Trader

Snippets from the future of The Gifted gave us a first look at an upcoming character. In eXit Strategy, the Mutant Underground will apparently launch an attack on Sentinel Service, and upon the many mutants involved in the fight there will be Trader, portrayed by Derek James Jones. It’s still unknown what kind of role or powers he’ll have in the show, but it’s possibly he’ll retain his cloaking skills from the comics. As you’ll notice, Trader confirms the series’ pattern in chosing the characters, as he’s a member of the Morlocks. Let’s meet him properly.

There are not many information about Trader’s early life, and even his reale name is unknown. He was born in New York City, or at least he lived there, and he worked as a succesfull broker in Wall Street. His life was going pretty well, but of course he had to hide the fact that he was a mutant, a genetically enhanced individual with the ability to become nearly invisible. One of his co-workers, however, found out about his true nature, and exposed him as a mutant; the result was exactly the one intentended by the ambitious colleague, and the man was fired. Ruined and disgraced, he started wandering the country, unable to find any other job due to his nature. Eventually, he arrived in Chicago, where he met the mysterious Postman, a mutant like him. The Postman claimed to have a safe haven for mutants who, like him, who couldn’t find a place anymore in human society, and the man, who adopted the name “Trader”, agreed to join his group of Morlocks, living in the city’s underground. Trader spent years with the Morlocks, creating some curious bonds with some of the other renegades he was with, especially Eletric Eve, whom he shared a curious friendship with. Trader helped the Postman in rescuing and recruiting new mutants, and this is what he did the night the group saved the man known as Cell, who had been attacked by police. During the operation, Trader took a bullet in his shoulder for Cell, something that made him even more unhappy the moment it turned out Cell was clearly a gangbanger, not exactly the kind of guys Trader wanted in his group. Not that he could decide anything about it, of course.

Soon after that, Electric Eve started a fight with one of the younger mutants, Angel Dust, and the thing excalated to the point that Angel lost control and physically attacked Shatter. Trader yelled at Eve for being too hard on Angel, but this only risked to cause another fight. In that moment the Postman announced that that very night they would have fulfilled their “last wish”, some sort of farewell from the human world they had been programming for a while. When it was Electric Eve’s turn, she shocked everybody by electrocuting her ex-boyfriend (and pimp) in his bathtub. Trader once again confronted her, telling her that revenge was “a hollow thing”, but she harshly replied that she had enjoyed it, and that he would have as well. Their conversation was cut short by a group of Sentinels, who attacked them. The Morlocks barely escaped the killer robots, not without suffering some damage. Back to the sewers, the Postman started yelling at Eve for the murder she had involved the entire group in, but curiously enough it was Trader the one who spoke in her defense, justifying vengeance and, even more, stating that his last wish was to kill the guy who had ruined his life by exposing him. Once again, the conversation was cut short, this time by a group of policemen who had tracked the Morlocks in the sewers. The group started fleeing, but one of the cops shot at Electric Eve…and Trader stepped in, shielding the woman with his own body. As he died in Eve’s arms, he commented on how he didn’t believe he would have taken another bullet for someone.

Trader is quite an ambiguous man, who claims to be filled with hatred and to be living only for vengeance, and who’s on the other hand capable of acts of extreme compassion and selflessness. His mutant powers allow him to cloud other people’s retinal imput, thus allowing him to modify his own appearance (he appears to sport long hair, a goatee and tattoos, which he actually doesn’t have), and even to camouflage himself with the surroundings, resulting in partial invisibility. An outcast feared and rejected by what used to be his world, Trader found a new family with the Morlocks, and despite his tough attitude, he’s ready to do anything to protect them.

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Ricardo Diaz Jr. (Richard Dragon)

Even Arrow has a new big baddie for Season 6, and after the shocking finale of last season, we’re right in time to take a first look at him. As far as Fallout, we still don’t know much of Richard Dragon, portrayed by Kirk Acevedo: a man imprisoned for crimes he didn’t commit, he’s now in Star City to take over the criminal world, and he appears to be quite an adversary for whoever crosses his path. This villain is not based on the heroic Richard Dragon from New Earth, rather on his criminal disciple from Prime Earth, Ricardo Diaz Jr., a brand new iteration of the character who we’ll know together right here.

