Donald Pierce, art by Andy Park
|First appearance||Uncanny X-Men #132 (April 1980)|
|Created by||Chris Claremont
|Alter ego||Donald Pierce|
|Notable aliases||White Bishop, White King, Cyclops|
Superhuman strength and reflexes
Able to create numerous types of energy
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Donald Pierce first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #132. He was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Pierce’s name and appearance were modeled by Byrne upon Donald Sutherland. The character's last name comes from Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, Sutherland's character in the 1970 film M*A*S*H.
Fictional character biography
Donald Pierce was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pierce first appears as a high-ranking member of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, where he holds the position of White Bishop. However, Pierce is in fact a genocidal mutant hater, and has only joined the Club in order to kill the other members of the Inner Circle, all of whom are mutants. In addition to hating mutants, Pierce is also bigoted towards certain nationalities and harbors a sense of self-loathing due to his being a cyborg, referring to himself as "only half a man". He is the CEO and principal shareholder of Pierce-Consolidated Mining, and operates out of a mining and laboratory complex in Cameron, Kentucky. Pierce and his mercenaries kidnap Professor X and Tessa in a plot against the Hellfire Club and X-Men, but despite a device shielding against telepathic attacks, he is defeated by Xavier. Pierce is handed over to Tessa of the Hellfire Club, expelled from the Inner Circle, and taken to a secret holding facility in one of Shaw Industries' Kentucky installations.
Many months later, Pierce is violently liberated from the holding facility. Though his rescuers are never explicitly identified, he resurfaces alongside three members of the Reavers, a band of cyborg criminals which Pierce claims to have built and assembled, and which had recently been all but wiped out by the X-Men. The four of them ally with Lady Deathstrike and three Hellfire Club mercenaries (Cole, Macon, and Reese) who were cybernetically enhanced by Pierce. Under Pierce's leadership, the new Reavers are dedicated to exterminating mutants, with highest priority given to the X-Men and Sebastian Shaw (CEO of Shaw Industries).
The Reavers take over the X-Men's headquarters in their absence, but after the X-Men leave through the Siege Perilous, they manage to capture only Wolverine, whom they torture and crucify. During this time Pierce develops a romantic attraction towards Lady Deathstrike, but she is disgusted by Pierce's arrogance and spurns him. Wolverine is rescued by Jubilee, and the two go into hiding. Pierce tracks them down, but is incapacitated by Jubilee. Assuming they fled to Muir Island, Pierce and the Reavers attack Muir Island, and battle Moira MacTaggart's "Muir Island X-Men" and Freedom Force. With the Reavers, he also attacks a Frost Technologies plant in California. Pierce creates two super intelligent sentient androids (Elsie-Dee and Albert), programming them to find Wolverine and self-destruct. However, their intelligence allows them to put the bomb in Elsie-Dee on hold, and they abandon the Reavers.
A member of the Upstarts, Trevor Fitzroy, sends reprogrammed Sentinels to destroy the Reavers, as they are a threat to mutants and Pierce (as the former White King) is worth a lot of "points" in the deadly game the Upstarts play. Only Lady Deathstrike and Cylla escape. Pierce has Gateway teleport him to the one responsible for the attack on the Reavers, but the Sentinels accompanying Fitzroy electrocute him. Despite his seeming demise, he later resurfaces, starts an anti-mutant hate group, and enlists several members. He reveals a plot to take militant terrorist actions against mutants and is thwarted by the X-Men. He is beaten by Wolverine in hand-to-hand combat. Very little of Pierce's human tissue remains, which explains how he was able to survive the massacre in Australia with only his head and portions of his upper torso intact.
Pierce later re-emerges abducting Domino's estranged husband, Milo Thurman, from his US government holding facility. Employing cyborgs Pico, Lady Deathstrike, and Skullbuster, Pierce's goal is to assimilate Thurman's mind into his own cybernetic brain. Milo Thurman possesses the genius ability to accurately predict future events from studying current data. Pierce wants this ability to exert further control over the world's future. Pierce explains that after the events involving Trevor Fitzroy at the Hellfire Club, his mind and body were restored by a mysterious benefactor, and he now has a new prime directive. Domino destroys Pierce's appropriated Weapon X base in which Thurman was held, just as Pierce is downloading Thurman's mind into his own. Domino escapes, but Pierce and Thurman both seemingly perish in the ensuing explosion.
Becoming a Purifier
Pierce next tries to take over Sebastian Shaw's new Hellfire Club, launching an attack and slashing Shaw's chest. Though Shaw is left critically injured and later needed to be hospitalized, he is able to punch off Pierce's head. Pierce later is forcibly recruited into the ranks of the Purifiers and infected with the Technarch transmode virus. Being under the control of the mutant-hunting robot Bastion, he shows his mutant target, the newly formed Young X-Men.
He appears in a nightmare of the precognitive mutant, Blindfold, battling a not yet formed team of X-Men and killing one of their number. Pierce himself recruited this team using an image inducer to pose as the leader of the X-Men, Cyclops. His reasons for recruiting these mutants as "X-Men" are not entirely clear, however, it appears that his primary focus is to eliminate the current Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club, Roberto da Costa, and his former New Mutants allies. He also hires Ink to deliver Dani and Blindfold to him, misleading him. Following the confrontation with the Young X-Men, his face is scoured by Dust.
With the synthetic skin on his face restored, he is kept captive by the Young X-Men. Ink is allowed to stay on the team and despite contention from Rockslide, later apologizes to Blindfold for working for Pierce, who remains in X-Men captivity. Pierce and Dust have frequent conversations while he is imprisoned, despite his vocal hatred of mutants and derogatory remarks toward her faith in Islam, noting that his attitude reminds her of home. While they talk, Dust admits to Pierce that she is dying, as he is "the only one who won't care" and he agrees to share with her the secret information he has about her teammates. He tells her that Ink is the mystery "non-mutant" among them, which is later discovered by the rest of the team. Also, he subtly tells her that three of her friends will die soon, referring to Boom Boom, Hellion and Surge, who were captured by the Sapien League and injected with a strain of the Legacy Virus.
