- Only you have been able to resist me... and for that reason, you can no longer be permitted to live!
- -- Purple Man src
According to Zebediah Killgrave's own account, he was a spy working for the Soviet bloc who was assigned to invade an American army ordnance depot and steal a sample of an experimental nerve gas. A military guard came upon Killgrave and fired a shot at him, which accidentally hit a canister of the nerve gas. The contents of the canister poured out, thoroughly drenching Killgrave, impregnating his skin and indelibly dying him purple. Caught outright and questioned, Killgrave offered a weak, inadequate alibi to his captors. Much to his surprise, he was believed and released. Several more incidents of this nature demonstrated that the nerve gas had given Killgrave the superhuman ability to command the wills of other people. Calling himself the Purple Man, Killgrave embarked on a criminal career.
Although Killgrave never confirmed the story, a woman named Melanie met Kiligrave in a bar in Buffalo, New York. Taken with Melanie’s beauty, on a whim Kiligrave used his superhuman power to induce her to marry him. Eventually, Kiligrave truly fell in love with Melanie and decided to free her from his mental control in the hope that she would genuinely love him as well. Instead, horrified at what he had done to her, she fled to Toronto, Canada. Killgrave never went after her, and months after leaving him, Melanie gave birth to his daughter Kara. When Kara turned thirteen, her skin turned purple and she developed superhuman powers similar to the Purple Man’s. Melanie then told her that her father was the Purple Man. Kara, calling herself the Purple Girl, became associated with Alpha Flight, the Canadian team of superhuman adventurers.
Having come to New York City, the Purple Man used his superhuman ability to force people to do whatever he wished, and even robbed a bank by this means. The Purple Man now intended to use his power to become master of the world. However, he was instead defeated by the crime-fighter Daredevil, whose will power was strong enough to enable him to resist Killgrave’s power. Killgrave was sent to prison, but he finally escaped and made San Francisco, California, his base of operations.
There he built himself a criminal empire, but he was again opposed and defeated by Daredevil. This time, though, Killgrave was not sent to prison. His criminal empire in San Francisco apparently collapsed, and Killgrave turned up in New York City once more.
There he used his power to coerce Maxwell Glenn, head of Glenn Industries, into committing various crimes on his behalf, as the first major step in the Purple Man’s plan to create a financial empire for himself. Put on trial for these crimes, Glenn committed suicide. Daredevil had learned that Killgrave had forced Glenn to become a criminal, and the crime fighter had a confrontation with the Purple Man at Ryker's Island Prison. Killgrave realized that Daredevil was blind and correctly guessed that he was Matthew Murdock. Their confrontation ended when Killgrave plunged into the sea and seemingly drowned. Killgrave survived, but the experience of this latest defeat radically altered his outlook on life. He realized that there was no need for him to engage in criminal conspiracies and battles with costumed crime fighters since he could get anything he wanted by using his power. Therefore, Killgrave retired from crime and became a gentleman of leisure.
One day a car being used by two underlings of the Kingpin of Crime to make a major delivery of illegal narcotics accidentally collided with Killgrave’s purple Rolls Royce on a New York City street. Angered, Killgrave used his power to compel the two criminals to fight each other; the police arrived and confiscated the heroin. The Kingpin had Killgrave brought to him, and the Kingpin too proved to have the strength of will necessary to resist the Purple Man’s power. The Kingpin forced the Purple Man to aid him in selling a death trap for various New York-based costumed crime fighters. Due to the increase in the Purple Man's power over time, plus the use of a sound system that amplified his voice, not even Daredevil could resist any longer. However, wearing ear plugs so he could not hear the Purple Man's voice, the Moon Knight knocked the Purple Man unconscious. Killgrave was then taken into police custody.
But Killgrave somehow regained his freedom. Later, while relaxing on an island in Polynesia, he was captured by Doctor Doom, who imprisoned Killgrave within a gigantic psycho-prism he had constructed on Doom Island. Doom magnified the Purple Man's will-sapping power and manipulated it to make himself the master of Earth, also using the help of Sub-Mariner. Virtually every one on Earth was compelled by the Purple Man’s power to obey Doom, and he succeeded in capturing a number of crime fighting superheroes. The Sub-Mariner himself was also enslaved.
Due to his unusual physiology, the Avenger Wonder Man was unaffected, however, and was able to free Captain America from Doom's mental control, who in turn freed Hawkeye, Iron Man and the Wasp. Together they freed the other captured superheroes. Infuriated at having been enslaved by Doom, the Sub-Mariner smashed the psycho-prism, thereby both killing Kiligrave and freeing the world from Doom's control.
After being presumed dead, he resurfaced. He took Jessica Jones, then known as the superhero Jewel, prisoner at a five-star hotel. She stayed in his control for a period of eight months, often being made to beg for him to do with her what he did with college girls he got off the street. He made her believe her life was a comic book, with an audience of loyal readers, and that every time he made her strip for him, she was taking her clothes off for them. Killgrave eventually got so angry at a front-page report on how Daredevil saved New York City, and sent Jessica off to kill Daredevil.
Later, he attempted to control X-Man hoping to use his vast power for his purposes. He was unsuccessful.
Killgrave targeted the Thunderbolts. He trained an unknown person to be the new Swordsman, and had his powers amplified by the Overmind. He had the Swordsman appear to betray him, even rescuing Songbird, only to then attack Atlas and Mach IV. Killgrave then gained control of a number of other heroes and used them as 'cannon fodder' when the Thunderbolts regrouped. Once again, he was defeated, putting an end to his so-called 'Purple Reign'.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Mind Control via Pheromones: The Purple Man possesses the power to sap people's wills, allowing him to command people by simple verbal suggestion. His power originates in his skin cells, which have been mutagenically altered. The sites of pheromone production and other secretions in his deep dermis produce numerous psychoactive chemicals, which, when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, induce in that individual an overwhelming monomania that renders him or her completely without self. The Purple Man can simultaneously subjugate as many people as are present within the range of the psychoactive chemicals he exudes. He has been known to enthrall crowds of over 100 people. The effects only last as long as he is physically present. When he departs, the level of chemicals is reduced within his victims at various rates (dependent upon their metabolisms), and then the victims regain full cognizance of self. The Purple Man is a charismatic individual, with an entrancing lilt to his speech that he has cultivated over his adult life. Certain individuals with exceptional will-power (Daredevil, Dr. Doom, the Kingpin), or altered metabolic processes (Wonder Man) have proven able to resist his power. In addition, his abilities are ineffective against robots and other non-organic beings.
- Accelerated Healing Factor: The Purple Man's body has also been mutated so that he is able to recover rapidly from trauma and to heal from severe injuries. In at least one instance, he entered a death-like state while his body healed itself.
|Power Grid |
Killgrave is a very charismatic individual, which helps him make more effective use of his powers.
- In the series 1602, in the possible future of Earth-460, the Purple Man has managed to get himself elected as "President for Life". Captain America threatens his rule, and unable to kill him, the Purple Man instead sends him into the past, unwittingly creating the alternate past of Earth-311.
- 57 Appearances of Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616)
- 14 Images featuring Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616)
- 4 Quotations by or about Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616)
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