KELPIE

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Elemental (water) demon, Scottish (see comments)

Occupation: Superhero;
   any other occupation unrevealed

Group Membership: The Union (Britannia, Bulldog, Choir/Ruth, Snakes, Union Jack/Joseph Chapman)

Affiliations: Detective Inspector Kate Fraser, Selwyn James;
   formerly Steve Darwin

Enemies: Doc Croc's unnamed gang (Doc Croc/Croker Dyle, Craig, Lady Shimmering Lights, Shifter, Volcanna/Anna), Knull, Steve Darwin, Symbiote Dragon, Symbiotes, unidentified security guards (both before and after they were possessed by the Symbiotes);
   formerly Skreem/Ruth

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Formerly an unidentified Scottish loch, Scotland, U.K.

First Appearance: The Union#1 (February 2021)

Powers/Abilities: Kelpie possesses hydrokinesis, the ability to shape and move water with her mind; in her case, she can manipulate vast amounts of water with an extreme degree of precision. She can make even small puddles of water engulf people and drown them on dry land, turn water into lethal daggers that fly through the air, and propel herself through water or ride atop it on waves solid enough to carry herself and several others at an undefined but high speed. The amount of available water dictates just how powerful her attacks can be - when next to the sea, she can generate massive tidal waves, but even inland away from any large bodies of water she can condense the water vapor in the air around her to generate powerful jets of water to blast opponents. Presumably in a dry environment with minimal moisture in the air, such as a desert, her powers would be much more limited. She can survive underwater without effort; it is uncertain whether she actually needs to breath, but if she does, she can breath underwater without difficulty.

   Kelpie's body itself appears to be made of solid water, as if she loses her sense of self she collapses into a puddle. This malleable form is presumably why she can manifest elongated fingers ending in lengthy, lethally sharp talons.

Height: (water form) variable; (human form) 6' (by approximation)
Weight: Unrevealed (see comments)
Eyes: (water form) None; (human form) Teal green; (when using powers) glowing teal green, no visible pupil or iris
Hair: (water form) None; (human form) Pink with blue highlights

History:
(
The Union#2 (fb) - BTS) -The being later known as Kelpie was an ancient water demon who lived in a Scottish loch.

(The Union#1 (fb) - BTS) - Hoping to promote a sense of national unity and pride, the British government decided to assemble a team of superheroes drawn from all four member nations of the United Kingdom, with funding provided by tech billionaire Steve Darwin.

(The Union#2 (fb) - BTS) - Another reason for the new team's formation was to ensure that the U.K. would be ready to face any hostile threats now that it was no longer part of S.H.E.D. (the Super Hero European Directive).

(The Union#1 (fb) - BTS) - The well-respected Britannia, a heroine with decades long pedigree defending the U.K., was asked to head the initiative, which was dubbed the Britannia Project in her honor; the actual name for the team would be decided by a public vote, a publicity stunt designed to increase awareness and interest in the team.

   Britannia recruited the water demon to be the Scottish representative on the team. Despite it being inaccurate as a descriptor, the demon was codenamed Kelpie because that "appealed to the target demographic."

(The Union#2 (fb) - BTS) - Kelpie and her two fellow recruits, Northern Ireland's Snakes and Wales' Choir, agreed to join not out of any sense of heroism, duty or patriotism, but because it was Britannia's dream, and they viewed her as something bigger and better than the country she represented.

(The Union#3 (fb) - BTS) - The diminutive Bulldog was penciled in to be the team's English representative, but he didn't "play well" with his teammates, with an unspecified but negative event taking place between him and Snakes. Kelpie viewed Bulldog with disdain, calling his derisively "the Dog." For these reasons, it was deemed politik to remove Bulldog from the frontline team prior to the public being informed about them. Kelpie, Snakes and Choir however all came to consider each other friends (perhaps mutually bonding because all three were normally rejected as outcasts by wider society). Despite their friendship, Kelpie remained unaware that under his hooded robes Snakes was literally composed of a mass of intertwined serpents.

(The Union#1 (fb) - BTS) - Both for training and as part of the the publicity for the team's launch, Kelpie and her teammates - Northern Ireland's Snakes, Wales' Choir and Britannia - took part in a capture the flag game against Union Jack and a squad of eleven guards,...

(The Union#4) - a fully trained and combat-ready military unit working for Darwin Tech,...

