MULTITUDE

Real Name: Ward

Identity/Class: Humanoid synthetic being

Occupation: Soul Stone host;
    former researcher

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Captain America (Steve Rogers), John Cray, Iron Man (Tony Stark)

Enemies: The Sapien League

Known Relatives: Inapplicable

Aliases: "Kid," "Little Fella"

Base of Operations: Mobile throughout the USA

First Appearance: Avengers VII Annual#1 (October, 2021)

Powers/Abilities: Prior to hosting the Soul Stone, the synthetic lifeform Ward presumably possessed enhanced calculatory and data processing capabilities.

After being possessed by the Soul Stone consciousness, Multitude gained the ability to generate massive bursts of energy, which could tap into to generate semi-solid soul projections of other beings. The more projections he created, however, the less powerful and solid they became. The closer in proximity that he was the other beings hosting Infinity Stones, the more powerful he would become.

He was also capable of hovering in the air.

Height: Unrevealed (approximately 5'5")
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 135 lbs.)
Eyes: Yellow
Hair: None

History:
(Avengers VII Annual#1 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the synthetic lifeform Ward became curious about the concept of souls and decided to travel the country doing research on people of all walks of life in an effort to gain a better understanding of the concept. While sitting in a booth at the Marvel Gas diner, the synthetic lifeform Ward was confronted by a group of tough-looking men associated with the bigoted Sapien League about his robotic appearance.

(Avengers VII Annual#1) - Angering the men while attempting to explain how the term "robot" was slightly reductive despite being firmly rooted in the public consciousness and how he preferred to be called a "synthetic person," Ward was saved from the men by the arrival of truck driver John Cray, who beat the attackers before offering to have Ward travel with him to escape the Sapien League. Accepting Cray's offer, Ward soon began discussing his research into the concept of souls and whether synthetic beings like himself possessed souls with Cray, a discussion that continued into the Route 66 Burger restaurant, where the two stopped to eat. As the two continued into a discussion of Ward's preference for the term "synthetic person," Cray was happy to call Ward whatever he preferred. The Sapien League soon caught up the two at the restaurant and opened fire on the duo, hitting Cray. Before the League could kill Ward, however, his body became host to the cosmically powerful Soul Stone and Ward uncontrollably emitted a large burst of energy that knocked out the Sapien League members and caused extensive damage to the inside of the diner. At first unable to move, Ward began telepathically communicating with the Soul Stone's consciousness and learned that it hosted billions of souls that it wished to protect, having no concern for any other life.

    Refusing to be used as a tool or machine, Ward fought against the Soul Stone's consciousness and regained control of his body, at which point he immediately tried to get the injured Cray to safety. When he exited the diner, however, he was confronted by the Avengers Iron Man and Captain America, who had been drawn to the area by the Infinity Stone's energy signatures and wished for Ward to accompany them into their custody. Insisting that the Avengers had misunderstood the situation, Ward attempted to calm the situation but the Soul Stone consciousness, claiming that the Avengers would disassemble Ward, took over Ward's form once more, announcing itself as Multitude and attacking the Avengers with soul projections of various superhumans. During the battle, Ward noticed that the subsequent soul projections became weaker as more were created and he suggested the Soul Stone focus the projections into only two: one of Captain America and one of Iron Man.

    As Multitude continued having the soul projections battle the Avengers, Ward became worried about the dying Cray despite the Soul Stone's suggestions that he forget about Cray. When Ward threatened to retake control of his body and turn himself in the Avengers unless the Soul Stone helped Cray get medical attention, Multitude halted the fight to seek the Avengers' help in stabilizing Cray. Admitting that he would not go into Avengers custody, Multitude agreed to stop fighting if the Avengers would take care of Cray. The skeptical Avengers replied by asking what exactly the Infinity Stones wanted by taking humanoids as hosts and Multitude revealed that the Stones wished to become something more than what they had been. He then generated a soul projection of dragon-like creature and departed, leaving Cray to the Avengers. As he departed, the Soul Stone consciousness noticed that Ward seemed troubled and Ward admitted that he was unsure what to do next since his life's purpose to learn about souls had been fulfilled now that his consciousness hosted the billions of souls inside the Soul Stone. The Soul Stone then informed Ward that their next step would be locating the other Infinity Stone hosts, revealing that Multitude's power would grow in close proximity to other Infinity Stone hosts and only by being in that proximity would they learn what the final product of their synthesis would be and how they would change the world.