Ricardo Diaz, Jr. was born in Seattle, the son of businessman Ricardo Diaz. Diaz Sr. owed most of his fortune to his side-activity as a drug lord, something that put him in the target of the new vigilante in town, Green Arrow. The younger Diaz saw his father defeated and humiliated, even executed, by the man in the hood. Ricardo was clearly furious, filled with anger and thirst for vengeance, but he couldn’t help himself but to admire Green Arrow, his power and his charisma that made him something more than a mere human. Wanting to exact his vengeance on the vigilante, but also to become like him, Ricardo Diaz started travelling the world for training, learning from some of his masters of the existence of the League of Assassins. Following rumors and legends, Ricardo reached the hidden city of ‘Eth Alth’eban, where one of the League’s masters, Richard Dragon, took him in as his disciple. In the following years, Ricardo learnt everything he could from Dragon and his unmatched fighting skills, but he started despising his mentor the moment he tried to teach him also values like mercy and compassion, that the young man only saw as weaknesses. Eventually, sick and tired of his sensei’s blabbering about morality, and believing that he had nothing else left to teach him, Ricardo killed Richard Dragon and took his name. After that, he came back to Seattle to conquer his homecity, and he started making a name for himself by killing the local mob bosses and taking control of their gangs, such as he did with Jin Fang, in charge of Chinatown, and with Jimmy MacGowan, who controlled the waterfront. The ones who submitted, he made a deal with, and this he did with the Clock King. Other criminals, with remarkable talents, he started to recruit for a bigger plan.

When he had made his position solid in the underground, albeit never coming out of the shadows, Richard Dragon assembled a team of villains (Brick, Count Vertigo, Red Dart and Killer Moth) to form an elite team, the Longbow Hunters, promising them a reward of 30 million dollars. When Vertigo put Seattle on its knees, Dragon exploited the ensuing chaos to attack Shado. Easily defeating her, he gave her a message for Green Arrow, naming himself the new lord of the city, and giving the hero three options: surrender and submit, leave town, or die. In the meanwhile, the Longbow Hunters tried to take on Green Arrow, and while the hero was facing Red Dart and Brick, Dragon kidnapped John Diggle, his partner, using him as a bait. Waiting for the Arrow to come, Dragon eventually told Diggle about his origin, and much to his surprise he learnt that the one who had humiliated and killed his “invincible” father was actually Diggle himself, dressed up as Green Arrow. This didn’t change much in Dragon’s view on things: after all, it was Green Arrow, not Diggle, the one who could fight shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Superman, and it was him he had to best. When Green Arrow finally arrived, Richard Dragon explained his reasons to him, stating that they were kings, while the likes or Diggle were but casualties of war; the Arrow agreed with this, and prompted his enemy to let Diggle go…something that he did, by throwing his prisoner through a window. The hero managed to save his partner, and together they came back to Dragon, who was waiting for them with his men. Albeit the two vigilantes defeated all Dragon’s goons, Richard himself proved to be too much for them, and he defeated both of them with ease. About to exact his long-awaited revenge, Richard Dragon couldn’t help but think how much of a disappointment Green Arrow, his personal boogieman and role model, had turned out to be…

Ricardo Diaz is a hard-as-steel man, a pitiless warrior who knows no compassion nor empathy, and who’s driven solely by a neverending thirst for vengeance. As Richard Dragon, he’s one of the world’s best martial artists, a combatant with a naturally gifted tactical mind that allows him to spot his enemies’ weak points during a battle, and to act accordingly. Unbelievably swift and skilled, Richard Dragon is a cruel warlord driven by a twisted sense of honor, a man in a world of gods and monsters who always feels compelled to surpass his natural limits.

Hunk Norvock

There’s still one character who appeared in The Flash this week, albeit a minor one (both in the show and in the comics). In The Flash Reborn, amiably speaking with Killer Frost, we make acquaintance with low-life Hunk Norvock, portrayed by Mark Sweatman. This is a true Easter-egg, as Norvock is quite an old character, appeared for the first time in 1943, and exactly in the story that also marked the debut of The Thinker, this season’s main villain (and, apparently, this Norvock is part of an organization, The Network, run by another well known supervillain…). There’s not much to say about this unfortunate mob boss, but I hope you enjoy nevertheless.

