While Emma Frost was laying in a comatose state, the Dr. John Sublime harvested eggs from her to begin experimentation. The Weapon Plus program began the cloning to develop a powerful weapon capable of killing every mutant on Earth by combining their telepathic abilities. The project was designated Weapon XIV and girls were incubated and artificially aged inside the subterranean level of The World. Thousands of girls were cloned from the ovum, but while the others remained dormant, five girls were sent to infiltrate the Xavier Institute as students sisters to hone their talents for Sublime's purpose.
After the Xavier Institute went public, the orphan quintuplet sisters Sophie, Phoebe, Mindee, Celeste, and Esme were enrolled. To protect their secret origins, the girls unconsciously place mental blocks in the minds of the faculty, preventing them from investigating their background.
The girls quickly gained the moniker "The Stepford Cuckoos", though their chosen codename was the Five-In-One. Emma Frost assisted the girls when Esme had a crush on a student that turned out to be Stuff, an advanced guard of the Shi'ar. This sparked Emma taking a special interest in the girls, and the Cuckoos becoming her protégés. As gifted telepaths, they were registered into Professor X's psychic course along with their rival Quentin Quire.
Quire developed a crush on Sophie, but the Cuckoos considered him to be odd and completely rejected him. Sparked by his uncontrolled powers and learning that he was adopted, and fueled by use of the drug Kick, Kid Omega led a rebellion of students at the X-Mansion. To stop Kid Omega and his Omega Gang, Sophie and the other Cuckoos covertly snuck into Cerebra. Using Kick to amp up her powers, Sophie and her sisters were able to stop Quire. Unfortunately, Sophie died in the process. Unbeknownst to the others, Sophie was actually being influenced into these actions by Esme, who was also using Kick.
With the death of Sophie, the Five-In-One became the Four-In-One. The girls were furious with Emma Frost, whom they blamed for Sophie's death. To exact their revenge, they informed Jean Grey of the psychic affair between Emma and Cyclops.
Not long after Sophie's death, Esme attempted to murder Emma by shooting her with a diamond bullet. While Bishop and Sage investigated the murder, Esme fled the X-Mansion fearing that the truth would be revealed about her involvement in the deaths of Sophie and Emma. Fortunately, Emma was saved by the combined efforts of Beast and Jean Grey with the Phoenix Force.
When Esme returned, it was alongside her lover, Xorn, posing as Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. Esme and Xorn had both become mentally unstable through excessive use of Kick. When Xorn's affection was withheld from her, Esme turned on him, and Xorn killed her by burying her metal earrings in her brain. With the departure of Esme, the Four-In-One now became the Three-In-One.
The girls were among the students temporarily relocated to an X-Corp building in Salem Center while the Institute was being rebuilt. It was here that Mindee's first boyfriend, Germaine, died during an anti-mutant riot.
When the Institute was rebuilt under the leadership of co-headmasters Cyclops and Emma Frost, the students were organized into several training squads, each with an assigned mentor staff member. The Three-In-One was assigned to the Corsairs Squad under the tutelage of Cyclops, with the girls serving equally as co-leaders of the squad.
When the Phoenix Force returned to Earth in search of a new host, it briefly considered the girls along with Kid Omega and Emma Frost before resurrecting Jean Grey. The Phoenix Force awoke Kid Omega, still in love with Sophie, and he exhumed her in hopes of reuniting with her. However, upon her resurrection, she promptly rejected Quire and died again. While the X-Men rushed to intercept the Phoenix, the Cuckoos remained in Cerebra as communication central.
On M-Day the vast majority of the world's mutant population was depowered. The Cuckoos retained their powers, but they were three of only twenty-seven students to retain their powers. Fearing for the students' safety, Emma Frost ordered that the depowered students and staff leave the Institute. For their safety, the depowered students were brought through the Morlock Tunnels to an awaiting bus. Unfortunately, the bus of depowered students was bombed by anti-mutant zealot Rev. William Stryker, killing forty-two of the former students on board.
The remaining students were placed by Emma Frost into an all-out brawl, and the ones deemed the best by Emma would become a group of New X-Men in-training. This entire exercise was met with disgust by the Three-In-One, who promptly informed Cyclops of Emma's actions.
When an unstable fraction of the Phoenix Force sparked inside the girls, their Weapon Plus nanotech dormant inside their bones was activated. This nanotech briefly reanimated Sophie and Esme, who directed their sisters back to The World to activate Sublime's plan for the destruction of the mutant race.
