Membership: Balance (Debora Crovi), Front (Gabriel Caine), Grip (Brandon Blake), Mandala (Iman Dashire), Suede (Nicholas Blake)
Purpose: To fight organized crime and terrorism
Affiliations: Edwig Caine, Lancelot,
formerly Dr. Alma Zareth;
possibly EuroMind (see comments)
Enemies: Alba Nera, Alma
Matrix (Alma Zareth), Euro-Adaptoid, Mr. Illusion, Nosferath, Vandalia,
possessed Vera Croce security;
formerly Lancelot, Voyager
Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
formerly Vera Croce (True Cross) Base, Northern Italy
First Appearance: Europa#0 (April 1996)
(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. After an hour's march, they reached the Alpha Site, ...
(Europa#2 (fb) - BTS) - Segrate International...
(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.
(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
(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.
- 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.
- BTS) - Members of Alba Nera were framed and imprisoned for the
(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.
(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#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.
- 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. Gabriel, able to control his own body's systems and generate
energy boosting his capabilities, became Front, the team leader, armed
with Revo, an AI built into a gun. Brothers Brandon and Nicholas Blake,
able to generate energy claws and fire respectively, became Grip and
Suede. Telepath Debora Crovi became Balance, while Iman Dashire, who
could create black energy discs, took the codename Mandala.
(Europa#1 - BTS (fb)) - Front and Balance became romantically involved...
(Europa#3 - BTS (fb) - and Suede developed an unrequited interest in Mandala.
(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.
- 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. Lancelot
witnessed Front taking on an evil version of Iron Man, first boosting
Revo's power using his mutant energies so that it destroyed "Iron
Man's" entire left forearm with a single shot, then smashing an
adrenaline-boosted fist clean through "Iron Man's" chest and ripping
out his innards. Though Lancelot recognized how impressive Front's
performance had been, he also noted that Front had continued his
assault longer than he needed to, and as a result would have killed a
Lancelot switched his
attention to Grip, whose energy claws were ripping into Venom and
Carnage; however, the symbiotes easily withstood the attack, then
knocked Grip to the ground and advanced, intending to finish him off.
Before they could, however, Suede swooped by, engulfed in flame. The
momentary distraction provided Grip with just enough respite to rally,
and he threw his energy claws like daggers to take down Carnage, while
Suede simultaneously incinerated Venom's back. Again, Lancelot noted
the worrying combination of efficiency and unnecessary lethality.
A shift in gravity heralded Mandala's power in action, as she confronted an enraged Hulk. Using her darkness discs, she shattered a boulder he threw at her, then vanished through another disc to emerge behind the bewildered behemoth and fire on him with multiple discs, combining their attack into a single shot to destroy him. Once more, this impressive display disquieted Lancelot, who felt Mandala seemed to like to play with her foes like a cat torturing a mouse, before striking them down with bloody proficiency.
Lancelot was aware that Caine
was watching him in turn, the professor conscious that a negative
decision from Lancelot could potentially destroy his life's dream, but
the agent silently concluded that Gemini was not ready: Power alone
was not enough, and each of them had been too swift to turn to lethal
attacks without pausing to evaluate whether they were necessary. This
sentiment was apparently sensed by 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
(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.
BTS) - Front told the team they had to emulate the Avengers, which meant
no killing if possible, and so the members planning to use guns loaded
their "ultra-tech" weapons with anesthetic capsules.
(Europa#1) - Upon seeing the intruders, the terrorists used hostages as shields and tried to shoot, but Balance telekinetically blocked their barrels while she and Grip returned fire, though Grip decried their use of non-lethal ammunition, and when Balance reminded him of Front's orders, he teased her for being in love. Annoyed, Balance told him to stay focused, just before he took out several terrorists while executing a cartwheel. However, he came to stop in front of three more terrorists he and Balance had overlooked. Before they could open fire, black energy discs appeared behind them, and Mandala emerged from one, swiftly shocking the terrorists into unconsciousness with lightning-like blasts from the discs. The fiery Suede swooped down on yet more of the terrorists, who mistook him for the Human Torch. Correcting them, he blew up their guns. A terrorist hiding in the shadows took aim at the back of the unsuspecting Mandala, but Grip used his mind-influencing powers to make the man turn the gun on himself. Before Grip could force the terrorist to shoot himself, Balance knocked the man out, angrily reminding Grip yet again of Front's orders.
