Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Brew's Crew: Deathbird


(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)


By Byron Brewer



I have always felt sorry – yes, sorry – for the sister of the late Majestrix Lilandra Neramani of the Shi’ar, she who is known as Deathbird. Like the mutants of Earth, she was different because of her throwback appearance and thus rejected for her birthright. True, she has done evil things and has paid a price – and to my knowledge, is still paying it.

Deathbird was born Cal'syee Neramani to the ruling house of the Shi'ar Imperium on the Aerie (now known as Chandilar), native world of the Shi'ar. She was rejected from the first because her appearance (wings, claws) is a throwback to a more primitive time in Shi’ar evolution. Her name was stripped from her after as it was propesied that she was destined to commit great evil. She was exiled after brutally murdering both her mother and an unnamed sister.

During this exile, she first appeared on Earth and became an associate of MODOK and AIM at some point. Following AIM's orders, she battled Ms. Marvel in New Yorkone evening after Carol Danver's Park Avenuepenthouse was destroyed by a bomb. The skirmish was interrupted after Deathbird severely injured the female fury, who got distracted by trying to save the lives of two small children. It later resumed when Carol, going undercover, discovered that AIM had a secret headquarters underneath Alden's Department Store. The battle between the two seemingly ended with Deathbird's demise and MODOK's escape, after betraying her. Whether Deathbird sought revenge on either Danversor AIMremains unknown.

A little while later, it came to be that her younger sister Lilandra became majestrix of the Empire following the events that left their brother, D'Ken, comatose. Deathbird decided to take the throne for herself, and allied with the councilman Samedar and the alien parasites called the Brood and renegade members of the Imperial Guard in an attempted coup. The X-Men defeated her and her allies, but not before being infected with the Brood (although they were ultimately cured thanks to the efforts of Binary and the Acanti Soulsinger). She later succeeded in deposing Lilandra with the aid of the Brood, and took the throne for herself. As ruler of the Shi'ar Empire, she contended with the Starjammers and Excalibur, and sought to capture Phoenix, but was nearly killed by Lilandra in combat.

Some time later War Skrulls impersonating Professor X and the Starjammers aided Lilandra in deposing Deathbird and restoring Lilandra to the throne. With Lila Cheney’s help, she and the X-Men defeated the War Skrulls, and Deathbird ceded the empire back to Lilandra as she had grown bored of the bureaucracy.

Lilandra eventually had Deathbird imprisoned because she posed a threat to her rule. It was later that the Earth mutant Vulcan is captured by the palace guard as he enters Shi'ar territory on his quest for vengeance against the entire Shi'ar race. He is incarcerated in the same maximum security installation that houses Deathbird. Vulcan is released by a member of a secret order that wishes D’Ken to lead the Shi'ar once more; Vulcan releases Deathbird.

Vulcan is enthralled by Deathbird, and they become romantically involved. He promises to put his quest for vengeance on hold. Deathbird convinces Vulcan to finish the healing process that the Shi'ar members of the secret order had begun on D’Ken, who remained in a coma since the M’Kraan Crystal incident. When D'Ken discerns Vulcan's feelings for Deathbird, he invokes an ancient Shi'ar custom and invites Vulcan to marry Deathbird and become part of Shi'ar royalty.

Vulcan and Deathbird are married in front of the M'Kraan Crystal just as the X-Men, Lilandra, the Starjammers and the Shi'ar loyal to Lilandra attack. During the chaos that ensues Vulcan kills D'Ken (never having promised not to kill him) and assumes the throne of majestor of the Shi'ar Empire, with Deathbird as his empress. During the fight Polaris crushes the ribs of Deathbird's new husband and she instructs the Imperial Guard, still loyal to the ruling family, to protect them as they flee.

Vulcan has his revenge in later days as he captures a number of the Starjammers, including his brother Havok. But during a prison break of the Starjammers by her sister Lilandra and Rachel Summers, Cal'syee is severely injured. She was last shown to be on life support but unresponsive.

With both D’Ken and Lilandra dead now and Vulcan missing, the throne of the Shi’ar may well belong to Deathbird (although Gladiator sits there now). With her history, I cannot believe that Deathbird will never soar the skies of the Aerie again. I will be waiting.