Hugh Jackman pops his claws for the final time on the big screen this week, as the highly anticipated Logan finally makes its theatrical debut. It’s going to mean some big changes for the X-Men universe, and it introduces one major new character who we will undoubtedly want to see more of: X-23 (Dafne Keen). That’s not the only new appearance promised in the movie, however.
We’ll also be seeing the big screen debut of the Reavers, a group of villains who have come up against Wolverine and the X-Men again and again in the comics. Led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), these Reavers are primed to be the primary villains for the film, and they’re set to get into some absolutely epic battles with Wolvie and his little mini-me. Although long-time X-Men fans are going to be very familiar with these revenge-obsessed cyborgs, we’ve wrapped up a few things that everyone needs to know about the bad guys of Logan latest solo film, as well as a few things that even hardcore comic fans may not have realized about the team.
Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Reavers.
15. They First Appeared In Uncanny X-Men
The Reavers have always been X-Men villains, and they’ve always been pretty darn obsessed with Wolverine! These guys made their first appearance in 1988, in Uncanny X-Men #229, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Marc Silvestri. This issue sets up the basic premise of the team, their core members (Bonebreaker, Skullbuster, and Pretty Boy), and their abilities. It also introduces their base in Australia, their love of crime and chaos, and their impressive treasure hoard.
As an introduction to the Reavers, this is a solid issue, and although the X-Men obviously manage to break up the gang in the end (though a few manage to escape), it gives us a chance to see exactly who these guys are. Rogue even ends up getting a glimpse into the minds of the Reavers after one grabs her skin when her suit is ripped, and through this, we see Rogue’s revulsion at the horrible thoughts and desires in the mind of the man who grabbed her, setting these up as villains as straight up evildoers, through and through.
14. They Are Cyborgs
One thing that sets the Reavers apart from other evil groups is their basic physical makeup, as they’re a group of cyborgs. Many of the original Reavers seem almost more metal than flesh, and they have absolutely no qualms about replacing entire limbs to make themselves more powerful and more dangerous.
Of the Reavers that we meet in their initial appearance, only one has natural superpowers: Gateway. And while Gateway is the one who creates portals to allow them to rob distant locations and escape the X-Men, he is not actually a true Reaver, but a mutant being used by them. Skullbuster, Bonebreaker, and Pretty Boy, meanwhile, were ordinary humans before they gave themselves bionic implants. These metal additions are not subtle, either. Bonebreaker, for example, removed his legs and replaced them with a tank-style chassis, decked out with extra weaponry. Each Reaver has a different set of implants, giving them varying powers and strengths as a result.
13. Their Leader Was In The Inner Circle Of The Hellfire Club
In their earliest appearance, the Reavers appeared to be headed up by Bonebreaker, but his leadership didn’t last long. After the X-Men broke up the gang, leaving only three members who were able to escape, the Reavers found a brand new leader in the diabolical Donald Pierce. Before he took control of the Reavers, Pierce was one of the leaders of another group of X-Men baddies: The Hellfire Club.
In the Inner Circle of the Club (a space reserved for the highest ranking mutants), Donald Pierce was the White Bishop, and he’s also been called the White King. However, during a skirmish with the X-Men, Wolverine’s claws nearly took off his arm and revealed that he was a cyborg, not a mutant. As a result, he hated Wolverine with a passion, and brought together some other Hellfire mercenaries, as well as Lady Deathstrike, to join Bonebreaker, Skullbuster, and Pretty Boy as the new band of Reavers.
12. They Are Based In Australia
Although most of the key Marvel teams tend to be based in different US cities, there are several that rest their hats in other parts of the world (and, of course, in outer space!). The Reavers are one of these, as a team with an Australian base. The Reavers originally have a base in the Australian outback for a couple of reasons; it is a fantastically remote hiding place for a gang of cyborg thieves, for one thing. The other reason seems to be connected to the aforementioned mutant Gateway, an aboriginal Australian. The Reavers required Gateway to bring them to and from the base with his powers, and they did this by threatening to destroy a place sacred to his people.
After the X-Men initially ousted the Reavers from this base, they actually took it over themselves for a while before the new Reavers (led by Donald Pierce) took the base back again — and nearly managed to take out the X-Men who were inside at the same time.
11.They Hate Wolverine More Than Anyone
Although the Reavers are not fans of any of the X-Men and tend to hate mutants in general, Wolverine is the true focus of their hatred, and with good reason. For the original Reavers (Bonebreaker, Skullbuster, and Pretty Boy), Wolverine was with the X-Men when they destroyed their unit and chased them out from their own base. Donald Pierce, of course, hates Wolverine for his exposure of Pierce’s cybernetic tech to the Hellfire Club — not to mention the fact that Wolverine nearly took off his arm in a battle!
