KEY

Real Name: Geyr Kluge

Identity/Class: Human technology user;
    citizen of Germany 

Occupation: Adventurer;
   former S.H.I.E.L.D. science officer 

Group Membership: EuroLab (Tiger/Hughes Aït-Kaci), Euroforce (The Baby Killer/Mikhail Zamorska, Sliver/Franco Fibbri, Swordswoman/Marjorie, Tiger, Tumult;
   formerly (see comments) Argento/Michele Argento, Black Knight/Dane Whitman, Danger/Dolph Dongen, Deep Sight/Jane Melville, Nuage/Silvie Rouge, Picaro/Antonio Rey);
   formerly EuroLab (
Danger, Deep Sight, Nuage, Picaro); S.H.I.E.L.D.  

Affiliations: Champions of Europe (Ares, Captain Britain/Brian Braddock, Guillotine/Jeannine Sauvage, Outlaw/Nigel Higgins, Peregrine/Alain Racine), Director François Borillon, Moloid Subterraneans, Task Force (Argento, Blue Condor/Emilie Scholz, Dragonfly/Cornelia van der Valk, Iceboy/Hamish Carlyle, Tiger), U.S. Avengers (Enigma/Aikku Jokinen, Squirrel Girl/Doreen Green)

Enemies: A.I.M., Hydra, Lords of War (Kaneda, Oda, Sakuragi, others), Morgan Le Fay, S.H.A.P.E. (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Commission, "Skrullified" subterranean Inhumans  

Known Relatives: None 

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile throughout Europe;
    formerly EuroMind base, Spain   

First Appearance: Europa#0 (April 1996) 

Powers/Abilities: Key is an exceptional scientist, versed in multiple unspecified fields. He has an almost instinctive grasp of science and technology, to the point where his ability to analyze and create new tech rivals the mutant Forge; despite this, Key's abilities are purely human, not the result of any mutant gene nor mutation. He is fluent in numerous languages, including Spanish, Latin and English.

    Although he didn't demonstrate specific examples during his limited number of appearances, as a S.H.I.E.L.D. field operative he is presumably a capable fighter; however, the only time he was seen to use a firearm was in footage that had been faked to frame him for murdering Euromind agents. He is in exceptional physical shape, and experienced at using rappelling equipment. Presumably tailoring what he carries for the mission at hand, Key has used a variety of equipment, including shoulder-mounted flashlights and swing lines fired from metallic gauntlets; the means of securing these wasn't displayed, but might include grapples or adhesives.

Height: 6' (by approximation)
Weight: 200 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blond

History: (Europa#1 back cover text) - Geyr Kluge was a Berliner with an almost preternatural grasp for science, his instinctive understanding so powerful that some likened to his ability to that of the mutant Forge, though Geyr was not a mutant.

(Europa#3 back cover text) - Geyr encountered François Borillon, a member of the United Nations' "Blue Berets" ("Casques Bleus") peacekeeping forces, in Kuwait during the Gulf War, fighting alongside him on a mission whose details remain classified (see Comments)

(Europa#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - Key joined S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Science Division, and at some stage befriended fellow agent Tiger. Later, when Key was transferred to Euromind, a European section of S.H.I.E.L.D. that answered to S.H.A.P.E. (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) and which was headed by the now-Director Borillon, fellow Euromind recruit Tiger assured Key that Euromind was intended to be a scientific research organization, not a front for a disguised military unit.  

(Europa#0/text (fb) - BTS) - Key was assigned to for EuroLab, a group of five individuals who possessed a range of superhuman talents working as a scientific research division for Euromind. They were first responders dedicated to the survey and study of all paranormal phenomena encountered within Europe (and sometimes beyond), and were based out of Euromind's complex in a secret location near Spain's Mediterranean coast. The team leader, Key preferred the title "Co-ordinator of the investigation group." Though many of EuroLab possessed talents that could be used for fighting, they were not considered a combat unit, and so the rapid-response S.H.I.E.L.D. combat unit Task Force was sometimes sent along on their missions to lend assistance if required.  

(Europa#0/2 (fb) - BTS) - While there was respect for each others' abilities, Key viewed Task Force as heavy-handed barbarians with no sense of scientific values, while Task Force's leader Dragonfly in return resented her unit having to "baby-sit a Boy Scout troop."