It was eventually revealed that Pierce was only captured to act as Bastion's mole inside the X-Men's headquarters, all the while building several structures that surround Utopia.
Later after receiving the green light from Bastion to proceed with their plan, Pierce provokes an explosion that decimates all the X-Men's jets and the Blackbirds. Pierce stands amid the debris, and muses to the X-Men that he is sorry that he will not live to witness the decimation of the mutant race. Cyclops eliminates him with an optic blast.
Powers and abilities
Donald Pierce is a cyborg originally with four artificial limbs which provide him with superhuman strength. His reflexes and agility are also inhumanly fast. These attributes are derived from his artificial body. His body has great resistance to damage and even if it is destroyed, as long as his head is intact he will probably survive. He has the ability to generate a shocking electric current through his cyborg limbs or to hurl electrical force over short distances. He also has the ability to turn psionic assaults against the attacker to a limited degree. There is now nothing left of his original human body except his head, and how much of the head is even original is unknown. It is unknown if he still has his original brain or if he uploaded his memories, intelligence, and thought engrams into a cyborg computer brain. As a member of the Reavers, he wore body armor.
Aside from his physical advantages, Donald Pierce is a genius in robotics, cybernetics, and electronics. In these fields he has developed technology that exceeds that of conventional science by approximately two centuries. He also has vast financial resources (a prerequisite for membership in the Hellfire Club). He is a college graduate in geological engineering and business administration, and is an accomplished strategist and business administrator. He is a fair hand-to-hand combatant, but relies on his cyborg strength.
Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse, Pierce was the leader of the Reavers, a band of human assassins enhanced by Apocalypse's techno-organic virus. Thanks to the virus, Pierce and his band of assassins become cyborgs with regenerative abilities and the power to assimilate both organic and non-organic material to mutate themselves. Pierce infiltrated the territory of the Human High Council in an attempt to destroy the Council fleet and later attempted to kill Gateway, an ally of the HHC. After the fleet was assembled for an attack on Apocalypse's empire, Pierce infected Carol Danvers with the remains of the Reaver Vultura to aid him in the destruction of the fleet. During his attack he also used Brian Braddock, who was under Apocalypse's mind control, to kill Emma Frost, though he resisted Pierce's orders, for which Pierce killed him. In the end, Pierce was destroyed by Weapon X.
A human team known only as X-Terminators had used Pierce's blood sample before he was infected by the techno-organic virus to create several clones of him in order to help the fight against the mutants. One such clone began operating under the codename "Goodnight" and infiltrated the Hellfire Club, becoming a great friend of Sebastian Shaw. The general public and Club members think he is in fact a mutant.
House of M
In the House of M, Donald Pierce was a member of the Human Liberation Front, one of the many human resistance groups labeled as terrorists by the House of M. Alongside Seiji Ashida, the father of Surge, he was part of the HLF's base in Tokyo, which had targeted Project Genesis, a plan of Emperor Sunfire to forcefully mutate baseline humans.[volume & issue needed]
In other media
- Donald Pierce appears in the X-Men episodes "The Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 1): Dazzled" and "The Dark Phoenix Saga (Part 2): The Inner Circle". He is depicted as much younger than his comics counterpart.
- Donald Pierce appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episodes "Shades of Grey", "Foresight (Part 1)", "Foresight (Part 2)" and "Foresight (Part 3)". He is shown as part of the Inner Circle. Instead of a mutant-hating cyborg however, he is a mutant capable of emitting energy blasts.
- Pierce appears in the 2017 film Logan, portrayed by Boyd Holbrook. This version of the character is Transigen's chief of security, with a cybernetic right arm, who works for Zander Rice and claims to be a "fan" of Logan. After Logan declines to help Pierce find Gabriela Lopez and her charge Laura, Pierce kidnaps Caliban and forces him to use his mutant powers to track Logan, Laura, and Professor Xavier. Pierce survives Caliban's suicide by grenade, then uses a fleet of drones to find the gathering place of Laura and other mutant children who are trying to escape to Canada. The children kill or incapacitate several of Pierce's Reavers, then combine their powers to kill him.
- "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #44! | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources". Goodcomics.comicbookresources.com. 2006-03-30. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
- Marvel Graphic Novel #4
- Uncanny X-Men #134
- Uncanny X-Men #245 (June 1989)
- Uncanny X-Men #251 (November 1989)
- Uncanny X-Men #247-249 (August–October 1989)
- Uncanny X-Men #251-253 (November 1989)
- Uncanny X-Men #254-255 (December 1989)
- Uncanny X-Men #262 (June 1990)
- Wolverine Vol. 2 #37-40
- Uncanny X-Men #281
- Uncanny X-Men #282
- Domino Vol.1 #1 - 3
- Uncanny X-Men #281
- Domino Vol.1 #1 - 3
- Uncanny X-Men #454
- X-Force Vol. 3 #3 (2008)
- X-Force Vol. 3 #7
- Young X-Men #1
- Young X-Men #5
- Young X-Men #6
- Young X-Men #6, 7
- X-Force vol. 3 #13
- Uncanny X-Men #524
- New Mutants Vol. 3 #13
- Weapon X #4
- Marvel Point One
- Age of Apocalypse #1
- N'Duka, Amanda (October 10, 2016). "Boyd Holbrook's Villain Character In Wolverine Sequel Unveiled". Deadline.com. Retrieved October 20, 2016.