Variable (typically Brown)
Variable (typically Brown)
All-New X-Men (1st series) #3
college student, revolutionary
X-Men, Hero Squad
•Psychogenetic camouflage ability allows him to adapt
the physical characteristics of another person while
subliminally making them at ease with him, causing
them to comfortably accept and ignore his passive
presence and, if he actively engages them, his target finds him familiar and trustworthy enough to be influenced by him
Benjamin Deeds was a student at the University of Texas when his mutant abilities first manifested at none other than a mutant rights rally. Originally reluctant to join the protest, the students gave him no option when it was discovered that Benjamin was a mutant himself. They quickly embraced him and the rally ending up lasting through the night with students lining up to take pictures with Benjamin whose new powers allowed him to shape shift to resemble them. With photos being posted on social media, the event soon attracted news coverage and eventually caught the attention of the X-Men.
Cyclops and Magneto were the first to arrive. Currently outlaws, they were traversing the globe and inviting new mutants to join their “revolution.” but before Cyclops could put a pin on his recruitment speech, he was interrupted by, oddly enough, the younger version of himself. Brought to the present day by Beast, the Original X-Men had arrived to confront Cyclops about his recent actions, namely the murder of Charles Xavier. Naturally, tensions flared, a fight broke out, the University caught fire, and both teams of X-Men fled, leaving Benjamin to deal with the consequences alone.
Benjamin was subsequently kicked out of school and unsurprisingly, found that all those who were marching for mutant rights just the night before did absolutely nothing to defend him. Cyclops caught him as he was leaving and tried to apologize for the trouble he caused. He once again invited Benjamin to join his revolution but after seeing firsthand how dysfunctional the X-Men were, Benjamin wanted nothing to do with them. He couldn’t help being curious about his shapeshifting powers though and when they kicked in and he began to resemble Cyclops, he admitted that he was also scared to death. After Cyclops promised to train him to discover the extent of his new abilities, Benjamin hesitantly allowed himself to be whisked away to the new Charles Xavier School for the Gifted. [All-New X-Men (1st series) #3-5]
Benjamin was right to be suspicious of Cyclops’ offer. The Charles Xavier School turned out to be an abandoned Weapon X Facility in Canada, filled with labs once used for mutant experimentation. The school’s professors, Cyclops, Magneto, Emma Frost, and Magik, were wanted fugitives so there were strict rules about leaving or even communicating with anyone outside. The rare occasion when Cyclops allowed the students to leave the school, to assist in a mutant rescue or visit family, resulted in a sentinel attack or a confrontation with the Avengers. Benjamin and fellow recruit, Eva Bell, began to question what their roles would be if Cyclops’ revolution took off and whether or not their new teachers were worth following. [Uncanny X-Men (3rd series) #1-4]
Just when Benjamin thought life with the X-Men couldn’t get any crazier, all the teachers and students of the New Xavier School were dragged to Limbo by Dormammu who was trying to wrestle control of the demonic dimension from Magik. While the X-Men jumped into action, Benjamin and the other new students were completely frozen with fear. When hordes of demons began to close in on them, the Stepford Cuckoos used their telepathy to instill bravery in the new students so they could at least attempt to defend themselves. Despite this, they were still ridiculously outmatched due to their lack of training and the fact that Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto’s powers were broken. Magik managed to save them all and returned them home but Benjamin took a fatal hit. Triage, another new recruit, used his healing powers to restore him from the brink of death and Cyclops declared that they all, teachers and students alike, needed to focus more on training. [Uncanny X-Men (3rd series) #5-7]
The sentinel attacks persisted, culminating in a standoff at Cape Canerval with a entire army of new sentinels that were seemingly launched from S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarriers. Convinced that S.H.I.E.L.D. was targeting mutants, Cyclops pushed his new recruits even harder and it became clear that Benjamin was not meeting his standards. Falling behind in an outdoor training exercise, Cyclops called Benjamin out for being weak and having a passive powerset. Benjamin hurled his own insults in return, taunting Cyclops about his broken powers and the fact that everyone hated him. Cyclops goaded Benjamin into punching him but easily got the upper hand and threw him down into the mud, telling him that he wasn’t ready to be an X-Man.