Comments: Created by Jed McKay and Travel Forman.

    I found it interesting that the Soul Stone-created images of the Avengers' enemies that Multitude first generated were that of Juggernaut, Blackheart, Magneto, Venom, Omega Red, Doctor Doom, Shuma-Gorath, Iron Man, Captain America and Wolverine, all characters that were playable in Capcom's Marvel video games from the 1990s & early 2000s. Perhaps Ward was a fan of the games?

    The Soul Stone mentioned playing hosts to thousands of souls and it seemed that Multitude was able to generate projections of souls within the Soul Stone. If that's truly the case, then how did the souls of the above mentioned characters wind up inside the Soul Stone, especially considering that those beings were alive and still in possession of their souls? Perhaps they are the souls of beings from other realities? Maybe the Soul Stone possessing Ward was from an alternate reality (by the looks of things, Reality-30847)?

Profile by Proto-Man.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Multitude
should be distinguished from:


John Cray

John Cray was a truck driver who happened upon the diner where associates of the Sapien League were about to assault the young synthetic being Ward. Goading the men into instead attacking him, Cray fended off the bigots and offered to have Ward travel with him. The two then began a conversation regarding what Ward preferred to be called instead of "robot" and they eventually stopped at the Route 66 Burger diner. Continuing their discussion inside, Cray and Ward were soon approached by members of the Sapien League, who opened fire on the duo, hitting Cray. When the League prepared to shoot Ward as well, Ward became host to the Soul Stone and emitted a large burst of energy, knocking the Sapien League members unconsciousness and unintentionally further injuring Cray. Drawn to the energy output, the Avengers Captain America and Iron Man arrived on the scene and attempted to take Ward into custody as Cray lay on the ground. Calling himself Multitude, Ward battled the Avengers until he realized Cray was dying and he worked with the Soul Stone's consciousness to end the fight, asking the Avengers to help save Cray's life as he departed on a dragon-like soul projection.

John Cray possessed a cybernetic prosthetic arm.


--Avengers VII Annual#1


Route 66 Burger

Route 66 Burger was a roadside diner that Ward and John Cray stopped at to eat. Continuing a discussion of what Ward preferred to called rather than "robot" inside, Ward and Cray were attacked in Route 66 Burger by the mutant-hating Sapien League, who shot through the windows to hit Cray. When Ward was subsequently made host of the cosmically powerful Soul Stone, he emitted a large burst of energy that caused extensive damage to the inside of Route 66 Burger and drew the attention of Avengers Iron Man and Captain America. Walking outside Route 66 Burger with the injured Cray, Ward was confronted by Iron Man and Captain America and a battle briefly ensued in the front parking lot of Route 66 Burger until Ward halted the fight to allow the Avengers to get Cray medical attention.

--Avengers VII Annual#1

images: (without ads)
Avengers VII Annual#1, p13, pan4 (Multitude, main image)
Avengers VII Annual#1, p1, pan1 (Multitude, headshot)
Avengers VII Annual#1, p16, pan2 (Multitude generating soul projections)
Avengers VII Annual#1, p4, pan1 (John Cray)
Avengers VII Annual#1, p11, splash page (Route 66 Burger)


Appearances:
Avengers VII Annual#1 (October, 2021) - Jed McKay (writer), Travel Forman (art), Nick Lowe (editor)


First posted04/22/2023
Last updated: 04/22/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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