(The Union#1 (fb) - BTS) - ...on Brean Down Fort, located on the Brean Down promontory in the Bristol Channel, their match televised via flying camera drones supplied by Darwin Tech. Despite having superior numbers, Union Jack's team were picked off one by one by Kelpie's side, until only Jack and one guard were left.

(The Union#1) - Forty-five minutes into the game Kelpie waited in ambush with Britannia, and as the remaining guard and Jack raced between buildings Kelpie used a puddle of water to swiftly engulf the guard, ignoring Jack's cries for her to stop as he realized the unfortunate man was starting to drown. However, when Britannia sternly ordered Kelpie to let her captive go, the water demon complied. The game ended soon afterwards when Britannia successfully took the flag from Union Jack.

   Afterwards both sides took time to rest in their respective teams, and watched Union Jack and Selwyn James, the Government Minister with Special Responsibility for Super Heroes, do a live interview for Good Morning TV. Once that concluded, one of the guards moved over towards the resting super beings and derisively called them freaks. When Choir responded by bringing the man to his knees with a painful but low level sonic attack, another guard stepped up to protect his colleague and tried to stop Choir by throwing the contents of his water bottle at the Welsh superhuman. Seeing this, Kelpie turned the flung water into sharp blades that flew towards the second guard's face, and she taunted him over about being scared of a little water. With Snakes also stepping up menacingly, Union Jack hurriedly intervened, urging both sides to dial things back and play nice.

   The brief moment of calm this provided was ended almost immediately by the arrival of a Symbiote Dragon, part of a worldwide attack launched by the Symbiote God Knull. As the guards opened fire, Britannia leapt into the air and beheaded it, but as it plummeted towards the ground the decapitated beast's razor-sharp tail whipped round and skewered Britannia through the abdomen. Kelpie and the others raced to the fallen Britannia's side, and Kelpie watched as her friend died in Union Jack's arms. Unfortunately, though the dragon had been slain, its corpse split silently into a horde of Symbiotes which took over the guards while the super beings were distracted witnessing Britannia's final moments.

(The Union#1 - BTS) - Unknown to her friends and colleagues, Britannia's spirit survived, secretly taking refuge within Union Jack. 

(The Union#1) - Announcing their presence, the Symbiote-guards made clear their hostile intentions, prompting the super beings to rally in preparation for battle.

(The Union#2) - As the Symbiote-guards surrounded the super beings Union Jack instructed them to fight defensively and remember that their foes were just normal people underneath the controlling Symbiotes. Retorting that they were people she had never liked, Kelpie turned her fingers into talons and lunged at their foes, followed into battle moments later by the others. However, the Symbiotes swiftly overwhelmed Choir and possessed her too, causing her to emit a sonic boom that apparently stunned most of her teammates.

(The Union#2 - BTS) - The Symbiotes also tried to take over Snakes and Kelpie, but found their unusual biologies problematic to possess. Abandoning the fight to seek fresh targets, the Symbiotes departed for the mainland and the nearest town, Weston-Super-Mare.

(The Union#2) - With the Symbiotes having taken the available vehicles, Kelpie provided transportation to pursue them, carrying her allies over the sea atop a solid wave of water. Reaching the seaside town they found the Symbiote-hosts, including Choir, at the Funland theme park on the beach front, threatening the locals, and battle commenced once more. Swiftly realizing that with the guards now Symbiote-powered the good guys were outgunned as well as outnumbered, Union Jack shouted to his allies that they needed a distraction. Taking this as permission, Kelpie summoned a gigantic tidal wave that struck Funland, ending the fight abruptly. The waters swiftly receded until they were only ankle deep, but though some of the Symbiote-hosts had been knocked out, several of them, Choir included, recovered as fast as the heroes did. While Union Jack tried to reason with Choir, Steve Darwin hastily wired Britannia's sword to one of the funfair ride's electrical outlets, then threw the blade to Union Jack; catching it, Jack plunged the weapon into the water as Darwin turned on the power, electrocuting the Symbiote-hosts. Vulnerable to electricity, the Symbiotes were slain, freeing their hosts.

   A little time passed, sufficient for the emergency services to arrive. In the aftermath Kelpie, Snakes and Choir approached Union Jack to inform the shocked hero that with Britannia dead so too was her dream, and that they were quitting the Project. Declaring themselves done, they departed, leaving a nonplussed Union Jack to watch them walk away.

