PRODIGY: Page 4 of 4

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


Prodigy and the Young Avengers were drawn into the aftermath of the Watcher’s death. The Orb was a minor super-villain who used the power of the Watcher’s severed eye to release a psychic explosion of secrets in New York. People within the blast radius were overwhelmed by accumulated knowledge unleashed from the Watcher’s archives. One apartment building full of drug users found their minds particularly engorged with foreign knowledge. The minor crime boss the Hood wanted to extract the secrets from these minds for his own profit. He first threatened and then bargained with the Young Avengers to help him, pointing own that these people were being harmed by this knowledge overwhelming their senses. The Hood convinced Prodigy to build him a Cerebro unit to extract the information from the victims’ minds. The Hood tried to pull a fast one by having the information encrypted upon extraction so that only he could access it. However, Prodigy anticipated this and modified the encryption so the Hood could never uncover the information. David told the other Young Avengers he didn’t have a decryption key for the new code, but he lied. Prodigy secretly maintained access to the Watcher’s information, ferreted away on the internet, telling himself he could be trusted to use the information responsibly. [Original Sins #1-5]

David continued looking for work and fulfillment outside the mutant sphere. He applied for a security solutions position at Stark Industries, competing against Ant-Man, Beetle and Victor Mancha, but ultimately didn’t get the job. [Ant-Man (1st series) #1] He chose to go back to school in the most outstanding way possible by enrolling in Sotomayor University, a multiversal waypoint for progressive studies that existed in its own unique sphere. He reunited with America Chavez of the Young Avengers as she entered Sotomayor as well. They became roommates and defended their school from Oubliette Midas and extra-dimensional invaders. [America #1-11] Later, David accepted a position at the Hatchi Corporation, reuniting with his old friend Karma as part of her company. He helped to coordinate the activity of the New Mutants field team while Karma sent them looking for traces of her bodiless brother Tran. [New Mutants: Dead Souls #1-6]

Prodigy remained active on the Forums for young heroes and was appointed to the back-up roster for the Champions’ youth movement of teenaged super-heroes. [Champions (3rd series) #1] He continued to associate with his old Young Avengers teammates as well, and even began dating Speed. [Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1] They were present at the wedding of Hulkling and Wiccan where Teddy was also chosen to be “king of space,” Emperor to the newly-united Kree-Skrull Alliance. [Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1] Finally, Prodigy was chosen among many heroes to stand in defense of Wakanda from a rogue intergalactic empire bearing the same name. Through a psychic channel transmitted from the Dark Room virtual interface, David was connected to the minds of Wakanda’s soldier and allies. Prodigy accessed and implemented the Beholder Protocols, operating troop deployment and asset allocation for the entire battle, his mind conceiving strategies and moving pieces across the battlefield in perfect coordination. [Black Panther (7th series) #23-25]

[Note: Prodigy’s status during the X-Men: Disassembled event was inconsistent. In Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #10, he appeared among the many past and present X-Men assembled by Jean Grey and Pixie to fight against X-Man. All those present were presumed dead when X-Man drew them into his pocket reality. However, David also appeared in #17, at the funeral for Wolfsbane in the prime reality while the others were missing.]

A radical new development occurred for the X-Men and mutantkind when Xavier and Magneto banded together and founded a mutant nation on the living island of Krakoa. The island produced exotic flowers that in turn made pharmaceuticals of great value to mankind. This created leverage that allowed them to be recognized by the United Nations at an accelerated pace as a member nation. Another innovation brought to mutantkind was immortality through resurrection – Josh Foley and four other mutants learned to combine their powers and create a proto-husk body for any mutant who died. Xavier had secretly been using Cerebro to maintain a backup of mutant brain wave patterns for years and could therefore restore a mind to each new body. Through resurrection, even mutants who lost their powers could return to life, and with their abilities fully restored.

It was chaos in the weeks leading up to Krakoa’s formation, and many mutants were killed as the Office of National Emergency started to crack down on them. David was believed to be among a group of Xavier students massacred at the school by the O*N*E, though his body wasn’t recovered. Prodigy was brought back by the Resurrection Five with his powers intact for the first time since M-Day. (Presently, it appears David retains the accumulated information the Cuckoos unlocked in his head as a permanent knowledge base. It is somewhat unclear whether new information derived through his powers still fades in time.)

