Like crazy facts? Then Shatterstar's your guy. Deadpool's ally in Deadpool 2 is, after all, a time-traveling alien mutant/
Marvel’s mutants had been a big hit in the 1980s, but they were a juggernaut in the 1990s. The Marvel Universe teemed with an insane number of mutant teams, characters, and books: the X-Ternals, X-Force, X-Factor, the X-Men, X-Man, Weapon X, X-Men 2099, X-Caliber and Generation Next. Continuity, backstory, character arcs and plots all became convoluted as different writers struggled to impose, retcon and plot-twist their vision on different series.
Appearing in 1991, Shatterstar was perfectly positioned to ride the mutant wave. Co-created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, Shatterstar first appeared in New Mutants #99, lying on the floor of the Danger Room. He’d traveled from the alien, other dimensional Mojoverse to enlist the X-Men’s help, but the X-Men weren’t around. Instead he wound up fighting alongside his Deadpool 2 costars Cable and Domino on Cable’s new team, X-Force.
While he didn’t equal Cable or Wolverine in popularity, Shatterstar did get a four-issue series in 2005, and has remained a presence in various mutant books. He's also acquired a backstory that even he admits is insanely confusing.
Perhaps Shatterstar's presence in Deadpool 2, played by Lewis Tan, will push the MU prototype to a higher level of success. Until then, here are 15 Crazy Facts About Shatterstar Only X-Force Members Know.
15 He's a reality TV star/revolutionary/superhero
Forget American Gladiators. In the Mojoverse, reality TV uses real gladiators. The swords are sharp and losers don’t survive the episode.
That’s the environment Shatterstar was born into — or would be born into, as he comes from a century in the future. Genetically engineered to be a dangerous warrior, he spent his entire life battling for viewers' amusement in the Mojoverse’s version of bread and circuses. Although he was married, he had no human contact that wasn’t at a sword’s point.
Fortunately Arize, the creator of Mojoworld’s slave humanoids, had made sure they’d have free will. Shatterstar eventually rebelled against taking lives for rating shares. He turned on the planet’s master, Mojo, and joined the revolutionary Cadre Alliance.
It was the Cadre that teleported Shatterstar across time and dimensional barriers to ask the X-Men for help. They remembered that a century earlier, Longshot, another gladiator, had traveled to Earth and made mutant allies to aid in the fight against Mojo. Shatterstar followed in Longshot’s footsteps, which is how he wound up on the Danger Room Floor.
Cable agreed to help Shatterstar in his world, if Shatterstar helped Cable protect mutants in ours. Shatterstar agreed to become a member of X-Force, and his superhero career began.
14 Shatterstar actor Lewis Tan was almost cast as Iron Fist
When Netflix announced Finn Jones as the star of Iron Fist, it generated a lot of flak. True, Danny Rand was white in the comics, but nearly 40 years later, wouldn’t an Asian master of the martial arts be a more interesting choice?
It trns out, Marvel gave that option some thought: England-born Chinese-American actor Lewis Tan was in the running for the Danny Rand role.
Instead, he wound up playing a one-episode villain.
Tan said he’d been excited because “I’m six-two, I’m a 180 pounds, I’m a muscular, half-Asian dude,” and casting directors didn’t know what to make of him. He thought that a martial-arts master superhero might be a perfect fit, especially as he knew enough martial arts to do his own fight sequences.
Tan said casting him could also have added depth to the show: “I personally think it would have been a really interesting dynamic to see this Asian-American guy who’s not in touch with his Asian roots go and get in touch with them and discover this power. I think that’s super interesting and we’ve never seen that.”
Tan added he doesn’t know why the producers turned him down, but that they asked him to read for another role is proof he gave a good audition. Now Deadpool 2 gives us a chance to see him as another, rather different hero.
13 Shatterstar is definitely not straight
It's a familiar comics trend: one writer establishes what's canon about a character, then a later writer throws canon, and sometimes continuity, out the window. Shatterstar was created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, and later written by Jeph Loeb and Peter David. The different writers took different takes on Shatterstar's romantic interests, until they were all over the map.
As conceived by Liefeld, Shatterstar was ace, someone who’d never felt desire. Nicieza wrote Shatterstar the same way, but implied it was temporary, due to his restricted emotional life on Mojoworld. He had to learn to connect emotionally before he could connect physically. Shatterstar seemed to be devloping feelings for his male teammate, Rictor, but Nicieza later said he planned for Shatterstar to actually be misunderstanding their feelings of friendship for each other.
Loeb, however, decided Shatterstar's feelings for Rictor were more than friendship and intended for them to be a couple. Loeb didn’t get a chance to explore that angle before leaving the book, but Peter David finally made Shatterstar and Rictor a couple. David’s Shatterstar then realized he was actually bi, and had only scratched the surface of his desires. That made his relationship with Rictor, who was seriously into him, rocky for a while.
