Sublime (comics)

Sublime (comics)


caption=John Sublime with Martha Johansson in "New X-Men" #119. Art by Igor Kordey
species=Sentient bacteria
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="New X-Men Annual" 2001
creators=Grant Morrison (writer), Leinil Francis Yu (artist)
alliances=Weapon Plus Project, U-Men, TransSpecies Movement, Winterbrand Tech, Megacorp
aliases= John Sublime, Dr. Sublime, Michael Grand, Kick
powers=Mind control,
Power enhancement,

Sublime, also known as John Sublime, is a fictional supervillain (actually a sentient bacteria) and enemy of the X-Men in the Marvel Comics universe. Sublime first appeared as John Sublime in the "New X-Men Annual 2001".

Fictional character biography

Early History

Sublime is the self-appointed name of a sentient bacterial lifeform that arose during the beginnings of life on Earth. With the rise of multicellular lifeforms, Sublime found endless numbers of hosts it could infect. However, mutantkind, some of whom were immune to Sublime's infection, eventually arose and multiplied, becoming the first threat to Sublime's domination.

It was hinted that the very hatred and fear of mutants was caused by Sublime itself. But the bacteria took more direct actions in order to ensure that the mutant population would be held in check, if not exterminated, in order to keep it from becoming the dominant species of the planet.

Weapon Plus

The first step was the Weapon Plus Project, Sublime took over a human body, dubbed Dr. John Sublime, and became the director of the Program, overseeing the creation of living weapons created by each installation of the program, from Captain America (Weapon I) to the "Super-Sentinels" - Fantomex, Huntsman and Ultimaton (Weapon XIII, Weapon XII and Weapon XV), passing through Nuke, Wolverine, and Deadpool, the latter two originating in the Weapon X Project, seemingly the most prolific living weapons producer.

For many years, Sublime remained behind the scenes, manipulating the Weapon Plus Project and installing Malcolm Colcord as the Director of Weapon X, which would eventually lead to the so-called "War of the Programs" between Colcord's replacement, Agent Brent Jackson, and Sublime, as Weapon X became an independent organization.

Recent activities

As millions of mutants were born worldwide, Sublime, still under the identity of John Sublime, took other steps to ensure the extermination of mutantkind. One of these steps was the creation of the "TransSpecies Movement" a.k.a. "Homo Perfectus", outwardly a group of 'mutants born in human bodies', though actually a cult of humans that sought to empower themselves by grafting mutant body parts to their own bodies. The militant faction of this group, the U-Men, refused to have any sort of contact with the world, which they considered impure, for which they sealed themselves in containment suits.

During a trip to Hong Kong's new office of the X-Corporation to investigate the murder of Risque, the X-Men discovered Sublime's farm of mutant prisoners. They were being harvested for mutant body parts which could give the U-Men powers. Sublime, who was in the country on a book tour, thus became aware of the X-Men's immediate threat to his plans. Sublime also tried to purchase the mutant healer Xorn in one such prison in the People's Republic of China.

Although Xorn was rescued by the X-Men, he was actually a mole. Xorn, who was revealed to apparently be Magneto, became addicted to the drug Kick (which was actually Sublime's bacterial body in concentrated doses high-enough to finally enable the infection and possession of a mutant). Xorn dealt the drug to Quentin Quire, thus placing Quire under Sublime's influence, which would cause the Open Day Riots made by the Omega Gang, and which led to the death of Sophie of the Stepford Cuckoos and Dummy, the bodiless, gaseous-form student of Xorn.

Meanwhile, Sublime and the U-Men spread their influence to New York City, where they kidnapped the telepath Martha Johansson, harvested her still-living brain, and used it as a weapon against the X-Men. Cyclops and Emma Frost, the White Queen, were kidnapped and tortured. They were sent off to be dissected but escaped and confronted Sublime in his office. Emma, angry, held Sublime off a high ledge. Johansson forced Sublime to fall from Emma Frost's grip to his apparent death. The Sublime organism survived, regenerated its host body, and returned to actively overseeing Weapon Plus, as always, from the shadows.

Sublime suffered a setback in its plans with the destruction of two of Weapon Plus' "Super-Sentinels" (Huntsman/Weapon XII and Ultimaton/Weapon XV) and the defection of Fantomex (Weapon XIII). Sublime had envisioned a team of mutant-hunters with scripted actions operating from a space station (a section of Asteroid M) in order to make the genocide of mutantkind look like a "Saturday morning cartoon come to life". Weapon XII had already been destroyed during its test-drive; Fantomex, intended to be the smart, cool member of the team refused to be anybody's weapon. Only Ultimaton remained, and even though he followed the direction of Weapon Plus operatives, he had began to question his role as a slaughter machine but was ultimately killed by Wolverine.

Under the influence of Sublime via Kick, Xorn revealed himself to be Magneto, and assembled a new Brotherhood of Mutants to lay waste to the Xavier Institute and then New York City. They were defeated by the X-Men, but Xorn-Magneto, under Sublime's influence, killed Jean Grey, who was manifesting the powers of the Phoenix Force. Unbeknownst to all, the Phoenix was the ultimate threat to Sublime's plan. In retaliation for Jean's murder, Xorn-Magneto was beheaded by Wolverine.

Later, Chamber, an X-Man who had infiltrated Colcord's Weapon X organization, was ordered to assassinate Sublime by Brent Jackson, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned Weapon X field leader. Chamber incinerated Sublime, but Sublime again regenerated. At the same time, Sublime was also responsible for sending Sabretooth against Mister Sinister in order to obtain Sinister's latest creations, the Children (not to be confused with the Children of the Vault, a thematically similar team of characters but different in origin).

