After facing loss and tragedy, Sean Cassidy founded a new X team, but his leadership decisions had dire consequences that led to the team’s demise.
The mutant corner of the Marvel Universe is home to some of the most incredible figures in comic book history and as such has produced a host of super-team lineups. Of all the X-Men who have led the charge, there is possibly none as tragic as Sean Cassidy, aka Banshee. When the X-Men’s veteran’s life was at one of its lowest ebb, he decided to pick up the pieces of his broken dreams and turn them into something new for mutants to see as a beacon of hope. Unfortunately, like so many other things in Banshee’s life, the story of one of the shortest life teams in mutant history would not be pleasant.
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Banshee’s life was at an all-time low when he decided it was time to lead his own team again. Moira MacTaggart, a longtime ally of the X-Men and Banshee’s love interest, had recently passed away, and her own branch of the Xavier School in Massachusetts, which she oversaw with Emma Frost, had closed its doors. Banshee’s time at the helm of Generation X was one of the best he had ever had, but the dissolution of the team left him in a worse state than ever. Disillusioned with Xavier’s hope for a peaceful coexistence between mutants and humanity, Banshee believed it was time for a change in tactics when it came to keeping an eye on his own people. Specifically, he believed it was time to keep an eye on them, so he asked his former students to meet one more time.
Along with Multiple Man, Jubilee, M, Husk, Radius, and Sunpyre, Banshee launched their newest outfit known as the X-Corps. Banshee intended for the X-Corps to act in a less reactionary manner than other teams he had been a part of, rather than being proactive in their vigilance for other mutants that could threaten the world. The team also listed the classic X-Men villains Blob and Avalanche, among others, all kept in line with the help of the mutant supervillain Mastermind. Banshee’s plan might have sprung from a place of genuine concern, but his tactic of holding the team together through what amounted to little more than mind control would ultimately be his undoing.
Shortly after its formation in 2002 Uncanny X-Men # 401 by Joe Casey, Ron Garney and Mark Morales, the team approached to recruit Surge, not realizing it was Mystique under the face of the potential new member. Mystique, not entirely trusting in Banshee’s methods, took it upon herself to sneak around X-Corps headquarters, searching for the secrets she was sure were kept there. It didn’t take long for her to stumble upon Mastermind, herself enslaved by one of Banshee’s machines and forced to inflict mental anguish on any of her unwilling teammates if they disobeyed a direct order or tried to leave. After freeing the minds of the most villainous members of the team, Mystique led an attack on the city of Paris, leading the rest of the X-Corps into a battle they had no hope of winning on their own. Although the X-Corps were able to defeat their former teammates, they were unable to do it on their own, instead relying on the timely help of the X-Men to save the day. Even with the battle won, the destruction he caused would have lasting consequences, one of which was Banshee’s temporary loss of powers after Mystique slit his throat during the course of the fight.
While many of the former X-Corps members would find new homes for themselves at Xavier’s X-Corporation, Banshee himself was left with little hope for the future. It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but enslaving evil mutants to act as their own paramilitary police force was perhaps the worst Banshee had in his career, truly standing out against the sea of tragedies that was his life at the time. At the very least, X-Corps remains a monument to what happens when the best intentions are all anyone has.
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