The Phoenix and Sublime both wrestled for control of the Cuckoos when the X-Men arrived. Phoebe and Mindee were captured and integrated into Sublime's machine, but the Phoenix was able to possess Celeste. When Celeste was finally merged into the machine, the Phoenix was divided between all the Cuckoos and trapped in their newly emerged second mutation: organic diamond hearts. This event finally activated the Thousand-In-One.
Celeste continued to resist the Phoenix and Sublime's machine long enough for the X-Men to forcibly disconnect them. However, in a rage, Phoebe triggered a power surge causing an explosion. However, Celeste was able take full control of the Phoenix, destroyed her sisters, and trapped the Phoenix fragments inside the Three-In-One's flawless diamond hearts, rendering them emotionless.
After returning to the Institute, the girls adopted a rebellious/mischievous streak. They helped Elixir telepathically gain a PhD level knowledge of science and biology from Beast's brain. Along with the other students, they were pulled into Limbo, where they were rescued by Prodigy. To repay his kindness, the Cuckoos restored all of the knowledge he had previously gained with the use of his powers, despite his powers being deactivated. When the Hulk came to the Institute to attack Professor X, the Stepford Cuckoos used Cerebra to contact other X-teams such as Excalibur and X-Factor Investigations for assistance. The sisters were briefly considered as potential candidate recruits for the Initiative.
After the birth of the Mutant Messiah, the Stepford sisters were stationed in Cerebra to search for the baby and act as central communication for the various X-squads.
The Stepford Cuckoos rejoined the X-Men and the last of mutantkind in San Francisco. During the Skrull Invasion, they assisted in the evacuation of a San Francisco Hospital, and later offered remote support to Emma while was bringing down the Skrulls' psychic blockade.
Once they relocated to Utopia, the Stepford Cuckoos frequently manned Cerebra. When Lobe, Scalphunter with a group of Predator Xs attacked Utopia, the X-Men were forced to battle the mutant eating creatures. The Cuckoos served as telepathic communication for the team, but during the battle the Phoenix fragments that were contained inside their diamond hearts escaped, and mysteriously returned to space, leaving the girls unconscious. When the girls recovered from their coma, they recruited Rogue to borrow their telepathy to help search for the Phoenix, but with no luck. Later the girls fell into a depressive funk due to the loss of their Phoenix powers.
Although not on the active roster for any one team, the Stepford Cuckoos continued to offer remote telepathic and Cerebra-based support for Cyclops, the X-Men, X-Force, Hope and her Lights, Magneto, and the Extinction Team.
When the Chaos King put the living asleep and opened the underworld, both Sophie and Esme were among the resurrected. Although tension ran high between the two, they were able to help defeat the Carrion Crow and resolve some of the issues surrounding their deaths.
After Cyclops and Wolverine decided to part ways, Phoebe wanted to return to Westchester while Mindee wanted to remain on Utopia. With the deciding vote left to Celeste, she opted to stay on Utopia, partly because of Quentin Quire's presence at the school.
When the Phoenix Force returned to Earth searching for a new host leading to the war between the Avengers and the X-Men, the Stepford Cuckoos were among the younger X-Men detained in the Avengers Compound with the Avengers Academy. Afterward, they were reluctantly recruited to the new Jean Grey School, where they manned Cerebra and witnessed the death of Professor X and the reemergence of mutantkind.
The girls were very displeased with the new school. When Cyclops and his X-Men came to the school looking for recruits to their mutant rebellion, the Stepford sisters and Angel volunteered to go.
The girls joined and assisted Cyclops' team as the resident telepaths, since Emma's powers were broken. During this time, Irma dyed her hair black and expressed that she wished to attain more individuality. Phoebe entertained the thought of doing the same, and eventually dyed hers red, although Celeste was upset, and Emma was supportive of her choice as well.
Later, following an attack from the future Brotherhood of Mutants, the Stepford Cuckoos and Emma Frost combined their telepathic abilities in an effort to defeat Xorn (Jean Grey). Although they were initially able to hold their own, they were all defeated, leaving Xorn to continue the psychic duel with her younger counterpart.
