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Purple Man

Real Name: Zebediah Killgrave
Occupation: Spy, later professional criminal and would-be conqueror, later none
Identity: Publicly known
Legal Status: Citizen of Yugoslavia, later resident alien living in the United States with an international criminal record
Other Aliases: None known
Place of Birth: Rijeka, Yugoslavia
Place of Death: Doom Island, Caribbean Sea
Marital Status: Allegedly married
Known Relatives: Melanie (alleged wife), Kara (alleged daughter)
Group Affiliation: Former partner of Electro
Base of Operations: Mobile
First Appearance and origin: DAREDEVIL #4
Final Appearance: MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #27

History: According to Zebediah Killgrave's own account, he was a spy working for the Soviet bloc who was assigned to invade an American army ordnance depot and steal a sample of an experimental nerve gas. A military guard came upon Killgrave and fired a shot at him, which accidentally hit a canister of the nerve gas, which was stored in liquid form along with a stabilizing fluid. The contents of the canister poured out, thoroughly drenching Killgrave, impregnating his skin and indelibly dying him purple. Caught outright and questioned, Killgrave offered a weak, inadequate alibi to his captors. Much to his surprise, he was believed and released. Several more incidents of this nature demonstrated that being doused by the nerve gas had given Killgrave the superhuman ability to command the wills of other people. Calling himself the Purple Man, Killgrave embarked on a criminal career.

According to Killgrave, the accident that endowed him with his superhuman power occurred "some months" before his initial clash with the costumed crimefighter Daredevil. That clash took place within the last ten years. However, according to a woman named Melanie, she met Killgrave, who, she claims, had already become the Purple Man by that point, nearly a decade and a half ago in a bar in Buffalo, New York. Taken with Melanie's beauty, on a whim Killgrave used his superhuman power to induce her to marry him. Eventually, Killgrave truly fell in love with Melanie and decided to free her from his mental control in the hope that she would genuinely love him as well. But instead she was horrified at what he had done to her and fled to Toronto, Canada. Killgrave never went after her, and months after leaving him, Melanie gave birth to his daughter Kara. When Kara turned thirteen, her skin turned purple and she developed superhuman powers similar to the Purple Man's. Melanie then told her that her father was the Purple Man, and Kara, calling herself the Purple Girl, became associated with Alpha Flight, the Canadian team of superhuman adventurers.

If Melanie's account is correct and the Purple Girl is indeed the Purple Man's daughter, then Killgrave became the Purple Man years before his first meeting with Daredevil. Presumably Killgrave spent those years learning how to develop and master his newfound abilities. On the other hand, it is possible that Melanie lied to Kara about the Purple Man and that there is another explanation for Kara's powers. As yet there has been no resolution to these contradictory accounts of Killgrave's past.

Having come to New York City, the Purple Man used his superhuman ability to force people to do whatever he wished, and even robbed a bank by this means. The Purple Man now intended to use his power to become master of the world. However, he was instead defeated by the crimefighter Daredevil, whose will power was strong enough to enable him to resist Killgrave's power. Killgrave was sent to prison, but he finally escaped and made San Francisco, California his base of operations. There he built himself a criminal empire, but he was again opposed and defeated by Daredevil. This time, though, Killgrave was not sent to prison. His criminal empire in San Francisco apparently collapsed, and Killgrave turned up in New York City once more. There he used his power to coerce Maxwell Glenn, head of Glenn Industries, into committing various crimes on his behalf, as the first major step in the Purple Man's plan to create a financial empire for himself. Put on trial for these crimes, Glenn committed suicide. Daredevil had learned that Killgrave had forced Glenn to become a criminal, and the crimefighter had a confrontation with the Purple Man at Ryker's Island Prison. Killgrave realized that Daredevil was blind and correctly guessed that he was Matt Murdock. Their confrontation ended when Killgrave plunged into the sea and seemingly drowned.

