EDWIG CAINE

Real Name: Edwig Caine

Identity/Class: Human;
    British citizen (see comments)

Occupation: Scientist;
    former secret agent

Group Membership: Formerly M.I.5, S.H.I.E.L.D.;
   possibly EuroMind (see comments)

Affiliations: Gemini (Balance/Debora Crovi, Front/Gabriel Caine, Grip/Brandon Blake, Mandala/Iman Dashire, Suede/Nicholas Blake), Lancelot, Mainman (Clyde McCoy);
   formerly Dr. Alma Zareth

Enemies: Alba Nera, Alma Matrix (Alma Zareth), Mr. Illusion, Nosferath, Carlo Paci, possessed Vera Croce security;
   formerly Front (Gabriel Caine)

Known Relatives: Gabriel Caine (Front, adoptive son)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
   formerly Vera Croce (True Cross) Base, Northern Italy

First Appearance: Europa#0 (April 1996)

Powers/Abilities: Edwig Caine was a top scientist in the field of superhuman abilities, and an expert on the various known causes why people sometimes gain such powers. He was a trained spy, and was presumably proficient in various combat systems, common weapons and espionage techniques; though he seemed to maintain his fitness given his age, he was nevertheless past his prime. He routinely went armed, carrying a pistol in a shoulder holster.

Height: 6'1" (by estimation)
Weight: 175 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Silver-gray, formerly blond

History:
(Europa#0 (fb) - BTS) - Former MI5 secret agent Edwig Caine became fascinated by superhumans and studied them extensively, becoming a Professor and an authority on the topic.

(Europa#1 (fb) - BTS) - Caine searched for a reason for the existence of superhumans, and a source of power to create his own, seeking to progress science and improve mankind. He collected data and elaborated theories, studied science and even magic, investigated reports of radioactive spiders, cosmic rays and serums whose formulae were now lost. When his attempt to create a superhuman, Mainman, through gamma exposure instead caused the test subject's death, it cost Caine his U.K. government funding and forced him to relocate to Italy and begin anew. As his failures mounted, his research became an obsession.

(Europa#4 (fb) - BTS) - Caine eventually detected a surge of tremendous energy explosion in northern Italy, which he dubbed the Meta-impulse, and took an army unit with him to investigate.

(Europa#3 (fb)) - Accompanied by an army unit, Caine was dropped off by a helicopter and slowly they made their way towards the center of the event. Caine realized its effect had rippled far further out than his calculations had predicted. With one of the unit videoing their progress, the first real evidence of what had happened came when they encountered a cow, now transformed into a ravening beast; the soldiers swiftly shot and killed it. Five hundred meters further in, the group encountered a human, perhaps originally a homeless man, who had become a long-necked creature. Before Caine could stop it, one of the soldiers panicked and gunned the transformed man down, prompting Caine to punch the soldier for being so trigger happy. After an hour's march, they reached the Alpha Site, ...

(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - Segrate International...

(Europa#3 (fb)) - Hospital.

    Moving cautiously inside, they encountered a patient, now turned into a humanoid creature with an insectoid head and tentacles for arms. These last suddenly shot forward, wrapping round a soldier's neck and killing him, so Caine shot the creature. They found the epicenter of the event in the hospital nursery, discovering it to be one of the children...

(Europa#4 (fb)) - who was floating in the air above the cribs, glowing with green energy.

(Europa#3 (fb)) - Seconds later a horde of transformed patients and staff charged from the shadows at the soldiers, placing the soldiers in a literal fight for their lives. The cameraman was one of those who fell, ending his record of the event.

(Europa#3 (fb) - BTS) - Many of the soldiers, and all of the transformed victims, died.

(Europa#4 (fb)) - Caine communicated with the glowing infant, who revealed that the Meta-impulse had merely been a key, releasing an ancient entity, the Nosferath, from the Hell in which it had been imprisoned for eons. Though possessing almost infinite power, Nosferath was confused and unarmed, as it had entered Earth's dimension by being incarnated in this body, that of a human infant, whom Caine dubbed Child One. All the other children in the nursery were dead, killed by the energy explosion. Needing help, it struck a deal with Caine, agreeing to divide part of its power into some of the slain babies in return for Caine providing it with the assistance a human child needed.

Europa#3 (fb) - BTS) - At Caine's direction, ...

(Europa#4 (fb)) - the transfer of transformative energy from Child One revived five of the infants and healed their injuries.

(Europa#1 (fb) - BTS) - Saving the children's lives made Caine feel that all his defeats and failures had been swept away by a new beginning.

(Europa#3 (fb) - BTS) - Caine placed Child One into a containment pod.

