CalibanLast character spotted in the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer, albeit he appears very briefly, and he’s barely recognizable: Caliban, who’ll be portrayed by Tómas Lemarquis. Not much is known about his role in the movie, apart from the fact that he’ll be a mutant broker, and that he’ll enlist the services of Psylocke, sending her behind the Iron Curtain for some unclear business. In the trailer, we also see him face Apocalypse, possibly when the ancient mutant decides to recruit Psylocke in his Horsemen… and this may not mean anything good for the poor Caliban. Anyway, let’s see together who this freakish mutant is in the comics.

Caliban’s life was never easy: he was born a mutant, and contrary to most of the other homo superior, his powers manifested from his birth with a gruesome appearance. With his white skin, his bald skull, his skeletal physique and his big, yellow eyes, the boy was a freak even for his parents, and apparently it was his father who nicknamed him “Caliban”, as the grotesque creature from William Shakespeare‘s The Tempest. An outcast since his very childhood, Caliban soon left his home, and because of the constant hatred from the “normal” people, he ended up exiling himself in the abandoned underground tunnels of New York City, with the only company of rats and darkness. Growing up, he also developed the mutant ability of sensing other mutants, wherever they were, locating them with precision. When he met Callisto, another outcast mutant who was however much more aggressive than he was, the two teamed up, and Caliban started locating other mutants for her. Thanks to her freakish friend, Callisto located many mutants in peril or simply in loneliness, and she recruited them in a community she organised in the underground tunnels: soon, all the mutant freaks, loners and outcasts of New York gathered together, and formed calibancomics1the Morlocks, a parallel society composed of rejected “monsters”, whose appearance made it impossible for them to live hidden among humans as most mutants chose to do. Caliban also helped Annalee, an empath Morlock, to collect mutant orphans from the city, saving them from the streets: the first one was the deformed Leech, and many others followed. Despite finally being with others like him, however, Caliban still felt lonely; when he sensed the presence of four mutant women on the surface, he followed them to a nightclub, and he tried to approach them. The girls happened to be four superheroines, the X-Women Storm, Sprite and Dazzler, and the Avenger Spider-Woman. Caliban’s monstrous appearance and his difficulty in speaking made Storm and the other misunderstand his intention, and a battle ensued… but soon enough, the heroines realized Caliban was just looking for friends, so they let him go back to the sewers where he belonged without harming him. The Morlock, however, was now smitten over the youngest of them, Sprite…

Callisto, in the meanwhile, had entered an open conflict with the X-Men, after she had kidnapped Angel in order to make him her companion: in the following battle, Storm defeated her and claimed from her the leadership of the Morlocks, thus creating a forced peace between the two groups. During the battle, however, Caliban had met again Sprite, who was ill because of Plague‘s touch: Caliban saved her, and declared to her his love. Sprite, wanting to save Colossus, on the verge of death, and the others, promised Caliban her hand in marriage in exchange of his help in saving her teammates; Caliban, happy, agreed, but when the X-Men were saved and Callisto got defeated, Sprite came back to the surface with her friends, leaving him alone in the tunnels. After learning of this Callisto, who was still trying to take back the leadership of the Morlocks from Storm, organised yet another attack on the X-Men, this time with the pretext of making Sprite (who now went by the name Ariel) keep her promise. The Morlocks managed to kidnap calibancomics2Ariel, and they arranged the marriage between her and Caliban. It was the groom himself, however, who stopped the ceremony, realizing that his bride would have never loved him, and that he would have only made her unhappy by marrying her: he let Ariel go, and from that moment the two became good friends. This helped Morlocks and X-Men to get along, but the outcasts’ life wasn’t meant to be peaceful yet: the mercenary group known as Marauders, in fact, was sent by an anti-mutant faction to exterminate the Morlocks, and an all-out assault was launched on the peaceful freaks. Caliban tried to protect his friends, but many of them got killed; he managed to take Leech and to bring him to safety, even if he got injured by Sabretooth in the process. The two runaways were eventually saved by X-Factor, in particular by Beast and Iceman. After a first moment of distrust, in which he tried to come back to his now destroyed and nearly deserted home in the underground, Caliban accepted Beast’s offer of membership, and he entered X-Factor. Now, maybe, he had finally found a family he could feel a part of.

Caliban is a good-hearted and naive man, with a childish personality and a limited intellect, but full of good feelings and intentions. An outcast all his life, he’s lonely and sad also among his similar, and he’s constantly looking for a friend. His main mutant power is the ability to perceive and locate other mutants, but while under stress he develops a secondary skill, a flight-or-fly response that allows him to absorb the psionic energy of nearby people’s emotions (especially fear) to increase his strength and durability; his dimensions and strength come back to normal as soon as the stress is gone. A tragic figure who’s only known loneliness and fear all his life, Caliban still looks for a family he has never had, and the warmth of a friendship he’s never felt…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s