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Starkey was a rowdy teenager, likely from a neglectful home, who attended Freeport High School with his friends Chad and Ruben, together embracing the thug lifestyle and the words of anti-mutant propagandist William Metzger. They aspired to join Metzger's organization, the Anti-Mutant Militia, but after attending a rally, Starkey began experiencing doubt in the anti-mutant cause. Soon after, he discovered he himself was a mutant, as did Ruben, who ran him out of his house.

Starkey became a vagrant, shunned by even homeless people for his mutation, and took to digging through dumpsters for food to survive. Magneto attempted to recruit him, but Starkey refused, still insisting that he was human.

Starkey was ultimately turned in to the FBI by his former friend, Chad, and captured along with Jean Grey by a clandestine government program run by Metzger. Starkey and Jean were to be "test subjects" to be slaughtered by Metzger's aide-de-camp, Arthur, whom the program had transformed into an electrically-charged supersoldier. Arthur delivered Jean a savage beating, but Starkey heroically used his empathic powers to transfer all the damage she had sustained into himself. The X-Men, in their first mission as a team, and Magneto arrived shortly thereafter, with the X-Men rescuing the captive mutants and Magneto killing Arthur and Metzger. It was too late to save Starkey, but as he died he finally accepted his existence as a mutant and saw hope for the future.

Powers

Starkey was an empath, capable of channeling the negative emotions and pain experienced by others into himself. The former appeared to be more-or-less automatic, as Starkey was overwhelmed and nearly driven insane by the thoughts of mutant hatred surrounding him, whereas the decision to assimilate pain was a conscious one on his part.




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