Born at the same time as the X-Men's leader, Charles Xavier, Cassandra's psychic form didn't have a host. She thus copied her "brother's" one, although that would later make her go bald. Her brother had psychically destroyed her once he sensed that she had some "unsane" thoughts, but she hid in sewers and plotted and waited to form herself another body.
Cassandra Nova was created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.
It has later been established by telekinetic telepath Jean Grey, host of the Phoenix Force, that Cassandra Nova is a Mummundrai, based on an ancient Shi'ar s legends. Mummundrai are the opposites of the originals, and Jean says that everyone has to meet their Mummundrai in the womb. It is the first contact a human ever has with alien lifeform. Cassandra managed to obtain her body because of the power of Charles' Psyche.
After the Mummundrai (Cassandra) absorbed Stuff, Morrison did not elaborate what the X-Men did with the possessive creature. In Chuck Austen's New X-Men, Cyclops and Beast investigate Mummundrai's containment unit following the destruction of the mansion, only to never find it (and seeming not to care once they don't). In Joss Whedon Astonishing X-Men we get a glimpse at the Mummundrai's containment device and discover that Professor Xavier had it built so that no one could breach it's security. But, do to some mind tampering by a possessed Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde manages to phase it out of it's Containment shell. It was hinted in Morrison's run that Cassandra Nova took on the form of Ernst once she was placed inside the body of Stuff as part of her reprogramming. The final hint was in Here Comes Tomorrow (New X-Men #153), where she tells Martha Johansson, who Ernst was always seen around, that "of course you can still call me Ernst."
Major Story Arcs
The Genocide at Genosha
Once her body was rebuilt, Cassandra plotted revenge against her twin brother. She persuaded Donald Trask III (last living relative of Bolivar Trask, inventor of the sentinels) that he should activate a pair of sentinels and send them on the island of Genosha, home to many mutants. 16 million mutants were counted as dead, but Charles Xavier, Emma Frost and Lorna Dane (also known as Polaris, daughter of the master of magnetism: Magneto) survived the massacre. Cassandra then copied Trask's DNA to have access to the Sentinel's "Minds", and give them orders, since only one with Trask DNA can control them. When Cyclops and Wolverine found Cassandra, she has already infected her body with millions of pieces of nano-technology.
They brought her to the X-Mansion, but she managed to free herself, and defeated nearly all the X-Men... just like that. She then accesses Cerebra (an evolved version of the original Cerebro) and implants her mind in Xavier's body and his in her's. Emma Frost arrives at that moment and snapped her neck (she still holds a grudge for Cassandra murdering all her students while she was teaching back in Genosha), and actually killing not Cassandra, but Charles. Xavier, still alive but weak, couldn't warn the X-Men about the body-switch in time: his twisted sister shot him as fast as she could.
Cassandra (using Charles' body) telepathically makes a student of the Xavier Institute, known as Beak, to beat up Henry Mc Coy as he discovered that Xavier and Cassandra shared the same chromosomal structure. Then, Cassandra contacted the Shi'ar (race led by Empress Lilandra, Charles' long-time lover). Driving Lilandra insane, Cassandra manipulates her into destroying the Empire, using the Imperial Fleet. Lilandra is then manipulated into sending the Imperial Guard to remove from the core of Earth absolutely any mutant population, including the X-Men. The X-Men fight the Guards, before convincing them of the truth.
Finding out about Cassandra's threat-level, the Guard, realizing she betrayed them, fight with her, but she defeated them and went to the X-Mansion. She plots to use Cerebra, and destroy all mutants via it, but Jean Grey(already possessed by the Phoenix Force, which augmented her power) was there before and put a piece of Xavier's consciousness in every living mutant Cerebra could locate. Focusing on all mutants, thanks to Cerebra, Xavier's mind was brought back together. Meanwhile, Jean attacked Cassandra on the psychic plane, forcing the Mummundrai to exit Xavier's body. Cassandra was then only a psychic entity, handicapped by the absence of a body. She freaks out, since she is thus blind, and cannot see anything. Emma Frost arrives and concludes a deal with the witch: she will give her back her flesh in exchange of a guarantee she and the Stepford Cuckoos would survive. It was in fact a trick, being that the body was an alien shape-shifter known as "Stuff", where Cassandra's essence was forever stuck.
