Comics
Published January 10, 2023

Meet Feilong, the X-Men Villain Who Has Set His Sights on Iron Man

Who is Feilong? Read on to discover Kelvin Heng's journey from genius entrepreneur to X-Men villain to Iron Man nemesis.

Since the island nation Krakoa united Marvel’s mutants, a vicious new generation of villains has emerged to challenge the X-Men—up to and including the eccentric industrialist Kelvin Heng, who transformed himself into the cosmically powerful Feilong after mutantkind dashed his dreams of pioneering interplanetary space travel. Now, as an emerging leader of the mutant-hating group Orchis and the conqueror of Mars’ moon Phobos, Feilong is in search of a nemesis worthy of his attention.

As a result, Feilong has turned his attention away from the X-Men and towards Tony Stark, who he is set to menace in Gerry Duggan and Juan Frigeri’s INVINCIBLE IRON MAN (2022). Before his plans become clear, let’s take a closer look at Feilong and how his interplanetary ambitions turned into a conquest against the mutants.

WHO IS FEILONG?

When Feilong debuted in X-MEN (2021) #1 by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia, he seemed destined to be one of humanity’s great modern minds. As a descendant of Nikola Tesla and the son of a Nobel Prize winner and China’s top nuclear physicist, Heng graduated from college with highest honors at age 13. When he was 15, Kelvin launched his first public company, which earned $150 million in a single day. However, Kelvin’s fortunes turned when his parents bet against him by shorting his company on the stock market, wiping out most of his assets.

After spending the next five years out of the public eye, Kelvin returned, this time under the name Feilong. With his second company, Feilong promised innovations in biology and climate science on a planetary scale. As a convincing example of his technology, Feilong terraformed a lifeless desert, filling it with green vegetation. Following that success, Feilong funneled his fortune into plans to personally establish a base on Mars in the name of humanity. In addition to building a fleet of rockets for his operation, Feilong also artificially modified his body to be more amenable to the harsh Martian environment.  

However, mutants conquered Mars first, foiling Feilong’s plans. During 2021’s HELLFIRE GALA in PLANET-SIZE X-MEN (2021) #1 by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, several mutants combined their powers to make Mars hospitable and create a new home for the Arakki, a race of roughly 1,000,000 warrior mutants from another dimension. The mutants renamed the planet Arrako in a nod to their ancestral island home and declared the mutant-controlled planet to be the capital of the Solar System. When this conquest was made public, an enraged Feilong dedicated himself to making mutants pay for obliterating his dreams.

FEILONG CONQUERS PHOBOS

Shortly after the Arakki settled on Mars, Henry Peter Gyrich approached Feilong about his plans in X-MEN (2021) #3 by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia. Gyrich spoke with Feilong on behalf of Orchis, a secret anti-mutant organization with comprehensive plans to attack mutants on multiple fronts. Despite Orchis’ secret status, Feilong was aware of its existence and told Gyrich that he knew that Orchis saw him as a potential martyr for humankind. Despite that, Feilong told Gyrich that his plans were still in motion and that he would join Orchis if he survived his mission to space. 

As part of his efforts to prepare his body for long-term space travel, Feilong flew into orbit and exposed himself to cosmic rays, which were channeled through a piece of ruby quartz. This 10-minute experiment had a profound physical effect on him, giving him a distinctive red glow as well as the ability to unleash a devastating blast of green energy from his mouth.

With his new abilities, Feilong touched down on Phobos, one of Mars's moons, in X-MEN (2021) #6. As his fleet of rockets brought his gear down around him, Feilong sent a message back to Earth, claiming Phobos in the name of humanity and establishing it as the edge of “the human frontier.” As soon as Feilong landed, the X-Men’s Sunfire—who had started spending his free time on Arrako—confronted the human and tried to escort him back to Earth. Sunfire also warned that the Arakki below would take his presence on Phobos as a provocation.

