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|First appearance||Fantastic Four Annual #23|
|Created by||Walt Simonson |
|Alter ego||Roderick "Rory" Campbell|
|Team affiliations||Horsemen of Apocalypse|
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Based upon Herman Melville's Captain Ahab, but also named after Stan Lee's childhood friend Rory Campbell from Portland, Oregon, Ahab is a cyborg. Ahab's first appearance was a cameo in Fantastic Four Annual #23, as part of the "Days of Future Present" storyline.
Fictional character biography
In his future timeline, Ahab was the master of the Hounds, mind controlled mutants who hunted down other mutants for Ahab and his masters, the Sentinels. One of the Hounds, Rachel Summers, escaped from him, horribly mutilating Ahab by throwing him into one of his machines and eventually time travelled to the present. Ahab became paraplegic and used a floating chair for a time until he was given bionic body parts. Ahab, now more cyborg then ever followed Rachel to the past and tried to hunt her down through the time-wandering spirit of the alternate future's Franklin Richards, at one point creating Hounds out of Rachel's father, Scott Summers and Franklin's mother, Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman. Ahab was defeated by the actions of the X-Men, X-Factor, the New Mutants and the Fantastic Four during the "Days of Future Present" crossover.
Years later, Rachel Summers finally defeated Ahab with the help of her teammates in Excalibur. She reprogrammed the Master Mold of her future, causing the Sentinels to preserve all life, even Ahab's. Ahab's ultimate fate remains to be revealed.
Rachel later transported Cable to this reality, where Ahab had captured and killed Cannonball, He worked beside an armored figure, with light coming from his left eye. Due to time travel, it is not known at what point in Ahab's life this was.
Ahab was later rescued by Kang the Conqueror and joined the Red Skull as one of his S-Men to fulfill his role during World War Hate. During the AXIS storyline, Ahab was present when Magneto killed the S-Men.
What appeared to be this version of Ahab eventually attacked the X-Men in the present to kill one of the time-displaced original X-Men, now with a new team of Hounds who he could create essentially at will thanks to a pair of mutant siblings he had acquired who could use their abilities to manipulate emotions and memories to essentially brainwash mutants into becoming Hounds in a matter of seconds rather than weeks, even managing to 'reprogram' experienced mutants such as Nightcrawler and Logan. However, thanks to the intervention of a young Cable, the original X-Men returned to their time after a brief detour to meet Ahab's new mutant 'servants' from a point after they started training at Xavier's but before Ahab corrupted them, allowing Jean to learn how their powers worked so that she could place a time-delay on the young X-Mens' memories of their time in the future. As a result, Jean, Hank, Warren and Bobby all regained their memories of their past selves' experiences in the present just in time for the present Jean to undo what the children had done to Ahab's other 'hounds', forcing Ahab to abandon his new servants as he escaped, although he was able to 'reclaim' Rachel as a Hound as the pain that had brainwashed her was based on genuine events rather than fake memories.
Later issues of Excalibur revealed that psychologist Dr.º Rory Campbell was the man who would become Ahab in the future. Campbell had known the mutation scientist Moira MacTaggart for years and accepted a position as her assistant at Muir Island, at the same time that the mutant hero team Excalibur was stationed there. He attempted to reach the island during a storm exacerbated by an attack by Siena Blaze, and nearly died. He was rescued and brought ashore by Rachel Summers.
After he discovered the existence of the alternate reality in which he became the mutant hunting Ahab, creating and leading hordes of mutant trackers called Hounds. Campbell became determined to prevent that future from ever happening, but as time passed he lost half of one leg to a security device designed to respond to violent action, after exposure to the pheromones of the Acolyte Spoor and left Excalibur to work with Alistair Stuart at the Department as a mutant liaison officer, hopping the benign position of helping mutants would prevent him from being harmed by mutants in a way that would trigger his alternate future self's rabid anti-mutant hatred.
Campbell later traded all his knowledge on the Legacy Virus to Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club, claiming that he hoped that Shaw's greater resources would find a cure, but also receiving a cybernetic leg in the bargain.
Some time later, Campbell was chosen by the immortal supervillain Apocalypse to join the Four Horsemen. He was altered and now resembling Ahab, he took up the position of "Famine" within that group and aided in the capture of several of The Twelve, before being sent into an alternate dimension by Mikhail Rasputin.
Powers and abilities
Ahab can generate powerful energy harpoons that are formed from, and attached to, his own life force. Anyone who attempts to grab a harpoon gets burned. Each harpoon is keyed to its target's genetic structure, and cannot be moved or deflected by energy; it only stops when it strikes its target, or a close blood relative thereof. A hit from one of these harpoons can kill or seriously injure the target. A person who survives finds their neural pathways burned out and unable to move.
Ahab is a cyborg. His limbs are mostly of artificial construction and presumably this makes him superhumanly strong. So far he has found no need to engage in hand-to-hand combat due to his ability to use ranged attacks, his Hounds, and giant androids. He is largely immune to telepathic intrusion and attack, even from telepaths as powerful as Rachel Summers. Ahab's technology allows him to track, clothe and control Hounds.
As Famine, Ahab drains his victims' lifeforce resulting in emaciation and worse.
In other media
- Ahab appears as a boss in the Sega Genesis's first X-Men game.
- Rory Campbell/Ahab appears in the novels 'The Legacy Quest' trilogy written by Steve Lyons.
- Dr. Roderick Campbell appears as the main antagonist of season one of The Gifted set in the X-Men universe portrayed by Garret Dillahunt. This version is Trask Industries' mutant researcher contracted by Sentinel Services who is on a "morally dubious" mission. In season one's finale, he is killed by Polaris's powers to bring down his plane with fury. Series creator Matt Nix compared the series' adaptation of the character to the changes made when adapting William Stryker for the X-Men films.
- Fantastic Four Annual #23, X-Factor Annual #5, New Mutants Annual #6, Uncanny X-Men Annual #14
- Excalibur #66-67
- Cable #71
- Uncanny Avengers #23
- Uncanny Avengers #25
- Extermination #1-#5
- Excalibur Vol 1 #75
- Excalibur #71
- Excalibur #72
- Excalibur #88-90
- Excalibur #103
- X-Men (Vol. 2= #63-64
- X-Men (2nd series) #96
- X-Men (2nd series) #97
- Petski, Denise (September 11, 2017). "'The Gifted': Garret Dillahunt Set To Recur In Fox's Marvel Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2017-09-12. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
- Cairns, Bryan (September 29, 2017). "The Gifted: Matt Nix Explains the Show's Approach to Mutant Mayhem". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on 2017-09-30. Retrieved September 30, 2017.