Madelyne Pryor

Madelyne Pryor

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Madelyne Pryor
 Madelyne Pryor
Debut appearance; from Uncanny X-Men #168.
Art by Paul Smith.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #168 (April 1983)
Created by Chris Claremont
Paul Smith
In story information
Alter ego Madelyne (“Maddie”) Jennifer Pryor [formerly Pryor-Summers]
Team affiliations X-Men
Hellfire Club
Notable aliases Anodyne, Goblin Queen, Black Rook
Abilities Telepathy,
Psionic energy absorption,
Various mystical powers

Madelyne Pryor is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe. Although originally a supporting member of the X-Men cast for quite some time, she experienced a variety of troubles in her life (including being rejected by her husband and losing her son), which eventually led to her manipulation into becoming a demonic-powered supervillain named the Goblin Queen. Writer Chris Claremont may have chosen her name from Maddy Prior, lead singer of the folk-rock band Steeleye Span (see Notes below).


  • 1 Fictional character biography
    • 1.1 Romance
    • 1.2 Build-up to Inferno
    • 1.3 Inferno
    • 1.4 Postscript
    • 1.5 Return
  • 2 Additional character history
    • 2.1 Anodyne
    • 2.2 Alternative future
  • 3 Notes
  • 4 Powers and abilities
  • 5 Other versions
    • 5.1 Mutant X
    • 5.2 Marvel Mangaverse
    • 5.3 What If…? (2nd series)
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Fictional character biography


Madelyne’s biography is complicated because of the many retcons involved. She was originally introduced as a human love interest of Scott Summers with a few mysterious traits: she had survived a fatal airplane crash on the same day Phoenix died on the moon, and Professor X was unable to scan her mind (which, he said, was occasionally possible among normal humans). After a series of events involving Mastermind (who wanted revenge for Phoenix having driven him insane) and his telepathic illusions, Madelyne married Scott, and he soon decided to retire from the X-Men.

Madelyne gave birth to a child, named Nathan Christopher Charles Summers. Although Scott tried to live a normal life, he received a call from his former teammate Angel that Jean Grey had been found, alive. He abandoned Madelyne and his son who, shortly thereafter, were attacked by Mr. Sinister‘s Marauders, and Nathan was taken away. Madelyne was hospitalized, but Sinister had erased all her records.

Madelyne called the X-Men for help, and they arrived and fought off another attack by the Marauders. She stayed with the X-Men as they fought the Adversary, and sacrificed their lives to stop him. Resurrected by the Omniversal Guardian Roma, the X-Men worked secretly out of an abandoned Reaver base in Australia. Madelyne became the team’s technical advisor, as she was mysteriously the only one able to fully understand the Reavers’ advanced computer array.

Build-up to Inferno

The demon S’ym later invaded Madelyne’s mind through her dreams and offered her the power to hurt Scott just as he had hurt her with his adultery and his abandonment of her and their child. Helpless and in confusion, she unwittingly accepted. She later struck a bargain with another demon, N’astirh, to find her missing baby.

At this time, Madelyne started an affair with her brother-in-law Havok, since he himself had lost his girlfriend Polaris, whose body had been taken over by Malice.

Captured by the Genoshan magistrates and taken by force to their island-nation, Madelyne was subject to psychic torture. The idea was that, as part of turning her into a docile slave who served the state, she would be deprived of all motherly instincts. Madelyne lashed out with some powerful subconscious abilities which caused the deaths of her torturers [1], but, as it tuned out, the damage was done.

In the recorded psychic images of the probe which had been performed upon Madelyne, she appeared as the Goblin Queen, while Genosha’s Genegineer appeared in Sinister’s outfit [2].

The demons then fully activated her latent telekinetic and telepathic powers and she became the Goblin Queen for real. This started the Inferno crossover.


This crossover retconned a new origin for Madelyne. In this origin, Mr. Sinister, believing that a child of Scott Summers and Jean Grey would have great powers, had created a clone of Jean specifically to fall in love with Scott and produce a child. When Phoenix committed suicide, a part of the Phoenix Force entered the clone and gave it life. Sinister named the clone “Madelyne Pryor,” created a false background and implanted memories for her, and sent her to Alaska where she and Scott Summers met and fell in love.

