|Real Name:||Mikhail Nikolievitch
|First appearance:||Uncanny X-Men
Nicolai (father, deceased),
|Profession:||former cosmonaut, revolutionary|
|Group Affiliation:||Morlocks, Gene Nation, Countrymen|
|Powers:||- energy manipulation powers enable him to warp existing energy signatures to his benefit, divert hazardous energies away from his position, or sample and recreate the same kind of energy with his own powers, including overriding another mutant's control of their energy-based abilities or duplicating those power signatures for himself for feats such as telekinesis, concussive blasts, inter- and intra-dimensional teleportation, etc.
-matter manipulation powers allow him to alter the state of matter between solid, liquid, and gas, transpose the molecules of one object into another, animate and reshape raw materials into simple or complex forms, even creating mobile constructs that resemble independent living beings
Born on the Ust-Ordynski Collective farm in Lake Baikal, Siberia, to Nikolai and Alexandra, Mikhail Nikolievitch Rasputin was the eldest of three children. As a boy of seven or eight, Mikhail remembered seeing his great-grandmother Elena on her deathbed. He spied on her in her last moments as a mysterious elderly stranger who looked very similar to Elena arrived to say his good-byes to her. Although he did not know who the man was, the deeply touching moment between them remained in Mikhail’s memory for years. Significantly older than his siblings, Mikhail often acted as Piotr’s caretaker, and took his role as a big brother very seriously. One day, while visiting their cousin Larisa, Piotr went missing in the woods. The children spent hours searching for him without luck, but Mikhail refused to let them give up. He eventually found Piotr stuck in a collapsed hole in the ground, and pulled his kavon to safety. [X-Men: Colossus - Bloodline #4-5]
Mikhail ultimately left for the Russian space program while Piotr was still a young boy, and before ever meeting his sister Illyana. His mutant powers over matter and energy made Mikhail an important part of his country's plans for exploration, and he proudly served as a patriot for Mother Russia. His death was faked during a routine space launch by the State to mislead the West and prevent them from learning about his mutant abilities. The cover story about Mikhail's death was also fed to his family, leaving his brother Piotr with a phobia about space travel when he eventually joined the X-Men as Colossus. [X-Men (1st series) #99]
Upon the discovery of a mysterious portal on Sakhalin Island, the Russian government arranged an expedition to investigate the other side of the void. Mikhail and a team of cosmonauts prepared to journey across dimensions, using Mikhail’s energy-warping powers to safely guide the ship through the void. Even protected by his abilities, it was a rough trip, and Mikhail was barely cognizant when the ship crashed on the far side of the void. Told that his fellow travelers had not survived the voyage, Mikhail was brought to the palace of the Worldly Avatar, ruler of the land. In his weakened state, he was nursed back to health. During his recuperation, Mikhail was attended to by Tra-mai-a-Zath, the Avatar’s daughter, and they fell in love. Within a relatively short period of time, Mikhail was accepted into the royal family and wed to Tra-mai-a-Zath.
Happy with his new life and his new wife, Mikhail nevertheless had lingering regrets about losing his homeland. He used his new status to approach the site of the portal, which was normally prohibited to anyone other than the royal family. Mikhail was surprised to find a large number of Earthly ships and vehicles wrecked around the portal, stripped bare of anything of value. His surprise turned to horror when he found his own ship and the bodies of his comrades, with clear signs that they survived the initial crash but were murdered by the Avatar’s people before Mikhail awakened.
Returning to confront his father-in-law, Mikhail was shocked when the Avatar didn’t even deny the accusations, and told him that Mikhail was just the latest in a long line of “playthings” that fell out of the portal for his amusement. Taking to the hills, Mikhail learned from the townspeople just how hard the Worldly Avatar made life for those outside of his personal court. Mikhail rallied a group of rebel followers known as the Countrymen, and began organizing resistance against the Avatar and his Posse Comitatus. During a battle at the portal, Mikhail attempted to use his powers to close the void, sealing off access to Earth’s dimension and robbing the Worldly Avatar of his power. Mikhail’s efforts were tragically successful – with the other end of the portal cut off, the energy flowing through it backlashed into the Avatar’s land, causing mass devastation on both sides. Mikhail’s Countrymen died around him, along with the Worldly Avatar and Tra-mai-a-Zath, who Mikhail still loved despite everything. Mikhail Rasputin left the field of battle as the sole survivor, making his way out of a field of the dead. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #286]
For the next ten years, Mikhail lived alone in the arid wastelands far away from the palace, an exiled hermit haunted by the death on his hands. The kingdom of the Worldy Avatar changed little, as the younger daughter of the Avatar, Sha-har-a-Zath, rose to the throne after the death of the rest of the royal family. Rebels remained in the surrounding hills, continuing Mikhail’s fight against the Posse Comitatus. Although none lived to tell the tale of Mikhail’s final battle, legends rose up in the place of facts, and Mikhail Rasputin became known as the Promised One or the Cursed One for his actions that fateful day, depending on who was asked.