(The Union#3 - BTS) - Having been found by her former employer, the crimelord Doc Croc, Choir fled from him and made a hasty call to Kelpie on a public phone, but was only able to inform her friend that she needed help before being found by Croc's gang and forced to flee again. Kelpie and Snakes headed to Choir's home in North Wales, determined to help for their friend. Having been trying to lay low, Choir had been living in an isolated caravan in the middle of nowhere; Kelpie and Snakes found it burned to an empty husk. The police, including Detective Inspector Kate Fraser, and Selwyn James were also alerted (whether by locals, their own sources, or Kelpie and Snakes remains unrevealed).

(The Union#3) - Kelpie and Snakes were at the caravan site when Selwyn James arrived with Union Jack and Bulldog. Unimpressed with this last, Kelpie told Jack to keep him on a tight leash, and when Jack expressed surprise at their presence after they had walked out on the team, Kelpie corrected him: they hadn't left the team, they had left him, but they still looked out for one another. Before the discussion could progress much further Bulldog alerted them to his suspicion that a stray dog loitering near them was not a real canine. His observation was proven correct when he picked it up and it suddenly transformed into a butterfly which then spoke in a human voice, identifying itself as Shifter, a shapeshifting supervillain associated with Doc Croc. When Union Jack caught the butterfly out the air, it transformed into a full sized tiger, breaking from his grip. Shifter then lunged at Kate Fraser, screaming that he would tear them all apart, but Jack tackled Kate out the way while Kelpie unleashed a jet of water that caught the beast mid-air. Adapting, Shifter became a dolphin, still suspended in the stream, so Snakes hauled him out and slammed him to the ground. Shifter morphed into a gorilla and hoisted Snakes aloft, but when he tried to rip Snakes apart Shifter merely tore open the clothes Snakes' component serpents were inhabiting. Shocked by the sight like everyone else, Kelpie watched as the individual snakes rained down on a terrified Shifter, who reflexively reverted to his humanoid form. As the group struggled to get over their shock, Selwyn offered himself as a hostage to Shifter; unable to intervene for fear of Selwyn coming to harm, the team watched helplessly as Shifter and Selwyn went into elwyn's car, unable to see what was happening within thanks to its tinted windows. Now facing a hostage situation, Kate called for an armed response unit and told the super beings to wait for them to arrive, but Kelpie argued that they couldn't just stand by doing nothing, given they were supposed to be super heroes. Before they could act however the situation resolved itself; Selwyn was secretly a reformed super villain able to temporarily steal other's powers, and concealed from their view inside the vehicle he drained Shifter's powers, shot him dead, then claimed Shifter had committed suicide.

(The Union#4) - After Doc Croc made a televised threat against the U.K., and promised Britannia's teammates would be his first targets, the team gathered together with Darwin and Selwyn in tow at the Tower of London, with Darwin Tech's guards added to the Tower's normal defenders for additional security in light of Croc's warning. Recalling how the team had been attacked by those same guards when they had been under Symbiote-control however, Kelpie was not reassured by this last. Sure enough, mere moments later Croc's gang (including Choir, intimidated into rejoining under her former villain codename of Skreem) gassed the guards unconscious and entered the Tower. Alerted to this, the team moved to stop them, with Kelpie reaching the gang ahead of the others as she flowed down the corridors. Almost instantly Kelpie was taken down by Lady Shimmering Light, a gang member whose hypnotic lights made Kelpie forget herself, causing her to "burst" into a large pool of water.

(The Union#4 - BTS) - Snakes and Bulldog were soon taken down to by Croc's gang, but when the reached the Keep they found Darwin had already knocked out Union Jack and snatched for himself the prize Doc Croc had come for, the Empire Stone, a magical gem that granted vast powers to whoever held it.

(The Union#5 - BTS) - Making a choice not to be dragged back into villainy despite Croc's threats, Choir turned against the crimelord, while Britannia's spirit revealed herself, emerging from the unconscious Jack to attack Darwin now that the billionaire had revealed his megalomaniacal intent.

(The Union#5) - When Darwin explosively exited the Tower and Croc's gang fled, Britannia's ghost reached out mentally to her teammates, reviving those who had been knocked out and helping Kelpie reform her human body. Spotting Darwin floating above Tower Bridge, the heroes confronted him, with Kelpie getting their former ally's attention by pulling up huge waves from the Thames River to curtain either side of the bridge. Claws out, Kelpie lunged at Darwin, but he turned immaterial and she passed through him, inadvertently knocking a bystander off the side of the bridge. Snakes grabbed the woman, but having left his concealing robe back at the castle she saw that her savior was a writhing mass of snakes and reacted in terror. Taking pleasure at the growing crowd of onlookers' ferarful comments about the team, Darwin derided them as freaks and monsters, then flew off, leaving them to face the terrified bystanders.

