Meet Selene, the X-Men's Ancient Psychic Vampire Nemesis
Who is Selene? Meet this mutant psychic vampire, a longtime X-Men villain who survived for millennia by feasting on the essence of other people.
Thanks to the Krakoan Resurrection Protocols, the X-Men got a taste of immortality. For most mutants and a few lucky humans, death became a mere inconvenience in the age of Krakoa… but for mutants like Selene, it's never been much of a problem. For 17 millennia, this psychic vampire has sunk her teeth into the Marvel Universe.
With FALL OF X leaving Krakoa in ruins and the world's mutants hiding underground, let's take a closer look at Selene and how this ancient mutant went from being one of the X-Men's most dangerous villains to a member of the Quiet Council that governed Krakoa. We'll also delve into Selene's uneasy alliance with Sebastian Shaw as he rebuilds his Hellfire empire in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #15 by Kieron Gillen, Paco Medina, David Curiel, and VC's Clayton Cowles.
WHO IS SELENE?
While the details of her early life remain largely unclear, Selene Gallio—one of the world's first mutants—belongs to a sect of immortal mutants called the Externals. After a failed attempt to sacrifice the population of Ancient Rome to make herself a god, Selene founded Nova Roma, an isolated colony modeled after Ancient Rome that survived into modern times in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest. There, Selene tried to ritually sacrifice the young mutant Magma in THE NEW MUTANTS (1983) #9 by Chris Claremont, Sal Buscema, and Tom Mandrake.
Selene maintains her immortality with her mutant power to absorb the essence or lifeforce of others, a process that also allows her to absorb memories and take control of her victims. By drawing on the power she has absorbed, Selene can also grant herself other superhuman abilities like enhanced strength or speed. Selene is also a powerful telepath with considerable telekinetic abilities. Thanks to her extended lifespan, Selene has become one of the most skilled magic users in the world and was even considered a potential candidate to replace Doctor Strange as Sorcerer Supreme.
SELENE AND THE HELLFIRE CLUB
Pulled into the world of modern mutants, Selene traveled to America and approached the Hellfire Club in New York. After capturing Magma and Rachel Summers in a bid for power, Selene was accepted as the Hellfire Club's new Black Queen in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #189 by Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr., and Steve Leialoha. As a member of the Inner Circle, Selene formed a rivalry with Emma Frost, the White Queen of the time, and made the first of many alliances with Sebastian Shaw.
When Rachel inherited the Phoenix Force's memories of being wronged by the Hellfire Club, she tried to kill Selene but was stopped by Wolverine. Then, the time-traveling Nimrod crashed a fight between the X-Men and the Hellfire Club, leading Selene to work alongside the heroes to take down the mutant-hunting machine.
However, Selene eventually turned her focus to consolidating her own power. To take out the other members of the Inner Circle, Selene formed the Upstarts, a group of ambitious young mutants tasked with killing Hellfire Club members in a competition overseen by the Gamesmaster. However, Selene lost control over the group and was seriously wounded by one of its members: the time-traveling serial killer Trevor Fitzroy.
While recovering, Selene discovered she could increase her strength by killing her fellow Externals and absorbing their essences. Around that same time, she reunited with Shaw, and the pair took control of the Hellfire Club once more.
SELENE AND NECROSHA
In her never-ending effort to become a god, Selene launched her most ambitious attack on the X-Men in the 2009 crossover X-NECROSHA. With help from her vampiric acolyte Eli Bard, Selene hatched a plot to use the Technarch alien techno-organic virus to resurrect millions of dead mutants as her loyal subjects and sacrifice them to absorb their spirits, thus making herself a god.
After Eli resurrected the mutant-detecting Caliban under Selene's power, Selene assembled mutants with death-related powers to form a new Inner Circle that included Senyaka, Wither, Mortis, and the resurrected teleporter Blink. As part of her efforts to get revenge on the X-Men, Selene resurrected several deceased X-Men and dead mutant villains, then conscripted them into her army in X-NECROSHA (2009) #1 by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, and Clayton Crain.
Selene also traveled to Genosha, a mutant nation that had been wiped out by a genocidal Sentinel attack, and resurrected a million dead mutants there. From her base on the newly dubbed "Necrosha," Selene absorbed the spirits of the island's undead mutants and began her ascension.
Thanks to some advice from his resurrected brother Thunderbird, Warpath taught X-Force a ritual that could defeat her forces and stabbed her in the heart with her own dagger. With that, Selene burst into rays of light and seemingly died. While most of the mutants resurrected through the techno-organic virus returned to the dead, a few X-Men allies—including Blink and Cypher—broke free of Selene and survived the experience.
