Benedict Ryan

The second and last character appearing in the last episode of The Gifted is from the opposite front of the upcoming conflict. In no Mercy, while the Inner Circle makes its move and the Mutant Underground struggles to keep pace, Jace Turner climbs the ladder within the Purifiers, and meets with one of their greatest supporters and public figures: Benedict Ryan, portrayed by Peter Gallagher. Ryan aims to shame Sentinel Service live on television to fuel the impending racial war, and he obviously finds some resistance in the loyal ex agent. The show’s version of Benedict Ryan is more or less identical to the comics one, albeit older, and this means we’re about to meet quite an unpleasant guy. Let’s take a look.

Benedict Ryan was a man with two faces, a public one, and a secret one. For everyone, he was a popular tv show host, a millionaire with a lot of important contacts in high society, and a popular author who sold thousands and thousands of copies of each of his books. Secretly, however, he was a member of the Purifiers, a hate group that firmly believed that mutants (and superhumans in general) were the living spawn of the Devil, and that it was their sacred duty to purify the world, and America in particular, from them. While he kept a smiling and friendly public face, Ryan moved funds and resources pulling the right strains, financing the Purifiers with hidden governmental funds and soon becoming one of the most valuable assets of the group. Of course, since he was the one who brought the money in, he was also in possession of a number of sensitive information about the Purifiers’ activities, always keeping tracks of what the extremists did with the funds he provided. Benedict Ryan was sure that his “work” would have saved the world from the impending diabolical threat, but he, as many others like him, suffered a major shock when an ancient Asgardian god, known as The Serpent, unleashed an apocalypse of fear and destruction on the world, sending his minions, the so-called Worthy, to turn the planet into a deserted wasteland overridden by terror. Apparently, all his efforts and sacrifices had been in vain, as the world was clearly ending despite everything. The only thing Ryan had left at this point, was throwing a farewell party.

While the world was facing a true apocalypse, Benedict Ryan invited all his wealthy and powerful friends to one of his buildings in Manhattan, wanting to bid farewell to the world with them. Even in such an exclusive party, though, some party-crashers managed to break in, and they were less than welcome: two mutants, Psylocke and Fantomex, reached him, wanting to question him about the Purifiers. Rather than being touched by filthy mutants, Ryan preferred death, and he jumped from a window of the skyscraper… but he was caught in midair by E.V.A., Fantomex’s robotic companion. Once on the ground, he found himself surrounded by the entire roster of X-Force, wanting answers. He obviously refused to speak, but they became more convincing as Psylocke threatened to torture him with one of her psychic blades. Benedict Ryan wasn’t afraid of pain, but he didn’t want his holy mind to be corrupted by mutant powers, so, after mocking X-Force for defining themselves “heroes”, he agreed to tell his attackers whatever they needed. X-Force was investigating on a suicide bomber who had killed himself and several others in an airport, and also on the kidnapping and planned public execution of Daniel Chilton, a young superhero held hostage by a group of Purifiers. Ryan knew the man who was behind the attack and the abduction: Jonathan Standish, a fanatic even for the Purifiers’ standards, leader of a splinter cell that was prompting humans to kill themselves and their loved ones not to fall prey of the Devil’s minions. X-Force left Benedict Ryan with the shame of betraying one of his own, but the businessman didn’t mind about it too much: the world was about to end nevertheless, and there was nothing the mutants could have done to prevent it. Or was it?

Benedict Ryan, to put it kindly, is a consistent man: he truly believes that mutants are a scourge for America, and that they’re diabolical beings created by the Devil to corrupt the purity of the human race, and acts on consequence. A racist bigot with a lot of money and even more connections, Ryan is one of the Purifiers’ best and greatest supporters, an asset who never dirties his own hands, but who moves the cash wherever it’s needed. Men like Benedict Ryan prosper with hate-mongering and division, and they can be even more dangerous than the many stupid thugs they finance on the streets, as they’re practically untouchable… at least, if you follow the rules.

