X-Force (1st series) #82
Kyle (father, deceased),
Nina (mother, deceased),
Christopher / King Bedlam (brother)
black ops specialist
MUSE, X-Force, Hellions II
• Bio-electric feedback powers allow him to sense electromagnetic and electro-chemical activity, disrupt electronic systems, trigger neural spasms to induce pain or paralysis, and blast off EMPs or neural EMPs to completely shut down all electromagnetically or organically-based systems in his area
Born to Kyle and Nina Aaronson, two information analysts for the National Security Department, Jesse was the younger brother of Christopher Aaronson by two years. Unlike most mutants, the Aaronson brothers began manifesting their powers at an early age. The NSD subjected both boys to genetic screenings before they turned seven years old. Christopher’s ability registered in the scanning process while Jesse’s did not, probably because his mutant power scrambled the results of the mechanical testing. When Jesse was five, he was in a car crash with his parents. Jesse and Christopher survived, but their parents perished in the accident.
Jesse was placed in the foster care system and separated from his brother. Thanks to his dormant but unstable powers and losing everyone he cared about, Jesse demonstrated behavioral problems while growing up, and passed between a number of foster families and therapists over the next eight years. When he was thirteen, Jesse was committed to a psychiatric institution full time. While there, his mutant powerfully manifested. He was used as a guinea pig by one of the staff doctors who wanted to become famous writing to medical journals about Jesse’s unique case. Luckily, Jesse was eventually located and rescued from the institution by MUSE, the Mutant Underground Support Engine. His new doctor and caretaker was Dr. Derek Parsons, who brought Jesse to his ranch in Montana. Jesse found peace at the isolated ranch, away from excess electronics to set off his powers, and quickly took to Dr. Parsons like a second father. [X-Force (1st series) #83]
Presumably at this point, Jesse also learned that his brain chemistry was affected by his powers, causing his earlier fits of poor behavior, and running the risk of full-on psychosis. He began regularly taking electro-neuro inhibitor pills to regulate his neurochemistry. [X-Force (1st series) #95]
Jesse loved his time in Montana and became more involved in MUSE as he grew up. By the time he was nineteen, Jesse was familiar with their information network and had begun training for a job as a full field agent in the group. Despite all this, Jesse desperately wanted to reconnect with his long-lost brother, Christopher. To his great surprise, MUSE could find no trace that his brother ever existed. Christopher Aaronson did not show up in any records system, with no sign of a birth certificate, social security number, or anything else. Dr. Parsons and MUSE ultimately concluded that “Christopher” never existed. They assumed he was a residual side-effect of Jesse’s psychosis, a brother Jesse dreamed up to help him through his time in the institution. [X-Force (1st series) #83]
Undeterred by his guardians’ disbelief, Jesse sought out clues for what happened to Christopher on his own. As thorough as MUSE’s information network was, though, Jesse ran into one dead end after another. Eventually, he changed tactics and used MUSE to search for other people who could possibly do what he couldn’t. He identified a mutant mercenary named Domino with luck on her side and a history of locating missing persons. Tracking her through MUSE, Jesse ran away from Montana and approached her at a club in New York City. Domino had been making inquiries about an AWOL agent from Operation: Zero Tolerance named Ekatarina Gryaznova. Jesse located Gryaznova using MUSE’s information network and offered to trade Domino her location in exchange for Domino’s services in finding his brother. Domino agreed and Jesse brought her to the Aguilar Institute in upstate California. Unfortunately, Jesse’s intel didn’t include a full rundown on their security measures, and the duo were assaulted by guards wearing Phaeton smart armor. Domino was outmaneuvered and captured by security, but Jesse managed to escape.