SELENE'S SISTERHOOD AND THE POWER ELITE
Although Selene appeared to be dead, her External body and spirit lived on through subatomic particles stored inside a vault. With the direction and assistance of the sentient bacteria Arkea, Lady Deathstrike and the Enchantress successfully restored Selene and recruited her to be a member of the Sisterhood of Mutants in X-MEN (2013) #11 by Brian Wood, Kris Anka, Clay Mann, and Seth Mann. Along with her teammate Madelyne Pryor, Selene promptly betrayed Arkea and turned her over to the X-Men in exchange for her freedom.
During her days with the Hellfire Club, Selene briefly encountered Captain America, but she turned her full focus toward the Star-Spangled Avenger again in the wake of SECRET EMPIRE (2017). After Hydra's attempt to seize control over the United States failed, Selene joined power players like General Thunderbolt Ross, Wilson Fisk, and Norman Osborn in the Power Elite, an influential group that wanted to reshape the country in their harsh image.
After helping facilitate the resurrection of Winter Soldier mastermind Aleksander Lukin, Selene stole part of Sharon Carter's soul in CAPTAIN AMERICA (2018) #4 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, and Gerry Alanguilan. With the Iron Patriot armor, Carter ultimately defeated Selene and undid her spell.
SELENE AND THE QUIET COUNCIL
When the world's mutants came together to form the nation Krakoa, Selene was one of several mutant villains who found refuge and residency on the island alongside the X-Men. Since Krakoa was also a sentient being that fed on the psychic energy of its mutant residents, Selene made sure the island drew a safe level of psychic energy from its overall population. Because they also needed to consume the lifeforce of others, Selene and her fellow former villain Emplate used a similar process to sustain themselves on the island.
After Apocalypse reignited his studies in mutant mysticism, he summoned Selene and the rest of the Externals in the lead-up to X OF SWORDS. Working with Selene and his apprentice Rictor, Apocalypse killed four other Externals and severely wounded another in EXCALIBUR (2019) #12 by Tini Howard and Marcus To. With the bones of their fellow immortals, Apocalypse, Selene, and their surviving allies cast a spell to create the External Gate, an interdimensional portal leading to Otherworld. Around this time, Selene also joined the leadership board of X-Corp, an organization tasked with managing Krakoa's international business interests.
However, Selene soon grew hungry for power once again, and she set her eyes on the Quiet Council that governed the island. After Magneto and Apocalypse left the Quiet Council, Selene pointed to her accumulated life experience as an immortal and her extensive mystical knowledge in her campaign for a seat in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #1 by Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck. However, the Quiet Council ultimately rejected Selene in favor of Hope Summers, one of the Five mutants responsible for Krakoa's resurrection process.
When Professor Charles Xavier told Selene, she made good on her threats to turn the External gate into a giant monster and unleashed the creature on the island. Although Selene left Krakoa during the chaos, Hope acted on a tip from Destiny and tracked Selene down in London. With a well-placed teleportation disk and a bullet made out of magic-neutralizing Mysterium, Hope assassinated Selene and had Exodus telepathically stop her monster.
SELENE AND ORCHIS
As part of a deal with Sebastian Shaw, Mother Righteous—a mystical dealmaker and the clone of Mister Sinister's late wife—resurrected Selene in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #12 by Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck. Together with Shaw, Selene came to an agreement with the mutant-hating organization Orchis to betray the X-Men.
With a significantly reduced number of voting members, Shaw and Colossus—who was being mind-controlled by his evil brother Mikhail Rasputin—successfully voted Selene onto the Quiet Council. But just after Selene joined, the Council voted to disband in the lead-up to the Hellfire Gala. Since she was working with Orchis, Selene stayed away from the Hellfire Gala, where the anti-mutant organization carried out a devastating attack that left most of the world's mutants missing and sent the surviving X-Men underground.
Now freed from Krakoa's ethical limitations, Selene continues to work with Orchis, where she happily feasts on the lifeforce of humans once again. While Shaw is intent on exploiting Krakoa's resources, Selene wants to reclaim the External Gate and resurrect the Externals that died to create it. As Selene says in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #15, she still feels somewhat sentimental towards mutants she has known for over 20,000 years. Although her motives for working with Orchis are unusually personal, Selene has firmly established herself as a mystical powerhouse and one of the most unpredictable mutants in all of history.
See Selene strike again in IMMORTAL X-MEN #15, now on sale!
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