Full Name: Jean-Phillipe Bordeaux
Occupation: Former soldier with the French Foreign Legion, skilled mercenary and assassin
Abilities: Infused with accelerated healing, senses, reflexes, strength, and acrobatics through techno-organic material. Skilled in hand-to-hand combat and adept marksman with various firearms. Enhanced mental ability to process and assess a situation.
History: Officially, Jean-Philippe Bordeaux was born in rural France to a single mother and an unknown father. His home was humble, yet comfortable. However, there were rumors of more unofficial details surrounding his birth. Those rumors included Jean-Philippe’s father being involved with a rogue agent from MI-6 who fled the United Kingdom over accusations of treason. These rumors haven’t been substantiated, but they would end up affecting Jean-Philippe’s life later on.
Growing up, Jean-Philippe was a difficult child who had little discipline and often got in trouble. His mother was not abusive or harsh, but she was often negligent. She struggled to control him while working as a nurse at a French hospital. She was also somewhat detached, which helped fueled the rumors of her having an affair with a rogue MI-6 agent. It led her to develop problems with substance abuse and she often sought comfort in the arms of numerous lovers. This took time away from controlling Jean-Philippe, which proved to be a task for which she was not equipped.
From an early age, Jean-Philippe made it clear that he would be hard to control. He was known for having a lot of energy and being very active. He showed an early gift for athletics, developing a love for soccer and rugby. However, sports were simply not thrilling enough for him. So as he got older, he sought other outlets.
By age 13, he was frequently sneaking out at night. He broke into neighboring homes and picked pockets in the streets. Being from a modest home, he never did it to help his mother. He did it mostly for the thrills. In the same way he had a talent for sports, he also had a talent for breaking the law and getting away with it. This lust for thrill-seeking and adventure would guide the course of his life.
At age 16 he ended up dropping out of school early, having shown little interest in academics or following the rules. Instead, he fell in with a gang of local thieves, who helped nurture his love of thrills. He began stealing and burglarizing homes, leading to several run-ins with the law. In addition, this same gang helped him nourish some other skills that he would later use to great effect.
Throughout his teenage years, Jean-Philippe showed a great fondness for the opposite sex. Despite being a poor student, he was gifted with good looks and a quick wit. This helped him seduce numerous women. Some of his youthful indiscretions included daughters of police officers, principals, and rival thieves. This got him into more trouble, which included several beatings and stabbings. But it never slowed him down. It quickly became a method by which he would fuel his appetite for thrills and risk.
By age 19, Jean-Philippe was an accomplished petty criminal and womanizer. But being so accomplished made him a target. Eventually, the authorities caught up to him and so did his risk-taking. When he seduced the sister of one of his fellow gang members, he was ratted out during a routine burglary and arrested. By now, his mother had become so frustrated with him that she refused to assist him. With his lengthy criminal record, Jean-Philippe faced the prospect of a long jail sentence. But he was then given the alternative of joining the military. He opted to try the military, thinking it would be more thrilling than jail.
He ended up being correct. Jean-Philippe’s skills as a criminal along with his natural athletic abilities helped make him into a strong soldier. He remained undisciplined, often showing a tendency to shoot first rather than wait for orders. But he also showed a natural charisma and charm that helped endear him to his fellow soldiers. As a result, he was recruited into the French Special Forces where he joined the French Foreign Legion.
The thrills he experienced during the next decade of his life were many, but the details are classified. Being involved with Special Forces, Jean-Philippe took part in numerous operations throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Some of these operations were thought to be illegal or unsanctioned, but his competence and skill helped him complete every one of them. However, with every success, Jean-Philippe became more reckless.
His tendency to shoot first and indulge his lustful appetites made him a liability, even to his squad mates. He managed to get away with it for years. But just as before, his recklessness caught up with him. After being seduced by a female Korean spy, he revealed plans for an operation to attack a North Korean pirate operation. As a result, a good chunk of his squad was killed and he was wounded. When some of his surviving squad members ratted him out, Jean-Philippe was dishonorably discharged from the French Foreign Legion.
Disappointed and now without a job, Jean-Philippe returned to Europe where he became a mercenary for hire. This allowed him to make money, but as the years went by he began to self-destruct. His appetites were starting to catch up to him. He developed problems with substance abuse and became psychologically unstable. This eventually led to another fateful mission where his thrill-seeking caught up with him in the worst possible way.
