Real Name: Possibly Max Rocker (see comments)
Identity/Class: Human mutant
Occupation: Professional gladiator
Group Membership: Gladiators
Affiliations: Dazzler (Alison Blaire), Alexander Flynn, Ivich, Hugo Longride, Magma (Amara Aquilla), Shadow King (Amahl Farouk, possessing Karma (Xi'an Coy Mahn)), Sunspot (Roberto Da Costa)
New Mutants (Cannonball (Sam Guthrie), Magik (Illyana Rasputin), Magma (Amara Aquilla), Sunspot, Warlock, Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair)),
Rachel Summers, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde)
(formerly) Beast (Hank McCoy)
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: None known
Base of Operations: 'Underground' Mutant Theater, Hollywood, California
First Appearance: Beauty and the Beast#1 (December, 1984)
Powers/Abilities: Rocker has the appearance of a humanoid horse, including hooves for his feet, a horse's tail, and an unusual tan-ish color for his body. He has the strength of a normal human who engages in intense regular exercise (or possibly slightly enhanced strength). He has also developed a fighting style that takes full advantage of his hooves as lethal weapons. He is also proficient in the use of both swords and shields (his shield is shaped like a horseshoe). He has been known to use a customized flail that has horseshoes instead of spiked balls tied to the ends of the lashes in some of his battles.
History: Max Rocker's early history is unknown. Presumably he was like most mutants when they first gained their powers and started to gain horse-like features when he hit adolescence. At some point he joined up with Alexander Flynn and Hugo Longride and became a member ot the Gladiators.
(Beauty and the Beast#1) - Max Rocker attended a party at a Hollywood mansion where Alexander Flynn first met Alison Blaire (the Dazzler). Over a week later he attended another party at a Hollywood soundstage where he formally instructed himself to Blaire and secretly drugged her drink with pills that made her lose control of her light powers. He had a confrontation with the Beast (Hank McCoy) but was told to "get lost" by Hugo Longride after he was secretly paid for drugging Blaire. Next morning Rocker was walking around his apartment looking at his collection of horse statues as a cure for his hangover when the Beast attacked him. The Beast quickly defeated Rocker and forced him to call Longride to find out the current location of Dazzler.
(Beauty and the Beast#2) - After fighting in the"'war" in the Arena, Rocker went backstage with Flynn in an attempt to convince Dazzler that the death she witnessed was an accident. While Flynn used his hypnotism power on her, Rocker secretly drugged her drink to make her lose control of her powers and help convince her to remain with the Gladiators rather than leave with the Beast.
(Beauty and the Beast#3) - Rocker was one of Gladiators practicing in the gym who witnessed Dazzler's practice bout with Horns and who afterwards congratulated her on a superb performance. Later he joined Daz and Ivich back in the gym to show them his new scar and to give a weapon (a flail?) to Ivich, who then invited Rocker to practice fighting her with it. That afternoon he and Ivich punished Horns for his killing the other Gladiator the week before and warned him of what would happen to him if he broke the Gladiator's Code again. That night after the other Gladiators killed Longride both Rocker and Ivich stood back on the sidelines and decided that while they didn't like what had just happened, they had no choice but to wait and see what Flynn was going to do next.
(Beauty and the Beast#4) - Later that night Rocker and two other Gladiators accompanied Flynn when he went down to the Theater's dungeon to taunt Dazzler and Beast about his plans to invade Latveria. Dazzler tried to plead with Rocker with her eyes to somehow stop Flynn but he was unable to help her then. Later Rocker and Ivich were with Flynn in his war room discussing Flynn's mental state when Flynn realized they were still in the room with him. After angrily being dismissed by him, Rocker decided that Flynn's talk of "natural selection" and "cream of the crop warriors" were too much like Hitler's eugenics theories and decided to oppose Flynn, but he was unable to convince Ivich to join him. Rocker then went down to the dungeon and secretly released both Dazzler and Beast from their chains, then aided them, Link, and Poltregiest in their fight against Flynn. Ivich, and the other Gladiators in the Areana. When Flynn was defeated and lost the support of the other Gladiators, Rocker decided to start his own version of the Gladiators, but with no fights that normally went to the death of one of the fighters. Ivich and the rest of the Gladiator joined him in this endeavor.
(New Mutants I#29 - BTS) - Almost immediately the Shadow King (Amahl Farouk, in the body of Karma (Xi'an Coy Mahn)) took control of Flynn and the Gladiators and became the new leader of the organization, using Flynn as the public face of the Gladiators while hiding his own involvement in the organization. (see comments)
(New Mutants I#29) - Rocker and Axe took on Sunspot and Magma, respectively, in the Arena. The fight was interrupted by Magneto when he came seeking allies in the fight against the Beyonder. Rocker watched as Magneto left with Cannonball, Magik, Dazzler, and Lila Cheney and left Sunspot and Magma behind when they choose to stay with the Gladiators.
(New Mutants I#30) - Max and Ivich welcomed Dazzler back into the Gladiators. He asked Alison to prove herself by drinking a flask dry that contained a stronger version of the drug he had given her once before. A few days later while manning the front desk Max gave a potential new techie named Cat (an undercover Shadowcat) a broken radio module as a test of her skills. He then watched Dazzler first stun then incapacitate her opponents in the Arena. He was present the next day in the Gladiators' training gym when Magma and Sunspot tried to give Dazzler a fright by almost frying her and tossing her high in the air, where she was caught by Lexi.
(New Mutants I#31) - Rocker was among the Gladiators who followed Ivich into the Arena to avenge what they thought was the death of her friend Dazzler, but was among the last of the Gladiators to fall before the New Mutant's fighting skills. His current whereabouts and activities are unknown.
Comments: Created by Ann Nocenti (writer), Don Perlin (Pencils), and Kim DeMulder (inks).
In the B&B issues Rocker is not drawn with a horse's tail. In the NM issues, he is drawn with a horse's tail. Best explanation is that Rocker has one but sometimes tapes it down a leg when he feels like it.
Though Chris Claremont clearly intended to ret-con the Shadow King in as the main power behind the Gladiators from their beginnings, that does not jive with how the Gladiators were seen in the Beauty and the Beast issues. The best place to put the Shadow King's takeover is in-between the two series, influencing Max Rocker and the other Gladiators to continue seeing Flynn as their leader despite what happened at the end of B&B #4. Though a good argument can be made that Farouk actually started his takeover in the early part of B&B #3, given that that was when Flynn started his whole "conqueror" bit.
New Mutants I #29 & #30 are part of the Secret Wars II crossover that ran in almost all of the main Marvel titles in the summer of 1985. SWII #1 takes place between the two New Mutant issues. Which explains why Magneto showed up when he did.
Rocker was not among the Gladiators who were hired by the Shadow King in NM I #32, and thus was not among the Gladiators killed in that issue.
While 'Max Rocker' could be Rocker's real name, it does have a stage name feel to it as well. (Max - for 'Max'imum, Rocker - reference to rocking horses? Sounds like a legit professional wrestler's stage name to me.) Perhaps someday someone will say for sure which it is.
Max Rocker has no known connections to
images: page count does not include ads
(main) Beauty & the Beast I #2, p17, pan6 (detail)
(body 2) New Mutants I #30, p11, pan.5 (detail)
(face) Beauty & the Beast I#1, p8, pan4 (detail)
(action) Beauty & the Beast I#1, p16, pan5
Last updated: 11/02/07
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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