Dr. Whitman Knapp
Proto, Apeman, Highbrow, William Knapp,
5'4” (Manikin), 6'2” (Highbrow),
5'7” (Apeman), 3' (Proto)
115lbs (Manikin), 120lbs (Highbrow),
160lbs (Apeman), 30lbs (Proto)
Blue (Manikin), Blue (Highbrow),
Blue (Apeman), N/A (Proto)
Strawberry blond (Manikin), Strawberry
blond (Highbrow), Black (Apeman),
Alpha Flight (1st series) #43
formerly New Life Clinic, Beta Flight II,
Department H, Gamma Flight III, Beta Flight III, Gamma Flight IV
• Tap into the Mindwell, a pocket dimension embodying the progression of evolutionary development, in order to manifest bodies representative of mankind's past or future evolutionary stages, able to materialize three "other-selves" simultaneously and direct their actions as the "Prime Unit"
• Proto, representing proemial life on Earth, was a fluid glob of protoplasm able to warp its shape, extend tendrils and pseudopods, and secrete corrosive molecular acid
• Apeman, representing Cro-Magnon man, possessed increased levels of strength, agility, endurance, and reflexes
• Highbrow, representing mankind's future development, demonstrated psionic powers of teleportation, telekinesis and levitation, psionic force fields and mental blasts
• Later developed altered powers which caused him to physically transform into one of his "other-selves" at a time instead of manifesting them individually
A young medical doctor, Dr. Whitman Knapp was hired as an intern at the New Life Clinic, owned and operated by Dr. Lionel Jeffries, brother of Alpha Flight's Madison Jeffries. While Madison’s mutant powers gave him control over the technological, Lionel’s powers were over the biological, and Whitman idolized Dr. Jeffries for using his abilities to cure the incurable. Whit first met members of Canada's premiere super heroes when they brought their teammate, Roger Bochs, to the clinic for treatment after sustaining injuries in battle. Whitman was made aware of Lionel Jeffries' unorthodox methods to treat the ill and assisted him in not only curing Roger Bochs of his injuries and freeing him from the Box armor but also generating new legs for the Alphan. Afterward, Whitman accompanied Lionel Jeffries to Alpha Flight's home on Tamarind Island to return Roger Bochs to his teammates. It was there that Whitman first encountered the Purple Girl after noticing her waving at him. He thought she was cute and wondered if she liked him. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #43-45]
A bright young man, Whitman was able to offer Lionel Jeffries an explanation as to why he could not use his powers to change Walter Langkowski back into a man after he had recently been resurrected in the body of a woman. However, Whitman soon became concerned about Lionel Jeffries' more unorthodox approaches to medicine. When he reported the splotches he had noticed on Roger Bochs' new legs, as if they were deteriorating, Lionel ordered him to be silent and threatened to use his own power on him. Whitman assured Jeffries that he would obey him, but began to wonder if perhaps the scientist had already used his power to transmutate living organisms on him. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #46]
Whitman again met Alpha Flight when the team returned to the New Life Clinic soon after Bochs' legs had indeed deteriorated, as Whit had suspected they would. While deciding his next plan for treatment of Bochs, Lionel Jeffries noticed Whit next to the Purple Girl and scolded him for not paying attention and being prepared to assist him. It was while preparing to cure Bochs again that Lionel Jeffries revealed to Whit, Bochs and his brother, Madison, his plan to create a race of superior new men called Omega. Realizing he was still insane Madison confronted his brother but Lionel struck first and transmutated Madison, rendering him immobile. Whit attempted to stop Lionel, but the insane mutant grabbed him and revealed that he had hired Whit because he detected the seeds of a power within him. Whit fell to the floor, a strange mass forming around his head after Lionel touched him. As Alpha Flight did battle with Omega, the merged being that was once Lionel and Bochs, Whit continued to transform. When the transformation was complete, Whitman found that his one being had become four. In addition to his normal self, he now had three others, two seeming to represent past selves and another that seemed a more evolved self. One of the past selves was a proto-plasmic blob dubbed Proto and the other a caveman called Apeman. The more evolved self seemed a thin, distant-future version called Highbrow.