Not much is known about Hunk Norvock, not even his true name. Born and raised in Keystone City, he wasn’t exactly a model citizen, and he soon learnt that the quickest way to make money was outside the boundaries imposed by the law. Starting from the bottom, Norvock made his way to the top of the food chain, becoming one of the most powerful and influential crime bosses around. Albeit he made quite a fortune with bootlegging, soon Norvock was involved in any kind of illegal activities, from petty crimes to bank robberies, and he appeared to be untouchable…this, until the new city’s DA, Clifford DeVoe, managed to have him incriminated for one of his many activities. The situtation would have been desperate, if not for sheer luck: one of Norvock’s boys, while stealing into a Senator’s house, found a compromising letter among his daughter’s belongings. Norvock blackmailed the girl into providing him an alibi, stating that he was present at her house party, thus saving his neck. DeVoe was unable to prove him guilty, and even more: stopping to question a key witness because of her credibility as a socialite, he gave the impression of shying away from a woman during the trial, and he lost the people’s trust, with many believing he had tried far a too ambitious hit for him. Norvock walked away untouched, and he gave the girl her letter back. Then, he received the most unexpected visit: DeVoe offered him his services, putting his remarkable intellect at his disposal, pointing out he would have surely needed, sooner or later, someone with true brains to take him out of troubles. Intrigued, Norvock accepted his offer, and hired “The Thinker”, a personal genius who put up alibis to keep his men out of jail, and who also planned more and more ambitious (and remunerative) heists.

Thanks to DeVoe, in a matter of some years, Norvock found himself leading a true criminal empire, as he controlled every single gangster in the city. There was only one man who keep posing a threat to his power: The Flash, who kept foiling heist after heist. Believing bank robberies had become too risky with the speedster around, Norvock ordered his men to lay low for a while, limiting themselves to the protection jobs to earn money. Despite this, two of his lackeys, Slug and Jim, got arrested nevertheless, and they even confessed everyting about Norvock’s organization, putting him in serious troubles. Scared for the first time in years, Norvock realised he still had an ace up his sleeve, and he ordered the Thinker to fix the situation. Using his extraordinary inventions, DeVoe killed a cop, disguised himself like him and entered the police department; here, he burnt the recorded evidence and killed the talkative prisoners, eliminating any sign of Norvock’s guilt. When DeVoe refused to name the price of this job, however, Hunk Norvock started to become paranoid, as he believed the Thinker wanted to use the same incredible masks he had used before to take his place as the top boss. Wanting to strike first, the boss rushed to DeVoe’s house, armed with a gun: as he saw his target smirking at him, but unarmed, Hunk took his chances and shot him. Unfortunately, what he shot at wasn’t DeVoe, but a steel mirror the Thinker was merely refelcting into. The bullet ricocheted and killed Norvock: sum of all ironies, his death was declared to be “suicide”, and DeVoe ended up taking control of his organization as he had feared…

Hunk Norvock is a crafty, ambitious man, a greedy gangster who compensates with determination and authority what he lacks in intelligence. Thirsty for money and power, he’s cruel enough to try any means at disposal to obtain them, but coward enough never to get his own hands dirty. Restless is the head that wears the crown, however, and the enormous power Hunk Norvock obtained only made him more afraid that somebody might take it away from him…

Clifford DeVoe (The Thinker)

Finally, with the new season The Flash has dropped the “Speedster vs Speedster” thing, and now we have a brand new kind of villain, already introduced in the first episode The Flash Reborn. As the man who was behind the construction of the Samuroid is revealed, we meet Clifford DeVoe, aka The Thinker, the one who’ll be this season’s big baddie. Portrayed by Neil Sandilands, he’ll put up an intriguing fight between the man who runs faster and the man who thinks faster, quite a change for once. Unfortunately, we already know how he’ll be defeated thanks to Abra Kadabra‘s prediction in the last season, but let’s hope it’ll be entertaining nevertheless. In the comics, The Thinker is the name of a legacy of supervillains, and DeVoe is the first to don the mantle. Let’s see together.

