Powers: Organic Decay
What!?: Touch of Death
Origins: Kevin Ford, or Wither, accidentally killed his father when his powers first manifested. Traumatized, left home, but was found by Danielle Moonstar and enrolled into the Xavier Institute. For a time, he felt like he truly belonged, even developing a crush on fellow student Laurie Collins. Unfortunately, an altercation with the villainous Reavers caused Kevin to lose his temper, forcing Dani to stop him by showing him an image of his worst fear. Terrified of what he might become, especially with Laurie, Kevin left the Institute.
Months later, Kevin was found by Moonstar and Emma Frost in order to fill the last spot on the New Mutant Student Squad. Kevin immediately clashed with his new teammate Elixir, a former Reaver and Laurie Collin’s new love interest. Matter were made worse when the FBI arrested Kevin for the murder of his father, with only the rival Hellion Student Squad willing to rescue him. Bitter towards Moonstar and the New Mutants, Kevin was traded to the Hellions in exchange for Icarus. When Kevin learned about Elixir’s past relationship with his teacher Wolfsbane, he told the entire school in the hopes of breaking-up Elixir and Laurie. On M-Day, Kevin mistakenly thought he had lost his powers and cause Laurie to lose her hand by touching her. Distraught over this and the later death of Laurie, Kevin once again ran away from the Institute. He was afterwards seduced by the witch Selene and helped her attack the mutant island of Utopia. In the final battle, Wither was killed by Elixir.
His Deal: Wither was the New Mutants/Hellions Student Squad resident loner. His touch based powers kept him from physically interacting with anyone. He had a crush on Laurie Collins, a fellow recluse. He had a rivalry with Elixir, whose blond hair, healing powers, and bright personality made him Wither’s opposite. He also resented Danielle Moonstar, feeling that she considered him a threat. The only person he seemed to have a good relationship with was Mercury, who had a crush on him because her metallic skin protected her from his powers. His later turn to evil made him the first New Mutant/Hellion squad member to become a villain, and the first to be killed by a former teammate.
Personality: Kevin Ford was angry, bitter, depressed, and very lost. When he became a mutant, Kevin lost everything he had ever known. Even the peace he found in the Xavier Institute was shattered when he realized his powers still made him a threat to everyone around him. Part of Kevin’s self-loathing comes from the fact that he actually enjoys using his powers. He didn’t want to hate himself. Kevin aimed a lot of his negativity on Elixir, who was dating Laurie Collins, his crush. Kevin proved himself quite petty by exposing Elixir’s previous affair with Wolfsbane just to get Laurie to break-up with him. Kevin’s emotional fragility made him easily manipulated, as he gave into evil faster than even he anticipated.
Fun Fact: Kevin could also see death
First Appearance: New Mutants #3 (2003)
Death: Kevin was killed by Elixir
Greatest Crime: Killing a couple willingly