Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at that reality warping, body hopping, threat to the multiverse: Proteus
Appearances in Heroclix: X-Men The Animated Series: The Dark Phoenix Saga, Uncanny X-Men, Mutations and Monsters
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #125
Team Affiliations: N/A
Created By: Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Proteus, born Kevin MacTaggert, is the son of famed scientist Moira MacTaggert and her ex-husband Joseph MacTaggert. Kevin never knew his father, as Joseph was incredibly abusive to Moira and she left him upon learning she was pregnant. After Kevin is born, he lives with his mother in the Mutant Research Centre on Muir Island. Kevin’s powers manifest early and lead to him gaining an uncontrollable hunger for energy. For everyone’s protection, Kevin is kept in seclusion and only referred to as Mutant X.
Years later, Kevin’s cell is damaged during a battle between Magneto and the X-Men. Kevin seeks out freedom for the first time and possesses the body of Angus MacWhirter. Proteus soon realizes that normal human bodies are inferior hosts for his energy form and decides that a more powerful host may sustain him for longer. He stalks Jean Grey for several days hoping to gain an opportunity to possess her. Unfortunately, this takes too long and Proteus is weakened when he attacks Jean Grey. She is able to easily repel him.
Proteus is forced to jump from body to body as his powers are burning out the frail human forms. He again attempts to take a stronger host by attacking Polaris. This assault fails as well, forcing him to jump into what of Madrox’s dupes instead. Proteus flees Muir Island aboard Angus MacWhirter’s boat and jumps into the body of Fergie Duncan on the Scottish mainland. Proteus jumps into a passing policeman just as Wolverine and Nightcrawler catch up to him. Wolverine is able to suss out Proteus’ new host and a battle ensues. Proteus tries to jump into Wolverine’s body, but the adamantium on his skeleton forces him out. Proteus warps space and incapacitates both the X-Men shortly before Storm arrives and injures Proteus’ host with a lightning strike. Proteus grounds Storm anyway and is about to jump into her body when Moira fires sniper rounds in order to drive him off. Proteus flees, fearing that the metal in the bullets would drive him out of his host and heads towards Edinburgh and his father.
Once in Edinburgh, Proteus manages to jump into his father’s body. Soon after, the X-Men arrive and battle the mutant in a last ditch battle. Joseph’s body is destroyed and before his son can take another host, Colossus punches Proteus’ energy form. The organic metal repels Proteus and forces his energy to disperse. Moira and the X-Men assume that this kills the mutant.
Several years later, AIM recreates Proteus using a woman named Harness and her mutant son Piecemeal. The mother and son absorb all of Proteus’ scattered energy into their bodies. The pair battle the New Mutants before escaping them. Piecemeal continues to absorb the Proteus energy until his body becomes too large. What remains of Proteus’ personality merges with Piecemeal to form one new being. This new creature stands against the combined might of the New Warriors, New Mutants, Muir Islanders and X-Factor and emerges victorious. However, the being realizes that it will never find peace or happiness and chooses instead to disperse itself.
When the Scarlet Witch recreates the world as the House of M, Proteus is returned to life. In this reality, while Moira tried to cure her son like before, Magneto destroyed the Muir Island facility as curing mutation is against the law. This unleashes Proteus on the world where he becomes a serial killer that leaves desiccated corpses in his wake.
When the Exiles find themselves in the House of M reality, Proteus is there to meet them. He steals information from the Panoptichron and uses it to escape his home reality by jumping into hosts from other realities. He settles in the Exiles’ own Morph for the longest time, as Morph’s body seems to be able to sustain him indefinitely. The Exiles also learn that Proteus is able to recall the memories and personalities of his past hosts.
Blink uses this against him by forcing him to leave Morph’s body and then return, placing a behavior modification system in a crown on Morph’s head. This convinces Proteus that he actually is Morph and makes it so he can only recall Morph’s memories. This causes him to behave exactly like Morph much to the dismay of the other Exiles. Though the plan continues to work for some time, with Morph’s own mind helping them from the inside, though small discrepancies begin to crop up. To deal with this, the Exiles regularly brainwash Morph/Proteus and place him in stasis when he acts out too much. The behavior modification system is destroyed when a book is accidentally knocked onto Morph’s head, destroying it.
Soon, Proteus comes up against a god-like enemy and is almost about to be defeated. Desperate to live, Proteus cries out and sees a vision of something that looks much like his true energy form. This form offers its hand and upon taking it is filled with enough power to win. Afterward, the being reveals himself as the true Morph having taken time to gain strength. Morph also reveals that he can now expel Proteus on demand and so he offers the mutant a choice: work together to achieve greater good or be banished. Proteus accepts and the two work in harmony with greater power than either has alone. Eventually the two are forced apart, however, and the crystalline walls of the Crystal Palace absorbs Proteus while leaving Morph unharmed.
In the 616 universe, Proteus consciousness eventually reconstitutes himself enough to not want to be dead but without the power regain his body. When Selene begins using the Technarch transmode virus to resurrect dead mutants, Proteus places a small amount of his energy into the reborn Destiny. Though he is not strong enough to possess her, he is able to influence her powers and use her visions to enact his plan.
He passes himself to Blindfold, another prophetic mutant and member of the X-Men. Influencing her as well, Proteus is able to convince Cyclops to send a team to Muir Island. Once there, he is able to absorb enough of his dispersed energy to resurrect his body and possess Blindfold. Once he resurrects, Proteus turns on the X-Men and takes control of several members of the team. Rogue is able to steal Psylocke’s powers and use her psi-knife to free the enslaved mutants one by one. Magneto launches himself and Blindfold into low orbit. Though Proteus directs the pair back at Earth, Magneto is able to identify Proteus’ energy wavelength and disrupt it. This causes Proteus’ energy to once again be dispersed, leaving his fate unknown.