Publication Date: 21st Mar 2024
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


Not much is known about the early history of Richard Gill, the young mutant later known as Wildside. First seen as a member of the Mutant Liberation Front, Wildside demonstrated a surface-level, carefree attitude, mixed with deeper signs of madness and animal ferocity. Given his apparent mixture of physical and psionic talents, some debate exists over whether his “ferocious” behavior was merely an affectation or a genuine animalistic mutation. Reignfire once intimated that Richard has a surprisingly proper upbringing until his “savage lunacy” ruined any chance of a benign life.

Stryfe recruited Wildside for the Mutant Liberation Front and installed him as field leader for their soldiers. Early MLF activity involved hit-and-run tactics against human-controlled facilities, such as bombings at energy research stations. Wildside and his teammate Tempo worked well together in softening up resistance in their path. Tempo slowed the perception of time in their opponents, making their moves sluggish, while Wildside’s reality distortion effect made the MLF invisible to natural senses. Wildside’s foolish antics brought levity to the group, bonding the young mutants under Stryfe’s control. However, he was also a grandstander whose reckless savagery put him at risk during combat. When the MLF attacked several targets to protest the arrest of young mutants named Skids and Rusty, Wildside allowed himself to be injured. Stryfe punished this carelessness by benching him from the next mission to rescue the duo themselves and recruit them for the MLF. [New Mutants (1st series) #86-87]

Wildside was not disciplined by Stryfe for long, and soon regained his position in the MLF’s hierarchy. Despite his chaotic nature, Wildside was loyal to the MLF’s stated cause of mutant supremacy. He knew Skids and Rusty might resist joining the terrorists due to their history as “heroes” and was willing to kill them for Stryfe if the need arose. As it happened, Stryfe had the means to brainwash the two, making Wildside’s offer moot. [New Mutants (1st series) #100] The MLF was threatened when Stryfe’s old nemesis Cable reorganized Skids and Rusty’s teammates from the New Mutants into a more aggressive strike team known as X-Force. Cable’s students attacked the MLF’s installation in Antarctica, forcing Stryfe to evacuate their personnel and resources. Wildside found himself battling the former Morlock named Feral, who was unimpressed with Wildside’s goading. She broke his jaw, forcing Wildside to flee through a hastily erected portal from the team’s teleporter, Zero. [X-Force (1st series) #1]

The Mutant Liberation Front weren’t above using more traditional crime to fund their operations. Wildside, Sumo and Forearm ran into Garrison Kane, alias Weapon X from Department K, when they were overseeing a smuggling operation in Vancouver. [X-Force (1st series) #7] After sparring with Kane for a few minutes, Wildside and the boys teleported out, thanks to Zero. Weapon X made an impulsive decision to leap after them and found himself face-to-face with Stryfe. The MLF’s leader amused himself with Kane before knocking him out and depositing him back to his masters in Newfoundland. [X-Force (1st series) #9-10]

As part of their M.O. of liberating imprisoned mutants, the Mutant Liberation Front attacked a government detention facility to rescue the Nasty Boys named Slab and Hairbag. The MLF’s Thumbelina was Slab’s sister, making it a personal mission for the team. The Nasty Boys had been captured by the government mutant team X-Factor, who were on the premises during the jailbreak. Wildside occupied himself sparring with their wolfen member, Wolfsbane, and double-teamed her with Hairbag once he was freed. Despite a close call with the magnetic Polaris nearly snagging Stryfe through Zero’s exit portal, the MLF successfully freed their targets. [X-Factor (1st series) #77]

For their next mission, Stryfe briefed Wildside on the Tucker Research Clinic. A doctor had conceived a new test to predict whether unborn children had the X-gene, and then counseled women about their options in terminating the pregnancy. Wildside was his usual irascible self when the MLF broke into the clinic and began threatening Dr. Tucker. The self-righteous doctor actually got under his skin, though, when he challenged Wildside whether his parents would have preferred to prevent him from being born, given the opportunity. Wildside eviscerated Tucker and led the MLF in destroying the clinic and all its research materials. X-Factor arrived, and Wolfsbane got back at Wildside for their previous encounter before the MLF escaped. Given the controversial nature of Tucker’s work, though, it was actually Wolfsbane who found Tucker as he died from Wildside’s wounds and took the initiative to destroy the last of his work herself. [X-Factor (1st series) #78]

