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Real Name: Ernest St. Ives

Identity/Class: Human mutate (late 19th century, World War I to modern era)

Occupation: Crimelord

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Danielle Belmonde, Maggia, Scramble (Lionel Jeffries)

Enemies: Alpha Flight (Aurora/Jean-Marie Beaubier, Box/Roger Bochs, Heather McNeil-Hudson, Madison Jeffries, Northstar/Jean-Paul Beaubier, Puck/Eugene Judd), Mistress Death, Raymonde Belmonde

Known Relatives: Nemesis (Isabel St. Ives, daughter, deceased), unidentified wife (deceased)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Montreal, Canada

First Appearance: Alpha Flight I#7 (February, 1984)

Powers/Abilities: Ernest St. Ives was cursed by Mistress Death with a 'death touch'. Anyone he touched with his bare hands died instantly (see comments). He aged very slowly as well, seeing as he fought in World War I and was barely middle-aged in his first modern appearance a good 70 years later.  Even before his transformation, St. Ives was a remarkably strong willed and determined individual, even able to refuse Death as he lay dying in the trenches. After discovering his death touch, he slowly got more megalomaniacal and started to believe he could never die. He wasn't too wrong, considering his remains were stored in a morgue for months without showing signs of decay. St. Ives seemed infused with supernatural energy, allowing his head to remain fully functional even after decapitation. St. Ives had a measure of super strength and enhanced reflexes, effortlessly keeping up with speedsters Aurora and Northstar and lifting and throwing the Box armor. He also had very little moral problems using his death powers to get his way.

Height: 5'9"
Weight: 209 lbs
Eyes: Grey
Hair: Black


(Alpha Flight I#31 - (fb) ) - Born in the late 19th century, Canadian citizen Ernest St. Ives married and raised his only child, a daughter named Isabel.

(Alpha Flight I#8 - (fb) ) - As Britain got involved in World War I, Ernest St. Ives was a member of the Canadian troops sent to fight in Europe on behalf of the United Kingdom and its allies. After a particularly bloody altercation, St. Ives found himself the sole survivor of his shattered company. Thrown into a trench by a mortar shell explosion, he was slowly afflicted by mustard gas. Near death, St. Ives was visited by Mistress Death who wanted to relieve his suffering and take him to her realm. Despite the agony caused by the gas, St. Ives was so determined to live and return to his wife and daughter that he spurned and rejected her. This angered the entity so thorougly that St. Ives found himself completely healed, but when another soldier tried to pull him up from the trenches, St. Ives learned that Death had cursed him with a death touch that killed everyone he touched with his hands.

(Alpha Flight I#31 (fb) ) - After the war ended in 1918, St. Ives returned home to Canada a changed man. Still not used to his recently acquired death touch, he inadvertently killed his wife when she ran up to him and hugged her husband. Horrified, St. Ives ran off as his daughter Isabel screamed bloody murder.

(Alpha Flight I#8 - BTS) - As the years went on, St. Ives found his encounter with Death only seemed to strengthen him and he started to enjoy and revel in his power. His death touch earned him the nickname "Deadly Ernest" as he stablished a name for himself in the Montreal underworld. Aided by his powers, he grew to be a formidable presence, even developing ties with the global Maggia crime syndicate.

(Alpha Flight I#8 & 31 - (fb) - BTS) - After discovering her father had become the death dealing Deadly Ernest, Ernest's daughter Isabel swore to end his murderous crimespree by creating a blade capable of ending his menace, through a mixture of science and sorcery. She adopted the nickname Nemesis, after the Greek revenge god.

(Alpha Flight I#7 - BTS) - Ernest kept expanding his influence on Montreal's business owners. He tried to buy out Raymonde Belmonde, who ran a profitable bistro in one of the city's popular sidestreets. When Belmonde refused to sell, he ordered his men to actively scare away any potential customers to Belmonde's place, hoping the decline in business would force him to sell out.