Now, in the present, N’astirh took Madelyne to an orphanage in Nebraska, the front for Sinister’s genetic laboratory. Sinister captured her and told her all about her creation and her intended goal. This, and the fact that even her childhood memories were nothing more that those of her hated rival Jean Grey, destroyed Madelyne’s last grasps of sanity. She used her black magic to escape, and N’astirh brought her son, intending to sacrifice him to ensure a permanent demonic presence on Earth. As a result of her experiences, Madelyne was now all too willing to go along.

In New York, where Inferno was already in full swing, she pitted X-Factor against the X-Men by reverting to her normal appearance and claiming that Scott wanted to take her baby away. She even turned Jean Grey’s own parents into demons, facing her enemy with the dilemma of fighting them or being torn to bits.

220px MadelyneXM42 Madelyne Pryor

magnify clip Madelyne Pryor

From X-Man #42. Art by Roger Cruz

The teams eventually defeated N’astirh, but Madelyne, becoming suicidal upon the discovery of being a clone, trapped herself and Jean Grey in a telekinetic bubble, then killed herself and tried to telepathically take Jean with her. Jean survived by re-integrating the portions of her essence absorbed by the Phoenix Force and by Madelyne.

The X-Men and X-Factor then went after Sinister, whom they blamed for Madelyne’s breakdown. More retcons then held that Sinister’s connection to Cyclops went back long before his meeting either Jean or Madelyne. Cyclops was eventually able to disintegrate Sinister (a destruction which, as normal for a popular villain, turned out to be only temporary).


A couple of years after the Inferno crossover, a new character called Cable debuted. Featured as being a “mutant soldier-of-fortune,” Cable eventually was established to be Madelyne Pryor and Cyclops’ son, Nathan Christopher, time-travelled from the future.


Madelyne mysteriously re-appeared in X-Man #5 (July 1995) with little memory of her past. Under the tutelage of Selene, this new Madelyne served as the Hellfire Club’s Black Rook, gradually learning more of her previous life, and eventually meeting Cable in an uneasy truce. X-Man #25 (March 1997) revealed that Madelyne was a “psychic construct”, unconsciously resurrected by the psionic powers of Nate Grey (X-Man). However, unlike other psychic constructs, X-Man was unable to uncreate her.

After X-Man #52 (June 1999), Madelyne did not appear again until much later in X-Man #67 (September 2000). It was then revealed that this Madelyne was an impostor, a parallel universe Jean Grey. The impostor implied that Madelyne was fake all along, but at another time she claimed she “replaced your Maddie several months ago.” The in-story evidence remains ambiguous, and X-Man ended at #75 without any more about her.

Madelyne also appeared in Cable #76 (February 2000), when Cyclops and Cable encountered her as a psionic ghost on the astral plane, apparently stripped of all her tremendous powers. This seems to be regarded as her final “standard universe” appearance since.

Additional character history


Early in Madelyne and Scott’s marriage, they would have a brief but dramatic encounter with the Norse god, Loki, in the 2-part X-Men and Alpha Flight limited-series (December-1985 & January-1986). Entirely for his own purposes, Loki magically endowed mystical powers on a small group of completely un-superpowered humans, including Madelyne (excluding Scott, who already had powers). Madelyne was transformed into a mystical healer of virtually any injury, illness, and physical-defect, and was given the name, Anodyne. Among Madelyne’s deeds with her healing powers, Cyclops’ old injury was cured, enabling him to function without protective lenses. When it was discovered that Loki’s intentions were never altruistic, and that his gift was badly flawed, as one of the costs of those powers was the loss of individual creativity and imagination, everyone went against him. His plans ruined, Loki spitefully removed all the powers he had granted, and Madelyne and the other beneficiaries of the gift were reverted back to their original states, and Scott and everyone else who Anodyne cured of permanent flaws were also regressed back.

