Mister Jip

While I was away, Cloak & Dagger reached a conclusion, and while we don’t have any new character introduced in the last two episodes, there’s one interesting revelation coming from showrunner Joe Pokaski regarding one of the previous episodes, and the future of the series. In episode 6, Funhouse Mirrors, Tyrone induces a nightmare in Kev in order to take his place as a delivery boy, and the vision he sees is quite different from the others: instead of a personal fear of the subject, he sees a tall, hooded figure with a white mask, looming on them both and frightfully approaching. Well, according to Pokaski that’s none others than Mister Jip, a major antagonist from the comics and the first real challenge the Divine Pairing had to face together. He’ll possibly appear as Season 2‘s big bad, but remains to be seen if the show will explore Jip’s ties to one other big shot of the Marvel Universe, and the MCU as well. Let’s see together.

Mister Jip’s origins are lost in the centuries, and even his true name is unknown. He was born somewhere in East Asia in the 15th Century, and he left his home as a young man to pursue knowledge, believing it to be his sacred destiny. During his travels, he heard of the enlightened city of Kamar Taj, and headed to Tibet in order to find it and learn as much of its lost arts as he could. As he climbed the Himalayas and reached the city’s location, however, the young man only found ruins where the walls of Kamar Taj should have been: thinking of the missed opportunity to learn so much, he knelt and cried over his frustrated ambition. He was spotted by Yao, the last surviving citizen of Kamar Taj: Yao mistook the youth’s tears for compassion over the destroyed city, and presented himself to the pilgrim, taking him in as his first student. Yao, who later became the Ancient One, taught his first disciple many of the lost magic of Kamar Taj, but realized too late that the young man was actually looking after the forbidden dark arts only to increase his own power, driven by a thirst for knowledge that had no signs of compassion nor humanity in it. Shocked by this revelation, the Ancient One cast his disciple out, and refused to teach him anything else… but the man had already learnt much, at least enough to abandon his own body and unnaturally augment his own life span possessing the body of others. As he continuously changed identity, he eventually abandoned even his true name, and became known only as Mister Jip, a now incorporeal and semi-demonic entity who exploited other people’s life force to seek the forbidden knowledge he was always after. Because of the dark nature of the magic he was using, though, he could only possess the body of evil people, and his influence only made their bodies decay at an incredible rate, always reducing him to a monstrous form, and forcing him to change body faster and faster as the centuries succeeded one another. He saved time by creating a servant, the monster Yipyap, whose sole purpose was to seek evil people for him to possess: this way, he could continue his studies without worrying about his decaying physical form.

His studies led him to learn even more forbidden arts, and to exercise himself with dangerous spells, always staying hidden from the world, waiting for the moment he would have been powerful enough to claim it as his own. Using his magic, he created two servants, the embodiment of darkness and light, whom he called, respectively, Night and Day, and used them as spies and agents in a world he couldn’t walk in for much time. The one thing Jip was looking for, now, was a body imbued with enough darkness to sustain him for an indefinite time… and Yipyap apparently found it in Cloak, a teenager superhero who was a living portal to the Darkforce, but who, as a consequence, had been increasingly corrupted by the demon lord of that dimension, the Predator. Mister Jip was ready to take possession of Cloak, but then the hero’s partner, Dagger, who was on the opposite the embodiment of light, found a way to purge the darkness from his body. Left without the perfect host, Jip however sensed the boy’s insecurity: Cloak feared that, now that he was a normal human being, Dagger wouldn’t have cared about him as much as she did when he had his powers. Wanting to exploit this, Mister Jip took possession of a middle-aged man, and opened a curiosity shop in the neighborhood, performing some of his lesser enchantments to present himself as a “miracle maker” to the people there. His fame reached the ears of Cloak, who went to his shop desperate to have his powers back. The “clerk” assured him that it was within his powers to restore his abilities, but that everything had a price… but with all the impatience and the anxiety of youth, Cloak accepted the deal without even listening to the terms, and he had his powers back by touching a black cube Jip was handing to him. This was all part of Jip’s plans, as he had read Dagger’s heart as well, and he knew that she would have left Cloak if he fell in temptation and took his powers back. The prediction was realized in detail, and Mister Jip later presented himself to an abandoned and embittered Cloak, demanding his price to be paid. Cloak accepted him as his new master, but Dagger came back just in time to stop Jip from possessing him: Night and Day intervened as well, but during the battle the Predator came out of the Darkforce and attacked Day. Jip knew that he wasn’t powerful enough to face such a demon, so he fled. He hadn’t renounced to his perfect host, though, as the payment of Cloak’s debt had just been postponed, certainly not cancelled…