(Alpha Flight I#7 - BTS) - Raymonde's long-lost daughter Danielle Belmonde arrived in Montreal and joined forces with St. Ives to help him get his hands on her father's business. However, St. Ives had no idea what she looked like, since they only communicated via phone or through intermediaries.

(Alpha Flight I#7) - Tired of waiting for Belmonde's decision, St. Ives drove up to the restaurant in his limousine and ordered his henchmen to bring Belmonde to him. Not only did they present St. Ives with the owner, they also brought Aurora. When the defiant Raymonde rejected Ernest's final proposal, he removed his glove and touched Belmonde, killing him instantly. Believing Aurora to be his secret ally Danielle, St. Ives pretended to threaten to kill her even as a stunned Northstar saw his sister being driven off. In the shadows, St. Ives' daughter waited, planning to strike.

(Alpha Flight I#8) - After killing Belmonde, St. Ives took Aurora back to his opulent mansion. There, still thinking she was his secret ally Danielle, he happily filled her in on the details of how he gained his powers by denying Death in the trenches of World War I. Meanwhile, Nemesis followed the implicit instructions of her sword as she flew off, determinated to confront St. Ives. Northstar beat her to the punch,  entering St. Ives' estate and discovering his sister swooning over the man while sitting on his desk. Before Northstar could move, one of St. Ives' henchmen knocked him out. St. Ives wondered if Aurora knew the intruder. She lied and claimed Jean-Paul was actually her cousin Jacques. St. Ives then begged her pardon, explaining that he paid his men a pretty penny for his endured survival. He then had Northstar carried off to a spare room to recover, all the while wondering how remarkably alike Jacques and "Danielle" looked.

(Alpha Flight I#8) - As soon as Northstar came to from his ordeal, he was met by Nemesis. She told him very little, but enough to convince him to join forces with her. Moments after Ernest finished telling Aurora his origins over dinner, Northstar and Nemesis barged into the room. St. Ives was a little stunned when he realised Aurora had super powers when he watched her fly across the room towards her sibling. Nemesis decided to exploit St. Ives' momentary confusion and charged, but his reflexes allowed him to dodge her attack. He grabbed her face but was surprised when she didn't die. Nemesis cut off most of Ernest's left arm before moving in for the kill, slicing her father to pieces.

(Alpha Flight I#30 - BTS) - St. Ives' remains were brought to the morgue of Montreal's General Hospital.

(Alpha Flight I#30 - BTS) - The mad, flesh manipulating mutant Scramble (Lionel Jeffries) turned the patients and staff of General Hospital into horrifically disfigured menaces he sent against Alpha Flight. Scramble then went down to the morgue and tried to reanimate the dead. His unsuccesful attempts were interrupted by Madison Jeffries who fought his brother, ultimately getting Scramble to use his powers to remove the worst of his madness from his own mind. As the Jeffries brothers left, they didn't notice that Scramble's last attempt at resurrection had inadvertently set in motion a process that allowed St. Ives' body to slowly restore itself.

(Alpha Flight I#30) - In the aftermath of Scramble's attack on Alpha Flight, the newly revived Deadly Ernest escaped the morgue.

(Alpha Flight I#31) - Naked on the streets of Montreal, St. Ives used his death touch to kill a man for his clothes. Dressed in his victims black leather outfit, he disappeared into the night and planned to have vengeance on Nemesis. However, she was already aware of his resurrection, thanks to her enchanted blade which started howling as soon as it sensed St. Ives' return.

(Alpha Flight I#31) - Alpha Flight and a seemingly sane Scramble were standing outside General Hospital when St. Ives' latest victim was rushed in. Scramble tried to heal the man with his powers, but noticed that while he was fine physically, it was as though he had simply "stopped", like a lightswitch being switched off. Overhearing this, Northstar was reminded of his earlier encounter with St. Ives. His suspicion was confirmed when he learned that St. Ives' body was missing from the morgue.

