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Comic Book / NYX

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The only thing anyone remembers about the series...

Marvel's NYX series consists of two separate miniseries:

The first was NYX: Wannabe, a seven-issue miniseries written by Joe Quesada and Zeb Wells, with art by Joshua Middleton, Jean-Francois Beaulieu and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos. It first ran in 2003 before later being collected into a trade paperback, and focused primarily on a young homeless mutant named Kiden Nixon in a particularly rough part of New York City.

As a young child, Kiden witnesses the death of her police officer father in a drive-by shooting. Years later, she's a troubled teenager who stays out late partying, smokes, and uses recreational drugs. One day at school she gets into a fight with a fellow student who has gang connection, and during the confrontation her latent mutant powers activate, giving her a sort of time manipulation (time slows for everyone around her, but progresses normally for her, effectively giving her Super-Speed and Super-Reflexes. And Super-Strength, when she snaps the gang-banger's arm with just a light touch). Unfortunately, the conflict between them escalates and an innocent bystander gets hurt in the crossfire, leading to Kiden fleeing to the streets, where she must learn to cope with her new powers. Over the course of the story, she gathers a small group of other castoff mutants: Tatiana Caban, a Shapeshifter who can take on aspects of any animal whose blood she comes in contact with, Bobby Soul—a Body Surfer going by the name of Felon who can take control of others by possessing them, at the expense of his memories of what he's done, or even who he is—and his little brother, known only as Lil' Bro. Last is a withdrawn teen prostitute with metal claws and whom no one knows who she is. Accompanying them is Kiden's former high school teacher, Cameron Palmer.

Now a relatively obscure title, today it's primarily memorable as the series which brought X-23 to the comics universe after first appearing in X-Men: Evolution.

A six-issue follow-up series, NYX: No Way Home, was released beginning in 2008, this time written by Marjorie Liu. This series followed Kiden, Bobby, Tatiana and Lil' Bro (X-23 having departed and eventually finding her way to the X-Men), as Kiden is pursued by a sinister force seeking to make use of her powers. Unlike Wannabe, which was largely self-contained and only loosely mentioned the larger Marvel universe, No Way Home featured appearances by significant characters such as Cable and Venom, an alternate universe version of Wolverine, and X-Men ally Cecilia Reyes.

In 2024, it was announced that a new series would be released as part of the X-Men: From the Ashes initiative.

Tropes featured in NYX:

