(1st series) #478
unidentified parents and
Freedom fighter, former
Wielder of the Blade of
the Phoenix, a sword
containing a sliver of
the Phoenix Force
keyed to his bloodline
so that no one
else could wield
it, and able to
charge itself with Phoenix energy, slicing through virtually anything, repelling attacks, or absorbing and redirecting sources of energy
Over 400 years ago, a Shi’ar man simply known as Rook’shir became an avatar for the Phoenix Force and waged a bloody path through the empire. He was eventually stopped by the newly formed Imperial Guard and, over the subsequent centuries, his descendants were hunted down to ensure the bloodline was wiped out. Eventually, only a small family remained until they too were found. The young Korvus Rook’shir saw his brothers gunned down by soldiers of the Shi’ar Empire. He was saved by his mother, who was captured and sterilized to ensure she could never produce another child. Korvus should have been executed but instead he was placed in a high security prison, just in case he might one day come in handy.
Over the many years that passed, Korvus was subjected to intense torture and caged like an animal, all for the actions of his ancestor. Eventually, he earned a reprieve when one of his captors came to him with an offer. If he aided them with a problem they were facing, then he could walk free and do as he wished. Korvus had no choice but to accept and, to ensure his compliance, he was fitted with a microchip that would kill him if he wavered from his path. He was also given the legendary Blade of the Phoenix, a sword that the original Rook’shir wielded and which still possessed a fragment of the Phoenix Force.
Korvus’ mission was to kill Rachel Grey, another descendant of a Phoenix-touched lineage and a former wielder of the Force itself. Rachel had been marked with a tattoo that enabled that Shi’ar to track her when she entered their territory. She had recently crossed their borders as she was in pursuit of Vulcan, who was waging his own war against the Shi’ar. Korvus soon found the X-Men and boarded their ship, making short work of the team. Only Rachel remained but, as he reluctantly attacked her, Korvus was surprised to see how powerful she was. As he swung his sword at her, she grabbed hold of it and the fragments of the Force inside her and the sword connected. Korvus and Rachel briefly shared their memories and they saw how similar their lives were. As Korvus struggled to regain his sense, Rachel took pity on him and deactivated the microchip in him. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #478-479]
Now free, Korvus abandoned his mission to kill Rachel and teamed up with the X-Men. When Korvus had attacked the team, Professor Xavier was kidnapped by a couple of Shi’ar soldiers. With no stargates to jump through to follow the kidnappers, it was Korvus who came up with a solution. He managed to reconfigure the ship’s engines to allow Havok, Polaris and himself to act as an energy source, allowing the ship to follow the Shi’ar. The X-Men were uneasy at having their former attacker turn around and offer help but they eventually agreed, thanks to Rachel’s assuring words. However, Warpath wasn’t won over and made no secret at his distrust for the new arrival. As Korvus worked on the engines, he was bombarded by visions of Rachel and all the memories they had shared. It turned out that Rachel was experiencing the same thing and, when she came to him, the pair passionately kissed.
The team managed to use the jump engines to find the Starjammers. Once there, they discovered that Lilandra had been deposed as empress of the Shi’ar Empire and taken captive. They managed to find out where she was being held and launched a rescue mission. During the mission, Korvus was shot in the back by a phaser, which caused Rachel to feel his pain, indicating that their brief connection had some longer lasting effects.
Korvus was willing to embrace the romantic feelings he was having for Rachel but she was being much more logical about it. Whilst that didn’t stop them from exploring their emotions, Rachel was all too keen to remind him that he didn’t really know her like he thought he did.