Weight: 105 lbs (47.6 kg)
Powers and Abilities
- Telepathic Hive Mind: The Stepford Cuckoos have a linked hive mind, which allows them to share thoughts and maintain a continuous telepathic connection. The link is strongest when the girls are in close physical proximity. Their collective mind also allows for increased telepathic strength and shared intellect. The girls' powers are greater the sum of its parts. A stronger personality can take lead of the hive mind, but the girls still maintain their independence.
- Telepathy: The Cuckoos can read minds and project their thoughts to others. Though they individually possess their own telepathy, but their telepathic abilities are greater when the girls join together. The girls have stated that together they can block even very talented telepaths from reading their minds.
- Telepathic Illusion: The Cuckoos can create realistic psychic illusions and cause people to experience events which are not actually occurring.
- Mind Alteration: The Cuckoos are able to alter the minds of others by force of will. This can be restoring memories or transferring knowledge.
- Telepathic Tracking: The Cuckoos' psionic senses enable them to detect and track other sentient beings by their unique psionic emanations or thought patterns. This ability is highly sensitive to proximity, but can be enhanced with the use of Cerebra.
- Astral Projection: The Cuckoos are capable of sending astral projections, astral travel, and communicating with others astrally through their own will, or through contact with the thoughts and memories of others.
- Mental Paralysis: The Cuckoos are able to effect certain areas of the brain to induce temporary mental or physical paralysis.
- Mental Amnesia: The Cuckoos can erase any awareness of particular memories or cause total amnesia. They can also restore memories.
- Mental Triangulation: Due to their hive mind, the Cuckoos have the perspective of three directions and are able to triangulate on individuals' minds.
- Flawless Organic Diamond Form: Like their biological mother, the Cuckoos have the ability to transform themselves into a flexible, translucent, organic diamond-like substance while retaining mobility. In this form, their skin is as hard as real diamond. In this state, food and water are not needed for a undetermined amount of time. Their diamond form does not require a conscious hold and thus will remain until it is voluntarily triggered back. Unlike Emma Frost, their diamond forms are completely flawless. Nothing can enter or escape from their core. However, maintaining this form for extended period of time reduces their emotional capabilities.
- Telepathic Immunity: While enclosed in diamond skin, the girls are immune to telepathy, but also cannot access their own telepathic powers.
- Superhuman Stamina: Their diamond form grants the ability to sustain peak exertion for up to a day.
- Superhuman Durability: Their diamond form augments their skin, bone, and muscle to become stronger and harder than human. They're completely impervious in their diamond form.
- Compartmental Diamond Transformation: Unlike Emma, the Cuckoos can selectively transform discrete parts of their bodies. Once, to trap the Phoenix Force fragments, the girls transformed their hearts into a flawless diamond prison.
- Phoenix Force Tap (formerly): The Stepford Cuckoos were once avatars of the Phoenix, and later contained shards of the Phoenix Force inside their diamond hearts until the Phoenix Force retreated from them.
- Flight (formerly): While possessing the full Phoenix, the Cuckoos also had the ability of self-propelled flight.
- Pyrokinesis (formerly): While possessing the full Phoenix, the Cuckoos could mentally create fire.
- Enhanced Telepathy (formerly): The Cuckoos have stated that Phoenix Force fragments trapped in their diamond hearts increased their telepathy. After the Phoenix departed, the girls mourned their return to average telepath status.
- Nanotech Bones (formerly): The Dr. John Sublime and Weapon Plus placed nanotech into the bones of the Cuckoos before sending them to the Institute to ensure that the girls would return to The World to activate the true purpose of Weapon XIV. The nanotech was disabled by Kitty Pryde phasing through them.
Strength level unknown, but it is presumed to be at a superhuman level.
The personalities of the five girls are often quite similar in terms of speaking and action. Though the girls do have their occasional arguments from time to time, they all more or less act the same and do things together. On the flip side each Cuckoo has demonstrated a different interest and/or personality trait when they are not all together, e.g. one being kinder then the others, one being more timid or tough and outspoken.
Sophie was initially the dominant personality among her sisters. She and her sisters have mentioned that Sophie always had a desire to be a hero. Her actions have certainly appear the most noble.
Phoebe has demonstrated some aggressive behavior, especially when the Phoenix came to possess the Stepford sisters. Phoebe desired to embrace the Phoenix and all its destructive power. Phoebe has often acted as a de facto leader since the death of Sophie. Phoebe was one of the few mutants unaffected by Zero's mental control when he turned Utopia against Hope, which put her at odds with her sisters. After Cyclops and Wolverine decided to part ways, Phoebe wanted to return to Westchester.