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Benazir Kaur (White Queen)

Last week’s episode of The Gifted introduced not one, but two new characters from the comics, and we’ll see them in chronological order. At the beginning of no Mercy, we dwell a bit in Reeva Payge‘s past, enough to see that she was initially a moderate and pacifist activist, at least until some human extremists killed for no reason her best friend, a more belligerent mutant named Benazir Kaur. Portrayed by Agam Darshi, Benazir tries to warn her fellow mutants of the danger represented by the human extremists and to mobilize them, but she doesn’t have much time to do something about the threat she falls victim of. In the comics, she definitely lives longer, enough to have a place of her own in the Inner Circle that Reeva controls in the show. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Benazir Kaur’s early life. She was most definitely member of a wealthy family, and with her fortune she earnt a social position high enough to attract the attention of the infamous Hellfire Club, that was reforming after its defeat at the hands of the X-Men. Kaur wasn’t only a wealthy socialite, she was also a mutant, but her ability, that allowed her to accelerate disease processes in a body, didn’t have any visible consequence on her appearance, and it allowed her to keep her position and status without suffering any form of racism. She could blend in with humans, all the while plotting to bring mutants to power. Her fortune, her genes and her ideas made her the perfect recruit for the new Hellfire Club formed by Shinobi Shaw, son of former Black King Sebastian, a young man she found quite an affinity with. Benazir and Shinobi got close and found a remarkable intellectual understanding, to the point that Shaw wanted her as his White Queen, his second in command. Along with the new White King Benedict Kline and new Black Queen Reeva Payge, Benazir became part of the new Inner Circle, with Shinobi as its Black King. Shinobi often shared his plans and ideas with Benazir, and discussed with her the most delicate operations knowing to find in her a nearly matching intellect: not only the White Queen was Shinobi’s favorite chess opponent, she actively contributed to the rebirth of the Hellfire Club.

Due to her privileged position among the other members of the new Inner Circle, Benazir Kaur was also the only one who explicitly doubted some of Shinobi’s tactics, such as when he decided to brainwash the X-Man Storm to make her join him. Benazir didn’t like the idea, but she was convinced when the Black King turned a losing chess match in yet another victory, proving that he always had everything under control, even when it looked like he was making risky moves. The White Queen trusted him, but this time she shouldn’t have: shortly after the drugged Storm had arrived to their headquarters in Manhattan, some of the X-Men reached her, meaning to free her from the mind-control. The White Queen swiftly made use of her powers, and she targeted the group’s smoker, Gambit: her skills made him experience a fast growing, terminal lung cancer, and he started suffocating in his collapsing lungs… but Gambit wasn’t alone, of course, and his teammate Bishop knocked Benazir out while she was concentrated on her opponent, thus interrupting her influence and immediately bringing Gambit back to his original health. While Benazir was out cold, Storm broke out of her conditioning, defeated Shinobi and left. This wasn’t of course the best start for the new Hellfire Club, but things got even worse when Sebastian Shaw came back, and reclaimed his position as the rightful Black King from his son. The new and short-lived Inner Circle disbanded, and from that moment Benazir Kaur came back to her old life, as if her terrorist days had been just a weird vacation.

Benazir Kaur is an intelligent and sophisticated woman, with a lot of time to kill and little moral values to follow. As the White Queen, she’s able to accelerate the progression of any illness into a body, making healthy people experience the symptoms (and the lethal effects) of diseases they could potentially develop. A woman with a lot of power and no restraint in using it, Benazir Kaur believes in Shinobi Shaw’s dream and projects just as long as the man manages to intrigue and interest her, compensating with her smarts a commitment that could definitely be stronger…

John Sublime

In our race to catch up with everything we left behind, we reach The Gifted, that keeps delivering solid and satisfying episodes. In iMprint, Esme opens up with Lorna, and tells her about her and her sisters’ terrifying past (and true nature). As we see the telepaths as young girls in a nightmarish facility, we learn that they’ve been created, raised and experimented on by someone they called “Dr. John“… and that’s a clear reference to the one who’s responsible of their existence in the comics, John Sublime, portrayed in the show by Michael Chandler. The first live action appearance of this terrifying villain is quite a waste, as he’s killed off during the flashback… but if he’s anything like the actual Sublime, a half dozen bullets in the chest are not nearly enough to keep him down for good, and we’ll probably see him around again. Let’s take a look.