(Alpha Flight I#31) - After Northstar and Aurora filled Alpha Flight in on their history with Deadly Ernest and Nemesis, the team started a citywide search for them. Eventually, both Alpha Flight and Nemesis found Deadly Ernest in a metro station seconds after he had killed a civilian who had dared to get in his way. Figuring Ernest's power could only affect living people, Box was the first to engage him, only to find he wasn't impervious to the villain's death touch after all. Ernest threw the Box armor at Nemesis, who he considered the biggest threat. He then used his enhanced speed to touch and take out Northstar and Aurora. Even as Nemesis managed to wiggle free from Box, Ernest took Heather McDonald hostage and used her to hold off Puck and Nemesis long enough to escape with Alpha's leader. Nemesis handed Puck her enchanted sword and told him to end the menace of St. Ives, while she tended to his victims. She explained that her blade could reclaim all the lifeforces stolen by St. Ives' touch, which made Puck a bit uncomfortable when he realized he'd have to kill Deadly Ernest. Puck chased Ernest down and used the sword to cut off his left hand and head. This still didn't kill Ernest however. While his body kept coming, Ernest's severed head kept talking and mocking the dwarfish Alphan. The threat of Deadly Ernest was ended, however, when his body was hit and destroyed by an approaching subway train. Upon his demise, the Alpha Flight members he had killed with his touch, were revived by Nemesis using her blade.

Comments: Created by John Byrne.

Deadly Ernest might be loosely based on the character "Deadly Earnest", an undead Australian host of late night horror movies, played by British actor Ian Banerman among others. It wouldn't be the first time Byrne has borrowed from pop culture to establish a look or a name for his characters.

In his initial appearance, St. Ives didn't refer to himself als "Deadly Ernest", it was strictly a nickname given and used by others out of fear and respect for his powers. This changed after St. Ives' resurrection, and he openly started calling himself Deadly Ernest.

Yes, St. Ives is Canadian so what would make him want to fight in World War I? Well... In 1914, Great Britain still spoke for Canada on all foreign affairs. So when the British declared war against Germany and Austria-Hungary, the Canadians were automatically brought into the conflict as well. Curiously enough, in Alpha Flight I#31, Nemesis stated St. Ives was drafted to fight in 1919, while World War I actually ended a year before that.

Nemesis was the only one who prove to be impervious to Deadly Ernest's lethal touch, she was also able to prevent his power from taking by holding on to his victims' life essences. When St. Ives died, the life forces he had stolen returned to their rightful owners. One would think that would include everyone he'd ever killed (boy, that would make for some gruesome moments of his decayed victims being forcibly returned to life, only to die again as they slowly suffocated while buried in their coffins). But as Nemesis pointed out, his other victims had been deprived of life too long. It might also be that St. Ives's longevity was fuelled by the life forces he took.

Deadly Ernest received profiles in Marvel Legacy: The 1980s Handbook and Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe#3 (2008)

Profile by Norvo.

Deadly Ernest has no known connections to

images: (without ads)
Alpha Flight I#31, p18, pan1 (main image, Puck (back turned) vs Deadly Ernest (facing) )
Alpha Flight I#8, p10, pan1 (Ernest defies Death)
Alpha Flight I#7, p11, pan2 (unsheathes)
Alpha Flight I#8, p12, pan5 (loses hand)
Alpha Flight I#31, p22, pan1 (victims restored)

Alpha Flight I#7 (February, 1984) - John Byrne (writer, pencils, inks), Denny O'Neil, Linda Grant (editors)
Alpha Flight I#8 (March, 1984) - John Byrne (writer, pencils, inks), Denny O'Neil, Linda Grant (editors)
Alpha Flight I#30 (January, 1986) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Mike Mignola (pencils), Gerry Talaoc (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Alpha Flight I#31 (February, 1986) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Mike Mignola (pencils), Gerry Talaoc (inks), Carl Potts (editor)

Last updated: 10/17/13

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