Zander Rice

zanderricefilmNew black/white pic from Logan, and this time we take a look at the one who’s (allegedly) the man who pulls the strings of the Reavers: doctor Zander Rice, portrayed by Richard E. Grant. Not much is known about Rice’s role in the movie, apart from the fact that he’ll be the head of Project: Transigen and that he’ll have quite a big role in the origins and destiny of young Laura. His comicbook counterpart has definitely something to do with the girl, but he’s probably different in some aspects: first of all, he surely lives longer if he gets to see Laura outside the lab, and second he’s much older than the original version. Let’s see together.

Zander Rice was born the son of Dale Rice, a renowned scientist who worked on some important (and secret) government-sponsored projects. Zander didn’t know much about his father’s work, of course, but he learnt soon enough the night Dale didn’t come back home: the subject Rice was working on, a mutant codenamed Weapon X, had escaped from the lab and had killed many scientists and soldiers, including Dale Rice. One of his father’s colleagues, Doctor Martin Sutter, brought Dale’s dog tags to Zander to comfort him, and from that moment he became his mentor. Wanting to honor his father’s memory, Zander studied to become a scientist as well, becoming a skilled surgeon and joining Sutter in the following attempts to recreate Project: Weapon X. Both in charge of a new project, the two scientists were frustrated with a series of failures: they tried to clone the original Weapon X, now the mutant superhero Wolverine, from a damaged sample of his blood…too damaged to create anything from it, apparently, as twenty-two clones died during early stages of the procedure. Trying to obtain something, Sutter paired Zander with a skilled geneticist, Dr. Sarah Kinney, who Rice didn’t like at all. When Kinney, examining the samples, said that the “Y” chromosome was irrecoverable and that she would have been able to create only a female clone of Wolverine, Rice zanderricecomics1opposed the idea, remarking that they wanted to create a living weapon, not a “Barbie doll”. Against Zander’s opinion, Kinney proceeded with her idea, and she succesfully created a living and functional female clone, X-23. Despising Kinney and her success, Zander Rice asked and obtain that the woman acted as a surrogate mother to the clone, and he personally delivered the baby when the fetus reached maturity. He hated both Kinney and X-23, and in riflection he even came to hate Martin Sutter, who now endorsed the project: as a sick form of retaliation, he started an affair with Sutter’s wife, Rachel. The woman got pregnant and gave birth to a son, Henry, who Sutter believed was his…just to show his love, when Rachel told Zander that she wanted to confess the truth to her husband, he threatened to kill her.

In the meanwhile, X-23 was growing up, and Rice was in charge of awakening her healing abilities, so that she could survive the bonding of Adamantium with her bones; just to make his hatred for the girl clear, he used a far greater amount of radiations than it was necessary, and later he completed the process without anesthesia, believing he was avenging his father by making Wolverine’s clone suffer. He kept torturing her, honing another project he had, the trigger scent: everytime the girl suffered, he made her smell the same odor, so that the instant she smelled it it triggered an uncontrollable fury. He tested it on a dog and on the girl’s martial arts master, the two beings apart from Kinney who treated X-23 nicely and that she loved, and she murdered them without even realising what she was doing: the experiment was succesful. Always in charge of X-23’s training, he personally accompanied her on a mission against AIM, where he tried to have her killed by leaving her behind; he came back to the base claiming he had seen the girl die, but she eventually made it back to the base, much to Rice’s surprise…and disappointment. Uncapable of killing her, Zander decided to use X-23 for his own purposes: he convinced Sutter to give him complete control over the project, claiming that he didn’t want to lose “another father” in the Weapon X Facility; immediately after, he attached the trigger scent to Sutter, Rachel and even baby Henry, his biological son, and sent X-23 to their home to kill them. With Sutter and his family out of the way, Rice had full control of the project, and he could proceed with his own zanderricecomics2goal: to create an army of female feral clones of Wolverine and to sell them on the black market. There was only one potential obstacle to his project: Doctor Kinney, who would have surely opposed the idea. He summoned her to his office, telling her that the clones from 24 to 50 were ready and in incubation pods, and that her services weren’t required anymore: he fired her, telling her she could see X-23 one more time before leaving. While speaking, he attached the trigger scent to her: as the scientist went to see her putative daughter for the last time, Zander Rice only had to wait for X-23 to do the dirty job for him, before becoming one of the most powerful men on the planet.

Zander Rice is a man full of hatred and resentment, with the premature death of his father leaving quite a scar on his soul: now a sadistic and cruel man, he projects his thirst for revenge on anyone wronging him in some way. A skilled scientist and a superb surgeon, he has an acute intellect that he uses both in his job and in conceiving intricated plans satisfying his remarkable ego and ambition. Cautious and extremely dangerous, Zander Rice is a double-faced monster who’ll betray and murder anyone without the slightest remorse, more a beast than the clone he keeps calling “animal”.

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