On the far side of the portal, it remained inactive until a joint Russian and Japanese expedition to Sakharin Island attempted to reopen it. The power of the mutant Sunfire succeeded in piercing the barrier between worlds, drawing out some of the rebel warriors who attempted to prevent the portal from being used. A misunderstanding led to battle between the rebels and Sunfire’s allies, the X-Men, who were all sucked into the portal as it expanded once more. Storm of the X-Men landed in the wastelands and was found by Mikhail, who provided her with food and shelter. Hearing that the portal was active again, Mikhail reluctantly ended his hermitage to bring Storm to the rebel camp. He was surprised as anyone to discover one of the X-Men present was Colossus, his own younger brother, Piotr.
After explaining his story, Mikhail was reluctant to accept the role of "Savior" once again. He feared that turning his power on the portal a second time might result in the destruction of the entire planet. Piotr chided his elder brother for refusing to take action, and joined the X-Men in a rebel assault on the portal against the Posse Comitatus. Mikhail was ultimately drawn into the conflict when he saw Piotr valiantly take a blast meant for his friends. By combining his power with Sunfire's atomic might, the heat-dispersing power of Iceman, and the telekinetic containment fields of Jean Grey, Mikhail succeeded in transporting himself and the X-Men home, closing the portal permanently and preventing the destruction of the Avatar's world. Grateful to be back on Earth after his lost years, Mikhail returned to Westchester with Piotr and the X-Men. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #284-286]
Unfortunately, no one quite appreciated how psychologically damaged Mikhail Rasputin was by his experience through the void. Mikhail was haunted by his dead, traumatically re-experiencing the death of his wife and Countrymen when left alone, or tormented by the ghosts of people whose deaths he blamed on himself. In his fragile state, Mikhail would lash out at those around him, as he apparently killed a pizza delivery guy, transforming him into a tree with his transmutative powers while Piotr was booking a flight back home to Siberia for them. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #290]
Before they could return to Russia, the X-Men were drawn into a power struggle among the Morlocks. The underground tribe of mutants' last leader, Masque, had physically and psychologically tortured the majority of them, leaving them deranged and rudderless after his death. Rejected by their past leaders Callisto and Storm, the Morlocks began to run wild in Manhattan. Callisto was nearly as crazed as her people at the time, and was being held by the X-Men at the mansion. Mikhail saw a kindred spirit in Callisto, a leader who regretfully had failed her people. He forcibly extracted her from the mansion and returned them to the Morlock Tunnels under the city. The burning in his mind had left Mikhail suicidal, and he intended to lead the Morlocks in a mass suicide by opening the tunnels' floodgates and drowning the lot of them. Colossus begged his brother to reconsider, but Mikhail had it in his head that he was only good as a martyr and needed to die to make things right with his Countrymen. With his last act, Mikhail assumed control of Jean Grey's telekinetic energy, casting the X-Men out of the tunnels and to safety while he, Callisto and the Morlocks apparently drowned in the flood. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #291-293]
Plans changed, however. The inter-dimensional energies Mikhail was exposed to passing through the void remained with him, and he retained the ability to jump between dimensions even after returning to Earth. In a last moment decision, Mikhail transported himself, Callisto and the Morlocks to another dimension instead of following through on their suicide pact. Christened “The Hill,” the harsh world the Morlocks arrived in was dominated by an enormous mountain, while the terrain leading up to it grew strange, techno-organic flora and suffered from hostile weather conditions, such as acid rain. And yet, the dimension also had miraculous healing properties, so quickly and effortlessly undoing physical injuries suffered by the population that an unnatural death was now virtually impossible.
