Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Unspecified human sub-species (see
comments), unconventional technology user;
late Hyborian Era - Modern Era (3000 BC, 14th century, 17th century, World War II, and pre-modern era specifically confirmed)
former soldier, thief, mercenary, and warlord
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Afrikaa, Black Panther (T'Challa), Black Panther (unspecified ones), Colonel Malcolm Ksweyzu, Emily Hall, Higher Path, Irudef, Kaori Tamayoshi and family, Mys-Tech, Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida)
Enemies: Jonathan Cardinal, Cardinal Technologies, Death's Head (Minion), the Hand, Horem, Hydra, the Horde, Mephisto, People's Hope, Raizo Kodo, Visigoth (Forgiven member), Major Ashur Zutu
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Robert Hyde and many others (see comments)
Base of Operations: Loch Lanark, Scotland, United Kingdom
First Appearance: Black Axe#1 (April 1993)
Powers/Abilities: While Black Axe looks human, and is of terrestrial origin, he apparently belongs to another unspecified race (see comments). He has peak human agility and reflexes, enhanced human durability, speed, and strength, and metahuman stamina sufficient to sustain him for several days with minimal rest or food. He has an enhanced sense of smell and is able to detect familiar opponents from a block away. Black Axe is alleged to be immortal and incapable of death through old age, and he is protected from most conventional injury through a combination of battle armor and his own innate durability; however, it would appear he can be injured and perhaps even killed by attacks of sufficient intensity. In the event that Black Axe is injured, he can rely on his super-computer Hephaestus Four which is hidden away at his castle in Scotland and has an extensive medi-centre.
Over the course of his career, Black Axe has accumulated vast wealth, and has an extensive collection of highly advanced technology, some of which he may have constructed himself. In particular, Black Axe wears a state of the art battle armor constructed of unknown metals (possibly Wakandan Vibranium (see comments)) that augments his strength further (to Class 10 at least). The armor also provides him with invisibility and various sensors. These sensors can be used to analyze various attacks and develops countermeasures or, when wearing the helmet, to augment his vision. His primary weapon is a giant high-tech battle-axe over six feet in length. The axe's weapon systems also provide energy blasts or standard ballistics for distance attacks. For added protection it can generate a force field that was powerful enough to protect him from Mephisto's blasts. It also provides Black Axe with the power of teleportation. Black Axe tends to only use short range teleportation as long range (such as from Moreau Atoll to Scotland) teleportation can drain the axe's energy, and he can only teleport a maximum of two other passengers with him.
Black Axe has become adept at faking his death and then creating new identities for himself in order to keep his secret. After 10,000 years or more of practice he is a master of his profession, and has a reputation as the ultimate assassin, the ultimate mercenary. Although he specializes in the use of his axe, Black Axe has extensive knowledge of various combat techniques and has experience in campaigns without number. As such it is highly likely he is a master of all forms of combat. In particular he is skilled in the use of acrobatics, bladed weapons, guns, martial arts, oriental weapons, and is also a superb marksman. He also appears to be of genius intellect. While it is never explicitly stated that he created the advanced technology that he uses, he certainly understands it well enough to be capable of repairing and modifying it.
(Black Axe#1(fb) - BTS) - Black Axe was born under unspecified circumstances over 10,000 years prior to the modern era, shortly after the Moreau Atoll was formed (see comments).
(Black Axe#2(fb) - BTS, #3 (fb)) - Across the centuries, Black Axe sought the primal challenge of combat in countless campaigns. Over the years he has been a footsoldier, warlord, and a thief.
(Black Axe#4 (fb)) <over three thousand years ago> - In ancient Egypt, Black Axe was approached by Irudef, the secretary of the Pharaoh Amentah, to keep an eye on the thief, Horem. Horem had been hired by Irudef to steal powerful gauntlets from the dead Pharaoh's tomb. The thief took the gauntlets for himself, and as he put them on he felt a surge of power. Black Axe stepped from the shadows, explained his presence, and warned Horem to return the gauntlets. Using the enhanced strength the gauntlets had given him, Horem attacked Black Axe and buried him under fallen rubble. Black Axe punched his way out, apparently unharmed. Horem attacked again, overpowering Black Axe with his superior strength. Black Axe managed to escape the thief's powerful grip, and rolled to safety. Horem's power began to fade, and he realized the life was being sucked out of him. Black Axe explained that the gauntlets were suicide weapons developed at a desperate stage in an ancient war. They increased the wearer's strength by feeding of their life force, and if worn to long would drain a person dry. Rather than let Horem suffer an agonizing death, Black Axe put him out of his misery. Black Axe had heard rumors about Amentah and wanted to learn who he was, and where he had come from. He put the gauntlets on himself, and used them to break into Amentah's sarcophagus. Amentah's body was nowhere to be found. The only clues to his true nature, apart from the gauntlets, were the statues of Osiris and Isis.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Update 2010 #4) - At an unspecified point Black Axe convinced the Black Panther, ruler of Africa's insular Wakanda, to sell him some of the country's rare Vibranium to incorporate into his axe.
