Real Name: Lachlan Patterson
Identity/Class: Terrestrial human mutant;
former agent/servant of Semijan-possessed Randall Shire;
former fortune teller
Group Membership: At least formerly Professor Randall Shire and his Miracle Makers carnival in Australia (notably himself, Randall Shire, and Wall)
Affiliations: Professor Berger,
Blaquesmith, George Washington "GW" Bridge and an unidentified S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Cable (Nathan Summers/Nathan Dayspring Askani'son), Beast (Hank McCoy), Clarity (and his agents Greg and Lea), Jean
Grey, Sheik Hamid;
a least formerly Randall Shire;
formerly mentally forced to assist the Semijan-possessed Randall Shire;
while not directly associated, his powers became part of the Collective
Enemies: Azazel, the Undying (Aentaros, Lothan, Semijan, Tiamet, Vaudois);
Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) for stripping his mutant powers/nature;
formerly the Semijan-possessed Randall Shire
Known Relatives: Mick Patterson (Wall, brother)
Aliases: None known
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York;
formerly mobile across unspecified portions of Australia
First Appearance: Cable II#79 (May, 2000)
Key possessed an incredible affinity for computers. He could hack
through virtually any security system, break any code, and open any
locked system, even ones of extraterrestrial origin.
He had access to all the world's information at his fingertips as long as he had access to computers and a link to the internet.
Whether it was via access to computers or not, he also had an aptitude for mathematics.
He was unable to disobey any
orders from Semijan/Shire, but his abilities and cleverness allowed him
to work around this, sending information undetected to others who might
thwart Semijan without directly disobey orders.
(Cable II#82 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12 entry) - Low-level mutant brothers Lachlan and Mick Patterson worked with Randall Shire, another low-level mutant, in the small carnival Professor Randall Shire and his Miracle Makers in Australia. They traveled and performed all over the continent.
II#82 (fb) - BTS) - One day, Semijan -- a member of the non-corporeal,
extraterrestrial beings known as the Undying -- possessed Shire, taking
complete control of his mind and body and boosting Shire's emotion/mind-manipulation powers to
heard Semijan/Shire speak became his slave, and whatever he wished became their
purpose, starting with Key and Wall; thousands in Australia followed.
Ambitious, Semijan led Shire to America, from which he
intended to conquer the world while preaching a message of peace, unity, and most of all harmony.
(Cable II#79 (fb) - BTS / Cable II#84 (fb) - BTS) - In this unbalanced situation, Azazel (the sentience of the starship that regulated the "game" amongst the Undying of who could kill the most beings) chose Aentaros, another member of the Undying, to execute Shire.
II#83 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Key became aware of Semijan/Shire's
plans to kill millions or even billions, but he was unable to directly
oppose this as he was forced to obey Semijan/Shire's orders.
II#79 (fb) - BTS) - When the Semijan-possessed Randall Shire prepared to speak before a large crowd at Manhattan's Madison Square Garden, Aentaros possessed family man Andy Carmody.
(Cable II#79 - BTS) - At Madison Square Garden, Cable contained Andy in a force field, but Aentaros caused Andy to activate a pair of hand grenades, killing Andy and allowing Aentaros to escape his form.
II#79) - At Semijan/Shire's request, Key noted that there were 18,975 attending his
lecture, which brought his monthly total to 74,327 slaves. Shire
countered that he preferred to think of them as his Harmonious Family,
but Key again noted them to be slaves.
Key subsequently informed Semijan/Shire of the man who had killed himself at the building's northeast entrance eight minutes before, blowing himself up with a pair of hand grenades, but that there were no other casualties almost as if he were surrounded by some invisible force field. When Semijan/Shire asked if he was suggesting mutant involvement, Key stated that he never suggested but only stated facts, but that the police believed a mutant to be involved. Key further added that, "more importantly, witnesses had reported that the man had said 'Aentaros' right before he had committed suicide."
correctly realized that Azazel had acted to prevent
Semijan from accumulating too much power, as things had been proceeding
too smoothly: Shire's body/mind along with the abilities of Wall and
Key, facilitating everything to fall into place for him. Semijan/Shire further noted that Aentaros
would be back in one body or another as he was very determined.
