(1st series) #300
• Phase-morphing ability enables him to
merge his mass with other objects, letting
him instantly travel over a distance through
After his mutant powers manifested, young Simon Hall did his best to avoid others and for some time, he sequestered himself in an abandoned church on a mountain ridge in Switzerland. Nevertheless, rumors of a mutant boy living in the area made their way to the Acolytes, who investigated. The Acolytes Unuscione, Cargill and Milan, respected the boy's need for sanctuary and took their time in drawing the youth out. For two days, they spoke to him through a closed door of Magneto and the conclave of mutants who had formed to honor his memory. When Simon finally came out, he did so with a vengeance, begging them to teach him of Magneto and his love and devotion towards his people.
The Acolytes took Hall to their base of operations in an abandoned monastery in Mont Saint Francis in the north of France. There, he spent months studying the holograms of Magneto, listening to the few recorded words of the Acolytes' “savior.” Uncharacteristically of an Acolyte, Hall did not use his own name but instead was referred to as Neophyte. As a new initiate in the order, he was not allowed to speak and was often ignored by higher members of the order. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #315]
At this time, the Acolytes were being led by Fabian Cortez who had replaced Magneto after his apparent death. Cortez remembered that Magneto had forced scientist and X-Men ally Moira MacTaggert into using a process to brainwash the X-Men into servitude. Wishing to possess this technology in order to bolster the ranks of the Acolytes, Cortez ordered the Acolytes to capture MacTaggert so that her memories could be forcibly extracted.
Neophyte was a silent witness to the torture and agony Moira endured during this process. He felt compassion for Moira and secretly brought her food and water. Unlike the other Acolytes, Moira noticed Neophyte and the look of doubt in his eyes as the senior members of the Acolytes debated her fate. Moira engaged Neophyte in conversation and planted seeds of doubt in his mind by telling him how Cortez had betrayed Magneto the last time she and the X-Men had encountered him.
Neophyte denied Moira's claims and looked for affirmation from Cortez himself. What he found unsettled him even more. Neophyte walked in on a conversation between Cortez and the Gamemaster and overheard Cortez acknowledge his betrayal of Magneto months earlier. When the infuriated youth made his presence known, Cortez was determined to keep his secret and turned Neophyte’s powers against him, propelling him a vast distance from their monastery and into the countryside at a great velocity. Neophyte survived and was found soon after by a human girl who attempted to help him. He could not help but question what he had been told about humans, seeing this girl's innate kindness to a stranger. The two were found by Cortez’s private guard- Spoor, Senyaka and Katu - who had been sent to retrieve Neophyte. They ruthlessly killed the young woman before Neophyte even had the chance to learn her name.
The Acolytes turned their attention to Neophyte and attempted to finish what Cortez has started. Fortunately, Simon was saved by the arrival of the X-Men, who had been searching for the Acolyte’s hidden base. Though saved by his supposed enemies, Neophyte was still not completely swayed to their cause. However, he was convinced that Cortez had betrayed Magneto’s intentions and agreed to escort the X-Men into the castle. Using his mutant ability to phase through solid objects, Neophyte helped the X-Men bypass the monastery’s defenses and ambush the Acolytes. As the battle raged, Neophyte confronted Cortez personally knowing that he was no match for the Acolytes leader. Ultimately, Cortez was defeated by Wolverine, who used Neophyte’s confrontation as a distraction to gut Cortez.
With the conflict over, Neopyhte found that he was still torn between Magneto’s teachings and the way of the X-Men. Declining Xavier’s invitation to join them, Neophyte disappeared into the rain, telling Xavier that his and Magneto’s dreams were more alike than either side believed. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #300]
Though Cortez had been defeated, the Acolytes endured and a new era soon began under leadership the leadership of Exodus, who provided a new refuge in the orbital space station called Avalon. Neophyte eventually returned to the Acolytes, where it was decided that he would face trial for his betrayal to the group. Colossus, now a member of the Acolytes, offered his services as defense counsel, while the prosecution was handled by Amelia Voght.
As the trial proceeded, Neophyte was eventually given a chance to speak on his own behalf. Rather than espousing his repentance, he pointed out the hypocrisy of the Acolytes, who pursued Magnus’ goal of allowing mutants to live in peace but only by treating humans with the same hate they had endured as a people. In the face of their inhumanity to Dr. MacTaggert, Neophyte found an alternative to the Acolyte’s ways, that of Charles Xavier. The moment he made this declaration, Neophyte was attacked by Unuscione, who was incensed by his words. Amelia Voght saved him from Unuscione's wrath and the trial was halted by Exodus. After a short deliberation, Exodus declared Neophyte guilty of the crime of treason and immediately proceeded to deliver his sentence. Much to the surprise of Colossus, who expected the punishment to be death, Exodus instead banished the Neophyte from Avalon and teleported him away. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #315]
Now homeless once again, Neophyte found a home near the foot of the High Evolutionary’s Mount Wundagore. Despite the danger from the Evolutionary’s New Men, Neophyte would regularly make journeys to a shrine the Acolytes had built on the mountain to honor Magneto’s long-lost love, Magda. It was on one such trek that he met Magneto's son Quicksilver and his wife Crystal, who had happened upon the shrine, unaware of its existence. Neophyte explained the significance of this place to the Acolytes. Quicksilver extended an invitation to join Xavier’s school to the Neophyte. Once more, he declined stating that he was still not ready. Neophyte then warned Quicksilver of the danger of trespassing on the Evolutionary’s property and promptly disappeared a moment later, when the New Men attacked. [Avengers (1st series) #380]
Months later, Magneto recovered from his dementia and once more launched an attack on Earth. Prior to engaging in his latest campaign against humanity, Magneto ordered Amelia Voght to gather the most worthy of his followers. Surprisingly, Neophyte was among those she recruited. Once more among the rank and file of the Acolytes and serving under Magneto himself, Simon seemingly embraced the Acolytes' goals once more. Together they attacked a genetic research laboratory in Minnesota, where they briefly fought the X-Men. Though the Acolytes escaped, the X-Men tracked the group to the arctic, where Magneto was constructing a gigantic electromagnetic weapon with which he could blackmail the world into providing a mutant sanctuary somewhere on the planet. Despite the interference of the X-Men, Magneto was successful and was ceded sovereignty over the island nation of Genosha. Afterward, Magneto and all of his Acolytes, Neophyte included, moved there to build a new nation. [Magneto War crossover]
Over the following months, Neophyte presumably served as a loyal subject in Magneto’s Genosha. All of this came to an end months later when two Mega-Sentinels, sent by Cassandra Nova, laid waste to the island, murdering its population of 16 million mutants. Neophyte survived this holocaust and was also among those mutants who later retained their powers after M-Day, which eliminated the mutant powers of the vast majority of Earth’s mutants. Neophyte continued to serve with a group of Acolytes who survived the Decimation.
With the number of mutants in the world dramatically reduced, this group of Acolytes formed an alliance with the Marauders. When the X-Men learned of the first mutant birth since M-Day and that the Marauders had possession of it, they attacked the Acolytes to find out where the Marauders might be. After a fierce battle, Neophyte reluctantly provided the X-Men with the information they needed. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #492]
When it became clear that the situation for mutants was continuing to deteriorate, Cyclops embarked on a daring plan which culminated in the creation of a small, sovereign island off of the coast of San Francisco, independent of the United States. Cyclops declared an open offer of sanctuary to all mutants, both friend and former foe. Neophyte was one of several Acolytes who accepted and moved to the place now called “Utopia.” Recently, he was one of the mutants who willingly aided in the island’s defense against Bastion’s Sentinel attack. [Second Coming crossover]