On a routine job in the Balkans, Jean-Philippe and a team of mercenaries were tasked with clearing an apartment building of rebels. The operation had already been compromised due to rumors of illegal weapons. Some of the mercenaries left as a result of these rumors, but Jean-Philippe decided to risk it and so did a few others. They came to regret this decision because those rumors turned out to be true. And on a fateful attempt to storm the building, a mortar attack killed every mercenary on the scene. Only Jean-Philippe survived.
But surviving ended up being more of a curse than a blessing. The once dashing soldier became disfigured and scarred. He also became paralyzed from the chest down, restricting him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He even suffered brain damage, causing him to develop a significant stutter. He could no longer fight or charm women. Without money or support, he fell into a deep depression. He attempted suicide twice, but failed. That’s when Weapon X found him.
The rumors about his father helped Weapon X identify him as a candidate for their Weapon Plus program. Desperate to regain his strength and his charm, Jean-Philppe took another grave risk and underwent a procedure that utilized techno-organic material to implement mutant powers. The procedure, while messy and unproven, was a success for Weapon X. But in many respects, it was the end of Jean-Philippe and the birth of Fantomex
Unknown to him, Weapon X tried to subvert his identity. They succeeded in many respects. The identity of Jean-Philippe lost most meaning to him and he went by Fantomex instead. He had the reflexes, durability, and strength that he wanted. However, it was Weapon X who controlled him. They tried to use this control to have him kill Wolverine and X-23. He almost succeeded, but it was only when Weapon X attempted to unleash him on the rest of the mutant population that the remnants of Jean-Philippe returned.
After a battle in District X, Fantomex endured a painful shock that overrode Weapon X’s control. For a time, the AI known as EVA that controlled the techno-organic material in his blood went rogue. He began following EVA’s whim, using her designs to create the World, a database of mutant abilities with which he could use to become the ultimate living weapon. This led to a clash with the X-men in which EVA was neutralized, allowing Fantomex to reassert control. But before EVA disappeared completely, Fantomex used it to track down the head of Weapon Plus, Colonel John Wraith. Once he found him, he killed him on the spot and severed his ties with Weapon X completely.
Now Jean-Philippe is officially listed as dead and Fantomex is all that remains. After the ordeal with Weapon X, Jean-Philippe joined forces with Deadpool and became a mercenary again. Now armed with the skill and durability of a living weapon, he’s able to fuel his appetite for thrills. However, the impact that Weapon X had on his mind and his goals remains to be seen.
Character Breakdown: As Jean-Phillipe, Fantomex possessed all the traits of a reckless thrill-seeker. He was adventurous and impulsive. He craves excitement and danger. He’s reckless in his pursuit, ignoring his physical and ethical limits when necessary. This helped make him an ideal soldier. He cared little for his physical safety, seeking only the rewards that came with the danger. This extended to his reckless dealings with women. In some ways, Jean-Phillipe’s reckless was a mix of thrills and lust. He sought every hedonistic pleasure the same way he sought danger. And because of his innate talents and skills, he succeeded in ways most cannot.
But despite his talents and skills, he was still human. So when his recklessness eventually caught up with him, it destroyed a major part of his personality. Being crippled and wounded was unacceptable. He refused to adapt. He refused to live a life without recklessness and the rewards it brought. His repeated attempts to treat himself and later suicide attempts showed an inherent stubbornness and an unwillingness to mature. It also helped make him the ideal candidate for Weapon Plus.
After having gone through the process, the identity of Jean-Phillipe is in flux. He no longer sees himself as an ordinary man with extraordinary skill. He sees himself as something more. That’s only natural since Weapon Plus was designed to be something greater than anything like it. But being a puppet did not sit well with Fantomex. He abhors restraint and control, as did Weapon X. But unlike Weapon X, he has more of a refined control of his faculties. He still sees himself as superior and now he has even more skills with which to vindicate himself.
He’s still reckless as Fantomex in the same way he was reckless as Jean-Phillipe. However, the abilities instilled in him by Weapon Plus give him a greater understanding of the situations in which he finds himself. He’s better able to manage the risks he takes, but he’s still willing to take them. He’s also willing to fight anyone who might try to control him again. Having been crippled and scarred, he is more aware of the costs of his risks. But his desire for danger and thrills will always be greater.