White (right, organic eye),
red/black (left, bionic eye)
X-Men (1st series) #107
Rion (son, status
Danok (son, deceased),
Unnamed wife (deceased),
Zenith (brother, deceased)
pirate & mercenary,
former resistance fighter
formerly Vulcan’s Praetorians
Cybernetic enhancements allow
increased strength, speed,
endurance and reflexes as
well as enhanced telescopics,
a cybermorphic hand blade, and computer-guided movements.
Skilled with various bladed and ranged weapons
Raza Longknife’s people were fierce warriors from the Shi’ar Imperium, whose religion dictated they were to die in loving combat. For a time, Raza had a good life with a wife and his son, Rion, but things took a turn for the tragic when his people went to war with the Shi’ar, who were led by their Majestor D’Ken. Despite their warrior nature, Raza’s people were outmatched by the Shi’ar and were all but wiped out. Raza’s wife was slain and his five year old son was dragged off before his eyes to the Shi’ar slave pits, where Raza presumed he died. To add insult to injury, Raza’s brother Zenith turned traitor, joining the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. [Starjammers (1st series) #1-2, X-Men: Spotlight On...The Starjammers #1-2, Avengers (1st series) #350-351]
Presumably the last survivor of his species (other than his brother), Raza was held in captivity by the Shi’ar, where he was brutally tortured, taunted and affixed with cybernetics. Raza came to believe that his cybernetics made him too difficult to kill, thus denying him the decent death dictated by his religion. The Shi'ar scientists may have deliberately done this to Raza as a punishment and in defiance of the religion different than theirs. [Starjammers (1st series) #2]
Hauled off to a mining prison colony, the cyborg faced a lonely life of hard labor, until he befriended the Saurian Ch’od and the Mephitisoid Hepzibah. The trio fought and evaded the guards for some time, trying to find a way to escape the planet. When Hepzibah was re-captured, Raza and Ch’od went searching for her, but instead found new prisoner Christopher Summers. Though at first too traumatized by a recent beating to respond, Christopher soon regained his courage and helped Raza and Ch’od rescue Hepzibah. Neither Raza, Ch’od nor Hepzibah knew how to fly a ship but, with Christopher’s pilot experience, they had hope. Soon after, the group managed to steal a ship, the Starjammer, and escape the planet. [Classic X-Men #15]
The group established themselves as the space pirates known as the Starjammers and fought D’Ken’s empire for twenty years. Raza’s hand to hand combat skills and cybernetics were extremely useful in the team’s pirate assaults, but Raza also filled the roles of communications officer and scanner operator for the Starjammer. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #156, Starjammers (1st series) #1-4]
The Starjammers continued to chip away at the Shi’ar for years until they discovered D’Ken was tampering with the M’Kraan Crystal and was about to execute his sister, Lilandra. The Starjammers rushed in to help the X-Men, who were in battle with the Imperial Guard, and helped turn the tide.
During the melee, Raza, incensed by the emperor’s disregard for the universe, grabbed D’Ken and threw him into the M’Kraan crystal. The X-Man Phoenix subsequently healed the crystal, but Raza’s attack had done its damage; D’Ken was rendered catatonic by the crystal’s natural defenses. [X-Men (1st series) #104, 107-108, Classic X-Men #14-15]
Despite defeating D’Ken and putting Lilandra on the throne, the Starjammers still found themselves embroiled in Shi’ar politics and teaming up with the X-Men on a number of occasions. The pirates were integral in saving Lilandra and the X-Men from the clutches of Deathbird and the Brood, but unfortunately could not prevent Deathbird from usurping the Shi’ar throne. Due to Corsair and Lilandra’s connections to Earth, the Starjammer spent some time in orbit around the planet. Raza met and began to form a friendship with the newest member of the Starjammers, Carol Danvers, who had recently taken the identity of Binary. He, along with Hepzibah and Ch’od, had an enjoyable time sparing with their newest teammate. Following the wedding of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor, the Starjammers returned to space along with Lilandra to battle Deathbird’s reign. Raza and his teammates made a brief return to Earth to save Xavier from a serious medical condition, only to find themselves with a damaged hyperdrive and temporarily stranded in space. While they did eventually repair their hyperdrive, it was a good opportunity for Raza to bond with new teammates. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #156-175, 200-201]
During their rebellion against Deathbird, Raza’s friendship with Binary began to grow. When the other Starjammers were asleep, the pair spent time together, Carol even holding Raza while he wept for his lost wife and son. Over time, Raza grew increasingly concerned with Binary’s behavior, as she was becoming more and more arrogant and distant from the group. During a race with Deathbird to find the mythical source of great power known as the “Phalkon,” Raza and Carol were sent to the planet Ch’rp to retrieve a piece of a map to the Phalkon. The pair was promptly overwhelmed by a swarm of insectoid natives that carried them to their massive queen, who had just devoured the map.
