All that is known of Burke, is that he is part of a rare subspecies of immortal mutants called Externals to which Burke represents Fortitude in the Branches of Eternity.[3][1]

17th and 18th centuries

Burke was burned at the stake in the 17th century.

He was then guillotined in the 18th century.[2]

19th century

At some point in the 19th century, he was hanged.[2]

Forming the Externals

At some point Burke joined or helped form the Externals, also known as High Lords,[4] with his fellow Externals. Together they manipulated events behind the scenes on a global scale, with the soul goal of political and monetary control over the destiny of Earth.[1][5]

Externals (Earth-616) from Gambit Vol 3 14.jpg

Stealing Power

In 1891, Candra decided that she would stop En Sabah Nur's glacier-like crawl to power and took the ability to fold space through her magic, where he used science. For unknown reasons the High Lords did not wish to physically act against her, so once they learned of her plans, Burke and the others had Dr. Nathan Milbury, who worked for En Sabah Nur, deal with Candra instead.[6]

Once Candra made it to En Sabah Nur's sanctum beneath the pyramids outside of Bani Maza in Egypt, thanks to her Thieves Guild and their leader Jean-Luc LeBeau, she began to translate the text. But a time-traveling Gambit, Courier, and Dr. Nathan Milbury stopped her via Milbury's transport ship. When Candra chose to steal the power to fold space another day, she tried to bring down the sanctum, but as the others ran, Milbury quickly overpowered her with his new found metamorphic ability. Defeated she begged him to stop and he revealed Burke and the other four High Lords were the reason for her loss. Candra tried to explain her actions, but Burke and the others knew En Sabah Nor's citadel was not to be touched, his slow rise to power was not to be interrupted. For their greater glory awaited at the Millennial Dawn,[7][8][9] and Candra's actions put that at risk, thus they punished her.[10]

20th century

The Gathering

High Lords (Earth-616) from X-Force Vol 1 10 001

In more recent years, the High Lords were searching for the next External to ascend and their next member. For a time, thanks to Gideon believed it was Roberto da Costa,[11] but when Cannonball came back to life moments after his death, it was sensed by Burke and the other four High Lords, who then believed that Samuel was the next External they had been looking for.[12]

Burke and the others gathered at fellow External and High Lord Nicodemus' chalet in the Swiss Alps, to discuss this new revelation. Though Absalom, who already disliked Gideon, was made more so by the months he wasted on recruiting the wrong person, Saul and Nicodemus listened to Gideon’s plan to get Samuel to join them. They were shocked to learn that he planned to use Crule, but Burke was more concerned that Gideon’s plan would only serve to lead Cable, who was already aware of Gideon being an External, right to them. They further feared that this might also draw the attention of Xavier, his X-Men, X-Factor, or X-Force to learn of their existence.[4][1]

Burke's concerns were correct in that Krule's failure exposed them,[13] but more than that, when Saul helped Gideon kidnap three of Samuel's teammates, they where further revealed. X-Force found the hospitalized Krule, who was more than happy to give up his fellow High Lords.[14]

Legacy Virus

Burke was later infected by the Legacy Virus. Before his death, he used his precognitive abilities to inform his fellow Externals of the future, including of Sam Guthrie, whom he believed to be an External as well, being the "architect of [their] salvation."[3]

The Newer Mutants

Like the other Externals, Burke returned to life yet again; however, this time he was tired of living and uninterested in rejoining Selene, so instead went to live in a chalet in Tonasket, Washington.

There, due to his precognitive powers, he knew that Cable and Armor were coming to inquire about the murderer of Candra.[2] He knew full well who the External killer was, and knew they'ed come for him eventually, but refused to reveal what he knew to them.

As Cable's team left the premises, said assailant appeared, and making good on his promise, he murdered the immortal per their agreement. The latter thanked him as he died;[2] however, his respite was short lived, and he was soon reborn to a couple in Maple Ridge, Canada.[15]

Burke wished to die more than anything, in order to move on and join his deceased loved ones.[2]


Immortal: He is effectively immortal and since Burke's immortality became active after his first death, he no longer ages. Though he can be put out of commission or seemingly destroyed for various periods of time, Burke cannot be killed.[1][2][15]

  • Rapid Healing: Ability to endure injuries (within unknown limits) without lasting harm or even feeling pain. He could apparently regenerate injured or missing cells from even near-fatal injuries.
  • Resurrection: As an immortal, Burke has shown to be able to resurrect himself from being burnt at the stake,[2] beheaded,[2] killed by the Legacy Virus,[3] and had his heart eaten,[16] only to be reborn each time.[15]

Psychic-Link: As an Extertal, he shares a telepathic-link with his fellow Externals that allows them to not only sense each other and where, but can call on each other at will from great distances. He is also able to sense when one rises from their first death and when one is killed by another External.[1][5][17][18][19][20]



Burke can only be killed by having his life-force drained or heart eaten from a fellow External, but if the External fails to due the same to the other Externals he'll come back again.[3][16][15]

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