Immediately, Apeman was able to pick up the still-immobile Madison Jeffries and throw him into the empty Box armor, enabling Jeffries to be active once again. Whitman quickly dubbed himself Manikin and decided that he had to help Alpha Flight. Thanks to the teleportation abilities of Highbrow, all of Manikin’s selves and Box quickly arrived at the scene of the battle. When Manikin noticed that the Purple Girl had been captured by Omega, he was unsure of how to help until Highbrow pointed out that, just because he had no power himself, didn’t mean he was helpless. As he freed the unconscious Purple Girl from Omega, Manikin told Dr. Jeffries that he quit. He then proceeded to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the Purple Girl, after which she used her powers to force Omega to cure Madison of the transmutation. Now free, the incensed Madison returned to the Box armor, reconfigured it and then killed the being which had been comprised of his brother and his best friend. For his first time in battle, Manikin and his “other selves” proved quite useful. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #48-49]
Whit accompanied Alpha Flight and the Purple Girl to Tamarind Island and the two of them were dubbed the new Beta Flight team. While Alpha Flight were on another desperate mission, Whit and Kara were left home alone and started to grow closer. When Kara remarked that she thought there were ghosts in Mansion Alpha, Whit suggested they cuddle to keep the ghosts at bay – and Kara plainly told him it would take more than cuddling. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #50]
Manikin soon adopted a costume of his own, a yellow jumpsuit with a black tank-top over his chest and black boots. During a training session on Tamarind Island where the army was asked to simulate a real battle against Alpha Flight, Manikin and Purple Girl were told to stay out of the exercise. Nevertheless, the two disobeyed orders and, summoning his past and future selves, Manikin had Highbrow teleport them all into the midst of the battle, where Highbrow, Proto and Apeman demonstrated their capability in a battle situation. A soldier snuck up behind the powerless Manikin, or “Prime Unit” as Highbrow called him, and aimed his gun at him. Manikin was able to take the soldier out by using his intelligence by kicking a fallen tree log up at the soldier, knocking him back and taking the soldier's gun. When Alpha Flight returned, Manikin told them that Beta Flight shouldn't be put aside during battle. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #51]
Manikin was with Alpha Flight during the trying times that followed: throughout the team's betrayal at the hands of their own government, their subsequent battle with Bedlam and his Derangers, and when they fought against the Great Beasts, during which Manikin was injured by Somon. In the aftermath of the latter, the team was blasted into space while inside of Box, which Madison Jeffries had transformed into a spaceship. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #51-55]
Aboard the Box spaceship, Manikin did not want to divert Vindicator's attention from other pressing matters, so he dealt with his injuries in his own way, by absorbing his past and future selves back into himself. When the restoration of all of his selves into him resulted in Whit being healed, Manikin realized that he still had so much to learn about his power. For the moment, though, he turned his attention to the issues that Alpha Flight were having with the Box spaceship, which appeared to be in agony. Pressing some buttons on the control panel as he wondered how to operate on a machine, Manikin was presented with a large tube, which sucked him out of the control room and took him through the “insides” of the vessel, depositing him near the “brain” which he found was under attack by a malignant tumor. Manikin alerted Vindicator to his discovery and guided her on how to destroy the tumor. However, they soon found that the cancer had spread into the Box space ship's brain. With Manikin's direction, Vindicator was able to destroy the cancer and free Jeffries from the agony that he was in. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #56]
During the spaceship troubles, Manikin's girlfriend, the Purple Girl, mysteriously vanished. Believing her disappearance had something to do with Beta Flight's newest recruit, the mute Goblyn, Manikin had his other selves attack the fierce mutant, which angered Vindicator, sick of the in-fighting that had plagued Alpha Flight. Manikin was relieved when Kara soon returned from a mysterious reality called Liveworld with a girl called Laura Dean, Goblyn's twin. Reunited, the young lovers' relationship continued to bloom. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #57]
Mankin was with Alpha Flight when they traveled to the realm called Liveworld to rescue Laura Dean, who was being held captive by the Dreamqueen, ruler of said strange dimension. The heroes confronted the Dreamqueen, who set her warriors upon them. A complicated series of events followed in which the battleground of Liveworld was transported to China. The Dreamqueen planned to come to Earth and take it over, but Alpha Flight was able to send her back to Liveworld. Unfortunately, their government did not seem happy that Alpha Flight had returned. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #58-60]
Upon their return to Canada, Vindicator and Box were called before a formal inquiry into the recent actions of Alpha Flight, leaving Manikin, the Beta Flight girls and Sasquatch to contemplate what to do next. Financial woes began to plague them and Manikin revealed that he had been thinking about returning to medicine, which upset the Purple Girl. Manikin explained that he had not enjoyed his taste of super-heroing and tried to make his break up with Kara easy. When the Beta Flight girls were shipped off to live with Kara's mother, Whit promised to write to Kara. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #61-62]
Whit began a job as an intern at the Good Hope Hospital in British Columbia, where he used his past and future selves to help him lighten the mood around difficult child patients. During his time there, he made no secret of his powers, or his involvement with Alpha Flight. Soon after, Whit started a job at Ontario General Hospital, where he inexplicably began to think that he was simply a character in a comic book. He learned that he was going to die at Vindicator's hand and proclaimed to whoever was scribing his life that he would not let that happen. However, when Vindicator arrived at the hospital, needing Whit's help to remove her battlesuit which she could not take off herself, Manikin knew that the “writer” was going to have Vindicator kill Proto, which would mean that his past, present and future selves would all vanish. He set Apeman and Highbrow against Vindicator, who raged through the hospital in an effort to find Manikin. When she eventually found and confronted him, Manikin tried to explain to her that someone was orchestrating their actions. Desperately needing to remove the battlesuit, which was starting to eat into her soul, Heather aimed a plasma blast at Manikin, hoping to force him to help her. Though Manikin knew in his heart he would now die, Proto leapt at Heather and ate the command circuits of her battlesuit, freeing Heather from her troubles.