(Black Axe#7 (fb) -BTS) - Black Axe encountered plague and the undead at some unspecified point in the fourteenth century (see comments).
(Black Axe#2 (fb) - BTS) - Black Axe fought during the age of war in Japan as ambitious feudal warlords battled for power, encountering Nobunaga, Hideyoshi ,and Tokugawa, the three "great unifiers" who laid the foundations of modern Japan. Tokyo, formerly Edo, became the seat of the shogun's power from 1603 onwards. At some point Black Axe befriended the ancestors of Kaori Tamayoshi, a family with a long history of excellence in the art of sword-making who would also become sword smiths to the Yashida clan. He also encountered the Hand and they became bitter enemies.
(Black Axe 3 (fb)) - <1861-1865> Black Axe was active during the American Civil War.
(Black Axe#2 (fb) - In 1936, Black Axe did some business with the Techno-Wizards of the Mys-Tech Corporation over an overpriced Tea-Chest in the desert.
(Black Axe#1 (fb) - BTS) - <1939 onwards> Black Axe was active during World War II, operating out of London.
(Black Axe#1 (fb)) <circa 1941 (see comments)> - As Robert Hyde, Black Axe rescued a young orphan named Emily whose parents had been killed during a bombing raid on London.
(Black Axe#1 (fb) - BTS) <approximately fifty years before Black Axe#1 (see comments)> - Black Axe retired as an assassin, believing there was nothing left to test his capabilities.
(Black Axe#1 (fb)) <Approximately thirty two years before Black Axe#1 (see comments)> - Black Axe faked the death of his Robert Hyde identity. The papers reported his accidental "death," and his Scottish castle was left to Emily. Ever since that time, she kept the castle exactly as instructed in his will.
(Black Axe#1 (fb)) - Mys-Tech contacted Black Axe and offered him a contract on a Hydra scientist named Vernon Mendel who had supposedly discovered an "immortality gene," a genetic key to halt the ageing process.
(Black Axe#1) - During his first mission to the Moreau Atoll, Black Axe encountered a troop of Hydra soldiers, dispatching them with extreme efficiency. The men were ordered to withdraw to their compound so their automatic defense systems could deal with him. However, his cloaking technology enabled him to side-step the weaponry, and he by-passed the quantum key locking system. Hydra released the Horde, monstrous creatures bred for combat, but Black Axe tore into them like they weren't there. However, the action drew the attention of Death's Head. The cyborg took Black Axe by surprise, sending him reeling with an energy blast.
(Black Axe#2 (fb)) - Death's Head seriously wounded Black Axe, and damaged his Axe. Despite all his combat techniques and experience, Black Axe could only think of one thing... escape.
(Black Axe#1) - After an intense beating, Black Axe teleported to his castle in Scotland. He was found by the castle's housekeeper, Emily, who helped him inside. Black Axe spent eight days in the medi-centre of Hephaestus Four healing from his wounds. He then began the task of repairing his Axe. Over a week later, the repairs still incomplete, he was attacked by the Sisters of Grace. His abilities were still impaired from his healing, and the Sisters managed to gain the upper hand. Fortunately, Mys-Tech had only sent them to be reassured that the contract on Mendel hadn't been abandoned. After they left, Black Axe decided to take a trip to Japan in order to mend both his axe and his broken spirit. He boarded a plane for Narita airport.
(Black Axe#2 (fb)) - Black Axe spent a month in Japan meditating, fasting and training.
(Black Axe#2) - The Hand attempted to take the Great Sword, a supposedly perfect sword of mythical status, from Kaori Tamayoshi. To this end they revived the superhuman ninja known as Kage, and provided some of their warriors with Mandroids armor. Black Axe helped oppose the Hand, and their battle attracted the attention of the National Defense Force. The Japanese Prime Minister authorized the use of a team of operatives wearing high-tech battle armor, called Counterforce, to investigate. They were accompanied by Sunfire, who initially assumed Black Axe to be an enemy, but Kaori convinced him otherwise. Together they put a stop to the Hands plans. Out of gratitude, the Prime Minister provided Black Axe with customs clearance to make his return flight a little easier. Kaori and Sunfire accompanied him to the airport to say goodbye. Before he could board the plane, two Hand operatives attempted to assassinate him, disguised as customs officers. They failed miserably.