During the John Cassaday/ Joss Whedon run in 'Astonishing X-Men' 's " Torn", Cassandra returns, scheming revenge on the X-Men. With Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Perfection and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, they form a new age for the Hellfire Club... that doesn't last that long. They appeared near the end of " Dangerous", where Cassandra implies that she is the one who triggered Emma Frost's secondary mutation (the ability to turn into a diamond) which saved her from the massacre. Emma promised in exchange she would infiltrate the X-Men for her unconciously, since Cassandra erased her memories about their conversation.
When Emma tricked Cassandra to enter "Stuff", Cassandra managed to implant a piece of her mind in Emma's, manipulating her with her guilt as being one of the only survivors of the Genoshan Massacre and the fact that she used to be the villain known as the White Queen of the old Hellfire Club. Emma thus projected images of Cassandra Nova, Sebastian Shaw and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, one of the many genoshan victims. (all in telepathic link). She also made a version of her a few years back, that she called " Perfection". They then attack the X-Men seperately, especially Nova: Cassandra reduces Beast to the primitive form of a... well, a beast and gives Wolverine a spark of youth by turning his consciousness into that of when he was 10 years old; Shaw attacked Colossus, while Emma took on Cyclops, removing his optic-beam power. Negasonic Teenage Warhead took care of stripping Kitty Pryde of all controls over her phasing abilities.
Making Kitty belive that she gave birth to a baby boy named Michael, who's father is Colossus, granted Emma Frost and Cassandra Nova the power to manipulate the intagible girl into retrieving Nova's body, trapped in "Stuff"'s form, for them. They then wanted Kitty to be Cassandra Nova's new host body permenantly, although that plan was foiled since A: Cyclops arrived saving the day, and B: Kitty's mind became too strong to breach. It is then said that Emma's plan all-along was to murder Kitty to ensure that Cassandra wouldn't move her spirit to another body. Nova then believes that Armor (or Hisako Ichiki) is a more likely host, being less mind-strong then the "Pryde girl". In Emma's mind, Cassandra is influencing her to put her consciounsness into Hisako while in the real world, Cyclops tries to convince Emma to shut Cassandra back into "Stuff", for good this time. Cassandra then disappears in " New X-Men: #156", but the X-Men managed to prevent her to possess Armor. Blindfold decrees at the end of that story that, thought the X-Men were brought to space, they would not all come back to Earth after...
Powers & Abilities
Cassandra Nova is one of the mummudrai which are incorporeal parasites, composed solely of emotional energy born from the astral plane of existence. The mummudrai are usually forced to fight with the mind of their host over a body. However, given the vast potential in Charles Xavier's genome, Cassandra Nova was able to build her own body, by mimicking human traits as best she can. Cassandra Nova possesses telepathy comparable to Charles Xavier. After copying the DNA of Charles Xavier, Cassandra Nova has had accessed to the full spectrum of the latent mutant functions in his Charles Xavier (which means Cassandra Nova has all the powers of Charles Xavier, the ones he could have had and the ones he might receive, as a result of latent mutation), granting herself vast psionic powers. These powers include: telepathy, telekinesis, and the being able to release an astral form, which allows Cassandra Nova to focuses both her telepathy and telekinesis. Cassandra Nova is powerful to the point where she has defeated most of the X-Men easily, has beaten the Imperial Guard as well, and was able to break out of a gravitational bottle, which had been built to contain the Juggernaut. Cassandra Nova also has all the powers of the "average" mummudrai as well.
Cassandra Nova is capable of copying the DNA of sentient beings and using it to construct physical bodies for herself. Cassandra Nova was able to build herself her own body, by mimicking human traits as best as she could. Cassandra Nova is also capable of accessing the full spectrum of latent mutant functions in one’s genome. Cassandra Nova was able to mimic the DNA of Donald Trask the third, a relative of Bolivar Trask, so that she could voice command the Sentinels, who would only obey the Trask family line, in order to attack Genosha. Cassandra Nova said it took her eight hours to read and copy the three billion base letters of Donald Trask's DNA sequence code and can manipulate the DNA of others, breaking it down at the molecular level. Cassandra Nova was able to manipulated Emma Frost's DNA to express her secondary mutation. Cassandra Nova has also stated to Emma Frost that she could strip her down to a single neuron without even blinking. After analyzing the DNA of another superhuman mutant, Cassandra Nova is able to selectively evolve their existing genetic traits as well as catalyze the untapped genetic potential of latent mutants. Once begun, the procedure is irreversible and can often result in unpredictable side effects.