Killgrave survived, but the experience of this latest defeat radically altered his outlook on life. He realized that there was no need for him to engage in criminal conspiracies and battles with costumed crimefighters since he could get anything he wanted by using his power. Therefore, Killgrave retired from crime and became a gentleman of leisure.

One day a car being used by two underlings of the Kingpin of Crime to make a major delivery of illegal narcotics accidentally collided with Killgrave's purple Rolls Royce on a New York City street. Angered, Killgrave used his power to compel the two criminals to fight each other; the police arrived and confiscated the heroin. The Kingpin had Killgrave brought to him, and the Kingpin too proved to have the strength of will necessary to resist the Purple Man's power. The Kingpin forced the Purple Man to aid him in setting a death trap for various New York-based costumed crimefighters; Daredevil, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Power Man, and Spider-Man. Due to the increase in Killgrave's power over time, plus the use of a sound system that amplified the Purple Man's voice, not even Daredevil could resist the Purple Man's power this time. However, wearing earplugs so he could not hear the Purple Man's voice, the Moon Knight knocked the Purple Man unconscious. Killgrave had already used his power to induce a mob to try to kill the other costumed crimefighters, but the latter succeeded in freeing the mob from the Purple Man's control. Once again, the Purple Man was taken into police custody.

But Killgrave somehow regained his freedom, and continued to lead a life of leisure. But while Killgrave was relaxing on an island in Polynesia, he was captured by yet another individual who was capable of resisting his power, Doctor Doom. Doom imprisoned Killgrave within a gigantic "psycho-prism" he had constructed on Doom Island, an island Doom owned in the Caribbean. Doom magnified the Purple Man's will-sapping power through the psycho-prism. Doom manipulated this power through his technological devices to make himself the master of Earth. Virtually everyone on Earth was compelled by the Purple Man's power to obey Doom. Due to his unusual physiology, the Avenger Wonder Man was unaffected by Killgrave's power; Wonder Man succeeded in freeing Captain America from Doom's mental control, and together they likewise freed their fellow Avengers Iron Man and the Wasp from his mental domination. By causing a wave of water to strike and submerge the Sub-Mariner, whom Doom had made his personal servant, the Wasp freed him too from the Purple Man's power. Infuriated at having been enslaved by Doom, the Sub-Mariner smashed the psycho-prism, thereby both killing Killgrave and freeing the world from Doom's control.

Height: 5 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 165 lbs.
Eyes: Purple
Hair: Purple
Skin: Purple

Strength Level: The Purple Man possessed the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engaged in no regular exercise.

Known Superhuman Powers: The Purple Man possessed the superhuman power to sap people's wills, making him able to command people by simple verbal suggestion. His power originated in his skin cells, which had been mutagenically altered by impregnation by an unknown, experimental form of nerve gas. The nerve gas was abnormally active due to its great concentration in liquid form. The sites of pheromone production and other secretions in the Purple Man's deep dermis produced nervous psychoactive chemicals which, when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, induced in his victims an overwhelming monomania that rendered him or her completely without a will of his or her own. Only a very few individuals proved capable of resisting the Purple Man's will-sapping power.

The Purple Man could simultaneously subjugate as many people as were present within the range of the psychoactive chemicals he exuded. He was known to enthrall crowds of over 100 people. Ordinarily, the effects lasted only as long as the Purple Man was physically present. When he departed, the level of psychoactive chemicals within his victims were reduced at various rates (dependent upon their metabolisms), and thus the victims regained command of their own wills.

The Purple Man was a charismatic individual, with an entrancing lilt to his speech that he cultivated over his adult life and that he used in exercising his superhuman power. While using his power he often engagingly asked strangers to do incongruous or even foolhardy activities, which they performed without question.

Weapons: The Purple Man's underlings in his criminal organization employed a purple will-deadening gas to overcome victims in their employer's absence. The gas was a derivative of the same chemicals that gave Killgrave his superhuman power.

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