The highly intelligent and just as highly ambitious Mister Jip is a malicious sorcerer, who dedicated his long existence to the pursuit of knowledge in any form, and who’s only interested in gaining power for himself. As the Usurper of Souls, he’s a powerful magician with mastery over a variety of spells, granting him many abilities ranging from mesmerism to teleportation, from energy manipulation to summoning demons and creating servants he shares a psychic bond with; his main spell is the one that allows his to prolong his life with the life force of others, separating someone’s soul from the body and absorbing the body in his own, although this process works only if the victim is unaware of Jip’s existence and true intentions, and if the new host doesn’t have any “inner light” (meaning that the victim is either evil or connected in some way to a supernatural darkness). Evil and cowardly, Mister Jip uses much of his dark magic to hide himself from his his former master, the Ancient One, and his successor Doctor Strange, and he manipulates unwilling pawns like Cloak and Dagger, the X-Men, X-Force or the Serpent Society from the shadows, exploiting the fruits of their work. Frail and rotten, Mister Jip is an ancient disease, a resilient cancer that infects history from behind the veil of perception, moving events while unseen, to achieve his ultimate goal…

Advertisements

Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich (Omega Red)

The Icebox prison in Deadpool 2 was definitely full of mutants, and it’s no surprise that many of them turned out to be cameos from the comics… but this one is definitely one we didn’t see coming: Omega Red, one of the most popular and notorious among Wolverine‘s enemies. The Russian super-soldier was supposed to appear in X-Men: The Last Stand portrayed by kick-boxer Vince Murdocco, but the character was later cut from the script. In Deadpool 2 he only appeared as a background character, portrayed by Dakoda Shapley, but since one of the scenes of the new uncut version is titled Chess with Omega Red, we can expect to see more of him. Waiting to see what the new version of the film will bring to us (and who are the other mutants revealed to be in the prison by makeup artist Bill Corso (I have a couple of ideas for at least three of them, but let’s wait for the official confirmation), let’s meet together one of the baddest and toughest mutants ever.

Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich was born in the Soviet Union, an albino who became an agent of Spetnaz somewhere in the 1960s. Arkady, however, was also a serial killer, with the disturbing hobby of raping and killing young girls whenever the occasion presented itself. He couldn’t go on forever without being caught, and he eventually got arrested by Sean Cassidy, an agent of Interpol, who turned him over to the KGB. Back in Russia, Arkady was trialed and sentenced to death… but at the moment of the execution, his X-Gene activated, and he escaped death by releasing lethal spores. KGB saw in this a sign of destiny, and forcefully recruited Rossovich in their own version of the Super Soldier Project, a program aimed to create the Soviet counterpart to Captain America. For years, Arkady Rossovich was kept in a secret lab, tortured and experimented on, provided with cybernetic implants and also with an experimental alloy created by Russian scientist, named Carbonadium, an attempt to recreate the Adamantium that the Canadian Department H had used on their Weapon X. Carbonadium was only slightly less durable than Adamantium, but it was also much more malleable, a characteristic that allowed the scientists to create a couple of retractable whips to be equipped to Rossovich’s armor… unfortunately, the alloy was also radioactive, and it poisoned its user. Arkady’s powers, however, could come in handy, as they allowed him to siphon other people’s life force to replenish his own, healing from potentially lethal wounds and even from the radiation poisoning he was continuously exposed to. There was a way to stabilize his condition, though: the Carbonadium Synthesizer, the same device that had forged his tentacles… and that had been stolen by Team X, during their attempt to save double agent Janice Hollenbeck. At the end of the process, the criminal Arkady Rossovich had been transformed into the Soviet super-soldier Omega Red, and his first mission was simple: to retrieve the Synthesizer from the three agents who had stolen it, Wolverine, Maverick and Sabretooth.

