Robert Kelly (comics)
|First appearance||Uncanny X-Men #135 (July 1980)|
|Created by||Chris Claremont|
|Alter ego||Robert Edward Kelly|
|Team affiliations||United States Senate|
United States Republican Party
Robert Edward Kelly is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He most often appears in Marvel's X-Men and X-Men-related comic books. He is a prominent United States Senator who began his career on an anti-mutant platform; and, as the X-Men team is made up entirely of mutants, his role tends to be that of an antagonist. However, towards the later days of his career, after being heroically saved by the mutant Pyro (infected with the Legacy Virus at the time), he began to change his views on mutants as a whole.
Fictional character biography
Senator Robert Kelly was first seen at a social gathering hosted by the Hellfire Club, where an illusion projected by the mutant villain Mastermind caused him to believe he had witnessed the X-Man Cyclops firing randomly into a crowd. He was the primary backer of the Mutant Control Act and Project: Wideawake, a government program aimed at creating updated Sentinel robots that would help track down and, if necessary, detain or kill violent mutants.
He played a central role in the Days of Future Past storyline that took place in Uncanny X-Men #141-142 (January–February 1981). The entire plot revolved around the X-Men stopping Mystique and her Brotherhood of Mutants from assassinating Senator Kelly and thus inadvertently causing a dystopian future where mutants and other heroes were hunted down by the Sentinels and nearly totally eliminated.
When he appeared in Uncanny X-Men #246 (July 1989), he was married to Sharon, a former maid who worked in the Hellfire Club. Kelly, in a meeting with Sebastian Shaw, was shocked when his wife walked in wearing her old, servant garb as a bit of fun. She was genuinely apologetic, saying she would not have done such a thing if it hadn't been just him and Shaw. Sharon was killed the next issue, in Uncanny X-Men #247 (August 1989), shot by the mutant-hunting robot known as Master Mold during a battle between Master Mold and Rogue. This further incited Robert's stance against mutantkind.
Kelly remained an active anti-mutant activist in the comics through the 1990s, but slowly became more open-minded and tolerant towards the mutant population, promising the X-Men he would work for the rights of mutants during the early 2000s. After his life was saved by the mutant Pyro in an attack (this was when Pyro was infected with the Legacy Virus) from his old teammate Post, Kelly vowed to reconsider his standing on mutants and work towards improving human/mutant relations. Despite being guarded by the X-Man Cable, he was not long afterwards assassinated at a college rally (where he was speaking at the time) by the anti-mutant activist Alan Lewis who felt that Senator Kelly betrayed their anti-mutant cause. He died in Cable's arms after Cable had been too occupied helping Jean Grey save Charles Xavier on the astral plane to realize the danger to Kelly before it was too late. With his dying breaths he pleaded for Nathan not to give up on his dream. His failure to protect the reformed Senator Kelly, coupled with his devastating loss of Moira MacTaggert who was murdered by Mystique, led Cable to leave the X-Men not long afterward. 
A prison for mutant criminals called the Box was also known as the Robert Kelly Correction Facility where it was named in honor of him.
The name of the character was chosen by Chris Claremont, in honour of his Bard College professor, the poet Robert Kelly. The latter has confirmed the connection between the two names in interviews among his students.
Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse, Robert Kelly was an activist for mutant-human peace who is eventually elected President of the United States. He named Magneto as Director of Mutant Affairs and enlisted the aid of the X-Men in the reconstruction of the broken country.
In the X-Men Noir reality, Robert Kelly was a Republican Senator of New York who strongly defended the controversial U.S. extraterritorial prison Genosha Bay. Kelly believed through eugenics that it is necessary for containing criminals who are more exceptionally dangerous and from "infecting" the public with their criminal ways. However, in reality Kelly's true purpose of keeping Genosha Bay was because it was the proving grounds in recruiting a next generation of ideal soldiers and government operatives.
In the Battleworld planet created by Doctor Doom from the remnants of incursion points between collapsing worlds, a version of Robert Kelly existed as the appointed Baron of the domain known as Westchester. Robert Kelly survived an assassination attempt by the Shadow King whom possessed Cassandra Nova (revealed to be a clone of Charles Xavier, created by Apocalypse) and despite being a merely "human" and remaining publicly favourable to the X-Men, Baron Kelly was secretly one of the Horsemen of Apocalypse along with Bastion, Mystique and Exodus. He was last seen meeting with Apocalypse to plan the future for Westchester.
In other media
- The character (renamed Robert Jefferson Kelly) appeared in the X-Men animated series, voiced by Len Carlson. This version ran for President of the United States. Although he ran an anti-mutant campaign during season one, however, assassination attempts by Mystique (posing as Gambit to make it look like the X-Men are responsible) and Magneto then an attempted brainwashing by Master Mold made him come to befriend the X-Men when the group had rescued him. Taking office as President, he spoke out in support of mutants and made his first presidential act being Beast's pardon. President Kelly had a low profile throughout subsequent seasons (presumably due to Graydon Creed's Friends of Humanity being made from Kelly's anti-mutant supporters), remaining a friendly ally with the X-Men to work with the group involving global threats, such as Magneto's armed asteroid in season four and as a pawn for an alien invasion in season five.
