Born into the wealthy family of a police chief, Neal Shaara had no worries, until the day he returned home to find his brother, Sanjit, was missing. Not satisfied waiting for the authorities to track down Sanjit, Neal set off to locate him using clues he had uncovered in his brother's diary. Sanjit was a reporter, and Neal learned he had been working on a story involving disappearances among Calcutta's impoverished citizens. The trail led him into the arms of bandits, but Karima Shapandar, an operative of Neal's father, saved his life. The two began to fall in love as they searched together for Sanjit. Ultimately, their quest brought them face-to-face with Bastion, in the midst of Operation Zero Tolerance.
Bastion transformed Sanjit into a Prime Sentinel, one in a series of cyborgs bent on eliminating all mutants; the villain intended the same fate for Neal and Karima. While the process worked on Karima, it instead triggered Neal's latent mutant abilities. His power emerged in an explosive fury, decimating Bastion's hidden base.
Neal battled Bastion and the Prime Sentinels, but would have been overcome if his brother, fighting the Sentinel programming, had not saved him. Sanjit sacrificed himself so Neal and Karima could escape. However, Karima was beginning to succumb to the Sentinel programming, becoming an Omega Sentinel. While with the X-Men, he struggled with the same difficulty the X-Men's Havok did years before - his fear of killing or hurting someone with his incredibly powerful plasma. Not only that, but he also fell in love with the X-Man Psylocke, even though she was in a relationship with Archangel. The two would later break up and Psylocke was free to pursue a romantic relationship with Thunderbird.
Neal Shaara was created by Chris Claremont and Leinil Francis Yu and first appeared in X-Men #100 (2000). One month later, Neal's origin was revealed in the pages of X-Men Unlimited Issue #27.
Major Story Arcs
Joining the X-Men
During the 6-month gap period Neal was on of the new found mutants to join the X-Men, while the others were off helping Gambit in Venice he joined Rogue's team which consisted of: Rogue, Colossus, ShadowCat and Psylocke. Their first mission was helping Peter Corbeau in bringing a space shuttle back to earth, the mission seemed successful at first until Kitty managed to get her self involved with a Neo member named Seth, the whole space shuttle had been ambushed and needed to get back to earth immediately, as the ship had already been bombarded with secret mines the ship was in no way able to operate, Neal and Psylocke decided to take matters into their own hands and make the ship work themselves while the rest of the X-Men got the human passengers into safety pods, while this was happening Neal was shocked to see how quickly the mutants were quickly blamed for the ambush of the ship, he tried to reason but their was no point getting through, as he had never experienced such prejudice in his life it came as quite a revelation to him being a mutant, later as they were getting ready to leave Psylocke used her telekinesis to the full extent to keep the pieces of the ship in-tact while guiding it through the atmosphere, Neal used his solar powers as a make do fire thruster for the ship to increase it's speed and it did wonders, Neal and the others managed to get back to earth in a crash landing , Rogue thanks Psylocke for helping the rest of X-Men to maneuver out of site of the other humans, Neal asks why they shouldn't even try to defend themselves, Psylocke tells him that that's the world they live in, Neal explains that from his homeland it's hatred like the one between mutants and humans that could destroy a whole nation due to discrimination and he does not want to be a part of that ever again.
A short while, Thunderbird and five other X-Men formed a splinter group of X-Men (dubbed the X-Treme X-Men), cutting all ties with the rest of the team whilst searching for Destiny's Diaries. Psylocke would die at the hands of Vargas, leaving behind a grief-stricken Neal. For a time he was seen working with Lucas Bishop, another mutant with energy-related powers, in an attempt to overcome his fears and gain greater control over his powers. During this time, it was revealed that his plasma, however powerful, could not burn through adamantium, a testament to the metal's already impressive durability.
Some time after, Neal started a relationship with Heather Cameron, who was also known as Lifeguard. She and her brother Davis (who would become Slipstream) joined the off-shoot group of the X-Men. After the inter-dimensional Invasion at Madripoor by the villain Khan, Thunderbird and Lifeguard left to search for her brother Slipstream, who left the team.
Neal and Heather would later be seen as a member of the X-Corporation, although Slipstream was nowhere to be seen. However this was short-lived as there was a synchronized attack on several of the X-Corporation offices after the catastrophic events of M-Day, leading Cyclops to call for the disbanding of all offices. If they aborted their search for Slipstream, or did find him, is as of yet unknown.
Neal is confirmed to have kept his powers post M-Day, but his current whereabouts are unknown.
Powers and abilities
- Neal can transform the molecules of his body to solar plasma reactors, converting portions of himself into thermodynamic energy.
- The energy can be released as flashes of blinding light, focused blasts and explosive spheres of plasma .
- He can fly in subsonic speeds.
- Height: 5' 9"
- Weight: 165 lbs.
- Eyes: Brown
- Hair: Black
- Nationality: India
- Place of Birth: Calcutta , India
- Occupation: Adventurer
- Known Relatives: Mr. and Mrs. Shaara (parents), Sanjit (brother,deceased)