The mission didn’t exactly turned out as planned, as the three mutant super-agents were seasoned and experienced enough to match Omega Red, and eventually hid the Synthesizer where he would have never found it. The test in itself, however, was a success, so Omega was deployed by the KGB as an operative. In Berlin, Omega fought another Canadian super-spy, John Wraith, and nearly killed him. Then, the USSR sent him against some Interpol agents who were interfering with the intelligence’s work, and he killed one of them, Magrite Deveraux. Doing this, however, made Omega Red become the target of Deveraux’s partner, Sean Cassidy (the same one who had arrested him years before), and of Erik Lensherr. Being all three of them mutants, the battle that followed was unlike anything the KGB could have possibly foreseen, and Omega Red released such an amount of deadly spores that he killed dozens of civilian bystanders. He was eventually shot and subdued by Cassidy, and later returned to the USSR authorities, who played coy about their involvement with what they pretended to be a rogue agent. Deemed too dangerous and unpredictable, Omega Red was put in suspended animation for the time being, hibernated until the scientists found a way to effectively control him. This took longer than expected, and actually never came to fruition. The Soviet Union fell, and the secret lab Omega Red was kept in was abandoned and eventually forgotten. The super-soldier was found by The Hand, the ninja cult at the time led by Matsu’o Tsurayaba. The Hand reanimated Omega Red, and recruited him as a new assassin for their cult: their interest aligned as they both shared a grudge against Wolverine, who was now a member of the X-Men. Omega Red did join the Hand to get a chance at slicing the throat of his old enemy and learn the location of the lost Carbonadium Synthesizer, but his loyalty to the group wasn’t greater than his one to the fallen Soviet Union, something that the Hand would have soon learnt the hard way…

Arkady Rossovich is a brutal and sadistic man, a predator born with a taste for killing, who has no loyalty but to himself (certainly not to some scientists and spies who took a serial killer, empowered him and then pretended he was a soldier). As Omega Red, his mutant powers, renamed Death Factor, allow him to create and release lethal pheromones and spores capable of killing anyone in the immediate vicinity, spores that he’s forced to expel or otherwise they’ll consume his own body; he’s superhumanly strong, agile, durable and fast, and he’s a superb hand-to-hand combatant; his Death Factor summed to his nearly indestructible Carbonadium tentacles allow him to siphon the energy of other living beings, using it to heal himself even from lethal damage, with his constant self-poisoning forcing him to a vampiric existence. A super-assassin designed to kill in the most effective way possible, Omega Red is a masterpiece of the Cold War, the perfect death-bringer who’s extremely professional in his task… unfortunately, he enjoys it a little bit too much for being anywhere near controllable.

Reeva Payge (Black Queen)

New images for the upcoming tv season are surfacing, and one of those comes from the second season of The Gifted, the acclaimed mutant-themed series. The pic shows Polaris in labor, with some women assisting her: at the far left, there’s Reeva Payge, portrayed by Grace Byers. Reeva will be a member of the Hellfire Club, and she’s described as a charming and elegant woman, who fiercely defends her vision and her people. In the comics, she’s a (very) secondary character, who only appears in one issue of X-Men Annual, and who’s never seen again after an initial, burning defeat. She is indeed a member of the Hellfire Club, but not of the original one. Let’s see together.

Almost nothing is known about Reeva Payge’s past, apart from the things we can deduce from her current position. She was American, most likely born or at least leaving in the area of Manhattan, New York City. She was most certainly born in a family of ancient wealth and of social prestige, an origin that allowed her a certain distinction in society. Reeva wasn’t just some wealthy socialite though, she was also a mutant: with adulthood, she developed the ability to emit a high-pitched note, not audible from human ears, that affected the brain’s neurochemistry and distorted one’s sense of reality. Her power, along with her initial situation, helped her to become quite influential, enough to be noted by Shinobi Shaw, another wealthy and powerful man. Shinobi believed that his father, Sebastian Shaw, was dead, and had taken for himself both the title of Black King and the leadership of the New York branch of the Hellfire Club. A Black King alone couldn’t do much, especially if he wanted to match his father’s former power, so Shinobi Shaw started building his own Inner Circle. Reeva Payge was among the mutants contacted by Shaw, and she accepted his offer, becoming the Black Queen of the new Club. She joined the White King Benedict Kine and the White Queen Benazir Kaur, ready to recruit others to her cause and to bring the Hellfire Club back to its original, undisputed power.