It was during this adventure that Madelyne’s pregnancy was announced. Also, Cyclops would meet Rachel Summers for the first time.

Note: Almost immediately, Loki would attempt revenge on the X-Men by having Storm and the New Mutants abducted and taken to Asgard.

Alternative future

Madelyne appears in an important role late in the X-Men: The End limited-series about a “possible future”; scripted by Chris Claremont.

In the story, Madelyne — through circumstances left unexplained — makes a surprise return; implied as being the first time since Inferno, with no references to Nate Grey whatsoever (although she and Cable are later shown to be already familiar). Mysteriously joined with the X-Men’s alien enemies, Madelyne affected a disguise to infiltrate the X-Men, planting herself near Cyclops for the rest of the series. No longer insane, but still vengeful at Cyclops, nonetheless Madelyne hesitated in taking revenge and instead took to protecting him, after eavesdropping on Cyclops expressing remorse for everything that happened to her, and even implied that he genuinely loved her. Admitting later to having recognized her at some point, Cyclops might have deliberately intended for Madelyne to overhear him, but an understanding and peace was finally reached between them, for the sake of aiding their son Cable in battle. When Cable’s effort leaves him dying, a grief-stricken Madelyne is accepted back with the X-Men again. After Cyclops and Jean Grey are also killed, Madelyne cryptically reveals that, since the very beginning, she was always both Madelyne Pryor and a crucial portion of Jean Grey herself (and even hinted to being the Dark Phoenix). Madelyne then sacrifices herself by turning into energy and fusing with Jean Grey, who is once again resurrected. Jean is able to use her power to its fullest again, which allows her and all the dead X-Men to merge with the Phoenix and transcend to a new level of existence.

In the story’s final panel, Madelyne’s image is present next to Cyclops’, among the X-Men who died heroically.


  • A child identifying herself as “Maddy Pryor” appears in the Chris Claremont-scripted Avengers Annual #10 (1981). The child reappeared as Madelyne’s mental image of herself in X-Men #238 (1988), wearing the same clothes as the character from Avengers Annual #10, and repeating almost the same line of dialogue (along with an in-joke about a Steeleye Span song being referenced). No explanation has ever been given.
  • Madelyne’s hairstyle from her introductory appearance in 1983 (which remained unchanged until around 1988) was modeled on the hairstyle worn (in 1982) by the editor of Uncanny X-Men at that time, Louise Jones (later Louise Simonson).[3] (Similarly, a character was modeled on Louise Jones in DC Comics’ 1971 now-classic House of Secrets #92.) Former editor Louise Simonson would later be co-writer of the Inferno storyline, and co-creator of the Madelyne retcon and death.
  • The link between Madelyne and Jean Grey was originally entirely the product of Mastermind. Seeking to revenge himself upon the X-Men in response to what Phoenix did to him, he used his powers of illusion to convince the X-Men that Madelyne was Phoenix incarnate. His intent was to have the X-Men kill her, thus murdering an innocent person. The clone aspect of the character is a retcon; originally, Chris Claremont had conceived Madelyne as a device to write Scott Summers out of the X-Men and have him retire “happily ever after” with Madelyne and their child.
    • When asked about his plans for Madelyne’s character[1], Claremont said
“ The original Madelyne storyline was that, at its simplest level, she was that one in a million shot that just happened to look like Jean [Grey, a.k.a. the first Phoenix]! And the relationship was summed up by the moment when Scott says: “Are you Jean?” And she punches him! That was in [Uncanny X-Men #] 174. Because her whole desire was to be loved for herself not to be loved as the evocation of her boyfriend’s dead sweetheart.I mean, it’s a classical theme. You can go back to a whole host of 30’s films, 40’s, Hitchcock films -, but it all got invalidated by the resurrection of Jean Grey in X-Factor # 1. The original plotline was that Scott marries Madelyne, they have their child, they go off to Alaska, he goes to work for his grandparents, he retires from the X-Men. He’s a reserve member. He’s available for emergencies. He comes back on special occasions, for special fights, but he has a life. He has grown up. He has grown out of the monastery; he is in the real world now. He has a child. He has maybe more than one child. It’s a metaphor for us all. We all grow up. We all move on.Scott was going to move on. Jean was dead get on with your life. And it was close to be a happy ending. They lived happily everafter, and it was to create the impression that maybe if you came back in ten years, other X-Men would have grown up and out, too. Would Kitty stay with the team forever? Would Nightcrawler? Would any of them? Because that way we could evolve them into new directions, we could bring in new characters. There would be an ongoing sense of renewal, and growth and change in a positive sense. Then, unfortunately, Jean was resurrected, Scott dumps his wife and kid and goes back to the old girlfriend. So it not only destroys Scott’s character as a hero and as a decent human being it creates an untenable structural situation: what do we do with Madelyne and the kid? …So ultimately the resolution was: turn her into the Goblin Queen and kill her off. „

