- Name: Cecilia Reyes
- Code Names: N/A
- First Appearance: X-Men #65 (June ’97)
- Powers: Personal force field
- Teams Affiliation: X-Men
One failing of the X-Men as a metaphor is the focus on super heroics. It is a necessary evil of the genre that any thoughts on social issues or character development have to be coupled with six pages of punching. Realistically, most people wouldn’t want to become soldiers in Xavier’s army, they would just want to live. This is being explored in interesting fashion on The Gifted right now. The comics have rarely given mutants who aren’t interested in saving the world any attention, but when they did we got Cecilia Reyes.
Cecilia grew up in a poor family and vowed to get out. Her father was shot in front of her when she was only six years old. That moment she vowed to do something to help others in her situation so they would never go through that pain again. This is where Cecilia’s story differs from most characters in a superhero comic, instead of putting on a mask and punching people, Cecilia decided to do something that would actually help. She became a doctor.
Cecilia was good at her job. Though she was still young she quickly rose through the surgical intern ranks at Our Mother of Mercy Hospital. She discovered that she was a mutant with the ability to generate a force field, but she had no intention of joining Xavier’s school, even after he approached her about it. Cecilia began to resent her mutant heritage, even celebrating mutant persecution. She wished she was never born this way, she just wanted to try and live a normal life.
Any mutant who thinks they were born into a normal life is sadly mistaken. On a routine procedure in the trauma center, Cecilia noticed something strange. A patient she had just declared dead rose from his bed and began firing at her. It was a Prime Sentinel, a product of Operation: Zero Tolerance a government-sponsored organization hellbent on destroying all mutant life. Surprisingly, she was furious when Iceman came to her rescue. Charles had promised to leave her alone and Cecilia wasn’t going to get herself drug into some war for a race she didn’t even want to be part of. Iceman tried to reassure her that everything would be alright, but she didn’t believe him. However, she didn’t have much of a choice and followed him into the Morlock tunnels.
She became part of a ragtag band of misfits on a quest to stop Operation: Zero Tolerance. Cecilia hated every moment of it. She was surrounded by a human police officer, an Israeli spy, a lifelong X-Man, and a mutant terrorist. It wasn’t her world and she wanted nothing to do with it. She stayed long enough to rest at the mansion where the other X-Men were faced with a crisis, Cyclops had a bomb implanted in him. Cecilia remembered her Hippocratic Oath, she felt an obligation to help this dying X-Man. She had subpar tools and nearly no resources but she found a way to save his life. Cyclops offered her a spot on the X-Men, but Reyes refused. She had a job and a life, she didn’t need to be an X-Man. She returned to Our Mother of Mercy trying to forget any of this ever happened.
Cecilia’s problem, though she didn’t realize it at the time, was that she was out. It wasn’t her choice, it wasn’t her plan, it shouldn’t have mattered, but she was. Many patients didn’t want a mutie working on them. She quickly realized that this life wasn’t hers, not anymore. Dr. Reyes returned to the X-Mansion dejected but ready to take on this new challenge. She never chose to be an X-Man, but the life chose her.
Being an X-Man never really fit with Cecilia. She refused to take a code name and hated wearing a jumpsuit. The makeshift team seemed to fall apart nearly as soon as it started, leaving Cecilia with a decision. She chose to start a small clinic in Salem Center. It was a compromise between her old life and her new. She could never be a regular doctor again, but she didn’t want to be an X-Man. She had come to terms with who she was born to be.
Her world would continue to intersect with the world of the X-Men. The mutants known as the Neo attacked Cecilia’s clinic and she got dragged into another mutant war. While investigating the Neo with Nightcrawler, Dr. Reyes discovered a mutant-enhancing drug called Kick Rave. She didn’t want to take it, at first, but she soon became addicted to the substance. It was only through the intervention of her fellow X-Men that Cecilia was able to quit cold turkey.
Not long after, Cecilia was captured by Weapon X and forced into their mutant concentration camps. She saw her old teammate Maggott there. He was marked for death, she didn’t want to believe it. The camp kept Cecilia alive, her medical background made her useful, but it didn’t stop her from being tortured. After the camp was shut down, Cecilia tried to cope, to repress everything she experienced there. She went back to New York to be a doctor and put her time as an X-Man behind her for good.
The life kept finding her and she eventually relocated to the X-Men’s island nation of Utopia. She assisted here and there but was satisfied with being the team doctor, not a freedom fighter. She came to New York after the schism and assisted one of the field teams as she could, striking up a fling with Gambit in the process. To this day she helps out the X-Men where she can but she has finally found some peace and balance between her two worlds.
Cecilia isn’t in a ton of comics but she is a stand out of the criminally underrated Kelly/Segal era of X-Men. She gets a spotlight in Uncanny X-Men #376 where she has to find a balance between her old life and new. She plays nurse with some heroes and villains and has to choose who she is going to be moving forward. It is a tight little issue and highlights the complexity of the character.
Cecilia falls squarely in the ton of potential but not enough attention area of the list. She is great and brings a unique perspective to the world of the X-Men. She should be a fixture of the supporting cast much like Forge has often been, and to his credit, Guggenheim is doing that in X-Men: Gold. Very comparable is Lila Cheney who I think lacks the depth Dr. Reyes has. I don’t think she can beat the history of Quicksilver so that would place her firmly as the new number 61 in the Xavier Files.
Dr. Reyes was requested by Patreon supporter Matthew Deragisch. Thank you for your support! If you have a request for how about you send it below? If you want to cut to the front of the two-year long line, we have a Patreon you can support Xavier Files for just $1 to get a line cutting reward.
Make sure you check out my podcast BATTLE OF THE ATOM. It’s where Bish & Jubez creator Adam Reck and I talk about every single X-Men story that ever existed and rank them from best to worst. Episode 26 is up and we hit two huge firsts, first Age of Apocalypse story and first bit of Weadon’s Astonishing. Make sure you subscribe to any of the following platforms (or others, I’m not picky) Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS.
Next week we travel to Shi’ar Space for a look at Gladiator! See you then!