In the aftermath, though Manikin still felt like he was being manipulated, he realized that it must be the Dreamqueen. In truth, the villainess was indeed watching him and forced him to lose his train of thought before he could think of her any further. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #64-66]
Manikin's suspicions about the Dreamqueen proved correct but, when Vindicator gathered the former Alphans and Beta Flight girls who had previously dealt with the Dreamqueen, he declined to join them, as he didn't want to be part of Alpha Flight anymore. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #67]
Missing some of Alpha Flight's most dangerous adventures, Whitman eventually became associated with the team again when he accepted a position in the medical sciences department of Gamma Flight, the support staff section assigned to support Alpha Flight within the new Department H in Toronto. His first assignment was a difficult one, as Diamond Lil had found a lump in her breast. Unfortunately, there was no way to know if was malignant or not because no known force could cut through her diamond-hard skin. It was Whit who suggested that they might need to try some unconventional methods, though he could not have foreseen the consequences of his suggestion. When she was struck by an alien laser during a battle, Lil ripped off the weapon, as well as the arm to which it had been connected, and returned to Department H with it. With this alien technology, Whit was able to pierce through Lil's skin and remove the tumor, determining that it was benign. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #97, 101]
Despite Whit's rather unceremonious break-up with Kara, he seemed to still care for her. When Kara and the other Beta Flight girls remained missing after having vanished weeks before, Whit confided in Alpha Flight's administrator, Windshear, that he was worried it might be linked to the “fate of the universe” talk surrounding the ongoing Infinity War. Fortunately, Whit didn't have to wonder for long, as a portal into Department H was opened by Laura Dean. Along with the other Beta Flight girls, Laura had been taken to Liveworld and together they managed to escape back to this reality, narrowly avoiding an army of Dream Demons following them. When a furious Windshear scolded the Beta Flight girls, Whit tried to stand up for them, but recent recruit Witchfire was able to do enough talking for the girls herself. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #109]
Whit accompanied the Beta Flight girls – demoted to Gamma Flight by Windshear – out on a night on the town, during which the girls were attempting to break up a gang fight. Witchfire and Kara, now calling herself Persuasion, were bitter towards Windshear and Kara angrily scolded Whit when he tried to get them to see things from Windshear's point of view. For the first time in a while, Manikin also used his powers to assist in the battle. It was a good thing, too, as chaos started to spread throughout the city and, with Alpha Flight caught up in the Infinity War, Gamma Flight were the only heroes available, much to Windshear's dismay. Manikin seemed to be part of Gamma Flight now and stood up for his teammates again when Windshear belittled them. When Manikin was harmed in the battle against the Firebug, Persuasion expressed her concern for him, but he was fine.
