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Quote1 Only you have been able to resist me... and for that reason, you can no longer be permitted to live! Quote2
Purple Man[src]

Zebediah Killgrave[2] aka the Purple Man[3] was a Croatian Spy turned supervillain. He was exposed to various unnamed chemicals changing his skin to a purple hue. He was altered by an accident and ended up giving him the new ability to control people's minds at his will using pheromones.[3] He began to use his powers for personal gain and developed a cruel nature.[4] He eventually came across Jessica Jones whom he kept as his personal sex slave for several months.[5]


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.[3]

Kara Killgrave[]

Although Killgrave never confirmed the story, a woman named Melanie met Killgrave in a bar in Buffalo, New York. Taken with Melanie's beauty, on a whim Killgrave used his superhuman power to induce her to marry him. Eventually, Killgrave 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.[6][7] 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.[8][9]

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 the master of the world. However, he was instead defeated by the crime-fighter Daredevil, whose willpower 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.[3]

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.[4]

Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) from X-Man Vol 1 36 0001

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.[10] Put on trial for these crimes, Glenn committed suicide.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

The Kingpin[]

Wilson Fisk (Earth-616) and Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) from Marvel Team-Up Annual Vol 1 4 001

Vs. 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 setting 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 earplugs 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.[15]

Emperor Doom[]

Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) and Victor von Doom (Earth-616) from Marvel Graphic Novel Emperor Doom - Starring the Mighty Avengers Vol 1 1 001

Trapped in the psycho-prism

But Killgrave somehow regained his freedom. Later, while relaxing on an island in French 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 everyone 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.

Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) and Victor von Doom (Earth-616) from Marvel Graphic Novel Emperor Doom - Starring the Mighty Avengers Vol 1 1 002

Indomitable will of Doom

Due to his unusual physiology, the Avenger Wonder Man was unaffected 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 Killgrave and freeing the world from Doom's control.[16]


Killgrave was revealed as the mastermind behind X-Man (Nate Grey)'s sudden celebrity status as a miracle worker.[17] He had been subtly manipulating people into thinking of X-Man as a messianic figure.[18] He believed that by doing this Nate would use his vast mutant powers to improve the planet. The plan ultimately failed when Nate learned the truth and lost his confidence, thus reducing his power, leaving Killgrave to slink back once more into hiding.[19]

Jessica Jones[]

Jessica Jones (Earth-616) Alias Vol 1 25 001

Meeting Jessica

After being presumed dead, he resurfaced. Jessica Jones, then known as the superhero Jewel, found a fight breaking out in a restaurant, and discovered that Killgrave was responsible. Killgrave then overpowered Jessica's will and told her to "take care of the police" so that he could finish his meal in peace, which she did. He took Jessica 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.[5] 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. During this period, Killgrave eventually got so angry at a front-page report on how Daredevil saved New York City, that he sent Jessica to beat him up.[20]

Unfortunately for Purple Man, Jessica mistook the Scarlet Witch for Daredevil. Jessica was knocked out by the Avengers, who only learned afterward that she was brainwashed.[21] They asked Jean Grey to alter her mind so that Killgrave would no longer be in control and 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.[22]

Return of the Purple Man[]

Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) from Alias Vol 1 28 0001

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.[5] Jessica traveled 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.[21] 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 returned to Kim's home she learned there had been a riot at the Raft and Killgrave had escaped. After a night at Scott's she awoke to find ants swarming over Scott's dead body.[22] Killgrave was there and commented on the aesthetics of "Jessica's comic book".

Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) from Alias Vol 1 28

Jessica accused Killgrave of murdering Scott, and he admitted that he was "the bad guy", though he revealed that he only made Jessica see Scott as being dead, when in fact Scott was alive. He then made Jessica see her "worst nightmare", which was Scott engaged in a ménage a trois with Ms. Marvel and Luke Cage. To get the attention of other heroes he told everyone on the street to "beat up the person to their left until that person is dead". The street erupted in a mass of mob violence. Killgrave watched, and Jessica experienced a vision of Jean Grey, who explained to her that she implanted "a psychic defense trigger" in Jessica's mind after her "first Killgrave incident", and that Jessica could stop Killgrave if she chose to. Jean vanished moments before the Avengers arrived, and Killgrave instructed Jessica to kill the superhero of her choice, but Jessica turned on Killgrave and beat him savagely instead. In the aftermath of the brawl, Jessica looked on as Killgrave's body was carried away from the scene before she was approached by Scott, who explained that Killgrave escaped The Raft after Carnage set off an explosion.[23]