Sublime is most likely the most ancient living being on the planet. It was born around 3 billions years ago, shortly after Earth was formed, and far before any sentient (or even complex) form of life appeared. It was a sentient bacteria, a fully evolved life form with a single collective mind, the first one to emerge with a conscience from the evolutionary puddle. The name “Sublime” was one he gave to itself, and it grew as the silent and secret ruler of the entire planet. As more complex life forms emerged, Sublime simply infected them and controlled them thanks to its bacterial nature, and it guided the species the way it saw fitter for its own survival. Sublime survived geological catastrophes, cataclysms and eras, and crossed the millennia as the sole constant on Earth; when homo sapiens sapiens, the first fully sentient species, appeared, it simply started to infect and possess them as well, guiding human history according to its own intricate and unreadable long-term projects. Millennia after millennia, it prospered… until a new species emerged, homo sapiens superior, simply known as mutants. Mutants were the next evolutionary step of humans, and they were stronger than their genetic basis: they possessed immense powers that allowed them to control natural and cosmic forces, they had various and challenging organisms… and most of all, they resisted Sublime’s infection, being immune to it since birth. For the first time in its impossibly long life, Sublime feared for its survival: the only option to avoid extinction was to prevent mutants from ever becoming the dominant species on the planet, and if not erase them from existence, surely to control them and keep them in check. First, it strongly pushed humans to hate and fear mutants, starting racial tensions and sometimes even conflicts all around the globe. Then, it realized that it was time for a more direct approach, and it took the initiative in its hands. Well, on someone else’s hands: it found a human host, and made its debut on the public scene as Dr. John Sublime.

Dr. John Sublime was the secret founder and director of the Weapon Plus Program, a secret governmental project aimed to create super-soldiers for World War II… apparently: what Sublime really wanted was to empower humans, so that he would have had organisms he could infect to use against mutants. Through the Program, Sublime gave birth, over the years, to Captain America, the Skinless Man, Nuke, Wolverine, Deadpool, Fantomex, Hunstman, Sabretooth, Ultimaton, the Stepford Cuckoos and many others, either mutated humans, mutated animals, clones or even mutants experimented on to be used as agents against other mutants. In all these years, John Sublime never showed himself, manipulating from behind the scenes a director of his own choice, most notably Malcolm Colcord. When he lost control of Weapon X, that became an independent faction under the direction of Brent Jackson, Sublime founded a movement based in Hong Kong, the TransSpecies Movement, that aimed to create a new species, the Homo Perfectus. Sublime manipulated the fear of humans and offered them the chance to become superhumans by implanting mutant body parts in their bodies, giving them powers. These fanatics soon became the U-Men, and they started kidnapping and murdering mutants locking them in “farms” and using them to harvest their limbs and organs. This plan hid another one, though, as while he had been fueling humans’ hatred towards mutants, Sublime had also synthesized the drug Kick, a highly addictive substance that enabled mutants to temporarily boost their abilities and feel high for a while… but Kick was in reality a highly concentrated aerosol form of Sublime’s bacterial form, and through the drug it was finally able to infect mutants as well. Sublime didn’t care much when the X-Men came and shut down its mutant farms in Hong Kong: they came back home bringing along a healer, Xorn, an extremely powerful mutant… who happened to be addicted to Kick. The centuries-long plan to eradicate mutants was finally reaching its apex…

John Sublime, or simply Sublime, is an extremely complex, intelligent and malevolent life form, a sentient bacteria who’s been manipulating human history since its very beginning, and who’s responsible for an unimaginable amount of events and happenings, but even of thoughts and ideas born in the human mind. As a living bacteria, he’s virtually immortal and practically indestructible, as his hive mind allows it to be present at the same time everywhere a microscopical part of it is; it can infect and thus possess a seemingly infinite amount of bio-organisms at once, influencing their behavior through direct mind-control or simply by manipulating their feelings and thoughts; once it chooses a host, Sublime is able to manipulate the body’s cellular and even genetic structure to heal it from virtually any damage, to modify its appearance and to increase its physical attributes; when it possesses a mutant, thanks to Kick, it can also boost said mutant’s powers beyond natural limits. John Sublime is a terribly dangerous entity, a “third species” in the racial war between humans and mutants that manipulate both contenders for its own purposes, the one and true world ruler who’s been around literally forever, and who plans to live (and rule) some other billion years at least…