12 He’s an extraterrestrial! He’s a time traveler! He’s grown in a lab! He’s a mutant!
Like Shatterstar’s orientation, his backstory has grown more complicated with time.
When he first appeared, Shatterstar’s origin was fairly simple, for a superhero. He was one of the Mojoverse’s slave race from a century in the future. He’d been bioengineered in Mojo’s labs, making him stronger, faster, tougher, and gives him hollow bones to make him lighter. In his first big fight scene, in New Warriors #100, he shows how tough he can be: when a Mojoworld warrior grabs him from behind, Shatterstar stabs himself in the gut, thrusting the sword in so far he takes out his attacker too.
Don’t worry, Shatterstar heals fast.
He original wasn't a mutant, but in 2013 that changed. In the finale of the "Hell on Earth War" arc in X-Factor, Shatterstar apparently lost his life. In reality the demon Mephisto had hurled him back in time and back into the Mojoverse. There he learned Shatterstar’s father was Longshot, the fighter who lived a century earlier, and his mother was a mutant. He'd inherited the X-gene — the stretch of DNA that gives Marvel mutants their powers — from Mom. What he inherited from Longshot was much more complicated, but more on that later.
11 He’s married to a woman he’s never met
Like slave owners throughout history, the rulers of Mojoverse don’t care about their property’s feelings. When they want to breed a new generation, you hook their slaves with whoever has genes they think will make a good mix. That’s how Shatterstar wound up with a wife that neither he, nor we have ever met.
All we know about Windsong is that she was another Mojoverse gladiator, selected as Shatterstar’s wife — or in Mojoverse-speak, his “genetic bond mate.” From Shatterstar’s point of view, reproduction no more required an emotional connection than terminating people in the arena.
After receiving a hologram of Windsong from one of Shatterstar’s Mojoverse enemies, Arcade uses her to pit Shatterstar against the mutant Adam the X-Treme. He has clients who want them both eliminated, so why not have them do the work? Shatterstar, however, knows Windsong would sooner perish than remain a prisoner and forges ahead, ignoring Arcade's threats.
At the climax of the story, Windsong starts babbling about how much she loves Shatterstar, which clues him in she’s not real. Arcade escapes before Shatterstar and Adam can express their opinion of his little trick.
Surprisingly nobody has found a reason to introduce the real Windsong since.
10 His mother is an X-Man who sings disco
On the printed page, Dazzler’s origin is nothing special: she’s a mutant. Behind the scenes, she makes Shatterstar’s backstory look carefully thought out.
Back in the late 1970s, Casablanca Records proposed Marvel come up with a superhero whose secret identity was a real-life singer.
Marvel would write her superhero adventures, Casablanca would come up with a real singer to match the character. After kicking around names such as Disco Queen, they settled on Dazzler, AKA Alison Blair; an aspiring singer with light-based mutant powers.
After intense backstage wrangling between Marvel and Casablanca, Dazzler debuted in X-Men #130, then spun off into her own book. Too bad disco was in its last days by then. Even though Marvel quickly reinvented her as a regular singer, Dazzler never did become the next big thing. Oh, and Casablanca Records never unleashed the live-action Dazzler they’d promised.
Dazzler might have faded away when her series ended, but she was a mutant. She had a team-up miniseries with the Beast in which she joined an underground mutant fight club (apparently Shatterstar didn’t fall far from the tree).
Later, Dazzler joined the X-Men, met Longshot, and returned with him to the Mojoverse to overthrow the tyrant ruler. She became pregnant with baby Shatterstar, but when she and Longshot reappeared, they’d lost the baby - or so everyone thought.
9 He was a founding member of X-Force
Shatterstar got in on the ground floor of the X-Force.
After he fought alongside Cable, Domino, and their teammates during their 100th issue, Cable offered him a place on the team. Only there was going to be a name change — from Xavier's New Mutants to Cable's X-Force. The New Mutants name had reflected their status as Marvel’s second mutant team. X-Force reflected that Cable wanted them to take a more aggressive stance as a force for good.
Cable saw a war against mutants coming — which by 1991, was a cliched insight, but that didn't stop him seeing it. He believed mutants fell into five categories: “The mollifiers. The used. The abusers. The hunted. The hidden.” He wanted to create a a sixth category — survivors. X-Force would fight for mutant survival by any means necessary.
Shatterstar signed on to Cable’s crusade in return for Cable's eventual help freeing the Mojoverse. His time with them is the core of his resumé’s “teams worked with” section, so it makes sense he’s with X-Force in Deadpool 2. He later joined one of the many incarnations of X-Factor, which had been Marvel’s third mutant team when it launched in the middle 1980s
8 He runs around with an insane-looking sword
Everyone loves to make fun of Rob Liefeld’s concept of the human body (here are a couple of examples). He seems to have the same approach to weapons design: never mind whether it makes sense, what matters is that it looks cool, at least to him.