- The character (renamed Edward Kelly) appears in X-Men: Evolution, voiced by Dale Wilson. This version was the principal of Bayville High (where several X-Men attended) following his predecessor Raven Darkholme's disappearance. After Professor X had erased everyone's memories of the Brotherhood of Mutants exposing the X-Men's identities, the Professor tried to do the same thing to Principal Kelly (who was watching from afar) only to collapse. When the X-Men's identities became public knowledge, he was voting for keeping mutants out of school; the school board changed their minds after the X-Men saved their lives from the rampaging Brotherhood mutants, and their contractor Duncan Matthews, the school's football hero (who all were trying to get the X-Men expelled at Kelly's behest). After the Brotherhood's failure, Principal Kelly has the Brotherhood members expelled. Later, Kelly was pursuing a career as the city's Mayor.
- Senator Robert Kelly appears in Wolverine and the X-Men, voiced by Richard Doyle. He is beginning the Sentinel project and previews the Sentinel Prowler at an anti-mutant rally, targeting Rogue in the rally group and attacks the crowd. Afterwards, Kelly decides to shut down the project to focus on the Brotherhood of Mutants. He also had his agents retrieve a mutant dampening collar that could neutralize their powers but it was retrieved by Wolverine. It was revealed that Senator Kelly arranged for Genosha to be given to Magneto when they discuss about the MRD holding some the powerful mutants. When Senator Kelly asks what he's going to do about it, Magneto says that being already doing it as it cuts to the Acolytes breaking into the MRD Facilities. Senator Kelly is then shown with Bolivar Trask, Sybil Zane, and Warren Worthington II when seeing the Sentinels fight the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. Kelly also has a chat with Warren about making Warren Worthington III's status as a mutant public. Following Archangel's attack Warren cuts off the alliance with Kelly. When Genosha closes borders, Kelly sent Gambit to take Magneto's helmet and cripple Genosha; Gambit succeeds in the latter task but loses the helmet. Magneto was ready to pummel the Senator when the X-Men intervene and Professor X showed them the apocalyptic future as the result of their war. Shocked by this revelation, Kelly shuts down Sentinel production. However, Magneto desired the war and replaced Kelly with Mystique after Magneto has Quicksilver capture him. When last seen, he was being held in a Genoshan holding cell.
- Senator Robert Kelly appears in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, voiced again by Dale Wilson. This version is a rabid anti-mutant politician In the episode "The X-Factor", he is shown giving a televised anti-mutant speech following Magneto's attack on Simon Trask. When Kelly gives his speech in New York about his plan to have mutants registered, Magneto intends to have Annie execute a telekinetic attack on his heart to make it look like a natural death instead of an assassination. During Magneto's attack on Iron Man, Annie's mental powers save Senator Kelly, however, Kelly still remains antagonistic to Annie. Iron Man subsequently admonishes Kelly for his lack of gratitude, and the humiliated Senator ends up leaving under a storm of protests and thrown objects from his former supporters.
- Senator Robert Kelly appeared in the 2000 film X-Men, played by Bruce Davison. Just like in the comics, he is staunchly anti-mutant, arguing that they are a danger to "normal" people and should be forced to register and locked away. He is kidnapped by Mystique and Toad, and is subjected to Magneto's process that transforms him into a mutant. Unbeknownst to Magneto, the process is ultimately fatal, with Kelly's body rejecting the process despite being a malleable jellyfish-like form who has the power to stretch and can easily be squished if pressure is applied. Before he turns into water in the X-Men's custody, Kelly learns to accept that some mutants are not against humanity and is comforted by Storm. He is subsequently impersonated by Mystique at the end of the film. He is described as a Senator from Kansas, specifically in a making-of featurette screenplay, and the Mutant Watch featurette referenced him as a Republican. Also in the Mutant Watch special feature on the X-Men DVD, his young daughter is revealed as a mutant on "live TV" after a Senate hearing on mutant regulation.
- Davidson reprised his role as an impersonation of Mystique in the 2003 film X2.
- Senator Robert Kelly is briefly mentioned in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. If the player is controlling a member of the X-Men at the end of a mission to protect a Sentinel fleet (since they are being used to evacuate New York), the selected character expresses his befuddlement by saying "First joining up with the Brotherhood, now helping Sentinels? Next thing you know, Senator Robert Kelly is going to invite us for lunch!"
- Senator Robert Kelly appears in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Peter Renaday. This version is captured by Arcade and is imprisoned somewhere in Murderworld (he is located in the cart to the left when exiting the fake Castle Doom). A side-mission involves searching for him in Murderworld. If he is found, he will support the Mutant Aid Bill which will allow government funds for schools (similar to Professor X's) which will be successful in training young mutants in how to control their powers. If he is not found, he achieves freedom on his own and successfully sponsors a bill where all mutants are sent to re-education camps where they will be brutally educated to not use their powers. This version of seems to harbor not only an anti-mutant sentiment, but a general distrust of superheroes (somewhat in the same vein of J. Jonah Jameson). When freed, the player will tell Senator Kelly to find a safe place to hide until they can send some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to get him out of Murderworld. He has special dialogue with Storm when he is freed.
- Senator Robert Kelly appears in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, voiced by Steven Blum. He is mentioned in a work-log in the Sebastian Shaw cybernetics lab as a supporter of Project: Wideawake.
- Uncanny X-Men #141-142
- Uncanny X-Men #246
- Uncanny X-Men #247
- X-Men vol. 2 #108 (2001)
- X-Men Gold Vol. 2 #23. Marvel Comics.
- Tales from the Age of Apocalype #1
- X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain #1
- Senator Robert Kelly at Marvel.com