Binary and Raza argued, with Binary wanting to simply kill the creature and Raza wanting to try and communicate. Binary was at the point of almost attacking Raza when he had Xavier telepathically take the map from the queen, correctly deducing that the queen absorbed knowledge by ingestion. [Avengers (1st series) #351, X-Men: Spotlight On...The Starjammers #1]
Shortly after, during a clash with the Imperial Guard, Raza was shocked to find his brother Zenith amongst their number. During the battle, Zenith was killed by Binary, who was unaware of his relation to Raza, adding further strain on their friendship. Carol was dismissive about her fight with Zenith, upsetting Raza, who retired to his quarters. It turns out Raza was not upset because Zenith was killed but because he was unable to kill Zenith himself. Furthermore, the blood rites of his people now demanded vengeance on Carol. [X-Men: Spotlight On...The Starjammers #2]
Shortly after, Binary’s growing arrogance led to her departing the team. How Raza resolved his blood debt upon her is unknown. During the intergalactic war between the Kree and the Shi’ar, Lilandra hired the Starjammers to transport a Nega-Portal through Earth’s solar system to a stargate near Earth’s sun. While Corsair refused the mission, due to the risk the stargate posed to Earth’s sun, Raza and the others went against their captain’s wishes, feeling the device was the only thing that could defeat the Kree. After learning the Nega-Portal was in fact a Nega-Bomb, Raza initially considered still transporting the weapon, believing the lives of the Shi’ar people were too important. However, he and the others ultimately agreed the blood on their hands would be too great. The Starjammers abandoned the weapon near Earth’s sun before passing through a stargate. [Wonder Man #8]
Hepzibah and Raza were called to a secret meeting with a former Kree general, who offered both of them two hundred million credits to assassinate the Black Knight, the Avenger who killed the Supreme Intelligence during Operation: Galactic Storm. Raza’s sense of honor drove him to refuse, despite Hepzibah’s protests, however the Kree provided Raza with a medallion belonging to his lost son Rion. In exchange for performing the kill, the Kree promised Raza safe return of his son. The pair lied to Corsair and Ch’od, suggesting a visit to Earth to check on their former teammate, Carol Danvers. Ch’od claimed to know Raza’s true intention, but he was only joking as he assumed, despite his tough exterior, his teammate was somewhat enamored with Binary.
Upon arrival at the Avengers Mansion, a party was held, and Raza snuck away to attack the Black Knight, who was making repairs in the hangar. At first the two combatants were evenly matched, but Black Knight turned the tables by encasing his arm with his energy sword’s polarity field and going on the offensive, hand to hand. Raza forced the Knight to drop his weapon by threatening to harm Crystal’s child, Luna, who had stumbled into the fray. He then stabbed the disarmed Black Knight in the gut.
The Avengers and remaining Starjammers were drawn to the scene, with Thor and Hercules attacking Raza for his actions and Ch’od defending him. Raza fled the mansion and Ch’od followed after him, while the Avengers tended to Black Knight’s wounds. A group of Avengers gave chase to Raza and Ch’od, but Binary and Corsair intervened. When Raza showed Carol his son’s medallion and explained why he had tried to kill Black Knight, Binary melted the medallion, to Raza’s dismay, and explained to the Avengers that she recognized the device as a Kree memory implant inducer and that Raza was not responsible for his actions. Later, Hepzibah privately mused to Raza that she must have been under the influence of the memory inducer too, but Raza coldly informed her there was no such device. Carol had invented the idea to protect Raza from the Avengers. In truth, he confessed, he and Hepzibah’s greed and his shame were theirs and theirs alone. It was never revealed if Raza had tried to find his son, or if his son was ever really alive to begin with. [Avengers (1st series) #350-351]
When the Uncreated, a race of savage atheists, began destroying any world that practiced a religion, on a direct path to the Shi’ar capital, Raza could not help but express respect for the aliens. He considered them fine warriors and direct of purpose, much like his own people. He told the story of his race to the ship’s new pilot, Keeyah. The cyborg relished the action as their ship clashed with both the Shi’ar and the Uncreated, and assisted with repairing the ship after it suffered severe damage. Soon after, the Starjammers played the key role in defeating the Uncreated. [Starjammers (1st series) #1-4]
When the Starjammers were captured by the Collector and imprisoned on his Prison World, Raza was subjected to a battery of torturous tests by the Collector’s henchmen, for unknown reasons, which he endured without complaint. It was revealed that the Collector had created Prison World to protect endangered species from the threat of Galactus. Eventually, thanks to the intervention of Wolverine, the pirates were able to escape Prison World moments before it was devoured by Galactus. [Wolverine (2nd series) #134-138]
[Note: While not confirmed, as Raza, Ch’od and Hepzibah are all amongst the last of their species it is likely this is why they were captured by the Collector and subjected to his tests.]
