|First appearance||The X-Men #28 (January 1967)|
|Created by||Roy Thomas (writer)|
Werner Roth (artist)
|Alter ego||Sean Cassidy|
Banshee (Sean Cassidy) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with the X-Men. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Werner Roth, the character first appeared in X-Men #28 (January 1967).
An Irish mutant, Banshee possesses a "sonic scream", capable of harming enemies’ auditory systems and causing physical vibrations. He is named after the banshee, a legendary spirit from Irish mythology, said to possess a haunting cry.
A former Interpol agent and NYPD police officer, Banshee was always a decade older than most of the X-Men and had only a relatively short tenure as a full-time X-Man. He was a mentor of the 1990s-era junior team Generation X.
Banshee was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Werner Roth, and first appeared in X-Men #28 (January 1967). Thomas originally conceived of the character as a woman, but editor Stan Lee thought that it wouldn't look good for an entire team to gang up on a female villain.
When the character first appeared, he acted as an adversary to the X-Men under coercion, but soon befriended the team and eventually appeared as a member of the X-Men in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). The character was forced to leave the team when his superpowers were damaged in battle in Uncanny X-Men #119 (March 1979), and remained an occasional supporting character for the team for several years. Banshee eventually healed fully, and rejoined the team in Uncanny X-Men #254 (Dec 1989) for a short stint, later becoming a central figure in the title Generation X, which lasted from 1994 to 2001. Banshee was killed in issue #2 of the 2006 X-Men: Deadly Genesis limited series.
Banshee was one of the feature characters in the 2011 two-issue limited series Chaos War: X-Men.
Fictional character biography
Sean Cassidy is discovered by the villainous Changeling, who invites him to join Factor Three. Cassidy declines upon learning Factor Three's goals. Factor Three, along with the Ogre, captures him and places a headband containing explosives around his head to force him to obey their commands. Codenamed after the banshee, a spirit from Irish mythology, Cassidy is forced to perform various criminal missions for Factor Three. On a mission in New York City, Banshee encounters the X-Men. Professor X uses his telepathy to disarm the headband and remove it, allowing Banshee to help the X-Men defeat Factor Three.
Later, Factor Three captures him again but he helps the X-Men defeat Factor Three's ally, the Mutant Master. The Sentinels capture him, but he is released from their captivity. While on the run from the Secret Empire, he fights Captain America and the Falcon, mistaking their then-fugitive status for a link to his pursuers.
Banshee joins the second group of X-Men. After a mission at Krakoa, Banshee remains with the "New X-Men". Banshee accompanies the team on many different missions and is present for several key moments in the X-Men's history, including the first death of an X-Man, Thunderbird. He is also a key player during the first appearance of the Phoenix and the team's first encounter with the Shi'ar. While with the X-Men, he falls in love with Xavier's ex-girlfriend, Dr. Moira MacTaggert. Alongside the X-Men, he fights his cousin Black Tom Cassidy and the Juggernaut. Given his age, he frequently acts as a confidant for both Xavier and Cyclops, eventually convincing Cyclops to change his leadership style to better suit the older, more experienced second team of X-Men.
Meanwhile, Black Tom was secretly raising Banshee's daughter, Theresa. She develops sonic powers of her own and adopts the name Siryn. Siryn assists Black Tom with his crimes until the pair is defeated by Spider-Woman and the X-Men. While in custody, Tom makes arrangements for Siryn to be reunited with her father.
Banshee's powers gradually return as he heals and he remains an ally of the X-Men. He reveals an encounter with Wolverine that occurred before either of them joined the X-Men. Eventually, Sean regains full use of his sonic powers. After the dissolution of the team following a botched mission, Banshee is instrumental in piecing the X-Men back together. When his jaw is broken, he leaves the X-Men again and returns to MacTaggert.
Cassidy has been resurrected under the control of villains twice, before being restored to life by a Celestial Death Seed. He is recruited by the Apocalypse Twins as part of their new Horsemen of Death. Following the Apocalypse Twins' defeat, Banshee is in the X-Men's custody and placed in the medical bay of Avengers Mansion. Beast concludes that healing Banshee of the Death Seed energy that made him a Horseman of Death will take years and highly advanced technology.
Sean later resurfaced as part of the Mutant Liberation Front along with Hope Summers. After a confrontation with the X-Men and newest incarnation of the Brotherhood of Mutants, Sean rejoined the X-Men. When attacking the O*N*E headquarters, he was caught with a huge, big weapon like a hulk killer. The machine eventually exploded as X-Men screamed out in sadness as they knew the explosion caused his death.
House of X
Sean later appeared alive and completely cured of the Death Seed energy. He was seen standing in a yellow uniform and waiting to go through the portal to their new home now that the mutant population has sharply increased across the globe thanks to the sentient mutant island Krakoa and its special flowers. Krakoa has now become an independent island-state off the coasts of East Asia and Australia. He later reunites with his daughter Siryn on Krakoa as well.