The troubles of the night were not at an end, however, for the Master of the World's new Omega Flight team soon showed up and attacked Gamma Flight. Confronted by the Omegan called Bile, Whit was left disorientated and unable to help Persuasion, who was confused when Bile appeared before her. However, Whit commanded Highbrow to assist and his future self did so by teleporting Kara to safety. Eventually, the Master and his team were defeated and, when Manikin and Gamma Flight returned to Department H, Alpha Flight arrived home too. Windshear admitted he was wrong to say that they were just kids and couldn't handle dangerous situations. He re-assigned the team Beta Flight and all of them, including Manikin, donned a team costume of gray and red. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #110-112]
When a hostage situation erupted at the Houghton Chemical Research Facility in Sudbury, Beta Flight was sent to assist, only to find that the local police chief refused to let the team enter the facility. After she then used her powers to change his mind, Manikin confronted Persuasion about her sudden need to possess everyone who disagreed with the team. Once inside, Manikin stuck his head against the door to the room where the hostages were being held, which is when the terrorist, the son of the Jackal, made his presence known by bursting through the door and raking his claws across Manikin's chest. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #114]
Persuasion stayed with Whit as paramedics arrived and witnessed as his unconscious body began to change. By the time Whit arrived at a hospital in Toronto, his entire body was encased in some sort of webbing. The attack on the chemical research facility and its aftermath caused media attention, so Guardian and Sasquatch escorted Manikin's body back to Department H for safety and further studies. Unfortunately, Witchfire had seemingly killed the son of the Jackal, so they could not ascertain with what chemicals his claws had been laced when he sliced Manikin. Manikin's webbing had now fully turned into a cocoon which surrounded his body, now under the care of Sasquatch for further examination. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #115-116]
Kara kept a watchful vigil over Manikin, even when all of Alpha and Beta Flights were assigned to missions. While his body remained unconscious, Manikin’s mind was inside what was known as the Mindwell, where he was joined by his past and future selves. Highbrow explained that this place was created by the Prime Unit but, given the hub's injuries, time was folding in on itself and the Mindwell would soon collapse.
Meanwhile, a vigilante group called the Hardliners had invaded Department H and, during a battle with Alpha Flight associate Wyre, Whit’s cocoon was shot. Though still unconscious, Manikin knew that something was happening to him and Highbrow explained that this was the final collapse. Though Manikin tried to prepare himself for death, his other selves were not so resigned. Surrounding their “prime unit,” Manikin’s past and future selves sacrificed themselves so that Whit could live. The cocoon burst open, with Manikin alive and safe – but he knew that Proto, Apeman and Highbrow were gone. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #119-120]
When another cosmic emergency struck, Alpha Flight departed for the States, leaving Beta Flight at Department H. During the night, Whit was confronted by Witchfire, who had realized her true, dark heritage. Held prisoner by Witchfire, Manikin tried to reason with her, to stop her from the destruction she was planning to create.
Unfortunately, with his other selves destroyed when the Mindwell collapsed, Whit knew that he could no longer summon them. Nevertheless, something strange started to happen to Whit's body and he transformed into Apeman.
After quickly freeing himself and taking out Witchfire, Whit came to the realization that his powers weren't gone, just changed – he now became his past and future selves. When Guardian eventually arrived and wanted to destroy Witchfire to prevent her from further rampage, Whit pleaded with Guardian to let him try and reach her. He ultimately did so, helping her to regain control of herself. [Alpha Flight (1st series) #122-124]
In the wake of anti-super human hysteria and the passing of the Super Powers Registration Act in Canada, Department H and the Flight teams were shut down soon after. Although Department H was later restarted and there have been several Alpha Flight teams since then, Manikin did not return to the life of heroics.
Rather, Whit was working at a hospital when he and several other super-powered medics were gathered by Jane Foster a.k.a. Valkyrie, who had discovered that the manifestation of Death itself was dying. Jane's mission required a team of doctors to diagnose Death and, in the process, stop the universe from breaking. He told Jane Foster not to worry, as he handled weirder stuff while in Alpha Flight, and that he had never turned a patient away before. Whit was unaware, however, that Jane Foster noticed multiple death signals above the Canadian.
Along with Jane Foster, Dr. Strange, Dr. Fazia Hussain, Cardiac and the Night Nurse, Whit journeyed to a strange realm where Death's “house” could be located. There, he transformed into his Highbrow future-self to ascertain any data on their new surroundings. After battling the dead, the team of super medics made their way through Death's house, where they found themselves face-to-face with experiences of death in their own lives. For his part, Whit was confused by what Death showed him – a pink puddle of goo. When the unstable Cardiac decided that they didn't need Death – that Death could die, Whit transformed to his earliest evolutionary stage, Proto, and flung himself at Cardiac’s weapon to eat it. Cardiac, however, used the weapon to reduce Proto – and Whit – to a puddle of pink goo. Jane Foster took a moment to mourn the hero and looked into the puddle of good that was Proto. In the liquid remains, she saw saw Whit and his past and future selves Apeman and Highbrow staring back at her. Jane carried on with the mission, in which she indeed saved Death from death itself. In the process, Whit was also somehow saved from death and, additionally, his Apeman and Highbrow personas were once again appearing as unique individuals. What this means for Whit long-term has not been established. Despite his willingness to participate in the mission, it's clear that Whit would prefer a life away from heroics and has presumably returned to the medical practice where he uses his other special abilities to help people. [Valkyrie: Jane Foster #6-7]