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;[24] 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.[25]


Killgrave targeted the Thunderbolts.[26] He trained an unknown person to be the new Swordsman, and had his powers amplified by Over-Mind's powers.[27]

He had the Swordsman appear to betray him, even rescuing Songbird, only to then attack Atlas and Mach IV.[28][29] Killgrave then gained control of a number of other heroes and used them as 'cannon fodder' when the Thunderbolts regrouped. While forced to use his gift of strategy Captain America retained enough presence of mind to try to trick Killgrave into giving him commands that would free Cap to act as he wished.[30] Once again, he was defeated, putting an end to his so-called 'Purple Reign'.[31]

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.[32]


Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) from Super-Villain Team-Up MODOK's 11 Vol 1 1

Controlling the Guards

Killgrave took over a Las Vegas Casino using his powers. Mentallo was also at the Casino using his powers to win big. Killgrave did not appreciate him stealing cash from him. Mentallo offered that they team up, but Killgrave refused and ordered his men to kill him. But Mentallo was revealed to be a psychic illusion and the bullets just went straight through it, as he was actually getting away in his car.[33]

Hood's Gang[]

He was also recruited to join The Hood's Gang, offered "seeding money" to use as funds to expand the empire.[34]

Back in the the Raft[]

Killgrave is later incarcerated in 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.[35] 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.[36]

Fear Itself[]

Killgrave was one of the inmates are freed from the Raft when Juggernaut into Kuurth, Breaker of Stone.[37] Before escaping, 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.[38] He was 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.[39] When the heroes defeated the inmates, the Purple Man set them against each other.[40]

Villains for Hire[]

Villains for Hire Vol 1 1 Textless

Villains for Hire

Killgrave later tried to form a new criminal empire with the help of Headhunter, Avalanche, Shocker, Death-Stalker, and Scourge.[41] Together they battled Misty Knight's Crew.[42] He recruited members of of her crew to his side,[43] but the team was defeated and disbanded.[44]

Purple Children[]

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.[45]

Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) from Daredevil Vol 4 8

Purple Man's body was found and taken to a morgue; however, his healing abilities brought him back from the dead. 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.[46] 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 arrested.[47]

Having escaped custody, Killgrave started kidnapping the Purple Children in order to serve as batteries for a machine capable of extending his reach to a global level. The last two children managed to reach Daredevil and ask him for help. When they tracked down Killgrave, the children rushed into action, unwittingly giving away their presence, which allowed him to take control of Daredevil.[48] By facing his inner demons, Daredevil broke free of the Purple Man's control and beat him up.[49] In a misguided attempt to reward Daredevil, the Purple Children used their father's machine to make the entire world forget his secret identity. They escaped, and left the Purple Man tied up. He was subsequently taken away by authorities.[50]

Returning to Jessica Jones[]

Following S.H.I.E.L.D.'s dismantlement, the Purple Man escaped custody and sought out Jessica Jones. After temporarily taking over the body of her daughter, Dani Jones-Cage, to alert Jessica of his intentions, Killgrave approached her at her temporary headquarters, the abandoned Hauser's Bakery,[51] and attempted to open up to her, claiming that he wanted to be different and that he needed her help to do it. Jessica's allies gunned him down, and in retaliation, the Purple Man caused all bystanders in the area to riot, giving him a chance to recover and escape.[51] Jessica decided to follow Killgrave's way, and agreed to listen to him. He lured Jessica to her blown-up office while taking control of Captain Marvel.[52] Once there, Killgrave confessed his belief that he could be some kind of god. Jessica argued that he could use his powers to help the world instead of creating chaos. Because of this, Killgrave offered Jessica to do whatever she wanted in order to make the world better.[53] Instead, Jessica confronted Killgrave for the abuse he forced her to endure and told him off. After admitting that Jessica was right, the Purple Man simply left her office claiming that he knew what he needed to do. While walking down the street, he dropped dead abruptly.[54]

Purple Daughter[]

To exact revenge on his father, Benjamin Killgrave partnered with his siblings, the Purple Children, to steal their father's corpse after his death and manipulate the mind of Captain Marvel into thinking she had thrown it into the Sun.[55]