It’s not that surprising that when we meet Shatterstar, he’s wielding two big swords — not too challenging for someone with his strength — and one of them has two blades on the same handle (a different design from the one in Deadpool 2) plus spikes on the hilt. Shatterstar never explained or even remarked on the sword. Did the arena managers just think it looked cool? Is it normal for Mojoverse fighters?
Whatever the reason, it doesn’t seem to make sense. What are two side-by-side blades going to do that one blade can’t? The only effect is that it would make the weapon heavier, more awkward, and easier to snag — hmm, is it possible the arena gave Shatterstar the weapon as the equivalent of a golf handicap?
He can use the blades to channel a shock wave, because of their special “metallurgical properties.”
However two blades/one hilt doesn't have anything to do with the sword's metal content, so that doesn’t really give us an answer.
7 Shatterstar is his own grandfather
Shatterstar started out as a time traveler, so it’s no surprise later writers used time travel to massively complicate his origin.
At the climax of X-Factor’s “Hell on Earth War” arc, the demon Mephisto apparently destroyed Rictor along with Shatterstar. Rictor also found himself in the Mojoverse, where he was forced to fight in the arena to survive. He eventually faces off against Shatterstar, who doesn’t recognize him, and Longshot, who doesn’t know him either.
It turns out that’s because a) he’s back in time before he met them, and b) the Shatterstar he fought is a clone. He arrived somewhat earlier in time; Arize captured him and in addition to creating clones for the arena, used his genetic material to create Longshot — not a complete clone, more like a father-son genetic resemblance. Longshot's Shatterstar's dad and his son.
When Shatterstar revives, he and Rictor jump forward in time and arrive just as Alison is giving birth to Longshot’s child. Rictor is astonished to realize who the baby is. Shatterstar takes it in stride. He makes Dazzler and Longshot forget everything that happened, then takes the baby into the future to grow up into himself.
As Shatterstar says, this kind of insanity is what you have to expect when you run around in time too much.
6 His greatest enemy is Mojo, an alien TV producer
For the Mojoverse ruler Mojo — yes, the world is named after him — if it bleeds, it leads. And Mojo makes lots of people bleed.
For centuries the native race of the Mojoverse were driven insane by TV broadcasts from our world. As their culture evolved, they developed their own TV system.
Mojo became supreme ruler by dominating both television broadcasting and trading in genetically engineered slaves.
In Shatterstar’s time, Mojo’s clone, Mojo V, continues to dominate the planet.
Shatterstar, like his son/father Longshot, fought to end Mojo’s dominance. Mojo’s hard to displace as long as his ratings stay strong; even when he’s suffered setbacks, he can usually come up with some outrageous programming stunt to put him back on top. While he’s happy to deliver violent, brutal hand-to-hand combat, he’s open to other programming - like a Wizard of Oz riff with the X-Men in a lethal version of the classic film, or implanting camera eyes in Psylocke, so that he can beam everything she sees back to his eager viewers. The X-Men are great TV in Mojoworld, which guarantees Mojo will keep coming after them.
Given the appeal of satirizing TV programming — Mojo recently launched a Mojo News Network in our own world — it’s unlikely Shatterstar will ever defeat Mojo or his clones for good.
5 Shatterstar and Rictor had the first kiss between major male Marvel characters
For a long time, Marvel balked at putting any gay characters in comics. The first gay men to appear were trying to assault Bruce Banner in a YMCA. Northstar, conceived by John Byrne as gay, couldn’t be identified as such until 1992. So perhaps it’s not surprising we didn’t get lip-lock between male lead characters until 2009.
It happened after Shatterstar, controlled by the villain Cortex, attempted to end Rictor in X-Factor #45. When the good guys snapped Shatterstar out of Cortex's spell, he and Rictor finally planted one on each other. Given their close friendship, this wasn’t at all a surprise to fans, nor unwelcome. Writer Peter David said fans had been supporting the pairing for a while: “As for fan opinion, it was certainly the storyline I got the most requests for. It seemed to me that the time was right.”
Rob Liefeld disagreed: “Shatterstar is not gay. Sorry. Can’t wait to someday undo this… Shatterstar is akin to Maximus in Gladiator. He’s a warrior, a Spartan, and not a gay one.” David pointed out that if Liefeld thought the Spartans were straight, he needed to bone up on history.
In 2015, Liefeld tweeted, however, that he no longer had any intention of changing Shatterstar’s orientation.
4 Shatterstar has a lot of blood on his hands
Shatterstar talks a lot about his proud code of honor, but the honor is part and parcel of living a life devoted to blood and violence. He’ll fight fair and square, but when he wins he’ll dispatch his foe without hesitation.
