Purple Man

Purple Man

Zebediah Killgrave

Prime Marvel Universe

Purple Man's History

Early Life

According to his own account, Zebediah Killgrave was a spy working for the Soviet bloc who was assigned to invade an American army ordnance depot and steal a sample of an experimental nerve gas. A military guard came upon Killgrave and fired a shot at him, which accidentally hit a canister of the nerve gas. The contents of the canister poured out, thoroughly drenching Killgrave, impregnating his skin and indelibly dying him purple. Caught outright and questioned, Killgrave offered a weak, inadequate alibi to his captors. Much to his surprise, he was believed and released. Several more incidents of this nature demonstrated that the nerve gas had given Killgrave the superhuman ability to command the wills of other people. Calling himself the Purple Man, Killgrave embarked on a criminal career.

Kara Killgrave

Although Killgrave never confirmed the story, a woman named Melanie met Kiligrave in a bar in Buffalo, New York. Taken with Melanie?s beauty, on a whim Kiligrave used his superhuman power to induce her to marry him. Eventually, Kiligrave truly fell in love with Melanie and decided to free her from his mental control in the hope that she would genuinely love him as well. Instead, horrified at what he had done to her, she fled to Toronto, Canada. Killgrave never went after her, and months after leaving him, Melanie gave birth to his daughter Kara. When Kara turned thirteen, her skin turned purple and she developed superhuman powers similar to the Purple Man?s. Melanie then told her that her father was the Purple Man. Kara, calling herself the Purple Girl, became associated with Alpha Flight, the Canadian team of superhuman adventurers.

Purple Man

Having come to New York City, the Purple Man used his superhuman ability to force people to do whatever he wished, and even robbed a bank by this means. The Purple Man now intended to use his power to become master of the world. However, he was instead defeated by the crime-fighter Daredevil, whose will power was strong enough to enable him to resist Killgrave?s power. Killgrave was sent to prison, but he finally escaped and made San Francisco, California, his base of operations.

There he built himself a criminal empire, but he was again opposed and defeated by Daredevil. This time, though, Killgrave was not sent to prison. His criminal empire in San Francisco apparently collapsed, and Killgrave turned up in New York City once more.

There he used his power to coerce Maxwell Glenn, head of Glenn Industries, into committing various crimes on his behalf, as the first major step in the Purple Man?s plan to create a financial empire for himself. Put on trial for these crimes, Glenn committed suicide. Daredevil had learned that Killgrave had forced Glenn to become a criminal, and the crime fighter had a confrontation with the Purple Man at Ryker's Island Prison. Killgrave realized that Daredevil was blind and correctly guessed that he was Matthew Murdock. Their confrontation ended when Killgrave plunged into the sea and seemingly drowned. Killgrave survived, but the experience of this latest defeat radically altered his outlook on life. He realized that there was no need for him to engage in criminal conspiracies and battles with costumed crime fighters since he could get anything he wanted by using his power. Therefore, Killgrave retired from crime and became a gentleman of leisure.

The Kingpin

One day a car being used by two underlings of the Kingpin of Crime to make a major delivery of illegal narcotics accidentally collided with Killgrave?s purple Rolls Royce on a New York City street. Angered, Killgrave used his power to compel the two criminals to fight each other; the police arrived and confiscated the heroin. The Kingpin had Killgrave brought to him, and the Kingpin too proved to have the strength of will necessary to resist the Purple Man?s power. The Kingpin forced the Purple Man to aid him in selling a death trap for various New York-based costumed crime fighters. Due to the increase in the Purple Man's power over time, plus the use of a sound system that amplified his voice, not even Daredevil could resist any longer. However, wearing ear plugs so he could not hear the Purple Man's voice, the Moon Knight knocked the Purple Man unconscious. Killgrave was then taken into police custody.

Emperor Doom

But Killgrave somehow regained his freedom. Later, while relaxing on an island in Polynesia, he was captured by Doctor Doom, who imprisoned Killgrave within a gigantic psycho-prism he had constructed on Doom Island. Doom magnified the Purple Man's will-sapping power and manipulated it to make himself the master of Earth, also using the help of Sub-Mariner. Virtually every one on Earth was compelled by the Purple Man?s power to obey Doom, and he succeeded in capturing a number of crime fighting superheroes. The Sub-Mariner himself was also enslaved.

Due to his unusual physiology, the Avenger Wonder Man was unaffected, however, and was able to free Captain America from Doom's mental control, who in turn freed Hawkeye, Iron Man and the Wasp. Together they freed the other captured superheroes. Infuriated at having been enslaved by Doom, the Sub-Mariner smashed the psycho-prism, thereby both killing Kiligrave and freeing the world from Doom's control.


Killgrave was revealed that he was the mastermind behind X-Man (Nate Grey)'s sudden celebrity status as a miracle worker. He had been subtly manipulating people into thinking X-Man as a messianic figure. He believed that by doing this Nate would use his vast mutant powers to improve the planet. The plan ultimately fails when Nate learned the truth and lost his confidence, thus reducing his power Killgrave goes once more into hiding.

Jessica Jones

After being presumed dead, he resurfaced. The superhero Jewel (Jessica Jones) found a fight breaking out in a restaurant, and discovered that Killgrave had told the men to fight. Killgrave then overpowered Jessica's will and told her to "take care of the police" so that he can finish his meal, which she did. He took Jessica Jones, then known as the superhero Jewel, prisoner at a five-star hotel. She stayed in his control for a period of eight months, often being made to beg for him to do with her what he did with college girls he got off the street. He made her believe her life was a comic book, with an audience of loyal readers, and that every time he made her strip for him, she was taking her clothes off for them. Killgrave eventually got so angry at a front-page report on how Daredevil saved New York City, and sent Jessica off .

