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Real Name: X'Hoss

Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial magic-user (Distant Past)

Occupation: Wizard

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: The Designate (Tarene)

Enemies: Demons

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unspecified location within the early universe

First Appearance: Thor II#23 (May, 2000)

Powers/Abilities: Although known as a wizard of unequalled skill, only three ways in which X'Hoss could use his sorcerous abilities have been revealed.

   First, X'Hoss possessed an immense precognitive ability with which he "could see tomorrow" as easily as a normal person could see someone standing only a few feet away from them. From his own era, X'Hoss was able to foresee millions (or billions) of years into the future to when the Designate (Tarene) would be born and the effects that she would have on the entire universe.

   Second, X'Hoss was able to use the "Fires of Creation" to bring physical objects into being. These objects were apparently designed by the mind of X'Hoss and would possess any capabilities that he wished them to have.

   Third, X'Hoss was able cause objects in his vicinity to be sent far away from him, apparently without leaving any trail to be followed. X'Hoss may have used the Fires of Creation to power this teleportation or to open a gateway.

Limitations: Despite his precognitive ability, X'Hoss seemed to be unable to foresee any disastrous results that his own actions might cause.

Height: 6' (estimated)
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: None (see comments)
Hair: None
Skin color: Yellow (see comments)
Fingers: Three (without any thumbs)
Toes: Unrevealed

(Thor II#23 (fb) - BTS) - X'Hoss was an alien wizard "of unequalled skill" who lived a very long time ago, "before time's measure, back when life was little more than a notion to most of the universe." Nothing has yet been revealed about exactly when he lived, where his base of operations was located, what other members of his species were like or how he developed his sorcerous skills.

(Thor II#23 (fb) - BTS) - At some point in his life, X'Hoss became enemies with a group (or race) of winged beings. Nothing is known about them except that there were (at least) twelve of them and that they came "from the mists of evil."

(Thor II#23 (fb)) - Thanks to his ability to see the future as easily as others could see the present, X'Hoss foresaw the eventual birth of the Designate, a female humanoid named Tarene, who was destined to one day change the universe by gathering all that was diverse into one single, unified force.

   Knowing that Tarene's followers-to-be would need some means by which to find her, X'Hoss used the Fires of Creation to bring forth three items that could accomplish that task: a map that could locate Tarene's position within the universe, a stone that could identify Tarene when in close proximity, and a drinking glass with a foot and stem whose original purpose has never been revealed.

   Soon after X'Hoss had created these three items, his enemies attacked, attempting to seize the items. Unable to repel them, X'Hoss managed to mystically dispatch his talismans to places unrevealed but not before his enemies were able to corrupt them with the taint of darkness.

(Thor II#23 (fb) - BTS) - X'Hoss succumbed to his enemies and was (presumably) killed by them.

(Thor II#23 (fb) - BTS) - The coming of the Designate which X'Hoss had foreseen was remembered as a prophecy. Knowledge of the three talismans needed to find the Designate also survived but so did the way in which the demonic beings had planned for the corrupted items to be used to bring about the Finality.

   Over time, the three items came to be known as the Illumination Stone, the Map of All-Ending, and the Chalice of Ruins.

(Thor II#20 (fb) - BTS) - Eventually, the evil way in which the three items could be used came to be known through this saying/prophecy: "Drink from the Chalice of Ruins but a single tear of the Designate and the power of all-prevailing death is yours forevermore!"

(Thor II#22 (fb) - BTS) - Another version of that legend stated: "Drink from the Chalice of Ruins a single tear of the Designate's and you will have the power to loosen wave after wave of unimaginable death that shall sweep the cosmos, planet by planet, until not a shred of life remains!"

(Thor II#23 (fb) - BTS) - "Throughout all time," many sought to collect all three of the creations of X'Hoss but none were ever able to do so.

(Thor II#20-22) - In the early 21st century, Thanos (actually one of his Thanosi duplicates) and his agents Mangog and Tarakis managed to obtain all three items. The last of the three, the Illumination Stone, was stolen from the planet M'Hass despite the efforts of Thor Odinson to stop them.

