Kestrel (John Wraith)

Kestrel (Marvel Comics)

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Johnwraith Kestrel (John Wraith)
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Wolverine Vol. 2 #48 (November 1991)
Created by Larry Hama
In-story information
Alter ego John Wraith
Species Human Mutant
Team affiliations Weapon X
Team X
Notable aliases Expediter, Kestrel
Abilities Teleportation
Slowed aging

John Wraith, also known as Kestrel, is a character in the Marvel comics fictional universe. In the 2009 superhero movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Wraith is portrayed by


  • 1 Fictional character biography
  • 2 Powers and abilities
  • 3 Other versions
    • 3.1 Ultimate John Wraith
  • 4 Other media
    • 4.1 Television
    • 4.2 Film
    • 4.3 Video Games
  • 5 References

[edit] Fictional character biography

Kestrel was a member of Team X and later a test subject of the Weapon X Program. He was part of Team X along with Wolverine, Sabretooth, Maverick, Mastodon, and Silver Fox. Wraith was a powerful teleporter, capable of getting the team out of sticky situations after their job was finished. He had a penchant for explosives, arming himself with shaped charges, explosives that were built to direct the force of their blast in specific directions based on how they are deployed. Like the other members of Team X, he was given an artificial age suppressant so he was likely much older than he looked. His time as a secret agent and a member of the Weapon X program left John somewhat paranoid. His house was a veritable death trap, as was the yard around it – John trusted no one.

He made a habit of keeping his skill a secret from his compatriots as well as his foes, using it only sparingly, and if no one was looking directly at him – unless it was absolutely vital. The only time when his fellow Team-X members found out about his powers was when they went up against Omega Red. John was backup on that mission that Wolverine, Maverick, and Sabretooth ran in Germany to collect a carbonadium synthesizer, and when that trio burst out of the target compound with Red in pursuit, John stalled him with his gun until the others got away. Unfazed, Omega went to wrap John up and tear him to pieces, but John teleported to safety at the last second, with only Wolverine and Omega Red seeing this. There was also a certain animosity between him and Sabretooth. He was about as violent as his fellows from the Weapon X program, but a lot more merciful and didn’t enjoy killing innocents while on a mission, which put him at odds with people like Sabretooth. Sabretooth, once languished for quite a time in John’s basement with several shaped charges strapped to his chest. Unless he had a really good reason to, Sabretooth wouldn’t lift a finger to help John.

Years later, John had tracked Wolverine and the rest of his old teammates down because it seemed that there was a problem with the age suppression factors given to them by Weapon X, as one of their number, Mastodon, had suddenly aged quite rapidly and been reduced into a pile of ooze. With their help, John discovered a list of termination candidates from the Weapon X project. They recognized themselves on the list plus a man named Aldo Ferro, who they knew was a big time mafia chief, Il Topo Siciliano. They tracked Ferro to his secluded island where they discovered Maverick guarding him. Maverick soon changed sides when Ferro, aka. Psi-Borg, revealed that he was the one who used his psi-powers to speed the false memory implantation of the Weapon X subjects. After this fiasco, John hung out with Wolverine for a month or two, but then vanished.

Wraith was later re-recruited into Weapon X by the “Director” and his mission was to recruit Maverick as well. However, Maverick fought back and Wraith was shot and then gutted by his partner Sabretooth, for his failure.

[edit] Powers and abilities

Wraith had the ability to seemingly appear and disappear at will, and take others with him. He also had a life-extending serum in his blood, due to his involvement in the Weapon X program. He liked using “shaped charges,” bombs whose blasts are precisely controlled.

[edit] Other versions

[edit] Ultimate John Wraith

Colonel John Wraith
125px Comic image missing.svg Kestrel (John Wraith)
John Wraith from Ultimate X-Men #2 after being scarred by Wolverine. Art by Tom Raney.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics (Ultimate Marvel Imprint)
First appearance Ultimate X-Men #2
Created by Mark Millar
Adam Kubert
In-story information
Alter ego John Wraith
Team affiliations Alpha Flight
Weapon X
Abilities flight
ability to fire energy blasts teleport

Unlike his mainstream mutant counterpart, the Ultimate Marvel version of John Wraith is a white human. Colonel John Wraith was a mutant-hating commando who was sanctioned by S.H.I.E.L.D. to head the barbaric Weapon X Program. The program was assigned with capturing mutants and forcing them to carry out covert missions for the U.S. Government. The program was co-headed by a Dr. Abraham Cornelius. He and his men (all who have anti-mutant sentiments as well) managed to capture and subject a Canadian para-trooper named James “Lucky Jim” Howlett to experiments which wiped his memories clean and bonded his skeleton with adamantium. They christened him Weapon X and gave him the fake name “Logan”. He and his men enjoyed tormenting Logan by teasing him with bits and pieces of his lost memories and also caging him and shooting him day and night since he could not die due to his mutant healing factor. This conditioned Logan to become the perfect killing machine, or so they thought.

