Comic book universes often look to the future for more superhero adventures. Some timelines are rather popular and some last a good long time, like the Legion of Superheroes for DC and the original Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel. Marvel tried another future in 1992 with its 2099 series. This series of titles was actually somewhat successful with four initial titles, three of which showed revamped, futuristic versions of Marvel characters: Spider-Man, Doom, and the Punisher. The X-Men were added later, but among the original four was a single original hero without an existing Marvel hero to base himself off.
That hero was Ravage, a character who morphed multiple times into something new only to be shot off into space and never heard from again.
The world of 2099 was a world where corporations were more or less running the show. This was a world where perennial Fantastic Four villain Dr. Doom could be reborn as a hero, or a new Punisher might seem like a reasonable reaction to fighting criminals. Long-absent Thor and the Asgardians were worshiped by a cult. Holographic butlers were the norm. And heroes hadn’t been seen in a long time. The reason for this was never explained exactly, since filling in the time between the present and the future was not a priority for the 2099 line. The basic implication came when the X-Men title started and it was implied that this was a future after the Days of Future Past timeline and the Sentinels had wiped out a lot of the old superhuman population. And despite the old names, there was a big push NOT to recreate old heroes and villains in the 2099 era initially. Spider-Man of that era picked up a Vulture but that was it for a while. The X-Men were not renamed versions of old characters, but a brand new team of mutants. Doom didn’t deal with his old adversaries, picking up new ones instead. And into all that came Ravage.
Ravage, real name Paul-Phillip Ravage, has the distinction of being created by Stan Lee. Ravage was a corporate drone working in the environmental section of one of those large country-controlling corporations, Alchemax. One day, he learned the company caused more pollution than it stopped, so naturally one of the company’s executives framed him for murder. Hey, it happens. Ravage grabbed some weapons and went on a violent rampage against his accusers, defending his old secretary/love interest, plus the orphaned son of the dead man, and generally wreaking havoc. You know, the usual.
So, Ravage had no powers, right? Er, not right away. Before Stan left the book, he had Ravage run a mission to an island called Hellrock, an irradiated place ruled by a baddie called Deathstryk (it was the 90s…we’re probably lucky they didn’t give that name to a hero). Ravage got exposed to the radiation and turned into a mutroid, the name for the irradiated monster men that lived off Hellrock. Initially, he had energy blasts that shot out of his heads, held in check only by special gloves (another Stan Lee special), and which weakened him if he used them too much.
Then Stan left the book, and the new creators decided Ravage needed new powers. The energy hands were gone, and replaced by a bestial transformation. Ravage could sprout claws, fangs, horns, and had a healing factor. Yeah, he was basically Wolverine 2099 now.
The 2099 line probably suffered from too much too soon. The initial success led to more 2099 titles. There was a second X-Men title, X-Nation 2099. There was a Hulk, a Ghost Rider, and even the original Fantastic Four flew through a portal in their Fantasticar. It was a bit of a mess.
Maybe the biggest change came when Warren Ellis took over Doom 2099. Ellis decided to do something big, and it was Doom, so naturally Doom took over the United States. The various other 2099 heroes had to get in line with Doom or else. Ravage wasn’t the type. Yeah, he was hanging out with a giant telepathic bat, and that was pretty damn screwy, but he wasn’t really ready to join Doom. By then, Ravage was a giant, muscular brute defending Hellrock, so Doom did the only thing he could think of.
He covered the island with liquid adamantium and shot it into space, Ravage screaming defiance until the end.
He probably got off lucky. The Hulk and Punisher were also killed off, and the world of 2099 apparently had the polar caps melt and submerge most of the world except for the Savage Land, where the survivors all moved to. Yeah, I think I know why the line died.
There’ve been a few attempts to bring back some sort of 2099 line, but Ravage, well, he must still be in an adamantium shell floating through space. Maybe some day he’ll be pulled out, probably with a whole new set of powers. He tends to do that sort of thing.