Biography - Page 1
The mutant that would later come to be known as Maggott grew up in South Africa. To be more precise, it was a little hut in Northwest Transvaal, just on the border of Ottoshoop. Seven people lived in the house in which he grew up. Next to the parents, it was Japheth and his four brothers. Lot was his oldest of the boys; he liked shooting photos and was the closest thing Japheth had to a hero besides their father. The youngest of the siblings, Daniel, idolized the older Japheth very much, despite the fact that Japheth was a rather sickly child and, at the age of twelve, still smaller than Daniel. As his belly grew to abnormal proportions, the doctors thought he had stomach cancer. His dad worked hard in the gold mines to make a living for his family and to pay for the medical bills, but it wasn’t enough.
One night, when Japheth was about to walk into his parent’s room for comfort, Japheth instead overheard his mother’s prayer. She prayed to not sound evil, but for her God to take Japheth soon, not only for his sake, but theirs as well. Young Japheth understood that he was like a cancer to his family - as most of the money was used to pay for his special protein meal, the rest of the family didn’t have enough to eat. Right then and there, he decided to end his life and all their misery. The next morning, he stole the family jeep and went off to fulfill his mother’s request. He drove into the middle of the Kalahari Desert until the jeep ran out of fuel, and wanted to wait for his death, far away from his mother’s tears.
However, unbeknownst to him, a stowaway had been asleep in the back of the Jeep, his younger brother Daniel. Japheth couldn’t let him die as well and tried to save his brother – who didn’t realize the scope of it and thought it was all a big adventure. Walking through the desert, the finality hit Japheth: not only was he going to die, but he was going to hell for killing his brother, Daniel. It didn’t even take an hour before the brothers had exhausted themselves so much they could walk no more. Suddenly, lightning crossed the sky and a man that looked to the brothers like an angel of wrath or the devil himself appeared from the dust cloud he had created. The man’s name was Magneto and, with a gentle touch, he laid hands upon Japheth. Using his magnetic powers, he caused Japheth’s nerves to stop feeling the pain, and he helped two giant slugs to erupt out of his stomach, the hole of their exit sealing off behind them instantly.
Magneto stayed with the young boys for the entire night and told Japheth about Homo superior, persecution and his birthright as a mutant. Japheth didn’t understand that much of it, only that his slugs had one single function – to eat. While they did so, Japheth’s skin turned blue and he felt stronger and better than ever before. Magneto then returned the two boys to their home near Ottoshoop, only for them to discover that there had been a racial riot during their absence and that Lot had been killed by four militia soldiers. Their father had followed them to exact revenge and Magneto pressured Japheth into going to town and to help his father. Once there, Magneto showed Japheth his true colors, as he lashed out with his powers to kill every member of the militia. Shocked by many of the oppressed people actually cheering for the master of magnetism, Japheth denounced Magneto’s ways – as he knew that Magneto could have simply stopped the men rather than kill them. Magneto then left, though not without warning Japheth that he would one day see that his way was the right way.
While the crowd still celebrated their victory, Japheth’s father came to him to hold him close. Japheth yearned for his comfort, but it was denied to him as the slugs re-entered his body the first time. In fact, the slugs turned out to be Japheth’s entire digestive system given form. Whenever it was time for them to pass on what they had eaten, the energy Japheth needed to live, they would go back inside his body - by eating their way through his stomach outer skin. Being a rather painful process, Japheth soon learned that he had to endure it about five times a day. Still, the near torment they represented, Japheth would eventually nickname them Eany and Meany, a rather whimsical name for two entities which would cause him such regular pain. [X-Men (2nd series) #76]
Not much else is known of Japheth’s activities over the next few years, although he did contemplate suicide a few times, the pain caused by his slugs being almost unbearable. The situation at home took a turn for the worse, Magneto apparently having been right about the people soon starting to fear the mutant boy in their midst. At one point, he entered some sort of indentured servitude under the codename of Maggott, though the circumstances of this are unknown, as well as what agency or individual he was working for. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #349, X-Men (2nd series) #76]
When Maggott was next seen, he was searching for Magneto. Whether he wanted to see the master of magnetism on a personal matter or as part of his job, remained unclear. At the time, Joseph was believed to be a de-aged Magneto, and Maggott traced the man’s steps – from a small town in Guatemala, where Joseph had been nursed back to health by Sister Maria de la Joya, to Pine Bluff, California, where Joseph had met Rogue and eventually to the New York City. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #345, 347]
Along the way, Maggott displayed some odd psychometric power – to sift through the recent psychic imprints from his environment. In this way, he learned of Joseph and Rogue having shared a kiss on the World Trade Center, but the trail ended there (the X-Men had been teleported away by aliens). A bit overwhelmed by the huge city before him and unsure what to do next, Maggott wandered the streets, where he found himself attacked by Psylocke. The woman was still trying to get to terms with her recently acquired shadow powers and, sensing some inner darkness in Maggott, she perceived him as a villain.
