Black Tom Cassidy
|Black Tom Cassidy|
Black Tom Cassidy
Michael Ryan, Art
|First appearance||Uncanny X-Men #99 (June 1976) (in shadow)
Uncanny X-Men #101 (first full appearance)
|Created by||Chris Claremont
|Alter ego||Thomas Samuel Eamon Cassidy|
|Team affiliations||Brotherhood of Mutants|
|Abilities||Concussive blasts via wooden mediums
Immunity to powers of Banshee
"Black Tom" Cassidy (Thomas Samuel Eamon Cassidy) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as an enemy of the X-Men, and archenemy of Banshee. Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum, he first fully appeared in Uncanny X-Men #101 (October 1976). In addition to fighting the X-Men, he has clashed with Deadpool a number of times.
Black Tom is a mutant who can manipulate, bond with, and project energy through plant life. He was the black sheep of a prominent Irish family. X-Men member Banshee is his cousin. Tom secretly raised Banshee’s daughter Siryn, of whose existence Banshee was unaware, and conscripted her into his criminal gang. Black Tom was also a longtime partner of the super-strong villain Juggernaut, until Juggernaut's reformation.
Fictional character biography
His original principal power was that he could generate blasts of heat through a wooden medium, such as the shillelagh that he often carries. He has a rivalry with Sean, mainly because Sean won both Cassidy Keep, their estate, and the family fortune from Tom in a game of dice. They were also rivals for a woman named Maeve Rourke, whom Sean married.
When Sean returned to learn of his wife’s death, he was devastated. Before Tom could even tell him of the existence of his daughter, Sean lashed out at Tom with his sonic scream for not having taken better care of Maeve.
While Sean flew away in anger, Tom fell into a chasm, breaking his leg as a result of the attack, which left him with a limp. Angrily, Tom swore to make Sean pay and vowed to never tell him about his daughter, raising her himself instead.
Later Tom became a criminal and came into conflict with the law and was apprehended. While serving time in prison, Tom met and befriended Juggernaut. The two became close friends and allies, and worked together on missions. As part of his revenge scheme against Sean, Tom murdered a lawyer ally of Banshee. Black Tom and Juggernaut then took Banshee and the other X-Men prisoner at Cassidy Keep. He was defeated in a duel by Banshee. Black Tom and Juggernaut next hired Arcade to kill the X-Men.
Alongside Juggernaut and Theresa (now under the codename Siryn), Tom went to San Francisco and stole the USA's entire vibranium supply. Several X-Men and the original Spider-Woman subsequently liberated the vibranium and captured Black Tom and Siryn. Convinced a life of crime was too dangerous for Theresa, Black Tom exonerated her of responsibility for the theft, and wrote a letter to Sean explaining who she was. Juggernaut broke him out of prison the same day.
Tom next sent the Juggernaut to abduct Madame Web, observing Juggernaut's battle with Spider-Man from afar. Black Tom was briefly endowed with half the powers of Juggernaut by the Ruby of Cyttorak. He then teamed with Juggernaut against Spider-Man and the X-Men.
Black Tom next took Gideon and Sunspot hostage on behalf of Arianna Jankos. He used an interdimensional teleporter to return the Juggernaut to Earth. He then battled Siryn and her teammates in X-Force. Cable shot Tom, and Deadpool took Tom to Mr. Tolliver.
After being shot by Cable, Tom was taken to France, where doctors grafted a wood-like substance onto his wounds, healing him and allowing him to channel his bio-blasts directly through his fists. Unfortunately, due to a genetic virus the substance spread over Tom's body, and only the mutated cells of the mercenary Deadpool (due to his healing factor) were able to help Tom stop the spread of the plant growth. Although the original plan was to capture Deadpool and copy his cells, one of Black Tom's minions managed to sever Deadpool's hand. Its attachment to the stump of Tom's intentionally severed hand was enough to save him.
