Cornelius Stirk

corneliusstirkfilmGotham just came back to our screens…but before starting with the new characters of the season, I’ll make up for a guy I didn’t notice in the previous season’s pre-finale, A Legion of Horribles. When Hugo Strange and Miss Peabody decide they’ve had enough of Edward Nygma, they put him in the same cell of a cannibalistic brute, just waiting for the moment he’ll break his bonds and kill Nygma (who saves himself by revealing precious informations to Strange). The cannibal is Cornelius Stirk, portrayed by Kameron Omidian, a guy that made his presence felt in the story arc Knightfall, in the comics. Despite his caveman-look, he surely is prettier than his original counterpart, and apparently lacks of a couple of superpowers characterising him… Waiting to see if he’ll surface again as part of Fish Mooney‘s new gang, let’s take a look at Stirk as he originally appears.

Not much is known of Cornelius Stirk’s origins: he was allegedly born in Gotham City, and something went horribly wrong with his mind since the very beginning. When he was only sixteen years old, he brutally attacked one of his classmates with the clear intent of killing him: apparently, he delusionally believed that he needed the hormones inside his heart to survive, and wanted to rip it off his chest. Certified insane, Stirk was sent to Arkham Asylum to be cured…but the results weren’t exactly the ones the judge hoped for. The Asylum was now run by Jeremiah Arkham, who adopted a more “direct way” of dealing with his difficult patients: everytime Stirk refused to take his medicines, Arkham ordered his men to beat him up and to force the pills down his throat. Obviously, the maniac managed to take some revenge once in a while, such as when he managed to lock one of his doctors in his cell along with him: after torturing him and scaring him to death, he tied him upside down with a rope, and ripped his heart off, eating it afterwards (he believed that the hormones he needed for survival were released by the body only corneliusstirkcomics1under extreme fear). Stirk spent years in the asylum, but the repeated abuses ended up awakening his latent metagene, that gave him a limited telepathy which he used to cast minor illusions and to instill fear in others. As soon as Stirk realised what his abilities were, and how they worked, he used them on his doctors, and forced them to certify him as “sane” and to release him. Finally back to the outside world, Stirk could resume his battle for survival, that resulted in him quickly becoming a serial killer. He used his powers to appear to other people as someone they could trust, sometimes even Jesus or Abraham Lincoln, luring them into traps to capture them, torture them and eventually killing them, cooking their heart in the norepinephrine produced by their overwhelming fear. Nobody was able to catch him, as every night he assumed a different look for his hunt. He was the ultimate hunter.

Then, Bane came, and he changed everything. In a personal war against Batman, Bane destroyed Arkham Asylum, releasing all the monsters it contained on Gotham and enlisting them in his personal anti-Bat army. Also freaks that were already free joined the alliance, and Cornelius Stirk was among the ones who gladly aided Bane in his crusade (he had met Batman once, after he had killed and eaten a man named Ed Hunt and the Dark Knight had tracked him down). Stirk teamed up with The Joker, who planned to contribute to the destruction of Batman by kidnapping his closest ally, Commissioner Gordon. The cannibal volunteered for the mission, and he appeared to the Commissioner as Batman himself…but he didn’t exactly stick to the plan, much to Joker’s annoyance, and he tried to murder Gordon istead of abducting him. Assaulting the Commissioner with a knife, Stirk proceeded to project fear into him, making him all the more delicious…until the real Batman arrived, interrupting the attack. corneliusstirkcomics2Gordon was saved, but fear had taken the best part of him, and his wife Sarah was forced to bring him to a hospital; in the meanwhile, Stirk tried to escape, but Batman managed to find him despite his illusions, and he arrested him. Since Arkham had been destroyed, Stirk was sent to Blackgate Penitentiary. Monsters like him, Amygdala and Poison Ivy were locked with normal criminals, and the prison’s direction desperately tried to find a way to make all the inmates get along…and they actually found it in quite an unexpected way, by organizing a softball tournament to keep all the maniacs distracted. Cornelius himself apreciated the game very much, and he proved to be a skilled pitcher…he enjoyed the ball, since it felt just like a human heart in his hand. When Arkham Asylum was rebuilt, Stirk was transferred there again, resuming his never finished treatment…not that there was anything to do for such a twisted and cruel mind, obviously.

Cornelius Stirk is a seriously deranged man, deeply convinced that he needs to eat fresh human hearts filled with fear to survive. Manipulative, brutal and cruel, he enjoys torturing his victims before eating them, claiming that fear makes them more “delicious”. He’s a metahuman with the ability to cast illusions, a power that he uses to hide his grotesque appearance behind a trustworthy facade; he can also project fear into his victims’ mind, thus adding psychological torture to the usual physical one. Extremely dangerous, Stirk is a cannibalistic sadist who uses his telepathic powers to be the perfect predator in the urban jungle, a night hunter who never loses his prey…

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