(The Union#5 - BTS) - They pursued, finally catching up with Darwin outside 10 Downing Street, where Union Jack, bolstered by Britannia's spirit, had taken the billionaire down, only for Doc Croc to snatch the Empire Stone.

(The Union#5) - The team arrived just in time to witness Selwyn Jones use the last of Shifter's power to get the stone off Croc. Kelpie watched as Choir then knocked Croc out with a sonic scream.

(The Union#5 - BTS) - Britannia's spirit departed, and while the team was officially still on call, ready to respond to emergencies, the members, Kelpie included, dropped off the radar, prompting the government to close down the Britannia Project.

(The Marvels#5 (fb) - BTS) - Though the Project was officially closed, the group decided they would uphold their promise to Britannia and come together as a team when needed to protect the U.K.

(The Marvels#5) - Kelpie, alongside the rest of the team, now called the Union, battled a giant monster that threatened London.

Comments: Created by Paul Grist, Andrea Di Vito, Drew Geraci and Le Beau Underwood.

   Despite her codename, Kelpie is clearly stated to not be an actual kelpie, water spirits that can shapeshift, usually between human and a horse-like form. Though Kelpie does seem to have a major affinity to water, and in that respect might be described as a water spirit, and also shapeshifts, albeit between human and water rather than human and horse, she clearly identifies as being a demon. That said, she may not be a demon in the sense that is normally applied within Reality-616 (the mainstream Marvel universe), which is a "nonhuman mystical being that is superhuman in power and inclined toward acts of evil," who "tend to be parasitic quasi-mystical beings, requiring sustenance often in the form of souls or life essences from lesser creatures." In the admittedly limited amount of time we saw Kelpie, there was no evidence of taking anyone's life essence to sustain herself, and while she was disdainful of most people and seemed more than willing to cause injury or death to her foes, she didn't come across as malevolent. It may be that she's more of an elemental spirit that has so frequently been called a demon (and so presumably mistreated by humans) that she's just accepted the descriptor.

   Given that she can shift into water and when she lost her sense of self she reverted to same, it seems likely her human form is merely a facade, and her natural form is actually water. In theory she thus might be able to take on any shape desired, and things like skin and hair coloration could be produced by manipulating the water's refractive index, which would mean all her physical stats (height, weight, eye and hair color) would be changeable at will. Even if her height is not changeable, it's difficult to calculate her weight given we don't know how dense her form is.

  In case anyone is wondering why I keep using "super beings" rather than "super humans" or "super heroes" or, indeed, the team's name in the history, it's because neither Kelpie nor her teammate Snakes are human, and to call most of the team "heroes" is fairly debatable, at least initially - thanks to Britannia they are on the side of the angels, but its clear that this is new to them and doesn't come naturally. And since the group doesn't have a team name until after their debut miniseries concludes, I couldn't call them the Union in the early part of the history, despite that being the name of the series.

  In Union#3 we don't see who Choir specifically calls; she makes a single call, and Kelpie later says "we got a phone call," so in theory it might have been Snakes who was on the other end of the line, but between Kelpie and Snakes, the latter comes across as far less likely to have a phone.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Kelpie has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
The Union#1, p?, pan? (main image)
The Union#1, p2, pan2 (headshot, normal eyes)
The Union#1, p13, pan2 (headshot, glowing eyes)
The Union#1, Paul Grist variant cover (full body/costume shot)
The Union#1, p5, pan4 (water form, engulfing soldier)
The Union#1, p13, pan1 (turning water into daggers)
The Union#2, p6, pan1 (claws)
The Union#2, p11, pan1 (traveling through water, creating wave to carry others)
The Union#2, p14, pan1 (tidal wave)
The Union#3, p13, pan4 (water blast)
The Union#5, p6, pan2 (water form)


Appearances:
The Union#1 (February 2021) - Paul Grist (writer), Andrea Di Vito with Paul Grist (pencils), Drew Geraci and Le Beau Underwood with Paul Grist (inks), Darren Shan (editor)
The Union#2-5 (March-July 2021) - Paul Grist (writer), Andrea Di Vito (pencils), Le Beau Underwood (inks), Darren Shan (editor)
The Marvels#5 (November 2021) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Yildiray Cinar (art), Tom Brevoort (editor)


First Posted: 01/25/2023
Last updated: 01/25/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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