Powers and abilities
Banshee is a mutant whose superhumanly powerful lungs, throat, and vocal cords could produce a sonic scream for various effects, in concert with limited, reflexive psionic powers which directed his sonic vibrations. He could hover or fly at the speed of sound, and could carry at least one passenger. He could overwhelm listeners with deafening noise, stun them with tight-focus low-frequency sonic blasts (effective even against shielded ears by penetrating the skull via bone conduction), plunge them into a hypnotic trance, disorient them, nauseate them, or simply render them unconscious. Using sonic waves, he could rapidly vibrate himself or other masses at will. He could generate sonic blasts which struck with tremendous concussive force, liquefying or outright disintegrating targets at his highest levels of power. By radiating sound waves outward and reading the feedback, he could locate and analyze unseen objects in a sonar-like fashion. By modulating his scream's harmonics, he could confuse most scanning equipment. He could instinctively analyze, replicate, and block sonic waves or vibrations from other sources.
Banshee generated a psionic field which protected him from the detrimental effects of his sonic vibrations, though his sonic powers could still injure him when pushed beyond safe limits. For a while, his sonic powers were gone after having to use them up and down the harmonic scale to stop a weapon of Moses Magnum's. His physiology seemed fully vulnerable to conventional injury when his sonic powers were not engaged. Banshee had selective hearing, enabling him to focus upon, enhance, or totally block out any given sound in his environment; this shielded him from the deafening sound of his own screams, and made him a superhumanly acute eavesdropper in surveillance situations. Sean and his cousin Black Tom were immune to each other's natural mutant energy powers, though Sean's immunity did not extend to the new powers Tom later developed via artificial mutations.
A gifted detective, veteran undercover operative, and formidable unarmed combatant, Cassidy was an excellent marksman and a competent amateur machine-smith, well-versed in combat strategy & tactics, and teamwork drills, from his training at Interpol. An effective educator, organizer, and lobbyist, he was also an avid American country music aficionado and skillful amateur piano player. As Cassidy, he wielded conventional firearms, sometimes loaded with explosive "micro-bombs." As Banshee, he wore synthetic costuming designed to resist air friction, usually including underarm wings that helped him glide on air currents and his own sonic waves. The "ribbons" on Banshee's costume (a visual trademark of the character) aid him in his flight.
Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse, Banshee had a close bond with Quicksilver. Over the course of events in those comics, he fights the Horseman Abyss twice, the second time sacrificing his life to destroy the dangerous mutant.
Renew Your Vows
Banshee is briefly seen escaping the Brotherhood of Mutants to warn the X-Men about Jubilee being a traitor but is confronted by Magneto and is crushed by a shipping container.
In other media
- Banshee appeared in the X-Men Animated Series. He fought Black Tom Cassidy in the Phoenix Saga and alongside the X-Men in the episode "Proteus". His last appearance was in the episode "The Phalanx Covenant" Part 2 (Season 5, episode 2). During the series, he is shown to have a romantic relationship with Moira MacTaggert.
- Actor Jeremy Ratchford portrays the character in a 1996 live-action Generation X television movie. In the movie, Banshee runs Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters with Emma Frost. Sean is much more laid back in his teaching approach than Emma, and wants to make sure that the students bond as a team. In the movie, he produces a sonic scream that stuns people.
- Actor Caleb Landry Jones played Banshee in X-Men: First Class. He fights Angel Salvadore during the climactic battle at the end of the film. Irish actor Robert Sheehan was originally cast as the character but dropped out due to his show Misfits.
- Jones did not return as Banshee in the sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the film, a young Magneto accuses Charles of failing their former students, and mentions that Banshee was one of the many mutants captured, experimented on, and killed by Bolivar Trask.
- Banshee appeared as a NPC in the video game X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse voiced by Quinton Flynn. Havok mentions that Banshee had rescued some New York refugees before being captured by Apocalypse. Banshee is encountered in the Western Sewers after escaping Apocalypse's New York Pens. He also leaves a recording revolving around Stryfe and having the X-Men and Brotherhood obtain codes from soldiers to get one of the Psychic Demons to help with fighting him. At the X-Mansion, he reveals how he escaped by letting out one last scream that took out the door and the three guards nearby.
- Banshee appears in the early 1990s Toy Biz X-Men figure line. He had a whistle glued into his body that could be blown into.
- Banshee had another figure released during the Generation X series of toys released by Toy Biz in the late 90s. His figure appeared in the second series.
- Banshee appears in figure form in the Marvel Legends Annihilus build a figure series.
The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection
- Banshee was the 100th issue in the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
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