Stryfe had long used the Mutant Liberation Front to promote his own secret agenda, employing them as pawns under the flag of mutant rights. As his endgame approached, he began directing his troops to more overtly personal missions. Stryfe sought intelligence on the immortal mutant Apocalypse, and sent Wildside, Sumo, Skids and Dragoness to recover an artifact in Paris from the Eternal One’s past. Wildside’s reality distortion effect had evolved from causing passive invisibility to aggressive hallucinations, sending the museum guards tripping until Dragoness blasted them unconscious. Wondering aloud about these new missions, Wildside and the MLF were caught napping when Cable burst from the shadows, out for blood. He shot Sumo through the head, collapsing him on top of the sword they were sent to collect. The MLF panicked and fled from Cable as soon as Zero opened their portal, not willing to risk more casualties. Cable and Kane later tracked them to the Yucatan, where Cable quickly incapacitated Wildside, Strobe, Reaper and Tempo like the cannon fodder they were. [Cable: Blood and Metal #1-2]

Stryfe’s personal grudge against Jean and Scott Summers led him to arrange their kidnapping, shoot Professor Xavier in the head, and frame Cable in the process. The X-Men, X-Factor and X-Force now considered Stryfe and the Mutant Liberation Front an imminent threat and united to hunt them down. By combining resources, they pinpointed the MLF’s central base in Dust Bowl, Arkansas, and moved in to dismantle the entire organization. The cocky Wildside managed to surprise the even cockier Cajun, Gambit, and knocked him unconscious. Before he could proceed with disemboweling his prey, however, Wildside was bludgeoned in turn by Quicksilver of X-Factor. [X-Cutioner’s Song crossover]

Stryfe and Zero disappeared in a final battle with the X-Posse on the Blue Area of the Moon, leaving the MLF members scattered in different prisons without a teleporting assist to break them out like usual. Some months later, a neo-mutant named Reignfire assaulted a federal penitentiary in Roanoke where Wildside, Forearm, Reaper and Tempo were being held. Once freed, they became the nucleus of his new Mutant Liberation Front, alongside Locus and Moonstar. Reignfire had an agreeable goal to kidnap the known mutant adversary, Henry Peter Gyrich of Project: Wideawake. The Mutant Liberation Front dispatched Gyrich’s biosentry bodyguard Hardaway and Locus phase-shifted them all to Reignfire’s island base.

It was X-Force who reluctantly came to Gyrich’s rescue, pitting the old foes against one another. Reaper lost another hand to Shatterstar, but Wildside stepped in to rescue his partner. His reality-twisting incapacitated Siryn in his claws, forcing Shatterstar to choose between his teammate and his target. The warrior-born surprisingly surrendered his sword to Wildside, who recovered the blade and naturally betrayed his word to let Siryn go if Shatterstar yielded. While Wildside was gloating and brandishing his pilfered sword, however, he failed to identify the humming sound emanating from Shatterstar. When the proper moment came, Shatterstar triggered a vibratory shockwave emitting from his sword just as Wildside haphazardly pointed it towards Reaper. The surprise from blasting his own teammate left Wildside ill-prepared for Shatterstar’s advance, and soon another MLF member hit the mat, unconscious. [X-Force (1st series) #26-28]

WIldside remained with Reignfire’s Mutant Liberation Front for a time, as they moved from one island base to another. They attempted to gain leverage between the Chinese government and the Chinese mutant freedom fighters 3Peace, with little results. [X-Force (1st series) Annual #3] This incarnation of the MLF largely fell apart when Reignfire went mad and tried to kill them all. Only the intervention of Cable and X-Force saved their lives. [X-Force (1st series) #43] The MLF struggled to regain their momentum after their leader abandoned them. Moonstar once led Wildside and Forearm on a mission to Muir Island to abscond with Moira MacTaggert’s Legacy virus research. She claimed someone put her in charge of the operation, but who this could have been is unknown. [Excalibur (1st series) #104-105]

[Note: In Excalibur #104, Wildside erroneously claimed to emit a telekinetic pulse, a power he has never shown before or since.]

Eventually, Wildside rose back to the top of the Mutant Liberation Front, leading members like Moonstar, Forearm, Dragoness, Locus and Tempo. Without Stryfe to manage him, though, Wildside’s chaotic style hampered the group’s effectiveness. A source within the Department of Defense told Wildside the Wakeman Ontological Research Center was secretly weaponizing the Legacy virus. He led the MLF in a siege and hostage situation at the Center, but no one could find evidence of bio-warfare research. The more sensible members of the MLF started to suspect a trap, but Wildside’s ego wouldn’t let him admit he had been played, and his new girlfriend Dragoness gave him unbridled (and unearned) support.