Benjamin then learned that if he mixed his blood with his father's, he could duplicate the same abilities more or less by injecting people with the mixture or use it in gaseous form. Once his father self-resurrected, he began to drug him, leaving him in a induced coma so that he could drain him of his blood.[56]

He kept his father unconscious for months, but realized if he mixed too much of his blood with his it would turn people purple. Zebediah, with what little strength he had, was able to get a sample of the mixed cocktail from his son and took possession of a delivery guy, who injected Dani Jones-Cage, causing her skin to turn purple to in order to get her mother, Jessica Jones', attention.[57]

Jessica feared that since her daughter had developed purple skin, that maybe her true father was Zebediah, so she started to poke around for clues. This led to a confrontation between she and Benjamin's sister, Kara, who was under Benjamin's influence. After Jessica found the address of where all the clues pointed to, she was stopped by the Purple Children in order to keep her safe from Benjamin's grasp, but she was able to get through them with the help of Emma Frost.

Benjamin gained the upper hand by injecting Emma with the blood compound, turning her against Jessica, who used a Neural Disruptor to keep her safe from being possessed. Jessica knocked Emma out, then took on a whole crowd of people, and also her possessed husband, before she made it to the next room where she met Benjamin for the first time and saw his father lying in a bed unconscious. Benjamin explained to her who he was, as Cage came up behind her and destroyed the disruptor, rendering her unconscious.[56]

Benjamin then created a world of illusion where he was a little boy with Luke and Jessica as his parents. He made this up as he did not have this kind of life as a child. The ruse played out almost perfectly until Benjamin was confronted by his siblings stating that this was not what they agreed to. He angrily slammed the front door on them and went back to the false reality, but Jessica was able to snap out of it when she was able to find the comatose body of Emma locked behind a closed door.

She then fixed the disruptor, which led to her being contacted by Zebediah himself. He explained the entire story and told her the only way out was for her to allow him to take over her body. Agreeing to his proposal led to Jessica breaking out of the illusion and, as Killgrave had control over her, he decided the best course of action was to kill Benjamin. After a fight between the two, Jessica was able to break free of Zebediah's control due to the intervention of Kara and her siblings keeping Zebediah asleep. Carol managed to come there to take Zebediah to the Raft, but Benjamin escaped.[57]

Devil's Reign[]

The Kingpin pulled Zebediah out of prison and into his own personal cell. Wilson told him about how power was about knowledge and not physical strength. He then mentioned how he had nothing to use against him, to which Zebediah responded that he didn't need anyone. He told Kingpin to open the cell door, and Wilson did so and grabbed Zebediah by the throat.[58]


Power Grid[64]
:Category:Power Grid/Fighting Skills/Poor:Category:Power Grid/Energy Projection/Single Type: Short Range:Category:Power Grid/Durability/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Speed/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Strength/Normal:Category:Power Grid/Intelligence/Normal


Mind Control via Pheromones: Killgrave possesses the power to sap people's wills, allowing him to command people by simple verbal suggestion. His power originates in his skin cells, which have been mutagenically altered. The sites of pheromone production and other secretions in his deep dermis produce numerous psychoactive chemicals, which, when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, induce in that individual an overwhelming monomania that renders him or her completely without self. His ability also allows him to alter a person's perceptions. Forcing them to see and experience anything he wants with his words. Killgrave can simultaneously subjugate as many people as are present within the range of the psychoactive chemicals he exudes. He has been known to enthrall crowds of over 100 people.[59] Nick Fury's intel classified him as power level 10.[60]

Zebediah Killgrave (Earth-616) from Daredevil Yellow Vol 1 6

Killgrave using his powers

Accelerated Healing Factor: Killgrave's body has also been mutated so that he is able to recover rapidly from trauma and to heal from severe injuries. In at least one instance, he entered a death-like state while his body healed itself. One example of this ability is when he was trapped in a power prism, and when Namor smashed it apparently killing Killgrave, but he turned out to be alive and well.[16] Another example is when he was forced by his own children to walk into a train and kill himself outright, he recovered from this forced suicide.[46]


Charisma: Killgrave was a very charismatic individual, which helps him make more effective use of his powers.[citation needed]

Surprisingly for a former spy, the Purple Man had very poor fighting skills and relied on his minions to fight his enemies for him.[citation needed]


Time and Distance: The effects only last as long as he is physically present. When he departs, the level of chemicals is reduced within his victims at various rates (dependent upon their metabolisms), and then the victims regain full cognizance of self.[61]

