Asylum (comics)

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This article is about the Marvel Comics characters. For the Image Comics anthology, see Asylum (Image Comics).
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance (Unknown)
New Warriors #4
New Warriors #32
(as Asylum)
New Warriors Annual #4
In-story information
Alter ego - Unknown
- Henrique Manuel Gallante
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations (Unknown)
Notable aliases (Gallante)
Abilities Harness Darkforce, teleport, create weapons.

Asylum is the name of two characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.


Fictional character biography[edit]

The first Asylum was a mental patient who was imbued with Darkforce energies that converted her body into a psionic mist that caused hallucinations in anyone who touched it. She later was able to use her Darkforce energies as an offensive weapon. She was vulnerable at the one solid part of her body, a golden mask. After being defeated while fighting solo against the New Warriors Nova, Firestar and Speedball, she seemed to dissipate except for her mask, and has not been seen in action since.

Asylum (Henrique Manuel Gallante)[edit]

The second Asylum. Art by Stephen Jones

Fictional character biography[edit]

Henrique Manuel Gallante was a drug-addicted youth left abused and abandoned from his home and whose burgeoning mutant powers were driving him insane. He is placed in the Smythers drug rehabilitation clinic, but the doctors hold little hope for him. Unknown to the doctors, Gallante's mutant powers allow him access to the dimension of Darkforce, an extra-dimensional energy resembling tar. Although the energy possesses no true sentience, Gallante displaces his feelings of darkness and despair to it and allowed it to mimic an empathic sentience that feeds off and perpetuates Gallante's dark feelings.

Through Gallante, the Darkforce is able to access his dimensional plane, as its natural tendency was to fill the relative vacuum of darkness such a dimension of light creates. Soon, the Darkforce began to use Gallante to allow it to seep into his world, kidnapping those who could access Darkforce, such as Cloak, Shroud, and Quagmire, and trapping them within its dimension. It also began to flood New York City and envelop those with dark or violent tendencies, unleashing that side of them. Gallante grew mad as the power of the darkness increases, and he succumbs wholeheartedly to the Darkforce, desiring to destroy the world.[volume & issue needed]

With an army of Darkforce-controlled individuals, Gallante, calling himself Darkling, is confronted by an assemblage of Earth's heroes, including the New Warriors, Spider-Man, members of the Fantastic Four, Archangel, and Doctor Strange. Several superheroes temporarily fall to the influence as well. The New Warriors' Firestar and Dagger are able to use their powers to disrupt Gallante's access to the Darkforce, and the heroes are ultimately able to convince Gallatne of the error of his ways. Deciding that to understand himself meant to live with his darkness, Gallante disappears into the Darkforce dimension, taking its residual energies with him.[volume & issue needed]

Gallante was able to return to Earth by way of a mask once used by the villain Asylum. A gang member finds the mask and dons it. He becomes overwhelmed by the perception it gives him into the darkness within the psyche of those around him. As the Darkforce exudes from the mask and consumes him, Gallante had taken his place. Taking the identity of Asylum for himself, Gallante seeks out the former Asylum’s teammates, Psionex, and takes on the role of their new leader. The team becomes determined to use their abilities to clean up New York City as their newest superhuman champions.[volume & issue needed]

Unfortunately, Asylum leads Psionex to attack a group of supposed gang members that merely turned out to be youths playing with toy guns. Before realizing this mistake, Asylum forces a child into the Darkforce Dimension to face the darkness within him, and the boy emerges dead. Distraught that his powers would accidentally cause the death of an innocent, Gallante flees and is pursued by his teammates, who were determined to make Gallante face justice (although most were pursuing him so that they themselves would not be implicated in the charges). During their conflict, they are confronted by the New Warriors, who manage to disrupt Gallante's connection to the Darkforce Dimension in order to capture him. They convince him that vigilantes shouldn’t be above the law, and he needs to be accountable even for an accidental death. Asylum is remanded to the police, and Psionex was given over to its creators, the company Genetech, for custody.[volume & issue needed]

At some later point, Gallante relapses into insanity and is re-admitted to a mental institution. Recently, while still institutionalized, Gallante is used by Thunderbolts members Baron Zemo, the Fixer, Blizzard, and MACH-IV as a conduit to the Darkforce dimension, in order to retrieve the body of the criminal Blackout and rescue the second Smuggler (Conrad Josten).[volume & issue needed]

Civil War/The Initiative[edit]

Henrique has been identified as one of the 142 registered superheroes who appear on the cover of the comic book Avengers: The Initiative #1.[1]

Dark Reign[edit]

Asylum and Psionex are revealed as members of the Initiative's Maryland team.[2]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Gallante is a mutant with the psionic ability to tap into the dimension of the Darkforce, an energy based on darkness. So powerful is his access that Gallante was able to open a rift the size of Manhattan between his dimension and the Darkforce's. Although initially Gallante could not consciously control the Darkforce he released, it would often act as a part of his subconscious desire, such as flooding and destroying the world or releasing the dark impulses of others. He could surround himself in Darkforce, creating a separate, giant-sized body, and could manipulate masses of Darkforce as he desired, creating shapes, tendrils, and blasts of energy. After regaining some control over his abilities, Gallante could even teleport himself and others by using his body as a portal to the Darkforce Dimension. Once inside the dimension, Gallante’s victims would be confronted with their greatest fears as the Darkforce heightened and fed off the "darkness" within their psyches.