The new Black Queen fit herself quite well in her position, and helped Shinobi Shaw in examining and testing the probational members, such as Cordelia Frost and Archangel (the latter eventually turned down the offer). There was one person that Shinobi absolutely wanted for his Inner Circle, the X-Man Storm, and he drugged her into allying with him. As Shaw presented Storm to the other members of the Inner Circle, two other X-Men, Gambit and Bishop, intervened to save her. The Black Queen showed to be not someone to shy away from a battle, and she used her sonic powers to disorient and confuse the attackers, leaving them defenseless. She had, however, tragically underestimated Gambit’s acrobatic skills, honed with the Thieves Guild and mastered to perfection: even if dizzy, Gambit managed to charge a coin with kinetic energy, and to throw it with absolute precision at Reeva, stunning her with the small resulting explosion. At the same time, Storm broke Shaw’s control on her, and she defeated what remained of the new Inner Circle, later rejoining her teammates and leaving. After that defeat, the new Inner Circle didn’t last long, especially because the original Black King Sebastian Shaw turned out to be alive and well, and ready to resume power: he claimed back his title and position, and formed a new Inner Circle to replace his son’s one. The brief reign of Reeva Payge as the Black Queen was already over.

Reeva Payge is an overly ambitious woman, ready to embrace violence and manipulation to get to her goals. As the Black Queen, she possesses the mutant ability to create with her vocal cords a note inaudible to the human ear, but capable of distorting balance and reality perception by messing with the brain’s chemistry. A woman with all the wealth, influence and power needed to obtain whatever she wants, Reeva Payge is more than willing to put all her resources at use to climb the ladder… and as many steps she has to make, she has enough skill to make it to the top.

Deacon Frost

With Emy H we move to Blade, meeting the movie’s big bad: Deacon Frost, the arrogant, young vampire portrayed by Stephen Dorff. In the movie, he’s an ambitious vampire who seeks to break all the rules of cohabitation with humans and use people as cattle for blood-suckers, and means to do that by fusing with the ancient vampire god La Magra. He kills the ruling House of Erebus and accomplishes the fusion, but he’s killed by his unwilling creation… Blade, of course. In the comics, he’s indeed the one responsible for Blade’s vampirism, as well as a ruler-wannabe who moves against the top of the vampire chain of command, but he’s much older in appearance, and has quite a unique characteristic that differentiates him from all other vampires; he even becomes a god, but very different from La Magra. Let’s see together.

Deacon Frost was born in Lindau, Germany, in the first years of the XIX Century. He studied chemistry all his life, and became a respected and renowned scientist, but the limits of his time’s science deeply disturbed him, as he felt that, with the right researches, man could obtain the key to immortality. Like a modern Faust, Frost studied forbidden fields and even the ones that could be ascribed to magic rather than to science, but this interest for occultism eventually repaid him: he discovered the existence of vampires, a cursed breed of humans who were in fact immortal, albeit with a number of counter-effects. In 1863, when he was already an elderly man, Frost finally put his hands on something he had been looking for: the blood of a recently deceased vampire, to be used in his experiments. Rushing things, being so close to the solution he’d been seeking for so many years, Frost kidnapped a girl, one Ilsa, and dragged her to his lab, with the intention of injecting her with the vampire blood and see what happened (if, that is, he managed to turn somebody into a vampire with all the ups and none of the downs). Things didn’t go exactly as planned, though, as Ilsa had a boyfriend who wasn’t happy at all that his beloved was being used for the progression of science. The young man broke into the lab and attacked Frost, and during their struggle it was the scientist the one who ended up with a syringe in his arm. The vampire blood did change him, but he was a one of a kind vampire, as he soon realized: he had inherited all the race’s weaknesses, such as sunlight, silver, holy symbols, wooden stakes and, of course, the crippling blood-thirst, but he had one weird power to sum up to the many ones of a regular vampire. Every time he bit someone, in fact, he created a doppelganger of the victim, a mindless soldier he could telepathically control. The potentiality was infinite: with this power, he could have created an army to challenge Dracula himself for the title of Vendaaga, the Lord of Vampires.

