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Henry Bendix. Art by Dustin Nguyen and Richard Friend.
|First appearance||Stormwatch vol. 1 #1|
|Created by||Jim Lee
|Alter ego||Henry Bendix|
United Nations Special Crisis Intervention Team
|Notable aliases||Think Tank, Weatherman|
|Abilities||Extreme intellect, cybernetic networking implants|
Fictional character biography
Henry Bendix's past remains fairly muddled, partly because of the existence of an alternate Bendix who has been known to pose as the original. He grew up in Maladyville, Mississippi, raised by his abusive, alcoholic father. It appears that his father more than once killed a girlfriend during a drunken rage. Even as a child, Henry was extremely intelligent, designing the bodily enhancements that eventually led to the creation of the superheroes Midnighter and Apollo while still a child. Henry's diary from this time would mention that he had been contacted by the alien Weavers, who showed him the future. Young Henry was shocked to find out that he would become a villain, but the Weavers told him that till then he could be a hero. Henry killed his father with a self-built energy weapon in order to save his father's girlfriend, Delia. (See notes, as this origin was told in the Monarchy series.)
During the 1960s, he worked for the US government, developing a mobile weapon that was operated through a combination of manual controls and cybernetic uplink. It was dubbed "Think Tank". He was recruited into Team One, a secret task force designed to deal with the emerging Daemonite threat. Team One was dissolved following its first mission. The actual tank was destroyed by Daemonites, causing energy to surge into Bendix's brain. The experience gave Bendix a lifelong interest in Earth's secret history. This fascination put him in contact with the villains known as the Four, and led him to discover the interdimensional realm known as the Bleed, among other things. Although he continued to work for the US government, he kept most of his funding for himself.
In 1978, he was appointed to the post of Weatherman One, head of StormWatch, the United Nations Special Crisis Intervention Team. During that time, he was outfitted with cybernetic implants that granted him direct cybernetic link to Skywatch's operating systems. He retained this post until 1994, when he was temporarily replaced by Christine Trelane. He regained his post a year later following the Second Despot Incident. All the while, he continued to explore the world and advance his own, secret agenda.
The Fire From Heaven incident inspired him to take a more proactive approach to peacekeeping. He reorganizes StormWatch, firing most of the junior members, recruiting Jenny Sparks, Rose Tattoo and Jack Hawksmoor and placing all members of the original team into inactive duties. He split the remaining memberships into three teams: StormWatch Prime, StormWatch Red and StormWatch Black. Bendix believed that this structure would allow for a more flexible response to post-human threats.
Weatherman and his team attended a superhero 'conference' only to learn the earth was splitting up into separate realities. Most just the same, but with far less superheroes. Despite visible evidence of friends forgetting others had existed a moment ago, Bendix expressed pleasure at the idea of having less super-powered competition.
Shortly after StormWatch's reorganization, Bendix was approached by an alternate universe version of him. He offered Bendix a chance to explore the Bleed. In exchange, he asked Bendix to allow him to replace him. This alternate Bendix attempted to shape an orderly world and was killed by Jenny Sparks after he slaughtered members of a superhero team that was attempting to create a crime-free utopia. At the time members of Stormwatch believed this to be the real Bendix gone insane. The new Weatherman Jackson King even believed Bendix' madness was a result of the cybernetic implants (which were part of the Weatherman's job), and refused to have them himself.
After exploring the Bleed and gathering allies, Bendix returned to his world in 2004. Discovering that the Authority was now in charge of America, he devised a plan to remove them from power whilst, at the same time, breaking up the team. His plan was successful. Following that, he assumed control of the shattered Secret Monarchy, the loose coalition of secret groups that run the world behind the scenes. He implemented an active post-human advancement agenda, facilitating integration of Kherubim and other otherworldly technology into American (and to a lesser extent, global) society. In 2008, he faced off against the reorganized Authority. After a prolonged struggle, he was killed by Midnighter.
In Stormwatch PHD #8, it is revealed that Bendix has a son named William. The spitting image of his father, the younger Bendix is the child of a call girl that Henry paid off to raise on her own in secret. William was recruited by Jackson King to be the new Weatherman (no longer a leadership role) for the reconstituted Stormwatch Prime. This is due to most of the cybernetic integration systems having been designed for Henry's physiology, so William is a wise choice. William is deeply concerned that he will turn into his father despite King's faith that he is his own man.
William's main goal has been to crack his father's "memory tower," containing his most secret files. He manages to do this in The Authority: Prime miniseries, uncovering a secret bunker in the Nevada desert and leading to a battle between The Authority and Stormwatch Prime for custody of its contents. During the battle, an AI copy of Henry Bendix activates in response and proceeds to release zombie-like clones of his secret Stormwatch team (including copies of Apollo and Midnighter), seduce Rose Tattoo to his side yet again and install itself in a younger cloned body which has been engineered with the powers and abilities of every superhuman present. William arrives at the scene and convinces Rose to kill the clone of his father but not before he is seriously wounded by the reborn Henry Bendix. Although his body is not found by either of the teams after the resulting destruction of the bunker; the horrifically scarred William emerges from the wreckage, his father having psychically grafted his own consciousness onto William's mind. In control of his son's body, Bendix muses that the body is young and strong enough.
The alternate Bendix who replaced the original has had a substantial impact on the team as well, though in a much more negative way. Whilst the first Bendix had an undoubtedly ruthless and cold-hearted side, the new one was an entirely self-centred, psychotic individual pursuing an ultra-conservative agenda. He had a bizarre romantic affair with Rose Tattoo, the Spirit of Murder, apparently being attracted to her lust for death and destruction (when a later, evolved Tattoo asked the original why her poisoned kiss did not affect him, he replied "Because I embrace it."). It was alternate Bendix who was defeated after attacking a group of superhumans attempting to establish a utopia in South America. He was killed by Jenny Sparks.
- In the Monarchy series, Henry Bendix appears, claiming to have planned his death by Jenny Sparks so that he could become an imaginary being, capable of assisting the Weavers and the Monarchy in their battle against Chimaera. Jackson King visits Bendix' home and finds his childhood diary there. In it Bendix relates the events of his first contact with the Weavers. The Authority: Revolution series seems to have retconned these events away. Therefore it is also unclear whether his youth in Maladyville, Mississippi is still part of continuity.