David’s somewhat ad hoc resurrection highlighted the system’s flaws. These would be addressed soon after when David volunteered to help his old teacher Northstar find his twin sister, Aurora. Jean-Paul had sensed Jeanne-Marie’s death, but the Five were now looking for proof of death before initiating the resurrection process. With Polaris, Eye-Boy, Daken and Prestige, they found Aurora’s body and solved her murder in under a day. The six of them came together after that as X-Factor Investigations, Krakoa’s official detective agency focused on locating lost mutants and providing proof of death, if necessary, to the Resurrection Five. [X-Factor (4th series) #1]

Their first official case led them to Mojoworld when a package was dropped off on the steps of the Boneyard, X-Factor's headquarters, with bloody ballerina slippers covered in sponsorship logos. Prodigy’s multi-dimensional search engine ID’ed the Mojoverse as the source, and X-Factor used a new Krakoan gate to pass through. David learned the mutant victim of Mojoworld was his depowered teammate Sofia Mantega. She had tried to become a livestreamer in Mojoworld, only for her ghoulish followers to vote for her to die on stream. Spiral and Shatterstar directed X-Factor to where her body was being kept before Mojo could have Sofia autopsied on-camera. As David struggled with her death, Northstar stepped in to carry his friend’s body back to Krakoa where she could be resurrected. [X-Factor (4th series) #2-3]

Before Sofia could be revived, a crisis occurred where Krakoa went to war with the forces of Arakko on the fields of Otherworld. Rockslide, another of Prodigy’s old teammates, was killed in Otherworld, revealing a flaw in Cerebro’s back-ups. If a mutant died in the omni-dimensional plane of Otherworld, their back-up was corrupted by multiversal probabilities. Prodigy and X-Factor helped perform initial tests on the resurrected Rockslide to determine how much, if anything, of the original Santo remained within. Still, resurrection protocols seemed to be working otherwise, and so a party was held for the returning Wind Dancer and Rockslide. David from X-Factor and Josh from the Five invited many of the other returning students like Wallflower, Tag and Loa. [X-Factor (4th series) #5]

Sofia’s return prompted David to ask questions about his own resurrection. He recognized that his death was only reported, not proven according to the standards set up by X-Factor after his return. David compared notes with Tommy, and they pieced together that he couldn’t have died the night of the O*N*E massacre like he presumed, because they were together that night. In fact, Tommy was apparently tagged by David in a photo of the two of them that evening, posted on a social media account with no other pictures. David didn’t remember posting the photo, because it happened in a blind spot for his Cerebro backups, but he started to realize he had deliberately set himself up to find this information, raising even more questions about the real circumstances of his death.

Meanwhile, on the job, Prodigy began taking an interest in mutant pathology. He met with Doctor Reyes in Krakoa’s Healing Gardens to accumulate more knowledge about medicine and autopsies for X-Factor’s work. He was also interested in putting together a body farm from the mutant corpses brought to the Gardens. David thought something could be learned from studying mutant decomposition and the unique environmental factors found on Krakoa. Northstar was initially opposed to planting corpses on their front lawn at the Boneyard, but David made an impassioned speech about the potential to build an entirely new field of academic study this way, and Jean-Paul realized how important this was to his young charge. He relented, and let David pursue his passions. [X-Factor (4th series) #6-8]

Prodigy’s analysis of the metadata from Tommy’s photo brought him new clues about his death. He learned the photo was posted from Club Pepper in West Hollywood and went there to investigate the night of the Hellfire Gala. Some sympathetic bartenders gave David his old cell phone back – the one that posted the photo and which he had left with them for safekeeping before his death. A video of David on the phone filled in the blanks. Prodigy had been hunting a serial killer who targeted young, queer, black men and identified film producer Buck Thatcher as the culprit. He planned to confront Thatcher but set up a contingency plan in case he died. Thatcher did kill David originally, and Prodigy retraced his steps and confronted his own murderer. X-Factor got involved and ensured there was enough evidence for Thatcher to be arrested for two decades’ worth of murders, thanks to Prodigy’s detective work. [X-Factor (4th series) #9-10]

[Note: Frankly, the timeline for Prodigy’s murder plot doesn’t make sense. The final revelations indicate David planned for his death with full knowledge of Krakoa resurrection protocols, Cerebro backups and the blindspots that occur between one weekly backup and the next. However, he started the series believing he died during O*N*E’s crackdown on mutants during X-Men: Disassembled, which occurred before Krakoa was even founded. The accelerated cancellation of X-Factor Vol. 4 forced this plotline to resolve in a single issue, which perhaps can account for the confusion.]