Clifford DeVoe was born in Keystone City, around 1910. He had always been incredibly smart, and his intelligence only grew with him. As a young man, he became a lawyer, and his early successes made him move to Gotham City to become the local DA. Fighting crime in Gotham wasn’t an easy task at all, but DeVoe proved himself to be up to the challenge…until he tried to put behind bars one of the most influencing mob bosses, Hunk Norvock. DeVoe’s style had always been aggressively cornering the witnesses with his continuous and precise questions, but during the trial the defense put on the stand a young, beautiful woman. DeVoe, raised in a traditional family, just couldn’t bring himself to use his usual questioning on the girl, and faltered from there on. As a result, he lost the trial, and Norvock was released. This was the beginning of the end for DeVoe, as nobody would have trusted a lawyer who lost his cool just for dealing with a woman. He lost his job, became depressed, turned to alcohol. One night, while drunk, he realised that most of the city’s criminals lacked the brain to organise something more than petty crimes. That very night he approached Norvock, and he offered him his services as a “thinker”: he would have organised the heists, preapared the alibis and the precedents to keep his men out of jail, he would have made him rich. Norvock accepted, and DeVoe became “The Thinker”. After a decade working for him, however, DeVoe became the target of Norvock’s paranoia, as he believed the genius wanted to take his place. Knowing this, DeVoe prepared for the inevitable attack: the night Norvock snuck into his house to kill him, he tricked the boss into shooting a steel mirror: the bullet ricocheted right into Norvock’s head, killing him. The boss was believed to have committed suicide, and eventually The Thinker took the reins of the criminal empire he had built from the shadows, just as Norvock feared.

Norvock’s empire truly had grown, and The Thinker moved to his hometown Keystone City to direct it. Here, however, he clashed for the first time with the local superhero, The Flash. The two became bitter enemies, and DeVoe started inventing a number of devices to kill his him, the greatest of them all being his Thinking Cap, a helmet that could weaponize his brainwaves by granting him psychic powers. The Thinker was defeated over and over again, alone or with the Injustice Society, but he exacted his greatest victory when, along with The Shade and the Fiddler, he managed to “abduct” the entire Keystone City, holding it and its entire population hostage in a timeless dimension for decades. Eventually, The Flash joined forces with the new Flash, his successor, and together they defeated the three villains and put things back to normal, but everybody were now people out of their time. DeVoe came back to criminality, until he was forcefully recruited in the Suicide Squad. The experience made him change perspective and, after faking his death, he came back to Keystone, where he reformed and started to use his remarkable intellect for good deeds, even befriending the long-hated Jay Garrick. Unfortunately, decades of use of his Thinking Cap had exposed him to lethal radiations, and DeVoe died of brain cancer shortly after. This, however, wasn’t meant to be the end of The Thinker: years later, while reforming the Justice Society of America, Mr. Terrific obtained the Thinking Cap, and used the brain patterns contained in it to create an A.I. with the personality and the intellect of DeVoe to assist the JSA. Said intellect, however, was far too great to remain partially dormant, and the A.I. gained consciousness. Not happy at all of his “resurrection”, DeVoe embraced his new, disincarnated nature, but reverted to his old, evil ways: if the world was so eager to have The Thinker back, than the world would have remembered who the true Thinker was.

Not exactly evil, Clifford DeVoe is an extremely brilliant man who turned to crime out of embitterment and delusion with the justice system. As The Thinker, his greatest skill is surely his incredible intellect, that allows him to ideate a number of intricate plans and to forsee any move from his enemies; he also has at disposal numerous high-tech gadgets, the greatest of them all being the Thinking Cap, that amplifies his brainwaves and grants him telekinesis and mind-control; in his new, A.I. form, he’s intangible, only appearing as a hologram, and he can control any digital and electronic system. One of the greatest minds of his era, The Thinker can be a remarkable force for good or a fearsome threat, depending on what cause he decides to use his incredible intellet for.

Gayle Marsh (Psi)

The return of Supergirl could have definitely been better, but this we have right now. The characters appeared in the premiere episode had already been covered, but we saw someone else in the next episode’s preview. In Triggers, National City will be attacked by a brand new thief, Psi, portrayed by Yael Grobglas. As her name suggests, she possesses psychic abilities, being able to manipulate people’s fears to make them see what terrifies them the most. Apparently, she’s powerful enough to best even the Martian Manhunter at his own game. In the comics, Psi is just a human, but she’s quite a match for aliens nevertheless. Let’s see together.

