The X-Men might be hated and feared, but at least most of the members’ accomplishments are well known – unlike those of ForgetMeNot, a tragic hero who has been forgotten by friend and foe alike.
The X-Men have always had a complicated relationship with the broader public, often being the targets of fear-based prejudice and bigotry. However, they have received some support for their heroics as well, particularly recently since they started operating openly from New York City. They have saved the world dozens of times over, sometimes in very close calls and with more than a little luck. But a story from X-Men Legacy reframes some of these adventures by revealing a secret ally who has been helping the X-Men all along, but one whose own powers have robbed him of a legacy.
The Forgotten X-Man’s Heroic Legacy
In X-Men Legacy #300 by Christos Gage, Mike Carey and Si Spurrier, readers are introduced to ForgetMeNot, whose unique power makes people unable to remember him as soon as he leaves their line of sight. While it might not be as flashy as Storm or Cyclops’s powers, this is incredibly useful on missions, allowing ForgetMeNot to avoid assailants and help save the day in the background. A lot of the X-Men’s miraculous close calls weren’t miraculous at all, he explains: they just forgot ForgetMeNot did his duty and helped save the day, as a consequence of his powers, and chalked it up to luck.
It is revealed that he was part of the Age of X alternate reality created by Legion, and played a key (but naturally forgotten) part in resolving the storyline and restoring reality. That flashback details the tragic nature of his powers: he desired most of all to be touched by Rogue (appropriately called Legacy in the dark Age of X timeline) before he died so that at least his memories would live on. But even then, he realized, he will have made no personal connections, no meaningful friendships, and left behind no one who will miss him. He saved the world time and again with the X-Men, and yet only thanks to a periodic psychic reminder did Professor Xavier remember his least-known student. But despite his powers robbing him of a chance at a normal life, and even of feeling like part of the X-Men community, ForgetMeNot has not given up, even after Xavier’s death in Avengers vs. X-Men left him alone in the world.
ForgetMeNot has found a new lease on life on Krakoa as one of Nightcrawler’s Legionnaires, helping spread the message of the spark of Krakoa thanks to devices that help his teammates remember him (most of the time). But at his most lonely and desperate, this issue shows him still going out of his way to help a lonely girl who accidentally ends up trapped in the X-Mansion’s security grid. He ends up giving her some timeless advice: it is better to do something that matters and not be noticed than the other way around. Though he hasn’t had much panel time, in his few appearances ForgetMeNot has established himself as a shining example of what the X-Men are supposed to stand for.