(Europa #0/2) - EuroLab were sent to an archeological site in Spain to investigate alleged monster sightings, though Key was less than impressed to learn that Task Force were present to monitor their mission. Via a natural gorge, EuroLab descended into the cavern system below, where they were attacked both by Moloid Subterraneans and by unidentified monsters. Though EuroLab put up a good fight, numbers were against them. Despite this, and Dragonfly's urging, Key was determined not to call Task Force into the caverns, fearing the archeological damage they might do.

    Despite Key's preferences, Borillon deployed Task Force, who dropped down into the caverns and into the fray. Task Force ignored the protestations of EuroLab's Danger about their use of lethal force, gunning down the monsters, but Nuage, EuroLab's telepath, shouted to them that the Subterraneans were not hostile, merely frightened and disoriented. Accepting this, and with more monsters than they could handle anyway, Task Force began defending the Subterraneans too, gunning down the monsters attacking them. Reaching out telepathically, Nuage convinced the Subterraneans that the monsters were a common enemy.

    Despite this, the heroes and Subterraneans risked being overwhelmed as more and more creatures arrived. Detecting thirty more creatures inbound, but also fresh air that hinted at an exit to the surface, they fled to another part of the caverns. The creatures pursued, and Dragonfly ordered Iceboy to join her in targeting a rock arch they had passed through, though he responded that the arch seemed too solid for gunshots to bring down. Key protested that doing so might destroy the entire cavern they had just left, and shouted that they could use Bengal lights (flares) to buy time. Seeing the creatures already clambering into the new cave, Dragonfly thanked Key for giving her an idea, switched her gun to explosive rounds, and blew up the arch in an impressive pyrotechnic display, much to Key's annoyance.

   Afterwards EuroLab and Task Force discovered inscriptions that Key translated explaining that the "monsters" were descendants of Inhumans who had been captured by the Spanish Inquisition, and thrown into the gorge to die. A few survived the fall, and, unable to escape the caves, scraped a living, eating whatever they could find. Then the Inquisition dropped another group of "demons" into the precipice; the remains of a crashed Skrull ship and its crew. Eating the dead Skrulls caused a mutagenic change in the remaining Inhumans, driving them insane, and they had degenerated into a colony of predators.

(Europa#1/2) - In the skies over Chioggia, Italy, a passenger on a civilian flight unexpectedly transformed into a monstrous creature with claws and fangs. His violent rampage into the cockpit caused a forced splashdown. EuroLab was sent to investigate and to recover any survivors, finding the plane barely afloat, taking on water and with the rear already submerged. While Picaro, Deep Sight and Nuage finished evacuating passengers into a life raft, Danger and Key descended further into the sinking plane seeking their main objective, the mutate. Hearing a noise, they found a young girl crying beside her crushed mother. Realizing the child thought her mother was only unconscious, Key kept her calm by promising that Danger would stay with her mother, and began carrying her to safety. As they left, the girl mentioned that there was someone else still left behind, the "ugly man" who had now hidden himself, and Danger reassured her that he would protect her mother.

    Near the front exit Key handed the child over to Nuage, but was prevented from returning to Danger by Picaro because the plane was about to submerge. Reminding Key that their mission was a scientific one, Picaro pointed out that he was confidant Danger could make it out on his own, and they could do a properly equipped underwater retrieval later to get a tissue sample from the mutate's remains. On the raft, Nuage tried to comfort the girl, promising her that the monster couldn't hurt anymore, only for the child to dismiss her attempt at reassurance for being obvious; after all, the monster was good, having taken care of her until it heard Danger and Key approaching, prompting it to flee. Seconds later Key and Picaro jumped from the plane's forward hatch just before the craft finally sank beneath the waves. As Picaro chastised their absent teammate for being a stubborn Dane, Key radioed to tell Danger to get out immediately. The mutate chose to die rather than continue living as a monster or risk recapture by those who had mutated him, but Danger made it out of the rapidly sinking wreck, barely making it back to the surface. His teammates fished him from the waters to find he was not breathing, and with Nuage sensing no brain activity, they hurriedly attempted to revive him.

(Europa#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - The members of EuroLab successfully revived Danger, though the near-death experience left him weak and he was expected to take some time to fully recover.

