BOOK

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Alternate Reality (Earth-93060/"Ultraverse") human magic user (see comments)

Occupation: Mercenary

Group Membership: Quattro (Death Dance, Gate, Meat Hook)

Affiliations: The Book (see comments), Omega Team (Gun Nut/Ray, Needler, Trouble/Karl Morris), Rex Mundi;
   briefly allied with Exiles (Sienna Blaze-616, Juggernaut/Cain Marko-616, Reaper/Pantu Hurageb-616, Shuriken/Brittany Chien, Warstrike/Brandon Tark), Solution
(Drop Kick/Troy Wilde, Outrage/Vurk, Shadowmage/Aera, Tech/Lela Cho), Ultraforce (Black Knight/Dane Whitman-616, Ghoul/Jonathan Martin, Prime/Kevin Green, Prototype/Bob Campbell, Topaz), X-Men of Earth-616 (Banshee/Sean Cassidy, Beast/Hank McCoy, Bishop/Lucas Bishop, Jubilee/Jubilation Lee, Rogue/Anna Marie, Storm/Ororo Munroe, Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett)

Enemies: The Book (see comments), Alternate (Regina), Amber Hunt, Choice (Amy Tran Kwitny), Entity, Exiles (Sienna Blaze-616, Juggernaut/Cain Marko-616, Reaper/Pantu Hurageb-616, Shuriken/Brittany Chien, Warstrike/Brandon Tark), Hardcase (Tom Hawke), Mantra (Eden Blake), Phoenix Force, Prototype (James Ruiz), Solution (Drop Kick/Troy Wilde, Outrage/Vurk, Shadowmage/Aera, Tech/Lela Cho), Strangers (Atom Bob/Bob Hardin, ElectroCute/Candy, Grenade/Hugh Fox, Lady-Killer/Elena la Brava, Spectral/Dave Castiglone, Yrial, Zip-Zip/Leon Balford), Ultraforce (Black Knight/Dane Whitman-616, Ghoul/Jonathan Martin, Prime/Kevin Green, Prototype/Bob Campbell, Topaz), X-Men of Earth-616 (Banshee/Sean Cassidy, Beast/Hank McCoy, Bishop/Lucas Bishop, Jubilee/Jubilation Lee, Rogue/Anna Marie, Storm/Ororo Munroe, Wolverine/Logan/James Howlett)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Willing to travel almost anywhere on a mission, but base of operations remains unrevealed.

First Appearance: Solution#1 (September 1993)

Powers/Abilities: While holding the tome he is named for, Book can access a wide variety of abilities, in a manner that resembles spellcasting, albeit merely requiring basic gestures and, despite the book, no visible evidence of reading anything. Among the powers displayed, he can fire explosive energy bolts from his hands (though he needs a few minutes after each blast to recover his energies), turn himself invisible, detect life, create a whirlwind of rocks, and scry for information.

  He briefly wore a suit provided by Rex Mundi that enabled flight, communication with others wearing similar suits, and survival in the cold/vacuum of space.

Height: 5'6" *(by estimation)
Weight: 135 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown

History:
(Solution#1 (fb) - BTS) - Book was a youth who gained superhuman powers via what appeared to be a tome of enchantments.

(Solution#2 (fb) - BTS) - The youth however was unaware that the book was a living parasite that was slowly eating away his soul, and that eventually he would be nothing more than its mindless flesh puppet. One hint to its growing influence over him was his decision to give himself the codename Book, a subtle clue that the publication was the senior partner in their relationship.

(Solution#1 (fb) - BTS) - Under undisclosed circumstances Book teamed with three other superhumans ("Ultras") to form a lethally brutal mercenary group, Quattro (see comments).

(Solution#1 (fb) - BTS) - Rex Mundi hired Quattro to raid Russian military facilities and steal nuclear warheads for him, paying one million dollars apiece for each warhead recovered. Quattro successfully accomplished this at a number of locations.

(Solution#1) - At 3a.m. local time Quattro raided Kamchatka Base Alpha in Siberia, during which Book made a guard's head explode when they tried to shoot his team mate Death Dance in the back. With all opposition slain, Book informed his partners that once he dealt with the heavy security doors at the base's exterior they would be looking at a major payday.

   Some time later after delivering their stolen goods Quattro met with their employer to collect payment. However, as Book began to vocally espouse his plans to purchase a Ferrari Testarossa Rex Mundi warned them that another group of more scrupulous superhuman mercenaries, the Solution, had been hired to stop them. As he did so, he sensed that one of the Solution members was magically spying on their meeting.