(Thor II#22) - In the realm of the Trolls, Orikal revealed to Odin and Ulik a vision of the future in which Thanos succeeded in drinking the Tears of the Designate from the Chalice of Ruins. Orikal assured Odin that what he had revealed must come to pass, but then the All-Father thought of a way by which the catastrophe might be averted.

(Thor II#23) - On M'Hass, Thor and his allies sought the counsel of its ruler, the Millennium Monarch, as to how they might avert an imminent tragedy of cosmic proportions. The aged ruler stated that she did not know if it were possible to stop Thanos from gaining control of the Final Death, then she revealed the history of the three items, including when and why they had been created by X'Hoss and how they had been corrupted by his enemies.

(Thor II#25) - Thanos succeeded in his quest and gained the power to unleash wave upon wave of death across the cosmos, and used that power to destroy the planet Parsikon IV, killing all 41 billion of its inhabitants. However, before Thanos could strike again, he was attacked by Thor who was outfitted with newly-forged armor that had been sent to him by Odin, armor that enhanced his power and that of Mjolnir. Once his armor enabled him to get close to Thanos, Thor began battling him hand-to-hand and soon managed to grasp and crush the Illumination Stone that Thanos had been wearing around his neck. With the stone's destruction, Thanos lost the ability to unleash death at will and, with three mighty blows from Mjolnir, Thor beat him to the ground. As Thanos lay there, Tarene approached and dropped some of her tears upon him. No longer protected from them by the Illumination Stone, the tears caused the evil that they touched to burn as though consumed by the fires of Hell itself. As his body began to burn, Thanos to let out a great cry and then exploded, leaving behind only a smouldering corpse.

Comments: Created by Dan Jurgens, John Romita Jr. and Dick Giordano

   The only images of X'Hoss seem to show him as having yellow skin. However, since he is standing beside the Fires of Creation in all of those images, it's possible that that his true skin color is affected by that lighting.

   Based on the fact that his talismans appeared to be as large relative to him as they were to Tarene, it would seem that X'Hoss was about 6' in height. And since his enemies were about his size, that estimate would be applicable to them as well.

   There are only three images of X'Hoss which show his face. The two images which focus on the right side of his face show his mouth as his only facial feature but in the third image, the only one that shows the left side of his face, there's a slightly-curving arch like the upper edge of an eye socket at about where an eye would be on a human face. So, did X'Hoss originally have two eyes but something happened to the right one? Or was he only born with an eye on the left side of his face? Or was he actually eyeless and it was only a trick of the firelight that made it look like he wasn't?

   In Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt#6, Tarene, after finally having been restored to being the Designate, described herself as "the one foretold by the great sorcerer queen X'Hoss." No explanation has been provided for why Tarene might have made this mistake concerning the gender of X'Hoss...unless maybe X'Hoss isn't male or female...but BOTH? Just speculating. In reality, it was probably just a case of writer Sean McKeever getting the male wizard X'Hoss confused with the female Millennium Monarch who revealed the history of X'Hoss to Thor. After all, both those two characters have only appeared once and in the same issue, Thor II#23.

   When she told Thor the story of X'Hoss, the Millennium Monarch also revealed that she knew that the Designate was a female humanoid named Tarene. Considering that the Designate's identity had previously been presented as a MASSIVE secret, the fact that it was known to this individual seems somewhat odd. It also seems a bit contrived, like the writer needed Thor (and we readers) to know this information to underscore exactly how dangerous a threat Thanos had become so he just added this character to deliver the required exposition.

   The idea that X'Hoss was able to foresee the birth of the Designate and the effect that she would have on the universe but not how his enemies would react to his creation of the three talismans seems odd. I mean, if X'Hoss could foresee that his talismans would also be used to cause the deaths of billions on Parsikon IV and, potentially, all life in the universe, then surely he would have chosen to NOT create them in the first place, right? As I see it, there are three possible explanations.

  • First, he was able to foresee that his talismans would be corrupted but thought that finding the Designate was worth the risk. This seems somewhat callous but, who knows, maybe he was right.

