Warning: This article contains spoilers for House of X #6, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, David Curiel, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
Almost every member of the X-Men has died and come back to life at least once or twice. While the constant cycle of mutant death and rebirth has been a punchline for years, House of X takes a dead serious approach to that idea by embracing it to its logical conclusion.
On the newly-established mutant nation Krakoa, Charles Xavier has found a way to essentially defeat death by combining the powers of five young mutants, Mister Sinister's genetic database and Cerebro's back-up copies of every mutant mind on Earth. Through this "resurrection machine," Xavier can create an artificially-aged clone of any mutant, complete with the powers and memories they had when they died.
While Xavier already used this process after several major X-Men fell in battle, it can theoretically be used to bring any dead mutant back to life, even ones who've been dead for years. Although it hasn't been used for any large-scale resurrections just yet, it's already revived a pair of fan-favorite characters.
As the X-Men celebrate the founding of Krakoa in House of X #6, Skin and Synch, two long-dead members of Generation X, could be seen alive and laughing with their teammates.
After Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo launched Generation X in 1994, Skin and Synch served alongside young heroes like Jubilee, Husk, M, Penance and Chamber in the X-Men trainee team for the rest of the decade. Mentored by Banshee and Emma Frost, the teen team starred in their own 75-issue series after being forged in the fires of the "Phalanx Covenant" crossover.
While most of the team's surviving members eventually joined the X-Men, these two resurrections mark the first time all of Generation X's major members have been alive in two decades.
As Everett Thomas' codename suggests, Synch has the mutant power to duplicate, or "synch up" with, the powers of any nearby superhumans. When he uses this power, he gives off a rainbow aura of energy, and he occasionally used his copied powers with more finesse than their original owners. He also has the potential to keep any powers he copied, which could make him one of the X-Men's strongest mutants.
As Generation X's adventures drew to a close, Synch died in 2000's Generation X #70, by Warren Ellis, Brian Wood and Steve Pugh. After Adrienne Frost, Emma's evil sister, started an anti-mutant riot and attacked the team's Massachusetts Academy, Synch perished saving a group of human students from a bomb that she planted.
Since Synch was briefly mentioned in House of X #5, his resurrection isn't totally a surprise, especially given his potential role in Xavier's larger plans. However, the same can't be said for his teammate Skin.
While some mutants have fantastic Earth-shaking powers, Angelo Espinosa has an extra six feet of gray skin that hangs off of his body. While this doesn't quite give him the elastic abilities of someone like Mr. Fantastic or Plastic Man, he can still stretch his limbs to a degree, often wrapping them around his opponents.
Despite his troubled upbringing and the heavy mental toll his powers take, Angelo is usually an easy-going hero, which made his death even more tragic. In 2003's Uncanny X-Men #423, by Chuck Austen and Ron Garney, Skin was crucified on the front lawn of the X-Mansion by the mutant-hating Church of Humanity.
While Jubilee and some other mutants survived that experience, Skin wasn't so lucky. To add insult to injury, his teammates even had trouble finding somewhere that would accept his remains since he was a mutant.
Between that kind of anti-mutant sentiment and other assorted supervillains, Generation X and the X-Men's other trainee teams have all suffered heavy losses. Since young heroes like Skin and Synch aren't major X-Men and are often replaced by the next class of young mutants, they tend to stay dead longer than most characters.
While House of X brought back these two mutants Xavier's resurrection goals almost certainly include all of the X-Men's other fallen students, from the New X-Men to the Hellions. In a franchise where every character is someone's favorite, these resurrections open up a wealth of storytelling possibilities. Regardless of how long their stories were put on hold, House of X has given a generation of young casualties another chance to grow up and fulfill their destiny as X-Men.