Gayle Marsh was born in Chicago, Illinois, the perfectly normal daughter of a perfectly normal couple from the suburbs. When she turned twelve years old, however, strange phenomena started happening around her, such as things suddenly catching fire with no apparent reason or flying around. Soon it was clear to Gayle’s parents that the girl herself was the source of this events. Frightened, they brought their child to the family doctor, but he was clueless, and he suggested Gayle to be brought to the specialised Institute of Higher Psychokinetic Study. The researchers took Gayle in high sympathy, especially one of them, Daniel Penderghast, who became a true friend for the girl. While she was in the Institute, Gayle’s parents died in an accident, so Penderghast started acting to her as a father figure, and what was supposed to be a week’s permanence lasted years. Under Penderghast’s tutelage, Gayle learnt how to control and develop her incredible psychic powers, and she became a force to be reckoned with. Soon it became clear that Penderghast was molding a warrior: he was sure that an unidentified menace, that he called The Decay and that was already robbing the world of its order, was coming to a full revelation, and Gayle was supposed to be his champion in the apocalyptic fight. The girl didn’t want to be the doctor’s combatant, and only craved for a normal life. She obtained to attend college like the other girls her age, and she became a student in Lake Shore University. Despite Penderghast spurring her to fight the ones he believed to be the agents of the Decay, Gayle always refused…until she sensed the presence of an extremely powerful being, who she had no doubts in identifying as the Decay itself. That being, however, was Supergirl.

Penderghast convinced Gayle to attack Supergirl, so she adopted the masked identity of Psi to battle the one she believed to be a menace for the entire world. Supergirl was taken by surprise, as she didn’t expect such a powerful foe. The two battled to a standstill, until the heroine realised that her enemy was doing her best not to kill her. Psi, in fact, was resisting Penderghast’s telepathic orders to finish her foe, and when Supergirl intervened, the girl’s confusion only grew, she suffered a mental breakdown and escaped from battle. At the Institute she confronted Penderghast, who was furious, accusing her of taking the Decay’s side. As Psi tried to defend herelf, her mentor took the resolution to kill her. In that moment, under Psi’s shocked eyes, he turned into the Decay, being able to dissolve anything he touched. Psi battled Penderghast, but he was able to tap into her deepest fears, making her unable to react…and this was the detail that made Gayle suddenly realise the truth. Daniel Penderghast simply didn’t exist, and nor did the Decay: she had created them both with her powers, and she had made them the embodiment of her fears. With “Daniel Penderghast” now so powerful and autonomous, Psi had but one way to stop him before the Decay truly destroyed the world, and she shut her own mind down, falling into a comatose state that in her intentions was meant to be permanent. There were people, however, who wouldn’t have let such a talent go wasted, and among these the most determined was surely Amanda Waller. The woman had her scientists wake Psi up, and the girl did, albeit all her memories were blocked. Incapable of remembering anything about her parents, her life or the Decay, Psi accepted Waller’s offer, and she joined her Suicide Squad in exchange of the promise to regain her memory. Unfortunately, she forgot why it was far better for her not to remember anything…

Gayle Marsh is a gentle and sensitive woman, who’s tormented by a mental disease that makes her see dangers and threats everywhere. As Psi, she’s an incredibly powerful psychic, who can use telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, levitation, mind-reading, illusion casting and much more. With a mind just as powerful as it is broken, Psi is a danger to others and to herself, a suffering soul who believes to be the destined heroine of a war she doesn’t want to fight.

Beautiful Dreamer

The new episode of The Gifted showed us some more members of the underground mutant community, and among the many faces there’s one who finally steps out, as we see her discussing with Tunderbird. In rX, we get our first glimpse of the beautiful Dreamer portrayed by Elena Satine (pun intended: in the comics, her actual alias is Beautiful Dreamer). In the show, she’s a mutant with the ability to manipulate other people’s memories, adding new ones or subtracting the existing ones. This makes her quite similar to her comicbook counterpart, whose power is someway closer to what her name would suggest, but basically the same from the show. Also, as we mentioned before, she’s a member of a well-known underground mutant group, one of the two the series is picking characters from. Let’s see together.