(Black Axe#3) - Black Axe returned to Moreau Atoll to find Death's Head unconscious. The cyborg quickly recovered, and blamed him for an attack on the island. Before Black Axe could persuade him otherwise, they came under attack from the remnants of the Horde. Once the creatures had been dealt with, Black Axe compared notes with Death's Head. It transpired that the island had been attacked by demonic creatures. Black Axe was more interested, however, in completing his contract and concluding his business with Death's Head than finding the creatures. His plans for a rematch with the cyborg were disturbed when he fell into a dimensional portal. He found himself in Mephisto's realm. Mephisto explained that he had placed the idea for the "immortality gene" in Mendel's mind in order to amuse himself with the antics of the Mys-Tech board. Hoping to make Black Axe one of his own agents, Mephisto reached into the immortal assassin's mind but decided he was of no use. Black Axe was thrown to some of Mephisto's lesser demons to be tortured. He summoned his Axe to him and began attacking the demons with help from Death's Head, who had followed through the dimensional portal. Mephisto's mystic blasts couldn't penetrate the Axe's force field, and in a rare moment of fear the master of lies teleported Black Axe and Death's Head away. Black Axe found himself in the Antarctic, and the sudden temperature change popped one of his armor's thermocouples. He reported the entire affair to the Mys-Tech. When they offered payment, he claimed he had already been paid. Taking the contract had reminded him that challenges must be sought, not waited upon. Finally Black Axe was ready to come out of his self-imposed retirement.
(Black Axe#4) - While Black Axe was relaxing at his Scottish castle, he remembered his time in Egypt and began pondering what had become of Amentah.
(Black Axe#5 (fb) - BTS) - Using his Robert Hyde identity, Black Axe applied to Prince T'Challa, the Black Panther, to buy an unspecified quantity of Vibranium. T'Challa approved of the sale. Black Axe then traveled from Wakanda to Mohannda to meet his prospective employer, Colonel Malcolm Kswyuzu. The Colonel needed protection from his enemies, in particular Cardinal Technologies. Cardinal had been supplying both sides of the conflict in Mohanda with advanced weaponry, and Kswyuzu knew they would oppose his peace efforts.
(Black Axe#5) - As Black Axe was guided through the remains of Mohannda's capital he briefly encountered Afrikaa. The following day, Black Axe met with the Colonel. While Black Axe was busy checking the security arrangements, the Colonel was shot and killed by the armored Cardinal's Guard. When Afrikaa stumbled across the scene, the Cardinal's Guard shot him too. Black Axe arrived to see the Guard standing over the fallen Afrikaa.
(Black Axe#6) - Black Axe managed to teleport Afrikaa to safety... taking part of one of the Guardsmen with them. Black Axe examined the Guardsman's armor and found a vital piece of evidence; a 'black box' recording of the Cardinal's Guard killing Ksweyzu. They were found by Hani and her agents who led them into the Heart of Afrikaa, which healed Afrikaa. Meanwhile, the Black Panther had been kidnapped by Cardinal's men and a shipment of his Vibranium stolen. The Black Panther broke free from Cardinal, but fell from a great height and was seriously wounded.
(Black Axe#7) - Afrikaa found the wounded Black Panther, and had his people heal him. T'Challa awoke three days later, by which time his apparent 'death' was being reported on the news. Due to Cardinal's manipulations the general public suspected that the People's Hope were responsible for killing T'Challa and stealing the Vibranium. Wakanda's defense forces had mobilized and stationed themselves along the Mohanndan border, and their militia had already had some small skirmishes. Realizing that Cardinal wanted to draw Wakanda into the conflict in order to add them to their client list, Black Panther agreed to help Afrikaa and Black Axe. While Afrikaa and T'Challa distracted the Cardinal's Guard, Black Axe showed Chief Zutu the recording of Ksweyzu's assassination. Cardinal and his men escaped, but Zutu realized he had been manipulated and ordered a cease-fire.
(Revolutionary War: Alpha#1 (fb)) - The Mys-Tech board found a way out of their immortality pact. In order to do so they planned to sacrifice the entire population of Great Britain to Mephisto. Black Axe joined many others in fighting the board at the battle of London Bridge. Mys-Tech were apparently stopped and left trapped in Hell.