When Locus reported that the Wakeman Center was now surrounded by Operation: Zero Tolerance, she encouraged the team to phase-shift away with her. Wildside saw this as a threat to his leadership and lashed out, leaving the MLF’s only teleporter to disappear and abandon them to their fate. Moonstar (who had been undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D. for months), spotted X-Force among the congregating reporters outside, so she encouraged Wildside to let them in and tell the MLF’s story. X-Force barely got in the door before they were recognized, and the MLF started squabbling with X-Force until Moonstar called a truce. She zapped Wildside unconscious when he began threatening to kill the hostages. Unexpectedly, three Prime Sentinels were already hidden among the hostages and launched a surprise attack on the mutants. Half of X-Force and the MLF were captured, including the unconscious Wildside. The OZT convoy separated as it left the Wakeman Center, so while the free members of X-Force later intercepted the van carrying their friends, what happened to the MLF captives is unknown. [X-Force (1st series) #67-68]

Operation: Zero Tolerance eventually fell, but later the Weapon X Program took its place, hunting mutants and rounding them up for the Neverland concentration camps. Many mutant prisoners were deemed useless and executed in gas chambers shortly after their arrival. The survivors were used for experiments in an effort to harness the utility of their powers for Weapon X’s benefit. The Director also offered the captives at Neverland the opportunity to join the Weapon X Program, gaining conditional freedom as monitored operatives. Wildside and his old teammate Reaper were among the first to sell out in order to avoid further torture and imprisonment. [Weapon X (2nd series) #5]

Wildside and Reaper received a special assignment from Weapon X. Their mission parameters were to help build public support for Weapon X and the rumored Neverland camps among normal humans. The former MLF terrorists were ordered to commit human massacres, ostensibly in the name of protesting against Neverland’s existence. These attacks were designed to enflame the public conscience against mutants, making people more likely to side with Weapon X and Neverland to keep them safe. Wildside and Reaper were augmented for these missions and each received transforming bionic hands able to extend claws or scythe blades, respectively. However, they were also outfitted with behavioral control implants and psychic fail-safes which prevented them for revealing Neverland’s secrets, even under enhanced interrogation.

Wildside and Reaper’s spree killing of flatscans ran afoul of Cable’s underground movement against Weapon X. His operatives Domino and Maverick initially sought out Wildside and Reaper just because their “Free Neverland” attacks were causing more harm than good (as intended). Maverick shot them down, but even his torture efforts afterwards proved unable to extract actionable intelligence from the captives. Cable was forced to press into their minds with his telepathy, confirming their role with Weapon X. When he tried to pull forth Weapon X and Neverland’s location, however, the behavioral implants overloaded and fried the former MLF members’ brains. The Underground dumped their bodies where the Weapon X Program could find them, but Dr. Windsor was not optimistic about ever being able to restore their operatives. [Weapon X (2nd series) #7-11]

It is unknown when or how Wildside recovered from the cerebral meltdown Cable caused. He was among the mutants categorized by S.H.I.E.L.D. as victims of the Decimation, marking him as alive but not necessarily aware. [New Avengers (1st series) #18] Years later, Wildside resurfaced during the Mothervine crisis. A cabal including Emma Frost, Bastion, Havok and Miss Sinister cultivated a nano-virus called Mothervine from another reality, and used it to seed major cities with new mutations. Some decimated mutants regained their powers while existing mutants underwent secondary mutations. Wildside reappeared with his powers restored, working as lackeys for the cabal with Dragoness, Blob, Toad and Wanderer in San Francisco. Wildside not only regained his powers, but he could also manifest his hallucinations with physical substance. He assaulted Polaris of the X-Men with her own nightmares, conjuring tangible versions of her past evil identities when she was possessed or brainwashed. They were only temporary, however, and dissipated once Polaris knocked him unconscious. [X-Men: Blue #26-28]

The old Mutant Liberation Front reorganized after Mothervine, with Wildside and Dragoness joined by Strobe, Forearm and Samurai. The MLF targeted a clinic working on a vaccine to prevent the X-gene from manifesting at adolescence. A group of young X-Men trainees flew out to confront them, but the sudden disappearance of their field leader Shadowcat turned the situation into a rout. The MLF were only defeated after more seasoned X-Men arrived on the scene. [Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #1] The MLF received further training under the guidance of Cable’s daughter, Hope Summers. They attacked a “Humanity for Humans” rally and were again opposed by the X-Men. The Mutant Liberation Front were taken prisoner and held under Harry’s Hideaway, the X-Men makeshift base at the time, although Wildside wasn’t listed among the captives for some reason. [Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #15]

