|Doctor Nathaniel Essex - Modsock|
Portrayed by Gary Oldman
|Socked By:||Dex - clear logs with the mods before posting|
|Introduction:||May 20, 2003|
"Adam has been dead for three decades, but thanks to you, he can live again. Not some hollow template or poor imitation. My _son_ is alive."
Name: Doctor Nathaniel Essex
First appearance: May 20, 2003
Family: Rebecca Essex (wife - desceased), Adam Essex (son - deceased)
Nathaniel Essex grew up in England, the only son of Walter and Rosemary Essex. The family was one of considerable prestige, but little money, which had led Walter to marry Rosemary, the youngest sister of Lord Thomas Graves. The Graves had considerable industrial holdings, and their wealth allowed Essex's father, a noted lexicographer, to continue his own studies in comfort, if not great riches. Essex was a bright child who grew into a brilliant teen. The death of his mother during that time changed his interests from engineering into medicine, and he went to Oxford on a full scholarship.
During his time at Oxford, he would distinguish himself as the most stellar pupil, a prodigy. His intensity was tempered by an easy charm, and surprising lack of arrogance about his abilities. During those years, he would meet Romany Wisdom and her younger brother, Pete, at a Sex Pistols concert in which his first brush with mutation occurred in the emergence of Xorn's mutant powers.
Fascinated by the encounter, Essex returned to school, focusing more and more on the limited body of genetic research. He graduated top of his class, and his first paper on genetic triggers for mutation was published. After serving a year with the British military and while completing his internship, Essex met and married Rebecca Standhope, a young woman also at Oxford. Essex accepted a position offered in the US, part of a new program to look at potential medical applications of mutant genes at Johns Hopkins, co-sponsored by the US Army.
During his time working in Maryland, he and Rebecca had a son, Adam. Tragedy struck while driving home one night from a late dinner: the Essexes' car was hit at high speeds. It crashed into the side of the road, trapping Rebecca and splitting open the gas tank. The car caught fire, burning Rebecca to death in front of Nathaniel, and he suffered serious burns to his hands and arms trying unsuccessfully to save his son. By the time the emergency vehicles arrived, only Nathaniel Essex remained alive.
After the accident, Essex poured himself into work. He quickly shed all emotional ties, turning cold and distant as a way to handle his grief. While he still retained a considerable personal magnetism, the doctor had lost all real interest or empathy in his feelings or those of others. He moved into direct top secret military research, and then back into private initiatives. His reputation grew to the point that he was considered one of the pioneers of genetic research, leading Moira MacTaggart to seek his help when her own efforts faltered in trying to save her son, Kevin. While his help turned out to be fruitless, he formed close professional relationships with her and Charles Xavier during his two years on Muir. Following that, he returned to Johns Hopkins, and conducted a groundbreaking three year research project that was the first to isolate and index the mutant gene. A medical mutant monitor, the first commercial application of its type, was developed from it, cementing his acclaim.
Essex returned to military research soon after, working with USAMRIID on numerous developments. The military grouped genetic research into the same areas as bio-weapon and disease, a grimly ironic twist. Essex' program, called Project Tearaway, was about artificially fusing mutant genes into normal humans, creating a hybrid. The project was a success, but the high rate of mortality and unpredictable side effects made it useless for any wide application. The successful subjects would eventually be grouped at Ft. Bragg and return to service as the Marauders.
Essex moved from that to a private foundation, before accepting Xavier's offer to join his school as part of the staff. He only enjoyed a brief tenure. During his time there, he became close to several of the students, including Marie-Ange Colbert, Sarah Morlocke, and especially Kitty Pryde. He had a particular dislike of Charles' X-Men, seeing them as a danger to the school itself, especially if the government saw them as a threat. He ran counter to many of the staff, advocating students to focus on different methods than the X-Men to contribute. He also formed a strange relationship with Betsy Braddock.
Accustomed to using her telepathy to see, Essex's own power rendered her truly blind around him, and combined with his own complex reaction to her due to her resemblance to his dead wife, they began a contentious association. Betsy asked for his help finding a way to restore her sight secretly, and after several months, he finally began surgery to replace her eyes with cloned substitutes. Assisted by Kitty, Essex was successful in repairing the damage, but the surgery left her in a coma.