(X-Men III#25 (fb) - BTS) - Black Axe learned of a sizeable bounty placed on the head of Raizo Kodo, an ancient Japanese vampire who led the Forgiven, a cadre of undead who had forsaken feeding off humans. He decided to pursue the challenge.
(X-Men III#27 (fb) - BTS) - The bounty had been placed by Brad of the Mystikos vampire sect and Alyssa of the Siren vampire sect.
(X-Men III#25) - Black Axe and other mercenaries arrived separately but almost simultaneously on an island in the South China Sea where the Forgiven had set up a temporary base. His arrival was witnessed on security monitors by the Forgiven and some of the X-Men.
(X-Men III#26) - The X-Men and Forgiven split up to take down each attacker individually. Atop a cliff, Black Axe was confronted by the Forgiven's strongest member, Visigoth, a foe who boasted he had fought against the Roman Empire. Black Axe sliced the comparative youth's chest with his blade, and an enraged Visigoth tried to strike back with his huge, spiked mace. Black Axe dodged, but the mace split the ground under them, and the cliff edge fell into the sea, carrying the combatants with it.
(X-Men III#27) - Visigoth ended the battle by striking Black Axe a solid blow with his mace, sending the mercenary flying and rendering him unconscious.
Comments: Created by Simon Jowett, Edmund Perryman and Rod Ramos for Marvel UK.
"They tell me these islands are called the Moreau Atoll. Fifteen thousand years ago, two continental plates ground against each other and forced to the surface lava from the Earth's molten core. The lava cooled and these islands were born. Fifteen thousand years ago. A little before my time. But only a little."
The above is Black Axe's opening speech from issue 1. This give us an idea of how long Black Axe has been around. Black Axe has apparently used many different identities over the years. While his Robert Hyde identity "died" when Black Axe retired, it was this identity he resumed upon his return. Mephisto claims that Black Axe is "of this planet, yes, but of a more ancient lineage than its present inhabitants." While no name was given to this "lineage" (my own personal suggestion: Homo Immortus?!?) there were pretty strong hints that the character Amentah from issue 4 was of the same origins when Black Axe found his tomb empty. Amentah had statues of Osiris and Isis in his tomb, symbolizing death and rebirth. While Amentah may have chosen those statues simply because he lived in ancient Egypt and appreciated the symbolism, I wonder if perhaps he knew more about his origins than Black Axe. A connection to the Egyptian pantheon (or any other for that matter) might explain their immortality. It's also interesting to note that Black Axe calls his computer Hephaestus Four (initially spelt Hephastus, presumably by mistake), presumably after the Olympian god Hephaestus.
The flashback of Black Axe finding Emily as a child appears to show London at the height of the Blitz, hence I set it at around 1941. Black Axe being around at the time of the Blitz wouldn't be topical due to his advanced age so I have left World War II in as part of his history as it is clear he was meant to have been active during the war and living in London. Black Axe had supposedly been in retirement for "half a century" prior to taking Mys-Tech's contract, which in 1993 when the story came out would have meant he retired in 1943 shortly before the war ended. Considering the sliding timescale his retirement could now be considered to have been shortly after the end of World War II, which seems more likely... why would he give up before war was over? He may be an assassin but he does seem to have a conscience and a code of honor. However, there has been no indication that Emily's aging is abnormal so her appearance during the Blitz may be topical. She appears to be over fifty years old (at least!), so she should always have been found shortly before Black Axe retired. As no mention was made of the date that they met in the comics, the bombing that killed her parents could be put down to terrorist attacks as opposed to the Blitz. However, from Emily's involvement onwards I've assumed that things have got caught up in the sliding timescale. Emily says it was 1961 when Robert Hyde was reported dead, and that thirty years have passed between then and his return. Black Axe corrects her, saying that it's been thirty two years (which is consistent with the story being printed in 1993). I can see no reason why that thirty two year gap can't remain constant regardless of the sliding timescale.
The fourteenth century flashback from refers to the next issue box from #7 which read 'Next: Plague and the undead in the fourteenth century'. While #8 was never printed, to the best of my knowledge, I assume this was to be another flashback episode that might have revealed more about his origins. Sadly it was not to be.
Perhaps Black Axe, Amentah and Sky-Walker were from the same kingdom that the Golden Age Hero Dynaman was from---Korug. Seeing that Dynaman was alive centuries after his Daring Mystery Comics#6 (9/40) story took place: see Avengers/Invaders#12 (8/09) during World War 2. So Dynaman is either also immortal or time travel, resurrection or suspended animation was used to get him to the 1940s.
There are two other possibilities to consider, regarding his apparent super-longevity.
