Abilities: Like their Skrull counterparts, the Dire Wraiths possess the ability to shapeshift. In addition, they have the ability to absorb the memories of other beings by sucking out their brains through razor-barbed tongues (don't try this one at home, kids). The Wraiths developed a deft blending of Skrullian technology and dark sorcery, making them truly formidable foes.
Weapons: One of the Wraiths' favorite weapons are their Hellhounds, normal earth canines mutated via sorcery into viscous shapeshifting predators. The Wraiths with a more scientific bent invented numerous weapons far in advance of Earth technology, including the armored robot Watchwraiths.
Heroes They Keep Running Into: The Spaceknights fought the Dire Wraiths throughout the universe over a 200-year period. It was Rom, greatest of the Spaceknights, who tracked the Wraiths to Earth, revealing their infiltration and thwarting most of their schemes. Earthwoman Brandy Clark became the Spaceknight Starshine due to her love for Rom, and joined him on his quest to cleanse the Earth of Wraithkind. Torpedo, aka Brock Jones, wore a suit of armor built with Wraith technology, and fought them several times, until he lost his life in the Wraith War. After that, the suit -- and its Wraith complications -- went to Mark Jeffries and his pal Maggie, with fatal consequences for Mark. When the Wraith menace finally became apparent to the world's governments, Nick Fury and SHIELD were given the task of spearheading the counter-attack. The Wraith Hunter Rangers were a division of SHIELD set up explicitly for this purpose. The Wraiths tried on several occasions to kill the mutant inventor Forge after he developed a weapon that neutralized their sorcery and shape-shifting powers. Nearly every hero on Earth fought the Dire Wraiths when they launched a last, desperate, all-out assault on humanity. And, though not heroes, the Skrulls despise their Wraith "cousins" with a passion.
Favorite Quote: "You have proven yourself the greatest of the Spaceknights, Rom -- but your sentimental emotionalism has doomed you! We Wraiths know nothing of love -- that is why our hatred shall triumph in the end!" (The Wraiths explain their Dark philosophy to Rom seconds before murdering the Spaceknight's fiancee, Ray-Na.)
People Who Think They're Not So Bad: Various individuals allied themselves with the Wraiths for opportunistic reasons. The renegade spaceknight Raak joined forces with the Wraiths to conquer an alien planet. Quasimodo collaborated with the Wraiths in an effort to steal Rom's cyborg body for himself. Many people unwittingly aided Wraiths who, in human form, had infiltrated various levels of government. However, these people almost inevitably turned against the Wraiths when their true nature was revealed. The Wraiths' most ardent supporter was their queen mother Volx who, several years after the Wraiths' final defeat, battled the New Warriors as she attempted to rescue her surviving children from their exile in Limbo.
Most Despicable Act: In the 200 years they roamed the universe, the Wraiths committed numerous atrocities, murdering untold millions of sentient beings. Certain of their actions stand out from the rest, though. On one occasion the Wraiths murdered and took the place of everyone in Clarton, West Virginia, including Starshine's parents, so they could set a trap for Rom. Another time the Wraiths contaminated the blood bank of a hospital, causing dozens of patients to be transformed into hideous monsters. In the end, the Wraiths attempted to turn the Earth itself into a new Wraithworld. It was this scheme that finally led to the destruction of the Dark Nebula and the loss of their powers.
by Ben Herman
Power Man/Iron Fist 73
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