Born an albino mutant with a pale complexion and large yellow eyes. At some point in his life, he is banished from his home by his father, who called him Caliban, after a character from the play The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Growing up, a still young Caliban, who speaks in the third person, is discovered by the mutant Callisto and taken under her wing. Learning of his mutant tracking ability, Callisto uses Caliban to locate other disenfranchised mutants and organizes them into the Morlocks, a band of homeless, rejected mutants. The founding Morlocks consist of Caliban, Callisto, Masque, Plague, and Sunder. The Morlocks live in the sewers and abandoned subway tunnels running underneath New York City, and, like Caliban, most of them had grotesque appearances. Caliban senses the presence of nearby mutants and enters a New York City nightclub seeking their friendship. He finds Storm, Dazzler, Sprite, and Spider-Woman in the club, and has a misunderstood confrontation with them. Though the battle ends peacefully, Caliban returns to his home underground. Shortly thereafter, Morlock leader Callisto desires a consort and has the Morlocks abduct Angel and member of the X-Men, to be her husband. The X-Men arrive in the sewers to rescue their ally, and Shadowcat is infected with a virus by Plague. Caliban takes her to his quarters to care for her. Shadowcat pleads with Caliban to allow her to assist her teammates. Caliban agrees, but only if she will return after the fight and stay with him. Though Kitty promised to stay with him forever, she left and returned home. Weeks later, Callisto, vengeful after losing a one-on-one battle with X-Men leader Storm, orders the Morlocks to kidnap Shadowcat to force her to marry Caliban, knowing Storm would return. Caliban, however, realized Shadowcat did not truly love him and released her from her promise. Kitty then became Caliban's friend. Caliban was later temporarily magically merged with Professor X by Kulan Gath during a confrontation with the sorcerer.
During the Morlock massacre, X-Factor rescued Caliban from the Marauders, and Caliban swore vengeance upon the Marauders. With nowhere else to stay, he took up residence at X-Factor headquarters with several other surviving Morlocks. Soon, he forced Masque to undo damage to the Beast's face, and then returned to the Alley. However, shortly thereafter, Rictor went missing and Caliban volunteered to help X-Factor find him, officially joining the group at that point. Alongside X-Factor, he next battled the Horsemen of Apocalypse. Caliban voiced his wish for increased power, so Iceman began teaching Caliban unarmed combat. He next fought the Right's soldiers and was nearly killed by them; then he aided X-Factor in rescuing the Right's mutant captives.
Horseman of Apocalypse
Not long after that, X-Factor's immortal enemy Apocalypse kidnaps the entire team after changing Angel into Death. Caliban, intrigued by Apocalypse's transformation of the fallen Angel, betrays X-Factor and asks Apocalypse to do the same to him. Agreeing, Apocalypse promises to give Caliban enough power to gain revenge against the Marauders who killed his Morlock family. Caliban agrees to become Apocalypse's servant and locator of mutants. Apocalypse renames him Hellhound. Caliban senses the telepathic cry of Val-Or. Through genetic manipulation, Caliban becomes the second Horseman of Apocalypse known as Death. When Apocalypse had re-located to the moon in a confrontation with the original X-Factor and the Inhumans, Caliban returns to the Morlock tunnels. There, he locates Sabretooth, a ferocious mutant and member of the Marauders, who is stalking the sewers to find and kill more Morlocks. In combat, Caliban breaks Sabretooth's back and leaves him for dead, not realizing that he has a healing factor. Caliban then attacks and defeats Archangel. He later finds and defeats Sabretooth again. As Death, Caliban performs various tasks for his new master, serving as his warrior servant. During the X-Cutioner's Song, Caliban attacks former X-Factor members (and current X-Men) Jean Grey and Cyclops, under Apocalypse's (actually Mister Sinister posing as Apocalypse) orders. Alongside War and Famine, Caliban kidnaps Cyclops and Jean Grey so Apocalypse can give the pair to the mad telepath Stryfe, who believes the couple to be his parents. Famine, War, and Death then battle the X-Men and are defeated by them. Caliban eventually returns to the Morlock sewers.