  • Aborted Arc: The series itself, as noted under Schedule Slip. Originally conceived as a regular ongoing, constant and significant delays led to its cancellation at the conclusion of the first arc.
  • Air Quotes: Kiden uses air quotes while assuring her brother that, yes, those drugs he scored for her were "the bomb".
  • Astral Projection: Bobby's ability to Body Surf appears to also include a bit of this.
  • Asshole Victim: You probably don't feel to bad when Bobby slugs Kiden's brother.
  • Atrocious Alias: After manifesting, Tatiana considers taking to calling herself "Catiana," before deciding that it sounds incredibly stupid.
  • Ax-Crazy: When Daddy drops his Faux Affably Evil act, he turns downright psychotic.
  • Big Bad: Zebra Daddy, whose efforts to recover X-23 after she runs away drives the second half of the series.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Bobby is heavily driven by this. Everything he does is to look out for Lil' Bro. When he later questions Kiden's older brother about her whereabouts while looking for X-23, he punches him out when he Body Surfs into him and finds out just how big of a dick he was to her.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: The series is set in New York City, in a particularly rough, crime-ridden neighborhood.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Zebra Daddy is killed, and Kiden's actions guided by Nick and Lil' Bro have greatly helped Cameron and the others. However Kiden never reconnects with her family, and the letter she sent her mother to let her know she's ok arrives after they leave for their new home.
  • Blessed with Suck: Bobby can use his power to Body Surf and take control of other people, with some Astral Projection ability. Unfortunately, it also wreaks havoc on his memory: He can't clearly remember where he's been or what he's done, and it also causes him to forget aspects of his life.
    • Tatiana's power: She can take on aspects of different animals that prove useful (like a big, hulking cat monster for scaring off a lynchmob or scaling the outside of Mrs. Palmer's apartment in an effort to save her after she's thrown out a window by one of Daddy's goons). Unfortunately, it only works when she comes into contact with the animal's blood, meaning she has to kill or injure the animal to transform. And oh yeah, Tatiana's an animal lover.
  • Bullet Time: What Kiden's power ultimately comes down to.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kiden's best friend in school, Kara. She gets her ass completely kicked by Hector's girlfriends, and is utterly humiliated by wetting herself. Things don't seem to get much better for her after the shooting in the school. With Kiden gone she's lost her only real friend, and when Bobby comes to question her about Kiden's whereabouts, he outright threatens to take over her body, make her slug one of the Alpha Bitches who torment her, then abandon her body and let her deal with the consequences when she tries to avoid him.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Kiden can run all she likes, her father's ghost will still pop up with another place she needs to go.
  • Cassandra Truth: Poor Kiden. Mrs. Palmer doesn't believe her when she tries to "come out" to her as a mutant, and she certainly doesn't believe she keeps being visited by the ghost of her father, telling her where to go and when to gather their eclectic band.
  • Corrupt Cop: The cop manning the metal detector at Kiden's school allows Hector to sneak a gun in so he can try to kill Kiden. A Freeze-Frame Bonus of the cop's wrist shows a gang tattoo, indicating the man is part of the same gang as Hector.
  • Crapsack World: The part of New York where the action takes place is an absolute shithole: poor, crime-ridden, and violent. Kiden's school has police and metal detectors to keep gang activity out. It doesn't help, especially when the cops are Gangbangers themselves.
  • Creepy Child: Everyone thinks this about X-23.
  • Crossover: A near-miss variety between NYX: No Way Home and X-23's solo series. In the Chaos Theory arc of her series, Laura and Gambit arrive at Cecilia Reyes's home not long after Kiden and her group had been staying there.
  • Darker and Edgier: NYX eschews the typical comic book focus on superheroics, and focuses on a world that's much more gritty and realistic than what's usually seen in such books. The crime and violence associated with urban decay, poverty and corruption are major themes, and Zebra Daddy is able to make himself quite an influential gangland figure in the Flatiron District despite being just a normal human being without any superpowers. This in many ways makes him an even more frightening villain for the readers than characters like Doctor Doom, as his actions are painted very realistically, and are something that's much more accessible and familiar to the reader.
  • Destination Defenestration: In the climax, a mook throws Mrs. Palmer out of her apartment window and to her intended death. Tatiana catches her, but is unable to hold on. Ultimately, Kiden uses her time-bending powers to quickly move a pile of mattresses to safely break her fall, saving her life.