William “Willie” Lumpkin

Today we interrupt our usual schedule for a moment, responding to the recent bad news about the man (more appropriately The Man) who’s one of the main reasons this site even exists. Stan Lee passed away two days ago, and the whole comics world is mourning one of the most brilliant and audacious minds of the past century, one of its best narrators, and overall an incredibly sweet and decent person. We want to celebrate The Man our way, by posting the bio of one of the characters he portrayed in his many cameos: he appeared in Fantastic Four as Willie Lumpkin, the postman of the Baxter Building. So, thanks for everything, Stan. Excelsior, now and forever.

Believe it or not, but being a postman had always been the dream of Willie Lumpkin. Born in Glenville, Nebraska, he grew up idolizing his grandfather, Bill “Gramps” Lumpkin, who used to deliver mail in the Big City during World War II. He lived with him, and grew up with his stories. For years, Willie was happy to be the postman of Glenville, and the greatest dream in his life was to keep on with the good work in a big city, just like his Gramps had done years before. He became very well known by all the citizens of the small town, from little Pee-Wee to the mayor Mr. Bluster, and he was secretly in love with Lila “Cuddles” Brown, who he dreamt to marry and to move to the Big City with. Lila, however, had other plans: one Christmas morning, Willie met with Lila and with their common friend Charlie Boomer to exchange presents, and for the occasion his two friends told him a big news… they were getting married. Lila, apparently, wanted a man with a greater ambition than being a postman in a big city, and Boomer, who planned on becoming Postmaster General in Glenville, was a better option. Brokenhearted and with nothing left but his dream, Willie decided to follow it to the end, and he moved to the biggest city he could think of: New York City. Here, of course, he got hired by the local post office, and he could finally fulfill his lifelong dream. He served many important buildings, skyscrapers he only dreamt of in Glenville… among which the Baxter Building, that a few years later became famous for being the headquarters of the Fantastic Four, the first superhero family. Just as with the citizens of Glenville, Willie became fast-friends with the team, thanks to his humor and gentle heart.

On one occasion, as he was struggling with the tons of letters from the fans, Willie was helped by “Mr. Thing“, who lifted the entire bag with two fingers. Impressed, Willie offered him a job to the post office, then he changed his mind and offered himself to Mr. Fantastic as a new addition to the team, claiming that his superpower was wiggling his ears; with a smile, Mr. Fantastic told him he would have considered him as soon as there was room for one more, and from that moment the two became good friends. Willie became a constant presence in the FF’s lives, and he even helped them defeat the Mad Thinker, who had taken over the building, by following Mr. Fantastic’s instructions and activating a device that deactivated all the villain’s traps and machines. He became friends with The Thing’s girlfriend Alicia Masters and attended to her exhibit, and participated to a number of adventures with the FF, being locked in a closet by the Super Skrull, returning mankind to the state of savages after being manipulated by Tempus and having created quite a havoc in history (only the intervention of Uatu the Watcher managed to fix the chaos), and even being brought to his past, present and future by the Spirit of Christmas, who had mistaken him for J. Jonah Jameson. Then, after a semi-retirement, Willie Lumpking changed routes, moving from Manhattan to Forest Hills, Queens… where he fell in love again, this time with a beautiful and gentle widow: May Parker. Made bold by all his past adventures, Willie this time didn’t hide his love, and asked May out for a concert in the park: much to his joy and surprise, May accepted the invitation, and the two started dating. Fulfilling his dream turned out to be even better than he could have ever realized.

Willie Lumpkin is a wonderfully good man, with a gentle heart and an exquisite sense of humor, a hard worker who had a simple, but highly rewarding life. He’s always friendly and smiling, and he has his way to enter people’s hearts with simplicity and naturalness. Even if he’s not a superhero (despite his wiggling ears), he’s a constant presence in the life of the heroic community, a gentle old man who gives each one of them a moment of normality away from weird adventures, and a simple, true friendship to be enjoyed.