When an aide advised him that
there were five minutes until show time, Semijan/Shire prepared to speak to his
waiting crowd. Key noted, "poor suckers," but nonetheless assured Shire
that he would monitor all security camera and police units for anything
unusual. Semijan/Shire considered that all he
needed was a few more months, and this world was his.
(Cable II#80 - BTS) - Randall Shire/Semijan spoke at Madison Square Garden, apparently bringing all present under his control with his message of harmony.
II#81) - S.H.I.E.L.D. agent G.W. Bridge and his assistant met with Shire, intending to warn
him of the threat to his life. Key welcomed the two men into their residence, and as soon as they met Shire, they fell
under Semijan's influence and agreed to his instructions to provide large numbers of security with regular changes and to
bring some of their colleagues from the Defense Department.
After Bridge and his assistant departed, Semijan/Shire discussed with Key that Aentaros' attempt to stop him had delivered federal law enforcement into his hands and that within a week he would control the entire US government. With his accelerated schedule, Key projected that Shire would conquer the world in 23 days, and Semijan/Shire noted that thereafter, the killing would begin.
(Cable II#81 - BTS / Cable II#82 (fb) - BTS) - Cable subsequently enlisted his ally Blaquesmith to create a portable immobilizing trap he could use to keep the Undying paralyzed/trapped within its host for hours, no matter what it's strength.
(Cable II#83 (fb) - BTS) - Aentaros possessed Domino (Neena Thurman).
(Cable II#82) - When Semijan/Shire told Key and Wall that everything was going so well, and that it was too bad that they all must die, Key suggested that Shire might rule the world instead of destroying it. As Semijan considered that it wold be amusing and that if he ruled the world, he could change the rules, Key secretly sent information to Cable's associate Clarity on Shire's history without directly defying his master's wishes.
When Shire questioned what he was
doing, Key assured him that it was the usual, checking security,
monitoring news reports, and following orders. Shire further asked him
if he was obeying his every wish, and Key confirmed that, like
everyone, he was captivated by his voice and could not disobey his
orders. The phone then rang, and Key answered it....
II#82 - BTS) - Having survived possession by Aentaros after Cable
induced cardiac arrest and then resuscitated her, Irene Merryweather
noted that Randall Shire was also
possessed by one of the Undying.
Clarity had located Azazel, his associate Greg
further detailed to Cable information sent from Key regarding Shire.
II#82 - BTS) - Bridge (presumably the person who had called to arrange a meeting)
warned Shire/Semijan that a deadly mercenary was now after him.
Semijan/Shire refused to cancel his lecture, and he instructed Bridge
to increase security agents and to kill anyone who tried to stop him.
II#83 (fb) - BTS) - Blaquesmith supplied Cable with the weapon he sought as well as with "microscope
sound-shifters" for his ears, distorting the sound of Shire's voice,
ensuring that Cable would not be captivated by him.
II#83) - Shire asked Key if there was a lot of important people in the audience, and Key told him "More than you can count. A bunch of senators and congressmen. And some of the military's top brass."
After Shire headed toward the
stage with Wall, Key was approached by Clarity's agent Lea and Greg,
who had easily bypassed security. Introducing herself and her husband,
Lea noted that they worked for Clarity and that they could help him.
Lea told him to just watch and wait for now, as they had plans in place
for their associate (Cable) to stop Semijan/Shire that night.
Afterward, he would need Key's help; they asked Key to listen to his
plans and then make a decision.
