Dark Riders (comics)

Dark Riders (comics)
Dark Riders
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Factor Vol. 1 #65
(April 1991)
Created by Chris Claremont
Jim Lee
Whilce Portacio
See:List of members

The Dark Riders, also known as the Riders of the Storm, are a team of comic book supervillains in Marvel Comics' universe. Created by Chris Claremont, Jim Lee, and Whilce Portacio in X-Factor Volume 1 #65 (April 1991). The group is composed of mutants and Inhumans who are devoted to the philosophy of the survival of the fittest and serves the immortal mutant, Apocalypse.


Fictional organization history


During the fifteenth century, Apocalypse lead an army of followers known as The Riders of the Dark. This army was so strong and powerful that some were led to believe that they were just a myth to scare soldiers before their first battle.


When Apocalypse conquered the city of Attilan, home of the Inhumans, he enslaved part of its population. He selected six Inhumans among them: Gauntlet, HardDrive, Tusk, Foxbat, Psynapse and Barrage. They became the Riders of the Storm, named after Apocalypse's earliest army. Apocalypse sent them to Earth to battle his enemies X-Factor and infect the infant Nathan Christopher Summers and Ship with a techno-organic virus. Ship launched and self-destructed, but the AI that controlled Ship was saved. X-Factor made it to the Moon, where Atillan was then located, and joined with the royal family of the Inhumans in their battle against Apocalypse. Apocalypse was defeated, seemingly killed, and the enslaved Inhumans were freed. Despite this loss, the Riders of the Storm remained loyal to Apocalypse, and took his body back to Earth to regenerate in his base.

Several months later, the Horsemen, another team serving Apocalypse, kidnapped Cyclops and Jean Grey, two members of the X-Men who had been members of X-Factor during the battle for Attilan. This was done at the behest of Mister Sinister, who was using his shapeshifting powers to pose as Apocalypse. The Riders, now calling themselves the Dark Riders, raised Apocalypse from his regenerative sleep and told him that somebody was impersonating him. Soon afterwards, Stryfe attacked Apocalypse and his Dark Riders, seeking revenge against Apocalypse. He managed to defeat the Dark Riders, but Apocalypse escaped. The Dark Riders, following Apocalypse's tenet of survival of the fittest, now followed Stryfe.

Apocalypse allied himself with the X-Men, and they fought Stryfe and the Dark Riders. While the X-Men pursued Stryfe, Apocalypse fought the Riders and was fatally wounded by them. The Dark Riders escaped.

Over the next months, the Dark Riders would still follow Apocalypse's teachings and try to 'test' mutants, eliminating all they considered unworthy. They targeted the mind-controlling Mesmero and seemingly killed him, but in fact he used his hypnotic powers to escape. For his weak performance during this fight, the Riders apparently killed one of their own, Psynapse, although he later proved to have survived, and returned to the group. Their next target was Cyclops, who at the time was in discussion with Sinister. Sinister proved himself to be far more powerful than the Riders and warned them not to kill Cyclops, but added that he didn't object to them 'roughing Cyclops up.' Sinister teleported away and the Riders fought Cyclops, who managed to keep the fight to a draw. HardDrive appeared and told Cyclops that he was the first to pass their test. Cyclops tried to convince the Riders to stop with their useless actions, but they teleported away.


Later, the Dark Riders gained a new leader, Genesis, and several mutants were added to the team. The team again targeted one of their own, Foxbat, who was apparently killed by new member Lifeforce, and his body was taken to their base. Caliban, a former Horseman of Apocalypse, was another target, but he was saved by Cable, Domino and Storm. They captured one of Tusk's Underlings, who claimed that the Riders had killed Tusk Prime and the other Underlings. The Underling led them to the Dark Rider's base, but it turned out to be a trap. Genesis appeared and revealed himself as Cable's son, Tyler. Genesis told them that he wanted to replace Apocalypse. Cable and his friends fought the Dark Riders and Cable tried to save his son, but Tyler and the Riders teleported away again. Genesis and the Dark Riders later battled Mister Sinister, Jean Grey and the Beast after kidnapping Sinister's former lover, Faye Livingstone, in an attempt to crush Sinister's spirit. Although the Riders were defeated, Livingstone died.

Genesis then decided to recruit the X-Man Wolverine to his cause. To further this goal, the Dark Riders broke Wolverine's adamantium-skinned foe Cyber out of prison. Although Genesis led Cyber to believe that he was being recruited to Genesis's cause, Tyler instead fed Cyber to flesh-eating beetles and melted down Cyber's adamantium carapace. Genesis tried to turn Wolverine into one of his soldiers by using this adamantium to replace Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, which had been forcibly removed by Magneto some months earlier. Wolverine's body forcibly rejected both Genesis's brainwashing and the adamantium. The adamantium exploded out of Wolverine's body in the form of shrapnel, which killed Lifeforce and Hurricane. Wolverine then proceeded to kill Deadbolt, Spyne and Genesis himself. Gauntlet was fought, but managed to survive, while Dirtnap escaped. Dirtnap later fought both Wolverine and the anti-hero Venom. In a later battle with the X-Men's mutants-in-training, Generation X, Dirtnap apparently reformed, and seemingly sacrificed himself to save the young heroes.

