CALIBAN: Page 2 of 4

Publication Date: 28th Feb 2017
Written By: Monolith and Gremlin.
Image Work: Peter Luzifer and Gremlin.


X-Factor freed themselves without Caliban’s aid, defeated Apocalypse and claimed his Celestial ship as their new base. Caliban fled with Apocalypse to his citadel in the Himalayas, where he was exposed to repeated genetic augmentation, giving him full and continuous access to his formerly intermittent superhuman strength and psychic "shadow of fear" power. In fact, his previously gaunt physique was transformed into a physical powerhouse with a massively muscular form. [X-Factor (1st series) #50]

However, during his period of transformation, X-Men and X-Factor had encountered the Marauders again and most of the villains had been apparently killed. Caliban found himself without a purpose, as his main reason for undergoing Apocalypse's genetic enhancements had been to avenge the slain Morlocks. Now a living weapon with no target, Caliban remained at Apocalypse's side for months afterwards with no other goals and nowhere else to go. Eventually, Sabretooth resurfaced in Manhattan and resumed hunting down the remaining Morlocks who had taken to living on the streets. When Caliban learned of this, he abandoned Apocalypse and used the citadel’s technology to teleport himself to New York in order to hunt down Sabretooth. Caliban's transformation had left his mind somewhat unstable and he proved more than willing to antagonize anyone who got between him and his prey. He attacked Archangel for being a failure to Apocalypse and assaulted the NYPD merely for getting in his way as he hunted Sabretooth. [X-Factor (1st series) #51-53]

Caliban eventually tracked Sabretooth to the Morlock Tunnels of all places, where Creed continued his hunt for the survivors of the first massacre. As they stalked each other, both Caliban and Sabretooth ran across Rictor, who had run away from the New Mutants and wandered into the tunnels to prove his bravery. Caliban had changed so much that Rictor barely recognized him. Naturally, Cable and the other New Mutants came after their missing teammate and interrupted Caliban's blood-quest. Their brief skirmish left Caliban temporarily buried under a pile of concrete by Boom-Boom. Eventually, both the New Mutants and Masque's gang of Morlocks stepped aside to allow Caliban and Sabretooth to throw down with each other, to the death. Caliban won the match, snapping Creed's spine and leaving him floating in the tunnels, apparently dead. [New Mutants (1st series) #90-91]

Having completed his vendetta, Caliban rejoined the Horsemen of Apocalypse and officially took a rank among them as the new Death. However, unknown to Caliban, Apocalypse had left the Horsemen for his new henchmen the Riders of the Storm, and had been killed on the moon. Aware of this, Mister Sinister had used his shape-changing powers to pose as Apocalypse and manipulate Caliban and the Horsemen. At "Apocalypse's" command, Caliban and the Horsemen attacked Cyclops and Jean Grey in Westchester, kidnapping the couple and bringing them to an abandoned warehouse off of Chesapeake Bay. The X-Men tracked Caliban's mutagenic signature to that location, but Sinister escaped with the hostages. Caliban attacked his former friends in the name of Apocalypse, but was quickly brought down and captured. The X-Men brought their captives with them to California while hunting down the real Apocalypse's location. However, they were all knocked unconscious battling the Eternal One. Caliban either escaped at this time or was willingly let go by the X-Men once they realized he knew nothing more about their friends' abduction and current location. [The X-Cutioner's Song crossover]

Caliban was not seen again until several months later. By the time he resurfaced, Charles Xavier had made the highly unpopular and contested decision to invite Sabretooth into the mansion, in an attempt to cure Creed of his psychotic tendencies. Caliban learned of this asinine decision and kidnapped the young X-Man trainee named Jubilee from her dance lessons, demanding a trade with the X-Men. He insisted that Kitty Pryde, and Kitty alone, bring Sabretooth down into the Morlock Tunnels where he would trade Jubilee for Creed. Once underground, Caliban led Shadowcat and Creed into an aqueduct. He then opened the floodgates and filled the chamber with water, trusting Kitty to phase to safety and leave Sabretooth to his final fate. Shadowcat refused to let her prisoner die, though, and the two of them fled into a dangerous subsection of the tunnels which was home to a giant mutated squid. Caliban and Sabretooth defeated the creature, but then turned on each other. Caliban was far more exhausted than Creed from fighting the creature, and was severely beaten and scarred by Sabretooth before Kitty and Jubilee got the Marauder's restraints back on. Caliban fled into the tunnels, abandoning his plans to kill Creed and leaving his friends behind again. [Uncanny X-Men Annual #18]