II#83 - BTS) - When Domino attacked, Cable used
Blaquesmith's weapon to
immobilize/incapacitate Domino, with Aentaros trapped within her. Semijan/Shire then verbally
expressed his hatred for Aentaros/Domino, and his voice was amplified
via microphone. His message of hatred amplified by his own powers led
the crowd to both hate him and to be freed from his influence. Key was freed from Semijan/Shire's influence as well (see comments).
Wall put his hand over Shire's face, and Cable subsequently had Shire gagged.(Cable II#83) - Cable subsequently met with Wall and Key, and they agreed to help him against the Undying. When Cable was briefly distracted by a vision of his alternate reality sister Rachel Summers imprisoned by Gaunt, Key asked if he was OK, and Cable told him that there was another issue that he would sort out after they had dealt with the Undying.
II#84 - BTS) - Key and Wall joined Cable, along with X-Men Beast (Hank McCoy) and Jean
Grey, in traveling to the door of Azazel in
the Sinai desert and meeting with Professor Berger (who had found the
base and managed to upload information on it that was discovered by
Beast noted its door to be virtually indestructible, and neither Wall's
strength nor Cable's telekinetic power could open it. Jean sensed
five alien beings is suspended animation, as well as a sixth presence,
powerful psi-force broadcasting some sort of low-frequency alpha-waves,
strong enough to scramble a normal person's thought patterns; she
surmised this to be Azazel, and she blocked its mental attack from
them, although it continued to fight, increasing the pressure.
After calculating Azazel's true
size to be 500' in diameter, Key noted that while he had never
encountered a code he could not break, this one should be a challenge,
at least. Placing his hands on it, he identified its base twelve number
system, its complex encryption with a three prime system, and five-way
failsafe loop. Considering this very elegant, as Jean noted that Azazel
was summoning aid and Cable urged results, Key swiftly unlocked and
opened the gate (which had not been opened in 70,000 years).
Accepting the threats within and noting that they needed him (as "there is only one Key"), Key advised them that when the outer door was completely closed, the inner door would open. As it did, they appreciated this
to be the airlock of a spaceship. After Beast confirmed the beings in
stasis to be from different worlds, Cable added that they must be
former victims of the Undying, ones they liked.
Key confirmed that
Azazel was the starship's artificial intelligence, and that it's name
meant -- in the language of its creators, the Serayn -- "scorekeeper."
Jean then announced that their presence had accelerated some kind of
emergency recall program, and that those in stasis were returning to
II#84 - BTS) - As the Undying were recalled, Domino, Randall Shire, and others
were freed from the Undying's influence.
II#84) - Released from stasis, the Undying attacked the invaders; the
others fought them, allowing Key to continue to work on Azazel's
Via information downloaded from
Azazel, Key related the history of the Serayn and the Undying. As
Berger noted that they could not kill the creatures or they would just
be unleashed into new bodies, Beast further advised that these ancient
lifeforms that had been in stasis were rapidly decaying in the
atmosphere;as these forms would not last more than a few minutes,
after which the Undying would inhabit new bodies; therefore, leaving the Undying
alone was also not an option.
Having gained control of Azazel, Key adjusted its settings per Cable's request: As the Undying had called humanity insects, Azazel would now only be able to transfer the Undying into cockroaches; and not just for 10,000 years but until the last cockroach on Earth had died. Cable and Jean Grey formed a telekinetic shield to hold the Undying off until the transfer took effect.The Undying's hosts perished soon thereafter, and Key noted that he had locked the settings so that once they left, they could not be changed "for all eternity." Cable and Jean Grey then caused a rockslide to cover the door and prevent others from accessing Azazel.
Comments: Created by Robert Weinberg, Michael Ryan, and Andrew Pepoy.
Key was a cool character and a
critical component of defeating the Undying. It would be nice to see
him regaining his powers on Krakoa...
Key's real name was first revealed in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12's Undying entry (March, 2010).
As Shire's power/influence could not be spread across television, etc., Key must have at least heard Shire's voice amplified via the microphone, or possibly he was able to watch directly when Semijan's caustic vitriol feed those formerly under his control.