During the Gulf War they were transporting him in the desert preparing him for deployment, but his transport team was ambushed and Wolverine was accidentally set loose. Stumbling across a younger Nick Fury, who was also taken by surprise by the same ambush, Logan rescued him and brought him back to base camp. Colonel Wraith, who was surprised that Wolverine retained his humanity by not killing Fury, ordered his men to shoot and cage Logan once again. He told Fury not to worry about Wolverine since he was nothing more than a living weapon. A couple of years later, Fury returned the favor to Logan by helping him escape from the Weapon X facility. Wraith sent Sabretooth, another one of his mutant agents, after Logan but he came back empty-handed.

Wraith then began capturing other mutants to take Wolverine’s place, mutants including Kurt Wagner, Rogue and Cain Marko. When he received news that Logan was headed back to America (unknown to them as an assassin for Magneto), he and his men again attempted to recapture Logan, only to have their plans foiled by the X-Men. Wraith’s face was scarred by Logan’s claws.

In retribution, Wraith ordered the capture of the X-Men, but failed to catch Logan once again. He had Xavier hooked up to machines to harness the Professor’s telepathy in order to help him find other potential candidates for the program. The mutants imprisoned at the Weapon X facility were tortured on a daily basis, with Rogue having her arm broken regularly and having molten metal poured on Colossus to test his durability. It was also during this time that Beast was mutated even further by Dr. Cornelius. To keep them in line, Wraith had implanted micro explosives into them and if anyone got out of line or tried to escape, it was their friends who would pay the price. The X-Men’s first major mission forced them to split up. One team was assigned to free Nick Fury from when he was captured by a foreign country and the other team was assigned with destroying a new bio weapon that was being developed by terrorists. Jean Grey was given the order to execute one of the scientists they had captured, but she refused. Wraith threatened to detonate Cyclops’ implants for her insubordination, at which point she was forced to kill someone for the very first time.

When General Ross threatened to phase out Weapon X, Wraith used Xavier to dispose of the general with a mental explosion. Wolverine was eventually captured, but unknown to them, he had secretly led the Brotherhood to the facility in an attempt of freeing the imprisoned mutants. When the mutants began to break free, Wraith shot Xavier and attempted to flee in a helicopter. Blob held onto Wraith’s helicopter, but eventually he lost his grip. Storm tried to fry Wraith with lightning, but Nightcrawler saved the Colonel. As a reward, Wraith tried to kill the teleporter. Ironically, Nick Fury ended up gunning down the corrupt Colonel and declared that all the mutants at the facility were free to go.

It wasn’t until later that Wraith was revealed to be alive as the leader of Alpha Flight. It was thanks to Canada that they saved his life by injecting the drug Banshee to restart his body and give him superpowers. He realized his mistakes in the past and joined Department H’s Alpha Flight calling himself the Vindicator. His team went to retrieve Northstar, which led the X-men to find out that Wraith’s team all use Banshee. It wasn’t until after the Ultimatum wave that Rogue sought out Wraith who found out his identity during a previous battle when some of the X-Men went to rescue Northstar. She convinced him to help her kill Magneto. But he needed few more people to help with this mission so he and Rogue went and captured Sabertooth and Juggernaut to reform Weapon X.

[edit] Other media

[edit] Television

  • In the X-Men Evolution episode “Target X,” Omega Red references both Maverick and Kestrel to Wolverine, mentioning “Wraith” during a rundown of his Weapon X adversaries.
  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, Colonel Moss (Voice-played and face-played by Michael Ironside) is based on the Ultimate Marvel version of John Wraith. He heads up the Mutant Response Division and has some vendetta against Wolverine (Moss has claw marks across his face thanks to Logan at some point in the past). In the future, he is a cyborg, who handles putting power dampeners on mutants in prisons. Whenever his biological half is compromised by a telepath, his sentinel mode would take over.

[edit] Film

180px JohnWraith Kestrel (John Wraith)

magnify clip Kestrel (John Wraith) as John Wraith

  • John Wraith is played in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine by of the Black Eyed Peas.[1] This is’s film debut. He used to be in Team X, also consisting of James “Logan” Howlett, Victor Creed, Wade Wilson, Agent Zero, Chris Bradley, and Fred Dukes, under the leadership of William Stryker. Wraith quits the team due to morallity issues (he did not like the killing they did) and became a boxing manager. When Howlett arrives for information about Stryker’s base, he tells him he should ask Dukes, who is now obese and is boxing to keep in shape. Dukes gives him some information, and tells him he should find Remy LeBeau, an escaped captive. Wraith goes with Wolverine which leads them to a casino in Louisiana. Wraith guards the back, only to see Creed. Knowing that he killed Bradley, they battle in the street with Wraith using his ability to strike multiple times. However, Wraith eventually teleports right into Creed’s outstretched claw, killing him. As he dies, Creed remarks that he was “always predictable.”

[edit] Video Games

  • In the X-Men Origins: Wolverine game, Wraith appears voiced by His role is more or less the same in the film. He is also hinted to be Nightcrawler’s father by teleporting a pregnant Raven Darkholme from a facility and asking her what she thinks of the name Kurt. He then leads Logan to Team X colleague Frederick Dukes, then leads him to Remy LeBeau, and covers the back of his casino. Creed sneak attacks and kills Wraith.

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