Living the hand he was dealt and hiding his true self from the world, mutant Carl Valentino gets a second chance and grabs life by the horns as Somnus.
Dare to Dream
With an ability to control other people’s dreams, the mutant Carl Valentino is born in Canada shortly after his parents emigrate from Italy in the 1930s. When his parents die in the 1950s, Carl raises his much younger siblings Emil and Sara, hiding that he was gay and mutant. But with his powers, he carves out moments of happiness, spending nights with those he could only love in his dreams. He never confronts the closet for fear of losing his family, always thinking of them first. It’s not until his second life that things change for him and he feels freer to be himself and takes the name Somnus.
As an oneiromancer (dream diviner), Somnus can enter other people’s dreams or bring them into his own dreams if he is within close proximity to them and they are already asleep. Though unable to forcibly induce sleep and effectively powerless in the waking world, within his own dreamscape, Somnus controls reality, including the passage of time; days in his dreamscape can equate to only minutes passed in reality. In others’ dreams, his powers are diminished to reading and manipulating them, and the dreamer can potentially injure of repel him.
By dilating dream time, Somnus can rapidly learn new skills, undergoing months of instruction from another dreamer in a single night, while this gives him the potential for high intelligence levels and vast knowledge of fighting skills within the dreamscape, he would need to condition his mind and body to achieve any kind of corresponding level in the physical realm. With training, his total dominance of his personal dreamscape may allow him to block telepathic intrusions into his mind.
As Somnus and when he joins the Marauders, Carl goes up against the primal geomancer Brimstone Love, powerful telepath Cassandra Nova (who eventually becomes a kind of ally), and the Kin Crimson, a secret order of the Shi’ar Empire.
As a young man, Carl meets Akihiro, AKA Daken, and they spend a glorious night together that lasts a lifetime in their dreams. While Akihiro flees, not ready for such commitment, he eventually returns to his old flame to resurrect him. With Akihiro’s help, Carl is reborn on Krakoa where he joins Akihiro and Krakoa’s team of Marauders.
Living the Dream
One night in 1967, when Carl met fellow mutant, the bisexual Daken in Toronto, they instantly hit it off and spend a romantic night together. Wanting to know Akihiro better, Carl shared his dreams that night and extended their encounter into a lifetime of happiness growing old together. However, when Akihiro woke to discover it had been a dream, he panicked and fled.
Over subsequent decades, Carl found happiness in comic books, science fiction, and caring for his growing family as both his siblings married and had children of their own. Much loved by his nieces and nephews, and in time by their children too, Carl spent a lifetime surrounded by people who loved but never truly knew him, remaining closeted his entire life before peacefully passing.
But, when the mutant island nation of Krakoa was established and mutants with resurrection powers were gathered, known as The Five, Akihiro ensured that Carl was brought back as his younger self. When Carl awoke, Akihiro was waiting for him. Carl was ready to start a new life and renamed himself Somnus. Using his powers, Carl helped mutant clothes designer Jumbo Carnation create a new outfit to match his new moniker.
When Akihiro went missing, the seafaring Marauders led by Captain Kate “Kitty” Pryde, AKA Kate Pryde, recruited Somnus into her Marauders mutant rescue team when Akihiro went missing. Somnus joined the Marauders and traveled with them to Connecticut where Kwannon, AKA Psylocke, had heard Akihiro’s telepathic call. In an empty field, they found a large patch of grass missing and Somnus could sense that kids played there and ominously noted that they played atop their graves. Psylocke sensed psychic residue and got a heading from it: Charles Xavier, AKA Professor X’s old school. They traveled to Xavier’s former backyard, and found Akihiro bound and tortured by the sadistic Brimstone Love’s Theatre of Pain.
With the arrival of the Marauders, it provided enough of a distraction so that Akihiro could escape and he immediately attacked Brimstone Love, slicing off one of his horns with his claws. But Brimstone Love had other plans and with immense strength, he smashed his hand into the ground, sending the whole neighborhood underground. The Marauders saved the nearby affected people and Somnus supported an exhausted Akihiro. Somnus then joined the new Marauders, feeling there was no point to having a second life if he didn’t live it.
The team’s second mission took them to another oceanic-like expanse, that of outer space to rescue the first mutants. Seeing Earth from orbit gave Somnus great joy. As they followed clues from a strange puzzle box that was over two billion years old, they ended up struggling with one of their new members, Cassandra Nova, which landed the team floating in space. As a protective measure and to buy time, Somnus placed everyone in the dreamscape where minutes could pass outside of it, but they could have days inside to solve their problems. Some Marauders doubted their new member, but Akihiro encouraged them to Somnus a chance. During this mission, Somnus developed a friendship and easy camaraderie with both Akihiro and Akihiro’s current lover Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, AKA Aurora.
The Marauders were soon captured by the Shi’ar Empire and taken as prisoners to a secret Shi’ar prison, the Krag. Up against a long-dormant Shi’ar order, the Kin Crimson—an order that even the Shi’ar Empress Xandra had trouble controlling—the Marauders were eventually saved from the Kin by Xandra’s aunt, Cal’syee Neramani, AKA Deathbird, who killed their leader, leaving their lackeys to pay for their crimes.