Nothing is known about Beautiful Dreamer’s life prior to her mutation, not her name, not her past, actually not even her age, since she’s been depicted as being older or younger depending on the author (it sucks, but it happens sometimes); she was probably a homeless woman to begin with, but this had never been confirmed. Following undisclosed circumstances, despite her perfectly human appearance, following the manifestation of her mutant powers Beautiful Dreamer chose to exile herself form the rest of the world, and she joined the monstrous Morlocks, living with them in the sewers under New York City. Among the Morlocks, she grew particularly close to the Drain Dwellers, some outcasts who had retained a human appearance. One of the Dwellers was Annalee, an empath woman with four little children. While the group was on the surface, however, all four of Annalee’s children got killed by Scalphunter, a mutant-hunter from the Marauders. The woman was clearly distraught, and for unknown reason the Piper believed that it was his and his companions’ fault if the kids had died. Beautiful Dreamer was involved in a plan to bring solace to Annalee: they would have found four other children, and while Masque would have altered they appearance so that they looked like Annalee’s ones, the Dreamer would have used her skills to alter their memory and convince them they actually were them. The plan immediately went awry, as Piper found the “perfect” candidates in the four young heroes from the Power Pack: terrified to see that they were surface dwellers, Beautiful Dreamer was barely convinced by Piper to go on with the plan, but she wanted to wait for Masque’s arrival. In the meanwhile, however, the Power Pack broke free, and Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler from the X-Men came to the rescue. With so many threats present, Beautiful Dreamer escaped, coming back only when all the people from the surface were gone.

If the mere presence of people from the surface was a shock to her, what followed would have marked her life and made her nightmares for her entire life. Scalphunter’s attack on Annalee’s children was just the beginning, and soon all the Marauders came down the sewers and started slaughtering all Morlocks in sight. Dreamer watched helplessly as Scalphunter, accompanied by HarpoonSabretooth and Arclight, started killing her companions, and only the quick intervention of her fried Erg saved her from the same destiny. During the escape, however, Erg fell on a Morlock’s corpse, leaving Beautiful Dreamer to face the incoming Marauders on her own…luckily for her, X-Force had just arrived, and they saved her from the attackers. While CyclopsBeast and Iceman dealt with the murderers, Beautiful Dreamer and Erg managed to save other two Morlocks, Tar Baby and Ape, from Vertigo and Blockbuster, but they found themselves completely defenseless when Arclight, Prism and Scrambler joined the battle. Once again, the woman and her friends were saved by Cyclops and Beast, who however suffered great injuries. The few survivors of the massacre, Dreamer included, were brought to X-Force’s base, where they had their wounds tended to, and when they met their lost friend Skids, who updated them on the situation. Among the Morlocks, Beautiful Dreamer was clearly the one who had suffered the greatest shock from the attack, and she couldn’t do anything but to let Ape comfort her. When the menace of the Marauders passed, Beautiful Dreamer chose to come back to the sewers and the underground tunnels, more than determined never to come back to the surface. Destiny, however, had different plans: years after the massacre, a cataclismic event caused by a deranged Scarlet Witch depowered almost the entire mutant population on the planet, with only 198 mutants retaining their skills and nature. Quite ironically, Beautiful Dreamer was among them.

Beautiful Dreamer is a sensitive and insecure woman, mostly driven by her fear of the people from the “surface”, following some trauma in her early life. Her mutant powers allow her to channel through her cigarettes what she calls “Dream Smoke“, a powerful psychothropic substance able to rearrange people’s memories as the Dreamer prefers; she’s also the only one able to reverse the process with ease, albeit a powerful telepath can do it as well. Fearing even more a world that fears her, the Beautiful Dreamer is an outcast and a misfit, and asks for nothing more than to be forgotten by everyone, leading the pariah life she believes she deserves.