Japheth tried to reason with the telepathic ninja, but Betsy didn’t stop her attacks. Determined to find out more about the mystery man, she rammed her psychic knife into Maggott, but his connection to the slugs caused some psychic backlash for the telepath, leaving her open to Japheth’s slugs’ attack. Maggott called for Eany and Meany to not eat Psylocke, but they didn’t obey his commands. If not for Archangel showing up to rescue his lover, she would have been devoured. The pair then together knocked out Maggott. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #349]
Psylocke used her shadow-porting power to take the three of them off the streets to a place where they would be able to talk, though something went wrong. Apparently, Maggott’s desire to find Joseph interacted with her teleporting, scattering them a base in Antarctica where the X-Men had crash-landed after their return from space. Japheth ended up next to Joseph and, still feeling indebted for what Magneto had done for him, greeted Joseph like a friend. Naturally, Joseph didn’t recognize him, not only because of his partial amnesia, but simply because he was not the man everyone believed him to be. Suddenly, Joseph was knocked out from behind by none other that Magneto himself. Of course, Maggott was confused, but Magneto called in his debt and asked Maggott to trust him and play along. As such, Maggott kept quiet about Magneto's presence and sat out of Gambit’s trial as one of the jurors, having no idea what was really going on there. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #350]
After the trial, Psylocke dropped off Maggott with the other X-Men at Xavier’s mansion, or what was left of it – as Operation Zero Tolerance had stripped the house bare of anything but the floors and the walls. Inside, they found the other half of the X-Men, who were in the middle of a rather delicate operation on Scott Summers, who had been implanted with a nano-tech bomb. Even worse, right then the Juggernaut arrived to claim legal ownership of Xavier’s mansion, as the professor was incapacitated and he his next of kin. With the others busy, Maggott did his best to scare off the unstoppable foe with his matter-consuming slugs, but the villain laughed at him, not believing he was serious. Regardless, once the Juggernaut became aware of the mansion being empty, he left altogether, as there was nothing to fight over. In the meantime, though Cecilia Reyes had managed to pry the bomb from Scott’s body, it was still about to explode and kill everyone present. Maggott then had one of his slugs eat the dangerous device, earning himself a spot among the X-Men. [X-Men (2nd series) #70]
Japheth liked it among the X-Men and hoped he had finally found home. Wanting to be accepted by his teammates, he kept the disgusting aspects of his mutant powers secret, as well as the fact that, despite his physical appearance, he was still a teenager.
Not able to eat the regular way, he would often come up with excuses why he wouldn’t join the others for breakfast or dinner, just like he avoided medical examinations or swimming with the others in the pond, as he feared someone might see the slugs entering or leaving his body. To cover up for his secretive behavior, Maggott displayed a rather flirtatious attitude towards the ladies, causing Cannonball some trials as the two of them clashed in a couple of testosterone battles. Life was rather hectic for the X-Men, though, with Sauron attacking them in their home and Alpha Flight wanting to question Wolverine on some faked criminal charges. During both fights, Maggott held his ground. [X-Men (2nd series) #71-72, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #353-355]