Mikhail’s psychosis shifted from martyr to savior in this new environment. Building a citadel for himself and Callisto atop the Hill and above the hazardous clouds, he forced the Morlocks into a Darwinian struggle for his favor. The Morlocks were encouraged to compete with each other for scarce resources on the hillside, fighting their way to the top of the Hill. The higher up the Hill, the higher their individual “status” was in the rough new society. The toughest survivors fought their way into the Citadel of Mikhail himself, to stand by his side. Time passed differently on the Hill. While only a few months passed on Earth, an entirely new generation of Morlocks came of age, becoming a gang of survivalists under Mikhail’s command known as Gene Nation. Having created an ultra-aggressive pack of unstable children, Mikhail chose to return them to Earth so that they could vent their violent tendencies on the surface-dwellers who once dared force their ancestors to live in the dark. Callisto opposed Mikhail’s decision, and followed Gene Nation back to Earth where she helped the X-Men defeat the Nationals, and returned them to the Hill. Perhaps out of sentiment, Callisto hid Mikhail’s involvement in Gene Nation from Colossus, Storm and the others, implying he died either in transit to the Hill or at the hands of Gene Nation themselves. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #325]
Once she returned, Mikhail punished Callisto for defying him by banishing her down the Hill to fight her way back up to the Citadel. Seeking a new queen for his kingdom, Mikhail took advantage of the situation when Storm performed the Morlocks’ Ceremony of Light while alone down in the tunnels. He kidnapped her inter-dimensionally while leaving a body double behind to convince the X-Men she was dead. Initially leaving her below on the Hill, Mikhail congratulated Ororo when she mastered the elements of her new world and made it to the top of the Hill and his Citadel. In an effort to convince Storm to stay with him, Mikhail unconvincingly claimed the passage of time on the Hill shifted back and forth in relation to Earth, and that Ororo’s friends had already believed her dead for years back home. He asked her to help him raise his "children", playing on her sense of duty to the Morlocks. Nevertheless, Storm stood against Mikhail as he orchestrated another Gene Nation attack on Earth, and forced him to reverse the transit effect to bring all the Morlocks and their descendants back to the tunnels. Mikhail returned to the Hill unaccompanied, a lonely lord to rule over nothing from his Citadel. [Storm (1st series) #1-4]
Whether from this or subsequent visits to Earth, Mikhail Rasputin eventually contracted the Legacy Virus. Fearing his own demise, Mikhail fashioned a way to use his powers to transfer all the viral cells out of his body and into another host. In his deranged state, Mikhail created a complicated scheme where he would contact his sister Illyana in the past and then transfer the Legacy Virus into her. Perhaps a genetic match was necessary to properly transfer the virus out of his system, but the mad Mikhail also convinced himself he could save Illyana from dying of the Legacy Virus with this act. Since historically it was the pre-adolescent Illyana who died of the Legacy Virus, Mikhail reasoned that the older, mystically-protected Illyana would be strong enough to fight off the virus’s effects.
Armed with this self-serving rationalization, Mikhail projected a message back in time to Illyana, when she was a teenaged New Mutant at Xavier’s school. This lured Illyana into the future with her New Mutant teammates, who inadvertently crashed a New Mutants reunion at the present-day mansion. Mikhail appeared to both teams and explained his plan to save Illyana from the Legacy Virus using his powers (though he neglected to mention the details of his own infection). Because the present-day New Mutants knew of Mikhail’s reputation, they opposed their younger counterparts, but were overwhelmed in a battle that followed. The young Wolfsbane and Cypher also grew suspicious of Mikhail’s motives, and Douglas uncovered the truth after reviewing Illyana’s medical scans from before and after Mikhail allegedly “cleansed” her of the virus. Mikhail had indeed succeeded in divesting himself of the virus, but Illyana's Darkchilde armor and mystical abilities had not prevented the virus from taking root in her system. Unable to accept the idea that he was now responsible for Illyana’s initial Legacy infection, Mikhail once again teleported back to the Hill to avoid the consequences of his actions. [New Mutants: Truth or Death #1-3]
Perhaps out of guilt, Mikhail began to haunt an art gallery in Boston, Massachusetts where a portrait Piotr made of Illyana was on display. He used his transit powers and the equipment in his Citadel to obsessively monitor the painting, creating a local legend about the “ghost” of the gallery. Mikhail’s psychosis continued to develop with his powers, which were now strong enough to actually create a semblance of life – inanimate objects could be transformed by Mikhail to look and act like living creatures. Believing he was now a god capable of creating life from nothing, Mikhail hoped to do penance for his past actions and bring Illyana back from the dead.
