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Cover to X-Men 2099 # 22 featuring Xi'an joining the Theatre of Pain
Art by Ron Lim
|First appearance||X-Men 2099 #1 (October, 1993)|
|Created by||John Francis Moore
|Alter ego||Xi'an Chi Xan|
|Team affiliations||X-Men 2099
Theatre of Pain
|Notable aliases||Desert Ghost, Controller X|
Xi'an (Xi'an Chi Xan) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created for their Marvel 2099 imprint. In the title X-Men 2099, he was the founder, leader, and enemy of the team of X-Men who was always haunted by his past.
Fictional character biography
Xi'an Chi Xan was born into a well-respected family. However, when his mutant power to break down the molecular structure of whatever he touches with his left hand manifested, his parents turned him over to a genetics lab to save their own reputation. Before reaching the lab, Xi'an destroyed his restraints and escaped. He spent much of the rest of his youth on the streets, in and out of gangs before joining The Lawless, gaining the nickname "The Desert Ghost". After being chased by bounty hunters in Saigon, Xi'an left the Lawless and returned to the US, with a more refined demeanor and a new purpose, to create his own version of the X-Men to help fight for genetic equality.
The team almost immediately runs into trouble when Xi'an is accused of murdering casino mogul Noah Synge. The team hurries to clear his name, but in the course of things Xi'an is shot. Instead of dying his body encases itself in a cocoon. He soon emerges from this cocoon fully healed. This trauma also triggers a secondary mutation, giving Xi'an the power to heal with his right hand.
Xi'an then leads the team to find Mama Hurricane, who was a runner for the mutant underground railroad during The Great Purge of mutants, some decades prior. They find her and gain knowledge on The Driver, her next contact within the railroad, but are then sidetracked to El Paso, where Krystalin has uncovered evidence of an "Archangel"-like mutant. They discover a hidden base where Master Zhao, the leader of the last known X-Men cell, has kidnapped Krys and Xi'an's former Lawless teammate Victor Ten Eagles. Over the years, Zhao has made himself mentally unstable with psych-drugs and plans to brainwash Xi'an's team into his own X-Men. However, in his initial assault on Xi'an's mind it is revealed that Xi'an's prior Lawless personality has been laying dormant, as a sort of alternate personality. In order to defeat Zhao, Xi'an returns to his more amoral personality, knocking the former mutant leader into a coma with a psychic backlash.
Having returned to his old ways, Xi'an leaves the team, attempting to locate the driver on his own, though he is followed by Skullfire. After finding the Driver, they are attacked by Brimstone Love, the leader of the Theatre of Pain. Xi'an joins the Theatre, returning to El Paso to steal the bodies of Zhao and his failed attempt at genetically creating X-Men with powers similar to the originals, One-Eyed Jack, Psycho K and Wingspan.
During his initiation into the Theatre, Xi'an was forced to relive some of his most traumatic memories, fighting holographically produced villains from his past. As a final rite of passage he refuses the aid of his moral half and is dubbed Controller X. Using the psychic energy of the comatose Zhao, Xi'an creates a symphony of suffering and pain for the Theatre on a scale they had not seen before. During the performance, the team of X-Men he had created infiltrate the Theatre and rescue him. New X-Man and former Theatre of Pain slave La Lunatica uses her mutant ability to bring to the surface all of Xi'an's past and present misdeeds, finally balancing his turbulent psyche, reverting him to his calm and moral self. With this comes the revelation of all he has done and a heavy-hearted need to atone for his sins.
Xi'an then travels with the X-Men to the mutant City-State of Halo City, where he leaves the team to open a clinic and heal people with his powers. He briefly rejoins his remaining Lawless brethren; Auntie Maim, Mongrel and Victor Ten Eagles, to escape The Foolkiller, a human hunting down members of The Lawless for their part in the massacre of his hometown.
With the rest of humanity, Xi'an retreats to the Savage Land as the polar ice caps begin to melt and flood the world. He helps to rebuild civilization, often getting in heated arguments with the surviving humans. His long-time friend Victor Ten Eagles attempts to help him while Morphine Somers attempts to disrupt the fragile peace within the Last Refuge, believing mutants should rule by right of genetic superiority. The remaining humans band together but the series is cancelled before more of the storyline can be explored.
Powers and abilities
Xi'an's mutant abilities manifest themselves through his hands; one allows him to disintegrate matter upon contact while the other heals injuries and sicknesses.
It was also discovered after his body sustains massive injury it forms a healing cocoon around himself.
- X-Men 2099 #22
- X-Men 2099 #22
- X-Men 2099 #1-3
- X-Men 2099 #6-9
- X-Men 2099 #10-19
- X-Men 2099 #22-25
- X-Men 2099 #26
- X-Men 2099 #32-34
- 2099: World of Tomorrow #1-8
- 2099 Manifest Destiny