Cypher (comics)


Cypher (comics)
Cypher
Cypher from X-Men Legacy 235.jpg
Cypher from X-Men Legacy #235. Art by Greg Land.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance New Mutants vol. 1 #13 (March 1984)
Created by Chris Claremont
Sal Buscema
In-story information
Alter ego Douglas Aaron "Doug" Ramsey
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations New Mutants
Hellions
X-Force
X-Men[1]
Abilities Semi-telepathic and semi-clairvoyant omnilingualism (Intuitively translates any languages he comes into contact with, including written, spoken, computer, or body language).

Cypher (Douglas "Doug" Ramsey) is a fictional mutant character, a superhero from Marvel Comics. He first appeared in New Mutants vol. 1 #13 (March 1984).

Contents

Fictional character biography

Doug Ramsey was born to Philip and Sheila Ramsey. Doug was a teenage friend of Kitty Pryde who she met after she moved to Westchester County to join Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. They hit it off when they discovered a shared interest in video games, computers and computer technology. Kitty's talent for building hardware providing the perfect complement to his skill at writing the software to run the hardware.[2]

Professor X had suspected Doug possessed a mutant power, probably connected with communications, but had not approached him to join the school, perhaps feeling a passive power might go unnoticed. Doug's initial ignorance of the X-Men's activities caused some problems when he was offered a scholarship at Emma Frost's Massachusetts Academy.[3] He does not understand that she, at the time, was one of the X-Men's adversaries. This led to Kitty Pryde (who accompanied him as a friend on his first trip to the Academy) being captured, only to be rescued by the New Mutants. Though his memory of the mutant related events was wiped by Frost, he did not accept the scholarship for reasons not elaborated on.[4]

Doug became a member of the New Mutants after the arrival of the techno-organic alien Warlock. He was literally pulled out of bed and informed of the true nature of Xavier's students when the New Mutants needed his power to establish communication with the confused alien. With Doug's pre-inclination for technology, and being more readily able to understand Warlock than most others, the two of them became fast friends.[5]

Whereas Warlock referred to his teammates with the prefix "selfriend", eventually, after saving his life by offering to share some of his own life energy with Warlock, Warlock gave Doug the unique identifier of "Selfsoulfriend".[volume & issue needed]

Doug's inborn mutant power was the ability to intuitively understand and translate any form of communication, be it written, spoken or non-verbal, and regardless of whether the origin of the language was human, computer or even completely alien. His power was not related to his intellect, but allowed him to make leaps of comprehension that he could probably not explain to anyone else, but which were invariably accurate. He was able to translate the language of a long dead species, without any common terms of reference, within a matter of hours.[6]

Despite the fact his power was entirely harmless (being both mental and passive), and his parents were shown as a happy loving couple, Doug was the only one of the original New Mutants who never did tell his parents he was a mutant. He was worried that they might reject him for being a mutant of any sort, and it was too great a risk to him.[7]

His power made him a master of computer languages, since any software language was effectively instantly within his grasp. An established hacker before joining the team, he became the team's computer expert and "go to" guy for research and information, and wrote many programs for use in the X-Men's training area, the Danger Room.[8]

Despite his abilities having saved the day many times (including the entire Earth), Doug suffered from feelings of uselessness. In times of danger, Warlock would willingly encapsulate him, which made him feel even more worthless. This was not helped during an unwitting trip to Asgard, where he was defeated in combat by a serving maid.[9]

Later, he and Warlock found that they could merge their physicality to create a being which looked like Doug but was composed of Warlock's substance and their personae were merged. This allowed full access to both their powers, but meant Doug ran a severe risk of irreversible infection with the Transmode virus, which would have turned him into a being like Warlock.[volume & issue needed]

Cypher used his abilities to discover a means of saving Lila Cheney's Dyson Sphere home base from destruction[vague].[10]

Romances and death

Though he flirted with Kitty Pryde and may indeed have loved her, it was not reciprocated (Kitty had just broken up with Colossus) but they remained close friends.[volume & issue needed] He was involved in the rescue of Betsy Braddock – soon afterward to become Psylocke with the X-Men – from the clutches of Mojo. This involved venturing deep into Braddock's mind, literally rescuing her psyche from being torn apart by Spiral. The shared experience, including the after-effects, where Betsy admitted to Douglas that she wanted to tear out her Mojo-implanted eyes but could not, caused a deep emotional bond between the two. Due to their differing ages, both Douglas and Betsy felt awkward. After Betsy was safe and sound, she pondered the situation; "Douglas is watching. My 'guardian angel'. How much he cares... more than he realizes. How much I care...in return."[7] Later, Doug started a relationship with teammate Rahne Sinclair, Wolfsbane,[11] which was cut short by his death not long thereafter.[12]