(Europa#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - After Task Force was attacked by armored mercenaries, the Lords of War, while on a mission to Malaysia investigating reports of similar mutates, Tiger and Argento returned to base to report two team members, Dragonfly and Blue Condor, had been slain, Argento had suddenly displayed unpredictable and previously unrevealed superpowers, and that Iceboy was missing. EuroLab also arrived back from their mission, but like Tiger and Argento were ordered to stand down from further investigations.

(Europa#2/2) - Back in Euromind's Research Center near Spain's Mediterranean coast, Key went to check on his friend Tiger, finding him in the training room venting his anger by pounding at the base's training equipment. When Key tried to talk to him, Tiger told his friend to save his breath, insisting he was too frustrated to talk. However Key made it clear that though he too was saddened by Blue Condor and Dragonfly's deaths, he wasn't there to give condolences, but rather to find out what Task Force had found. Continuing to strike at the equipment, Tiger retorted they had found death. And now Iceboy had disappeared and Argento was being kept under observation. Persisting, Key informed Tiger that while EuroLab had not suffered losses, their superiors had taken the "mutated" investigation off their hands, and asked Tiger to consider what their leaders feared so much that they would block all attempts to look into the case. Taking on what Key had said, Tiger finally outlined the details of what had befallen Task Force, noting that Nadir was apparently involved, and that he believed Iceboy had still been alive when he and Argento escaped through a teleportation portal Argento had summoned.

    Key noted that Picaro and Deep Sight had been investigating Nadir for a while, but before he could continue with his thoughts, they were interrupted by Borillon calling on Key's comms, ordering them both to his office. There they were informed that S.H.A.P.E.'s executive commission had closed the case. Key responded that this made no sense, but Borillon confirmed that they were supposed to forget about the mystery of the mutates and their lost comrade, conspicuously adding that it might be different if he was calling the shots instead of S.H.A.P.E. and the United Nations, and remarking that he was confident his orders were clear enough. Cracking Borillon's desk as his hands clenched angrily, Tiger contemptuously responded that the orders were indeed clear. As he and Key exited the room, Key turned to Tiger and reminded him of his past assurance that Euromind was meant to be a scientific unit, not a covert military one. Tiger retorted that it seemed some things never changed.

   Tiger accompanied Key back to the gathered members of EuroLab, where Key was surprised to find Danger up and about, insisting he felt as good as new. Picaro began discussing following up on the mutate investigation as soon as scuba divers could bring the plane's remains to the surface, but Key stopped him, informing the team of Borillon's orders. Like Key and Tiger, they responded with incredulity at the instruction, and Tiger pointed out that it didn't take a genius to figure out Nadir was behind the Lords of War and Iceboy's abduction. Picaro and Deep Sight suggested they could carry out an unofficial internet investigation of Nadir, but Key replied that he was not planning to sit idly by with Iceboy held prisoner, and to hell with S.H.A.P.E. Despite knowing they would be acting without official permission, the entire team concurred, unaware their discussion was being observed over hidden cameras. Their unseen watcher deployed a hit team hidden within Euromind's own agents, Blue 1 (Azzurro 1), to eliminate the rogue agents, and the assassins caught up with EuroLab and Tiger after they entered the base's hanger. They opened fire, but between Danger's energy powers and the surprise arrival and intervention of Argento, who had slain his own would-be assassins, the group managed to make their escape in a stolen nuclear plane.

(Europa#3/2 (fb) - BTS) - En route to Western Malaya, EuroLab and the two survivors of Task Force decided to unite as a new team, choosing the name Euroforce. Meanwhile, back at Euromind, faked video footage was used to frame the group for murdering fellow agents, making them fugitives. However, Euromind operative Salome secretly analyzed the footage for Borillon, confirming his suspicion that it had been altered to discredit his operatives. 

(Europa#3/2) - Aware from their investigations that Nadir had an expensive lab on an isolated private island in Western Malaya, the team snuck in, overpowering and hiding the guards. Deep Sight accessed the base's map, and the group split into two teams. Argento, Danger, Deep Sight, Nuage and Picaro formed the larger group, designated Euroforce Red, who headed for the lab's main computer to get into the archives, while Tiger and Key (Euroforce Blue) set out to retrieve Iceboy. Unfortunately, the guards were soon discovered, and seconds before the Red squad reached their target the alert was sounded. On a lower level of the complex, Tiger and Key were spotted and came under fire. Tiger shielded Key as he breached a security door's control panel, and they fled into the room beyond, where they discovered to their shock and horror Iceboy, floating within a clear container of greenish fluid, his still-human face barely recognizable atop a monstrously mutated body. 

