The entity that became known as le Bete Noir is an ancient energy creature, having allegedly warred with the Phoenix Force since before the current universe existed. The Phoenix Force eventually somehow trapped its enemy within Earth's still cooling molten core such that it could only escape in immature form via taking a host able to survive its massive energies; it could then incubate to maturity before breaking free and returning to the universe, destroying its host in the process.
Since the dawn of life on Earth, many different cultures sought and failed to free the entity from its tomb (presumably wishing to serve it or use its power for their own ends), and it sought a host in which it could grow and develop to escape its prison. To different cultures, it was believed to be demonic beings such as Beelzebub, Mephistopheles or Satan, and it was eventually named le Bete Noir, after the French Bête noire, literally meaning "black beast" but generally referring to an object of aversion, the bane of one's existence.
In recent years, when the X-Men's Lucas Bishop returned to Earth-616's modern era from Earth-9910 ("Chronomancer's World")'s future, some unique combination of factors drew le Bete Noir's attention to Bishop, whom it identified as a living energy power cell and thus its perfect host. Without Bishop's awareness, le Bete Noir entered and bonded to his form. Somehow discovering Bishop's possession, Stryfe (Cable/Nathan Dayspring Askani'son's malevolent clone) began subtly manipulating Bishop to release le Bete Noir's power, intending to use it to destroy Earth. Via visions caused by the possession, Bishop had his X-Men teammates test him, and discovered an entity bonded to him. Aided by X-Men teammate Gambit (Remy LeBeau), Bishop realized his other teammates were under another being (Stryfe)'s mental influence, and the two men escaped.
Seeking the trans-temporal Witness for information on the nature of the entity within Bishop and the source of their teammates' manipulation, Gambit and Bishop encountered Stryfe, who requested their protection from Cable, who intended to execute him for his numerous crimes. As an apparently repentant Stryfe revealed his involvement and le Bete Noir's origins, Witness provided Bishop with a shirt designed to monitor the creature's activity and prevent Bishop from summoning its power. Despite this, le Bete Noir had gained sufficient power to exert its influence outside Bishop's form, and its energies soon surged forth, threatening to corrupt those around him before spreading its influence to everyone on Earth. Momentarily telekinetically containing the ancient entity long-term, even with Cable, Bishop and Gambit's aid, Stryfe pulled le Bete Noir into his own body. Lacking Bishop's energy absorption powers, Stryfe knew he would be swiftly consumed by le Bete Noir, but he also believed without a foothold on Earth, it would be destroyed forever. Stating to Cable his desire to atone for his past crimes, Stryfe was then devoured by le Bete Noir, which apparently perished in its immature form without any host to support it. Bishop and Gambit suspected Cable might have mentally forced Stryfe to sacrifice himself.
Le Bete Noir is an energy creature of incalculable power, comparable to the Phoenix Force. Once imprisoned within Earth, it had to find a human host able to contain its energies, during which time it would assume human size and proportions as it incubated to maturity. Next, it would strike at those around its host, corrupting them as its powers grew. Eventually it could corrupt/contaminate every being on Earth. Once all life on Earth had been destroyed, it would have the strength it needed to mature, disposing of its host/outer shell, leaving it free to once again wreak havoc on the universe as it searched for the Phoenix Force.
- "Bete Noire" is a French phrase that translates into "dark beast" and is meant to describe something that's meant to be avoided.
- 4 Appearances of Bete Noir (Earth-616)
- 4 Minor Appearances of Bete Noir (Earth-616)
- Media Bete Noir (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 3 Images featuring Bete Noir (Earth-616)
- Quotations by or about Bete Noir (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Bete Noir (Earth-616)
- His profile in the Appendix to the Marvel Handbook.
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