REVEREND WILLIAM CONOVER
Real Name: William Conover
Occupation: Revivalist minister, head of the Glory Day Ministry and the Conover Crusade
Affiliations: Conover Crusade, Glory Day Ministry, Punisher, SHIELD, Kymberly Taylor, X-Cutioner, X-Men
Enemies: the Brood, Humanity's Last Stand, Mutant Liberation Front, Simon Trask
Known Relatives: Hannah Conover (wife)
Base of Operations: The Conover Crusade and Glory Day Ministery, mobile throughout the Southwest United States.
First Appearance: (Cameo on billboard) Uncanny X-Men#232 (September, 1988); (full) Uncanny X-Men#233 (October, 1988)
Powers/Abilities: None, but his powerful sermons led even a Brood Queen to find salvation.
History: (Uncanny X-Men#233)- William Conover sat upon a hilltop near Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver, Colorado, where he was to give a sermon the next day for his Crusade. His wife, Hannah brought him coffee, and informed him of the battle between the Brood Mutants and the X-Men going on in nearby Denver. William revealed his sympathy towards mutant’s rights, and wished that he was a mutant, if it would mean that he could cure his wife’s debilitating arthritis.
(Uncanny X-Men#234)- Reverend Conover, preparing for his Sermon, heard once again about the battle, and objected to his assistant using the term “Mutie”, and forbade it’s use in his presence. As he walked to the stage, he failed to notice his wife, Hannah, leaving with Josey Thomas, who had offered to help her arthritis. During his sermon, Conover and the gathered Congregation watched as the Brood-Infected X-Man Wolverine crawled into the arena. Thinking him strung out on drugs, Conover went to pray over him, at which point the Brood aspect took control and Wolverine began to transform, threatening the Reverend’s life. Horrified, and believing the Brood to be a demon, Conover continued to pray, asking God to hurl the “demon’ back into the abyss. The Brood stopped taunting him and died, thanks to Wolverine’s healing factor, but Conover believed it a miracle. Just then, the Brood Mutant Tension reached down from the scaffolding holding the Crusade’s lights, and began to choke Conover, only to be instantly fried by Havok. Then the Brood Queen Harry Palmer took the stage, and William’s wife, Hannah, holding her hostage and gloating about the “end of human hegemony”, (which, ironically, the Reverend had been talking about, word for word, in the previous issue, I.E. that mutants were not a threat to humanity any more than children to parents…). Wolverine then crawled under the stage, dragged Palmer down, and, well, <Snikt>! Hannah was saved, and her arthritis had mysteriously vanished! The Reverend William Conover became the first major religious or political figure to speak out in favor of mutant’s rights.
(X-Men/Brood: Day of Wrath#1 (fb))- However, Hannah had not been saved after all, Josey Thomas had infected her with a Brood Queen’s egg, (that’s how her arthritis was healed), and Hannah began using her new “Miracle Hands” to “heal” others, implanting them with Brood eggs, building her own loyal army of Brood. However, during one of Williams’s sermons, Hannah’s faith and humanity were reasserted , she realized what she had done, preying on good people’s desperation, turning them into Brood, and ran crying from the stage, refusing to perform any more “healings”. William grew concerned with this, and the fact that his wife had begun having terrible nightmares.
(X-Men/Brood: Day of Wrath#1)- Hannah once again woke up screaming, but wouldn't tell her husband what was wrong. William went for a walk, and later watched as Hannah departed for town with two of his congregation, (and her Brood), an elderly couple named Fred and Nancy. The Reverend went into the main tent and prayed for help and understanding.
(X-Men/Brood: Day of Wrath#2)- The local police arrived and inform William that his wife, Fred, and Nancy were attacked by “Beasties” (the Brood Firstborn), that Fred and Nancy turned into “beasties” themselves to protect Hannah, and were killed, after which the X-Men flew off with Hannah. Remembering his earlier encounter with the Brood, Conover informed the police he was sure that the X-Men were taking care of Hannah, then went back into the tent to pray for Hannah’s safety. As evening fell, the congregation called the Reverend to see incredible flashes of light in the desert, which he recognized as the X-Men in battle. Hoping to find Hannah, William jumped into a jeep and headed out into the desert, only to be ambushed by the Firstborn, who smashed the jeep and rendered the Reverend unconscious. He awoke in a cavern, and the Firstborn told him he was there as “bait” for the Rogue Queen, his wife, Hannah, who, sensing her husband’s capture, had transformed into full Brood form to defend him. In an admirable, (and hard to believe) display of love, William revealed he still loved Hannah, even if she was a Brood Queen, and she returned to human form. The Firstborn closed in for the kill, only to be attacked by the X-Men. Realizing the only way Hannah could be safe is if she was no longer linked to the Brood, the X-Men, with William’s permission, placed Hannah in stasis, (Iceman froze her), and took her back to the X-Mansion for treatment, (and placed her in a nice cryogenic pod instead of an ice cube). The Reverend Conover told the X-Men he would pray for their safety, as well as Hannah’s recovery, and the next day gave a beautiful sermon on human/mutant brotherhood.