(Europa#4 (fb)) - However, Caine had no intention of honoring his end of the bargain, instead planning to keep Nosferath trapped in a child's body forever, keeping it unconscious and treating it like a guinea pig.

(Europa#2 (fb)) - During the explosion, an unidentified man attending the hospital had saved a woman, Laura Di Giovanni, from the explosion. Now they were both drawn back inside by Nosferath's telepathic summons. Unnoticed by Caine or his soldiers, they witnessed Caine and his men flooding Child One's containment vessel with coolant, rapidly decreasing the temperature within and sending the infant into hibernation. Sensing it would lose consciousness imminently, Nosferath implanted instructions into the man's subconscious to make him eventually gather the surviving children and deliver them into Nosferath's hands, after which it imbued the man with a fraction of its power, giving him the ability to generate hallucinations; the man used this ability to become the stage magician Mr. Illusion, his dreams plagued by nightmares of the hospital incident.

(Europa#1 (fb) - BTS) - Caine hid the truth behind the disaster, locking it away within himself.

(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - Since the terrorist group Alba Nera (Black Dawn) had already been linked to a spate of bombings in Italy, they became convenient scapegoats for the incident at Segrate International Hospital.

(Europa#3 (fb) - BTS) - Members of Alba Nera were framed and imprisoned for the massacre.

(Europa#1 (fb) - BTS) - Though genuinely guilty of other atrocities, being blamed for one they had not caused in combination with their existing hatred of the Italian government left the group eager to expose the true culprits.

(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - The official story became that only five newborns had survived the "massacre," in desperate condition, leaving Caine with no option but to risk flooding their bodies with "meta-impulses," giving life back to burned limbs and giving the infants a chance to survive. Those with surviving family were returned to them, and the others adopted; Caine himself adopted one, Gabriel.

(Europa#3) - Caine recorded a video providing a true account of the events at Segrate International Hospital for official Italian government files.

(Europa#1 (fb) - BTS) - As he grew up, Gabriel suffered nightmares about what had happened at the hospital, subconsciously recalling what had really happened, but his adoptive father reassured him they were false memories and fantasies, stating he had been too young to remember things accurately. Under Caine's tutelage, Gabriel grew up fully believing his adoptive father's stated mission, in "power and responsibility," that things were clear cut: good vs. evil, superheroes and supervillains.

(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - The children manifested superpowers as they grew, though the public were informed that Caine had not anticipated this development. Caine convinced all of them to take up his dream of forming a team of superheroes. 

(Europa#0 (fb) - BTS) - Edwig Caine gathered the five now-adult survivors at Vera Croce Base in northern Italy, and he trained them to become superheroes. He named the group Gemini, after the zodiac sign all of them had been born under, and the individual members were Front (Gabriel), Grip (Brandon Blake), Suede (Nicholas Blake), Balance (Debora Crovi) and Mandala (Iman Dashire).

(Europa#3 (fb) - BTS) - Investigative T.V. journalist Carlo Paci suspected there was more to the attack on the hospital and Gemini's origins than Caine had told the world, and sought to find the truth.

(Europa#0 (fb) - BTS) - Caine's assistant, Dr. Alma Zareth, a world expert on artificial intelligence, created a virtual reality training program for their EuroMind series supercomputer, enabling Gemini to practice their combat techniques safely against simulated opponents; accessing the cerebral areas that generated dreams, those inside the simulation believed themselves to be in genuine combat and real danger, thus ensuring realistic responses.

    Eager to obtain S.H.I.E.L.D. backing for the team, Caine arranged for the team to be officially evaluated, and programmed their simulation with a standard training program sent to them by S.H.I.E.L.D.

(Europa#0) - When American S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Lancelot arrived at Vera Croce to carry out the evaluation, the team were already in the training program. After Caine and Zareth greeted the new arrival, Lancelot and Caine monitored the simulation using interface helmets, effectively electronic ghosts watching the action from inside the battle. However Lancelot soon realized that the Gemini members were overly quick to use excessive, often lethal, force. Caine in turn watched Lancelot, conscious that a negative assessment could potentially destroy his life's dream, but the agent silently concluded that Gemini was not ready. This sentiment was apparently sensed by the telepathic Balance, who mentally attacked Lancelot, pulling him fully into the simulation. Simultaneously released from the simulation, Caine assumed the cause of the problem was an equipment malfunction and instructed Zareth to disconnect Lancelot before he could be injured. However, a circuit violently blew as she attempted to do so (presumably caused by Balance again), preventing Zareth from doing so, and leaving Lancelot facing demonic versions of Iron Man, Ghost Rider and Thor. Though he tried his best to fight back, he stood no chance, and they were poised to strike a fatal blow when the program suddenly released the agent.

