prepared a final strike on the mutant race. The X-Men’s island base Utopia and San Francisco were surrounded by an impenetrable force field with a portal at the center, spawning advanced Nimrod units from an apocalyptic future, five at a time. David broke momentarily when their probes identified more than 170,000 Nimrods waiting in the future to come through. More casualties followed that day, but the X-Men persevered and Hope’s destiny was fulfilled as new mutants began to emerge on Earth. [Second Coming crossover]

When the Museum of Mutant History opened up in San Francisco, David attended the gala opening along with a number of students and X-Men. He spoke with the new student Idie Okonkwo and was openly uncomfortable with the exhibit discussing Reverend William Stryker. David explained to Idie how deep anti-mutant hysteria can run, and how the Purifiers killed a school bus full of his friends who were no threat to anyone, just because they had once been mutants. [Generation Hope #10] A threat at the museum evolved into a Sentinel attack on Utopia while most of the X-Men were away dealing with other problems. There were mostly only students left on Utopia to defend it, and a debate was held over whether the rock was worth risking their lives over. Prodigy and the New X-Men agreed that it was and joined together with Idie and Hope’s Lights to support Cyclops’s defense plan. [Generation Hope #11]

The Sentinel attack proved to be a breaking point for the X-Men, though, as Wolverine disagreed with Cyclops about putting kids in harm’s way as soldiers. Logan decided to restart the school in Westchester to give the younger mutants a chance to be students, not warriors. [X-Men: Regenesis #1] Most of that generation went with him to attend the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, but some did not. In particular, Prodigy, Surge, Dust and Pixie remained at Utopia after most of their classmates returned to the East Coast. [Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #1]

Utopia ended badly after Cyclops and the Phoenix Five received cosmic power and slowly went corrupt under the pressure. Most of the remaining X-Men and their students defected to the Jean Grey School during the Five’s downfall, but David chose to walk away altogether. David started to accept that he wasn’t even technically a mutant anymore and heading the youth division of a publicly-described mutant terrorist organization was killing his career prospects. In order to distance himself from the X-controversy, he took a menial office job working technical support for a Super Staffing agency.

The tedium of the daily grind was interrupted by Tommy Shepherd, alias Speed of the Young Avengers. In a similar situation after his team died or retired, Tommy and David bonded over noodles. One night, though, a burglar dressed as Tommy’s old teammate Patriot was caught on camera invading the company. Speed and Prodigy did a stakeout that evening and caught the not-Patriot in the act. Something much worse than a teenaged Super-Soldier, this “Patriot” either vaporized or displaced the speedster Tommy with a touch before confronting Prodigy. After revealing there was literally nothing beneath his costume, the not-Patriot faded away, leaving David to consider his options. [Young Avengers (2nd series) #6]

Prodigy looked in to how to contact Speed’s twin brother, Wiccan, and discovered the Young Avengers had reformed while on the run from an extra-dimensional parasite called Mother. Billy and the others wanted to learn what had happened to Tommy, so they joined David in reviewing the scene of the crime. Loki, a prepubescent version of the God of Mischief, was able to detect a trail through the multiverse from where not-Patriot departed, and America Chavez could open star portals to track the Patriot. The curious entity led Prodigy and the Young Avengers through a number of different mayfly dimensions over a period of weeks, as David bonded with his new team. Still, his expanded perceptions and knowledge base had always made David good at reading people, and he was convinced Loki was guilty about something.

Eventually, their chase of the Patriot brought them directly into Mother’s realm. Prodigy and Wiccan’s fiancé Hulkling were accidentally left behind when they were too far away from America’s star-portal to enter it. David used a bit of magic language he picked up from Doctor Strange to bluff Mother long enough for them to run for it. In the heat of the moment, David reached in and kissed Teddy passionately. As they hid from Mother, David explained the unusual path that led him to bisexuality. He was embarrassed for kissing Teddy, but didn’t want to die without having expressed both sides of his sexuality for real, not just in his head. Teddy had his own fears that his fiancé, Billy the reality-warper, might have conjured him up as the “perfect boyfriend,” perhaps without even realizing it (a toxic idea planted in Teddy by Loki). With a bit of selfishness and a dash of foresight, David suggested Teddy might want to leave the group for a while to clear his head and see if his feelings remained the same once he had some space from Billy. [Young Avengers (2nd series) #7-9]

While Teddy was away, Prodigy continued traveling with the Young Avengers as they avoided further Mother incursions by steering clear of New York, where the spell was localized. However, Loki’s former friend Leah had manipulated Teddy back to New York and into Mother’s clutches. They called out the Young Avengers, threatening to release an evil army from the mayfly dimensions on the world. Because of the nature of Mother’s powers and spell, adults would be unable to see the danger for what it was, much less stop it. David reached out to his contact list, bringing together an army of their own, made up of young heroes from the Jean Grey School, Avengers Academy, the Future Foundation and more.

Prodigy and the Young Avengers entered Mother’s realm themselves to deal with her and her closest allies to rescue Teddy. Loki helped Wiccan unlock some of his future power as the Demiurge to oppose Mother. David fought the not-Patriot, who remained incredibly oblique about his motives. It turned out Leah and her people were a manifestation of Loki’s guilt over having killed and replaced a previous incarnation of himself. Once he admitted his crime, Mother’s agents other than the not-Patriot faded away. Hulkling was freed, but still had doubts about his love for Wiccan. Prodigy put aside his own feelings and reasoned out for Teddy how his love for Billy was as real as anything. With Teddy’s support, Billy claimed the Demiurge power and defeated Mother and the mayfly armies. [Young Avengers (2nd series) #11-13]

Afterwards, the Young Avengers hosted a party in Central Park to celebrate their victory. Wiccan and Prodigy made peace over David kissing Teddy. David spotted Loki lurking in the wings, and discovered Loki was funding the night’s festivities. Despite his guilt and manipulations throughout the Mother fiasco, Loki had ultimately helped save the world and David gave him credit for that. As the God of Mischief took his leave, the not-Patriot returned to David one more time. Prodigy theorized about the not-Patriot’s true intentions but was denied any real answers. Still, he accepted the entity’s relative benevolence and embraced it in a kiss when it offered. In exchange, the not-Patriot disappeared and brought back Tommy in its place. To Tommy, only a moment had passed since he disappeared in the office, and he was a little surprised to be kissing David. Prodigy and Speed rejoined the Young Avengers and partied until the break of dawn. [Young Avengers (2nd series) #14-15]