Unsure what to think of his methods, Xavier had Essex removed from the school, and the care of Betsy placed in Hank McCoy's hands. Convinced such a decision would lead to her death, Essex enlisted the help of his former students to kidnap Betsy to bring her to a military hospital at Fort Dix to complete the surgery. Following it, he left for Muir Island at the urging of the military and Moira, starting a new research program extending his work on cloning and continuing work on the top secret Project SuperSoldier.
Not long after his meeting with Kwannon, the mistakenly implanted personality in Betsy, Essex found himself forced to leave Muir under suspicious circumstances. Officially, Essex's research on Muir was considered to have gone outside of the boundaries of the program, and the decision was made to terminate it. However, the rumour was that certain liberties were taken. While Essex's reputation remains strong in the scientific world, there are many who have taken his disappearance as proof he was involved in some sort of cover up.
Essex's actions or whereabouts were unknown following Muir, although an attack on Moira and Nate by a twisted creature built using Kevin MacTaggart's genes and a process Essex perfected have led most of the X-Men to conclude that he had lost any sense of humanity remaining. Curiously, his first resurfacing since was to supply intelligence to Pete Wisdom, about the mutant they had both witnessed years before, Xorn. During the kidnapping of several students by the now deranged Rory Campbell, Essex was called in by an extremely reluctant Forge, in order to save the lives of Kyle Gibney, Jennie Stavros and Marius Laverne. Meanwhile, on Muir Island, Remy LeBeau uncovered a number of records that seem to strongly indicate that many of the offenses that were attributed directly to Essex now appeared to be the work of Campbell himself, as part of a plan to discredit the doctor and seize Muir for himself. Essex was brought back to Muir in order to save the life of Jay Guthrie, following his encounter with Dr. Joseph Skrul. Since then, Essex has been living in New York, working on his own experiments while his former students and staff keep a close eye on him for proof one way or another. Unknown to any one, Essex was responsible for the genetic changes inflicted on Jay Guthrie, Danielle Moonstar, and Garrison Kane during their captivity with Blaquesmith, and secretly betrayed him to Apocalypse by providing a clone to be killed in his place.
During the events of Genosha, several members of the mansion suffered the transformation into 'mutates'; a subservienent state were their powers were modified to fit the needs of the government. In charge of the procedure was a mysterious figure called 'The Genegineer'. It was later revealed to Sarah Morlocke and Betsy Braddock that the Genegineer was none other than Essex. He explained his motivations, revealing a plan that had begun a decade before, and showed that all of his dealings with Xaviers, even his most helpful, were to advance a personal agenda to find a way to bring his dead son back to life. Essex removed Kwannon from Betsy's mind, turning the Hand assassin into a loyal second in command. Essex set the two up to free themselves, and destroyed all of the records of his process so the Genoshans could only reserve the mutate state, but never re-create it. Again, the conflict of Essex' motivations were clear, helping the X-Men on one hand and manipulating them for his own ends on the other.
Age of Apocalypse
In August 2013, it was revealed that the world Rachel Kinross-Dayspring had apparently grown up in (where she survived Genosha but the world was later taken over by Apocalypse) was actually a bubble on the astral plane, created by Essex in order to foster Rachel's psionic abilities after she "died" in Genosha. The entire world, it turned out, was one big elaborate plan to help resurrect his dead son Adam - a task which he succeeded in doing. With his own mission complete, the world began to fracture, and Essex disappeared once more with his son in tow.
Essex is a mutant null; his power makes him naturally immune to the mutant abilities of others. Telepathy, telekinesis, all psionic abilities are useless against him. Even direct abilities, like energy projection have only a tenth of their normal potency against him. His power does not interfere with other mutants abilities, like Miles', nor do they render him immune to harm from direct physical assaults, such as a telekinetically thrown object or a blow from someone with super strength.
Socked by: Dex for the Mods
PB: Gary Oldman
Essex was originally a player character at the school, until his departure at the end of Crimson Dawn.