Doctor Frederick Animus was a genetic scientist. Although a genius in his field his morality was questionable. When the University he worked for began to investigate his methods, they were schoked by what they found. He had falsified reports on the efficacy of certain medicines and experimented on humans. Immediately, Dr Animus was dismissed from the University and jailed. It was there that he was found by Cameron Hodgem, Commander of The Right organisation.
The Ani-Mator was created by Louise Jones Simonson and Bret Blevins and first appeared in The New Mutants issue 59 (1988).
Major Story Arcs
The Right hired Dr Animus. They wanted his scientific genius in genetics to help rid the world of mutants. He was provided with an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, which he named Paradise. There, he began to work with technology and genetic samples provided by The Right, but without any supervision. Dr Animus became a loose cannon; he abandoned the clothes and names of mankind, opting to dress in a leopard-skin hide with an animal skull as a crown. He renamed himself the Ani-Mator.
Ani-Mates and Bird Boy
Using the facilities from The Right, the Ani-Mator had his own agenda and abandoned The Right's anti-mutant campaign. Instead, he created half-breeds and hybrids, mixing animal genetics to create man-like animal creatures he named the Ani-Mates.
He created them in batches, and each Lot was given a letter of the alphabet to indicate which batch they had been grown in. Every Ani-Mate was created from an ebryo and he monitored the growth of specific animal biology (wings, dorsal fins, etc). They were specifically grown and trained to follow the Ani-Mator's laws.
The Ani-Mates were to kill any trespassers on Paradise immediately. The punishment for failing this meant that the entire Lot those Ani-Mates came from would instantly be destroyed. And on each full moon, the newest Lot would under-go a ritual test. An alarm would sound and they would enter into a trance. In a hypnotic state they would enter the underground maze full of pit-falls and booby traps. If they managed to survive the maze, then they would receive a name and a piece of basic clothing. The Ani-Mator would deprive them of food, and for each act of good behaviour the Ani-Mates would receive rations.
One of the Ani-Mator's most prized creations was a bird-like boy. Dubbed the Bird Boy by the news broadcasters in America, he escaped Paradise and was captured around the North Atlantic region of the United States. The Bird Boy was found and taken in by the New Mutants, who gave him the name Bird-Brain and dressed him an old New Mutants uniform. Through interaction with the New Mutants, Bird-Brain collected burgers, fries and milkshakes to give to his Ani-Mate friends on Paradise. The New Mutants followed him back to Paradise, and befriended the other Ani-Mates from Bird-Brain's Lot. However, when they followed the Ani-Mates into the maze, the New Mutants were captured, and held by the Ani-Mator.
The New Mutants & The Right
Discovering the New Mutants on Paradise, the Ani-Mator performed a computerised search to learn their identities. The information was detected by The Right, and Cameron Hodge contacted the Ani-Mator. He referred to the Ani-Mator as 'Scientist' to remind him of his position within The Right. Hodge also disapproved of the Ani-Mator's outlandish clothing, and suspected that he held the New Mutants captive.
As punishment for letting the New Mutants live, the Ani-Mator ordered that the whole of Bird-Brain's Lot to be destroyed. His larger, more vicious and loyal Ani-Mates cruelly destroyed the other Ani-Mates. The New Mutants were horrified by the disregard for life, and blamed themselves for the deaths of so many Ani-Mates. When the Ani-Mator ordered his larger Ani-Mates to carry the New Mutants away, Cypher managed to communicate with them and convinced them that the Ani-Mator would have them destroyed as well. The Ani-Mates dropped the New Mutants in fear, freeing the young mutant team. However, The Right had already arrived on Paradise. Bird-Brain convinced the Ani-Mates to side with the New Mutants and they fought The Right's smile-faced soldiers together. The Right killed several of the Ani-Mates, but Cameron Hodge hadn't caught the Ani-Mator. Instead, the Ani-Mator snuck inside Hodge's plane and stole a hand gun.
During the fight, the Ani-Mator took adventage of the chaos and planned to kill Wolfsbane. Cypher saw him take aim, and tried to warn Wolfsbane. She misunderstood the warning, and was oblivious to the Ani-Mator who was trying to kill her. Just as the Ani-Mator fired the pistol, Cypher jumped at Wolfsbane pushing her out of the way. The bullet hit Cypher in the side and passed through his body.
The fight continued and the Ani-Mator managed to remain safe until the Right had retreated. When the New Mutants discovered Cypher's lifeless body he gloated over how he'd intended to murder Wolfsbane and showed no remorse over how he had killed Cypher instead. Magik was furious. She was determined to execute the Ani-Mator by shooting him in the head with his own pistol. However, Wolfsbane begged her not to for Cypher's sake. Instead, Magik sent the Ani-Mator to her demonic realm, Limbo. There, the Ani-Mator was found by Sym. He was infected with Sym's transmode virus, and transformed into a creature made of living circuitry. The Ani-Mator remained in Limbo as a part of Sym's growing army.
Presumably the Ani-Mator was among the hoardes of demons who infested Manhattan during the Inferno. However, he was not seen. Therefore it is likely that the transmode infected Ani-Mator still survives in Limbo and awaits his chance to take revenge on the girl who sent him there.
Powers & Skills
As a regular human being, the Ani-Mator didn't have any super-powers. However, his keen scientific intellect combined with his ethical instability gave him the opportunity to behave like a wrathful god to his Ani-Mates. He was a dangerous man, and was capable of capturing the New Mutants.
It was his skills as a geneticist that brought the Ani-Mator into the employment of The Right. The Ani-Mator was an unparralleled genius when it came to genetics. He was able to create life. The Ani-Mates he created weren't born, but created as embryos and grown. Although many Ani-Mates didn't survive, he had created intelligent life. The ability to create and take away life qithout question made him a God on Paradise. He was also sure of how to extract the New Mutants' powers in order to give them to his Ani-Mates.
As with most scientists who expertise in a certain field, the Ani-Mator also had a wide-ranging scientific knowledge outside of genetics. He was adept at using modern technology and computer systems that were advanced for their day.
Although not honed in combat like a soldier, the Ani-Mator knew how to handle a pistol without any problems. His aim was precise, as he would have surely killed Wolfsbane if Cypher hadn't pushed her out of the way. Even though Cypher was a moving target who blocked Wolfsbane, the Ani-Mator was still able to fire a killing shot from several meters away.
The Ani-Mator often worked alone, and without supervision he lost any sense of morality. While working at the University, he often falsified work. After he had been liberated from prison and procured by The Right, he continued to work on his own projects regardless of what his employers demanded of him. Working on Paradise, he created the Ani-Mates; creating and taking away life as he saw fit.
He saw no ethical problems in warping the genetics of animals, giving them human intellect only to continually treat them as barbaric animals. The Ani-Mator certainly showed no remorse whenever he ordered the destruction of dozens of Ani-Mates. His contempt for all other life was evident when he gloated to the New Mutants about how he killed Cypher. He was not ashamed that he had attempted to kill a young girl, and he was pleased with himself that he had killed a human being.
Although the Ani-Mator was quick to abuse his power over animals and children, he was still a coward when it came to authority figures. When Mirage pulled out a psychic illusion of what the Ani-Mator feared most, she created an image of Cameron Hodge. The Ani-Mator snivelled before Hodge during their televised conversation, and was quick to make up excuses for his eratic behaviour. He was afraid of receiving the same cruel & inhumane treatment that he was quick to give out to others.