The Starjammer encountered an unusual cosmic electrical storm at a stargate, which blasted the ship, along with Raza, Ch’od and Hepzibah, to the far side of the universe. Separated from their captain, the group found themselves in an unfamiliar part of the universe ruled over by the Union of Intelligent Races (UIR). While the UIR consisted of various alien races, it was led by an offshoot of humankind and their benevolent monarchy, though the greedy and xenophobic Committee were the true power behind the throne. The Committee believed non-human races were inferior and trafficked in the enhancement drug known as Hyrax, which was actually the living seed pods of the tree-like Thorn people.
Incensed by the injustice the Committee were committing against the Thorns, the Starjammers allied themselves with the Thorn in rebelling against the UIR and rescuing their hyrax seeds.
In the Starjammer, Raza lead Ch’od and a contingent of Thorn warriors against UIR vessels, and relished the pirate lifestyle. During one particular raid on an UIR vessel, the Starjammers killed the majority of the crew but took one prisoner in Cadet Tolo Hawk. While the Thorn wanted to kill the boy, Raza convinced them to spare him and pressed him into service as their cabin boy. Raza took a particular interest in Tolo, trying his best to educate him on the corruption and inhumanity of the Committee, as well as trying to make him appreciate his life. During one heated exchange, he told Tolo the story of how the Committee had killed his son Danok years ago. Tolo had managed to make an impression on Raza also, convincing him to spare the lives of two UIR soldiers.
[Note: As it is unknown exactly how long Raza had been in UID space, it is possible he had fathered another son, which the Committee had killed. It is also possible that he twisted the story of his son Rion to aid in convincing Tolo of the Committee’s corruption.]
After the ship was crippled after an unusual ion storm, Raza was helpless to act while each Thorn member of their crew died from light starvation. If not for Tolo’s aid, he and Ch’od would have died also. Upon arrival on the Thorn’s world, the tree-like people wanted to kill Tolo Hawk, but Raza vouched for him before the Grove of Elders, which won Tolo his freedom.
After a vicious attack on the Thorn world by the UIR the Starjammers beamed a transmission past the Committee, with the aid of a new ally named K-zzat, and directly to Princess Sabra, revealing the truth of their corruption and abuse of the Hyrax seeds. Raza and the Starjammers parted ways with Tolo soon after, with the plan to use K-zzat to return their own galaxy. [Starjammers (2nd series) #1-6]
After reuniting with Corsair and learning the mad-emperor D’Ken had been revived from the catatonic state Raza had put him in years ago, the Starjammers launched a rebellion with the help of the X-Men. While trying to rescue Charles Xavier from the site of the M’Kraan Crystal, everything went wrong. Vulcan, Corsair’s long lost son, killed D’Ken, after he had officiated Vulcan's marriage to Deathbird, and seized the Shi’ar throne for himself. Raza was powerless to stop Vulcan from killing Corsair in the heat of battle. Several X-Men remained in space to help the Starjammers rise up against Vulcan, including Corsair's other son, Havok. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #482-486]
The Starjammers continued their guerrilla war against new Emperor Vulcan, until they were embroiled in a conflict between the Shi’ar and dangerous new alien threat, the Scy’ar Tal. Considering Vulcan to be the lesser of two evils, the Starjammers aided the Shi’ar in destroying the Scy’ar Tal’s super-weapon, Finality. Unsurprisingly, Vulcan betrayed the group as soon as their mutual goals were met. Raza, along with Ch’od, Havok, Polaris and the Starjammer itself, were all captured by the Imperial Guard. [X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1-5]
Locked away in a secret underwater prison on the planet Kr’kn, Raza never stopped fighting his captors. The pirate killed eight guards during his incarceration by continually fashioning weapons out of his cybernetics. Eventually, the guards had them all removed, leaving Raza crippled. Though he and the others were freed from their cells by Havok, they were still trapped miles below the ocean during a mass prison riot.
