Barnell as Blackwing.
|First appearance||New X-Men #117 (Oct. 2001)|
|Created by||Grant Morrison
Ethan Van Sciver
|Alter ego||Barnell Bohusk|
|Team affiliations||Teen Brigade
Street Team X-Men
Brotherhood of Mutants
|Notable aliases||The Beak, Blackwing|
|Abilities||Currently: advanced suit allowing flight, superhuman strength, and energy blasts
Formerly: Bird-like mutation which gives him heightened agility, a beaked nose, finger talons, and wings that fold up along his arms and allow limited flight
Barnell Bohusk, currently known as Blackwing, formerly known as Beak, is a fictional character associated with the X-Men and its spinoff the Exiles. Beak first appeared in New X-Men #117 and was created by Grant Morrison and Ethan Van Sciver.
Fictional character biography
Born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Beak started developing his powers at puberty. His body changed into that of a humanoid-bird form, with a beaked face, bulbous eyes, wing-like arms that give him the ability to fly (albeit clumsily), talons on his hands and feet, and double-jointed knees. He also possesses heightened agility, and he may possess heightened senses and a lighter skeletal structure like the avian X-Man formerly known as the Angel. Feeling disgusted and ashamed because of his appearance, Beak ran away from home and went into hiding. He tells Beast that his nickname originated from other teenagers in Rotterdam, who would find him hiding behind beer barrels.
Xavier Institute For Higher Learning
After the Xavier Institute For Higher Learning publicly revealed that the school was a training ground and sanctuary for mutants, Beak traveled to the United States and enrolled there. There, Beast helped him with his powers. Tragically, the fledgling relationship between Beast and Beak never got a chance to fully develop because of the evil tamperings of Cassandra Nova. While in the body of Professor X, Cassandra Nova took control over the Beak's mind, leaving him just enough sentient thought to realize what he was doing but not have any control over his actions. She then ordered him to beat Beast almost to death with his prize titanium baseball bat, which he intended to give as a gift to Beast as a token of gratitude. At the institute Beak fell in love with another classmate, Angel Salvadore (not to be confused with Angel). Though Angel originally started the relationship on a bet, she later fell in love with him too. They slept together, and Angel became pregnant. Fearing that the X-Men would kick them out, and what their babies would be like (due to their drastically different mutant physiologies; Angel's mutation is fly-related) they didn't know what to do. Luckily, the X-Men weren't angry with them and the babies turned out fine. Angel had taken over Wolverine's old shack and laid six eggs which hatched healthy babies with wings. Angel and Beak were given a small house next to the mansion to raise their family. Beak was put into the 'Special Class', taught by the new X-Man Xorn. Once again, Beak's trust in those around him would be shaken when Xorn reveals himself to be Magneto (originally intended to be Magneto and later retconned by Marvel. It has been subsequently written into the storylines that this may have been caused by the effective Xorn). He had Beak join his Brotherhood of Mutants along with the rest of the Special Class. The children also came with him. Beak had looked up to Xorn and was happy at first, but when the "Xorneto" started marching humans into crematoriums, Beak rebelled and nearly lost his life as a result. Xorneto launched him high into the air in a car. Beak leaped out, tried to fly and plunged into the street below, barely surviving. He later joined a resistance group of X-Students led by Cyclops. Among the members of the group were the Stepford Cuckoos and Dust. Later, he was the first to strike in the X-Men's last-ditch assault on the Brotherhood. He was able to enter because no one had thought to take his key before trying to kill him. He attacked Magneto with the metal baseball bat and was taken out of action early on.
After helping Cyclops depose Magneto, Beak became "unhinged" from time and was forced to join the reality hopping group known as the Exiles. This has caused him to be separated from Angel, who now thinks he left her. The person who gives the Exiles their missions, the Timebroker, says Beak is destined in the future to save the lives of everyone he knows. Beak saved the lives of everyone in the Marvel multiverse by coming up with the strategy to beat the seemingly invincible evil version of Hyperion. He was then sent home, but returned during the House of M and was present when the second change wave hit. As a result of the effects of the House of M event, Beak, his wife Angel and their children (except for Tito, which is also the name of Beak's future grandson) have lost their powers and thus their "hideous" appearance, and are now finally able to live happily.
Barnell (under the alias Barry) has been, for months, visiting a restaurant where Sofia Mantega works, under the pretense that he was attracted to her and wished to take her on a date. This was revealed to be a test, in regards to both Sofia's determination and trust toward the recently active, and anti-registration, New Warriors. Barnell reveals on their "date" that he had been working for these New Warriors, and that he had no attraction to her other than the friendship they had maintained back when she knew him as Beak. After revealing who he is and who he is working for, he then leads her to the New Warrior's Headquarters, where his boss is revealed to be someone dressed as Night Thrasher. Barnell has joined the New Warriors under the guise of Blackwing. Blackwing is shown to have the power of flight and energy blasts, which are derived from a power suit. Angel is also a member of the group under the name Tempest. Both stay with the team until it disbands.
Powers and abilities
Currently, Beak wears an advanced body suit that gives him the ability to fly, superhuman strength, and energy blasts, as well as giving him enhanced protection.
Beak's abilities had probably not fully developed when he lost his mutant powers. However, it is known that he had hollow bones, enhanced agility, and that his entire body was covered in feathers. He had demonstrated a limited ability to glide, but had not mastered controlled flight. His endurance appeared to be enhanced as he has fallen several stories without sustaining any significant damage. A fall from such a height would have severely injured or killed an ordinary human. He also had the ability to use his beak as a weapon and peck his opponents.
"Here Comes Tomorrow"
Beak's grandson, Tito Bohusk Jr, the child of his son Tito Bohusk, was shown as a member of the X-Men in the "Here Comes Tomorrow" future timeline. He was shown to carry his grandfather's titanium bat, and to have fully developed his Grandfather's mutation, possessing an actual beak, claws, and feathers that cover all of his body—as well as flight-capable wings that folded along his arms. He saw his Grandfather as an inspiration, and upon dying said he believed that the original Beak would be laughing down at him. As a comfort, Wolverine stated that he stood three feet taller than his grandfather.
Created at the end of Grant Morrison's run on the New X-Men line, Tito was a mutant with an eagle-like head, fully feathered chest and wings and carrying his grandfather's titanium bat. Tito was shown as a member of the X-Men in the "Here Comes Tomorrow" future timeline. He died in Wolverine's arms during a battle with the Beast (who was taken over by Sublime), stating he would never be a great hero like his grandfather. His father Tito Sr. is the only member of the Bohusk clan to retain his mutant X-gene following M-Day, leaving the possibility for a mutant Tito Jr. to be born eventually. Tito Sr. is the son of the ex-mutants Beak (Barnell Bohusk) and Angel Salvadore who met at the Xavier Institute when both still had their powers. He has five siblings, only two of whom have names that are known to the reader (Kara and Axel), and all of whom, except Tito, lost their mutant powers to the Decimation along with their parents.
Marvel Zombies 3
A zombified version of Beak appears in issue 2 of Marvel Zombies 3, assaulting, Machine Man and Jocasta as soon as they arrive on Earth-2149 along with other infected wing-laden characters: Angel, Falcon and Vulture.
- off-panel in New X-Men vol. 1 #117
- House of M #7
- New Warriors vol. 4 #1
- New Warriors vol. 4 #3
- New Warriors vol. 4 #20
- Marvel Zombies 3 #2 (2008)