Key had brown hair in Cable II#79; I didn't see him in #80; he had blond hair in #81-82 (including flashbacks to his traveling carnival days); brown hair in #83; and white hair in #84. Perhaps this is due to lighting variation vs. frequent hair-dyeing; it would seem less likely to be a manifestation of his mutant power.
Some further discussion of the clarifications below:
The Key seen in Omega Flight is very unlikely to be the same one Cable encountered. The powers are similar, but not an exact match - OF Key is a techno path, able to control all machines; Cable Key has an affinity to computers, and no mention of the power extending to other machines. The costumes don't match either, as you note. And Cable's Key was an unwilling criminal under someone else's mind control until Cable freed him; he could have decided to stay in America (when he was Australian and had moved only while under mind-control) and become a costumed criminal, but it would be an out of character move on his part. But the real deal breaker is their relationships to Michael Pointer.
Cable's Key is among the mutants identified by SHIELD as being part of the Collective's energy signature in New Avengers#18, at the point when the Collective is possessing Pointer.
Omega Flight's Key was "fed" to Pointer after the Collective was expunged from him. If OF Key was the same as Cable's Key, he would have been depowered on M-Day and there'd be no powers for Pointer to feed off.
Could SHIELD have got it wrong? Certainly. We do know they
were wrong to list Wiz Kid as depowered. Could Cable's Key have been depowered
and then got new powers in time for Pointer to feed off him again? Sure, we saw
depowered mutants get repowered a few times. But both of these options are
speculative, with no evidence to suggest they actually happened, and given
the other aspects that don't match, Occam's Razor actually leans in the
Appendix's favor here. The Appendix only states there is "no known
connection" between them, so it's not wrong even if they are later
confirmed to be one and the same. There's currently not a connection
Profile by Snood.
Key should be distinguished from:
Cable II#79 (May, 2000) - Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Mark Powers (editor)
Cable II#80 (June, 2000) - Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Mark Powers (editor)
Cable II#81-82 (July-August, 2000) - Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Mark Powers (editor)
Cable II#83 (September, 2000) - Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Walden Wong (inker), Mark Powers (editor)
Cable II#84 (October, 2000) - Robert Weinberg (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Nathan Massengil & Andrew Pepoy (inkers), Mark Powers (editor)
House of M I#8 (December, 2005) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Olivier Coipel (pencils), John Dell, Scott Hanna, Tim Townsend (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
New Avengers I#18 (June, 2006) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Mike Deodato, Jr. (pencils), Joe Pimental (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
New Avengers I#19 (July, 2006) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Mike Deodato, Jr. (pencils), Joe Pimental (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z#12 (December, 2006) - Jeff Christiansen (head writer/coordinator), Michael Hoskin, Stuart Vandal, Al Sjoerdsma, Eric J. Moreels, Sean McQuaid, Chad Anderson, Mark O'English, Anthony Flamini, Ronald Byrd, Jacob Rougemont, Mike Fichera, Madison Carter & Chris Biggs (writers), Michael Short (assistant editor), Jeff Youngquist & Jennifer Grunwald (editors)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12 (March, 2010) - Jeff Christiansen (head writer/coordinator), Mike Fichera, Markus Raymond, Mike O'Sullivan & Madison Carter (coordination assistants), Stuart Vandal, Sean McQuaid, Michael Hoskin, Mike O'Sullivan, Ronald Byrd, Mike Fichera, Madison Carter, Rob London, Gabriel Shechter, Eric J. Moreels, David Wiltfong, Jacob Rougemont, Chris Biggs, Rich Green, Kevin Garcia, Jeph York, & Mark O'English (writers), Brian Overton (copy editor), John Denning & Alex Starbuck (assistant editors), Mark D. Beazley (editor, special projects), Jeff Youngquist & Jennifer Grunwald (editors)
First posted: 07/23/2023
Last updated: 07/30/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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