|This page is similar in name or subject to other pages.
|Location:||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|1st appearance:||American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men #1|
|Final:||American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men #5|
Damien Kane is a fictional genetic mutation featured in comic books published by DC Comics under the company's Vertigo imprint. He first appeared in American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men #1 in February, 1994 and served as the main character of the series.
In February of 1969, the United States government sent a scientific research team under the auspices of the U.S. Army to New Orleans, Louisiana to investigate sightings of a race of grotesquely disfigured mutants. Geneticist Doctor David Manguy was selected as the team's project leader. When they arrived in Louisiana, they found these "Un-Men" and quarantined them inside of a decommissioned military barracks. Manguy performed a series of tests on the Un-Men and began developing a process by which to halt or reverse genetic mutation. To better serve his objective, Manguy's team began breeding Un-Men. Of these second generation Un-Men, only thirteen survived. Manguy injected them with a serum designed to isolate and destroy the chromosomes that cause genetic mutation. Of the thirteen recipients, only one, Damien Kane, proved to be successful.
The United States Army took Damien under their care and monitored him closely over the next two decades. They fabricated a past for him and Damien believed that his parents were explorers who died in an airplane crash over Central America. With the military always watching from afar, Damien was placed into a foster home and looked after by a woman named Mrs. Valis. When Damien was twelve, Mrs. Valis passed away and he was then remanded to the care of Miss Stafford.
In 1994, Damien was twenty-three years old. He began suffering from symptoms which suggested a reversion of Doctor Manguy's process. When the army discovered this two months later, they flew Damien to Manguy's laboratory. Doctor Manguy was shocked to discover that after twenty-three years, Damien's body was beginning to reject the treatments. Overwhelmed with guilt for his participation in the Un-Men experiments, Doctor Manguy broke protocol and told Damien the truth about his past. He even brought him down into a secret room where his Un-Men parents were kept in suspended animation. Damien couldn't believe his eyes. He collapsed to the floor in anguish. Doctor Manguy administered a sedative and set him to bed, but that night, Damien heard a voice from the swamps beckoning him. He broke free of the facility and followed the voice deep into the swamp. He discovered that it belonged to an Un-Man named Crassus. Crassus was one of the original Un-Men - one who managed to escape the 1969 experiments. Crassus told him that there is nothing that either he or Doctor Manguy could do to halt Damien's reversion into an Un-Man. The only one who could help him was the original creator of the Un-Men - Anton Arcane. At Crassus' behest, the two set off on a journey to find Arcane. Crassus lied to Damien though about his true motivations. Rather than seeking assistance from the elusive Arcane, he instead wanted to use Damien as an instrument of revenge to bring Arcane down.
Damien and Crassus traveled by boat to Romania where they met up with another group of second-generation Un-Men. One of their number, a woman named Scylla, believed that Damien was the subject of a prophecy within the Un-Men community, which spoke of one who would come from the world of man to unite all Un-Men together. Crassus was convinced that Damien was indeed their deliverer, and that a unified family of Un-Men would be strong enough to destroy Arcane. The other second generation Un-Men did not share Crassus' rage, but merely wanted to live a life of peace and solitude. As it was, no such idyllic lifestyle was readily available to them. The Romanian Un-Men were slaves to an aristocrat named Alexiev Gogol. Gogol was obsessed with freaks and used the Un-Men as part of his living museum, entertaining party guests in the ballroom of his castle. When Alexiev's overseer, Lupo, discovered Damien within their ranks, he brought him to Alexiev's attention. By this point, Damien's body had already begun to rapidly transform into that of an Un-Man. His hands and feet swelled and thick protruding veins began to spread across his neck and back. Gogol suspended Damien from a set of shackles and placed him on display.
After hours of humiliation, Damien could stand no more. As his body continued to regress, he found at least one benefit to his deformities; his strength was several times greater than a normal man his age. Damien broke free of his shackles and tore Lupo's head from his body with one quick twist. This single act inspired the other deformed display pieces to rebel against their oppressor as well. Several Un-Men tackled Alexiev Gogol and promptly killed him.
At Crassus' urging, Damien grabbed two of Gogol's party guests and used them as hostages. They hijacked an airplane, which brought them back to the United States. Crassus wanted to free the original Un-Men who were still held in suspended animation at Lafayette Air Field.
As the Un-Men raided the facility, Damien came face to face with his true birth parents. He pitied these poor creatures, who were nothing more than shambling, mindless monstrosities whose only desire was to end their own existence. Rather than unite with their progeny as Crassus had hoped, the original Un-Men instead took their own lives by immersing themselves in a huge vat of boiling acid. The military personnel at the base eventually secured the room, but Crassus managed to slip away during the brief fire fight.
Damien reunited with Doctor Manguy who promised that he would do everything in his power to protect him. He knew that base commander Major Lawrence was under orders to destroy all traces of the Un-Men. Manguy went public with his participation in the experiments, and ironically enough, Damien and the Un-Men became instant media sensations. They even had their photograph printed on the cover of LIFE magazine. With so much public exposure, the United States government did not dare sweep this issue under the carpet.
Instead, the Un-Men were provided with a private reservation on the grounds of an old nuclear testing site. They could no longer mingle with common society, but they were at least protected from those who might do them harm. By this point, Damien's physical regression was complete, and there was nothing remotely human about his appearance. Damien was content however, and spent the rest of his days living with his new friends in peace on the reservation.
- Superhuman strength: As Damien's body regressed into an endomorphic state, his physical strength increased exponentially. While still relatively human in appearance, he was strong enough to dismember a human being with minimal effort. It is unknown how much Damien's strength increased after his transformation was complete. Before the serum coursing through his system began to destabilize, Damien possessed the strength level of a healthy twenty-three-year old man who engaged in moderate regular exercise.
Notes & Trivia Edit
- It was later revealed in the "Get Your Freak On" storyline from Un-Men that Damien Kane passed away some time after the events from American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men #5.
- American Freak 1
- American Freak 2
- American Freak 3
- American Freak 4
- American Freak 5
- Un-Men 1 (Flashback)
- Un-Men: Get Your Freak On! (TPB) (Reprint)