(Solution#2) - Alerted, Book also sensed the spy (Shadowmage), just moments after she broke the connection. Rex Mundi advised Quattro that they should find and kill the Solution as soon as possible.

   Tracking the Solution to Tokyo, the Quattro members split up to individually ambush their Solution counterparts, with Book going after Shadowmage. Turning himself invisible he tried to catch her off guard while she was in a skyscraper hotel room remotely monitoring her compatriot Tech's business meeting with a potential client, but Shadowmage sensed him and used a spell of her own to dispel his invisibility. Cockily sure of himself despite this, Book fired an energy beam, but Shadowmage dodged aside so that his blast took out the wall behind her, inadvertently blocking Book's own team mate Gate's attack on Tech in the adjacent room.

  Recognizing Book's tome for what it truly was, Shadowmage offered to help Book survive if he told her where he had obtained the parasite, and when he rejected the offer she asked if he knew that his power source was a soul-eating parasite slowly devouring him. She warned him that there would soon be nothing left of the human, but promised that she could still save him if he handed over the book. Even as he insisted this was just her ruse to steal his prized possession, a tiny element of doubt crept into his mind as it occurred to him that he didn't know why he had chosen his specific codename. Reacting, the book seized control over its human patsy, angrily warning Shadowmage to be careful what it said to Book lest it eat her soul too; however, in doing so it also identified Shadowmage by her non-human species, providing her a clue as to its origins. Warning the book that if it knew what she was it should know better than to threaten her, Shadowmage fired off an energy beam, which book/Book countered with one of their own, causing the whole top of the skyscraper to explode.

(Solution#2 - BTS) - Book survived the explosion and escaped in the confusion, as did the other members of Quattro, each of whom lost their respective encounters.

(Hardcase#24 (fb) - BTS) - Each member of Quattro tried to keep their civilian lives ultra-secret and private from their clients. Despite this, Rex Mundi, always seemed to know everything about them. They never approached him about work, but he always found them whenever he had a task to give them, asking them to do "the kind of things so big, it would blow your mind."

(Break-Thru#1) - When an entranced Amber Hunt of the Exiles appeared glowing with energy over Paris Rex Mundi recognized the energies she was emitting originated from an Entity on the Moon that was tied to the origins of all Ultras' powers, and so began summoning his forces, including Book. Not wanting others to discover this secret he sent Quattro and another mercenary team, Omega Force, to Paris to eliminate Amber, but they found her defended by a number of heroes including Prime, Mantra, Prototype and the Strangers. Mundi's forces managed to hold them off while gradually weakening the force shields the oblivious Amber was generating to protect herself, but just before Book managed to break them the Solution arrived, backed by the heroes Hardcase and Choice, all sent by Mundi's foe the Alternate. Detecting Prime leaving the fight to fly towards the Moon, Mundi judged the Entity's discovery to be a more pressing concern and contacted his forces, ordering them to withdraw.

(Hardcase#6) - Red Mundi gathered both Quattro and another mercenary group, Omega Team, in his subterranean base, where he informed then that they were to retrieve an object from the Moon for him, and to kill anyone who got in their way.

(Hardcase#7) - Mundi explained that he would equip the group with a ship for the journey, and special suits that would conform to their needs, so they could survive in space, and told them they would each receive $1 Million upon delivering the item to him.

(Solution#4) - As their ship headed towards the Moon, Quattro and Omega Team detected another space vessel close behind. Confirming it was their foes from earlier, Mundi had his agents exit their vehicle to engage their enemies in a space battle, during which Book again battled Shadowmage. While the rest of Mundi's forces kept their pursuers distracted Gate teleported to the heroes' ship and released a nanovirus that began eating that craft. As soon as this was done, Mundi's forces raced back to their own ship and departed, leaving the heroes trapped in space with a rapidly vanishing ship.