Eventually, the loner Caliban defeats Apocalypse's control at the cost of his mental faculties. At one point, when Sabretooth is a reluctant X-Men member, the mutant detector kidnaps X-Man Jubilee in exchange for the savage mutant, but he flees when Sabretooth mauls his face. Though mentally unwell, he retains enormous physical power and is befriended by the mutant Cable. Oddly, Caliban's color shifts from white and monstrous to a semi-friendly Ogre-like form that is purple in coloration. Cable invites Caliban to join his team X-Force. Caliban has many adventures with the team, such as confronting Mojo and his forces, and when Apocalypse's enemy Mister Sinister infiltrates the X-Mansion, Apocalypse's mental leash causes him to savagely maul Sinister. He also has several confrontations with Sabretooth during this time. During his time with the team, it is discovered Caliban could play the piano with great skill.
Return to Apocalypse
After some time, Apocalypse returns and takes Caliban away from X-Force. This time, Apocalypse makes him his new Horseman Pestilence (coincidentally, the former Pestilence was Caliban's Morlock ally Plague). This time, Apocalypse augments Caliban's physical power even more and gives him the ability to spread telepathic disease as well. This time, Apocalypse's horsemen include Ahab, Deathbird, and Wolverine. After Apocalypse is merged with Cyclops, Caliban tracks down the merged being, and is freed from his service shortly before Cable destroys Apocalypse's spirit. Released from his servitude to Apocalypse, Caliban once more reverts to his childlike state although he retains the monstrous physique he attained through Apocalypse's machinations. Subsequently, Caliban is captured by an anti-mutant medical research facility called the Watchtower. The Watchtower wishes to use Caliban for their own purposes but he is freed by X-Force. Caliban has devolved into a feral mental state where he only grunts and snarls but he manages to help X-Force against a menace called the Skornn.
After M-Day, Caliban turned up at the Xavier institute as a member of the 198. He is seen carrying the 198 banner, created by Erg, during the confrontation with O*N*E* over the "tracking chips" and again during Mr. M's exodus from the institute. He later helps the 198 escape with Domino and Shatterstar to one of Nick Fury's secret bases in the Nevada desert. Caliban was able to sense the stockpile of weapons in the base, but they were activated and locked down by Johnny Dee, a mutant who had puppet-like control over a fraction of the team. The original X-Men team went to collect the 198 but Bishop's pro-registration team stopped them. After a short battle, the two sides teamed up and, thanks to a joint effort by Cyclops and Bishop, were able to free the 198.
Seeking The X-Men
Caliban later aids the Uncanny X-Men team after he is seriously injured by Masque, and crawls his way back to the Xavier Institute. Caliban enters the Morlock Tunnels with Warpath, Storm, and Hepzibah and find what Masque was talking about.
Messiah Complex and Death
Caliban becomes part of a strike-force, who are in search of the first newborn mutant since Decimation, along with Wolverine, Wolfsbane, X-23, Warpath, and Hepzibah (all of whom, except Hepzibah, form the new incarnation of X-Force). During a battle with Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers, Caliban sacrifices himself to save Warpath by jumping into the path of a line of bullets meant for him. His death distracts Warpath making Wolverine the only X-Force member to chase down Cable.
Caliban is revived through the Technarch transmode virus by Eli Bard and presented to Selene for the purpose of finding other dead mutants and resurrecting them by the same means, so Bard can sacrifice them and their powers to her. Caliban is later seen next to the grave of long time deceased New Mutant member Cypher and began reviving Doug.
Powers and Abilities
Caliban has been genetically augmented by Apocalypse, twice, on two separate occasions. The first time as Death, in which he was given Superhuman strength, Speed, Stamina, Durability, Reflexes & Agility plus clawed fingernails and a twist to his fear amplifying powers. As pestilence he was given neurotoxin mental plague, which apparently faded.
X-Factor Detection: He is able to psionically sense the presence of other mutants within a 25 mile radius of himself.
Fear Absorption: He is able to absorb the psionic energy in the fear from others and convert it into physical strength.
- Amplification: He is able to also use absorbed fear-energy to turn it against those around him, inducing more intense fear within their minds.
Hound Process: Superhuman Speed
Claws & Fangs
Neurotoxin Mental Plague: He had the ability to secrete neurotoxins from his claws, which carried a mental plague, a virus that attacked from within on the highest planes of the psyche and broke down the mental functions of the target. A subset of this ability was specifically designed to harm Mister Sinister.
Caliban originally possessed the normal human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who engaged in minimal regular exercise. However, he can draw from the fear of nearby people and use it to enhance his strength. The limits of that superhuman strength are unknown, but he proved to be nearly a match for the original Spider-Woman, who could lift (press) about 7 tons.
As a result of Apocalypse's bioengineering, Caliban possesses superhuman strength allowing him to lift (press) approximately 10 tons. He retains his ability to increase his strength by siphoning fear from others.