(Europa#4/2) - Key tried to stabilize Iceboy's condition so he could be released without risking killing him, but A.I.M. security forces breached the doors before he could do so and opened fire. Tiger and Key ducked for cover, and the shots instead shattered the container, freeing that mutated Iceboy. Having entered an area beyond their meager clearance, the security men paused, unsure what they were facing, and Tiger called to his friend to get to cover. In response one of the A.I.M. agents shot Tiger, but seeing the bullet strike his friend stirred up memories in the mutate's dizzy mind. Sensing that his unintentional release meant he only had seconds to live, Iceboy surrendered to rage and ripped the A.I.M. agents to pieces before collapsing.

    Kneeling beside his fallen comrade, Tiger swore to Key that someone would pay for all his friends' deaths. The Red squad radioed to let Key know they had achieved their objective, and he order them to return to the jet, stating that he and Tiger needed no support. Unwilling to leave their friends behind, the Red squad ignored his instruction, and reached Key's location just in time for Nuage to knock out a guard who was about to shoot a distracted Key in the back.

    The group decided to depart before the base's forces could attack again, sneaked out of the base, and, despite coming under fire at the last minute, managed to reach their stolen jet, but as they flew away, a trio of armored figures breached the vehicle. The team prepared to fight, but moments later the jet exploded (see comments).

   Director Borillon subsequently informed S.H.A.P.E.'s commission that Euroforce had been slain, then contacted the team, alive and well and staying in a large villa, informing them that he had provided them with fake identities. Until they could prove their innocence and help him uncover just how deep the corruption in Euromind went, they had to stay officially dead.

(Avengers World#1 - BTS) - Eventually, having presumably proved their innocence under unrevealed circumstances, Euroforce began working for the European Union (E.U.).

(Avengers World#12 (fb) - BTS) - Key apparently re-established EuroLab as a separate entity from Euroforce, the latter working as the combat-ready branch of the former, similar to how Task Force had occasionally backed up EuroLab. 

(Avengers World#1 (fb) - BTS) - Most of the old team either moved back to EuroLab or left (see comments), and new members were recruited, including Swordswoman, Tumult, Sliver and the Baby Killer.

(Avengers World#1 (fb) - BTS) - Some time later, Morgan Le Fay took control of a City of the Dead beneath the Italian town Velletri. One of several underground spirit traps constructed in Europe by Yagzan's followers, the Cult of Entropy, back in the 15th and 16th centuries, the City held countless tormented lost souls unable to move on. Either as a deliberate act or a side-effect of seizing control, Morgan's action caused everyone within the city limits of the Italian town Velletri to simultaneously vanish.

(Avengers World#12 (fb)) - Key and Tiger recruited the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) to lead the new Euroforce team investigating the City of the Dead, feeling his Ebony Blade would be useful to have in such circumstances. They found him drowning his sorrows in a London pub; though the Knight was initially uninterested, Key soon convinced him.

(Avengers World#1 - BTS) - While Key presumably remained at base, Black Knight served as the temporary leader for the new Euroforce while they investigated the Velletri incident. They reached the town four hours after the mass disappearance, and soon found their way to the City, learning about Morgan's plot, but they were trapped and unable to pass on their discoveries. Eight hours later, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Maria Hill dispatched a squad of Avengers - Hawkeye, Nightmask, Spider-Woman and Starbrand - to the scene. They soon found their way into the City.

(Avengers World#8, 10, 12, 14 - BTS) - Working with the Avengers and the later arriving Sebastian Druid, Euroforce (minus Key) defeated Morgan Le Fay. 

(Captain America: Steve Rogers#18) – Euroforce battled Hydra forces next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Leading the team, Key shouted to his compatriots to bring the terrorists down, an order Sliver, Tumult, Tiger and Baby Killer were happy to comply with.

(Secret Empire#9 - BTS) – As Earth’s superhumans went to war with Hydra in Washington, D.C. to reclaim the United States, Euroforce (Tiger, Baby Killer and Tumult visible) teleported to join the fight.

Comments: Created by Xavier Marturet and Paco Diaz.