Feeling his first efforts were inadequate, Mikhail found Colossus and his former Gene National follower Marrow at the Boston art gallery and teleported them to the Hill. Mikhail believed Piotr’s artistic gift was the missing ingredient to bringing Illyana back, for Piotr was able to capture Illyana’s “true essence” in the painting he made. He hoped that by tapping into Piotr’s memories and feelings for Illyana, he could recreate that essential spark which would make his construct into a genuine recreation of their lost little sister. Horrified at the idea, Colossus and Marrow tried and failed to reason with Mikhail, but the argument quickly turned physical as Mikhail refused to accept how flawed his idea was. During the struggle, Mikhail experienced an energetic fit, revealing a parasitic alien entity that had somehow bonded itself to him. Seeing the entity as responsible for his actions, the X-Men and Mikhail fought to separate him from it. With his mind at least temporarily clear, Mikhail transported them all back to Earth while cutting his connection to the Hill, and apparently the entity as well. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #373-374]
[NOTE: The real influence the entity had on Mikhail is unconfirmed. Colossus stated the entity must have been native to the Hill, while Mikhail inferred it had been with him since his first trek through the void, influencing his every action from then onwards. Neither Rasputin can be considered unbiased or scientifically inclined enough to make that call. Furthermore, later stories would provide a second external force as partially responsible for Mikhail’s insanity.]
Back at the X-Mansion, Mikhail was given a medical review by Doctor Moira MacTaggert, who confirmed the entity no longer appeared to be influencing Mikhail’s powers or his actions. Before he could truly gather his thoughts, however, Mikhail was kidnapped by the Horseman of Apocalypse known as Death, for he was one of the fabled Twelve that Apocalypse needed for the High Lord Ascension. The dimension-hopping aspect of Mikhail’s power,combined with the energy-absorbing and time-jumping X-Man Bishop, represented power over space and time. Before Apocalypse completed his ascension, however, the Twelve broke free from their cages and interrupted his transformation. As the captives attempted to escape, they were confronted by the remaining Horsemen of Apocalypse. Mikhail sacrificed himself to protect the others by hurling himself and the Horsemen through a dimensional void produced by his powers, removing them all from the field of battle and that plane of reality. [Gathering of the Twelve]
Separated from the Horsemen in transit, Mikhail wandered the dimensional planes alone for some time. On the edge of sanity, Mikhail contemplated throwing himself into the Dark Zone, an infinite realm from which legend said there was no escape. Before he could enter permanent exile, however, Mikhail received a siren call from deep within him, calling him back to Earth. Met by his mad uncle Vladimir and the villainous Mister Sinister, Mikhail learned how his great-grandfather Grigory Rasputin was an ally of Sinister's in early experiments on the mutant condition. Rasputin, an apparent mutant, was encouraged by Sinister to father as many children as possible, spreading his genetically superior seed. Elena, Mikhail's great-grandmother, was the only known mutant among Grigory's women, and so his most prized lover. Elena's twin brother Ivan despised Grigory and his treatment of Elena, however, and conspired with assassins to have Grigory killed. As he lay dying, Grigory Rasputin cast his essence into his pregnant lovers, ensuring his future resurrection through one of his descendants. The multitude of children and grandchildren meant that Rasputin's essence was fragmented, but he retained some influence over his descendants. The weak-minded in particular showed a tendency towards madness, depression and suicide. Rasputin influenced his descendants this way because his essence was evenly spread out among his bloodline at all times, meaning that the fewer living descendants he had, the stronger Rasputin's presence was in those who remained. If only a single surviving descendant was left, they would become the complete reincarnation of Grigory Rasputin.
Sinister's telepathic influence and Grigory's own whispering in his mind led Mikhail to join Sinister in a quest to eliminate all his cousins and distant family members so that Mikhail would become the vessel through which Grigory Rasputin would be reborn on Earth. Colossus and his cousin Larisa discovered the scheme and confronted Mikhail, Sinister and Vlad. Piotr and Larisa tried to reason with Mikhail, but his twisted mind had embraced this new destiny, and soon the others were killed leaving only Mikhail and Piotr. Mikhail transported them to a dimension of infinite stone, where a small cave was surrounded on all sides by billions of miles of rock. Although he could not bring himself to kill Piotr directly, Mikhail abandoned him in this dimension to starve and eventually die, leaving him the sole survivor of Rasputin's bloodline.
