Real Name: Lachlan Patterson

Identity/Class: Terrestrial human mutant;
    Australian citizen

Occupation: Unrevealed;
    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-shire-c84-azazel-gate

Powers/Abilities: 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.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 6')
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 180 lbs.)
Eyes: Solid white
Hair: Alternatively shown as brown, blond, or white (see comments)

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.

(Cable 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 astonishing heights.

    Anyone who 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.

(Cable 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.

(Cable 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.

(Cable 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-shire-c79-seated profile    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."

    Semijan/Shire 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.

(Cable 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.key-shire-c81-face

(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....

(Cable 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.

    After Clarity had located Azazel, his associate Greg further detailed to Cable information sent from Key regarding Shire.

(Cable 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.

(Cable 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.

(Cable 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.

(Cable 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.key-shire-c84-azazel

(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. 

(Cable 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 Clarity) and Sheik Hamid. 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, a 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 life quickly.

(Cable II#84 - BTS) - As the Undying were recalled, Domino, Randall Shire, and others were freed from the Undying's influence.

(Cable II#84) - Released from stasis, the Undying attacked the invaders; the others fought them, allowing Key to continue to work on Azazel's systems.

    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.

(House of M I#8/New Avengers I#19 (fb) - BTS) - Following the events of M-Day, in which the reality-manipulating Scarlet Witch depowered most of Earth's mutants, the expelled energy of the depowered mutants -- which included Randall Shire -- had nowhere to go and erupted into space a short distance away from the planet Earth. These energies formed into a Collective.

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 known.

Profile by Snood.

should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads)
Cable II#79, pg. 14, panel 1 (seated at computer);
    #81, pg. 13, panel 4 (face, blond hair);
    #82, pg. 15, panel 1 (full-ish, in carnival);
    #84, pg. 4, panel 5 (outside Azazel's gate; white hair);
       pg. 8, panel 1 (working Azazel's system);

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 posted07/23/2023
Last updated: 07/30/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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