Roderick Campbell (Ahab)

From this week most of the tv shows will come back with new seasons, so expect this place to become crowded. In the meanwhile, however, we can take a look at the ones spotted in the many previews from the last days, starting from The Gifted. In the trailer, we got our first look at Roderick Campbell, a researcher specialised in mutants who’s working for Sentinel Service. Portrayed by Garret Dillahunt, Campbell will serve as the season’s main antagonist, and this comes as no surprise, as in the comics he’s a very well known mutant-hunter, albeit sporting a completely different look. He comes from an alternate reality, Earth-811 (commonly known as the Days of Future Past reality), but his influence spread also to Prime Earth. Let’s see together.

Roderick Campbell was born on Earth-811, a possible future in which the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly at the hands of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants led to the creation of a government-financed program that built more and more advanced Sentinels that exterminated the mutant population. As the mutant-hunting droids became more advanced, they slowly took control of the entire nation, with their leader Master Mold extending its mission into killing or imprisoning all superhumans, being them mutants or mutated, both heroes and villains, and eventually even humans who opposed the program. Campbell, a psychologist and skilled geneticist, had apparently been always characterised by a deep hatred against mutants, and he gladly joined the Sentinel program, putting his expertise at Master Mold’s service. Due to his knowledge of mutants and to his remarkable intuitive skills, that obviously the droids lacked, Campbell was put in charge of a very special program: made a mutant hunter himself, he hunted down mutants, killed the weakest of them and brainwashed the others to become his Hounds, powerful slaves who would have in turn hunted down other mutants. Campbell was extremely proficient in his job, and he enslaved a number of the planet’s most powerful superheroes and supervillains, with his thirst in huting mutants gaining him the nickname “Ahab“. His greatest success was the conversion of Rachel Summers, the powerful daughter of mutant heroes Marvel Girl and Cyclops. Unfortunately, Rachel soon became also his greatest failure: thanks to her psychic powers, she eventually got rid of her conditioning and she rebelled to her master, using her telekinesis to throw Ahab into one of his monstrous machines. Campbell barely survived the experience, while his best Hound escaped into another time, in the past.

Ahab crawled out of the ruins of his machine with missing limbs, paralyzed, unable to move, barely alive. The Hierarchy, however, hadn’t finished with him: the Sentinels rebuilt his body with mechanical parts, turning him into a deadly cyborg…and spurring him into retrieving the lost Rachel Summers, so that she didn’t become an example for the other Hounds. Ahab didn’t wait for a second order, and he used another one of his creations, Franklin Richards, to locate the rebel in the timestream. As soon as he found her in the past, he reached her, accompanied by two other Hounds: Rachel’s father, Cyclops, and Franklin’s mother, the Invisible Woman. Needless to say, he found some opposition in the reality he had reached, as Rachel had allied herself with X-Force…even the heroes, however, were no match for the seasoned mutant hunter. The tides of the battle turned when X-Factor joined forces with the New Mutants and the Fantastic Four, with the three teams together managing to defeat Ahab, his Hounds and the Sentinels that were with him. This obviously wasn’t the end of Ahab, as he stayed on Earth-616, more determined than ever to capture Rachel Summers and to make her pay for her treason. While the future Roderick Campbell was present, however, something weird happened to the present one, who was still a benevolent scientist working for Dr. Moira MacTaggart on Muir Island. This Campbell researched on mutants as well, but he was driven by the idea of helping them as MacTaggart did, not certainly by hatred. Glimpses and visions of his future, murderous self, however, started haunting him, and when Spoor, a mutant he was trying to help, attacked him and severed one of his legs, Roderick believed this was just the first step of an inevitable transformation he tried with all his strength to avoid…

While the present version of Roderick Campbell is a dedicated and idealistic scientist, an empathic and selfless man, his future self is a cold-blooded murderer driven by a profound hatred towards mutants, a genocidal maniac who enjoys breaking his preys in body and mind. As Ahab, his cybernetic prosthetics grant him superhuman strenght, speed, stamina and durability, as well as enhanced senses; his Psionic Lance is quite a fearsome weapon, that he can use to strike down an opponent or to enslave his/her will; his Energy Arpoons are even deadlier, throwing weapons attached to his own life force able to target the genetic template of a target, impossible to avoid or to block, able to damage whoever tries to grab them, a tracking monstrosity that only stops when it hits the intended objective. A relentless and deadly mutant hunter, Ahab is one of the worst products of a dystopian future, a time in which only a maniac like him can find a home.