With the massive depowering of mutants following the House of M, mutantkind's threat to Sublime has been greatly diminished. However, it remains to be seen if the depowered mutants lost their innate immunity to the Sublime infection. In any event, Sublime appears in "".

Other versions

Here Comes Tomorrow

In the Here Comes Tomorrow storyline, it was revealed in flashbacks that after Jean's death and Xorn's apparent death that Professor X left the Xavier Institute to rebuild the island of Genosha, and a broken Cyclops declined Emma's offer to jointly run the Xavier Institute. Beast became the new Headmaster and faced many troubles in his attempt to teach new generations of mutants and to fight for the Dream. The stress resulted in Hank consuming Kick and, subsequently, becoming the new host for Sublime. In this new host body, Sublime waged a war against mutantkind and the X-Men, destroying the Xavier Institute in the process.

150 years after Jean's death, Sublime was still making war, and Earth was filled with new species that were fighting for an ecological niche in the world including "homo sapiens superior" and "homo sapiens sapiens" (which was on the verge of extinction). Sublime longed to wipe out all other species, thus bringing evolution to halt, and replace it with the stagnation of his own mass-produced minions, including the Crawlers, genetic constructs made from the DNA of Nightcrawler and empowered with the genetic codes of Multiple Man and Cyclops. Sublime was aided by his champion, Apollyon, the last of the U-Men and the result of the separation of Fantomex from his bio-mechanical symbiotic ship, E.V.A.

Sublime stole the Phoenix Egg, in which a merged Phoenix/Jean Grey creature awaited her resurrection in order to bring "the judgement of the Phoenix". After emerging from the egg, the partially-amnesiac Jean/Phoenix became a minion of the Sublime (who she believed was the Beast), exterminating the race of sentient termites dominating the "Panafrikan Basin" (killing the Xavier Institute ambassador, the mutant Bumbleeboy in the process) and later attacking the mutant population of "Megamerica" on his orders.

Soon after, Sublime managed to duplicate Jean's DNA and obtained her Phoenix-level telekinetic powers. The nearly all-powerful Sublime fought and defeated each one of the X-Men, who were actually buying time (with their lives) in a plan to restore Jean to return to her senses, which she did after being confronted by Wolverine, who informed her of everything that happened since her death, including the fact that "Magneto killed [her] on orders he never understood".

Her memories regained, Jean Grey was now ready to convey the judgement of the Phoenix, to "Burn away what doesn't work", and purged Sublime from the Beast's body, destroying the bacteria once and for all. As it turned out, "what doesn't work" according to the Phoenix is what doesn't evolve, such as Sublime, which posed a threat to evolution itself.

Sublime's host, the Beast, was then beheaded by Apollyon, who did not realize that his former master was no longer inhabiting the Beast's body, and considered himself betrayed when Sublime refused to give him the power of the Phoenix.

Jean then transcended into the M'Kraan Crystal, and from there into the mysterious White Hot Room, the higher plane of existence where other hosts of the Phoenix converge and absorbed the entire alternate future into it, causing it to cease to exist. She then psychically reached backwards in time to encourage Cyclops to "live", to accept Emma Frost's love and thus remain at the Institute; as a result, the original timeline that led to Sublime's possession of the Beast has been negated. However, it must be noted that Sublime still exists in the present, and that his current status and whereabouts are unknown.

Days of Future Now

In another future timeline, seen in the "Weapon X: Days of Future Now" miniseries, Malcolm Colcord, Sublime, and Weapon Plus waged war with Wolverine for years, until Wolverine found the means to go back in time and stop the whole timeline from occurring, by preventing his destruction of Colcord's face. Unfortunately, Sublime followed Wolverine back in time by possessing him in the future, and in the past, Sublime made Wolverine ravage Colcord's face one more, and when Logan rejected Sublime, he found his host body for the first time. This occurrence marks the beginning of the bacteria possessing the original John Sublime (a normal human scientist of the Weapon Plus Program), which then begins his ascendance to become the leader of the program, thus converging to the 616 timeline.

That Which Endures

John Byrne's run on "Avengers West Coast" introduced That Which Endures, the self-professed guiding force of evolution, which was, not unlike Sublime, an ancient organism that sought to test mutants as viable hosts. It is debated among fandom whether Sublime is the same as That Which Endures. If that is the case, then Sublime's first appearance was in "Avengers West Coast" #46.

List of Hosts

* John Sublime: Sublime's main host body, which the bacteria uses as its cover identity. This body has appeared a number of times even after being killed.
* Kid Omega: Sublime came into possession of Quentin Quire after he began to consume the drug Kick and influenced him into causing the Open Day's riots.
* Tattoo: Influenced after consuming Kick.
* Glob Herman: Influenced after consuming Kick.
* Radian: Influenced after consuming Kick.
* Redneck: Influenced after consuming Kick.
* Xorn: Xorn's rampage through New York and the murder of Jean Grey were seemingly caused by Sublime's influence.
* Beast: The most powerful life-form he could find, in the alternate Here Comes Tomorrow.
* Fantomex: In the alternate timeline.
* Empath: Elias Bogan provided Empath with Kick in order to enhance the latter's powers to serve his bidding. Empath did not exhibit the same aggression as Sublime's other hosts.

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