  • Second, he was able to foresee the deaths that would be caused by "Thanos" but he also foresaw that the villain would be defeated by Thor soon thereafter. Again, he may have regarded those deaths as being a small price to pay as long as the Designate was found.

  • Third, the nature of his precognition may have prevented X'Hoss from seeing how his own actions would affect the future. This would mean that he was not responsible for the deaths because he did not know how his talismans would be misused. Having such a specific weakness would be somewhat convenient for plot purposes but I've encountered this fatal flaw in other works of fiction (although I can't remember exactly what they were) so it wouldn't be a new idea. Of course, this is just speculation on my part.

   The biggest weakness about X'Hoss and his enemies is the lack of information that writer Dan Jurgens provided about them. As a result, they seem less like characters and more like mere plot devices. I presume that we readers are meant to see the murder of X'Hoss by his enemies as some tragic event but instead it comes across as just something that happened to get the storyline going. Unlike the slaughter of the Cotati by the Kree, there is no real emotion associated with his death.

   The most frustrating thing about X'Hoss and his enemies is that, even as one-off characters, they had the potential to be interesting but were never given the chance. Instead, readers were left with a number of questions that will never be answered, like:

 • Was X'Hoss a member of an entire species or was he a unique individual?
 • If he was part of a species, did the other members share his gift?
 • Was X'Hoss an organic, flesh-and-blood person or was he a Mystical Entity (like the Vishanti)?
 • Speaking of the Vishanti, did X'Hoss predate them? Did he predate the Elders of the Universe or the race who became the Watchers? Saying that he lived "before Time's measure, back when life was little more than a notion to most of the universe" sounds very dramatic but it's not that informative.
 • Aside from when he lived, where did X'Hoss live? Did he live on a planet? Or perhaps he actually lived in a mystic pocket dimension (like Agamottto)?
 • Exactly who were X'Hoss' enemies? Knowing that they came "from the mists of evil" is not very helpful.
 • Why did they want to bring about the end of all life?
 • What happened to them after they apparently killed X'Hoss?
 • Did they ever try to find and use his talismans? Or did they know that they would die long before the Designate was destined to be born?

   Regarding the Designate, saying that she would "one day change the landscape of all we know, gathering all that's divisive into one single unified whole" and/or that she was destined "to elevate sentient races to their maximum evolutionary potential" does sound impressive but what exactly does it mean? And is it a good thing? I recall the Deadpool storyline about a celestial messiah (S'met'kth) who brought peace and bliss to the populations of entire planets by uniting their minds in perfect harmony but who accomplished this by robbing them of independent thought and free will and leaving them in a mindless state of stupor. More information about the Designate's destiny would really be appreciated, but it's unlikely that she'll be seen again since she left Earth for the stars (in Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt#6) after deciding that humanity was still too flawed to be worthy of ascending.

   I can't help but wonder how history would have unfolded if the fact that X'Hoss had foreseen the future birth of the Designate had not become known to others or if he had not created the talismans needed to find her. After all, without the prophecy, no one would have known of her before she had grown up to become the Designate. With no one looking for her, Tarene and her people could have lived a completely different life, one in which there was no need for them to have to hide from the rest of the universe in order to keep her from being found. And if X'Hoss had not created the three talismans, his enemies could not have corrupted them so that they could be used to mutate the Designate's power for evil and death. All in all, despite the alleged purity of his motives, all X'Hoss really seems to have accomplished is cause a lot of death that might have otherwise been avoided.
    In other words, he really made a mess of things.

   Then again, maybe it was inevitable that some precognitive, from some more recent era, would have eventually foreseen the birth of the Designate. For all we know, maybe some later seer did foresee her birth but, unlike X'Hoss, they weren't skilled enough to discern any details. Would this have been better, or worse, than what did happen?

Profile by Donald Campbell.

