Wolverine and the X-Men
(1st series) #1
superhuman strength, speed,
agility, endurance, reflexes,
recuperative powers, and limited
•Wields Shi'ar technological energy blasters and swords capable of emitting an explosive charge
Even before her birth, Ava’dara Naganandini’s entire life had already been planned out by her Shi’ar masters. Her biological parents donated their genetic material through the Shi’ar body taxes law and the subsequent embryo was placed in the womb of an alien woman to gestate. Like many of the other slave women forced to carry the Shi’ar babies, the woman died in childbirth bringing Ava’dara into the world. This would be the first person Ava’dara would kill in a lifetime of bloodshed.
As soon as she was born, Ava’dara’s life rights were bought by a company and she was given a name to reflect that. The infant girl was sent to live in the sky slums on the Shi’ar throne world of Chandilar. As soon as she could stand, she was put to work in her company’s war factories, where she was forced to assemble weapons. It was here that she developed proficiency with numerous weapons and firearms. As she grew, Ava’dara accepted her fate as a Warbird Deathbringer and trained hard to get into the training academy. However, unlike most other children her age, she didn’t dream of torturing and killing people. Instead, she had much darker thoughts. Ava’dara liked to draw. She would often find scraps of paper and she would draw butterflies, flowers and birds to alleviate her forbidden urges. Artistic tendencies were frowned upon in Shi’ar culture and, for a Warbird such as she, it was an abhorrent practice. Every time Ava’dara drew a picture, she would have to burn it immediately after for fear of her masters finding out her secret. Eventually, she passed an exam to be enlisted in the training academy and, ever since that day, she never touched a pencil and paper again for fear of the consequences. She learned to play the part and say what her masters wanted to hear, despite her thoughts telling her otherwise. With training and a series of injections to make her stronger, she embraced the Shi’ar way and renounced her artistic thoughts.
Years passed and Ava’dara graduated the academy and was given the official title of Warbird. She began working for the Shi’ar Empire as a Deathbringer, a fierce soldier whose primary talent was killing anyone her masters wanted. One day, she was sent back into the slums she had grown up in on a mission to eliminate a terrorist cell. Despite the mission bringing up memories of her childhood, she managed to find the terrorists and cut a bloody path through them. Warbird killed without hesitation until she got to the final room in the building and discovered a small child drawing pictures. The child was ready for death but Warbird couldn’t bring herself to kill him. Instead, she took him to some nearby gardens and told him to run as far away as possible. Afterwards, she confessed the act to her supervisor but refused to give up the location of the child. Warbird should have been executed for her betrayal but instead it was decided to rid her of her compassion for children by forcing her to act as bodyguard to Kid Gladiator, the son of the leader of the Imperial Guard. Kid Gladiator was an arrogant and brash child and it was hoped that being in his company for a period of time would truly make her hate children. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #13]
Warbird’s duty as bodyguard found her travelling across the galaxy to Earth, as Kid Gladiator had been enlisted in a school there. The X-Men had struck a deal with the Shi’ar to use some of their advanced technology in their new school and, in return, Kid Gladiator was enrolled there to teach him some humility. When they arrived at the school, the two found it under attack and Warbird found it difficult to protect Kid Gladiator when he was so hell-bent on jumping into danger. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #1-3]
When Kitty Pryde became infected with some microscopic Brood, Warbird found herself travelling inside the woman in pursuit of Kid Gladiator. Her ward had decided to take the fight to the Brood and had shrunk himself down. When Warbird eventually caught up with him in Kitty’s bloodstream, she was shocked to discover he had been turned into a Brood himself. As they fought off more Brood, Warbird became impressed with Iceman’s fighting skills and boldly asked if he would like to have sex with her. Stunned by the proposition, he politely declined but, after the ordeal was over, Warbird was dismayed to see him kissing Kitty instead. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #5-7]
Life amongst the X-Men proved to be a different challenge than the training at the Shi’ar academy had prepared her for. She was drawn into one of their deadly adventures when a precognitive student had a vision of something bad happening involving her and a group of X-Men. Wolverine gathered all the relevant parties to figure out what to do but he didn’t have time to act as the prophecy began to unfold. Whilst Wolverine was with Gambit, Warbird took a stroll through Central Park. There she saw a group of soldiers and instinctively attacked them, decapitating one of them. She took the severed head back to a shocked Wolverine, where the whole group was subsequently attacked by the Marauders. After taking the Marauders down, the group soon had to go in search of their teammate Karma, who had been kidnapped by the same group who had been using the Marauders. Warbird struggled a bit to operate as part of a team with the X-Men but she proved herself a valuable asset and unmatched fighter. [Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #48-56]
Warbird was feeling out of place at the school, as it was very different from the life she had been training for. She constantly had the feeling that she was unfulfilled but she had no idea what to do to remedy it. Unfortunately for her, she was unable to spend much time thinking about it, as she received a distress call from the leader of the Shi’ar, Gladiator. The transmission was unstable and she was unable to hear his warning that the Phoenix Force was headed to Earth. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #9]
The Phoenix Force soon made its presence known and Warbird could only watch as the X-Men were torn apart by infighting. Some wanted to embrace it and others wanted to destroy it but all that Warbird was concerned with was protecting Kid Gladiator. She drugged the boy and loaded him on a spacecraft and began the long flight back to the Shi’ar throne world. When Kid Gladiator woke up, she explained the Phoenix Force was coming and that the Earth would ultimately be destroyed. However, despite the boy’s constant protests that he hated the school, he still felt something for it and he jumped in an escape pod and headed back to Earth. Warbird had no choice but to follow him back so she could protect him in the upcoming battle.