Elsewhere within the base Front was traversing roof beams as he sneaked up on another terrorist who was searching through the base's video archives. Instructing Revo to regulate itself to non-lethal intensities, Front dropped from the roof beams to challenge the terrorist, offering him the choice of being blasted to smithereens or peaceful surrender. The man raised his hands, correctly deducing that his opponent was one of Caine's superhumans, but then grinned, revealing that the base was rigged with explosives synchronized to his heart beat, and that he was holding a grenade primed to go off if he released the safety catch. Front swiftly asked Revo if it could generate a frequency matching the terrorist's heart beat, in order to fool the bombs' sensors, but hearing this the terrorist detonated the grenade, literally blowing himself in half. As Revo warned Front that it had not had time to copy the frequency, the terrorist, barely hanging on to life, told Front to look at the monitor which was displaying what he had discovered in the archives. Front instead grabbed for the man, intending to try to carry him to safety before the detonation, but then he glanced up, and recoiled in horror at what he saw...
- BTS) - which was the video of Caine and the soldiers moving into
Segrate International Hospital and the subsequent shootings of the
transformed victims. The revelation that Caine had lied to him and
appeared to have murdered innocent civilians at Segrate devastated
(Europa#1) - Screaming in denial, Front fired his gun rapidly, destroying the monitors.
(Europa#1 (fb)) - Front grabbed a
laser disc holding the video footage he had watched from the
archive room's computer.
(Europa#1 - BTS) - Front then fainted.
(Europa#1) - Balance found him moments later. Following Revo's instructions, she kept the dying terrorist's heart beating via a combination of telepathy and telekinesis as she revived Front and half-dragged him out of the facility. Struggling to keep the terrorist alive and awash in his pain and fear, she just managed to get herself and Front clear before she let the terrorist's heart stop beating. The reunited team, along with Caine, then helicoptered back to Vera Croce, their flight back-lit by the massive explosion.
Back at Vera Croce, Caine evaluated the mission, judging it a
success and sure that though rattled, Balance would recover. As he
reviewed video surveillance tapes from Monfalcone, Caine witnessed
Front taking the laser disc, 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.
- 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...
- BTS) - and saw the LMD's robotic shell exposed through gaps in the
ripped fake flesh on "Caine's" face and neck.
(Europa#1) - Front informed Revo that he understood now, and knew what he had to do next.
- 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.
- 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.
Switching off Revo since Gemini could easily track the AI, Front fled to
Milan, hiding in plain sight in the subway while he tried to figure out
his next move. He felt he should show his teammates the video, but
feared they would be disinclined to listen since they would believe he
had murdered Caine. Next he considered going instead to the media and
exposing Gemini as a stunt, the experiment of a mad scientist who had
manipulated innocent lives, but Front ultimately decided his best course
of action was to make contact with Alba Nera, suspecting the terrorists
must know more about the truth behind Gemini. Front's internal debate
was interrupted when he noticed a briefcase left unattended on the
platform near him. As he glanced at it, a nearby young girl's curiosity
got the better of her, but when she touched the briefcase it sent out
mechanical tentacles that engulfed her, and the briefcase expanded and
transformed into a robot with the child trapped within its framework.
Declaring that "adaption was complete," it identified itself as a
Euro-Adaptoid. Front activated Revo, which analyzed the Euro-Adaptoid,
identifying it to be parasitic, using the human hostage's nervous system
to boost its memory.
BTS) - Alerted by Revo's activation, Gemini raced towards his location.
- As the panicked public fled, Front fired at the rampaging
creature, trusting Revo to assist his aim so he did not hit the child,
but the Euro-Adaptoid shrugged off the x-ray laser blast and grabbed him,
intending to replace the girl with Front. He shot it, disrupting the
process, but the girl screamed as he did so, and the the robot swatted
Front away. Revo confirmed that the Euro-Adaptoid had tapped into its
hostage's nerves, so that damage to its metal body caused her pain,
adding that destroying it might kill her. The Euro-Adaptoid returned to
its main mission, to randomly slay twenty-five civilians, and began
gunning down fleeing commuters, counting them off as it went.
