Dark Riders



Over the ages, the eternal mutant Apocalypse has often banded together the best human warriors from around the world to serve in his army of foot soldiers known as the Dark Riders. The Riders of the Storm were originally lesser members of the Royal Family of the race of Inhumans that were captured and altered by Apocalypse to serve in his army. Initially comprising the razor-taloned Foxbat, the diminutive telepath Psynapse, firearms master Gauntlet, the energy-firing Barrage, super-strong Tusk and his miniature Underlings, and the computer-like Harddrive with his remote android Mainframe, the Riders were sent to kidnap Cyclops’ infant son Nathan and attack the sentient Celestial Ship that Apocalypse once controlled, which was then serving as the base for the mutant heroes of X-Factor. Though Nathan was captured and Ship was ultimately destroyed, X-Factor took the fight to Apocalypse and joined forces with the remaining Inhuman royalty to free the other Inhumans, including altered captives Medusa and Crystal, after which the Riders and Apocalypse were defeated.

The rechristened Dark Riders later oversaw Apocalypse’s recovery in Egypt, waking him early to face the threat of Stryfe. The Riders swore fealty to Stryfe after he defeated Apocalypse and subsequently fought members of the various X-Men teams before facing their former master. Left directionless after Stryfe’s apparent death, the Riders adopted Apocalypse’s “survival of the fittest” credo, testing superhumans such as Mesmero, Mister Sinister, Cyclops, Caliban, and even their own members Psynapse and Foxbat. Soon, the Riders served Genesis in his quest to become Apocalypse’s heir, and gained new members in the wind-generating Hurricane, psionic vampire Lifeforce, skeletal energy being Deadbolt, and the reptilian Spyne. Genesis’ father Cable and his allies defeated the Riders. Genesis later opposed Sinister, bringing the Riders into conflict with Jean Grey and Beast of the X-Men. Genesis next sought to transform the X-Man Wolverine into a new Horseman Death, sending the Riders to free the Adamantium-armored Cyber from prison while their newest member, the body-possessing Dirt Nap, was sent to test Wolverine. Genesis killed Cyber, intending to implant Wolverine with the Adamantium; however, Wolverine broke free in a berserk fury, slaying most of the Riders and Genesis. Only Gauntlet, Barrage, Tusk, Dirt Nap, and Harddrive survived.

Most of the surviving Riders, along with a returned Psynapse, ultimately rejoined Stryfe upon his return in Latveria, where the X-Man Nate Grey and his ally Madelyne Pryor opposed them. In the ensuing clash, Psynapse was inadvertently slain while battling Grey. Later, Gauntlet alone was hired by Cable’s mentor Blaquesmith in a failed attempt to eliminate Cyclops, who had become the latest host for Apocalypse’s essence. With the recent return of Apocalypse, a new army of Dark Riders was assembled by Apocalypse’s servant, Ozymandias.

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- Marvel Editorial Staff