Cassandra Nova can manipulate the DNA she copies to allow her to be capable of going through solid matter by passing her own atoms through the spaces between the atoms of the object through which she is moving though. In this way she and the object through which she is passing can temporarily merge without interacting, while each is not harmed when Cassandra Nova has finished passing through the object. This process is called “phasing.” When Cassandra is phasing her body becomes completely intangible to an extent that has allowed a direct energy blast from Cyclops to harmlessly pass right through her and can allow her to have a rapid healing factor. If injured, Cassandra Nova’s metabolism can allow her to rapidly regenerate and heal from large amounts of damaged or even destroyed bodily tissue hundreds of times faster and with more efficiency than a normal human regardless of the cause. Thanks to this superhumanly regenerative "healing factor," Cassandra Nova has been able to completely recover and heal from almost any injury of damaged and even destroyed bodily tissue which would have proved to be fatal to normal humans, including those with superhuman healing abilities. Cassandra Nova has survived from having her nick broken, has healed her severed vocal cords, regenerated brain cells, and Cassandra Nova has even fully regenerated organs such as her eyes or other large portions of her flesh including regenerating lost limbs, such as her feet and arms, which have been completely severed.
Cassandra Nova is a powerful telepath comparable, possible even superior to Charles Xavier with vast psionic powers as she is capable of displaying various psionic feats with the minds of others including reading the minds of others as long as they don’t possess any kind of telepathic or psychic defenses and can project her thoughts into the minds of others within a long vast ranged distance that is a potentially limitless radius of herself and Cassandra Nova is one of the most powerful telepaths on the Earth. Cassandra Nova has been stated to be an Omega-Level Telepath by Psylocke and Cassandra Nova telepathic capabilities are so advanced that she has stated that she is more powerful than Emma Frost. Cassandra Nova was able to hide her possession of Charles Xavier's body for quite some time despite directly interacting with considerable telepaths such as Jean Grey, Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos all at the same time. Cassandra Nova is powerful enough to use Cerebro, and she even tried to take over Charles Xavier‘s mind while he was using Cerebro. Cassandra Nova can use her telepathy in other way for different effects including, but not limited to:
Cassandra Nova can mask her presence and the presence of others from being detected by other telepaths, can control the minds of others upon mere concentration. Cassandra Nova was able to control Beak’s mind and force him to beat Beast into a coma with a baseball bat, is capable of possessing the minds of another, and using that beings body as her own and once tried to take over Charles Xavier‘s mind while he was using Cerebra, is able to mentally alter the minds of others by force of will. Cassandra Nova was able to alter the minds of some of the X-Men in order to make Wolverine’s consciousness regressed to his past James Howlett identity as a timid ten year old child, and reduced Beast’s consciousness to that of a primitive feral animal,
can sense the presence of another superhuman mutant within a small but as yet undefined radius of herself by perceiving the distinctive mental radiations emitted by such a being, is capable of creating realistic telepathic illusions which she can use to cause other people to experience events which are not actually occurring and project telepathic images, is able to induce temporary mental or physical paralysis and Cassandra Nova was able to rendered Cyclops catatonic, can also mentally disable the powers of other mutants temporarily by preventing them from having access or control of their powers. Cassandra Nova was able to make Shadowcat lose control of her phasing ability, and Cyclops lost the use of his powers as well, is capable of mentally masking herself, and the presence of other beings around her from being detected by telepathically altering the perceptions of others. Cassandra Nova can telepathically disguise himself and others, making her own appearance and those around her to be different to what other beings are seeing by either changing the appearance of clothing, or more involved disguises such as facial features and can even make herself seem to be invisible to that said person, is capable of erasing any awareness of any particular memories or causing total amnesia in another person as Cassandra Nova was able to erase some of Emma Frost’s memories, is capable of projecting psionic force bolts which although have no physical effects, but which can affect an individual’s mind so as to cause it’s victim intense pain or unconsciousness and even turning someone brain-dead, is able to erect powerful psychic shields for the protection of herself and the minds of others from any attempts that would mentally affect her mind or the minds of others including from such attempts as mentally reading, altering, controlling, or mentally harming her mind or others. Cassandra Nova was capable of blocking the considerable telepathic abilities of Charles Xavier, Cassandra Nova is capable of traveling through as a astral form onto either the astral planes or the physical planes of which she does not need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep, due to being unrestricted by the physical laws which also makes her invisible, intangible, and makes her incapable of being harmed by anything less than very powerful psionic or telepathic attacks. In the physical plane Cassandra Nova can only travel in her astral form for over short distances. In the astral plane, Cassandra Nova can use her powers to mentally create psionic "ectoplasmic" objects and manipulate the aspects of her environment in the astral plane. While most telepaths are capable of staying in their astral form for up to 24 hours max before their physical body start to deteriorate. Cassandra Nova is capable of staying in her astral form for a longer amount of time due to her regenerative healing factor, is capable of transferring both her mind and powers into other host bodies if she wishes even if her own physical body would be somehow destroyed and Cassandra Nova once was even able to switch bodies with Charles Xavier through the help of Cerebra (an updated version of Cerebro) for quite some time while acting like Charles Xavier despite her directly interacting with considerable telepaths like Jean Grey, Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos at the same time, and is able to implant seed of her mind and consciousness into another’s allowing her to manipulate and somewhat control a person even if she is unable to have access of her powers. Cassandra Nova was able to implant a seed made up of her consciousness into Emma Frost’s mind after she was defeated allowing her play up on Emma's survivor guilt over not perishing during the destruction of Genosha and also her general guilt over her past life as the villainous White Queen in the Hellfire Club in order make Emma Frost assist Cassandra Nova as part of a scheme to infiltrate the X-Men as a sleeper agent.