Front hastily evacuated people up the
steps leading out of the subway, then turned to fire on the robot, only
to find it had vanished. The girl's distraught mother pleaded to Front
to save her child, and he tried to reassure her, but while he was doing
so, Revo warned him he had company. He turned to find Balance behind
him, her gun trained on him. Mistakenly thinking the woman to be Front's
hostage, Balance demanded he let her go, ignoring his request to help
evacuate the remaining bystanders from the area as she informed him that
she needed to hand him over to S.H.I.E.L.D. and berated him for killing
Caine. Front again tried to appeal to her to help get everyone to
safety, but she reiterated her demand he surrender, declaring him a
murderer. As she did so, the rest of Gemini arrived and surrounded their
former leader. Grip angrily concluded that Front was using civilians to
protect himself, openly wondering if he had always been a traitor and
demanded to know who had paid him to kill Caine.
The revelation that his former
teammates had apparently already judged and condemned him horrified
Front, but Mandala assumed Revo was calculating their next moves. She
warned the others that Front would not hesitate to kill them, prompting
Suede to suggest they all attack him simultaneously. Front dodged as
Mandala unleashed a blast from her energy discs, while Suede realized he
could not activate his powers in the enclosed space of the subway for
fear of burning up all the oxygen. Mandala shouted to Grip to stop
Front, but as Grip moved to attack, Front noticed the Euro-Adaptoid
sneaking up behind Balance and shouted a warning. Grip derided this as a
childish attempt to distract him until Balance screamed; deeming Balance
a better host than the child, the robot absorbed her into its framework.
While the terrified but now freed child fled
to its mother's arms, the robot decided the Gemini members were threats
and turned its attention towards them, snatching them up with metal
tentacles. Front grabbed at Suede as he began to ignite, warning him
that damaging the robot would hurt Balance, but Suede mistook this for
him defending the robot. Losing his cool at his former teammates'
bull-headedness, Front angrily ordered them to only hit peripheral parts
and stick to defensive hits, then began snapping the tentacles holding
them, hoping that doing so would not cause Balance irreparable damage.
Declaring Front to be the main target,
the robot knocked him to the ground, then returned to its extermination
protocol. With the civilians all gone now, it opened fire on Mandala,
but Front tackled her out of the way, taking a hit to the shoulder as he
did so. As he got painfully back to his feet, Mandala pleaded with him
not to attack the Euro-Adaptoid, fearful it would kill him, but he threw
this back at her, asking her if that wasn't just what she wanted anyway.
Rushing towards the robot, Front asked Revo if it could upload a virus
into it, and Revo confirmed it might be able to, but only if it used
Front's brain as an interface. Analyzing Front as he attacked, the
Euro-Adaptoid concluded that he was bursting with "A-class superenergy"
and it would be unable to defeat him in a direct fight, so it switched
to adapting to him instead. Front let himself be caught, despite Revo's
pleading not to risk himself, and as he was absorbed, Balance was
released, collapsing to the ground stunned.
While the Euro-Adaptoid struggled to
assimilate Front, Grip suggested his teammates seize their chance and
attack it, but Mandala vehemently rejected this, pointing out that Front
was fighting the machine on their behalf. Grip and Suede were both
dismissive, still sure he had murdered Caine and betrayed them, but
Mandala pointed out that he had saved both her and Balance's life,
sacrificing himself for the latter when he could have run. Grip remained
unconvinced, reminding Mandala that they had orders to capture Front,
but he was interrupted as the Euro-Adaptoid
announced that contact had failed, and Front
As they watched, the robot declared a system error and overloaded. Front ripped himself free from the dying machine, then crushed the robot's head, but as he declared the Euro-Adaptoid's threat ended, he was shot in the face by the newly arrived Lancelot. Screaming in agony as his face burned, Front fled. Lancelot prepared to shoot him in the back, but Balance knocked his gun arm to spoil his shot. Lancelot angrily instructed the other three Gemini members to pursue Front, but they defiantly ignored his order.
(Europa#2 - BTS) - Lancelot learned of Front's actions in stopping the Euro-Adaptoid, making him re-evaluate what he had been told, and regret the injury he had inflicted.