Rescue came in the form of their fellow Starjammers, though Vulcan along with both his Imperial Guard and his Praetorian Guard were close behind. An intense battle broke out between the groups and, while the Starjammers managed to escape, there was one casualty; Raza. While fighting the Praetorian symbiote, Raza killed its host, causing it to jump to him, making him its new host. When the rest of the Starjammers teleported out, the ship’s systems failed to recognize Raza, leaving him behind. [X-Men: Kingbreaker #1-4]
With the symbiote Zzxz now in control of his body, Raza was forced to participate in missions as a part of Vulcan’s Praetorians, the group responsible for doing the Emperor’s dirty work. On Nil-Rast, the group was handed a squadron of captured Nova Corpsmen by the Imperial Guard as prisoners of war, which they promptly slaughtered once the guard left. Next, they moved to Kree-Lar, in the Ceded Territories, to assassinate Lord Ravenous, which brought the group into conflict with more members of the Nova Corps, who were hunting them for their actions on Nil-Rast. Zzxz fought the Nova Prime Richard Rider and Irani Del, who used their gravimetric powers to stretch the bonds between Raza and Zzxz to breaking point. While separating the pair there and then would have killed them both, the trauma caused by the Novas was enough to incapacitate them and allow Raza access to the medical attention needed to save him. [Nova (4th series) #24-28]
Free of the symbiote, Raza reunited with Ch’od aboard the Starjammer. After the death of Vulcan and Lilandra and the end of the second Kree/Shi'ar War, Havok, Polaris, Marvel Girl and Korvus all left the group, leaving Raza and Ch’od (and presumably Sikorsky) as the only Starjammers. The pair were soon hired by new Majestor Kallark to transport a survey team of Imperial Guard members into a rip in space and time known as the Fault. For Raza, this was a mission of closure. He still had the symbiote Zzxz in his possession, trapped within a capsule, and planned to throw it into the deepest, darkest nebula they could find. The survey mission went poorly, though, with the Starjammers and Imperial Guard ending up in a desperate battle with horrifically mutated versions of the X-Men, led by a gigantic Xavier creature, all hailing from the Cancerverse on the far side of the Fault. Raza played a key role in defeating the Xavier creature by hurling the symbiote into the beast, distracting it long enough for everybody to escape. [Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1-5]
It would seem Raza and Ch’od greatly missed the rest of their team as, in a surprising move, they exhumed their late leader Corsair and revived him using illegal alien technology. After picking up Hepzibah from Earth, the pirate band was back together again. Without a corrupt empire to fight, the group returned to smaller missions, such as rescuing the young time displaced Jean Grey from a Shi’ar trial, battling space pirates and ferrying Sam Guthrie to the Shi’ar capital. Raza was once again amongst his family. [Cyclops (2nd series) #1, 6, 8, 11, All-New X-Men (1st series) #23-24, Guardians of the Galaxy (3rd series) #12-13, Avengers World #17]
In the Age of Apocalypse, Raza’s life started very similarly: kidnapped by the Shi’ar, transformed into a cyborg and locked away with Ch’od, Hepzibah and Corsair. In this universe, though, Raza’s cybernetics enhancements were far more absolute, seemingly replacing his entire body from the neck down and providing him with a gun for his right hand. The group managed to escape their imprisonment, stealing the Starjammer and going on a mission of revenge against the Shi’ar for years.
Eventually, the group travelled towards Earth but ran afoul of the Brood during the journey. While losing Corsair to the Brood, Raza and the other managed to escape. Eventually, the group found a new leader in the form of Deathbird, the estranged sister of Shi’ar emperor D’Ken, who continued rebel mission against D’ken’s rule. During this time, Raza seemingly managed to alter some of his cybernetics, providing himself with a more familiar organic appearance and replacing his gun hand with a regular one. When D’Ken unleashed the power of the M’Kraan Crystal, the Starjammers aided Earth mutant Gambit and his X-ternals in acquiring a piece of the crystal in order to change the past and save reality. [Tales from the Age of Apocalypse #1, Gambit and the X-Ternals #2]