The effect of Deadpool's cells did not last for long. The spreading began again, to the point where Tom was completely composed of plant matter. As a result, his powers included control and manipulation of all manner of plant life, to the point where he could make plant doppelgangers of himself, or anyone else. He was completely insane as a result.[volume & issue needed]
During this time, Black Tom resurfaced as a member of the latest incarnation of the Brotherhood of Mutants.[volume & issue needed] Earlier, Juggernaut had infiltrated the X-Men for him as part of the Brotherhood's plan, though Juggernaut slowly changed during his time with the X-Men, mostly due to the positive influence of the young boy Sammy Paré. Juggernaut rejoined the Brotherhood, secretly planning on turning them when the time was right. Sammy stumbled upon the group, and assuming that Juggernaut was betraying the X-Men, started lashing out. In retaliation Tom brutally murdered the boy, causing Juggernaut to attack Cassidy, dismembering him. Due to Tom's new plantlike physiology, this did not hurt him.
Juggernaut managed to escape and warn the X-Men, while Black Tom led an attack on the X-Mansion. Besides killing the school's cook, their mission was a failure. In the end Xorn sucked Black Tom and the rest of the Brotherhood into a black hole.
After M-Day, Black Tom woke up as a human again, losing his secondary mutation but possibly still retaining his old powers, along with his sanity. The organization Black Air hired Tom to attack the new incarnation of Excalibur, of which Juggernaut was now a member. Though he easily defeated the others, Juggernaut confronted his former friend and convinced him to turn himself in for the death of Sammy, saying "He was a kid, Tom. An' you an' me, for all our faults, we used ta be better than that."
Tom also showed remorse for killing the child, "That wasn't me, Cain, you know that. I wasn't in my right mind... You've got to understand... that mad life, before... it was like some dream."
Powers and abilities
|This section does not cite any sources. (January 2010)|
Originally, Black Tom was a mutant whose principal power was the ability to generate and discharge concussive blasts of force and heat through any wooden medium. He typically carried a shillelagh, a traditional Irish wooden fighting stick, which he used as a focus for his power. He was immune to Banshee's sonic powers, as each other's powers cancel each other out on contact.
Black Tom is a good hand-to-hand combatant, and skilled with bladed weapons: he has carried a sword and battle-axe on occasion. He is also a master of terrorist strategies and tactics.
Black Tom very briefly possessed the powers of the Juggernaut at half their full might.
Later, his chemistry, physiology, and morphology were radically changed, and he became a humanoid plant form capable of living in several different bodies and infecting foliage and trees to make them a part of his body. This made him difficult to restrain or destroy because it was nearly impossible to destroy every part of his body, as much of it could be kept underground, and because he could invade other plants with his life force to add them to his own body. While in this form, he was also able to siphon off the life energy of living beings by sending specialized tendrils into their body cavities. However, the process seemed to have affected his mind, and he wasn't in full control of himself.
After M-Day, in which most mutants lost their powers, he lost his alterations and his human form was restored, though he still retains his original abilities. While battling Deadpool he also managed to control a nearby tree, disarming and temporarily trapping the mercenary.[volume & issue needed]
"Blackie" Cassidy is depicted as an Irish drug dealer with ties to the Brotherhood, a secret society of corrupt police officers and detectives.
In other media
- Black Tom appears in the X-Men. He teamed up with Juggernaut to kidnap Lilandra Neramani in the cartoon version of the Phoenix Saga. He and Sean are referred to as brothers in the series continuity with Sean being the elder. He can also be seen within a cameo appearance within the episode immediately successive to the one aforementioned as running from the Cassidy Castle, presumably out of sheer awe and fright of the exhibition of Gladiator's powers.
- Footage of Black Tom's appearance in the aforementioned episode was parodied for the infamous internet meme The Juggernaut Bitch!!.
- Spider-Woman #37-38
- Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. p. 8. ISBN 1-4165-3141-6.
- X-Men Vol. 1 #99
- X-Men Vol. 1 #101-103
- Uncanny X-Men #122
- Uncanny X-Men #148
- Spider-Woman #38
- Amazing Spider-Man #229-230
- Marvel Team-Up #150
- X-Force #1-5
- Deadpool, Volume 2, #3 (1994)
- X-Men 163 (2005)
- X-Men 164 (2005)
- Deadpool #58 (2012)
- X-Men Noir #1. December 2008
- Ultimate X-Men #53
- Black Tom Cassidy at Marvel.com