Powers and abilities

Since Madelyne was cloned from Jean Grey’s DNA, she was essentially another version of Jean, and possessed Jean’s telekinetic and telepathic abilities, but also manifested these abilities in ways that Jean never could. As Goblin Queen, her powers were exponentially enhanced by demonic magic to the point where her telekinesis could warp reality in a localized area, and her telepathy could alter the minds of a population within that area. After her resurrection by X-Man (Nate Grey), Madelyne’s telepathy was reduced to a lower level, limiting her to reading minds, communicating by broadcasting her thoughts, creating minor illusions, changing or erasing some memory in another person, and defending herself against other telepaths. Her telekinetic abilities remained at high levels; such that Madelyne could move, lift and manipulate large objects or even rearrange objects on a molecular level, channel her telekinetic powers to fire powerful mental force-blasts, focus her psionic energy into a protective shield, and levitate herself in order to fly. Madelyne also developed powers that Jean never possessed. She was able to teleport over long distances by psychokinetically shunting herself in and out of the astral plane (and was shown to be able to carry along at least one other person with her when teleporting). Madelyne could also siphon psionic energies from other psionic mutants and then use the stolen energy to boost her own powers, or channel the energy into someone else (usually Nate Grey, and Cable) to temporarily increase their psionic abilities. A few stories have also shown Madelyne able to utilize her powers to greatly enhance her physical strength and agility, to the level of being a lethal hand-to-hand combatant.

Other versions

Mutant X

In the alternate reality known as the Mutant X universe, Cyclops was carried away into space during a plane crash (along with his father Christopher and mother), leaving his brother Havok as one of the founders of the X-Men. As in the main Marvel universe, Jean Grey died and was replaced by her clone, Madelyne. But this reality’s Madelyne fell in love with Havok and had a son, Scotty, with him. She also made a deal with S’ym and N’astirh and initiated the Inferno Crisis, unlocking her latent mental abilities (becoming known as Marvel Woman). However, she survived the crisis and left with her husband when he formed the splinter group called The Six. Her evil side resurfaced a number of times, first as the Goblyn Queen (intentionally spelled with a “y”, instead of the original i spelling of “Goblin Queen”) and later as the “Goblyn Force”. When it returned a second time, it merged with the Beyonder to form a nigh-omnipotent being. Havok supposedly saved Madelyne by placing the Nexus of Realities in her body, purging her of the malevolent Goblyn Force and reuniting her with Scotty, before Havok returned once more to the void.

Marvel Mangaverse

In the Marvel Mangaverse title Legacy of Fire, Madelyne was reinvented as Madelyne Pyre, a powerful sorceress, and possessor of the Phoenix Sword, who was training her sister Jena to be her successor.

What If…? (2nd series)

In an alternate reality What If…? story, Cyclops and Havok belonged to Mr. Sinister, who created his own team of “X-Men”, which included Madelyne Pryor; also a clone of Jean Grey. However, this version of Madelyne had never awakened on her own, so was simply a mindless shell inhabited by the psychic entity, Malice. Eventually, Cyclops and Havok went over to Xavier’s X-Men, while Madelyne/Malice’s fate was not shown.

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