God Loves, Man KillsEdit
The Purifiers are first seen aiding their vicious leader Rev. William Stryker in his plans to annihilate the mutant race. The Purifiers work to fulfill many of Stryker's goals, abducting Professor X and several of the X-Men, killing mutant children, and defending Stryker's church against the X-Men and Magneto. Eventually, one of the guards, horrified that Stryker would attempt to kill the young mutant Kitty Pryde, shoots the fundamentalist pastor and ends his genocidal plans. With Stryker arrested and sent to prison, the Purifiers disband in his absence.
However, the Purifiers would eventually re-emerge, stronger than ever. Following his release from prison, Stryker found the highly advanced Sentinel Nimrod in his church, having teleported there using its advanced time-travel technology. Accessing the damaged Sentinel's memory core, Stryker saw the effects of Decimation months before M-Day actually occurred, enabling him to lay the groundwork for a renewed campaign against mutants. Using the knowledge of the future contained within Nimrod, Stryker was able to save numerous people from untimely deaths, accrediting his interventions as miracles from God, allowing him to substantially increase the ranks of the Purifiers. The use of the Nimrod visions also allowed Stryker to gain the support of prominent political and business leaders, as well as the veteran assassin Matthew Risman. The Purifiers also contacted the branch of the Weapon X program known as the Facility, and commissioned its scientists to construct Predator X, in order to hunt down a mutant Stryker saw as the Antichrist. Finally, the Purifiers obtained advanced weaponry included fully-automatic rifles, anti-tank weapons and Vibranium-based weaponry to aid them in their crusade, and specially targeted Wallflower and Dust, the two mutants the Nimrod data showed would be instrumental in the defeat of the Purifiers. When M-Day struck and over ninety-nine percent of the world's mutants were rendered powerless, the Purifiers were more than ready to begin their campaign. Their first attack against the Xavier Institute destroyed a bus carrying over forty-five depowered students, killing them all. As Risman assassinated Wallflower per Stryker's instructions, the vicious pastor was able to deceive the mutant Icarus into betraying his teammates, giving them another avenue of attack. The Purifier's crusade culminated in an all-out attack against the Xavier Institute, in an attempt to eliminate the New X-Men. With the majority of the X-Men on patrol and searching for the Purifiers, and the O.N.E. Sentinels disabled with the hand of Nimrod, the Purifiers were able to breach the grounds and mansion with determined fighting. While one force of Purifiers assaulted the encampment of the 198, the rest converged on the mansion itself, wounding numerous students, along with Emma Frost and Cannonball, and killing the Institute student known as Quill. Despite the extensive damage and injuries caused in their attack, the death of Stryker at the hands of Elixir and the return of the X-Men forced the Purifiers to withdraw, having taken numerous casulities in the process. With Stryker's death, Matthew Risman has taken command of the Purifiers, vowing not to cease "until the world has been purified". Since the attack on the Institute, the Purifiers have been lying low and rebuilding their strength for another offensive, as well as trying to find and recover the missing Predator X.
The Purifiers are one of the three factions, along with the X-Men and Marauders, searching for the first mutant baby born since M-Day. All three groups were alerted to the baby's birth more or less simultaneously, and headed for the remote Alaskan village where the birth took place. The Purifier task force beat both the X-Men and the Marauders to the scene, and proceeded to "cull" every child in the city in order to make sure the mutant baby did not survive. They were then attacked by the Marauders, who killed several Purifiers. By the time the X-Men arrived on the scene, both villain teams had departed, with the whereabouts of the baby unknown. Rictor was planted as a mole to find out what the Purifiers were up to. When the New X-Men, led by Surge, took it upon themselves to attack the Purifiers in retaliation for their assault on the Institute, it was revealed that the Purifiers had upgraded some of their best fighters with cybernetics, creating a new team of Reavers under the command of Stryker's one-time lover and X-Men foe Lady Deathstrike. While the New X-Men's raid did damage their primary church in Washington, the Purifiers managed to drive the mutants off, and then dispatched Deathstrike and the Reavers to find the mutant baby. Although the new Reavers have since been destroyed by Wolverine's incarnation of X-Force, the Purifiers' greater forces remain intact and ready to continue their crusade.
Bastion and X-ForceEdit
Shortly after the events of Messiah Complex and the dissolution of the X-Men, the Purifiers raided a heavily-defended S.H.I.E.L.D. installation with the help of several double agents, murdering sixteen S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel before breaching the primary vault and recovering an unidentified artifact. The fact that the Purifiers launched an attack specifically on baseline humans rather than mutants worries Cyclops, who fears that whatever the Purifiers stole from S.H.I.E.L.D. was worth enough to risk bring down the agency's wrath upon them. As Cyclops moves to rally X-Force to combat the threat. The Purifiers bring the object, revealed to be the head of Bastion, to one of their churches, installing it onto the Nimrod unit they recovered from Forge's Aerie to return the mutant-killing machine to life. At that point, the church is assaulted by the new X-Force, though Risman manages to capture Wolfsbane in the process. Bastion reveals his secret weapon in his war against mutants; he seeks out the Technarchy leader, Magus, who is lying in the bottom of the ocean, and takes one of Magus' non-sentient offspring to graft it into himself. After the salvaging of Magus, the Purifiers, acting on Bastion's orders, seek out a number of prominent anti-mutant leaders. They forcibly recruit Donald Pierce, save the Leper Queen from execution, retrieve Cameron Hodge from a crater in Mount Everest, and dig up the corpses of Graydon Creed, Stephen Lang, Bolivar Trask and Reverend Stryker himself. To Risman's objection, they are all bonded with the Technarch offspring, which reanimates the dead and places all of them under the control of Bastion himself. Meanwhile, the Purifiers use a brainwashed Wolfsbane to attack Warren Worthington III and obtain his wings, which, even though they appear to be fully organic, are still composed of Apocalypse's techno-organic strain. Using the sample, the Purifiers employ a scientist named Adam Harkins to duplicate the strain and use it to create an elite team of Purifiers called "the Choir." Risman leads the Choir against Bastion's Purifiers in an attempt to destroy Bastion and the reanimated remains of Stryker, considering them unholy. Archangel later attacked the Purifiers in an attempt to reclaim the wings that were stolen from him, killing every member of the Choir. During that point, Matthew Risman is shot in the head by X-23 around the point where Matthew tried to kill Bastion. Bastion leads the Purifiers in an even more genocidal direction, injecting powered mutants with the modified strain of the Legacy Virus to causes countless deaths and create fear and chaos.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
Being baseline humans, the Purifiers possess no superhuman abilities to speak of, relying on superior technology in their genocidial campaign against mutants. The Purifiers possess a variety of deadly armaments and munitions, some more conventional weapons like assault rifles, Flame throwers and anti-tank rockets, as well as more advanced and expensive equipment like Vibranium-based weaponry. The group also used the knowledge contained within Nimrod's memory banks to great effect, although that advantage was lost when the Sentinel reactivated and destroyed its keepers, before being defeated by the New X-Men. The Purifiers are all highly-trained, and have been shown to be capable of holding their own against both O.N.E. troopers and the X-Men. The group also possesses links to allied churches all over the world, and their membership includes corporate elites, political figures and intelligence personnel. This allows the Purifiers to avoid reprisals from law-enforcement agencies for their terrorist actions, like their raids on the Xavier Institute or the massacre at Cooperstown, Alaska. Combined with their secret nature and fanatical determination, the Purifiers are undoubtedly a deadly foe and a cause of great concern for the remaining mutants.