Fans are still talking about the explosive episode of X-Men ’97. I’ll refrain from spoilers for those few who haven’t seen it. Just when you thought the show couldn’t get more exciting, Marvel has released a a preview clip for tomorrow’s episode revealing not only the return of the Imperial Guard now under the control of Deathbird but that Vulcan, better known as Gabriel Summers, the brother of Scott and Alex, will be making his debut.

The third Summers brother is a plot point in X-Men comic books with a long an complicated history. It was first referenced by writer Fabian Nicieza in X-Men vol. 2 #23 when the villain Mister Sinister had a conversation with X-Men member Cyclops and casually mentions Cyclops’ “brothers.” A decade later, the character of Gabriel Summers/Vulcan was introduced in appeared in the X-Men: Deadly Genesis miniseries.

After finding his way back to the land of the living, Vulcan embarked on a quest of revenge against the Shi’ar Empire and began a relationship with disgraced Shi’ar princess Deathbird. Eventually Vulcan and Deathbird were able to usurp the Shi’ar throne eventually waging war against the Kree Empire.

Fans of the original X-Men: The Animated Series will recall that Deathbird appeared as an ally to the mutant Apocalypse in the multipart “Beyond Good and Evil” storyline. Since the original series ended, she’s clearly leveled up taking control of the Shi’ar and Imperial Guard. 

Likewise, since we know Professor Xavier isn’t actually dead but departed the Earth in order to live under the care of Lilandra (Deathbird’s sister), it seems a safe bet that the episode will give us a proper catchup on what’s been going on with the X-Men founder since the epic X-Men: TAS finale.