Dimension-hopping without Sinister had shaken loose the geneticist's psychic hold on Mikhail, however, leaving him struggling to reconcile his actions. Sinister tried to reassure Mikhail by telling him the story of how his great-grandmother Elena killed her own brother Ivan for his treachery against Grigory Rasputin. Unfortunately for Sinister, his story reminded Mikhail of the man he saw visit Elena on her death bed when he was still a child, and Mikhail realized Elena lied to Sinister all those years ago to protect her brother, even after he helped cause Grigory's death. Realizing that family was far more important than power, Mikhail abandoned Sinister and returned to the cave dimension to rescue Piotr, just as he had rescued him from the cave-in in the woods all those years ago.
The Rasputin brothers returned to Earth and together they drove Sinister into retreat. Mikhail recognized that the threat of Grigory Rasputin's resurrection still loomed over them both, however. Whether or not his madness was caused by Grigory's spiritual presence, Mikhail was still insane and only experiencing a perhaps momentary period of clarity. He told Piotr he would return to the Dark Zone portal and willingly exile himself. The legend of the Dark Zone said that there was no exiting it once entered, even through death -- Mikhail would live and survive in the Dark Zone for eternity, never dying but never returning. Therefore, if Sinister ever killed Colossus, then Grigory Rasputin would be reborn through Mikhail in the Dark Zone, trapped where he could do no harm. Mikhail and Piotr buried Larisa at Lake Baikal and parted as loving brothers. Back at the portal's edge, Mikhail stood before the void of the Dark Zone and heard Grigory's whispers in his mind, begging him to reconsider exile. With a laugh, Mikhail Rasputin became the martyr one last time, throwing himself into the Dark Zone to ensure the twisted legacy of their ancestor never threatened his little brother again. [X-Men: Colossus – Bloodline #1-5]
In the Age of Apocalypse, Mikhail Rasputin never went on that fateful flight through the void. Instead, he established himself as one of Russia's greatest heroes alongside his brother Piotr before turning against humanity and becoming one of Apocalypse's Horsemen. Mikhail had a very different appearance in the Age of Apocalypse, either from turning his own powers on himself, or perhaps experiments performed by one of Apocalypse's gene scientists. Mikhail ruled directly over the northern Midwest region of what was once America in Apocalypse's name.
Although he had apparently been working for Apocalypse since before Colossus joined the original X-Men, Mikhail mostly worked behind the scenes in Apocalypse's empire, earning him the titles of the Invisible Horseman, or the Forgotten Horseman. He was chiefly responsible for the Upscale Program. Years earlier, Mikhail somehow came across young Matt Murdock shortly after the accident that took his sight and augmented his other senses. Mikhail had a cybernetic visor grafted onto the boy's face, and earned Murdock's loyalty by claiming his efforts were responsible for the boy's enhanced senses. Building on this success, Rasputin crafted an entire bio-augmention program to give bionic or genetic enhancements to flatscans willing to serve him...enhancements that functioned at the discretion of his own matter/energy manipulation powers, allowing him to control the Upscaled flatscans with a gesture, or remove their new abilities altogether.
During the Age, Mikhail led a "peace initiative" in Apocalypse's name to London, making contact with the beleagured Human High Council on humanitarian relief efforts. While bringing food and medical supplies as an olive branch to their human enemies, Mikhail also arranged to sabotage the Eurasian bombers and pilots who could potentially target Apocalypse Island. And, through the manipulations of the captive empath Manuel de le Rocha, Mikhail twisted the emotions of the starving Eurasian people to compel them into submitting to the Upscale Program. A small band of freedom fighters including Donald Blake, Tony Stark, and Gwen Stacy resisted Empath's influence and freed the human captives, sabotaging Mikhail's mother ship from the inside. Inside Big Ben's broken clock, Don Blake defended what was left of the High Council from Mikhail. The God of Thunder never regained his identity in the Age of Apocalypse, but Blake was still a hero at heart, and sacrificed himself by plunging his cane through Mikhail's heart and charging them both out of the clock tower to fall dead on the streets below.