During the following decades, Deacon Frost built his power to move war on Dracula, obviously gaining a number of enemies in the process: not only he had to face other vampires who were loyal to Dracula, but also human vampire hunters, in particular the shady Order of Tyrana. Still making his experiments with vampirism, Frost summed duty with pleasure in 1929 as he took his revenge on one of the Order’s most prominent members, Lucas Cross, by assaulting his wife, Tara Brooks, biting her as she was in labor. Once again, the effects of this “experiment” were totally unpredictable, as the baby was born as a human-vampire hybrid, a Dhampir. Frost tried to kill the baby, but he was sent away right before he managed: he had, however, killed Tara, exacting revenge on his enemy. The baby, Eric, grew up to become one of his most formidable enemies, but he wouldn’t have been alone in hunting for him: years later Eric, now the vampire-hunter known as Blade, joined forces with Hannibal King, a former private eye whom Frost had bitten and turned into a vampire. The two were quite deadly together, but Deacon Frost found a way to use the situation to his own advantage, as Blade and King had moved against Dracula as well. During one of the Vendaaga’s gatherings, Frost used two of his Blade and King doppelgangers to crush the party, making everyone believe they were the original ones. He assisted from the crowd to the battle, enjoying the moment when the fake Blade stabbed Dracula in the back… but the Lord of Vampires didn’t flinch, as he mocked the copy’s inferior abilities to the original, and slew him. With his attack failed and his cards seen, Deacon Frost escaped, and laid low for a while; he even created doppelgangers of himself to distract the attention of the ones pursuing him, a tactic that actually succeeded, as Blade and Hannibal King killed a clone, while Dracula killed yet another one. Soon, of course, the real one would have popped up once again, ready to resume his old ways…

Deacon Frost is a brilliant yet evil man, a scientific genius and a magic practitioner obsessed with reaching immortality, and disposed to kill any number of innocents he deems necessary (and that’s quite a lot…) to achieve his goal. As a vampire, he possesses superhuman strength, speed, durability, agility and stamina, enhanced senses, immortality, an accelerated healing factor (as long as he’s not wounded by silver or impaled with a wooden stick), as well as the ability so shapeshift in bat, wolf or mist and to hypnotize people; unlike all other vampires, he creates a doppelganger anytime he bites a victim, a clone that instantly becomes his mindless servant; he’s also a skilled swordsman, and for a short time he received demonic powers from the demon Nezaral. An ambitious assassin who (literally) wants to bite on more than he can chew, Deacon Frost declared war to his kin and humans alike, a war that he truly thinks he can win… and he may have some chance, actually.

Quincy McIver (Bushmaster)

The second heads-up comes from Mickey, and regards Luke Cage. Bushmaster has quite a tragic family history, full of violence and betrayal, with his father being betrayed and killed by his friend Buggy Stokes, thus causing the man’s neverending hatred for the entire family. Bushmaster’s father was named Quincy McIver, a name that in the comics actually belongs to his brother, the second (and toughest) Bushmaster. Albeit not appearing in person during the series, Quincy can be spotted in a photograph on the New York Bulletin in episode eight, If it Ain’t Rough, it Ain’t Right, enough for us to take a better look at him as he is originally. You’ll find very little of human in him left.

Quincy McIver was born in St. Croix, in the Caribbean Virgin Islands. Since he was a kid, he practically deified his older brother John, and all he wanted from his life was to be just like him. Unlike John, who learnt to live by himself on the streets, Quincy wasn’t so street-smart and careful, and he usually got in trouble. John stole from shops to survive, and as soon as Quincy found this out he tried to imitate him, but he was caught on his first try. Terrified by the shopkeeper, Quincy started to blabber about everything trying to convince him to let him go, and even let slip that he was the brother of John McIver. When John knew about it, he visited the shopkeeper by night and killed him, then went on hiding for years. Quincy followed him loyally, always trying to become like him. When John became an employee of Herve Argosy, a powerful gangster, his younger brother insisted to be let in the gang as well, and John, who had earned enough trust from Argosy, managed to grant his wish… but things turned out pretty bad for Quincy. During his very first mission, the young man was spotted by the police, and he tried to escape by swimming away… only to end up in a motorboat’s propeller, and get all his limbs chopped off. He was arrested barely alive, and brought to a hospital, where his brother came to visit him just to mock him and to tell him to stay away from him from there on, as he would have never covered up his messes again. As John left to Europe, Quincy was left alone in the hospital, waiting to be transferred to prison as he stabilized… but fate had something else in mind, and he was collected by Roxxon Oil instead. The powerful crooked corporation was looking for “volunteers” to create new super-agents, and Quincy McIver was the perfect choice. The young man spent the following years in a Roxxon lab, where what remained of his body was attached to cybernetic prosthetic, that made him look like a human-snake hybrid. During the process, John McIver came back to the United States and tried to become a true crime boss as the Bushmaster, but ended up losing his life: Quincy decided to take up the mantle of Bushmaster to honor his memory.