Leaving Domino at Aguilar, Jesse traveled to San Francisco where he knew her old teammates in X-Force had recently taken up residence. After convincing them he was on the level, Aaronson brought X-Force back to Aguilar, and they freed Domino from Gryaznova and her goons. After the installation went up in an explosion, Jesse and X-Force returned to San Francisco and Domino agreed to hold up her end of the bargain and help locate Christopher. Bedlam moved into the team’s China Basin warehouse with the rest of X-Force while Domino helped his search. [X-Force (1st series) #82]
Although he was quite intelligent and meant well, Jesse had a crippling lack of tact and social graces. His isolation in Montana following the horrors of his childhood left him ill-equipped to make friends, and Jesse quickly began to annoy and alienate most of X-Force. Despite this, they came to his defense when Dr. Parsons and MUSE tracked Jesse down and attempted to force him to return to Montana. Even after they learned MUSE’s version of the situation with Jesse’s “brother,” Domino and X-Force agreed to continue helping him with his search. [X-Force (1st series) #83]
As a member of X-Force, Jesse got to spend time with fellow mutants and people his own age for the first time. He also experienced the generalized insanity of being on a mutant super-team, fighting against demons, demi-gods and Deviants. [X-Force (1st series) #85-86, X-Force / Champions Annual ‘98]
Eventually, Domino found a lead on Jesse’s brother. She uncovered the Aaronson’s classified employment with the National Security Department and identified their immediate superior, Dabney Saunders. They went to Saunders looking for any information he had on Christopher, only to find the man’s mind had been reduced to mush and he was confined to an assisted living facility. Their visit drew attention from other parties, though, and Domino tracked them to a vineyard in California’s wine country. Surprisingly, Domino and Bedlam were attacked by a group of mutants calling themselves the new Hellions. After Jesse disabled a bio-mechanical opponent named Paradigm, the Hellions’ leader stepped out of the shadows and introduced himself… Christopher Aaronson, alias King Bedlam.
Jesse and Christopher’s reunion was a mixed success. Jesse learned how the NSD identified Chris’s mutant powers early on and whisked him away into isolation after the death of their parents. Dabney Saunders was responsible for wiping public records of Chris’s existence to cover their tracks, which is why no trace of his existence could be found in Jesse’s search. Saunders’ current condition was a result of Christopher turned his telepathic disruptor powers on the man when he was thirteen, and escaping from under the NSD’s thumb. In the past eight years, Christopher built a power base for himself as King Bedlam and gathered the Hellions to advance the cause of mutantkind. [X-Force (1st series) #87]
Caught up in the whirlwind of reuniting with his brother, Jesse invited the rest of X-Force out to the vineyard to hear his good news. X-Force was far less trusting than Jesse when it came to anyone called Hellions, though, making for a tense atmosphere. Jesse learned that Christopher planned to use a powerful mutant called the Armageddon Man to teach humanity a lesson in mutant supremacy, and realized he’d soon have to pick a side between his friends and his family. After learning that one of the Hellions had been posing as Domino since they arrived, X-Force confronted King Bedlam. When Paradigm used his techno-organic filaments to enslave X-Force, Jesse chose to stand with his brother instead of using his powers to disrupt Paradigm and free his friends. [X-Force (1st series) #88]
Despite his initial decision, Bedlam quickly began to regret siding with his brother and betraying X-Force. King Bedlam’s schemes of blackmail and terrorism threatened too much destruction and innocent lives for Jesse to stomach. When X-Force freed themselves from Paradigm’s control, Jesse couldn’t choose a side again, and fled from the battle instead. A few miles down the road, Jesse rediscovered his conscience and returned to take responsibility for stopping his brother. He electronically disrupted the psychic amplifier Christopher used to control the Armageddon Man and joined X-Force in the fight against the Hellions. As they struggled with one another, Jesse learned that the car accident that killed their parents was no accident. Christopher had been angry at their father and despite being only seven years old, drove him insane with his powers and caused the crash that killed their parents. King Bedlam and the Hellions escaped in the cacophony of the Armageddon Man’s rampage, but X-Force managed to cage the walking natural disaster and end his threat. In the aftermath, X-Force recognized the difficult position Jesse had been in and after making amends, welcomed him back into the team. [X-Force (1st series) #89-90]
Bedlam continued working with X-Force for several months. On a trip to Genosha, the team assisted Pete Wisdom (formerly of Black Air and Excalibur) in liberating an organic CPU from Magistrate hands. During the mission, Jesse received an instant imprint of skills from a Madripoor street fighter thanks to a local named Delphi and her memory boxes. During this incursion into Genosha, Domino caught Jesse about to take his medication. She initially suspected that he was an addict but he explained his situation immediately. Despite this, the revelation was one more reason for Domino to question just his trustworthiness. Jesse vowed to work hard to prove her wrong about him. [X-Force (1st series) #94-95]
