Jonathan B. Chambers
(1st series) #2
Author, media scientist
Brotherhood of Evil
Feed off of mutant
either to passively inhibit
another mutant's power levels
or aggressively cause painful
feedback through their body,
while accumulating and storing their mutant energies
for his own use
Jonathan B. Chambers was born to an affluent American family. His father died under suspicious circumstances when Jonathan was thirteen years old. Publicly reported information states that Thomas Chambers was a mutant who was unable to control his powers. Although his death reportedly came in a car crash, Thomas mysteriously aged at least thirty years in the short time preceding his death. Incidentally, at thirteen, Jonathan Chambers would have been manifesting his own bio-energy draining powers around this time. Jonathan also solely inherited the family estate upon his father's death. [X-Men Annual (2nd series) #2]
Upon reaching adulthood, Jonathan used his father's tragic story to help launch a public reputation as a mutant rights personality, although like Charles Xavier he apparently concealed his own mutant status from the public. Chambers wrote two books on the subject, and frequently made rounds on the talk show circuit promoting his books and as a media scientist appearing as a counter-point to the rabble-rousing anti-mutant activists. He debated Graydon Creed of the Friends of Humanity on Nightline with Ted Koppel, and got hit by a chair on Geraldo. [X-Men Annual (2nd series) #2, X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #2]
When the Legacy Virus began attacking the world's mutant population, Chambers took steps to provide aid and comfort to the afflicted. He purchased a private island in the Florida Keys from Advanced Idea Mechanics, and outfitted the existing resort pavilion as a haven and laboratory. Chambers' own mutant abilities proved uniquely effective against the virus, as he could absorb energy produced by mutant bio-signatures. Because the Legacy Virus attacked the X-gene, causing uncontrollable and painful flare-ups of an afflicted mutant's abilities, Chambers' power could dampen other mutant bio-signatures to prevent these incidents and the pain that came with them. Some reports even suggested that, by dampening a healthy mutant's energy signature, Chambers could prevent them from contracting the Legacy Virus in the first place, although it's dubious if any actual science existed to back up this claim. Chambers also hired the scientists Nancy Alter and Josef Kleinbaumm, experts in eugenics and viral infection, to study the virus and its effects on the mutants that inhabited his resort. Chambers named the resort Empyrean, and also took the name for himself.
At their core, however, Chambers' actions seemed more opportunistic than altruistic. By absorbing power from other mutants, Chambers accumulated a storage of mutant energies in his body that only grew in strength over time. The Legacy Virus was incredibly convenient for Chambers and his own personal dreams of power, providing a legitimate and compelling reason for him to encourage other mutants to submit themselves to his energy-draining abilities. Chambers' ultimate goals were uncertain, but helping the virus's sufferers appeared to be only a means to an end for him, and he seemed to enjoy power too much to willingly give it up.
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants were the first mutants to seek haven with Empyrean, after their member Pyro began showing symptoms of the Legacy Virus. Their presence on the island invited a great deal of attention from several sources. Henry Peter Gyrich and Project: Wideawake already had concerns about Chambers, and borrowed DEA equipment to run surveillance on him and his island. Pyro had previously been a member of the officially-sponsored Freedom Force team, and two of that defunct unit were still in Wideawake's employ. Gyrich sent Commando and Avalanche to interact with the Brotherhood and record Chambers' activities. Empyrean welcomed the agents to his resort after their entry was discovered, and they were reintroduced to the Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, Nancy Alter was a member of Charles Xavier's "mutant underground" and reported the Brotherhood's presence to the X-Men. Cyclops brought the X-Men's Blue Strike Force to Empyrean Isle in order to gauge Chambers' intentions. While Cyclops, Beast and Rogue traded polite conversation with Empyrean in his resort, Gambit, Revanche and Psylocke attempted covert entry to the haven's sub-basements. Cyclops and Beast tried to question Chambers to get a better idea what his intentions were, but the media scientist was used to probing questions and continued to paint a benevolent (if not entirely convincing) picture of his activities.
When the rest of the X-Men encountered the Brotherhood in the sub-basement, Empyrean ended the fight with a wave of his hand, forcibly draining the energy signatures of all the mutants involved until they were biologically exhausted by the exertion. The X-Men tried to warn Pyro and the Brotherhood that Chambers' abilities made him an energy vampire, and he was using Pyro to feed his own energy supply and as a lab rat for his experiments. Pyro countered that he was using Chambers too, to ward off the attacks caused by the Legacy Virus, and if he wanted to turn his body over to science for testing in hopes for a cure, that was his decision to make. The debate ended when Revanche revealed her own Legacy infection, and insisted the X-Men respect Pyro's wishes for how he wanted to die. When Gyrich used the mutant bio-signature eruption as an excuse to raid the island, the X-Men hesitantly sided with Empyrean and told the authorities there was nothing illegal happening on the isle. Avalanche and Commando chose to stay with Empyrean and the Brotherhood instead of returning to Wideawake. And so, Empyrean and the X-Men parted, not as friends, but not quite as enemies yet either. [X-Men Annual (2nd series) #2]
During his efforts to find a cure for the Legacy Virus, Hank McCoy challenged himself to think far, far outside the box. He constructed a Time Glider to theoretically travel into the past and stem the spread of the virus. Empyrean and the Brotherhood had hacked into the X-Mansion's surveillance system in time to catch McCoy's big announcement. Chambers realized he would lose his influence over mutantkind if the Legacy Virus was cured. Instead, he planned to steal the Time Glider and use it to seed the timeline with samples of the virus in various eras. This would create a virtually limitless supply of infected mutants who he could feed off of to increase his own powerbase. Although he concealed his true intentions from the Brotherhood, Empyrean still somehow managed to manipulate them into stealing the Time Glider for him.
When the X-Men arrived at Empyrean Isle, Empyrean sent the Brotherhood out to delay the heroes while he and Commando worked on operating the Time Glider properly. After stabilizing the temporal displacement circuits, Commando determined there was a 98.6% chance the Time Glider was now safe to operate. He believed he could get the numbers up to 100% with time, but Empyrean wanted to launch immediately for fear of the X-Men stopping them. Chambers claimed Commando was in his debt for preventing the Legacy Virus from spreading to Commando from his infected comrades, and demanded Commando test fly the Time Glider for him.
Just then, Beast arrived in a second Time Glider constructed from his existing blueprints. He interfered with Commando's departure, forcing Empyrean to take the Time Glider into the past himself. As Beast attempted to force a recall of the Time Glider, he managed to recover the device, but Empyrean was no longer with it. When last seen, Jonathan Chambers was trapped in the Mesozoic Era, unable to return to the present and, at millions of years before the dawn of man, with no chance of spreading the virus that brought him the notoriety and influence he craved. [X-Men: Time Gliders #1-4]