    As Caine tried to apologize, Lancelot glanced over at Balance, who was disengaging from the VR helmet and staring at him defiantly. Thinking to himself that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s dossier claim that she had only limited psychic powers was a vast underestimation, Lancelot exchanged stares with her, wordlessly acknowledging to her that he had received her message loud and clear. Lancelot decided to say nothing to Caine, feeling that what had happened between him and Balance was a matter they would eventually settle privately. Declining Caine's invitation to stay for dinner, Lancelot left, deciding to ask S.H.I.E.L.D. for more tests and to obstruct Caine's project by any means. Back at Vera Croce, Caine chastised the Gemini members for failing to impress Lancelot. Front seethed at the thought of wasting years of training, while Balance silently waited for the next round against Lancelot. After dismissing the team, Caine and Zareth looked in on Child One, silently sleeping in its containment chamber.

(Europa#1) - Alba Nera seized control of a military base near the town of Monfalcone and took hostages. Iron Man (Tony Stark) was in the area, but, because the base archived documents that might expose dirty tactics used by Italy's secret service,...=

(Europa#3 (fb) - BTS) - including the truth behind the Segrate incident, evidence of which was what Alba Nera wanted to find,...

(Europa#1) - ....the Italian government asked the U.S. President to instruct him not to intervene, though the armored Avenger remained on stand-by in the area. Similarly sidelined, Lancelot also monitored the situation. However, with national television covering the crisis live, Caine saw the opportunity to prove Gemini's worth and sent the team into the base, knowing that if they managed to resolve the crisis Lancelot would have little option but to grant them S.H.I.E.L.D. membership and integrate them into EuroMind.

(Europa#1 - BTS) - Caine sent in Gemini, who soon dispatched the terrorists, but one of them located video footage of the events from Segrate in the base's records room and was playing it when Front found him. Though he slew the terrorist, Front saw the tapes and realized his adoptive father had been lying to him about the Gemini members' origins.

(Europa#1) - With the terrorists' bomb about to detonate the team hastily evacuated the facility, and were met outside by Caine; together they helicoptered back to Vera Croce, their flight back-lit by the massive explosion.

   Back at Vera Croce, Caine evaluated the mission, initially judging it a success until he watched video surveillance tapes that showed Front taking a laser disc from the base's records room, and concluded that Front now knew that what he had been told of his origin was a lie. Caine realized Front would soon come to confront him over this deception, demanding explanations Caine was still unwilling to provide.

(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - Believing that the best way to protect Gemini from Front revealing what he had learned lay in discrediting Front's credibility, Caine contacted Lancelot and informed him that he suspected Front of being a traitor who planned to assassinate him. Caine claimed he wanted to give Front a chance to expose himself, so at Caine's behest S.H.I.E.L.D. provided him with a Life Model Decoy android to stand in for him during the imminent confrontation.

(Europa#1) - Feeling that what he had learned had shattered his belief in the group's stated mission and his trust in his adoptive father, Front visited the church erected on the site of the destroyed hospital, trying to come to terms with whether or not he should tell his teammates what he had found, thus sharing the unbearable weight of the revelation, but fearing doing so might destroy their lives as he felt it had now destroyed his. Things had seemed clear cut to him, until he saw the video, and he prayed for guidance as to what to do now. Deciding he couldn't condemn Caine until he heard what the man had to say, Front returned to Vera Croce, instructing Revo to stay silent under his jacket but to keep its sensors fully active. As they approached Caine's office door, Revo informed Front that it had performed a full scan and detected nothing, and warned him to beware. Front chastised Revo for being paranoid, but when they entered the office they found "Caine" waiting, his pistol drawn and pointed at Front. Revo cried to Front that it still couldn't "hear" Caine, urging him to shoot immediately. Front hesitated for a second, then fired at point blank range. "Caine" went down; standing over his seemingly lifeless body, Front glanced down...

(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - and saw the LMD's robotic shell exposed through gaps in the ripped fake flesh on "Caine's" face and neck.

(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - Knowing that Front destroying a robotic doppelganger would not be sufficient to turn the rest of Gemini against their leader, Caine told Lancelot to maintain the deception, letting the team and the world believe him truly dead.

(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - With Caine's seeming demise, S.H.I.E.L.D. stepped in and took charge of Gemini. By chance, apparently unconnected to other events (see comments), around the same time a dissident faction of A.I.M. that believed high-tech random terrorist incidents bolstered their unspecified ultimate cause, decided to target the busy Milan subway and inflict multiple civilian casualties.