Of course, if I were a writer for Marvel, I'd combine
those two possibilities. Make him an X-ternal who somehow became acquainted
with the Thena's cousin, Gilgamesh! The latter could have introduced him
to Phastos; the three of them became good friends; yada-yada-yada.
Afrikaa's first name was revealed in Black Axe's profile in OHotMU Update 2010#4. Zutu's first name was revealed in the same profile.
The sword that the Hand sought in that issue is in mythology the same sword they sought in the Daredevil Ninja series.-- John McDonagh
KUSANAGI-NO-TSURGURI - legendary magical sword found by Shinto god Susanoo and given to Amaterasu, later used by Yamato-Take, known for its use to cut down a field of burning grass, sought in modern times by Kage and other members of the Hand from a family that made swords for Yoshida clan, later stolen by the Hand, recovered by Chaste + Daredevil
-- [Black Axe#2], Daredevil : Ninja#3 ((Black Axe#2 (fb, bts), Daredevil: Ninja#3(fb), 3
The Black Panther's dialogue seemed to imply that he knew Robert Hyde and Black Axe were one and the same at the time he applied for the Vibranium. There is nothing to rule out the possibility that they had met before. We were never told why Hyde wanted the Vibranium. Also, we were never told what metals were used to construct Black Axe's armor. Considering his advanced age, Black Axe may well have had encounters with the Wakandan civilization even before T'Challa was born - and his handbook entry confirms this. Perhaps future writers of Black Panther might touch on this.
According to Death's Head (Minion), the historians of Earth 2020 had spent ages tracking Black Axe down. These historians claimed there was evidence he'd lived for thousands of years, was unstoppable and uncatchable; an assassin without equal. They also claimed he had retired because there was no one left to challenge him. Presumably Black Axe's counterpart from Earth 2020 either remained in retirement, or the resumption of his career didn't attract much attention.
Black Axe, aka Robert Hyde has no known connections to
Emily Hall has no known connections to:
Hephaestus Four has no known connections to (but is presumably named after)
Emily was a young orphan, taken in by Black Axe in his Robert Hyde identity after she was orphaned in a bombing raid on London. She relocated to a castle near Loch Lanark in the Scottish Highlands. The castle was left to her in Robert Hyde's will, and she kept it exactly as per his instructions. Shortly after his 'death', Emily found the secret door to Black Axe's computer room. She familiarized herself with much of the technology there, but made sure none of the household staff were ever allowed down there. One night, during a terrifying storm, Emily found Black Axe outside on the lawn having been beaten badly by Death's Head (Minion). Recognizing him as Robert Hyde, she took him to the computer room. Emily waited while Black Axe spent eight days being healed by Hephaestus Four. When he awoke, he began repairs to his axe. Emily tried to encourage him to eat with little success. A week later the castle was infiltrated by the Sisters of Grace, who managed to capture her. Fortunately, their mission was only to remind Black Axe of a contract he had taken from Mys-Tech and Emily came to no harm. She is an adept housekeeper, and has trained herself in the use of the advanced handguns and scanner technology at Black Axe's castle.
legendary magical sword found by Shinto god Susanoo and given to Amaterasu, later used by Yamato-Take, known for its use to cut down a field of burning grass, sought in modern times by Kage and other members of the Hand from a family that made swords for Yoshida clan, later stolen by the Hand, recovered by Chaste + Daredevil
-- Black Axe#2], Daredevil : Ninja#3 ((Black Axe#2 (fb, bts), Daredevil: Ninja#3(fb), 3
Black Axe#3, p2, pan1
Black Axe#4, p1, pan4
Black Axe#4, p12, pan3
Black Axe#1, p7, pan2
Black Axe#3, p13, pan1
Black Axe#3, p13, pan2
Black Axe#3, p13, pan3
Black Axe#1, p12, pan5
Black Axe#1-7 (April-October, 1993) - Simon Jowett (writer),
Edmund Perryman & Art Nichols (#4) (pencils), Rodney Ramos (inks)
X-Men III#25-27 (Feb-Apr 2012) - Victor Gischler (writer), Jorge Molino (artist #25, pencils & co-inks #26, co-pencils #27), Cam Smith (co-inks, #26), Salva Espin (co-pencils & co-inks, #27), Lorenzo Ruggiero (co-inks, #27)
Revolutionary War: Alpha#1 (March, 2014) - Andy Lanning & Alan Cowsill (Writers), Rich Elson (Artist), Antonio Fabela (Color artist), Stephen Wacker (Editor)
Last updated: 05/12/14
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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