Alongside the other New Mutants, Doug temporarily joined the Hellions.[13] When the Magus attacked, Doug reprogrammed the Magus to an infant state.[14]

When the entity Bird-Brain was rescued, Doug was initially jealous of Rahne's affection for him, but became intrigued by his language of squeaks and squawks.[15] He and Rahne shared a passion for teaching Bird-Brain the English language.[16] When Bird-Brain set out to free his enslaved friends, the New Mutants followed him to an island controlled by the Ani-Mator, a minion of Cameron Hodge. Facing defeat, the Ani-Mator pulled a gun and aimed it at Rahne. Doug threw himself into the path of the bullet and died.[12]

Magneto, leader of the New Mutants at the time, explained Doug's death to his parents as a 'hunting' accident'. Warlock did not take all this well, even going so far as to steal Doug's body in a confused attempt to 'reanimate' it. Eventually the New Mutants convinced him to return the body. Doug's ghost later appeared to Wolfsbane when she visited his grave in the cemetery.[17]

Douglock

Later, Warlock died, murdered by Cameron Hodge,[18] and his ashes were scattered upon Doug's grave by the request of Wolfsbane.[19] Eventually the alien Phalanx, a corrupt subset of the more powerful alien race known as the Technarchy (Warlock's native race), resurrected Warlock with Doug's memories and appearance, intending to use him as a "Trojan horse" to infiltrate the X-Men.[volume & issue needed] This gestalt entity, called Douglock, joined Excalibur for a time, soon breaking free of the Phalanx's programming.[volume & issue needed]

Unaware of his real identity as Warlock, "Douglock" believed himself to be a new entity based on the "genetic and mental engrams" of Cypher and Warlock. This new entity even had another relationship with Wolfsbane.[volume & issue needed] He became a valued part of Excalibur, and even a mentor to Meggan, who needed further basic schooling.[volume & issue needed]

After Excalibur disbanded, Warlock's personality resurfaced, but he found that he had changed. He now speaks more normally than he originally did, and maintains a more traditionally humanoid form. Warlock maintains a copy of Doug's memory, but his personality is not active.[volume & issue needed]

Dark Reign

When Hercules travels into the Underworld, Cypher is among the dead characters seen in Erebus.[20]

Necrosha & Resurrection

Cypher was resurrected via the Transmode Virus by Selene and Eli Bard.[21]. Selene tasked him to kill Magma,[22] and was seen watching a gathering of the New Mutants. He entered Magma's room and viciously clubbed her. He dragged her body out, but his old teammates saw what he had done, and he stated to the shocked New Mutants that he had a message from Selene. They engaged in a fight, with Doug dominating the conflict until Karma took control over her teammates, rendering their minds temporary blank slates and thus unreadable to his new power.

Cypher was knocked off a balcony, but was saved by Warlock who attempted to save him from "malware" that was infecting him. Warlock attempted to restore Cypher's true personality, but he was infected by a trojan programming code that incapacitated him. Cypher woke up and was once more compelled to attack, and he decapitated Warlock.[23] Doug then temporarily snapped out of his corrupted mind and apologized to his team, but reverted quickly. The Hellions arrived to reprogram Doug, forcibly taking him with them. The New Mutants escaped, but Cannonball, Karma and Magik split off to find him again.[24]

After a lengthy fight with the Hellions, Warlock and Magik used a mixture of their powers to sever Selene's connection to Doug, ensuring his freedom and continued life upon Selene's death.[25]

Second Coming

Doug analyzed a fight between the New Mutants and Cameron Hodge and concluded the New Mutants would be killed. He therefore convinced Warlock to kill and absorb Hodge and several of his men.[26] Later, Doug joined X-Force on a time-traveling mission to stop an invasion of advanced Sentinels from the future.[27] While the rest of the team held off attacking Sentinels, Cable and Cypher infiltrated a Master Mold installation. Upon attempting to hack into the grid, the Master Mold discovered Cypher and began to assimilate him, to add his linguistic skills to its own. However, in doing so, it allowed Cypher access to its programming. He subsequently overrode the Master Mold and deactivated all the Nimrods invading Utopia. The strain of doing so caused him to pass out and he was later seen being carried through the portal by Wolverine.[28]

Warlock was kidnapped by agents of S.W.O.R.D. acting under 'all aliens must leave Earth' orders by Henry Peter Gyrich. Doug tried to secure his release. Instead, Warlock and the other aliens were freed by Abigail Brand, but not before they saved the Earth from a fleet of murder-happy aliens.[29]