Kenji Oyama (Lord Dark Wind)

To find the last character in this season of Daredevil we have to jump to the very last episode, A New Napkin. Bullseye learnt at his own expenses that is not wise to make the Kingpin angry, and he came up with a broken back: the doctor operating on him is credited as Dr. O, but in the episode his assistants call him Doctor Oyama. We’re meeting here the first live action appearance of Kenji Oyama, portrayed by Glenn Kubota, and this is quite an exciting cameo, that possibly paves the way for the famous Disney-Fox merger coming next year. Dr. Oyama, in fact, is primarily an antagonist of Wolverine in the comics, and he’s the father of another known character who right now belongs to the Fox’s roster. Let’s take a look.

Kenji Oyama was born in Yokosuka, Japan, and during World War II he served his country as a pilot, distinguishing himself as a war hero. In 1945, Japan was on the losing side of the war, and Oyama heroically volunteered for a kamikaze mission: unfortunately, as he crashed his plane on an American aircraft carrier, it failed to explode, and albeit severely burnt and horribly scarred, the pilot survived. Kenji lived his survival as a failure and a dishonor, and he dedicated his entire life to clean the shame from his name, and to rehabilitate Japan as a world power after its defeat. He became a war prisoner, but was released when the war was over: back home, he started covering his face in a black cloth, swearing that he would have showed himself again only when his and Japan’s honor was restored. He got married, and had three children: a daughter, Yuriko, and two unnamed sons, and he marked them all in the face with the ritual brand of dishonor. He wrote a book about his war experiences, and he earned money enough to buy a small island off the coast of Hokkaido, where he moved along with his family, and also a research facility in Yokohama. With his children literally branded to his cause, Kenji Oyama ceased to exist, renaming himself Lord Dark Wind, avatar of the winds of the past coming to reclaim a now defeated and corrupted Japan, turned from glorious empire to nation of merchants. Lord Dark Wind became a crime boss, and recruited an army of young fanatics whom he trained in the ancient arts of samurais and ninjas, and whom he educated in the faith to Kami, a warrior deity with a face scarred the way of his family members. Lord Dark Wind became a legendary figure, and his island became off-limits even for the local fishermen; he constantly plotted against the current government, and even sent his two sons to kill the Prime Minister, although they failed and got killed… a loss that earnt to Kenji the hatred of Yuriko.

Lord Dark Wind was prompted by his sons’ failure to try and find a way to create the perfect soldier, in order to have an invincible army of samurais to reclaim the country with. Working from his facility in Yokohama, Dark Wind developed a process to bond a human skeleton with the indestructible metal known as Adamantium, a process that made him famous in the whole world. This wasn’t, obviously, a safe procedure: most patients died within a week from surgery, with their bodies rejecting the metal despite the ancient herbs used to prevent such a result. At a certain point, Dark Wind’s notes were stolen and brought to Canada, where Department H used them to create superpowered agents of their own: Dark Wind never found the culprit, and spent years to recreate the process. His research suffered another theft attempt, this time from another Japanese fanatic, Tomo Yoshida, who sent a mercenary team led by Mystique and by his own son Sunfire to steal the data. This time, Lord Dark Wind successfully protected his research, and escaped before his office in Yokohama was raided. Finally, with the data complete again, Kenji could create his perfect warrior, and he wanted him to kill the Japanese Minister of Trade, who in his mind symbolized the new, weak identity of his country. As a perfect candidate he selected Bullseye, an American assassin who had a broken spine by that time. As the Minister was having a conference in New York City, Dark Wind arranged things to smuggle Bullseye to his facility in Japan, to send him back home with a brand new indestructible skeleton just in time for his mission. Alerted by the CIA, Wolverine tried to prevent Dark Wind to collect Bullseye from the hospital he was in, but Oyama had a deal with Kingpin, who sent his men to distract the Canadian mutant while he proceeded with his plan. Wolverine then allied with Bullseye’s enemy Daredevil, and together they tracked Bullseye to the ship Osama Maru and then to Japan, but it was too late. Unfortunately, Lord Dark Wind had tragically underestimated his daughter Yuriko’s grudge against him…