Irma/Mindee enjoys playing piano. She was certainly the most consigned to their fate as tools of Sublime. During Osborn's assault on the X-Men, Cyclops assigned Irma to be captured. Acting as a Trojan horse, through her link with her sisters Irma was able to lead the X-Men to Alcatraz Island, where Osborn had secretly been imprisoning mutants. After Cyclops and Wolverine decided to part ways, Mindee wanted to remain on Utopia.
Celeste was initially the most timid and affectionate of the Cuckoos. When the Phoenix came to possess the Stepford sisters, Celeste was reluctant to use the power. However, it was Celeste honed the Phoenix Force into destroying her incubated sisters and trapping the Phoenix fragments in her and her sisters diamond hearts. According to her sisters, Celeste has begun to think she's "better" than them. Celeste has urged her sisters to watch something a bit more self-improving than Glee. Celeste was the deciding vote to remain on Utopia. When Emma Frost and the Extinction Team became outlaws, Celeste telepathically reached out to Emma and when she couldn't contact her, she became extremely angry.
Esme is the most conniving and cunning of her sisters. To gain control over her sisters, Esme began using Kick and working with Xorneto. She covertly influenced Sophie into overdosing on Kick. She later shot Emma Frost then ran away to join Xorn's new Brotherhood.
- The Stepford Cuckoos first appeared in New X-Men #118. However, they were not identified by name until they are collectively called "the Stepford Cuckoos" New X-Men #123. Esme was also named during this issue. Sophie, Phoebe, Celeste, and Mindee were later named in New X-Men #134, New X-Men #149, New X-Men #153, and New X-Men #156 respectively. In New X-Men Yearbook Special #1, their last name was confirmed as "Cuckoo". Originally the girls chose the codename the Five-In-One, but with the deaths of Sophie and Esme the remaining sisters are now known as the "Three-In-One".
- In New X-Men #154, creator Grant Morrison's final issue of New X-Men, the Stepford Cuckoos are identified as Weapon XIV. However, their link to the Weapon Plus program is finally explored in the Phoenix Warsong miniseries.
- The power level of the Cuckoos, in all of their incarnations, has been reported by many of the X-Men (including Professor X, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, and Beast) to be extremely impressive and strong.
- The name "The Stepford Cuckoos" is derived from a combination of "The Stepford Wives" and "The Midwich Cuckoos", two psychological, science-fiction thrillers.
- During the Phoenix Warsong miniseries, the Phoenix Force implies the girls' surname, Cuckoo, is actually a clever code. The cuckoo bird lays its eggs in another bird's nest, who then tends to the eggs until they hatch. This refers to Sublime placing his Weapon XIV, the Stepford Cuckoos, in the X-Men's nest, the Institute, to be trained.
- The Stepford Cuckoos have had very bad luck with their boyfriends. Additionally, whenever one of the Stepford Cuckoos has become involved in a romantic relationship, her sisters have usually expressed strong disapproval.
- Esme's boyfriend Kato, who appeared to be a Japanese mutant, turned out to actually be a sponge-like alien, and an advance scout of the Shi'ar Super-guardian Team.
- Quentin Quire had a crush on Sophie, which she did not reciprocate. This crush partial inspired the events that lead to the riot at Xaviers, and indirectly to Sophie's death.
- It is implied that Esme had a romantic physical relationship with Xorneto.
- Mindee's first boyfriend, Germaine, died during an anti-mutant riot while the students were temporarily housed in an X-Corp building in Salem Center.
- Mindee later had brief yet combative flirtation with Jay Guthrie, who repeatedly interrupted her while she was practicing the piano. Although the relationship did not progress, Jay died a rather gruesome death at the hands of Nimrod and Rev. William Stryker.
- The girls have intermittently shown a romantic interest in Hellion. Phoebe, Celeste, and Mindee all attended a school dance with Hellion, who quickly abandoned them in favor of Wind Dancer. Later, the other girls briefly teased Celeste for having a crush on Hellion.
- Celeste briefly had a crush on Agent Jake Oh, who was present when she murdered her incubated sisters and lost her emotional ability to feel..
- The Cuckoos were voted "Teacher's Pet" in the New X-Men Yearbook Special #1. They also lists their likes as classical music, and dislikes as unreasonable expectations.