  • Disability Superpower: Lil' Bro is severely autistic, but is a powerful telepath.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Zebra Daddy makes it quite clear he sees X-23 and the other women he pimps for as property he can discard on a whim, even putting out the eye of another of his girls as punishment when X escapes and he thinks the girl helped. When he finally catches up to X in the climax, Daddy quite remorselessly and casually guns her down. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't know what she really is. She makes short work of him when she finally gets fed up with him.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Even if she is his favorite girl, it's pretty clear that Zebra Daddy has been quite abusive towards X-23. When Kiden passes on killing Daddy to avenge her father in order to save Mrs. Palmer instead, X takes care of things herself.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mrs. Palmer's husband leaves her at some point after she was shot, she's shown to still be in physical pain and a bit shell shocked from the shooting, and has lost all interest in her work. She tries to kill herself, but Kiden saves her life.
    • The suicide of one of her Johns sends X-23 on the run with Kiden's group.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Nixon family after Kiden's father was killed. Kiden is rebellious, smokes, parties and takes drugs. Her elder brother is a Jerkass and low-level pusher, implied to be dealing with some nasty people who will kill him over the drugs his mother flushes down the toilet. Kiden's twin younger brothers seem relatively normal and well-adjusted, but are hyperactive and quite a handful. Kiden's mother can only hold them all together as best she can.
  • Eye Scream: When Daddy thinks one of his girls tipped off Kiden Nixon's group that he was sending thugs to reclaim X-23, he puts her eye out with a toothpick.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Daddy spends a lot of time sweet-talking X-23 in their first scene together, and when recruiting Felon to find her gushes about how much he misses her, and how worried he is for her. But it's all a front because he's a vicious, cruel and violent psychopath with no qualms about killing anyone he even thinks is in his way.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Tatiana loves animals. She volunteers at a shelter, keeps a large number of pets, and there's a very Disney-esque scene of her feeding a ton of wild and stray animals in a park.
    • It gets subverted when her power manifests: She can take on aspects of other animals, but to do so requires contact with their blood. The first time was after touching the blood of a dog that was hit by a car and she was taking to a vet, but later, she has to kill a cat to transform in order to protect herself from a mob. Additionally, after she manifests all her pets get very aggressive towards her.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: One of Daddy's goons gets hit with one in the climax, courtesy of Mrs. Palmer.
  • Gangbangers: Quite a few. Hector in the first half of the book has gang connections, and uses them to smuggle a gun into school with the intent of killing Kiden Nixon after she (accidentally) broke his arm.
    • The ending reveals that Zebra Daddy was the gang banger who gunned down Kiden's father in the drive-by.
  • Healthcare Motivation: Felon takes on Daddy's job to track down X-23 because he badly needs the money to get his severely autistic brother, Lil' Bro, out of District X and into a school where he can get the care he needs.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Bobby, particularly since the story sets him up as having a criminal history in the past. Daddy told him he just wanted to find X and bring her back to him. When things turn violent and Daddy tries to just kill everyone, Bobby switches sides.
  • Heel Realization: Events of the story wise up Kiden, and she begins to genuinely regret the poor relationship with her family.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kiden and Mrs. Palmer both go through one after Mrs. Palmer is shot. Kiden spends several months (her time, only a few days or weeks pass for everyone else) wandering the city in self-reflection before the first appearance of her father's ghost sends her to rescue Mrs. Palmer. Mrs. Palmer herself is in a deep depression after her injury, which leads to a suicide attempt and, after finally having enough of all the insanity she's been dragged into, blowing up and blaming everything on Kiden.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: X-23, of all people, is the first one to calm down and befriend Tatiana when she's in a rage after being attacked by a mob when her power manifests.
  • Hot Teacher: Mrs. Palmer, who at the beginning of the story has quite the love life with her husband, who can't keep his hands off her. Unfortunately, something drove him away after she was shot.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kiden meets up with her elder brother, and when she learns that their family has been doing so much better in the time since she left (her mother is remarrying and they're moving to a much better neighborhood), decides against going home, feeling that they're better without her. Her brother makes no effort to absolve her of that feeling.
  • I See Dead People: Throughout the story, Kiden has visions of her slain father, who guides her through gathering up her disparate gang of outcasts, and evading Zebra Daddy's pursuit of X-23. Both Bobby Soul and Lil' Bro can see the ghost, as well, and it's heavily implied that Nick Nixon's spirit was working directly with Lil' Bro as a medium of sorts all along.
    • Also Lil' Bro, who is indicated to be a mutant and has some sort of strong connection to the apparition as well. Whether because Lil' Bro can also see and communicate with him, or is outright creating him isn't completely clear.
  • Jerkass: Kiden's older brother. Bobby gives him a black eye as punishment for the absolute crap way he treated his own sister.