Kenji Oyama is a nationalistic fanatic, a man who made the warriors’ ancient code of honor his own, and who dedicated his entire life to re-establish the lost honor of Japan, sacrificing everything and everyone for this single purpose. As Lord Dark Wind, he’s a scientific genius who, first in the world, discovered the process to work Adamantium and to bond it with a human skeleton; he’s not just brain though, as he’s a master swordsman trained in the ancient way of the samurais, and he wields an indestructible sword made of Adamantium that can cut through anything. In the dark pits of his brilliant mind, Lord Dark Wind is a patriot and a true warrior, but for the rest of the world he’s just a monomaniacal murderer who plans a coup against his own government, and who created monsters corrupting youth and mistreating his own children, a true demon with enough charisma to gather a blind-loyal army: it’s not by chance that the new face of Japan is so horribly scarred.

Penelope Page

Today we meet the last member of Karen Page‘s family… the last from the comics at least, since there’s no brother in the source material. In Daredevil episode 10, Karen, a long flashback shows us the tragic story of the Pages, starting with the death of Penelope, beloved wife and mother, died of cancer some time before the story begins. She only appears in photo, but she has her presence felt when her daughter tries to convince the rest of the family to let the inn go, saying that Penelope in the first place hated it. In the comics, she has a secondary role to say the least, but she’s there nevertheless, and she appears in a couple of key moments in Karen’s life. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Penelope Page’s early life, not even her maiden name. She came from a wealthy family, and she didn’t have financial problems for her entire life. At some point, she fell in love with a brilliant scientist, Paxton Page, and she married him. As Paxton was working for the government, Penelope got pregnant, and she gave birth to a daughter, Karen. This could have been a “happily ever after”, but Paxton was fired from his employers since he deemed his discoveries too dangerous to be shared with military, and was branded a traitor. Following this, the entire family moved to Page House, a family mansion in Fagan Corners, Vermont, where Penelope could raise her daughter in tranquility, and her husband could continue his researches without distractions. The only other person who followed them to Vermont was Garth, Penelope’s butler… who, unbeknownst to her, was actually a government agent paid to spy on the scientist. As years passed, Paxton became more and more absorbed with his work, to the point that he simply didn’t notice anything else, and he considered everyone, including his wife and daughter, a distraction. Penelope did her best to reach to him, but then tragedy struck: a flaming, skeletal figure appeared out of nowhere, terrifying her. When the apparition was gone, she found a note, in which the monster signed himself Death’s Head, and revealed that he had kidnapped Paxton Page: if Penelope wanted to keep her husband alive, she would have had to leave immediately, without mentioning Paxton’s disappearance to anyone. And so she did.

Penelope didn’t have problems in moving to New York City with Karen, raising her in another of her family’s houses, and the girl grew up to be quite a smart young woman. Penelope kept lying about Paxton, stating that he had left them and wanted to be left alone with his work, and did her best to conceal her true feelings. When her girl left her house, she learnt of Karen’s successes, and rejoiced when she became the secretary of the new D.A. Nelson, but it came a time where she just couldn’t bear the burden of her secret anymore. She called Karen, telling her what she knew about Paxton and Death’s Head, a move that obviously prompted Karen to come back to Fagan Corners and look for her dad. By doing this, Penelope set in motion a series of events that would have led to the discovery that Death’s Head was actually Paxton Page, gone mad due to the radiations he was studying, and ultimately to his death. During Paxton’s funeral, Penelope and Karen were together, but it passed a lot of time before the two would have met again… too much, actually. She wasn’t present when Karen left New York and became an actress in Los Angeles, nor when her daughter fell into the trap of drug addiction and became a full-time junkie. We don’t even know if Penelope was aware of her daughter’s fall from grace, or even of her recovery, of her new career as a radio host, or if she knew that she had been trialed for the murder of a psycho cop who was stalking her. What we know, is that Penelope Page resurfaced only when her Karen was murdered in cold blood by Bullseye, in a scheme by Mysterio to ruin Daredevil‘s life. At the funeral, Penelope was there, crying over a dead daughter she hadn’t been close to as she probably could have been.

