|First appearance||As Nils:
Cable vol. 2, #40 in Feb. 1997
Uncanny X-Men #402 in Feb. 2002
(technically first appeared as Abyss in X-Men: Alpha)
|Created by||Scott Lobdell
|Alter ego||Nils Styger|
Abyss is a name used for three distinct characters in stories published by Marvel Comics.
The first Abyss is Nils Styger, a mutant who is the son of Azazel and the half-brother of Nightcrawler. An alternate universe's counterpart of the character first appeared in X-Men Alpha, and the heroic Marvel Universe version of the character first appeared in Cable vol. 2, #40. He was created by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, Roger Cruz, and Steve Epting.
Fictional character biography
Nils Styger first appeared as a protector for Genoshan researcher Renee Majcomb whom he had been assisting with research into the Legacy Virus from which Abyss suffered. However, he did not die due to the actions of Colossus, who sacrificed himself to release an airborne cure to the virus which had taken his little sister Illyana's life several years prior.
Abyss was later seen in Berlin, Germany battling the former Gene Nation member known as Fever Pitch. Both mutants were captured by Banshee's mutant militia known as the X-Corps. While being held by the X-Corps, Abyss witnessed Sunpyre's murder. When the terrorist Mystique revealed herself and her intentions to use the X-Corps, the wounded Banshee freed Abyss from his confinement. Abyss then sucked Mystique through his interdimensional void, and, unable to shut off his power, almost swallowed Banshee also. The timely arrival of some other members of X-Corps stopped that however. Abyss admitted that he had no idea where Mystique was transported to or if she would ever return.
Abyss later resurfaced when his father Azazel psychically summoned his many children to attempt to release his army from the Brimstone Dimension that he had been banished to hundreds of years before. In an attempt to free himself and his comrades, Azazel had traversed the dimension barrier many times and sired children in the hopes that one of them would be able to breach the dimensional barrier. Abyss joined forces with the X-Men to avert Azazel's attempt to bring his army into Earth's dimension and succeeded in foiling his father's efforts. He was subsequently revealed to be Nightcrawler's half-brother, as both were sons of Azazel.
Abyss is currently a member of the X-Cell (a group of ex-mutants who blame the government for the power-loss of mutants). He was repowered by Quicksilver. When the side effects of the Terrigen Mist began to take effect, he flung Fatale and Reaper into the Brimstone Dimension and followed them. What happened to them is unknown.
The second Abyss is a sorcerer who is the archenemy of the Luminals of Xarth Three (who are Xarth Three's version of the Avengers). The Luminals have thwarted Abyss's plans many times and he always returned. In a last ditch effort to rid themselves of Abyss, the Luminals used a spell that casted Abyss to the ends of the universe. Abyss ended up sealed away in Knowhere, a small city contained below the severed head of a dead Celestial. When Abyss was threatening to break out, he managed to make a crack in his prison where his magic started to turn its inhabitants into zombies that obey his every command. A high-grade telepathic dog named Cosmo who serves as the chief of security on Knowhere ordered any survivors to get into the dimension envelope on his tab. Cosmo managed to seek out Nova and tell him of Knowhere's plight.
Cosmo tells Nova all about Abyss and what he can do. While evading Abyss' zombies, Nova and Cosmo head towards Knowhere where they find Abyss' prison slowly breaking down. While Cosmo projects a psychic barrier to block off the incoming zombies, Nova dealt with Abyss. Nova used the Transmode Virus in his possession to interface with Abyss' prison which repaired it and sealing Abyss away once again. Once Abyss was sealed away, the zombies disintegrated and life on Knowhere returns to normal.
The third Abyss appeared during the events of Marvel NOW!. This version is a female who is the ally of a mysterious and powerful being called Ex Nihilo and assisted in a plot to bring a breathable atmosphere and vegetation to Mars.
Powers and abilities
The first Abyss is a mutant who can unwind his body into highly tensile strands that can be stretched or used to ensnare a victim. While holding them he can absorb anything within the shadowy confines of his form, akin to what the superhero known as Cloak does. His body is actually a portal to the same dimension that Nightcrawler temporarily enters when he teleports, later dubbed the "Brimstone Dimension" from the side-effect of Nightcrawler's powers. He is able to drain the lifeforce of the captives he holds in his form and can deposit them in this dimension permanently, but it is unknown if anything can survive there. He has limited psionic empathy, able to feel the emotions of people contained within him and those in his immediate vicinity. Artists often differ in the way that they portray Abyss (in fact his appearance has drastically changed within single story arcs, though no other character seemed to think this was odd). Sometimes Abyss will have a green face and a black body, while other times he will be blue and have a body structure similar to Flatman. During the storyline "The Draco", Abyss appeared very similar to Nightcrawler, though he was depicted as being the age of a young teenage boy.
The third Abyss is composed of living gas and is invulnerable to harm. She also has the ability to suggest ideas and manipulate certain beings into acting the way she wants.
Age of Apocalypse
Before his introduction in the mainstream Marvel universe, a variant of Abyss appeared in the alternate timeline of the "Age of Apocalypse". He was one of Apocalypse's Horsemen, a nihilist with a warped sense of humor. This Abyss has a slightly different appearance but essentially the same powers.
Abyss was rumored to have been a prisoner of Sinister's Breeding Pens, from which he broke out. But instead of rebelling against Apocalypse, he joined his forces, attaining the rank of Horseman after killing Bastion. Abyss became attached to the religious institutions of Apocalypse's regime: the Brotherhood of Chaos and The Madri. He joined them in their attack against refugees escaping from North America and was defeated by Quicksilver and Storm. Seeking revenge, Abyss faced Banshee and Quicksilver at the Temple of the Madri, though Abyss died when Banshee sacrificed himself by flying inside of the Horseman's void and activating his powers.
In other media
- The main antagonist in the video game Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes goes under the name Abyss, although the two bear no real similarities apart from the name.
- Abyss appears as one of Apocalypse's Horsemen in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse voiced by Quinton Flynn. There is no mention of him being Nightcrawler's brother and he sucks the players into the Brimstone Dimension at the end of the fight.
- Cable vol. 2, #40
- Joe Casey (w), Ron Garney (p), Mark Morales (i). "Utility Of Myth" Uncanny X-Men 402 (March 2002), Marvel Comics
- Joe Casey (w), Sean Phillips (p), none (i). "Army Ants" Uncanny X-Men 404 (May 2002), Marvel Comics
- Joe Casey (w), Aaron Lopresti (p), Mark Morales & Danny Miki (i). "Staring Contests Are For Suckers" Uncanny X-Men 406 (July 2002), Marvel Comics
- Uncanny X-Men #406
- Chuck Austen (w), Philip Tan (p), none (i). "The Draco Part 1" Uncanny X-Men 429 (October 2003), Marvel Comics
- Brian Michael Bendis (w), Mike Deodato (p), Joe Pimentel (i). "The Collective Part 2" New Avengers 18 (June 2006), Marvel Comics
- X-Factor vol. 3, #20
- Nova Vol. 4 #8
- Nova Vol. 4 #9
- Avengers Vol. 5 #1
- Avengers Vol. 5 #17