Several weeks later, Caliban's intelligence had diminished considerably. Although he was considerably naive and easily manipulated in the past, Caliban was now reduced to a child-like mental state for some unknown reason. He also stopped using his fear-casting power, suggesting that he either lost this ability or forgot how to properly use it. Caliban was on the run from the Dark Riders, who had proclaimed themselves the fittest to survive and began hunting down all of Apocalypse's former servants, eliminating those they deemed unfit. Fortunately, Caliban encountered Storm, Cable and Domino in the Morlock Tunnels and joined them in hunting down the Dark Riders and their new master, Genesis. [Cable (1st series) #17-19]

Caliban and Cable remained in contact after this and, shortly after X-Force relocated to the Xavier Institute, Cable officially inducted Caliban into his strike team. Caliban still couldn't stomach the idea of Creed living in the mansion with the X-Men though, and once again made an attempt on the former Marauder's life. However, things were different now as Sabretooth had been effectively lobotomized by Wolverine a few weeks earlier. During this battle, one of Wolverine’s claws penetrated Sabretooth’s brain, leaving him even more child-like than Caliban. Cable convinced Caliban that killing Sabretooth in this defenseless state would make him no better than the Marauders himself. Caliban reluctantly agreed to spare Creed's life, at least until he recovered. [X-Force (1st series) #44-45]

Indeed, it wasn't long before Creed did recover and Xavier finally abandoned his efforts to treat Creed's bloodlust. Sabretooth broke free from his restraints before the X-Men could turn him over to the authorities, and he severely injured Psylocke while making his escape. Caliban tracked Creed down in the Morlock Tunnels but was unable to defeat him as easily as before.

Creed played mind games with the simple giant, pitting Caliban's hatred of Sabretooth against his joy of finally being accepted amongst the X-Men and his fear of losing that trust if he killed Creed. Conflicted, Caliban hesitated a moment too long and Sabretooth electrocuted him using some loose wiring on the tunnel walls. [Sabretooth: In the Red Zone]

As time passed, Caliban bonded with his troop-mates in X-Force, particularly Sunspot and his fellow powerhouse, Warpath. Although still somewhat slow, Caliban was often commended by his friends for his simple insight, as he often saw the truth in things when others got lost in the complications. Caliban joined Sunspot in responding to a call for aid from DaCosta's old

acquaintance, the External named Gideon. They found themselves smack in the middle of a war, as the rogue External named Selene was leeching the life-energies from her immortal brethren and killing them, a deed that was once thought impossible. During the fight, Caliban was impaled on the bone spears produced by Absalom, and required significant medical attention. [X-Force (1st series) #52-54]

This left him rather hesitant about battle for sometime afterwards but he continued fighting alongside X-Force. During the Onslaught affair, X-Force was assigned to look after Nate Grey, the alternate reality "X-Man" who was a prize that Onslaught coveted. Instead of Onslaught, X-Force found itself defending Grey against the geneticist, Mister Sinister. To everyone's surprise, including his own, Caliban proved to be a formidable foe when pitted against Sinister. Battling the evil scientist apparently triggered a failsafe that Apocalypse had genetically imprinted onto Caliban that transformed him into the Hellhound and sent him into a killing frenzy. This granted Caliban the power to back up his actions and seriously threaten Sinister's continued existence. The two combatants were only separated when Domino detonated the mansion's arsenal, scattering the players. Caliban reverted to his true self once he was separated from Sinister, and he was horrified by what he had briefly become. He also feared that Apocalypse might have planted other "triggers" in his mind that he knew nothing about. [X-Force (1st series) #57]