S'ym in his first appearance, Uncanny X-Men #160 art by Brent Anderson
|First appearance||Uncanny X-Men #160 (August 1982)|
|Created by||Chris Claremont
|Alter ego||not applicable|
|Abilities||Super strength, Near-Invulnerability|
S'ym is a fictional supervillain in the Marvel Comics Universe, a demon of Limbo who served as a frequent enemy and sometimes supporting character in The Uncanny X-Men and The New Mutants. He was created as an homage to independent cartoonist Dave Sim's character Cerebus the Aardvark.
Created by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson, the character is an homage to Cerebus the Aardvark and his creator, Dave Sim, after Sim featured a villain named "Professor Charles X. Claremont" in early issues of Cerebus. S'ym always refers to himself in the third person, a trait shared by Cerebus. S'ym also has the same purple-grey coloration as Cerebus, and the same vest. "S'ym" is pronounced the same as "Sim".
Fictional character biography
S'ym was a minion of Belasco, the ruler of the demonic dimension known as Otherplace or Limbo. S'ym battles the X-Men when the team are transported to Limbo via teleportation "discs" in their search for 7-year-old Illyana Rasputin, the younger sister of the X-Man Colossus.
During Ilyana's seven years in Limbo, Belasco takes her as his heir and apprentice. She ultimately defeats him, becoming Limbo's new ruler - and S'ym's master - before returning to the X-Men. S'ym challenges Illyana's newfound status as Limbo's ruler. Illyana defeats S'ym, leaving S'ym to agree to serve Illyana whenever she visits Limbo. S'ym allies himself with the extraterrestrial Magus, allowing himself to be infected with a techno-organic virus. Though Illyana tries to take Limbo back from him several times after this, she is unable to defeat him, and S'ym's hold on Limbo only increases as he spreads the techno-organic virus to other demons.
S'ym partners with the demon N'astirh in manipulating Illyana into opening a portal to Earth so they can unleash a demonic invasion. Once the invasion is begun, S'ym betrays N'astirh and the two fight each other for rule of Limbo and Earth. Shortly after, Illyana sacrifices herself to banish the invaders back to Limbo, including S'ym, and N'astirh is killed.
Now the undisputed ruler of Limbo, S'ym plots a new invasion of Earth. He plans on using the Nexus of All Realities to invade Earth, but is stopped by his former master Belasco, who manipulates Cable into confronting S'ym. Belasco reasserts his control over both S'ym and Limbo. The two are later defeated by Nightcrawler as his girlfriend, Amanda Sefton, takes over Limbo. S'ym turns to an alliance with the Archenemy, a powerful magical entity, and disguises himself as Duke Bleys, becoming one of Sefton's most trusted advisers. As Bleys, S'ym tricks Sefton into allying herself with many other demon lords and merging their various realms and dimensions into a single bastion against the Archenemy. S'ym then reveals his true identity and reveals that the single, united realm is an easier target for the Archenemy than the countless dimensions he was fighting before. Nonetheless, Sefton and her army manage to slay the Archenemy and undo the merging of realms.[volume & issue needed]
S'ym is next seen in the New X-Men "The Quest for Magik" storyline. Illyana returns to rule Limbo and S'ym is shown to be one of her servants. He appears to be free of the techno-organic virus, with no explanation given.[volume & issue needed]
When Witchfire learns that Magik has left Limbo, she assumes control. She stabs S'ym through the chest, seriously wounding him. Magik teleports in to find him chained to the throne. She asks what happened and he informs her that Belasco's daughter, Witchfire has taken control in her absence.[volume & issue needed]
A recovered S'ym is seen reporting to N'astirth that a small squad of X-Men had come to Limbo to rescue Magik, revealing in the meantime that N'astirth was the mastermind behind the abduction of Magik in the first place.[volume & issue needed]
Powers and abilities
S'ym possesses great superhuman strength, stronger than Colossus. This strength level makes him nearly invulnerable. Illyana Rasputin's Soulsword was one of the few weapons that could kill him, before having been infected by the techno-organic virus.[volume & issue needed]
As a techno-organic being, S'ym can repair himself and reform from a single molecule, should he be destroyed. Also due to his techno-organic state, S'ym can infect other organisms and feed off their life energies, or turn them into techno-organic beings as well.
- Acknowledged in the letters page "X-Mail," Uncanny X-Men #164: ". . . our tip o' the hat to a certain Earth-Pig Born occurred in X-MEN #160 . . . ."
- Professor Claremont originally appears in Cerebus #23–25 (1980).
- Uncanny X-Men #160 (August 1982)
- New Mutants #14
- New Mutants #50
- New Mutants #50, 52, 61, 65, 67 and Uncanny X-Men #231
- New Mutants #71
- New Mutants #72, X-Terminators #4
- New Mutants #73 (March 1989)
- Uncanny X-Men #242