X'Hoss, the wizard from the dawn of time, has no known connection to

The Fires of Creation have no known connections to:

Enemies of X'Hoss

   A group (or race) of beings who lived during the early era of the universe and were opposed to the powerful wizard X'Hoss. The names of these enemies and their group/race have never been revealed. From the limited information provided by the Millennium Monarch, it is known that there were at least 12 of them and that they all appeared to be identical (or VERY similar) in appearance. Their semi-humanoid forms resembled birds and they had black or grey feathers covering their wings and body. However, their tails were long, slender and tapering, like those of lizards, and their faces were flat, with two yellow eyes set above mouths that could gape open and were not beak-like. They each had two legs that were bird-like but with knees that were at the mid-point of the legs, and each foot had two long toes that ended in claws. Their forelimbs were just wings and lacked any hands or fingers with which to manipulate objects.

   The only thing known about their origins is that they were said to come "from the mists of evil." That, combined with the fact that they demonstrated a desire to cause the death of all living things, suggests that they were probably demonic in origin. This would account for their animosity towards X'Hoss who wished to support life. The fact that X'Hoss was a wizard suggests that his enemies possessed mystical powers as well.

   Details of their history with X'Hoss are vague. While it's possible that they had battled him on several (or many) occasions, it's also possible that they knew of X'Hoss but did not actually interact with him until their first (and only) battle.

   After X'Hoss had created the three items meant to unite the followers of the Designate in the far future, his enemies attacked him in an attempt to take possession of the items for themselves. Before succumbing to their attack, X'Hoss managed to dispatch the three talismans to places unknown. However, although his attackers were unable to prevent him from sending the items away, they were able (mystically?) corrupt them with the taint of darkness, making it possible for the items to be used to mutate the Designate's power for evil so that some future wielder could destroy all life in the universe.

   The fact that they had intended to steal the items but, once that was impossible, were able to corrupt them instead suggests that either they were able to improvise an entirely new strategy, including the spells that would be needed to carry it out, in the seconds before the items would be forever out of their reach, or else they had foreseen the possibility that they would be unable to steal the items and so had devised a back-up plan in advance. Either way, they were clearly very clever.

   Nothing has been revealed about what happened to these enemies of X'Hoss after they killed him and corrupted his talismans.

--Thor II#23 (fb)

Fires of Creation

   A location and source of power on the planet(?) where X'Hoss lived in the early universe. The fact that the wizard was able to make use of them suggests that the Fires were mystical in nature.

   The Fires of Creation appeared to be flames that arose from a particular spot within a bowl-shaped depression (that might have been a crater) on the surface of the realm in which X'Hoss lived. The flames may have come from deep within the planet and reached the surface through a natural tube or they may have originated in an extradimensional realm and were released on that planet via a small interdimensional portal.

   Aside from providing heat and light, the flames also released mystical energy that X'Hoss could convert into matter with which to form physical objects in the shapes he desired. It was by using the Flames of Creation that he was able to bring forth the three talismans later known as the Illumination Stone, the Map of All-Ending and the Chalice of Ruins.

   The Flames of Creation may have helped X'Hoss with his visions of the future, as when he was able to see the face of Tarene within the flames.

   Finally, when his enemies attacked and tried to steal the talismans, X'Hoss apparently used the Fires of Creation to transport them far away. He may have used the energy of the flames to power a teleportation spell or used the Fires to form a gateway to other places through which the items then passed.

--Thor II#23 (fb)

images: (without ads)
Thor II#23, page 10, panel 1 (main image)
      page 9, panel 3 (head shot)
      page 9, panel 4 (foreseeing Tarene)
      page 9, panel 5 (calling upon the Fires of Creation)
      page 10, panel 3 (dispatching his talismans)
      page 10, panel 1 (the enemies of X'Hoss)
      page 10, panel 2 (enemies attacking X'Hoss)
      page 9, panel 2 (X'Hoss beside the Fires of Creation)
      page 9, panel 6 (Talismans created by X'Hoss)

Only Appearance:
Thor II#23 (May, 2000) - Dan Jurgens (writer), John Romita Jr. (penciler), Dick Giordano (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)

First Posted: 03/04/2023
Last updated: 03/04/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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