Penelope Page is a perfectly normal woman, involved in things far bigger than herself. Although she’s been a loving mother for Karen, trying her best to keep from her even the secret about her father’s disappearance just to protect her, at a certain point she simply disappeared from her life, despite the many misadventures her daughter was going through. In a way or another, she doesn’t have time anymore to spend with her daughter now, and she may regret it for as long as she lives…

Paxton Page (Death’s Head)

Quite appropriately for Halloween, we meet a horror-like character from Daredevil, who made a voice-only appearance in Aftermath, and a full one in the long flashback in Karen. We’re speaking of Paxton Page, Karen‘s father, who in the show is portrayed by Lee Tergesen as the owner of a failing diner in Fagan Corners, Vermont, with quite a grudge against his daughter after she caused the death of his second son Kevin. In the comics, though, Paxton is not exactly a restaurateur, and becomes much more menacing as the story progresses. Let’s see together.

Paxton Page was a renowned scientist, working for the government. He had a wife, Penelope, and even a daughter, Karen. During his research, he invented the Cobalt Bomb, a weapon he deemed too powerful to be used by armies around the world. Because of this, he refused to give it to the government, or to anyone else for that matters, and he was eventually branded a traitor by the Congress. Disgraced, he was forced to resign his position, so he and his family moved to a small, tranquil estate in Fagan Corners, Vermont. The radiation he had been exposed to during his experiments, however, had already started eroding Paxton’s sanity, and before he knew it he had become obsessed with continuing his research. Eventually, in order to eliminate any distraction, he created the masked identity of a criminal, Death’s Head, and faked his own kidnapping. He even left a note from “the villain” addressed to his wife, in which he threatened her to leave the house along with her daughter, or else Death’s Head would have killed Doctor Page. He obviously ordered her not to speak with anyone of this event, or else her husband would have been killed. Penelope, worried for Paxton, did as she was told, and she moved away along with Karen. The only one allowed to stay was Garth, the family’s butler, who kept assisting his master. Now without distractions, Paxton Page could continue his research on cobalt… unfortunately, by doing this, he exposed himself to an even higher amount of radiations: he obtained superhuman powers, but he went increasingly insane.

The identity of Death’s Head became a bigger and bigger part in Paxton’s psyche, and he even subjected a poor horse to cobalt treatment to transform him in the perfect steed for his masked counterpart. This eventually became useful years later, when Karen, warned by her mother, came back to the old estate: dressed as Death’s Head, Paxton appeared to his daughter, threatening her not to come near the house ever again, and disappeared. Soon after, though, Karen was reached by Daredevil, and Death’s Head attacked him too. During the fight, the mad villain actually managed to knock him out, and hearing the police approaching, he even put on the hero a replica of his own costume, mounted him on his skeletal horse, and sent him charging to the police. The cops were terrified and didn’t aim right, but the noise of the gunshots was enough to wake Daredevil up: he dismounted and revealed the ruse, then came back to Pages’ house. In the meanwhile, Karen had followed Garth to the hideout of Death’s Head, an old mill near the estate, and here Paxton appeared in full costume. As Daredevil intervened again, a battle ensued, but when the hero declared he knew that Death’s Head was actually Paxton Page, the scientist snapped, and declared that Page had died years ago, and there was only Death’s Head, his killer. He attacked with even more ferocity, and tried to burn Daredevil and Karen under a vat of molten cobalt…. just then, however, he remembered that, for some reason, he didn’t want that woman to die, and removed her from the cobalt’s trajectory, being hit in her place and apparently dying on the spot. At the end, Paxton Page had proved to be stronger than Death’s Head.

Paxton Page used to be a man of integrity, with a strong morality that made him choose to sacrifice his honor and career for the sake of humanity, but he’s now a madman with little to no memory of his past life, a mind consumed by radiation and obsessed with his research. As Death’s Head, he possesses superhuman strength and durability, he can manipulate cobalt radiation into fireballs he throws at his opponents, and he covers his weapons (a sword and a bola) with it, setting them aflame; he also rides a skeletal horse treated with cobalt as well. A man torn between two opposite identities, Paxton Page/Death’s Head is but the flaming husk of the genius he used to be, a shining madman who brings only chaos and destruction in his wake.