Indomitable Will: Certain individuals with exceptional will-power such as Captain America,[30] Daredevil,[3] Dr. Doom,[16] and Kingpin,[15] are able to resist Killgrave's charm. Individuals like Jessica Jones have been trained to resist his powers.[23]

Telepaths: beings with a certain level of psychic power are also able to resist his powers.[33]

Different Physiology: Certain beings with altered metabolic processes e.g. (Wonder Man) have proven able to resist his power.[16]

Non-Breathing Beings: Killgrave's power is caused by biological secretion of pheromones in his skin, affecting people as a nerve gas, meaning that non-breathing characters like robots are immune.[16][61]

Requirement of Verbal Commands: The Purple Man's victims have to listen to Killgrave's verbal commands for his powers to have an effect.[61] Kingpin once reasoned that a person with good earplugs would be immune to his power, and demonstrated it.[15] In another instance, Daredevil managed to prevent Killgrave from taking control of policemen by blasting music loud enough it muffled his voice.[47]


  • Killgrave has been shown to seemingly break the fourth wall, in a conversation with Jessica Jones he referred to her as his 'favourite comic book character', addressed their conversation as if he was writing a scene and made allusions to 'your readers', 'flipping to the back of the book', 'the writer', 'buying the next issue', 'continuity' and 'page one' suggesting he may truly be aware that he exists as a comic book character although it may have simply been Killgrave messing with Jessica or due to his mental instability.[62]
  • At one point, Iron Fist assumed that the Purple Man's power could affect victims who see and hear the Purple Man on television. This was because the Purple Man was controlling a crowd in a theater and, when Iron First left the building, people outside were under the Purple Man's control. However, there are other explanations: The theater was evacuated soon before that, and the people outside could easily be those who were in the theater before.[15]

See Also

Links and References


  1. The Variants #4
  2. Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide #2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Daredevil #4
  4. 4.0 4.1 Daredevil #88
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Alias #24
  6. Alpha Flight #41
  7. Alpha Flight #53
  8. Alpha Flight #62
  9. Alpha Flight #69
  10. Daredevil #89
  11. Daredevil #150
  12. Daredevil #147
  13. Daredevil #149
  14. Daredevil #154
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Marvel Team-Up Annual #4
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Marvel Graphic Novel: Emperor Doom — Starring the Mighty Avengers #1
  17. X-Man #34
  18. X-Man #3536
  19. X-Man #5657
  20. Alias #25
  21. 21.0 21.1 Alias #26
  22. 22.0 22.1 Alias #27
  23. 23.0 23.1 Alias #28
  24. New Avengers #1
  25. New Avengers #23
  26. New Thunderbolts #12
  27. New Thunderbolts #4
  28. New Thunderbolts #67
  29. New Thunderbolts #910
  30. 30.0 30.1 New Thunderbolts #12
  31. New Thunderbolts #17
  32. Civil War: Choosing Sides #1
  33. 33.0 33.1 Super-Villain Team-Up MODOK's 11 #1
  34. New Avengers #35
  35. New Avengers Annual #2
  36. Thunderbolts #147
  37. Fear Itself: The Home Front #2
  38. Heroes for Hire (Vol. 3) #9
  39. Heroes for Hire (Vol. 3) #10
  40. Heroes for Hire (Vol. 3) #11
  41. Villains for Hire #0.1
  42. Villains for Hire #12
  43. Villains for Hire #3
  44. Villains for Hire #4
  45. Daredevil (Vol. 4) #8
  46. 46.0 46.1 Daredevil (Vol. 4) #9
  47. 47.0 47.1 Daredevil (Vol. 4) #10
  48. Daredevil (Vol. 5) #17
  49. Daredevil (Vol. 5) #19
  50. Daredevil (Vol. 5) #20
  51. 51.0 51.1 Jessica Jones (Vol. 2) #14
  52. Jessica Jones (Vol. 2) #15
  53. Jessica Jones (Vol. 2) #16
  54. Jessica Jones (Vol. 2) #17
  55. Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter - Marvel Digital Original #1
  56. 56.0 56.1 Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter - Marvel Digital Original #2
  57. 57.0 57.1 Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter - Marvel Digital Original #3
  58. Devil's Reign #1
  59. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #8
  60. Secret War: From the Files of Nick Fury #1
  61. 61.0 61.1 61.2 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Vol. 2) #10
  62. Alias #2628
  63. Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide #2
  64. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Vol 1 9