As the new Bushmaster, Quincy served Roxxon for years, guarding their facilities and doing their dirty work, but he was uncomfortable with his new life and his new self: with his legs replaced by a long serpentine tail, he felt like a freak. The occasion to feel right at home came when Sidewinder recruited him to be a part of his Serpent Society, a mercenary group where everybody had serpentine traits, in a way or another. Finally, Bushmaster had found a place he fit in perfectly, and he even found real friendship, such as the one with Rachel “Diamondback” Leighton. This friendship became even closer during the Society’s first mission: hired by A.I.M. to hunt down the rogue M.O.D.O.K., the Serpent Society found the super-intelligent cyborg, but he cut Bushmaster’s tail and arms, leaving him to die. Diamondback was the one who saved him, and brought him back to the base in time to have his missing limbs replaced. As he felt he had found a family in the Serpent Society, he was fiercely loyal to Sidewinder, and stayed by his side even when the Viper took over… only to end up poisoned by the new leader-wannabe. Saved once again by Diamondback (and by Captain America, who wanted to take down Viper), he helped reform the original Serpent Society, with Cobra as the leader. During yet another mission, Bushmaster was dispatched to retrieve four mystical objects from the Deviant Ghaur and Llyra, guardian of the Serpent Crown, a mission that saw the team squaring off against the X-Men. During the ensuing battle, Bushmaster was about to overpower Dazzler, but she revealed to him that she was actually Diamondback, displaced in Dazzler’s body by magic. Believing her, as she knew things only Diamondback could have known, Bushmaster retreated from battle, wanting to repay his debt. This mission, and the following one against Mister Hyde, was the beginning of the end for the team, as many members, including Diamondback, ended up betraying. Bushmaster voted to spare Diamondback’s life, but the Serpent Society never recovered from the deceits, and it split. Quincy himself was later captured by Diamondback, Captain America and Paladin, and locked in the Vault. He didn’t stay long there, though, as Baron Zemo broke him out and forcefully recruited him in his Thunderbolts: maybe, this time, he would have found a more stable team… or he would have just learnt to stay on his own.

Quincy McIver is a stubborn and determined man, sometimes even brutal and cruel, but still blocked by a fragile personality that makes him always look for a family to belong to, usually looking for it in the worst places possible. As Bushmaster, he has his missing legs replaced by a strong, prehensile tail, that allows him to move at superior speeds and even to constrict his enemies to death; also his arms are replaced by cybernetic limbs, and are equipped with a retractable Fang Blade each, very sharp and imbued with snake venom. A lethal mercenary just as deadly as he looks, Bushmaster is still embittered over his condition of a quadriplegic, and vents his anger over the world with criminal acts. The void he feels the most, however, is the lack of his older brother, a nostalgia that brings him to seek approval from everyone he sees as a possible replacement for John.

Aliya Dayspring (Jenskot)

Quite a packed weekend, with two heads-ups and a request. Let’s start with the first: thanks to Rep Rep for the warning, as the unnamed wife of Cable in Deadpool 2 has finally been named, and she’s now credited as Aliya Summers. This identifies her as one of Cable’s wives in the comics, but not the biological mother of Hope as she’s portrayed in the movie: Aliya Dayspring. Hayley Sales portrays her in a brief flashback (flashforward?) as, in the future, she’s killed by Firefist along with her daughter, thus prompting her husband to go back in time to try and kill the culprit before he becomes a powerful mutant criminal. In the comics, she’s indeed Cable’s wife, but her story is a lot different. Let’s see together.