Powers and abilities

Cypher is a mutant who possesses a superhuman intuitive facility for translating languages, spoken or written, human or alien in origin. His superhuman skill is extended to his great facility in deciphering codes and computer languages, and he is also able to read inflection and body language, allowing him to understand the vast subtext of a conversation. His superhuman talent for translating differs from the translating ability that a human who is a genius in this field, yet not a psychic, possesses, even though both people might achieve the same results with any given translation problem. This psychic talent is an intuitive one which works on a subconscious level, and which may in part by related to telepathy or clairvoyance. A non-psychic human, even a genius, would have to work out a translation consciously, step by step. Rather than working the problem out step by step, in his conscious mind, he instead subconsciously solves the problem. Hence, he can reach the correct solution by means that appear to be leaps of logic, and he himself may not be consciously aware of the entire process by which he reaches the right answer.

Since his resurrection by Selene's use of a modified techno-organic virus, Cypher's powers have evolved to the point where can read all aspects of "language." He is able to read his opponents' body language and the patterns of their combat moves in order to counter the attacks of several opponents attacking him at once. By considering the exercise of combat skills to be a form of language, he proved a match for the entire New Mutant team.[23] He is able to "read" architectural structure and integrity in order to ascertain a building's weaknesses.[21] He also appears capable of "speaking" binary; giving verbal commands in machine code that can deactivate electronic devices.

Cypher is an expert in translating and designing computer software. He took university level courses in languages and computer science. He can hack some of the most protected computers.

Cypher has been infected by techno-organic viruses on multiple occasions.[volume & issue needed] The presence of the virus has allowed him at times to cheat death and to demonstrate techno-organic shapeshifting, transmode infection, and life-absorption abilities.

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In the alternate world of the Age of Apocalypse crossover, Doug Ramsey is the adopted son of Destiny and lives in Avalon. His "translation field" allows everyone in Avalon to understand each other, no matter what language they speak (This is a much broader power than he had ever displayed in the main timeline at this time). He is killed when he jumps in front of Destiny to protect her from the Shadow King's last desperate attack, a course of action that convinces his adoptive mother to become involved in defeating Apocalypse.[30]

Days of Future Present

In the Days of Future Present annual crossover, which showed aspects of the alternate future known as Days of Future Past, a new incarnation of the New Mutants was seen, whose membership included Doug Ramsey. This revived version of Doug was human looking on his right side, but his left side was techno-organic and constantly shifted into battle configurations with weapons bristling all over. Aggressive and violent, he was described as being nigh insane when angered. He also only responded to the name "Magus", seemingly confirming Warlock's fears that if infected by the transmode virus after merging into Douglock one time too many, Doug might take on the warlike aspects of the Technarch species.[17]

Exiles

The reality-hopping Exiles once visited a world where Doug Ramsey was infected by the Legacy Virus. Trying to save Ramsey's life, Warlock bonded with him, combining their life forces into one. Once the virus was introduced to Warlocks unique physiology, it mutated and became even more contagious. With over half the world infected by this new technological virus (called Vi-Locks), Doug Ramsey was kept in stasis. He was killed by one of the infected, once it found out the Exiles were trying to create a cure based on Ramsey's original strain of the virus.[volume & issue needed]

Geshem

In Peter David's graphic novel Rahne of Terra there exists a sword and sorcery version of the New Mutants and X-Men, with the likes of Sam "Cannonball" Guthrie being a knight who uses seven league boots to fly (and a rifle called "Cannonball" as a weapon). Here, Rain (an alt-version of Rahne "Wolfsbane" Sinclair) is the Princess of the realm of Geshem, and Doug is a commoner, a nobody whose mother is a washerwoman. However, he loves Rahne from afar, and it is partly through his unexpected courage and a magic spell that the mainstream Rahne Sinclair, who has replaced Rain, survives. The thought of Doug being killed again is enough to trigger her use of the magic of Geshem and her mutant powers to protect him. The story ends with Rain now restored to her own world, and noticing Doug for the first time, clearly being attracted to him.[31]

In the sequel "Knight of Terra" Rahne pays a return visit to Geshem, and discovers that in that world, Doug and Rain are now married and expecting their first child. However, after an attack by a sorcerer who used animated suits of armor, Doug is injured. He is healed by replacing at least one of his arms with some of the magically animated armor, a reference to Douglock, the part-Phalanx being who was a member of Excalibur.[volume & issue needed]

House of M

Ramsey appears alive and well and older in the Scarlet Witch's reality warp known as the House of M. He was a staff member alongside Karma and Sean Garrison at the New Mutant Leadership Institute who were training young mutants.[32] Both he and Karma discover Garrison and his daughter Wallflower's secret affiliations with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Emperor Sunfire. Garrison corners them and subdues Doug and Karma with fear pheromones and plans to kill them until Tag stops him with his powers and unintentionally causes him to commit suicide.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies

Cypher appears as a non-combatant zombie in Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth issue #9. He is lured by zombie Deadpool into a lab to be tested on for a cure of the Zombie virus.

