Colonel John Wraith was a mutant-hating commando who was sanctioned by S.H.I.E.L.D. to head the barbaric Weapon X Program. The program was assigned with capturing mutants and forcing them to carry out covert missions for the US government. The program was co-headed by Dr. Abraham Cornelius. He and his men (all who have anti-mutant sentiments as well) managed to capture and subject a Canadian para-trooper named James "Lucky Jim" Howlett to experiments which wiped his memories clean and bonded his skeleton with adamantium. They christened him Weapon X and gave him the fake name "Logan". He and his men enjoyed tormenting Logan by teasing him with bits and pieces of his lost memories and also caging him and shooting him day and night since he could not die due to his mutant healing factor. This conditioned Logan to become the perfect killing machine, or so they thought.
During the Gulf War they were transporting him in the desert preparing him for deployment, but his transport team was ambushed and Wolverine was accidentally set loose. Stumbling across a young Nick Fury, who was also taken by surprise by the same ambush, Logan rescued him and brought him back to base camp. Colonel Wraith, who was surprised that Wolverine did not kill Nick and retained his humanity, ordered his men to shoot and cage Logan once again. He told Nick not to worry about Wolverine since he was nothing more than a living weapon. A couple of years of later, it was Nick Fury, not forgetting the man who saved his life, who returned the favor to Logan by helping him escape from the Weapon X facility. Wraith sent Sabretooth, another one of his mutant agents, after Logan but he came back empty-handed.
Wraith then began capturing other mutants to take Wolverine's place, mutants including Kurt Wagner, Rogue and Cain Marko. When he received news that Logan was heading back to America (unknown to them as an assassin for Magneto), he and his men again attempted to recapture Logan, only to have their plans foiled by the X-Men. Wraith's face was scarred by Logan's claws.
In retribution, Wraith ordered the capture of the X-Men, but failed to catch Logan once again. He had Xavier hooked up to machines to harness the Professor's telepathy in order to help him find other potential candidates for the program. The mutants imprisoned at the Weapons X facility were tortured on a daily basis, with Rogue having her arm broken regularly and having molten metal poured on Colossus to test his durability. It was also during this time that Beast was mutated even further by Dr. Cornelius. To keep them in line, Wraith had implanted micro explosives into them and if anyone got out of line or tried to escape, it was their friends who would pay the price. The X-Men's first major mission forced them to split up. One team was assigned to free Nick Fury from when he was captured by a foreign country and the other team was assigned with destroying a new bio weapon that was being developed by terrorists. Jean Grey was given the order to execute one of the scientists they had captured, but she refused. Wraith threatened to detonate Cyclops' implants for her insubordination, at which point she was forced to kill someone for the very first time.
When General Ross threatened to phase out Weapon X, Wraith used Xavier to dispose of the general with a mental explosion. Wolverine was eventually captured, but unknown to them, he had secretly led the Brotherhood to the facility in an attempt of freeing the imprisoned mutants. When the mutants began to break free, Wraith shot Xavier and attempted to flee in a helicopter. Blob held onto Wraith's helicopter, but eventually he lost his grip. Storm tried to fry Wraith with lightning, but Nightcrawler saved the Colonel. As a reward, Wraith tried to kill the teleporter. Ironically, Nick Fury ended up gunning down the corrupt Colonel and declared that all the mutants at the facility were free to go.
It wasn't until later that Wraith was still alive and is currently leader of Alpha Flight. It was thanks to Canada that they saved his life by injecting the drug Banshee to restart his body and give him superpowers. He realized his mistakes in the past and joined Department H's Alpha Flight calling himself the Vindicator. His team went to retrieve Northstar, which led the X-Men to find out that Wraith's team all use Banshee. It wasn't until after the Ultimatum wave that Rogue sought out Wraith who found out his identity during a previous battle when some of the X-Men went to rescue Northstar. She convinced him to help her kill Magneto. But he needed few more people to help with this mission so he and Rogue went and captured Sabertooth and Juggernaut to reform Weapon X.
While under the influence of Banshee, Wraith gains the ability to fly and produce energy blasts from his hands.
Normal human male who engages in intensive regular exercise
- 13 Appearances of John Wraith (Earth-1610)
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- Characters killed by Vindicator
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