Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #169
• Superhuman strength and
resistance to physical injury
Never a man of many words, the past life of the Morlock named Sunder is still unknown. Not even his real age or family background has been revealed. It could be the case that Sunder looked as brutish as he did since birth, making him an early outcast. Probably, though, he led a rather normal life till puberty and had no one to help him through the rather traumatic changes that come along with manifesting mutant powers, especially physical ones that make a person visibly stand out.
Either orphaned or abandoned by his family, Sunder eventually met some fellow outcasts in Callisto, Caliban and Masque -all of them mutants, just like him. It’s quite likely that Caliban’s power to detect other mutants was what brought them together. They decided to create an underground community for people who were not welcome in society, and they aptly named themselves the Morlocks, like in H.G. Wells’ novel, The Time Machine. Soon, the newly christened "Alley," an abandoned underground bomb shelter constructed under Manhattan during the Cold War, was filled with dozens, even hundreds of mutants and other outcasts, carving out an entire civilization for themselves underneath the bedrock. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #176]
As their community got bigger and bigger, Sunder remained quite loyal to Callisto, the group’s natural leader, whereas the peace-loving Caliban and the power-hungry Masque grew apart from them. One day, Callisto decided to make a statement against the surface world by kidnapping the man she deemed most handsome to make him her husband. This man was none other than Warren Worthington, aka the X-Men’s Angel. As the Morlocks broke into Worthington’s penthouse to get to him, Sunder showed no concerns for the man’s girlfriend, Candy Southern, whom he brutally knocked out of the building. Candy would have died if not for Warren’s teammates rescuing her from the fall. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #169]
Naturally, the other X-Men came after their kidnapped teammate, leading to a battle between the two groups. At first, Sunder was hesitant to fight fellow mutants, but he followed Callisto’s command without question and soon the Morlocks were victorious, having the X-Men severely outnumbered. However, when Storm defeated Callisto in a duel for leadership, she became the Morlocks’ new leader. Sunder accepted her word just like Callisto’s and watched over the deposed leader as she recovered from a serious wound she received in the duel. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #170-171]
Storm ordered the Morlocks to cease any attacks on the surface world before leaving with the X-Men. This didn’t stop Callisto from going after Kitty Pryde, as she had promised to stay by Caliban’s side in exchange for his help during the encounter between the Morlocks and the X-Men. Together with Sunder and Masque, she sought out the corpse of a drug addict which Masque made look like Kitty Pryde. Sunder took pity in the recently deceased teenager, stating that nobody should have to die like that. Regardless, the three Morlocks used the dead girl to cover up their kidnapping the actual Kitty to make her marry Caliban. Luckily, the gentle Morlock released Kitty from her vow. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #178-179]
A few weeks later, an upset Sunder informed Callisto that the four kids of another Morlock, Annalee, had been shot while running an errand on the surface. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #193] To help Annalee get over her loss, some Morlocks kidnapped Power Pack and wiped their memories, so that Annalee could raise these children as her own. As soon as Callisto learned of this, though, she ordered Sunder to oversee that Power Pack be restored and safely returned to their home. [Power Pack (1st series) #12, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #195]
Before long, the Morlocks would learn that the murder of Annalee’s kids was just the start. One day, the Marauders, a group of mutant mercenaries, entered the Alley with a rather simple mission – kill everyone at sight. The Morlocks fought valiantly, but dozens of them died. Some, including Callisto and Sunder, managed to escape to the X-Men’s mansion in Westchester. Despite his own wounds, Sunder even carried some other Morlocks who could no longer walk themselves, but he collapsed from the stress as soon as they reached the safe haven.
An examination by the X-Men’s friend, Dr. Moira MacTaggert, revealed that he had a severe leg injury that required for the limb to be amputated. In severe shock and denial, Sunder was not about to let that happen and Moira didn’t dare to use any drugs to calm him down, as that would have put further strain to the Sunder’s system. Instead, the newly arrived Psylocke took telepathic control of the injured Morlock and blocked out his pain, allowing Moira to amputate his leg and save his life. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #211, New Mutants (1st series) #46]
Like several other people who survived the massacre and needed time to recuperate, Sunder was transferred to MacTaggert’s research facility on Muir Island. Apparently, Sunder received a prosthetic leg while he was there and he enjoyed spending time in the children’s ward, as the complex was also home to the so-called Warpies, super-powered children that were born all over Great Britain. Eventually, though, history repeated itself and tragedy struck again. Muir Island was invaded by the Reavers, a group of cyborgs who were hunting the X-Men and everyone associated with them. As they opened fire, Sunder rushed the Warpies to safety. While doing so, he was protected by Legion, who telekinetically shielded Sunder from the Reavers’ bullets. However, Legion suffered from a multiple personality disorder, not all of them friendly, and, when another persona took over, he dropped the shield without warning. As such, Sunder became an easy target for the Reavers and died after being shot in the back several times. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #254]
Sunder’s counterpart in the Age of Apocalypse spent some time in Sinister’s breeding pens, where he was experimented upon. The tests seemed to have reduced his intellect to a certain degree. After escaping from the pens, he took on the name Brute and joined a little rebel band – disguised as a theatre troupe - of mutants, led by Forge. Due to his time in the pens, Brute believed that no person, human or mutant, should suffer and he strongly opposed Apocalypse’s rule. When the rebel band took in Nate Grey, and shortly thereafter a mysterious stranger named Essex, Brute was the first to figure out that Essex was none other than his former tormentor, Sinister. However, Sinister killed Brute before he could alert anyone to the danger in their midst.
Though there was also a Sunder among the Morlocks in the Ultimate universe, he seemed to be a very different man. This Sunder was a brutish yet intelligent, obvious mutant, with yellowish skin and grey hair, who acted as leader of the Morlocks. Sunder was realistic enough to know that sooner or later the Morlocks would be drawn into the conflicts of the surface world, so he trained his charges for the supposed inevitable war between humans and mutants. When the mentally unstable X-Man known as Nightcrawler learned about the Morlocks and sought them out, he was offered a place amongst the disfigured mutants. The Toad arrived shortly thereafter, inviting the Morlocks to accompany him and Nightcrawler to Xavier's School. However, Sunder hated the notion of the Morlocks becoming "pet-mutants" of the surface world and attacked, fighting the X-Men to the death. Eventually, Nightcrawler teleported behind him and snapped his neck, which proved to be non-lethal in Sunder’s case. Regardless, Nightcrawler was picked as the Morlocks’ new leader instead.