Aliya Dayspring was born on Earth-4935, a possible dystopian future 2000 years from the present, where the mutant Apocalypse had conquered the world and ruled over it with an iron fist. Aliya grew up with her sister Hope in what remained of North America. The two mutants survived thanks to Madame Sanctity, a powerful telepath who was also the leader of the Clan Askani, a group worshiping the ancient X-Men who was waiting for a mutant messiah who would have freed them, the Askani’son. Aliya was close enough to Sanctity to realize she was always on the brink of insanity, but she chose to follow her as she represented the one hope to oppose Apocalypse’s regime. Eventually, the tyrant did fall, but the power vacuum encouraged the formation of other violent groups, one of which, the New Canaanites, took power; the Clan Askani reformed into the Askani Sisterhood, a women-only group that continued the ancient fight for freedom. Finally, one day, Madame Sanctity sensed the arrival of the Askani’son, and sent Aliya to save him and recruit him. Skeptical, Aliya moved, but she did find a young man who was being hunted by Daegon, the master of the insectoid race known as Loci. Aliya killed Daegon and saved the man, who was called Nathan, and brought him to Sanctity, who recognized him as the messiah they were waiting for and admitted him in the Sisterhood, despite the fact he was a man. Nathan’s arrival attracted also the attention of the New Canaanites, who attacked led by their leader, Stryfe. During the fight, Sanctity was apparently killed, and the group shattered. Nathan, though, lost control of the Techno-Organic Virus that was consuming him and unleashed all his powers against the attackers, thus saving Aliya and some of the other Askani. The survivors swore to oppose the New Canaanites and to bring peace to the war-torn world, and formed the Clan Chosen, with Nathan at its lead as the prophesied messiah.

The war between the Clan Chosen and the New Canaanites went on for years, a time period during which Aliya trained Nathan until he was more skilled and powerful even than herself, and during which the two of them grew close. One night, Stryfe infiltrated the Clan Chosen’s camp to steal a glowing flask (the A.I. Prosh) from Nathan, and following that episode the Clan’s leader grew sick. In order to save the man she had learnt to love, Aliya didn’t hesitate to travel back to the past, where she enlisted the help of the mutant Cable, who seemed to know her (unbeknownst to Aliya, Cable was actually and older, time-displaced version of her Nathan). Cable healed Nathan by retrieving the flask, and then came back to his time, living his younger self and the woman he once loved to their destiny. As soon as Nathan came back to his senses, the two warriors decided not to hide their mutual feelings, and finally got married with the Askani ceremony. As the Askani’son’s bride, Aliya Dayspring changed name into Janeskot, a homage to two of the legendary first X-Men, Jean and Scott (who, incidentally, were also the biological parents of Nathan). Janeskot and the Askani’son lived together a happy marriage, as happy as the constant war allowed it to be, until Stryfe decided he had something to say about it. During a battle, Janeskot was taken prisoner, and it’s possible she was raped by Stryfe during the imprisonment. She was eventually saved by Nathan and came back home, where she realized she was pregnant: if  she was expecting Nathan’s or Stryfe’s son, it’s still unknown. She gave birth to Tyler, a beautiful boy who embodied all his parents’ hopes for a better future. These hopes, unfortunately, would have grown without Aliya: in the following years, Janeskot and Nathan raised their son as one of the Clan Chosen, but once again Stryfe interfered, and launched a massive bombing on the camp. During the attack, Jenskot was severely wounded, and died in her husband’s arms, recommending him to take good care of her son… who had just been abducted by the enemy. Future had never been so bleak for the Askani’son…

Aliya Dayspring is a strong and combative woman, a freedom fighter who sacrificed everything to help her world see a new dawn of peace, that’s been missing for far too long. As Jenskot, she’s a mutant who masters telepathy and telekinesis, albeit weaker than her husband’s, and she’s also a proficient warrior, a skilled hand-to-hand combatant who’s trained also in the use of several firearms. Hardened by the life in a post-apocalyptic future, Jenskot never abandoned hope, the one thing she has to treasure in a life deprived of everything else; it’s for hope, and hope alone, that she keeps on fighting, and she’ll never stop to.

Elihas Starr (Egghead)

I know you missed me. Ant-Man and the Wasp has been released (well, at least in American theaters, I’ll have to wait another month or so to watch it), and there’s a brand new character taken directly from the comics. In a flashback, we learn that Hank Pym and Bill Foster had yet another colleague: Elihas Starr, portrayed by Michael Cerveris, a scientist Pym considered a traitor for stealing some equipment from him and trying to use it to open a portal to the Quantum Realm… only to cause an explosion that killed him and his wife Catherine and gave his daughter Ava weird powers. In the comics, Starr doesn’t have any wife or daughter, but he is indeed the nemesis of Hank Pym, one of his oldest and most recurring foes, better known as Egghead. Let’s see together.