- The Cuckoos are almost always seen wearing matching outfits with their hair styled similarly. There are very few exceptions to this habit.
- Although the Cuckoos are biologically in their mid-to-late teens, chronologically they are only approximately two-three years old.
- Although the Stepford Cuckoos can transform into their diamond form at will, they rarely use this power.
- While Phoebe and Mindee enjoy Glee, Celeste appears to find the show vapid and shallow.
- 12 Stepford Cuckoos (Earth-616) Members
- 194 Appearances of Stepford Cuckoos (Earth-616)
- 2 Media Stepford Cuckoos (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 84 Images that include Stepford Cuckoos (Earth-616)
- Team Gallery: Stepford Cuckoos (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Stepford Cuckoos (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Sophie Cuckoo
- Phoebe Cuckoo
- Irma Mindee Cuckoo
- Celeste Cuckoo
- Esme Cuckoo
- Emma Frost
- Wikipedia: Stepford Cuckoos
- Comicvine: Stepford Cuckoos
- Marvel: Stepford Cuckoos
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Generation Hope #9
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Warsong #4
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Warsong #3
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 New X-Men #118
- ↑ New X-Men #117
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 X-Men Phoenix Warsong #2
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 New X-Men #123
- ↑ New X-Men #126
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 New X-Men #134
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 New X-Men #134-137
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 New X-Men #141
- ↑ New X-Men #138
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 New X-Men #139-141
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 New X-Men #146-150
- ↑ New X-Men #149
- ↑ New X-Men #155
- ↑ New X-Men #156
- ↑ New Mutants Vol 2 #13
- ↑ New X-Men Vol 2 #1-3
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 X-Men Vol 2 #157
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 New X-Men Yearbook Special #1
- ↑ Astonishing X-Men Vol 3 #5
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Endsong #1
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Endsong #2
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Endsong #4
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Endsong #5
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Endsong #3-5
- ↑ New X-Men Vol 2 #24
- ↑ New X-Men Vol 2 #23
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 X-Men Phoenix Warsong #2-5
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 X-Men Phoenix Warsong #5
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 New X-Men Vol 2 #38
- ↑ New X-Men Vol 2 #37-41
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 34.5 New X-Men Vol 2 #42
- ↑ World War Hulk: X-Men 2
- ↑ Civil War Battle Damage Report #1
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #493-494
- ↑ Secret Invasion: X-Men #1-4
- ↑ 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 X-Force Vol 3 #7
- ↑ 40.0 40.1 Nation X #2
- ↑ 41.0 41.1 Uncanny X-Men #517
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 X-Men: Legacy #234
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 43.2 43.3 Nation X #4
- ↑ X-Men: To Serve and Protect #2
- ↑ X-Force Vol 3 #27
- ↑ X-Men: Schism #2-4
- ↑ X-Force Vol 3 #19
- ↑ Magneto: Not a Hero #3
- ↑ Chaos War: X-Men #1
- ↑ Chaos War: X-Men #2
- ↑ 51.0 51.1 51.2 51.3 X-Men: Regenesis #1
- ↑ X-Men: Schism #5
- ↑ Avengers Academy #30-33
- ↑ Avengers vs. X-Men #12
- ↑ Wolverine and the X-Men #18
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men Vol 2 #19
- ↑ Wolverine and the X-Men #15
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men Vol 3 #4-5
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men Vol 3 #12
- ↑ New X-Men #119
- ↑ 61.0 61.1 X-Men Phoenix Warsong #1
- ↑ 62.0 62.1 X-Men Phoenix Warsong #4-5
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Warsong #1-3
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Warsong #3-5
- ↑ X-Men Phoenix Warsong #2-3
- ↑ 66.0 66.1 New X-Men #137
- ↑ Chaos War: X-Men #1-2
- ↑ 68.0 68.1 68.2 68.3 X-Men Phoenix Warsong #1-5
- ↑ Generation Hope #13
- ↑ Generation Hope #16-17
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #514
- ↑ Dark Avengers #8
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men Vol 3 #5
- ↑ New X-Men #155-156
- ↑ X-Men Vol 2 #157-158
- ↑ New X-Men Vol 2 #14
- ↑ X-Force Vol 3 #20
- ↑ Generation Hope #16
- ↑ Uncanny X-Men #494