Perhaps impressed with how he stood up to Cyclops, Emma Frost’s teaching instincts kicked in and she took an interest in Benjamin. Determined to discover the extent of his odd abilities, Emma confronted him and as Benjamin morphed to resemble her, she noticed a chemical change in the air as well. Not only did Benjamin transform to resemble people, he released a pheromone-like component to ease them and make them more relaxed. Realizing how useful this power could be, Emma decided to take Benjamin to Atlantic City for a field test. After a rough start, Benjamin was soon actively using his morphing powers with everyone he bumped into. People confided in him, laughed with him, and generally, just wanted to be near him because it felt so good.
To show Benjamin just how useful his power could be, Emma escorted him to his first covert mission. His task was simple: hand deliver a letter to a certain Dum Dum Dugan. What Benjamin didn’t know was that he was being sent into a undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. building and that Dugan was a high-up S.H.I.E.L.D. officer. Nonetheless, Benjamin had no trouble getting into Dugan’s office, his powers distorting the cameras while security personnel let him pass because he morphed to resemble them. Even Dugan took to him, complimenting his style, until he opened the letter, which was a threat from Cyclops. Now convinced that S.H.I.E.L.D. was making sentinels, Cyclops demanded they stop production or they’ll find themselves at war with the X-Men. His cover blown, Benjamin found himself surrounded by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents demanding answers. Magik came and teleported him back to the school, where Cyclops admitted he still needed training but congratulated him on a job well done and for the first time, called him an X-Man. When Benjamin asked what his codename could be, Emma jokingly decided on “Morph’ but Benjamin immediately refused. [Uncanny X-Men (3rd series) #14]
Cyclop’s harsh training methods continued and to push his recruits further than ever before, he had Magik teleport and abandon them in the wild terrain of Tabula Rasa. A small area of Montana that was closed off and artificially advanced 130 million years, Tabula Rasa was home to strange new lifeforms, including some sentient species, who were hostile towards strangers. Now more confident with his powers, Benjamin boldly transformed into a member of the native species in an effort to calm them and stop them from attacking his friends. [Uncanny X-Men (3rd series) #17]
Benjamin’s initial misgivings towards Cyclops seemed to be at an end as when Cyclops was kidnapped by space bounty hunters, he was vocal about the need to rescue him. Benjamin was vital to the rescue operation as his powers enabled him to go undercover as a S.W.O.R.D. agent to gather intel on Cyclops’ possible whereabouts. Things took a turn when Benjamin ran into Iron Man who he found so attractive that he unwisely allowed the Avenger to assist him. Benjamin and his fellow recruits teamed up with Iron Man and successfully rescued their leader from Monark Starstalker. Despite displaying loyalty towards him, the recruits still felt like Cyclops saw them as disposable soldiers in a war they hadn’t signed up for. The fact that Iron Man had no idea who any of them were, admitting that he found the X-Men student body impossible to keep track of, only cemented this perception. [No End In Sight crossover]
Benjamin’s fear was realized when after the reading of Charles Xavier’s will, Cyclops decided to turn himself over to S.H.I.E.L.D. and close the school. Cyclops suggested that his recruits enroll at the Jean Grey School to continue their training with the X-Men. Feeling betrayed, Benjamin and the others weren’t keen to take Cyclops’ advice. Instead they helped Dazzler capture Mystique and decided to form their own superhero team. Things started out well and Benjamin was vital in taking down the hostile mutant Anima. The team’s efforts went viral and Goldballs in particular became famous. Operating out of an abandoned Hellfire Club, the group continued to take down threats. The general public seemed to adore them but after a television interview with Goldballs’ parents revealed that they were mutants, they turned against them. The group were confronted by a mob and Goldballs was severely injured. Realizing they still had a lot to learn about heroics and mutant/human relations, Benjamin and the others went to the Jean Grey School and Storm accepted them with open arms. [Uncanny X-Men (3rd series) #35]
Benjamin stayed with the X-Men through some tough times, including the death of Cyclops and the Terrigen Mist crisis but things are looking brighter with Benjamin being one of the students in Jubilee’s Special Class at the Xavier School’s new Central Park location.