Scott Summers was dealing with the death of his true love, Jean Grey, when he found a new life with Madelyne Pryor. The two were married and had a child, Nathan Summers, who would go on to become Cable. Nathan was a child of prophecy - to bring an end to the evil known as Apocalypse. In reacting to this, Apocalypse infected the child with the Techno-Organic Virus, giving the child a death sentence. After the defeat of Apocalypse by the first incarnation of X-Factor at Apocalypse’s moon fortress, a stranger named Askani appeared before Scott and Jean (who had earlier reappeared alive and well, leading Scott to leave Madelyne). The stranger was of the Clan Askani, a group from 2,000 years in the future. The woman tells Scott that she can save his child but to do so he must give the child to her so she can take him to the future. She tells Cyclops that he will never see his son again. Scott gives her the child in hopes that she could truly save his life.
The leader of the Askani turns out to be Rachel Summers (Nathan’s half-sister) displaced in time. This future is under the rule of Apocalypse and the Askani are the resistance force against him. Rachel arranged to retrieve Nathan from the past to try and cure him so as to fulfill the prophecy of him bringing down Apocalypse, freeing the world from his reign. The virus had progressed further than believed, so, in an attempt to keep the savior child, Rachel had the Askani clone the child (which was not the Askani way). In the cloning process, the T.O. virus was put in check and Nathan was spared. The victory was short lived because the forces of Apocalypse invaded the haven of the Askani after being tipped of by a traitor among them. The clone child was taken in the raid and brought before Apocalypse. The clone was raised as Stryfe.
Stryfe was created by Rob Liefeld and Louise Simonson. He was introduced in New Mutants #87. His character was later fleshed out by Fabian Nicieza.
Stryfe was first depicted as a madman with mysterious motives. It was slowly revealed that he and Cable shared a connection. Stryfe was then to lose his mind (both figuratively and literally) when he tried to get revenge on his "parents" and lost his body. His mind bonded with Cable and was exorcised. Stryfe has appeared in Hell, as well in various alternate universes, making him a threat.
Apocalypse takes the clone child (not knowing him to be a clone) as his own son, but has far more sinister plans for the child. Apocalypse’s body, being thousands of years old, was giving out on him. The child was to be the new vessal of his soul. Apocalypse names the child Stryfe after an enemy he had in years past (the enemy was the time-traveled clone child himself; thus Stryfe’s own name a paradox). Stryfe became the "Scion of the Dark Lord" and lived a life under the boot of the tyrant Apocalypse. In training the boy, Apocalypse speeds up Stryfe's mutant abilities as a way of getting his vessel prepared sooner. This process made Stryfe's attitude volatile. He kills without remorse at a young age for the simple reason that an instructor was boring.
The Chaos Bringer
When the time came for Stryfe to become the vessel of the spirit of Apocalypse, it was discovered that he was a clone and thus unworthy to hold the essence of Apocalypse. Apocalypse went into a rage, but at that time Cable and his forces attacked. Cable and his forces brought an end to Apocalypse, killing him. Stryfe, in the confusion, escapes. The world was then divided in to two factions, Cable's Clan Chosen, and the New Canaanites (followers of Apocalypse now overpowered and led by Stryfe). Stryfe became a sadistic mad man once he was free from the clutches of Apocalypse, calling for the deaths of millions in his name. He oversaw the death of Cable’s wife Jenskot and kidnapped Cable’s son Tyler Dayspring. (It was rumored that Stryfe may have raped Jenskot and that Tyler may be the son of Stryfe.) Stryfe turned Tyler against Cable, forcing Cable to kill Tyler in the end. The New Canaanites were soon in control, but in a final raid led by Cable, the Clan Chosen were able to overthrow them. However, Stryfe and his android Zero were able to escape to 2,000 years in the past.
Mutant Liberation Front
Stryfe and Zero emerged in the past and founded the Mutant Liberation Front, a terrorist group that sought to free mutants from the oppression to humankind. Unknown to anyone, this was all a screen to set up Stryfe’s real master plan to get revenge on those that he blamed for his ruined life, his mother and father Scott Summers and Jean Grey (he didn’t know at the time that he was a clone and thought that he was the real Nathan Summers) as well as Apocalypse the father of all his pain. All the while under the guise of the MLF he used every one to set his plan into place.
The song started by making a deal with Mr. Sinister. In exchange for Scott and Jean, Stryfe would give Sinister a canister of genetic data of the Summers' bloodline over 2,000 years. When Sinister opened the canister, it was empty, what he didn't know is that he just released the Legacy Virus, a deadly pathogen designed to kill mutants. Disguised as Cable, Stryfe attempted to kill Professor X, shooting him in the head and infecting him with a virus, causing the X-Men and X-Factor to go after Cable and his X-Force. Meanwhile, Stryfe pursued and found Apocalypse and effortlessly disposed of the Dark Riders. Stryfe fought Apocalypse but before delivering the killing blow to him, Apocalypse teleported away. Stryfe then turned to the Dark Riders and told them that by the law of Apocalypse that they were now to follow him because he was the strongest. On Apocalypse’s moon fortress, Stryfe had Scott and Jean hostage and force fed Scott baby food in a way to say that Stryfe missed out on his own childhood. Stryfe believed that Scott abandoned him to his dark life out of selfishness. In playing with them, Stryfe allowed Scott and Jean to escape with a trap set up with a baby tangled up in a techno mesh.