Shattershot

During the Shattershot Annual crossover, an alternate future is shown, where Warlock renamed himself Cyberlock. He retained all his memories but had a very serious, emotionless personality. He was part of an X-Force team that helped Shatterstar back to his home dimension and then helped him become a sort of benevolent dictator, replacing Mojo V as Cable wished. To this end, a new X-Force team, consisting of Cannonball, Siryn, Warlock, Darkchild (Illyana Rasputin), Sunspot, and Powerpax (Francine Power) returned to Shatterstar's dimension. Assisted by the spineless ones and the geneticist, Arize, they overthrow Shatterstar, who had begun doing what Mojos I through V had done, creating a world based on the entertainment of killing the opposite race. Shatterstar, who had been having doubts concerning his leadership, joined in the overthrowing of his own dimension, and, apparently, joined the bipeds and spineless ones in peace. X-Force apparently returned to Earth.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Cypher

The Ultimate X-Men version of Doug Ramsey appeared when "Ultimate Cypher" was introduced, though he never used the codename — he is a super-intelligent, slightly geeky but amicable computer programmer who gained national prominence by winning 74 consecutive games on the TV game show Jeopardy.[33]

Douglas is a student at Emma Frost's Academy of Tomorrow. In this version he is specifically mentioned as being a human, not a mutant, but Frost's school does not distinguish between different varieties of "gifted".[volume & issue needed]

Douglas was instrumental in helping free Lorna Dane from prison. Traffic camera footage of Dane's apparent magnetically-induced murder of several people had been reviewed time and again to no avail. Douglas decides to review the tapes from three days ago and gains the information to clear Lorna's name.[volume & issue needed]

Doug also appears in a short story in the back of Ultimate X-Men #75.

He, along with the rest of the Academy of Tomorrow, was killed by Maddrox during Ultimatum.[volume & issue needed]

What If?

In an issue that asks "What If the X-Men Had Stayed in Asgard," Cypher devoted himself to studying long-forgotten texts and lore, written in languages forgotten to the Asgardians, gaining respect as a scholar amongst the population for doing so. He later became Storm's vizier after she is crowned Queen of Asgard, helping bring a new renaissance to Asgard by using the forgotten wisdom of Asgard's past that he had translated to shape its future.[34]

Notes

  • A second character known as Cypher appeared in Sabretooth and Mystique #1 and was a member of A.I.M.. She has cybernetics that augment her strength and intelligence and can unfold into lethal constricting tendrils. She can also link with computerized systems. She has no links to the original Cypher.

References

  1. ^ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z, vol. 13 (2010) Marvel Comics
  2. ^ New Mutants #13
  3. ^ New Mutants #16; Uncanny X-Men #180
  4. ^ New Mutants #17
  5. ^ New Mutants #21
  6. ^ New Mutants Annual #1
  7. ^ a b New Mutants Annual #2
  8. ^ New Mutants Annual #3
  9. ^ The New Mutants Special Edition #1
  10. ^ New Mutants Annual #1 (1984)
  11. ^ New Mutants #55
  12. ^ a b New Mutants #60
  13. ^ New Mutants #49-50
  14. ^ New Mutants #50
  15. ^ New Mutants #57
  16. ^ New Mutants #58
  17. ^ a b New Mutants Annual #6
  18. ^ New Mutants #95
  19. ^ X-Factor #62
  20. ^ Incredible Hercules #129
  21. ^ a b X-Force vol. 3 #18
  22. ^ X-Necrosha #1
  23. ^ a b New Mutants vol. 3 #6
  24. ^ New Mutants #7
  25. ^ New Mutants #8
  26. ^ X-Men: Legacy #234
  27. ^ X-Force #27
  28. ^ X-Men: Legacy #237
  29. ^ S.W.O.R.D. Volume 1: No Time To Breathe (120 pages, July 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4076-X) (2010)
  30. ^ X-Calibur #4
  31. ^ Rahne of Terra[volume & issue needed]
  32. ^ New X-Men: Academy X #16
  33. ^ Ultimate X-Men #54
  34. ^ What If? Vol. 2 #12 (April, 1990)

External links


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