The other Hellfire mercs (Cole, Reese, and Macon) were also mortally wounded in that first battle, before being saved by being turned into cyborgs. All three, therefore, have every reason to hate the mutant who nearly took them out for good. Lady Deathstrike, Pierce’s final major addition to his new team, has her own reasons to despise Wolverine, as she believes he has dishonored her father and stolen his work.
10. They Have Fought Multiple X-Teams over the years
The Reavers have come up against the X-Men time and time again in the comics, and that includes multiple different X-teams over the years. After their skirmishes with the X-Men in Australia, the Reavers headed to Muir Island looking for Wolverine, where they fought the Muir Island X-Men team. This group included Forge, Polaris, Banshee, Legion, and Sunder, and their battle with the Reavers saw significant losses on both sides. They have also fought the X-Treme X-Men on behalf of the Shadow King.
Some time later, when Donald Pierce was leading a new team of mutant-hating Reavers, they went up against the New Mutants. During the Messiah Complex event, Lady Deathstrike led her own Reavers (upgraded Purifiers) against Cable. where they were taken down by X-Force. Now it seems that in the Logan universe, the Reavers have returned, and will be attacking the planet’s final mutant team: Wolverine, X-23, and Charles Xavier.
9. They’ve Also Fought The Punisher
The Reavers are primarily X-Men villains, but like many bad guys, they’ve had their run-ins with other Marvel characters — namely The Punisher. In Punisher Vol 2 #33 (Reaver Fever) the Punisher’s sidekick, Microchip, accidentally hacked into the Reavers’ computer systems. When the baddies traced the signal to New Jersey, they assumed that it was the result of mutant interference and sent Bonebreaker, Reese, and Pretty Boy to take care of whoever had tried to hack them.
The ensuing battle destroyed Punisher’s warehouse and nearly killed him and Microchip, although they were able to escape through the sewers, leaving the Reavers to believe that they were dead. Microchip even offered to leave for a while after this, because his mistake in tapping into the Reavers’ computer system ended in such absolute disaster!
8. There Is Another Reavers Team in the Marvel Universe
The ‘Reavers’ name may seem familiar, but it’s important to note that these guys are a totally different group of outlaws and thugs to another Marvel team of the same name. Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy comics may associate the Reavers’ name with the Reavers of Arcturus, a group responsible for the tragic history of Guardians’ member Starhawk. These Reavers are from the planet Arcturus IV, and although they have nothing to do with their Earthly counterparts, they do have a few things in common.
For one thing, they are also mutant-haters, as they took great joy in killing mutants of their own race (including Starhawk’s parents). The Guardians of the Galaxy have fought these Reavers, although they have never gone up against Donald Pierce and his cyborgs (who remain firmly on Earth). Sci-fi fans might also recognize the name from Firefly/Serenity, where there’s also a villainous group that goes by the Reavers. The near-feral, cannibalistic brutes who terrorize the skies and the crew of the Serenity don’t have much in common with their comic book counterparts.
7. Deadpool Leads Them In The Ultimate Universe
While we won’t be seeing Deadpool in Logan, he does have a connection to the Reavers in the comics — in the alternate universe of Earth-1610, aka the Ultimate Universe. In this version of the Marvel universe, the Ultimate Reavers are led by Deadpool, who hosts a game show where humans hunt down mutants. These Reavers have intentionally become cyborgs in order to have the edge as gladiatorial hunters on the island where the show takes place, and they still hate the mutants that they are hired to try and kill for sport.
The X-Men of this world (and a bonus hero, Spider-Man), eventually win the day, however, and with the Reavers dead and Deadpool defeated, the show is canceled and the mutants get away. The Reavers only appear in one other alternate universe, the Age of Apocalypse (Earth-295). In this universe, it was Apocalypse who altered the Reavers members to make them cyborgs, so that he could use them as living weapons.
6. Some Reavers Are Legacy Characters
Most of the Reavers have proven to be very disposable in the comic universe. In their first appearance alone, a huge number of them were defeated and forced to pass through the Siege Perilous (or face Wolverine). Over the years, many more Reavers have been slaughtered, although the primary members have a reasonable survival rate. For those more important Reavers who do die, however, it is possible for their Reaver name to become a legacy title, one that is handed down to new members.
Skullbuster, for example, is a title that has now been held by two members of the Reavers over the years. The original Skullbuster was killed by Forge on Muir Island, before Donald Pierce turned a woman named Cylla Markham into a cyborg and passed the Skullbuster name onto her. Although she often simply goes by the name Cylla, she is technically the first Reaver to be officially given a legacy title, suggesting that other key Reavers from the original team (Bonebreaker and Pretty Boy) could become legacy titles in future.