- BTS) - Front only survived due to his ability to control his own blood
stream, but suffered irreparable facial injuries down to the bone. In
shock, he reached a disused subway tunnel; deeming the location
reasonably safe, Revo injected a sedative into him, sending him to
(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 Euro-Adaptoid 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 (fb) - BTS) - With his disfigured face now hidden behind a golden mask, Front approached investigative T.V. journalist Carlo Paci, who had long suspected there was more to the attack on the hospital and Gemini's origins than Caine had told the world, and had sought to find the truth.
The attack in Milan seemed to mark an increase in criminal activities,
and the next day Milan suffered another attack, this time by the
high-tech supercriminal trio who called themselves Vandalia. Seeming
more concerned with spreading chaos and destruction than any concrete
goals, they destroyed two banks in the heart of the city and proceeded
to rampage through Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). Although the
police were apparently powerless to stop them, a solo Grip took down
Vandalia with ease. Front and Paci watched this on the news, before
returning to their conversation. Eager to get to the truth, Front
instructed Revo to show the reporter the recording he had take from
Monfalcone. Paci watched in horror as Caine dictated the story of what
had truly occurred at the hospital over footage shot at the time,
showing the army unit assigned to him being forced to kill transformed
civilians as they fought their way to Child One. As the video ended,
Front demanded Paci share his own findings, eager to learn what the
video had been unable to answer, and Paci agreed to help him uncover the
full story, explaining that he had a source of information he had
previously hesitated to follow up on.
- 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 (see comments). Sensing something to be wrong, Suede
headed towards his female teammates' quarters, concerned for Mandala's
safety. Meanwhile Grip and Lancelot remained in the base's control
room, fighting the possessed guards. Confronted by Alma Matrix and
Child One, Grip fought a rearguard action while Lancelot escaped.
- Elsewhere in the base, Mandala and Balance were trying to
relax, but it soon became clear that Balance was still preoccupied by
thoughts of Front, unable to get her lover's scream as he fled down the
subway tunnel out of her head. Commenting that Balance could easily
locate Front with her powers, Mandala queried why she didn't do so, and
Balance replied that she didn't want to, feeling that he must have a
reason for not making contact. Their chat was interrupted by a scream
nearby, but before they could investigate the ground in their room
erupted as a technological serpent of cables and flooring rose to attack
them. The pair fled into the corridor to see Suede battling the security
guards. He took them down with an explosion, and tried to reassure
Mandala and Balance, who were unsure whether he or the guards were the
threat. As the ground began shaking, Suede urged them that they needed
to leave, fast, but his plea came too late, as the entire building
lifted off into the air.
Suede, Mandala and Balance fought their way through the base, overpowering more security guards and discovering to their horror that the men inside the armor were dead, slain and then piloted by cables which had extruded from the helmets (not dissimilar to how the Euro-Adaptoid had worked). They continued on, painfully aware that the base might soon reach outer space, hoping to recover Caine, Grip, Lancelot and any other survivors and then evacuate to the hanger and escape in one of the base's aircraft. Reaching the main control area, the trio blasted the door open, and were momentarily relieved to see Grip standing amidst the swirling smoke...until he collapsed. Behind him was Alma Matrix, carrying Child One. The eldritch babe identified the Gemini members as the superhumans Alma had promised it and demanded she give them to it. She responded that they belonged to it, but apologetically noted that their leader (Front) was missing; Child One reassured her that it sensed he (Mr. Illusion) was near, and would bring it the one who must die.
Lancelot had donned a spacesuit and was now outside the base, now on the upper edge of Earth's exosphere. Believing the only hope was to find Front, he leapt off, beginning a 60,000 kilometer drop back to Earth.
On Earth, Front and Paci arrived at the caravan Mr. Illusion lived in to find the magician being attacked by thugs he had humiliated during a recent show. Front intervened, and when one of the thugs pulled a gun, Front drew Revo, initially ordering the firearm to use anesthetic rounds, then loudly changing this to lethal force, explosive bullets. As he began counting down from five, the thugs saw sense and fled. The two new arrivals introduced themselves to Mr. Illusion, who recognized Front as one of the children from the hospital. Asking to touch Front, he removed the gold mask and informed Front he was cured...
