“You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies.” So said Oscar Wilde, and for super-heroes that’s very true. This week, I’m beginning a series in which I look at some of the X-Men’s deadliest foes – including, I’ve got to say, some of the enemies who are typically forgotten or overlooked. First, then, the dangerous being known as Emplate!
Brother of Monet St Croix, Emplate’s power essentially makes him a mutant vampire. He perceives ‘auras’ around people, these auras giving him a sense of their powers, their personality, and a lot more.
When Emplate gets his hands on a mutant, he feeds – drawing sustenance from them. This seems to involve ingesting their powers into himself, and his characteristic appearance – the deadly spined hair and diamond skin – is a result of his years spent feeding on his sister Penance. That being said, no real explanation has ever been provided about what exactly it is that ‘feeds’ him; my own speculation is that the entire being of the person is ingested, that everything about them – including the lost potential – becomes sustenance for him.
Emplate was anchored to a separate dimension by his sister M, although his hunger means he has to force himself through the dimensional barriers and arrive on our world in order to feet. This experience is excruciating for him, and in the Generation X comics was rendered rather creatively.
Out of phase with our reality, Emplate needs tools such as a respirator to breathe. The plus side to this ‘out of phase’ factor, though, is that Emplate can live a fraction out of dimensional synch, meaning he is virtually undetectable to those around him. You’re talking a mutant-hunting vampire who you don’t realise is there until the moment he hits you. And only one mutant has ever been able to act in self-defence while being fed upon, Chamber, who was hinted at being Omega level.
Due to the Decimation, Emplate was left starving; this eventually led him into conflict with the X-Men, and Rogue bested him with skill and borrowed powers. No doubt with the mutant race back in action, Emplate is feeding once again.
Here’s the interesting thing: Emplate can bind others to himself, feeding upon them and turning them into Emplates, hunters who prey on other mutants. This process has been stated as being addictive, and in Bishop’s time Emplates stalked the streets, hunting on mutants. Emplate has proved capable of doing this both to humans and mutants (although the latter was more unusual, and more of finding a way to taunt Chamber).
Since Bishop’s timeline is still viable, the threat of Emplate hovers quietly over the Marvel Universe, unnoticed and not protected against. The mutant race should be very, very wary…