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|First appearance||X-Force (vol. 3) #1|
Fictional character biography
Eli Bard's back story was told, through a flashback, by Warpath to the rest of X-Force in X-Force #11 (2009). Warpath obtained this knowledge through a vision with the help of Ghost Rider.[volume & issue needed]
Eli Bard was born "Eliphas" at the height of the Roman Empire. He was recognized as an outstanding soldier until a spear injury ended his military career. For a while he worked unsuccessfully as a poet until he met Aurelia, one of the most powerful women in Rome. He soon married her and achieved a position in the Senate. As a well-respected senator, he was known as a great orator and a friend to the army. His wife left him for a general named Mascius and conspired to give Mascius his seat in the Senate.
Left with nothing, Eliphas was approached by Selene, who offered him immortality in exchange for helping her kill and absorb every soul in Rome. Eliphas drew pentagrams and performed rituals at several locations in the city, but warned a small girl to get her family out. The girl's father alerted the authorities and Eliphas and Selene were captured before the spell could be carried out. Just before they were burned at the stake, Selene killed the guards. She cursed Eliphas for his perceived betrayal with an eternal life of torture, turning him into a vampire-like creature. Eliphas was buried alive for 700 years until a farmer discovered him in his field. Eliphas killed the farmer with a swift bite to the jugular. He spent the next several hundred years searching for Selene. He ran into the ancestral Apache tribe of Warpath. They recognized him as a vampire but could not stop him from wiping out almost the entire tribe.
Eliphas, having at some point in time changed his name to "Eli Bard," finally located Selene in Nova Roma, where she was worshiped as a god. Still in love with her despite her curse, Bard realized that he must make an offering to her before approaching her.[volume & issue needed]
Bard later joined the Purifiers, an anti-mutant terrorist group. During this time, he worked diligently to further the Purifiers' goals. Secretly, however, he had hoped to sacrifice thousands of Purifiers' souls using the same ritual from Rome in order to gain Selene's attention. He assisted in the resurrection of Bastion but the android was suspicious of him, as he had no record on him. After seeing Bastion reprogram an offspring of Magus, he changed his plan and instead re-animated the corpses in the burial grounds of the Apache tribe that he had decimated decades earlier using the Technarch transmode virus he had absorbed from an offspring of Magus. Among the bodies reanimated were those of the mutants Caliban and Thunderbird. He presented Caliban to Selene and stated that he intended to use Caliban's mutant tracking abilities to track down deceased mutants and reanimate them to form an army for Selene, an offer which she accepted.
He uses the virus to resurrect a variety of mutants, including Cypher,[volume & issue needed] Banshee,[volume & issue needed] the original Hellions,[volume & issue needed] Risque,[volume & issue needed] Pyro,[volume & issue needed] and Destiny.[volume & issue needed]
In X-Force #21, Selene's plans culminates when Bard uses the virus to resurrect the entire deceased mutant populace of Genosha.
When Bard returned to Proudstar's tribe's burial grounds to resurrect Caliban and Thunderbird, the spirits of the tribe rose to protect those buried there. Bard attacked them with Selene's mystical knife, transforming them into a Demon Bear.[volume & issue needed] After fleeing the battle, Bard leaves the blade behind, unaware it was pivotal in Selene's plans. He is then dispatched to Utopia to retrieve it, taking Warpath hostage in the process.[volume & issue needed] When he returns to Selene with the blade and the hostage, Selene kills him by stabbing him in the heart with the blade, reducing him to bones.[volume & issue needed]
Powers and abilities
Through Selene's magical curse, Eli Bard became an immortal vampire-like being. Unlike Selene's psychic vampirism, Bard seems to be of the more traditional blood sucking variety. As such, he has increased speed and strength, and is difficult (if not impossible) to kill. Bard also has limited knowledge of magic. He also demonstrated deadly skills in hand-to-hand combat, managing to overpower and nearly kill X-23.
Bard has also been altered at a molecular level by a techno-organic transmode virus taken from the Technarch spawn under the Purifiers' control. The virus gives him the ability to control those he reanimates. The virus has the potential to provide shapeshifting and other superhuman abilities.
- X-Force #11 (March, 2009)
http://www.comicvine.com/eli-bard/29-59642/ X-force #1 (first appearance)