She mistakes the Scarlet Witch for Daredevil. Jessica was knocked out by the Avengers, only learning afterwards she was brainwashed. They asked Jean Grey to alter her mind so that Killgrave could not take control of her again. When she awoke, the whole incident traumatized her to the point where she quit the superhero career, to become a private investigator.

Return of the Purple Man

Jessica Jones was contacted by Kim Rourke, who wants to hire Jessica to find a man named Killgrave. When she visited Kim's home she found a large gathering she explained that 34 people were recently killed in a restaurant when Killgrave told them to stop breathing. But during this time Killgrave was locked away on the Raft. Jessica travelled to The Raft off the coast of Ryker's Island and met with Clay Quartermain, who escorted her through the prison to Killgrave's holding cell She questioned Killgrave while Quartermain watched from a security booth. Killgrave claimed that Jessica and he are simply characters in a comic book, but that he cannot escape because he is not the writer. Jessica demanded that he admit to just one of the many murders he was never charged with, but Killgrave continued to insist that she is a character in a story, and that she craves the approval of her readers. Finally she gave up and left However when she return to Kim's home she learned their had been a riot at the Raft and Killgrave had escaped. After a night at Scott she awoke to find ants swarming over Scott's dead body. Killgrave was their and commented on the aesthetics of "Jessica's comic book." Jessica accused Killgrave of murdering Scott, and he admitted that he is "the bad guy," though he revealed that he only made Jessica see Scott as being dead, when in fact Scott is alive. He then makes Jessica see her "worst nightmare," which is Scott engaged in a m´┐Żnage a trois with Miss Marvel and Luke Cage. To get the attention of other heroes he tells everyone on the street to "beat up the person to their left until that person is dead." The street erupts in a mass of mob violence. Killgrave watched, and Jessica experiences a vision of Jean Grey, who explains to hero that she implanted "a psychic defense trigger" in Jessica's mind after her "first Killgrave incident," and that Jessica can stop Killgrave if she chooses to.Jean vanishes moments before the Avengers arrived, and Killgrave instructs Jessica to kill the superhero of her choice, but Jessica turned on Killgrave and beats him savagely instead. In the aftermath of the brawl, Jessica looks on as Killgrave's body is carried away from the scene before she is approached by Scott, who explains that Killgrave escaped The Raft after Carnage set off an explosion.

Attack on Luke Cage

When Electro created a riot at the Raft. Killgrave tried to mind control Luke Cage into killing the Avengers, and threatened his wife and the unborn child. However Killgrave was given drugs in his food that would negate his powers. Luke Cage then beat him to a pulp in response to his demands.


Killgrave targeted the Thunderbolts. He trained an unknown person to be the new Swordsman, and had his powers amplified by the Overmind. He had the Swordsman appear to betray him, even rescuing Songbird, only to then attack Atlas and Mach IV. Killgrave then gained control of a number of other heroes and used them as 'cannon fodder' when the Thunderbolts regrouped. Once again, he was defeated, putting an end to his so-called 'Purple Reign'.

Civil War

Killgrave was able to use the Civil War incident to take over a squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and hovercraft to escape to Canada. He was stopped by U.S. Agent who managed to push him off the craft, injuring him in the process.

Killgrave later took over a casino in Las Vegas. He was also recruited to join The Hood's Hood's Gang, offered "seeding money" to use as funds to expand the empire.

Back in the the Raft

Killgrave is later incarcerated in the the Raft. He was one of the inmates used by the Avengers Academy as part of their scared straight program. Their instructor Tigra warned the students not to look at his face or read his lips. Hazmat however accidentally causes a power outage. Allowing Killgrave and group of mind controlled inmates to escape. They come across a lone Luke Cage, now leader of the Thunderbolts. Cage easily defeats Killgrave and the inmates, revealing that the nanites used to control the Thunderbolts also shield him from Killgrave's influence.

Fear Itself

Killgrave was one of the inmates are freed from the Raft when Juggernaut into Kurrth, Breaker of Stone. Before escaping, the he attempted to kill a comatose Puppet Master who was being kept in the infirmary, it was revealed he was behind Puppet Master's manipulation of the Heroes for Hire. He is prevented from killing the Puppet Master by Heroes for Hire operatives Elektra and the Shroud, but Killgrave attacked the pair with a group of mind controlled inmates. When the heroes defeat the inmates, the Purple Man sets them both against each other.

Villains for Hire

Killgrave later tried to form a new criminal empire with the help of Headhunter, Avalanche, Shocker, Death-Stalker, and Scourge.

Purple Man

Killgrave started gathering the numerous children he had with women under his influence over the years, as he wanted to use them to rule nations, as well as to finally know unconditional love. However, his Purple Children turned on him and united their will to force Purple Man into walking in front of a train and kill himself.

Purple Man's body was found and taken to a morgue; however, his healing abilities brought him back from the death. When the SFPD responded to the Purple Children's rampage, Zebediah escaped from the police station. He later found Daredevil in a gutter, who had recently been emotionally overpowered by the Purple Children. Zebediah started beating him up, until Daredevil managed to recover and chase him off.

The Purple Man later followed the spoor of his children to an arcade, where he stealthily started taking them down, one by one. Daredevil was able to save the children, and help the police officers surrounding the arcade enter by turning up the volume of the music, so Purple Man's commands wouldn't be heard. Daredevil then knocked out Zebediah, so he could be put under custody.