5. They Crucified Wolverine
Wolverine has certainly suffered through more than his fair share of brutal punishments over the years, including a crucifixion at the hands of the Reavers. When Donald Pierce took over the team and re-took the base in the Australian outback, the X-Men who were there at the time escaped through the Seige Perilous. However, Wolverine was not at the base when this happened, and had no idea that it was no longer safe to return.
He came home alone and walked right into the arms of the Reavers, who were more than happy to see him, especially when he was so incredibly outnumbered. The Reavers tortured Wolverine, strapping him to a cross in the hot sun of the desert, taunting him, beating him, and testing the limits of his healing factor as a way to exact their revenge. They would have liked to eventually kill him, but Jubilee managed to save him and spirit him away. We would love to see a version of this iconic scene in Logan, although obviously without Jubilee doing the saving!
4. One Member Of The Reavers Has Already Appeared In The Cinematic Universe
The Reavers have already gone from page to screen, although they have yet to make an appearance in a live-action adaptation as a team. The villains have appeared in both X-Men: The Animated Series and Wolverine And The X-Men. In The Animated Series, the Reavers appear to be led by Lady Deathstrike, who lures Wolverine into the Morlock tunnels to attempt to use his claws to open an alien spacecraft. In Wolverine and the X-Men, they appear in two episodes as servants of Spiral and Mojo. The team also appears in a few video games; Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, the X-Men arcade game, and the Capcom Punisher arcade game.
However, Logan will be the first time that the Reavers will appear on the big screen, although Lady Deathstrike has made a brief appearance in the X-Men cinematic universe, in X-2: X-Men United, where she was played by Kelly Hu. Under the mind control of William Stryker, the villainess didn’t have much in the way of personality, but her adamantium-filled fight scene with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine stands as one of the most beloved sequences in the live-action X-universe.
3. They Are Anti-Mutant (But There Are Mutant Reavers)
The Reavers are strongly anti-mutant, and although they hate Wolverine in particular, this hatred extends to all of mutantkind. Despite this, there have been mutants in the Reavers, or working for the Reavers, in the past.
Gateway was the first mutant that we saw helping the Reavers, although it was quickly established that he was not a willing participant in the team’s nefarious activities. As we have already mentioned, the Reavers were blackmailing Gateway with the threat of destroying land that was sacred to him, and it was the X-Men who were able to free him from their grasp. Later, a young mutant named Elixir joined the Reavers willingly, unaware at the time that he was a mutant himself. Elixir’s real name is Josh Foley, and he joined the Reavers as a natural extension of his tendency to be a bit of a bully at school. However, when he learned that he was able to heal injuries, his good side won out, and he betrayed the Reavers to save his friend, Wallflower. The Reavers attempted to kill Elixir for his treachery, but were beaten back by the New Mutants, and Josh joined Xavier’s school to learn to control his gifts.
2. Donald Pierce Was Modeled On Donald Sutherland
In fact, many of the members of the Hellfire Club’s inner circle were modeled on specific actors, connected to a specific episode of British spy series The Avengers. In a 1966 episode titled “A Touch Of Brimstone”, a group exists that is incredibly similar to the Hellfire Club from the comics. It’s an exclusive club, of course, one that dates back centuries and is rumored to be involved in all kinds of debauchery.
In the episode, Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) is drugged and dressed as the Queen of Sin for one of their parties. This episode inspired the X-Men storyline where Jean Grey is mind-controlled into becoming a member of the Hellfire Club, and as an in-joke, it was decided to model some of the Hellfire characters on actors from the Avengers show. Donald Pierce was inspired by Donald Sutherland, and his name comes from a combination of Sutherland’s real first name, and the surname of his character in the 1970 film, MASH (Hawkeye Pierce).
1. The Reavers Will Have a Major Role to Play in Logan
We’ve already had a glimpse of how the Reavers will appear in Logan, and it looks like there are going to be some fairly major differences between the comics team and how they appear in live-action. The team will still be led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), and they’re certainly interested in hunting down Wolverine, but that seems to be where the similarities end.
This team looks far less like the crazy cyborgs from the comics (no tank-legs in sight, sadly), and although there is a metal hand or two to show that the Reavers may still be cyborgs, this is to a much more grounded degree. Pierce himself looks more like a standard mercenary badass than the aristocratic White King who had a penchant for capes. There is also no sign of a Lady Deathstrike on this version of the team (perhaps because she has already appeared…somewhere in the confusing timeline of the X-Men universe? But her death in X2 was erased from the timeline? We think?). We can’t wait to see exactly how cybernetic this version of the Reavers are, and how they stand up against Wolverine and X-23.
What are a few other key facts that X-Men fans need to know about the Reavers as they make their cinematic debut in Logan? Let us know in the comments.
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