While he doesn’t necessarily go for the throat — even with Windsong’s life at stake, he didn’t want to end X-Treme — he won’t lose any sleep if he has to terminate his enemies.
During one battle to protect a group of mutants, Shatterstar almost annihilated the mutant hero Micromax. That hadn’t been Shatterstar’s intent, but he’d have accepted a fatality as the kind of thing that happens in war.
After leaving X-Force for a while, Shatterstar went back to what he knew, fighting in the Arena, this time in the criminal island nation of Madripoor. In the first fight we see — not Shatterstar’s first battle — he spares his beaten opponent, but it takes real effort to overcome years of gladiator training and not eliminate him. As he’s been fighting for two months, it seems quite probable some of his other opponents weren’t so lucky.
It says a lot about what X-Force think of Shatterstar that when they found him in a dream world, they were startled his vision of perfection involved flowers and not bloodshed.
3 Shatterstar’s love life is based on Doctor Who’s Jack Harkness
Doctor Who convinced X-Factor writer Peter David to make Shatterstar bi rather than just gay.
His specific inspiration, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), is a time-traveling immortal from the 51st century. As Jack explained it, traveling through a galaxy full of aliens has made humanity’s attitudes much more open about who or what to be with. The idea of confining yourself to one gender or species strikes Jack as rather quaint - a sentiment recently echoed by Donald Glover, playing Lando Calrissian in Solo.
David decided that having established Shatterstar and Rictor as a couple, he would complicate the relationship by having Shatterstar explore his physical desires more: “The more interesting dynamic will stem from the fact that Shatterstar … is now the equivalent of a kid in a candy store. Here’s Rictor, fully prepared to commit seriously to this relationship, and there’s Shatterstar, who wants to explore all manner of possibilities and wants Rictor to be his companion and guide in that regard because he loves him and trusts him.”
The couple nevertheless stayed together until recently when Rictor declared they were “on a break.” For some X-Factor readers, Shatterstar’s explorations were a sour note. Some bi fans saw it as regurgitating the old stereotype that being bi makes you promiscuous: if you sleep with both men and women, you can’t possibly commit to any one person, right?
2 His comatose identical twin on Earth that nobody ever explained
Read comics for long and you’re bound to encounter a plotline that just goes nowhere. A lot of times it's because the series changed hands. However, Jeph Loeb was the only writer telling the story of Shatterstar and his mysterious double, Benjamin Russell.
Russell was a runaway with a criminal record who fell into a coma the moment his mutant powers — we never learned what they were — manifested.
He never got out of the coma.
By X-Force #59, Shatterstar discovered he had Russell’s memories as well as his own — but how? In #61, it looked like Shatterstar would perish without ever learning the truth, after another Mojo scheme left him critically injured. Not to worry: Mojo’s backstabbing ally Spiral led X-Force to Russell’s bedside. Longshot transferred Shatterstar’s soul into Russell’s comatose body (a skill Longshot just happened to have) and Russell awoke with Shatterstar's memories and personality.
Spiral said Russell had no purpose but to fill this role, and referred to Shatterstar completing some sort of cycle, but that really doesn't explain anything. Did Loeb think he'd been perfectly clear? Did he leave the book before getting around to the big reveal? Why is the Gamesmaster laughing?
And does anyone even care?
1 He merged with Teen Titans’ Starfire to become Shatterstarefire
Perhaps the most memorable DC/Marvel crossover was the Amalgam universe. Created when the two universes merged briefly in DC vs. Marvel, it featured familiar characters, but hybridized. Gotham City millionaire Logan fights crime as Darkclaw, shadowy avenger of the night. Spider-Boy combines elements of Spider-Man and the clone Superboy. Shatterstar, though, not only got fused with a DC character, but got gender-flipped.
In the first (and in our universe the only) issue of X-Patrol, we got to meet Shatterstarfire, princess of Tamojoran.
Shatterstar got merged with Starfire of the Teen Titans, creating an arrogant but deadly warrior princess who comes from a subatomic world.
Niles Cable, a hybrid of Cable with the leader of DC's Doom Patrol, recruited Shatterstarfire along with Beastling, Elasti-Girl, and Dial Husk. Cable told them he'd traveled from the future to protect his fellow mutants from the dark times ahead. In his time, the X-Patrol was a legend; now he would give birth to the legend. For their first adventure, they took on a hybrid of Victor von Doom and Doomsday — Doctor Doomsday!
Regrettably Shatterstarfire and the rest of her team vanished into limbo after their second appearance, Exciting X-Patrol #1. So, alas, did the entire Amalgam universe. They're missed.
Any oddball facts we forgot about Shatterstar from Deadpool 2? Let us know in comments.