The ever growing team soon decided to take the fight to Vulcan, who was lining himself up to become the ruler of the Shi’ar Empire. They confronted Vulcan at his wedding ceremony and a bloody battle ensued that cost the lives of many. Whilst some of the X-Men headed back to Earth, Rachel stayed behind and joined the Starjammers. With nowhere else to go, Korvus also joined the space pirates in their quest to bring Vulcan to justice for his crimes. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #481-482, 484-486]
Things between Korvus and Rachel soon became strained as the reality of the situation they were in started to overwhelm them. Rachel was plagued by dreams of revenge against the Shi’ar for the death of her family. Korvus was experiencing the dreams too thanks to the connection he shared with her but, when he tried to comfort her, she pushed him away. Their personal troubles had to take a back seat when an ancient race known as the Scy’ar emerged to wage war on Vulcan. Korvus and the Starjammers reluctantly sided with Vulcan, whom they saw as the lesser of two evils. They managed to defeat the Scy’ar but in the process helped cement Vulcan’s leadership of the Shi’ar Empire even more. Unfortunately, Vulcan had naturally betrayed the Starjammers and taken some of them captive. Korvus and the remnants of his team were now on the run and without a starship. [X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1-5]
Korvus, Rachel and the former empress Lilandra launched an attack to retrieve the team’s ship, which had been impounded. With their ship back, the team laid low for a while until they formulated a plan to get their friends back and bring Vulcan down. After finding out that Havok and Polaris were being kept on a prison planet, the team travelled to a nearby planet to stock up in preparation for a fight. However, just as they landed, they were ambushed by a Shi’ar squad tasked with tracking them down. Korvus was gravely injured and the team only just managed to escape before the entire area was engulfed in a fireball. The team moved quickly to attack the prison in which their friends were being held but found out that Havok had already enacted his own escape plan. Havok was adamant that he wanted to take out Vulcan but Korvus urged him to leave with them before the entire might of the Shi’ar Empire caught up with them. Havok ignored Korvus and took the fight to his brother. The Starjammers faced off against Vulcan’s deadly Guard in a brutal fight. During the chaos, the fragments of the Phoenix Force that resided in Korvus’ sword and Rachel left them for reasons unknown. Whereas before, Korvus could swing his enormous sword with ease, he now felt the true weight of it. When Rachel was injured by one of Vulcan’s soldiers, Korvus found the strength to lift the blade and fend of the enemy. The Starjammers managed to escape with relatively minor injuries, but Vulcan still lived and his reign of terror continued. [X-Men: Kingbreaker #1-4]
[Note: Nothing was mentioned about the reasons why the fragments of the Phoenix Force left Korvus and Rachel. However, a couple of years later, the Force returned to Earth in all its glory sparking the Avengers vs. X-Men crossover. Presumably, the Force was gathering its stray fragments in preparation for visit to Earth]
Vulcan had been waging a war across the galaxy, conquering many civilizations and absorbing them into the Empire. He soon set his sights on the Kree Empire and their Inhuman allies. The Starjammers fled to the Inhumans and sided with them, as Vulcan started a war that would cost both sides dearly. After a galaxy spanning battle, Vulcan was beaten but Lilandra was also killed. [War of Kings Crossover]
After the threat of Vulcan was ended, the Starjammers split up with some remaining in space, whilst Korvus, Rachel, Havok and Polaris headed back to Earth. Korvus and Rachel started to grow closer again, now that they weren’t always running for their lives. The quartet never made it, though, as they stopped by a Shi’ar space station on the way. Unfortunately, the station came under stack by an alien named Friendless, one of the telepathic alien workers on board, and he triggered a civil war amongst the races that lived on the station. In the chaos, Korvus was mind controlled by Friendless and the ship’s gravity generators were damaged. As the war waged on, the station began to be pulled into the star it was orbiting. Rachel managed to get a message to Earth and help arrived in the form of Rogue and some X-Men. With Rogue’s help, Rachel managed to block Friendless’s mind control, freeing Korvus. Whilst Rachel confronted Friendless mind-to-mind, Korvus could only help by watching her limp body and doing his best to protect it. Friendless was eventually beaten and the space station was teleported across the universe into Earth’s orbit. Whilst most of the heroes were glad to be home, Korvus could only think that he was even further away from his. [X-Men Legacy (1st series) #254-258]
When Korvus and the group returned to the X-Men, a new situation began to emerge. Rogue could feel that more people had returned to Earth than they knew and, when Dr. Nemesis conducted his tests, he found that Korvus held the key. Each of the eight heroes who had been on the station now possessed a small quantity of unknown energy, but Korvus’ sword had a much higher concentration of it. The sword had become a doorway and someone was on the other side.
Rogue figured out it was a lost ally that she thought had died. Whilst Rogue set off on a rescue mission, Korvus was left to get acquainted with the X-Men’s home of Utopia. He was not impressed by Cyclops or the fact the X-Men were being forced to live on a small island. Korvus was at a loss as to what to do now he was on Earth but thankfully an opportunity dropped in his lap. The space station that was teleported to Earth also contained a Shi’ar salvage crew that were just happening to be looking for a captain. Korvus left Earth to be in space where he was much more at home. [X-Men Legacy (1st series) #259-260]
The distance between Rachel and Korvus didn’t help their relationship and they drifted apart. The captain role didn’t last long either, so he decided to leave everything behind and find the remaining Starjammers. He wasn’t the only one to rejoin the team as Corsair, the team’s dead leader, was resurrected and resumed his duty as captain of the space pirates. When the younger version of Jean Grey was put on trial for the crime of one day becoming host for the Phoenix Force, Korvus and the Starjammers intervened. [Trial of Jean Grey crossover]
After his brief dalliance with Earth, Korvus remained with the Starjammers to travel the universe in search of adventure and glory. He found a suitable role amongst them as the mechanic for the starship and was even left in charge when Corsair was away. Unfortunately, when Corsair was off travelling with his son, the Starjammers were attacked by a rival gang of pirates and Korvus was cast out into space to die alongside his fellow crew. He was saved from certain death by a passing ship but the crew recognized the pirates and Korvus was arrested. He was due to be auctioned off as a slave but was saved by Corsair, who had stolen his ship back. Korvus is once again on the Starjammer, serving as its mechanic/muscle and living the (space) pirate’s life. [Cyclops (2nd series) #1, 6-8, 10-11]