Just as Sunfire started to scuffle with Feilong, one of the Arakki—an ancient winged mutant named Vornak—flew to Phobos to fight the human. After Sunfire and Vornak briefly fought, Feilong revealed his powers by unhinging his jaw and obliterating Vornak in a burst of green energy. As a stunned Sunfire looked over Vornak’s charred remains, Feilong said he was merely looking for a “worthy nemesis.”

FEILONG ON PHOBOS

After his victory, Feilong quickly transformed Phobos into a well-armed outpost for humanity as well as an orbital operations base for Orchis. With fleets of ships delivering materials every hour, Feilong increased the gravity of Phobos and encased the tiny moon in a power-generating Dyson ring with greenhouse technology that created a breathable atmosphere. While Feilong and his allies built his base, they discovered the body of Nightcrawler, who died in WAY OF X (2021) #5 by Si Spurrier, Robert Quinn, and Java Tartaglia. Befitting his new role as Orchis’ head of Offense and Operations, Feilong had the X-Man’s remains turned into a trophy in his science station.

Thanks to a quantum teleportation tunnel to Earth, Feilong’s base on Phobos became a chief base of operations for Orchis, which then tried to turn public opinion against mutants by revealing Krakoa’s secret mutant resurrections to the world. Feilong also met with his fellow Orchis leaders Doctor Stasis, Doctor Killian Devo, Abigail Brand, and Nimrod on Phobos to discuss tactics and ways to recruit allies like M.O.D.O.K. to their cause. To deter mutant attacks, Orchis also keeps a steady stream of civilian visitors on Phobos at random times, effectively using them as a human shield. 

After detecting a small amount of adamantium inside a living being on Phobos, Laura Kinney’s Wolverine infiltrated the base in X-MEN (2021) #10, by Gerry Duggan, Javier Pina, and Marte Gracia. She believed one of her cloned Weapon X siblings was on Phobos, but she found Lady Deathstrike instead. Ailing from adamantium poisoning and a failing healing factor, the cybernetic Deathstrike had turned to Orchis for treatment, but she was ultimately deemed more machine than human and left in stasis. When Feilong discovered Wolverine and Deathstrike sneaking around his base, he shot them into space, where they were rescued by Rogue.

FEILONG AND IRON MAN

With Feilong among its leadership, Orchis continued to wage war against mutantkind on multiple fronts. The group even recruited Moira MacTaggert, a longtime X-Men ally turned mutant-hating cyborg. Shortly after the existence of Krakoa’s resurrections was revealed to the wider world, Feilong met several mutants face-to-face in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2022) #1 by Gerry Duggan, C.F. VillaMatteo LolliRussell DautermanKris Anka, Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla, and Matthew Wilson. After Moira took control of Mary Jane Watson’s body, she and Feilong quietly crashed the Hellfire Gala, where dozens of X-Men, Avengers, and dignitaries gathered to celebrate Krakoa’s achievements.  

During the Gala, Feilong chatted with Tony Stark and invited him to visit Phobos. Despite his longstanding relationship with several X-Men, Iron Man was unnerved by Krakoa’s resurrection technology and Mister Fantastic’s revelation that Professor X and Magneto had stolen some of his memories. As Stark quietly confronted Emma Frost about the potential ramifications of the resurrections, Feilong approached the pair and sized Stark up. Feilong chided Stark and the Avengers for not continuing the terraforming of Mars that their ally Ex Nihilo started in AVENGERS (2013) #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opeña, and Dean White. To end their conversation, Feilong told Stark that he was looking for a “worthy opponent,” and Iron Man responded by telling him “to be careful what he wished for.” 

That ominous encounter seems to have cemented Iron Man as Feilong’s next target. He may not be a mutant, but Stark is destined to be the next victim of Feilong’s cosmic wrath.

Don't miss Feilong's next moves in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN (2022) #2 by Gerry Duggan and Juan Frigeri, on sale Wednesday, January 18!

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