(Break-Thru#2) - Reaching the Moon, Mundi's forces flew their vessel across the landscape while scanning for their target; Book cast a spell to detect life, and picked up something, not quite life as he understood it, but an intelligence nevertheless. Before they could follow up on this, their ship was attacked by Prime, and the mercenaries exited it to battle him. Massively outnumbered Prime nevertheless put up a valiant struggle, but after holding out for several minutes it seemed he would be defeated when help arrived in the form of the other heroes, who had made it to the lunar surface. While others took down the rest of the mercenaries, the speedster Zip-Zip of the Strangers disarmed Book, racing into him and causing him to lose hold of his precious spellbook. However the heroes then came to blows over what to do about the Entity, giving Mundi's forces time to recover. Catching the heroes off guard, Book hit some of them with a whirlwind of moon rocks, while his team mates and allies took down most of the others. Luckily Prime had also had time to recover, and he too rejoined the battle. Spotting their target, a rocklike outcrop with gems embedded in it, the mercenaries noticed it was glowing with increasingly bright light. Realizing it was about to explode Book ordered Gate to get them out of there, but after they fled the heroes managed to direct the energy release so that the destruction was minimal, though it did provide momentary glimpses of other worlds. Watching from a distance, Book told his team mates that he wanted to go home.

(Hardcase#8) - Rex Mundi's defeated forces fled back towards their ship, with Book at the front of the group, but reached where they had landed just in time to see their vehicle take off, stolen by their opponents. As he watched the vessel ascend Book asked Gate if could get them home, but the portal maker responded with uncertainty, pointing out how far Earth was from the Moon. Unsure of how long their suits could last and with no food or water the group desperately tried to radio Rex for help. After a few moments their employer responded to inform them that he could not help them as they had not achieved their goal and he had no other spaceship available; he did, however, promise that if they somehow made it back then he would let them keep their advances. Adding that their radios would no longer be able to reach them, he signed off and left them to their fates.

(Hardcase#8 - BTS) - By straining himself to the limit, Gate managed to open a portal back to Earth.

(Hardcase#8) - The group exited the portal to find themselves in the middle of a vast sea of sand under the blazing heat of a desert sun, a landscape that felt nearly as alien as the one they had just escaped. Book checked on Gate, who had passed out from the exertion, and confirmed he was merely unconscious. As he did so reams of smoke began to appear around his head; moments later the same happened to the others as the suits Rex Mundi had provided dissolved into air, prompting Omega Force's Trouble to express the suspicion that Mundi had betrayed them. Book however explained that his book had informed him the suits were only meant to last until their return to Earth. Without the suits' flight powers, the two teams realized they were stuck with no clue where they were nor which way to go to get out of the sand dune ocean they were caught in.

(Hardcase#24 (fb) - BTS) - The group eventually learned that they had exited Gate's portal in the middle of the Sahara Desert. When they eventually made it back to civilization the members of Quattro discovered that Rex Mundi had emptied their secret, personal bank accounts, taking not only the millions he had paid them (despite his prior assurances that they could keep their advances), but also the money they had accumulated from other jobs. As time passed they also discovered they weren't being offered any other mercenary jobs from anyone, something they suspected was also Rex Mundi's doing.

(Phoenix Resurrection: Genesis (fb) - BTS) - Despite this betrayal, Quattro later agreed to work for Rex Mundi again; whether he made restitution for his siphoning their bank accounts or simply threatened them back into service remains unrevealed.

(Phoenix Resurrection: Genesis) - Sensing the presence of the Phoenix Force, alien to his continuum, on Earth-93060, Rex Mundi summoned his agents, including Book, to locate and destroy the intruder.

(Phoenix Resurrection: Revelations) - Gate transported the agents - Gun Nut and the Quattro teammates - to New York City, where the Phoenix Force had bonded with Amber Hunt. However, despite them launching a consolidated simultaneous assault, she failed to even notice them, her mind literally on other things. Noting that their target was still standing, Meat Hook expressed his surprise to Book. Unsure what else they might try, Book responded that he wasn't hearing any better suggestions, and before anyone could come up with one Rex Mundi's agents were hit with a surprise attack from the newly arrived Solution. Moments later Hunt's teammates from Ultraforce, that team's new allies, Earth-616's X-Men, and then finally the Exiles, also joined the fight, during which Juggernaut rammed through Book, sending him flying. Their combined forces soon took down all of Mundi's agents.

