The Dark Riders, originally known as the Riders of the Storm, is the name of a group of fanatics devoted to the Darwinian ideals that the strong ("fit") should inherit the Earth and the weak ("unfit") should be culled.
The full origin of the individual members of the team remains unclear. Presumably, the Riders were members of the Inhuman society, a genetic offshoot of humanity who for many years lived in the Blue Area of the Moon. At some point they were contacted by the evil mutant Apocalypse and were persuaded to join his ideological view and form a team under his guidance.
For purposes of his own, Apocalypse wanted the son of the mutant hero Cyclops, who was then a member of the original team of mutant heroes known as X-Factor, alongside his life-long love, Phoenix. X-Factor was also then making their headquarters in the sentient spaceship called Ship, once owned by Apocalypse. Apocalypse ordered the Riders of the Storm (Hard-Drive, Gauntlet, Barrage, Foxbat, Psynapse and Tusk) to invade Ship. During the invasion, Psynapse's attack jumpstarted Phoenix's dormant telepathy and Harddrive succeeded in mentally taking over Ship. X-Factor was aided in the battle by a woman from the future known as Askani, although they failed to prevent the apparent destruction of Ship by the Riders and the kidnapping of Nathan. X-Factor was rescued by the Inhumans, who revealed the nature of the Riders.
The Riders proceeded to attack the Inhumans while Apocalypse experimented on Nathan with a so-called Techno-organic Virus . Eventually, the heroes defeat the Riders and rescue Nathan, only to be forced to send him into the future with Askani in order to save his life from the virus.
Having escaped to Apocalypse's fortress in Egypt, the Riders were attacked by the villain Stryfe, who defeated Apocalypse. Claiming superiority, Stryfe demanded the Riders to work for him as he proved himself more fit, and they agreed, becoming known as the Dark Riders. (Starting at this time, the Riders were believed to be in fact mutants by nature, rather than Inhumans.) On Stryfe's behalf, the Dark Riders attacked various teams of mutant heroes, keeping the teams off-balance as Stryfe manipulated events around them in attempting revenge on his long-time enemy, Nathan Summers, now known as Cable. During these events, the Dark Riders battled Apocalypse, defeating him and leaving him for dead. However, when Stryfe apparently died in a final battle with Cable, the Dark Riders swore of fealty to anyone.
The Dark Riders soon began operating independently, testing the fitness of mutants in battle with them. One such mutant, Mesmero, was apparently killed by the group (although in reality he used his mutant powers of hallucinations to make the Riders believe him to be dead.) In a similar fashion, Psynapse was deemed unworthy by virtue of a mistake in battle and was shot, and later, Foxbat was hunted down and killed.
The Dark Riders (now including Deadbolt, Hurricane, Lifeforce, and Spyne) then targeted Caliban, which led them into conflict with Caliban's allies, Cable, Domino, and Storm. The heroes thwarted the Rider's assassination and attempted to track them down. The Riders allowed themselves to be followed in order to spring a trap, revealing a new leader of the Riders: Cable's son from the future, who now called himself Genesis. The Riders captured Cable, but he was freed by his allies and Genesis and the Riders were forced to retreat.
Under Genesis' leadership, the Dark Riders hoped to gain revenge against the mutant hero teams and even their enemy Mister Sinister, but their attacks were always repulsed.
Genesis soon embarked on a plan to capture the mutant hero Wolverine. Wolverine had previously been bonded to the metal adamantium, but at the time had the adamantium removed from his body by the villain Magneto. Genesis hoped to restore Wolverine's adamantium and brainwash him into being Genesis' so-called Horseman of Death, and had ordered the Dark Riders (including their newest member, Dirt Nap) to capture and remove the adamantium from the villain Cyber to accomplish this. When this proved successful, the Riders captured Wolverine. However, he rejected the process that would restore adamantium to his system, reverting to a feral state. Escaping, the berserk Wolverine slew the Dark Riders and Genesis, although many apparently survived the massacre.
Many of the Riders appeared again, namely Barrage, Gauntlet, Harddrive, and Psynapse. They were once again agents of the villain Stryfe, who reappeared to embark on a scheme to destroy all those who possessed telepathic powers. In so doing, the Riders attacked Phoenix, being confronted by a resurrected Madeline Pryor, Phoenix's clone. Pryor killed two of the Riders in the battle and was joined by her ally, Nate Grey, a.k.a. X-Man. Psynapses' attack on X-Man reinvigorated X-Man's telepathic powers that were believed to have burned out and was killed as well. X-Man also defeated Tusk by literally ripping him apart. In the midst of the battle, Gauntlet disappeared.
The Dark Riders re-emerged in the wake of the revelation that the Terrigen Bomb was poisoning all mutants that come in contact with the Inhuman-evolving mists. The Dark Riders, with their mixed inhuman and mutant membership, have declared this to be yet another stage of "survival of the fittest". They proceeded to hunt and kill all mutant healers so they do not interfere with natural selection. According to Gauntlet, mutants have had their chance at survival and delaying the end of mutantkind would be an affront to nature.
How many of these Dark Riders re-emerged has yet to be seen as a large portion of the members were confirmed dead or critically injured in their last appearances.
Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
- 15 Dark Riders (Earth-616) Members
- 38 Appearances of Dark Riders (Earth-616)
- Media Dark Riders (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 4 Images that include Dark Riders (Earth-616)
- Team Gallery: Dark Riders (Earth-616)
- Fan-Art Gallery: Dark Riders (Earth-616)
- The Unofficial Handbook to the Marvel Universe