What she was unaware of was that Gladiator was headed to Earth to retrieve his son before the planet was destroyed. In the meantime, though, the Phoenix Force had reached the Earth but had been fragmented by a weapon in five pieces, each of which were now residing in five X-Men, dubbed the Phoenix Five. When Gladiator arrived, he saw the Phoenix Five and, with Warbird by his side, attacked them. The ensuing fight was brutal and Warbird managed to impale the Phoenix-empowered Emma Frost with a sword. Before Emma could retaliate, though, Gladiator grabbed Warbird and reminded her that they entered the fight with a plan. Warbird was desperate to be a part of the fight but she had to obey her lord’s command and find his son. Setting off to find him, she instead ran into Iceman and, not knowing whose side he was on, cut him down with her swords. Luckily for him, he survived in his ice form and Warbird took the moment to plant a kiss on his decapitated head before he could reform. Warbird soon found Kid Gladiator but he was determined to help his father out in the battle. He wouldn’t listen to reason and so Warbird reluctantly attacked him so that he wouldn’t become involved in the fight. She managed to restrain him and together they watched as the Phoenix Five beat Gladiator and his Shi’ar soldiers to a bloody pulp. After the battle, Warbird personally carried the broken and bruised body of Gladiator into the school’s medical bay, not knowing if he would live or die. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #11-13]
Gladiator remained in critical condition for a while but eventually recovered enough to travel home. He was adamant that his son would follow him and Warbird assumed she would leave too. As the ship was about to take off, though, Gladiator informed her that her services were no longer required. Warbird assumed she had done something wrong and vowed to become a better warrior. Gladiator wasn’t punishing her, though, as he saw that she didn’t really want to lead the life she was living. He released her from his service so she could find her own path in the universe. Warbird watched as the Shi’ar ship left Earth and, for the first time, began to contemplate her future. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #14-15]
Warbird began to feel lonely on Earth and found that the forbidden desires she had kept hidden for so long began to emerge again. She would often take trips into New York City, where she would wander the streets and seek out art museums. Karma took notice of her and invited her to her apartment for dinner one night to try and help her. However, as they were eating, Warbird spotted a magazine with an image of an artifact on the front and was overcome with horror. Taking the magazine, she borrowed one of the X-Men’s jets and flew to Egypt to discover the origin of the picture. There she found another alien living in the slums of Cairo and quizzed them about the artifact. She eventually got the location of it but, when she went to steal it, she discovered another alien waiting for her. Using some kind of toxic dust, he knocked her out and when she came to she found the X-Men with her and she was being held by SHIELD.
Warbird explained that the artifact belonged to an alien race known as the Fianden who were wiped out by the Shiar thousands of years ago. The Shiar greatly feared the Fianden because they were a creative race that "infected" the Shiar with music and art. The man who had attacked her was apparently the last of the race and the artifact was some kind of weapon. The X-Men helped Warbird escape and she tracked the alien down but discovered he was merely a robot created by the extinct race years ago. He taunted her with the knowledge that the dust he sprayed on her before should have killed her but instead, it made her draw in her sleep. It meant she was able to dream and therefore was defective by Shi’ar standards. After the two fled from SHIELD agents into the desert, Warbird went against everything she had ever been taught by letting the robot have the artifact. It turned out, though, that it wasn’t a weapon but a device that created a museum to the extinct alien race. After the ordeal, Warbird finally gave in to the urges inside her and let herself draw again. [Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #57-58]
Warbird began to settle into Earth life a bit more and even developed a “friends with benefits” relationship with Doop, despite their seemingly incompatible physiology. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #17-18] She continued to teach art classes at the school and was inevitably drawn into the X-Men’s usual adventures, such as being brainwashed into joining a circus and waging war against the newly formed Hellfire Club. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #21-23, 30-35]
Whether she wanted to admit it or not, the time Warbird was spending with the X-Men was starting to open up her eyes and mind to ways that didn’t conform with her Shi’ar teachings. When Northstar and his boyfriend had gotten married a few weeks before, she refused to attend the ceremony, as she believe a union based on love was unnatural. After spending time with the couple, she had begun to soften towards them and helped protect them out of friendship rather than duty. Whilst these feelings were confusing for her, Warbird saw that she didn’t have to be afraid of having them. [Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #66]
She did find fault with some of the X-Men’s ways though. When Dark Beast had tortured a group of people and turned them into a giant gestalt monster, Warbird was adamant that he should die for his sins but the rest of her team refused to kill him. Afterward, she retreated into herself a bit and dwelled on all the changes she had been forced to go through in recent months. It was Karma who got through to her and made her see she deserved to be happy and that she was able to be a warrior and an artist at the same time. For the first time since she arrived on Earth, Warbird finally felt that she had a family and even realized that if she returned to serving the Shi’ar she would have to hide who she was again. [Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #68]
Despite not being a mutant, Warbird found a home with the X-Men and discovered how to accept herself in the face of a society telling her to be otherwise. Where she goes from here remains to be seen but it would foolish for anyone to stand in her way.