Soon after, Xavier and Magneto changed all the rules by uniting the mutant race beneath the flag of a new nation-state, the island of Krakoa. Thanks to prosperous exports and political dealings, Krakoa established itself on the world stage. Although it began with the X-Men, Krakoa became a home for all mutants, welcoming former nemeses and troublemakers if they were willing to stand with the one land. Wildside was among the first wave of old foes who swore allegiance to the banner of Krakoa. [House of X #5] The younger generations of mutants established themselves at a series of biomes in the Akademos Habitat on Krakoa. Wildside and the Mutant Liberation Front made a home for themselves in Omega House, one of the fraternities set aside in the Sextant area. [New Mutants (4th series) #3] Due to his feral inclination, Wildside also spent time in the Wild Hunt, an untamed area of Krakoa where flora and fauna ran wild. [Cable (4th series) #9]

The New Mutants remained active as an outreach arm for Krakoa, seeking young mutants or those who otherwise hadn’t made it to their shores. In the Balkan nation of Carnelia, they encounter a girl named Cosmar whose “nightmare sphere” was swallowing up people into her bad dreams. Cypher reasoned that Wildside was the key to controlling her powers, countering her distorted vision of reality with his own. A cranky but agreeable Wildside joined their rescue operation to show his former foes how the MLF handled business. Armor used her psionic exoskeleton to seal Wildside and the team from physical exposure to unreality as they penetrated the nightmare sphere. Wildside would then inject Cosmar with a physical dose of his hallucinogenic power. Armor’s field crumbled in the sphere’s influence, but Mondo managed to drag Wildside close enough to anesthetize Cosmar with “good dreams.” Having saved the day, Wildside stumbled back to Omega House to get very, very drunk. [New Mutants (4th series) #9-11]

WIldside remained active around Krakoa in the months that followed. When the Swordbearers tournament in Otherworld proved a threat to Krakoa, Cyclops and Jean Grey gathered Wildside among a legion of citizens to storm Otherworld and fight against the invaders of Arakko and Amenth. [X of Swords: Destruction] However, Wildside still proved cantankerous against his old foes at times. When Kid Cable searched for the returning Stryfe, he ambushed Wildside to get information from his clone’s old protégé. Wildside knew nothing about Stryfe’s new plans, but he was petulant enough to taunt “baby Cable” out of spite rather that admit it. Hope Summers had to come along and separate the pair of them from squabbling in the dirt. [Cable (4th series) #9]

All things must end, though, and Krakoa eventually suffered a devastating attack by the anti-mutant group known as Orchis. The majority of mutants were transported off-world after a massacre at the Hellfire Gala, and those that remained were rounded up by Orchis under the approval of the U.S. government and other authorities. To further their narrative that mutants were an overreaching rogue state of terrorists, Orchis empowered the Hydra loyalist version of Steve Rogers to create his own Mutant Liberation Front. Rogers stole the Captain Krakoa armor once used by Cyclops and presented himself as a mutant general striking back against human oppression, which only reinforced Orchis’s claims. “Captain Krakoa” gathered an MLF including Wildside, Blob and the Fenris twins. Blob believed Captain Krakoa was Scott Summers, and they were genuinely fighting for mutant rights. Fenris were traitors recovered from the Pit who already served Orchis before. Wildside’s intentions were simpler – he didn’t care one way or another who Captain Krakoa was, and simply wanted an excuse for mayhem.

The new Mutant Liberation Front clashed with Captain America and the Avengers Unity Squad when they stole a nuclear warhead from the U.S. military. Wildside’s evasive savagery pitted him against both Psylocke and Penance, former X-Men working to prove mutants still had a place in the world. The MLF made their base in the abandoned Camp Lehigh, where Private Steve Rogers first trained in the military. The Avengers tracked them down, and only Wildside’s enhanced senses gave the MLF any advance warning. Wildside tried to use his reality distortion power on the Black Widow, calling up hallucinations of her worst moments of suffering. Natasha Romanov was perfectly at peace with her past struggles, though, and Wildside utterly failed to break her iron will. She gut-shot the mad mutant and left him for the authorities as the Avengers mopped up the MLF. [Uncanny Avengers (4th series) #1-4]