Born in Queens, New York, Elihas Starr was born with a curious egg-shaped head, but also with a genius intellect that distinguished him from the rest of his peers since his childhood. Extremely brilliant and motivated, Elihas became a famous scientist, specializing in atomic research, and soon obtained a contract with the government. Unfortunately, his genius was second only to his ambition and arrogance, and he was caught red-handed as he was trying to sell the secret project he was working on on the black market. Imprisoned and waiting for trial, as he was charged with high treason, Elihas Starr became famous on the tabloids as “Egghead the traitor”… and it was thanks to these tabloids that the criminal world learnt of him, and contacted him. A high-placed and yet unnamed gangster offered him freedom in exchange of his services, recognizing his superior intellect. Both flattered by the credit and fearing the upcoming trial, Starr accepted his offer, and was freed from jail. He started to work for the crime lords who had freed him, but they obviously wanted proof of his genius, and tasked him with disposing of Ant-Man, a superhero and scientific genius. Sure he could surpass Ant-Man’s intellect with his own, Egghead built his own device to communicate with ants, aiming to turn them against their usual ally and to convince them to lead him to a flytrap with promises of food and power, tapping to a greed the insects actually didn’t have. With all his intelligence, Egghead simply didn’t calculate the loyalty the ants spontaneously felt towards Ant-Man, and fell into the hero’s trap, as he made the evil scientist believe that the ants had really turned against him. As Egghead called the crime lords to witness his triumph, Ant-Man ordered his insect friends to attack the criminals, in a counter-trap that ended with all the crime bosses being incapacitated and arrested. Egghead barely managed to escape, hiding in a poorhouse. This wasn’t just a defeat, for him: Ant-Man had humiliated the thing he held most dear, his intellect, and for this, he would have paid dearly.

In the following years, Egghead grew an obsession for Ant-Man, or Giant-Man, or Yellowjacket, or whatever his new name was. He tried to squash him using Wasp as a bait, he put the young hero Spider-Man against him, he even tried to have him eaten by iguanas and anteaters, but he always failed. As Hank Pym became a core member of the Avengers, Egghead formed alliances of his own, in order to counter his nemesis and his team. The first time, he allied with two other criminal geniuses, the Mad Thinker and the Puppet Master, in a plot to blackmail the United States with a death ray mounted on a satellite capable of destroying an entire city. The plot failed due to Barney Barton, a con-man working with the Avengers: the satellite was destroyed, but Barney lost his life in the process. Because of this, Barney’s brother, Clint Barton, by that time known as Goliath, developed for Egghead an enmity comparable only to the one Starr himself felt for Pym. It was Goliath the one who tracked down Egghead and, after defeating him and his new ally Swordsman, sent him to jail, thus adding one another name to Starr’s black list. Obviously, it didn’t take much to Starr to escape from prison, and during the following months, just before yet another attack against Pym which involved (and maimed) his innocent niece Trish Starr, Egghead joined forces with other criminal geniuses and founded the Intelligencia, a group of sinister masterminds who maneuvered events from behind the curtains: along with M.O.D.O.K., the Leader, Dr. Doom, Red Ghost, Klaw, the Mad Thinker and others, he was finally recognized among the most brilliant minds of the planet. During this time, he also founded the Emissaries of Evil, recruiting Rhino, Cobalt Man and Solarr and using them to steal from NASA. During a battle with Alpha Flight, Cobalt Man exploded, and Starr used the occasion to feign his own death. From the shadows, he followed the fall from grace of Hank Pym, who was even kicked out of the Avengers, and started to plan his utter destruction. Finally, he would have gotten rid of his hated enemy once and for all.

Elihas Starr is a man of formidable intellect, but also a greedy and deceiving mastermind, who prefers to use his remarkable genius for personal gain rather than for perfecting human race. As Egghead, he’s one of the most intelligent men alive, with expertise in physics, chemistry, engineering and many other scientific fields; he’s also an accomplished inventor, and he created a number of devices he later used to try and kill his nemesis Hank Pym, among which a laser satellite, a device that controls insects, several machines for mind-control, teleportation devices, ray guns, robots of various genre, a machine that stole intelligence, and even egg-shaped weapons in homage to his own moniker. A mind like a few others, Egghead is a formidable threat that could have been a just as formidable tool for the advancement of the species, an emotionless intellect completely swallowed by his own ego.