(Europa#2 - BTS) - Aware he had been set up and that his teammates would think him a murderer, Front fled to Milan, but revealed his presence when an A.I.M Euro-Adaptoid began a terrorist attack in the subway. This in turn led to a confrontation between Front and the rest of Gemini, which ended with the Euro-Adaptoid destroyed but Front badly scarred after being shot in the face by Lancelot, and still on the run.

(Europa#2) - Later, back at Vera Croce, Lancelot debriefed Caine on the encounter, noting that the Euro-Adaptoid's unanticipated presence had complicated matters, and pointing out that if it hadn't been for Gemini, and Front specifically, there would have been a massacre. Lancelot argued that Front's behavior was that of a hero, not a traitor, and demanded to know why Caine had wanted to frame him. Stating that the time for deception was past, Caine began to tell him of the sixth infant, Child One.

(Europa#3 (fb) - BTS) - Caine informed the disbelieving Lancelot that twenty years ago he had unwillingly chained a hellish force to create his superheroes.

(Europa#2) - Meanwhile, unknown to anyone else, Dr. Zareth decided to be bolder than Caine. While he had feared trying to tap into Child One's full power, she did not, and with a microchip salvaged from the Euroadaptoid she intended to enter Child One's dreams and communicate with it.

(Europa#3 (fb) - BTS) - Caine apparently revealed he was still alive to the Gemini team members (see comments).

(Europa#3 - BTS) - Zareth's experiment woke Child One, who took over the scientist and transformed her into its newest minion, Alma Matrix. She then used her new power to control technology to take over both the Vera Croce base, and the base's security guards via their armor's cybernetic interfaces, killing them and piloting their corpses remotely, and launched the entire building into the stratosphere.

(Europa#4 (fb) - BTS) - Alma Matrix and Child One captured Caine and the members of Gemini present on Vera Croce, with only Front and Lancelot still free to oppose them.

   Meanwhile Front passed the video footage exposing Caine's lies to Carlo Paci.

(Europa#4) - Lancelot found Front, who put aside his differences with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in light of the crisis, and the pair flew to Vera Croce in a S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft. There they found Gemini and Caine trapped by organic-looking growths protruding from the walls, prisoners of Alma Matrix and Child One. With the last team member now present, Child One decided to was time to reclaim its energies, draining first Alma Matrix of her lifeforce, then turning on the Gemini members. Just as all seemed lost, a wall exploded, and a strange figure entered, the Voyager, an agent of order intent on returning Nosferath to its prison. A piece of debris from the explosion pierced Caine's chest, apparently slaying him. As Voyager began binding Nosferath's power, it began protesting helplessly, turning to plead to Caine for help, only to see he was dead. After Voyager returned Child One to its prison dimension and departed Gemini returned to Earth, where the media coverage of their return attributed the loss of Vera Croce base, Caine and Zareth to another terrorist attack. Watching this report, Paci chose to postpone deciding whether or not to release the footage Front had given him, unsure whether it was worth risking creating a scandal that would destroy Gemini now Caine was no longer around to face the consequences.

Comments: Created by Giorgio Lavagna, Francesco Mio, Luca Poli and Carmine Di Giandomenico. Poli and Di Giandomenico did the character designs for the Gemini characters, while Fabrizio Ugolini  and Giampaolo Frizzi drew and inked the actual series.

   In Europa#3, when Mandala, Suede and Balance are fighting their way through the armor-controlled guards, Suede mentions that they need to find Caine. Since the other two don't respond with an incredulous "Huh?" this presumably means all three know Caine is alive by this point, something they didn't seem to know when they confronted Front in the previous issue. So either they figured out that his death was faked, or else he told them - since Caine himself said at the end of the second issue that it was time to stop lying, I'm guessing the latter.

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

CLARIFICATIONS:
Edwig Caine has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Europa#0, p5, pan1 (main image)
Europa#0, p2, pan3 (headshot)
Europa#3. p11, pan6 (younger, blond Edwig Caine, punching out trigger happy soldier)
Europa#0, p4, pan3 (greeting Lancelot)
Europa#4, p4, pan2 (prisoner of Child One)
Europa#4, p18, pan4 (dead)


Appearances:
Europa#0-5 (April-October, 1996) - Giorgio Lavagna and Francesco Mio (writers), Fabrizio Ugolini (pencils), Giampaolo Frizzi (inks), Enrico Fornaroli; Marco M. Lupoi; Miguel Carrasco (editors)


First Posted: 10/23/2022
Last updated:
10/23/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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