- BTS) - though in truth he had merely hidden the scars with an
illusion, which soon wore off. He told them of what he had witnessed
that night at the hospital, though his story answered few of their
questions, as Mr. Illusion lacked any idea what Nosferath was.
Meanwhile Alma Matrix and Child One
captured Caine and the remaining members of Gemini.
(Europa#4) - Lancelot was saved from burning up as he entered the atmosphere by Iron Man, who safely returned him to Earth. The hero told Lancelot that even this small level of involvement, saving Lancelot's life, violated the agreement between the U.S. and Italian governments that Iron Man not interfere, but Lancelot asked if he nevertheless could provide one more favor. Back on the orbiting Vera Croce base, Alma taunted her captives, telling the Gemini members that they were, and always had been, cursed, and she recounted the details of Caine's pact with Nosferath and how it pertained to their true origin.
Meanwhile on Earth, Mr. Illusion took Front
and Paci to a cemetery to show them the grave of Laura Di Giovanni,
explaining that she had died three years earlier, allegedly killed by
the recurring dreams of what she had witnessed in the hospital (see
comments). Feeling themselves little further in their
investigation than before they had talked to him, Paci suggested their
next move should be to nail Caine, or get to someone senior in
S.H.I.E.L.D. Front responded that the only S.H.I.E.L.D. agent he knew
had shot him in the face, adding that he was eager to see that man
again. As he said this, they were surprised by an aircraft performing a
vertical landing only feet away. Lancelot exited, shouting to the
flabbergasted Front to accompany him, as Gemini needed him. For a moment
Front hesitated, instantly suspicious of the man he hated most in the
world but briefly wondering if he might be telling them truth, then he
drew Revo and angrily told Lancelot "Goodbye."
Before he could shoot, however, another voice cried out, telling him to stop, and Front turned to see Iron Man, the Avenger's gauntlets charged and ready to fire. Iron Man noted that he understood Front's anger towards Lancelot, but stated that the agent was under his protection and reiterated that Gemini was in danger. Deciding to trust Iron Man's word, Front agreed to go with Lancelot. After Iron Man departed, returning to the U.S. to deal with his own concerns, Front informed Paci he would have to stay behind, ignoring the journalist's protests that he wanted to follow his story to its conclusion, retorting that the reporter had to stay alive if he intended to tell the world that story.
- BTS) - Before departing, Front slipped a copy of the hospital footage
into Paci's pocket.
- Front and Lancelot took off in the agent's aircraft,
unknowingly accompanied by a cloaked Mr. Illusion. After a short flight
, they boarded the orbiting Vera Croce base, and were shocked to be
greeted by Caine and Balance, both seemingly fine and happy to see them;
unnoticed, behind them, Mr. Illusion appeared, apparently unable to
cloak himself while producing other illusions. As Balance moved towards
him, Front sensed something off, and despite Lancelot's attempts to stop
him, he fired Revo, blowing away half of Balance's head. Despite this,
she got back up and continued coming towards them. Spotting Mr.
Illusion, Lancelot grabbed the magician, accused him of being behind
this, and shoved him into the revenant's path, which shattered on impact
into a writhing mass of worms.
The facade they had been seeing dropped
away, revealing Gemini and Caine trapped by organic-looking growths
protruding from the walls, and in the center Alma Matrix and the
floating form of Child One. Desperate to be free of Nosferath's
nightmarish influence, Mr. Illusion proclaimed that he had brought his
lord the final child, and the entity happily acknowledged that he had
served his slave purpose well, including slaying its "Earthling mother."
Now ready to reclaim its energies, Child One turned to Alma Matrix and,
ignoring her protests and screams, drained her lifeforce, initiating its
transformation into its true form. Seizing this momentary distraction,
Front hastily shot his teammates free, and they began attacking
Nosferath, but the entity taunted them, noting that their powers were
part of it and so their attacks merely fed it. Declaring the games to be
over, Nosferath began draining the five Gemini members and Mr. Illusion,
all of whom collapsed, helpless as it extracted their energies.