Stryfe again

Several months later, the surviving Dark Riders, inexplicably joined by Psynapse, worked again for Stryfe, who also had returned from death without any explanation. Stryfe ordered them to kill all other telepaths. When Gauntlet, Barrage and HardDrive attacked Jean Grey, Madelyne Pryor showed up and used her powers to defeat Barrage and HardDrive, leaving them for dead, although their status remains unconfirmed. The other Dark Riders attacked Nate Grey, but Psynapse's attack only reactivated Nate's lost psychic powers, apparently killing Psynapse in the feedback, although he would soon reappear without explanation once more. Nate also discovered that Tusk is really a small, wormlike creature within Tusk Prime's large shell, although whether this was the true Tusk remains unknown. This mission proved to be the last time the Dark Riders have been seen to date, though Gauntlet himself continues to be active, working alone as a mercenary.

Cable & Deadpool

As seen in Cable & Deadpool #26-27, Apocalypse employed more than one group of minions known as the Dark Riders. His first Dark Riders were human soldiers and warriors, gathered from all over the Earth. They disbanded centuries ago when Cable first defeated Apocalypse. The most recent reincarnation of the Dark Riders is a group of mute, techno-organic or cybernetic warriors who guard Apocalypse's tomb. The creatures never speak and don't seem to have any personality beyond complete loyalty to the strongest.


Spyne, Deadbolt, Hurricane, and Lifeforce were recently resurrected by Selene during the Necrosha storyline.[1]

List of members

Character Real Name Joined in Notes
Gauntlet Unknown X-Factor #65 (April 1991)
(First appearance)
Inhuman, field leader, enhanced strength, has an arsenal of advanced weaponry
Foxbat Unknown X-Factor #65 (April 1991)
(First appearance)
Winged, taloned Inhuman, though mentioned as a mutant in Cable #17, apparently killed by Lifeforce in Cable #19.
Barrage Unknown X-Factor #65 (April 1991)
(First appearance)
Inhuman, has energy-cannons for arms. Left for dead in X-Man #46, but status unconfirmed.
Psynapse Unknown X-Factor #65 (April 1991)
(First appearance)
Inhuman telepath, cousin to Medusa and Crystal, somehow manages to reactivate the telepathic powers of Jean Grey and later of Nate Grey when trying to kill them. He was supposedly killed by his fellow Dark Riders in Xmen #21, later appeared alive again inX-Man #46 but died again in the same issue.
Tusk Unknown X-Factor #65 (April 1991)
(First appearance)
Inhuman, with superhuman strength and durability, and able to create many smaller versions of himself known as Underlings. The original version was sometimes referred to as Tusk Prime.
(sometimes spelled "Hardrive"; once referred to as Mainframe)
Unknown X-Factor #65 (April 1991)
(First appearance)
Inhuman, merged with technology, allowing him to teleport others, control machinery, and transform his body. Leader, left for dead in X-Man #46, but status unconfirmed.
Spyne Unknown Cable #17 (November 1994)
(First appearance)
Mutant, monstrous body, with fangs, claws and tail. Was killed by Wolverine in Wolverine #100, resurrected by Selene via the Technarch transmode virus in X-Force Vol.3 #21.
Lifeforce Unknown Cable #17 (November 1994)
(First appearance)
Mutant, drained life-energies by touch to amplify her own strength and to fire energy blasts, killed Foxbat, was killed in Wolverine #100, resurrected by Selene via the Technarch transmode virus in X-Force Vol.3 #21.
Hurricane Unknown Cable #17 (November 1994)
(First appearance)
Mutant, wind controlling powers, was killed in Wolverine #100, resurrected by Selene via the Technarch transmode virus in X-Force Vol.3 #21.
Deadbolt Unknown Cable #17 (November 1994)
(First appearance)
Mutant, skeletal body, threw bones as weapons, was killed in Wolverine #100, resurrected by Selene via the Technarch transmode virus in X-Force Vol.3 #21.
Genesis Tyler Dayspring Cable #18 (December 1994) Mutant, leader, son of Cable, was killed in Wolverine #100
Dirtnap Unknown Wolverine #99 (March 1996)
First appeared in Wolverine #95 (November 1995)
Mutant, body-snatcher, was killed in Generation X #39.


  1. ^ X-Force Vol.3 #21

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