(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and their many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
When the Starjammers made their first awesome appearance in the pages of X-Men, it was not Ch’od’s saurid visage nor Raza’s big knife that fascinated me. No, it was the cat woman with the big skunk tail! As these “Legends” entered the space battle, I knew I would always have soft spot in my heart for -- Hepzibah.
Hepzibah was born on the planet Tryl'sart, while under Shi’ar Imperial Rule. She had also spent some time in the prison on the planet Alsibar, where she met Corsair (Christopher Summers) for the first time.
While Corsair was imprisoned by the authority of the then-Shi'ar Emperor D’Ken, brother of Deathbird and Lilandra of the Royal House of Neramani, Hepzibah, with the help of several other prisoners who would later form the Starjammers (Raza and Ch’od), aided Corsair in their mutual escape from Shi'ar prison. Corsair won the respect of the trio (becoming their leader) and eventually the heart of Hepzibah, becoming her lover.
Hepzibah and the Starjammers teamed up with the X-Men on multiple occasions. The first time, the Starjammers came to the aid of the X-Men against D'Ken's Imperial Guard. Later, with the other Starjammers, she fought off an alien attack on the HMSS Starjammer starship. After that, she helped save Wolverine’s life in outer space, and then engaged in mock combat with Carol Danvers. Hepzibah and the Starjammers also helped the New Mutants neutralize the threat of the Magus. Busy!
Hepzibah was captured by War Skrulls and impersonated by one of them, until she was freed by the X-Men.
During the Kree/Shi’ar War, she battled Wonder Man and the Vision while escorting the Shi'ar Nega-Bomb to the Kree Empire. With Raza, she accepted an assignment from a former Kree admiral to kill the Black Knight. And with the Starjammers, she visited the Avengers and Binary on Earth. She was thwarted in her attempt to poison the Black Knight, and the plan was foiled. She then returned with the Starjammers to the Shi'ar Empire.
After Corsair reunited with his son, the X-Man Havok, and the Starjammers participated in a conflict between Lilandra's and D'Ken's forces, Corsair was killed by his own son Vulcan. Hepzibah raided the X-Men's stolen Shi'ar ship's weapons locker and was ready to take vengeance on Vulcan. However, she was forced to return with the repowered Professor X, Warpath, Darwin and Nightcrawler when Lilandra, hoping to save her beloved Xavier from death and protect some of the X-Men (believing that the battle was not going well), locked the ship into a jump course for Earth.
Consequently, Hepzibah resides with the X-Men on Earth. She later joins the team.
During the Messiah Complex arc, Hepzibah disables one of the giant robot O*N*E Sentinels after they become corrupted and attack the X-Mansion. Soon after, she becomes a member of the new incarnation of X-Force. After checking a Cooperstown Hospital for Cable, they track him to the Canadian wilderness where the team gets into a fight with the newly re-formed Reavers. When Caliban is killed, Warpath becomes overprotective of Hepzibah, telling her this isn't her fight only to be told off by her and later Wolverine.
X-Force later tracks the mutant child to MuirIsland where it is being guarded by the Acolytes and the Marauders. They manage to hold them off for sometime when the rest of the X-Teams arrive. When Pixie teleports Predator X to the Scottish island, Cyclops orders X-Force to take it out. Hepzibah is one of the X-Force members to engage Predator X; Predator X sprays her with acid, hurting her arm. She is later seen standing around Professor X's body.
Hepzibah relocates with the X-Men to San Francisco, and is later seen in the background of Utopia, having gone to the island with the X-Men. It is not long after that Henry Peter Gyrich is made co-director of S.W.O.R.D. He organizes all aliens living on Earth to be deported. While at a bar in San Francisco, Hepzibah is drugged by undercover S.W.O.R.D. agents and taken away by them. Hepzibah and other aliens help save S.W.O.R.D. from an invasion and depose Gyrich. All are returned to their respective homes.
Whether battling mutant haters on Earth or the Shi’ar in space, Hepzibah is one mean she-cat!