Stryfe told them that in order to live they must leave the baby. He was surprised to see that they stayed and fought for the baby and questioned if everything that he knew was a lie. He took Jean and Scott to a techno time portal with an energy shield that would only allow the Summers’ bloodline in. The X-Teams made it to the moon but only Cable and Havok could make it through the shield. They surprised Stryfe and attacked him. Stryfe took out Havok, leaving Cable as the last one standing to stop him. In a last resort effort, Cable grabbed Stryfe and jumped into the time portal and told Scott to hit the destruct button, blowing it up and scattering Stryfe and Cable into the timestream. Although Cable survived, Stryfe conscience was all that remains of him and took refuge inside Cable's mind until he left voluntarily. He emerged once again, trying to possess the body of Warpath, but he seemingly died battling an alien alongside Bishop and Gambit. Feeling regret for his actions as a villain, Stryfe ultimately sacrificed himself to destroy La Bete Noir, an entity imprisoned by the Phoenix Force inside Earth in the early times of the universe.
Bishop meets up with Stryfe, who is very much alive in a alternate future ruled by him after Apocalypse's reign. Bishop asked for Stryfe's help to capture Cable and kill the so-called mutant messiah, Hope Summers and in return he will help him locate and kill Apocalypse. The duo first kidnapped Kiden Nixon from the present so that they could use her powers to prevent Cable from time travelling. Stryfe sends out his army to kill Cable, Hope and the new incarnation of the X-Force, Cyclops' team sent into the future to protect the two.
When Bishop told Stryfe about a hibernating Apocalypse in the mountains, they both teleported into the location and successfully killed him at his weakest. Stryfe then launched a surprise attack on the X-Force and systematically taking them down one by one. Cable tried to kill him with a bomb, but only succeeded on separating the team. Stryfe then captured Warpath and Hope and took them to his citadel. Bishop then makes his move to kill Hope, but he was stopped by Stryfe and was finally able to read his mind and discover the child's importance. Stryfe removed his helmet and Hope asked as if he was Cable. Warpath broke off his restraints and attacked Stryfe, but he was defeated when Hope beg him not to hurt "Nathan".
Stryfe then tries to kill Hope, but he was stopped by Bishop who was using his powers that is being generated by his cybernetic arm. Stryfe destroys Bishop's arm and again tries to kill Hope, but was again attacked by Cable using his psionic powers, which surprised him because he thought that he had burned out his mutant powers. Stryfe defeated his "brother", but he was only a distraction for Wolverine and Elixir's attack from behind. Stryfe easily fended of their attacks and was about to finish them off until Apocalypse came in with his last horseman, Archangel, ready to exact his revenge. Stryfe attacked Apocalypse and Archangel but he had become too powerful and was defeated by their joint attacks. As X-Force and Cable left with Hope, Stryfe was last seen being dragged by Apocalypse and was about to fulfill his destiny: to become the next vessel for Apocalypse's soul.
Powers and Abilities
Being a clone of Cable, Stryfe has the same mutant powers as his genetic brother, mainly telepathy and telekinesis. The main difference is that Stryfe's powers are more powerful than that of Cable because he is not infected by the Techno-Organic Virus, thus he doesn't use his power to hold it at bay. Because he was adopted by Apocalypse, he was given genetic augmentation that makes him a powerful mutant. Such modifications include superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability and reflexes and intelligence that was proven useful when he developed the Legacy Virus.
Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610)
In this reality, Stryfe is a mutant supremacist and leader of the Mutant Liberation Front, who believe that Professor Xavier was killed by the government and that they should avenge his death. It was later revealed that he is a confidence man working for the Fenris Twins to persuade the government to buy Sentinels from them.
When Ultimate Cable and Professor X came back to the present timeline, they were wearing armor, Cable wearing similar to that of Stryfe and Professor X wearing similar to that of Onslaught.
In Other Media
- Stryfe made a cameo appearance in the X-Men: The Animated Series episode "Beyond Good and Evil: Part 4." He was seen as one of the many psychic mutants who were held captive by Apocalypse.
- Stryfe was the final boss in X-Men 2: Game Master's Legacy, a title released exclusively for the Sega Game Gear.
- Stryfe appears as a boss character in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, voiced by Daniel Riordan. He is faced at Apocalypse's tower, where both Banshee and Iron Man are being held captive. He has special dialogue with Toad.
- Stryfe was featured in ToyBiz's Uncanny X-Men: X-Force action figure line during the 1990s.
- Stryfe was featured in ToyBiz's die-cast X-Men: Steel Mutants line as part of a two-pack with Cable, the man he was cloned from.
- Stryfe was featured in Hasbro's Super Hero Squad line as part of a special box set that was released for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie (though Stryfe does not appear in that film). The set also included Stryfe's "parents" Cyclops and Jean Grey, as well as Wolverine himself.
- Bowen Designs produced a Stryfe statue.
- Stryfe was featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of the Jubilee Build-a-Figure wave. The wave was only available at Toys R Us stores.
- Stryfe has been featured in the HeroClix figure game in both the "Giant Size X-Men" and "Deadpool & X-Force" waves.