|Real Name:||Kevin Sidney (assumed, based on
alternate reality counterpart)
||Professor Charles Xavier
||X-Men (1st series) #35
||formerly Factor Three, X-Men,
metamorphic shapeshifter able to alter his form to assume new sets of features, and mimic the likeness of any person he saw; developed limited telepathic abilities after Professor X shared a portion of his power with him
The past of the man who called himself the Changeling is still a mystery. Neither his heritage nor the circumstances when he first discovered his mutant powers have been revealed. One can only assume that, upon discovering his ability to perfectly copy the appearances and voice of any given person, he started a life of crime. What better way to steal from a person than to become them and just spend the money that’s rightfully theirs?
Eventually, though, the Changeling came to the attention of the even more mysterious Mutant-Master, a self-declared leader of the ever-growing mutant race. With the Changeling acting as his second in command, the Mutant-Master founded Factor Three, a covert organization intending world-domination by mutants. The idea was that, while the eastern and the western block of the post Cold War era were busy opposing each other, a third faction, consisting of powerful mutants, could rise to power.
Expecting opposition from the X-Men, who had dedicated themselves to Professor Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence of humans and mutants, the Mutant-Master had the Changeling review all the video footage he could find on them. Doing so, the
Around the time that Factor Three had captured Xavier, all of the X-Men and their ally, Banshee, Changeling began to suspect that the Mutant-Master was hiding something from his followers. Yet, whenever he tried to voice his concerns or questioned his leader’s actions, the Mutant-Master threatened the Changeling into submission with his advanced weapons. Not daring to tell the other villains about his suspicion, as he had no real proof,
A few weeks later, though, the Changeling made his way to Xavier’s school in Westchester. Unnoticed by the X-Men, he sought out the professor and revealed that he was dying of cancer and had only a few months left to live. In his remaining time, he wanted to atone for his crimes. As chance would have it, Xavier just had learned of another dangerous alien race, called the Z’Nox, planning to invade Earth. He needed some time in solitude to prepare for the battle against the menace, yet didn’t want to leave his X-Men unsupervised. Hence, he bestowed the Changeling with some of his mental power and asked him to take his place as the X-Men’s leader. Only Jean Grey was aware of the switch but was sworn to absolute secrecy. [X-Men (1st series) #65, X-Men Hidden Years #8]
While the X-Men noted a change in “Xavier’s” behavior, they had little time to worry about it, as several days later they were busy fighting Grotesk, the sub-human. His underground home and fellow subterranean people having been destroyed by atomic radiation, he wanted to cause similar destruction on the surface world. However, Grotesk proved near invulnerable. Not even the combined powers of the X-Men were able to stop him from setting off a machine that would set off tremors on a planetary scale. When “Xavier” slowed down the device by bombarding it with mental energies, Grotesk went on a rampage, causing the machine to explode. Still wearing Xavier’s face, the Changeling died in the X-Men’s arms and was later buried and mourned under the professor’s name. [X-Men (1st series) #41-42] The X-Men only learned the truth when the real Xavier came out of hiding months later.
Many years later, it was believed that the Changeling’s spirit had possessed the body of Excalibur’s empathic shapeshifter, Meggan. Regretting his decision to take Xavier’s place and die in his stead rather than search for a cure for his disease, the Changeling apparently wanted another lease at life and tried to take over Meggan’s body permanently, only to be defeated by her teammates’ combined willpower. [Excalibur: the Possession] The entire incident was not real, though, but a psychic scenario created by Merlin as he was secretly preparing Excalibur for a specific purpose. [Excalibur (1st series) #50]
The real Changeling’s final rest wasn’t left undisturbed, though. His remains and the bodies of several other deceased mutants were acquired by the Black Talon, who resurrected them as zombies. Called the X-Humed, the four animated mutant corpses were confronted by the She-Hulk. She soon discovered that she couldn’t physically harm the zombies, as they could reform their bodies after being torn apart. The Black Talon tried to escape with his X-Humed, but fortunately they didn’t get too far as the Changeling assumed a shape that he knew would cause public attention. It turned out that the Black Talon couldn’t control all for his zombies at once, and the Changeling broke free of his influence, still true to his wish to atone for his past crimes and redeem himself. When She-Hulk caught up with the X-Humed, she had researched a way to counter-act the spell that re-animated them. [Sensational She-Hulk #34-35]
It is rare that an alternate version of a character from the Marvel Universe becomes more noteworthy than the original. Looking much alike, Morph of the Age of Apocalypse and another Morph, who was a mainstay of the reality-hopping Exiles, are both counterparts of the Changeling. The shape-shifting powers of both Morphs surpass those of the Changeling by far. In fact, they are no longer limited to human shapes and appearances at all. At least the Exiles’ Morph might very well be immortal, as he could reform his body even after being dissected and he didn’t burn out when he became a host body for Proteus. There stands reason to believe that the Changeling’s abilities too might have grown to such point. Possibly, the cancerous growth inside of his body was already a sign of him undergoing a radical transformation.