   While the mercenaries were out of action events took a turn for the worse as Hunt managed to expel the Force, only for it to split into two and depart for parts unknown. Hunt informed everyone that she knew where the two parts were going, but that they would need everyone to stop what they planned to do. The mercenaries hesitated to ally with their recent foes until Hunt revealed that if not stopped the Phoenix would drive the Sun into the Earth, directed by an alien spaceship that had in ancient times been split into two parts and which had now summoned the Force to reunite those pieces. Amber directed Gate to teleport everyone to the part of the ship buried deep beneath the Earth under Bermuda, where they were attacked by the ship's robotic antibodies. Despite the tense situation, Book attempted to flirt with the teenage X-Man Jubilee, and though she rebuffed his comments she nevertheless saved his life during the battle. After the group managed to destroy the ship's mind, freeing the Phoenix Force, Book helped Gate direct their escape portal so that everyone reappeared on a cruise ship on the surface. From there they witnessed the Phoenix Force emerge from the sea, and Amber Hunt combined her powers with Gate's to open a portal sending it back into space. Rex Mundi's forces then beat a hasty retreat before the heroes remembered they were there.

Comments: Created by James Hudnall, Darick Robertson and John Lowe.

   It's arguably the case that he's being used by the magic and not a magic-user. The book is both an ally, providing Book with his powers, and an enemy, since anything that is slowly and secretly devouring your soul can't be considered a true friend.

   In Solution#1 text informs us that the assault on the Siberian base is Meat Hook's third professional job; this likely means that it's also the other Quattro member's third job, suggesting that they'd only recently come together, that Rex Mundi was their first client, and, since we know they raided multiple bases, that their first two jobs were also raids on Russian facilities. However, it's not a certainty - the team could have been around for a while, with Meat Hook being a recent recruit replacing a departed member.

   Before entering Kamchatka Base Alpha Book tells his team mates that he estimates it will contain about fifty nukes; however, at the end of the same issue Rex Mundi gives the team $20 Million, stating that it is one million per nuke they brought him. The wording gives the impression that this was the total number of nukes gathered from all the raids combined. Maybe Book massively overestimated how many nukes were being kept in Kamchatka, or maybe Mundi had already paid for that raid off panel, and the twenty mill was for a subsequent raid the readers didn't get to see.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Book has no known connections to:


The Book

  

The book was an entity that provided magical power but slowly ate the soul of the user. It was likely from somewhere on the Godwheel, given it recognized the species of someone who originated there.

 

--Solution#1-2, Hardcase#6-8, Solution#4, Break-Thru#1-2, Phoenix Resurrection: Genesis, Phoenix Resurrection: Revelations


images: (without ads)
Solution#2, p8, pan1 (main image)
Hardcase#6, p11, pan4 (headshot)
Solution#2, p13, pan1 (firing energy blasts)
Phoenix Resurrection: Revelations, p2, pan6 (full body image, porting in to fight Phoenix)
Solution#2, p15, pan1 (the book possessing Book) 


Appearances:
Solution#1 (September 1993) -
James Hudnall (writer), Darick Robertson (pencils), John Lowe (inks), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Solution#2 (October 1993) - James Hudnall (writer), Darick Robertson (pencils), Mike Miller (inks), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Hardcase#6 (November 1993) -
James Hudnall (writer), Scott Benefiel (pencils), Mike Christian & Jordi Ensign (inks), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Hardcase#7
(December 1993) - James Hudnall (writer), Scott Benefiel (pencils), Mike Christian (inks), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Break-Thru#1 (December 1993) - Gerard Jones (script), Gerard Jones, Mike W. Barr, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, James Hudnall, Tom Mason, George Perez, James Robinson, Len Strazewski (writers), George Perez (pencils), John Lowe (inks), Chris Ulm & Hank Kanalz (editor)
Solution#4 (December 1993) -
James Hudnall (writer), Darick Robertson (pencils), Barb Kaalberg (inks), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Break-Thru#2
(January 1994) - Gerard Jones (wruter), George Perez (pencils), Al Vey (inks), Chris Ulm & Hank Kanalz (editor)
Hardcase#8
(January 1994) - James Hudnall (writer), Scott Benefiel (pencils), Mike Christian (inks), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Phoenix Resurrection: Genesis (December 1995) - Ian Edginton & Dan Abnett (writers), Darick Robertson, Mark Pacella, Greg Luzniak & Rob Haynes (pencils), Tom Wegrzyn, Art Thibert, Lary Stucker, Bob Wiacek & Philip Moy (inks), Hank Kanalz (editor)
Phoenix Resurrection: Revelations (December 1995) - Ian Edginton & Dan Abnett (writers), Kevin West, John Royle, Randy Green & Rick Leonardi (pencils), Tom Wegrzyn, Philip Moy, Rick Ketcham & Jeff Whiting (inks), Hank Kanalz (editor) 


First Posted: 06/25/2023
Last updated: 06/25/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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