After the High Evolutionary temporarily reversed the mutation of every mutant on the globe, Jesse and Sam Guthrie decided X-Force need to become proactive again. They contacted Pete Wisdom and asked him to train the team to fight the threats to mutantkind that came from the shadow world he was familiar with. Most of X-Force agreed to go along with them and Wisdom began their re-education and training. Unfortunately, Domino - Jesse's closest friend on the team- was among those who did not approve of the team's new direction and struck out on her own. [X-Force (1st series) #106]
A side effect of the High Evolutionary’s efforts was that the rebooted mutant genomes now had access to their full potential as never before. Under Pete Wisdom’s tutelage, Jesse Bedlam expanded his powers dramatically. He significantly increased his range, could produce directional electromagnetic pulses, sense electric and bio-magnetic fields, and influence human neuro-chemistry. Jesse’s biggest new trick was his “Neural EMP,” a bio-field bomb blast that shut down and rebooted any human brains in his vicinity, dropping entire armies with a single attack. [X-Force (1st series) #102]
X-Force spent several months traveling the world with Pete Wisdom on black ops response missions before returning to San Francisco. There they confronted an outbreak of freak mutations caused by a bio-engine that triggered latent mutants and made them hyper-aggressive against normal humans. The outbreak was an experiment by a shadow US intelligence agency called Cuckoo that wanted substantive data about the possibility of a human-mutant race war. Jesse Bedlam and X-Force fought their way through hordes of innocent Californians driven mad by the bio-engine until they reached the source and shut it down. While they were in the field, however, Cuckoo’s mad director Niles Roman located Wisdom’s observation post and shot him in the head, apparently killing him. [X-Force (1st series) #102-105]
After burying Pete, Jesse and the others reconnected with Domino, who needed their help. She had been infected with a form of symbiotic technology and was being hunted for it by an assassin named Marcus Tsung, who possessed the mutant gene for murder. [X-Force (1st series) #106-109] That encounter led them deeper into a larger conspiracy spanning several countries and countless lies involving sentient bio-tech that crashed to Earth millennia ago. Wisdom’s friend Major Valentina Rychenko contacted X-Force using Morse code transmitted over electromagnetic wavelengths to which Jesse was sensitive, seeking their help. This brought them into direct contact with Pete’s murderer, Niles Roman, who told them about a deeper conspiracy involving the bio-tech, which he (in his own twisted way) was heroically trying to prevent. Roman’s paranoia proved valid when Valentina suddenly revealed herself as a Life Model Decoy containing a vibranium based bomb. She was activated by her secret controllers and detonated at point blank range next to Roman and X-Force. [X-Force (1st series) #110-113]
Jesse Bedlam somehow managed to protect the team from Valentina’s blast using his E.M. powers. With everyone believing they died in the blast, X-Force went even further underground, and spent several months making targeted strikes against anti-mutant corporations and spook ops around the globe. They were eventually drawn back into the bio-tech conspiracy and uncovered the main actor: Romany Wisdom, Pete’s sister and head of a British blackest ops division. X-Force tracked her to a secret installation that was the heart of the operation, “grown” from the alien bio-tech itself. Romany was dedicated to using the bio-tech to uplift the human race over several generations, even if it meant humanity would eventually sacrifice its free will and be absorbed into a physical and mental collective dominated by the Cuckoo alien bio-technology. Bedlam and X-Force refused to join her work and so she unleashed symbiotic war-borgs on them. They only survived thanks to Jesse, who combined the EMP and neural EMP aspects of his powers to destroy the living circuitry and give the organic parts a massive aneurysm at the same time, leaving a massive crater in the English countryside. [X-Force (1st series) #114-115]
X-Force remained underground for a time after that and, when they next resurfaced, Jesse Bedlam was no longer among them. Jesse apparently chose to distance himself from mutant affairs for some time after that, and wasn’t heard from for many months. His brief association with Xavier’s extended mutant family was enough to draw the attention of the Church of Humanity, however, and they kidnapped him in order to send a message. Along with several other young mutants, Bedlam was crucified by the Church and placed on display in the Xavier Mansion’s front yard as a warning to the X-Men. The X-Men tried to save Jesse and the others using triage and Archangel healing blood for transfusions, but Bedlam could not be resuscitated and died in the X-Men’s med-center. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #423]
In the Age of Apocalypse, Jesse and Terry Aaronson were inseparably known as the Bedlam Brothers. Recognized as mutants and sponsored by Sinister himself, the Aaronsons rose to become members of Apocalypse’s Elite Mutant Force. Unlike some of the other prelates, the Bedlam Brothers showed little overt contempt for humanity. They merely enjoyed the privileges that came with their elite status and shrugged off any inequalities they saw as just the way of the world. When Apocalypse ordered the extermination of all the prisoners in the Pens, however, the Bedlam Brothers balked at the idea. Being elite just wasn’t fun anymore, and they joined forces with the renegade prelate Cyclops and Jean Grey to bring down the EMF. Jesse’s knack for disrupting machinery helped them open the pens and the Bedlam Brothers began to lead the prisoners to safe haven.