(Punisher III#12 (fb))- Now renowned as being the first major religious or political figure to come out in favor of mutant rights, Conover traveled to Washington to appear before Senator Delmato's investigation into mutant activity. However, a group identifying itself as the Mutant Liberation Front (in reality, the anti-mutant group Humanity's Last Stand) targeted Conover for assassination, claiming that mutants were superior to mankind, not equal.
(Punisher III#12)- Conover appeared before the committee, and when it was observed that many religious leaders were citing the Legacy Virus as evidence of God's punishment on mutants, Conover replied, "I do not justify my views, Senator, although I do forgive them theirs. For the record, I'd like to note that many of the "religious leaders" you cite are extremists whose pronouncements have been repudiated by most reputable religious denominations." Senator Delmato ended the committee there, for fear of negative publicity.
Conover was then approached by FBI agent Carl Denti and SHIELD agent Kymberly Taylor, who had both been assigned to guard Conover from the MLF. Also guarding Conover, in secret, was the Punisher, who had been convinced by SHIELD to defend Conover as part of repaying his debt to them. Suddenly, a member of the MLF named Deadeye appeared and attempted to kill Conover, but the Punisher defended Conover and drove him off.
The three bodyguards conferred with one another as Conover insisted that he didn't require their protection. Before a decision on a safehouse for Conover could be reached, Deadeye attacked again, and the Punisher set off to fight him, while Denti switched to his guise as the X-Cutioner to do the same, and slew Deadeye.
(Punisher III#13)- After MLF member Blastfurance destroyed Deadeye's body, the Punisher, Denti and Taylor argued over the situation, while Conover insisted on continuing his mission in Washington. His bodyguards insisted that he remain hidden, but Conover refused to do so, feeling it would be a surrender on his part. Conover noted that if was God's will that he die, he would; if not, he would live. The Punisher asked him about the innocent bystanders, and Conover replied that he trusted that they would be there to protect them.
Conover worked in a soup kitchen that evening, with his bodyguards surrounding the area. He worked side-by-side with the Punisher, and was surprised to learn that he had once in a Roman Catholic seminary. The kitchen was attacked by Corpus Derelicti, another MLF member, but before the Punisher could kill him, he was slain by Blastfurnace. Blastfurnace set the building on fire, so the bodyguards brought Conover to the roof.
(Punisher III#14)- The Punisher and Taylor defended Conover against Blastfurnace and seemingly slew him in battle. Denti had Conover transported by train to Oklahoma, but they were intercepted by another MLF member, Burnout. Taylor fled the train with Conover aboard a motorcycle, but Burnout followed behind them.
(Punisher III#15)- Burnout caught up to the motorcycle, and defeated Taylor, then took Conover captive, teleporting him back to the MLF's base. At the base, Conover was confronted by Simon Trask, head of Humanity's Last Stand, who had provided normal humans with the means to impersonate mutants to serve in his Mutant Liberation Front, with the goal of further damaging human-mutant relationships. Trask's goal with Conover was to ultimately warp his mind so that he would preach against mutants.
(Punisher III#16)- The MLF base was invaded by the X-Cutioner, Punisher and Taylor, who slew several of the MLF getting to Conover. The X-Cutioner set Conover free, and teleported him outside to reporter Trish Tilby, so that Conover could tell the world the truth about the Mutant Liberation Front. Ultimately, Trask committed suicide when he destroyed his base.
Comments: Created by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri.
I put down Revivalist Minister because his meetings have the appearance of revival-style churches, it’s not meant to be a statement of a particular Christian religion, which was never given, (and undoubtedly never intended to be revealed), in his appearances. In all probability he’s meant to be a Christian Non-Denominational Minister.
Profile by Darc_Light and Prime Eternal, minor spelling corrections by Luis Dantas.
The Reverend William Connover should not be confused with:
X-Men/Brood: Day of Wrath#1, p4, pan1
X-Men/Brood: Day of Wrath#1, p21, pan5
Uncanny X-Men#232 (August, 1988) - Chris Claremont (writer), Marc Silvestri (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Ann Nocenti & Bob Harras (editors)
Uncanny X-Men#233 (September, 1988) - Chris Claremont (writer), Marc Silvestri (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Bob Harras (editor)
Uncanny X-Men#234 (September, 1988) - Chris Claremont (writer), Marc Silvestri (pencils), Joe Rubinstein (inks), Bob Harras (editor)
X-Men: Brood - Day of Wrath#1 (September, 1996) - John Ostrander (writer), Bryan Hitch (pencils), Paul Neary (inks), Jaye Gardner (editor)
X-Men: Brood - Day of Wrath#2 (October, 1996) - John Ostrander (writer), Bryan Hitch & Sal Velluto (pencils), Paul Neary, Andy Lanning & Harry Candelario (inks), Jaye Gardner (editor)
Punisher III#12-13 (October-November, 1996) - John Ostrander (writer), Tom Lyle (pencils), Robert Jones (inks), Mark Bernardo (editor)
Punisher III#14 (December, 1996) - John Ostrander (writer), Darick Robertson (pencils), Jeff Albrecht (inks), Mark Bernardo (editor)
Punisher III#15-16 (January-February, 1997) - John Ostrander (writer), Tom Lyle (pencils), Robert Jones (inks), Mark Bernardo (editor)
First Posted: 12/10/2003
Last updated: 08/05/2013
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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