Cassandra Nova also possesses powerful telekinetic abilities enabling her to manipulate living beings, inanimate objects, and even energy to some extent telekinetic. While it’s not fully known how powerful her telekinesis is, when captured by the X-Men, Cassandra Nova was able to break out of a gravitational bottle, which had been meant to contain the Juggernaut. Cassandra Nova can use her telekinesis in other way for different effects including, but not limited to:
Cassandra Nova can use her telekinesis to telekinetically levitate herself and others in mid air through the sheer force of her own force of will and move around at a speed at least over 10 miles per hour (16.0934 kilometres per hour) or hover and stay suspended in mid air at will, however it’s unknown if Cassandra Nova can truly fly or not, can use her telekinesis in more standard ways, such as creating powerful telekinetic force fields around herself in order to defend herself and other while repelling against incoming attacks including a missile attack, can project her mental energy at a specific target, through which she can release devastating concussive force blasts of telekinetic energy powerful enough to disintegrate normal humans and has shown to be powerful enough to disintegrate the complete tissue of Wolverine's arm all the way down to the bone, and has also shown that she can forge battle armor from the materials around her. While in Charles Xavier’s body she had constructed a psychic monster around herself, seemingly made up of the flailing body parts of all the people she had absorbed or controlled which she used to beat Gladiator.
Cassandra Nova has a genius level intellect and is an expert strategist capable of forming multiple plans even during combat as she seems to be a well educated woman, who is an expert in resist domination, the power of persuasion, strategy, manipulation, Biology and Genetics.
Earth-15104: Here Comes Tomorrow
In the Here Comes Tomorrow future timeline, Cassandra's reeducation was a complete success; she had embraced Xavier's dream and went on to become Headmistress of the Xavier Institute. Instead of simply going by the name of Cassandra Nova, she added the Xavier surname to her own, now calling herself Cassandra Nova Xavier. Alongside Wolverine, the three remaining Stepford Cuckoos (now calling themselves the Three-in-One), Beak's grandson Tito Jr, E.V.A. and No-Girl ( Martha Johansson), Cassandra became one of the X-Men, fighting against Sublime and its armies of Crawlers, led by Apollyon. Cassandra was destroyed by Sublime after it unleashed Phoenix on the X-Men. However, this time-line diverged from Earth-616 when Jean Grey reached back and psychically forced Cyclops to accept Emma's offer to run the Xavier Institute together. In the current time-line, Cassandra remembered her original identity.
X-Men: The End
Cassandra factors prominently in the future depicted in X-Men: The End storyline (Book 3). In this timeline she remains a villain. She is primarily responsible for the Shi'ar attacks on the X-Men, which she had manipulated in the hopes of gaining control of Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force. Her hope was to bond with the Phoenix and thus be able to destroy all existence. Though she was successful, Jean and Psylocke are able to subdue Cassandra. Jean then tells Cassandra that they are all going to transcend reality. Jean uses her connection to the Phoenix to bring a host of X-Men together (both dead and living) so that they can all become one with the universe while bringing others back to Earth. Xavier and Cassandra admit that they are scared of each other, and Jean tells them that this is part of being human. Then, she and the resurrected X-Men form a giant Phoenix and become part of the universe itself.
X-men: Battle of the Atom
Cassandra is featured in the mobile card game "X-Men: Battle of the Atom" based on the comic book story with the same name. Her cards are:
She is also featured as a boss in the Hellfire missions.