    • Hector starts as this. It gets worse when Kiden pushes his buttons.
    • Tatiana's mother is an absolute bitch to her, fawning over her (much younger) boyfriends. Said boyfriends also qualify.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: When the first series was originally released, X-23 was unknown in the comics and had thus far only appeared in two episodes of X-Men: Evolution, making it a legitimate surprise when she is revealed as the identity of the prostitute appearing in issue #3. Now, that NYX was her comics debut is about the only thing anyone actually remembers about the series. The trade paperback collection even plasters her quite prominently right on the cover, even though Kiden Nixon is clearly the main character, and the number of times X actually has lines can be counted on one hand (though she does ultimately drive the plot in the second half of the story).
  • Mysterious Waif: X-23 first appears midway through the story. She's never named in the book, rarely speaks, and ultimately drives the plot, as the second half of the series is primarily focused on Zebra Daddy pursuing the group to get her back.
  • No Name Given: X-23 is never named in the book. When Zebra Daddy hires Bobby to bring her back and Bobby asks if he knows her name, he outright tells him he doesn't.
  • One-Word Title
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Neither Lil' Bro or Zebra Daddy ever have their real names revealed.
  • Power Incontinence: At first, Kiden's power is activated erratically, when she screams "Stop it!" when upset, and she can only break out of her time bubble by touching someone (the first time she does, she barely pokes the guy and it snaps his arm like a twig.) In the final confrontation it appears she now has enough control that she can activate and shut it off at will.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Cameron genuinely cares about her students' educations, loves her job, and is trying hard to help them succeed and get out of the shithole neighborhood their circumstances have put them in. Her boss, on the other hand, is a part of the apathetic system that's part of the problem in the first place.
  • The Reveal: You know that teen Street Walker the story follows throughout issue three? She seems pretty insignificant at first, right? All it takes is that first frame with her claws out to know exactly who she is.
    • In the climax, Kiden has a flashback triggered by Zebra Daddy's rampage that reveals that he was the Gang Banger that gunned down her father.
    • It's revealed to the reader towards the end that Lil' Bro is a mutant himself, when the apparition of Kiden's father speaks with him directly, and that Lil' Bro himself was somehow involved with sending Kiden everywhere she needed to be.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Averted. When Kiden recognizes Daddy as the Gang Banger that killed her father, her time-manipulation powers activate, and she certainly seems prepared to do this, raging about how she could kill him in the most excruciating manner possible. However instead she uses her powers to save Mrs. Palmer, who is in the midst of falling to her death after being thrown from her apartment.
  • Self-Harm:
    • Mrs. Palmer attempts suicide by cutting her wrists.
    • X-23 is frequently seen cutting herself with her claws. Daddy is not exactly pleased when he sees the cuts she leaves on her arms.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Mrs. Palmer is clearly suffering effects of PTSD after she is accidentally shot when Hector tries to kill Kiden. She's shown to be in a deep depression ( which led to her husband leaving her), and when a visitor drops a picture, the "bang" it makes when it falls makes her scream and dive to the floor.
  • Shout-Out: When first introduced, the John X-23 was in bed with tells her she's the best at what she does. Also counts as a subtle bit of Foreshadowing as to who she really is.
  • Time Master: What Kiden's power makes her. Time flows normally for her, but slows down drastically for others.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Little Kiden was a cute and sweet little girl, up until the moment she watched her father gunned down in a drive-by. The next time we see her, she's a deeply troubled and rebellious teen who smokes, parties, and does light drugs, while constantly fighting with her mother and failing at school.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Initially, of the characters introduced in this series, the only one whom we learn anything about after the series ends is Kiden Nixon, when she shows up later in X-Force. Oh, and of course X-23.
    • The follow-up series, No Way Home, does reveal a bit more of what happened to the rest of the group afterwards.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Kiden's time manipulation powers. Time flows normally for her, but slows down drastically for others. She literally spends months in an accelerated state at one point while doing some self-reflection, while barely a week or two pass in reality. She doesn't need to eat or drink during this time, but her hair continues to grow normally.
  • You Will Know What to Do: The ghost of Kiden's father sends her to many different parts of the city throughout the story: Mrs. Palmer's apartment, the hotel where X-23's John has just committed suicide, the alley where Tatiana is about to be attacked by a mob, and back to Mrs. Palmer's apartment where the final confrontation with Zebra Daddy goes down. He never explains why, just that it's where she has to be. As a result, she helps save Palmer, X, and Tatiana, and helps trigger Bobby's Heel–Face Turn.