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Manuel de la Rocha was born to an ancient Castilian noble family which traced its origins back to the days of the Romans. Manuel's X-gene manifested at an atypically young age, giving him the power to manipulate the emotions of others. Manuel's powers prevented him from experiencing normal emotional feedback. Since he could use his powers to produce the desired emotional response to any action, Manuel never learned empathy. Combined with the fact that they manifested at such a young age, his powers effectively turned him into a sociopath. He was sent to the Massachusetts Academy, where he was one of the original students of Emma Frost. Frost's students, who were known as the Hellions, were rivals of Charles Xavier's students, the New Mutants.[9][10]

During his tenure with the Hellions, de la Rocha met and fell in love with the New Mutant known as Magma. Amara eventually left her team and became a member of the Hellions, so that she could be close to Manuel.[11]

Manuel accompanied Amara on a trip back to her home in Nova Roma. During the flight there was a bad storm and the plane crashed in a swamp. Amara and Empath found themselves being drawn closer together during their trek through the wilderness, without Empath even having to use his powers. Amara was wounded while saving Empath from a jaguar. He soon realized that Amara hoped that they would not be found by her father, because of the marriage plans her father had in store for her. Empath, knowing her wound was getting infected, used his powers to upset her so that she caused an earth tremor and raised a small volcano. A few days later, they were found by her father, who had located them due to her earth tremors.[12]

Soon after, while Amara and Empath were still in Nova Roma, Amara was captured by agents of the criminal geneticist known as the High Evolutionary. The agents teleported them to a secret base, planning to remove Amara's powers permanently. The New Mutants teleported to the base before Magneto and the others, hoping to rescue Amara and Empath themselves. They arrived in time to rescue Amara before her powers were taken from her, and they then defeated the High Evolutionary's agents.[13]

The people of Nova Roma came to believe they were not descendants of ancient Rome, but brainwashed kidnap victims of Selene. Empath used his powers to force Amara and the others to continue believing they were Nova Romans, until Firestar, Cannonball, and Warpath visited, shattering his illusion.[14]

Post M-Day[]

Later, Empath joined X-Corporation, where he became the Communications Director for the Corporation's Los Angeles chapter. While there, he had problems with the drug Kick, which could take over a person's mind. After M-Day, all X-Corporation offices were closed down after many attacks. Empath was quickly reassigned to help out at the Mansion as he still retained his powers, but was first assigned by Emma Frost to pick up Magma who had lost her mind after losing her boyfriend.[15]

Amara found it difficult living with Empath, often blaming him for various things that happened at the mansion. During one of the many attacks after M-Day, Empath left of his own free will sometime before the rest of the 198.[16]

Sometime after that, Empath found himself a mind slave of the Red Queen, taking part in the attack on the X-Men with members of the Hellfire Cult. He was beyond loyal to her and followed her orders blindly. Using his powers, he easily manipulated the X-Men to his whim under Red Queen's orders, but was then taken down by Pixie who stabbed him with her soul sword leaving him blind.[17]

Empath was one of the first prisoners in the new base of the X-Men, still very loyal to the Queen; he even noticed her aura when the Sisterhood attacked the X-Men during the night. Magik noticed that Magma still had feelings for Empath, but liked him better blind as he was helpless this way.

Shortly after Illyana gave Empath back his sight, he was put in the same virtual reality as the rest of the X-Men's prisoners in the X-Brig. This virtual reality was shut down when Selene made her attack upon Utopia. During the attack, Empath fought a temporarily resurrected Harry Leland.[18]


Manuel was given a home in the mutant nation of Krakoa. Despite living in a paradise, Manuel continued to abuse his powers, making Catseye attack their fellow Hellions for his own amusement. After being examined by Professor Xavier, he was diagnosed with anti-social and sociopathic tendencies brought about as a side-effect of his mutation. Mr. Sinister convinced the Quiet Council to create a group under his command where troublesome mutants such as Empath might be able to use their powers productively. Manuel was conscripted to this new group, also called the Hellions, and now led by Psylocke.[10] Suspecting Sinister's ulterior motives for the group, Emma Frost charged Manuel with spying on them for the Quiet Council and intervening if Sinister ever went too far. [19]

On their first mission, to destroy one of Sinister's abandoned clone farms, Greycrow warned him not to use his powers on the team, which Manuel ignored, toying with Nanny by amplifying her maternal instincts, focused on Greycrow. Greycrow responded by immediately killing Empath.[3] He was later resurrected by the Five.[4]

Despite being killed for using his powers against the team, Manuel continued to occasionally toy with his teammates, and particularly Greycrow. He was killed again on his next two missions with the team. The first saw them travel to Amenth through Otherworld to prevent Arakko from competing in Saturnyne's challenge. Unbeknownst to the team, Sinister actually intended to plunder the genomes of Arakko's mutants, capturing the genetic material of Tarn the Uncaring and his Locus Vile. Empath survived the Vile, but was killed by Sinister upon making it back to Krakoa, in order for Sinister to cover his tracks.[20] He was killed again during a mission fighting The Right where he nevertheless was instrumental in the mission's success by revealing that Cameron Hodge was in fact a robot duplicate of the original.[21]

Tarn and his Locus Vile would eventually return to avenge Sinister's theft of their genes, easily dismantling the Hellions while Sinister escaped to a secret clone farm. When Tarn pursued him, Sinister revealed his secret; a Sinister-clone spliced with Tarn's genes, giving Sinister access to his godlike powers. While Tarn was forced to retreat due to the actions of Greycrow, the rest of the Hellions realized the extent of Sinister's manipulations, including that he had been blackmailing Psylocke to keep his secrets by holding the consciousness of her dead daughter hostage. The other Hellions agreed to spare Sinister's clone farm, since destroying it meant destroying the back-up of Psylocke's daughter, but acting on his orders from the Quiet Council, Empath used his powers to force Havok to destroy the facility.[22]

While Manuel had continually used his powers to toy with his teammates, he began to feel some remorse for betraying them, despite publicly acting indifferent. While recovering in the Healing Gardens, Greycrow vowed that he would kill Empath once and for all. [23] When he found out they were going on one last mission to rescue Orphan-Maker and Nanny's smiler baby, he tried to rejoin the team, pretending as if nothing had happened, but was coldly rebuffed by Psylocke.[24]

When the mission ended with Orphan-Maker killing two rangers, Manuel helped the X-Men apprehend them and stood watch while his former teammates were put on trial by the council, seemingly unmoved when Nanny and Orphan-Maker were put in the Pit of Exile. After it was over he went back to the original Hellions. While they tried to reject him, Manuel used his powers to make them love him. Despite being showered with praise, Manuel grew increasingly sad, realizing he had alienated the closest thing to friends he had ever had.[25]


Power Grid[27]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Some Training:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Single Type: Medium Range:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Learned


Empathy: Manuel is a powerful empath able to sense, read, and manipulate the state of nearby beings, including their emotional state, intentions, and truthfulness.

Pathokinesis: He can psionically control one emotion at a time, affecting many targets in the same area during that time or controlling the emotional states of multiple victims one at a time. He can change the amount of control he exerts over his victims, such as a simple emotional push or complete emotionless zombies who bow to his every whim.

His interactions with Madelyne Pryor appeared to have altered and enhanced his abilities. His emotion control is much more powerful but requires visual concentration and/or eye-contact. He also uses words to focus his powers. His eyes have always glowed with psionic energy when he uses his powers.


He is bombarded by the emotions of people around him, and that he must focus on a single, strong emotion to protect himself from being overwhelmed.

See Also

Links and References