    Key first met Borillon during the Gulf War (at the time the Europa comic was published the first one, 1990-1991, but thanks to the sliding timescale this has probably become the second one from the 2000s), but it's not clear whether this was before or after Key joined S.H.I.E.L.D. Since Borillon's mini-bio in the back of Europa #3 reveals he was commanding the U.N.'s peacekeeping forces during the Yugoslavian civil war, which began in 1991; this must have been after his time in the Gulf, which means Borillon wasn't yet in S.H.I.E.L.D. when he met Key, and so it's entirely possible that Key belonged to the German military or U.N. Blue Berets too.

    Key isn't present in Avengers World#8, 10 or 14, nor the main story segment of #12; the issues are covered in his history above purely to explain what happened to his teammates after he recruited Black Knight to lead them into Velletri. Nor is he visible in Secret Empire#9; however, since every hero going seemed to turn up to fight Hydra, it seems fair to assume he was with his teammates, albeit off-panel.   

    It's not overtly stated who attacked the jet after Euroforce fled Malaya. The attackers are drawn wearing armor similar to the known Lords of War, but the man behind them, one of S.H.A.P.E.'s commission, was informed the Lords were unconscious at the time the jet blew up, so it seems the whole attack, not just Euroforce's "demise," was a fake. Euroforce were surprised by the armored trio who breached the jet, clearly thinking they were the Lords, but given the subsequent revelation that Borillon was assisting the team, it seems likely he was behind the "attackers." However, who they were remains unrevealed.  

    It is unclear from Euroforce's more recent appearance in Avengers World whether the old team members have left or not. Given that Key was present to recruit Black Knight for the mission, and mentioned EuroLab, it appears the more scientific team has been re-established, which could explain the absence of all the old EuroLab members from said mission. Meanwhile Euroforce seems to have taken up what were effectively the duties of the old Task Force, investigating more perilous, likely to end in combat, missions. As such, it would make sense why Tiger was the only old Euroforce member to go on the City of the Dead mission; he's one of Task Force's two surviving members, so he wouldn't have transferred to EuroLab. The other Task Force survivor, Argento, might have been depowered on M-Day, or, given they only had four hours to deploy to Velletri, might simply have been elsewhere when the team got scrambled.

    When Key appeared in Captain America: Steve Rogers#18, some readers mistook him for Captain Britain. This was understandable, given that most readers had, at most, only seen him out of costume in Avengers World#12, and given that Key wears a red, white and blue costume with no mask, has blue eyes, blond hair and a beard, while Brian Braddock keeps switching between different red, white and blue costumes, some of which don't have masks, has blue eyes, blond hair, and (at the time Captain America: Steve Rogers#18 being published) a beard. Luckily they can easily be told apart by their different aftershaves.

Profile by Wolfhead and Loki, with invaluable aid from comic translator Angelo Mammone.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Key has no known connections to


images: (without ads)
Europa#0/2, p3, pan 6 (main - note that he is wearing a climbing harness, visible around his thighs)
Europa#0/2, p22, pan 1 (headshot)
Europa#1/2, p7, pan 1 (headset and shoulder-mounted light)
Europa#3/2, p2, pan 4 (uniform without climbing harness obscuring it, plus wearing gauntlets)
Europa#3/2, p18, pan 3 (firing cable from gauntlet)
Europa#3/2, p18, pan 4 (swinging on cable)
Avengers World#12, p3, pan 3 (recruiting Dane Whitman)
Captain America: Steve Rogers#18, p11, pan 1 (leading Euroforce into battle against Hydra in Paris)


Appearances:
Europa#0-5 (April-October, 1996) - Xavier Marturet (writer), Paco Diaz (art), Enrico Fornaroli; Marco M. Lupoi; Miguel Carrasco (editors)
Avengers World#12 (November, 2014) - Nick Spencer (writer), Marco Checchetto (pencils, inks), Will Moss (editor)
Captain America: Steve Rogers#18 (August, 2017) - Nick Spencer & Donny Cates (writers), Javier Pina (pencils), Andres Guinaldo (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Secret Empire#9 (October, 2017) - Nick Spencer (writer), Leinil Francis Yu, Joe Bennett & Rod Reis (pencils), Gerry Alanguilan, Leinil Francis Yu,  Joe Pimental & Rod Reis (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


First posted: 01/11/2019
Last updated: 01/11/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info

Special thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:
http://www.marvel.com

Back to Characters