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. The entity instantly
regressed to its infant form as Voyager began binding its power, and it
began protesting helplessly, desperately switching between pleading to
Caine, seemingly slain by Voyager's explosive arrival, then berating the
barely conscious Gemini members. Child One screamed that Voyager would
not only destroy it, but also Earth, but Voyager told it to shut up and
accept its imprisonment, then opened a portal that sucked Child One
through into its prison dimension.
Voyager declared that with Nosferath now
recaptured, the explosion sequence could be stopped, but only after the
humans infected by Nosferath had been eliminated. Lancelot made a futile
attempt to stop Voyager, but though he only managed to distract the
cosmic entity for scant moments, it was enough for Front to climb
painfully to his feet. Trying to get a clean shot, the Gemini leader
told Lancelot to get out the way, and Voyager paused, reconsidering its
next move. Apparently impressed by their resolve, Voyager decided that
justice would not be served if it destroyed them, and departed without a
word, much to Lancelot and Front's surprise.
Lancelot returned with the injured Gemini
members to Earth, where the media coverage of their return attributed
the loss of Vera Croce base, Caine and Zareth to another terrorist
attack. Though seriously injured, the Gemini members were expected to
full recover, having retained their super-human metabolisms.
Watching this report, Paci wondered
what to do next, knowing that he could create a scandal that would
destroy Gemini if he released the hospital video footage that Front had
given him. Not sure what to do, Paci decided to put aside the decision
Comments: Created by Giorgio Lavagna, Francesco Mio, Luca Poli and Carmine Di
Poli and Di Giandomenico did the character designs for the Gemini characters, while Fabrizio Ugolini and Giampaolo Frizzi drew and inked the actual series.
It's possible that rather than just investigating the Meta-impulse, Caine's experiments trying to create superhumans somehow triggered it and Nosferath's release. However, if that was the case, he might have been expected to have been at the location of the impulse to start with, not just getting there after the fact.
The story doesn't explicitly
reveal Alma Matrix's powers; however, the way the technology in the
base acts once she wakes Child One resembles to some extent the way
the Euro-Adaptoid attacked and absorbed people, and since Zareth used
technology salvaged from the Euro-Adaptoid in her experiment to tap
into Child One's power, and had a preexisting affinity for technology
via her chosen scientific field, it seems reasonable to assume that
she was the one who took over the base, turned the guards into
armor-zombies and transformed parts of the building into robotic
In Europa#1 Lancelot believes
that Gemini's success at taking down the terrorists in Monfalcone may
force him to integrate the team into EuroMind, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s European
subdivision. In Europa#2 we learn that with Caine's seeming death,
S.H.I.E.L.D. is now in charge of Gemini; this probably means they were
now part of EuroMind, but since Lancelot, an American agent not
affiliated with EuroMind seemed to be running things, it might be that
they had become part of the wider agency.
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.
Given Child One's statement that Mr. Illusion had killed its "Earthling mother" at its request, I assume that this was the woman he had met at the hospital, Laura Di Giovanni, and hence that Mr. Illusion's statement about how Laura had died was false.
This profile was completed 10/03/2020, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.
Profile by Loki, with invaluable aid from comic translator Angelo Mammone.
Gemini has no known connections to:
Vera Croce base was located in northern Italy, housing not only
the team but also a large number of support staff. Alma Matrix
launched it into orbit, and it is unrevealed whether it was
later retrieved from there or not.
Vera Croce security
Vera Croce's security force wore high-tech armor, but this proved to be their downfall when Alma Matrix usurped control and used the armors' cybernetic interfaces to kill the wearers, then pilot their bodies around to attack Gemini.
images: (without ads)
Europa#1, cover (main image)
Europa#1, p4-5, pan1 (group shot, powers not activated)
Europa#0, p6-7, pan1 (in simulation)
Europa#1, p8, pan2/p9, pan1 (fighting Alba
Europa#2, p10, pan1 (confronting Front)
Europa#3, p14, pan5 (battling possessed guards)
Europa#0, p1, pan4 (Vera Croce)
Europa#3, p6, pan4 (Vera Croce security in armor, fighting Suede)
Europa#3, p14, pan2 (slain guard and cybernetic interface controlling his corpse)
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: 09/29/2021
Last updated: 09/28/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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