Cal'syee Neramani
Cal'syee Neramani / Deathbird.
Textless cover of New Mutants vol. 4 #5
(January 2020).
Art by Rod Reis.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMs. Marvel #9
(September 1977)
Created byChris Claremont (writer)
John Byrne (artist)
Dave Cockrum (artist)[1][2][3]
In-story information
Alter egoCal'syee Neramani
SpeciesShi'ar mutant
Team affiliationsHorsemen of Apocalypse
Shi'ar Imperium
The Brood
Notable aliasesDeathbird
  • Superhuman strength, stamina, and sturdiness
  • Razor-sharp talons
  • Flight via wings
  • Expert hand-to-hand combatant

Deathbird (Cal'syee Neramani) is a character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Dave Cockrum, the character first appeared in Ms. Marvel #9 (September 1977).[4] Cal'syee Neraman is part of a segment of the extraterrestrial Shi'ar race with a mutation.[5] She is a supervillain known under the codename Deathbird.[6]

Deathbird was born into the noble family of the Shi'ar Empire.[7] She is the banished sister of the Shi'ar empress Lilandra Neramani.[8] Deathbird seeks to overthrow her sister to gain access to the throne.[9] She is a recurring antagonist of the superhero Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel.[10]

Publication history

Deathbird debuted in Ms. Marvel #9 (September 1977), created by writer Chris Claremont and artists John Byrne and Dave Cockrum.[11] She later appeared in the 1981 Uncanny X-Men series.[12] She appeared in the 2020 New Mutant series.[13] She appeared in the 2022 Secret X-Men one-shot.[14]

Fictional character biography

Deathbird's first appearance, in Ms. Marvel (vol. 1) #9 (1977).

Deathbird was born Cal'syee Neramani to the ruling house of the Shi'ar Imperium on the Aerie (now known as Chandilar), native world of the Shi'ar. Her name was stripped from her after it was prophesied that she was destined to commit great evil. She was exiled after brutally murdering both her mother and an unnamed sister.[15][16]

During this exile, she traveled on Earth and became an associate of MODOK and A.I.M. at some point. Following AIM's orders, she battled Ms. Marvel in New York one evening after Carol Danver's Park Avenue penthouse was destroyed by a bomb. The skirmish was interrupted after Deathbird severely injured the superhero, who became distracted trying to save the lives of two small children.[17] It later resumed when Carol, going undercover, discovered that AIM had a secret headquarters underneath Alden's Department Store. The battle between the two seemingly ended with Deathbird's demise and MODOK's escape after betraying her. Whether Deathbird sought revenge on AIM remains unknown. She did battle Hawkeye while still on Earth.[18] She battles Ms. Marvel again.[19]

Some time later, her younger sister Lilandra became Majestrix of the Empire following the events that left their brother, D'Ken, comatose. Deathbird decided to take the throne for herself, and allied with the councilman Samedar, alien parasites called the Brood, and renegade members of the Imperial Guard in an attempted coup.[20] The X-Men defeated her and her allies, but not before being infected by the Brood (although they were ultimately cured thanks to the efforts of Danvers and the Acanti Soulsinger). She later succeeded in deposing Lilandra with the aid of the Brood, and took the throne for herself.[21] As ruler of the Shi'ar Empire, she contended with the Starjammers and Excalibur, and sought to capture Rachel Summers, but was nearly killed by Lilandra in combat.[22]

Some time later War Skrulls impersonating Charles Xavier and the Starjammers aided Lilandra in deposing Deathbird and restoring her to the throne. With Lila Cheney's help, she and the X-Men defeated the War Skrulls, but Deathbird ceded the empire back to Lilandra, since she had grown bored of the bureaucracy.[23]

Deathbird later came to her sister's aid during the short Kree-Shi'ar War, assassinating Kree leaders Ael-Dann and Dar-Benn.[24] She was captured by Hawkeye in his guise as Goliath.[25] She was later released and granted dominion over the conquered Kree Empire as viceroy, and also made praetor (leader) of the Kree Starforce by Lilandra.[26] She led the Starforce in a confrontation with Quasar.[27] The Kree seem to have since become independent once more.

Romance with Bishop

When the Shi'ar asked for the X-Men's help against the invading Phalanx, who had already reached their throne-world Chandilar, the X-Men allied themselves with Deathbird. They managed to fend off a Phalanx assault on the Shi'ar Empire, and during the conflict, Deathbird and the X-Man Bishop forged a warrior's respect for each other. Deathbird was amazed that the Earth mutant showed no fear and stood up to her, and they also seemed physically attracted to each other.[28]

As a gesture of honor, Deathbird escorted the mutants back to Earth, but their ship was inexplicably destroyed in transit.[29] Deathbird and an injured Bishop escaped using a private ship.[30] She initially convinced Bishop that he was paralyzed due to his injuries and that, of all the X-Men, only he survived.[31] However, not before long, Bishop realized that he was not injured but that Deathbird was using the lab equipment to hold him in stasis.[32] The craft was soon attacked, and Bishop convinced her to release him so that they could deal with the matter together. Eventually, they bonded and soon became romantically involved.[33]

During their journeys, the two were accidentally transported to an alternate future Earth that was ruled by the evil daughter of Shi'ar Empress Lilandra and Charles Xavier. Bishop and Deathbird helped the rebels in opposing her and Deathbird defeated her niece in a duel. She could have slain her, and every instinct told her to do so, but she let her live. The heroes of the liberated Earth helped Bishop and Deathbird return to their own time, and they continued their quest to get home.[34]

Betrayal and theorized heritage

Cover of Bishop: The Last X-Man #15 (2000). Art by Georges Jeanty & Art Thibert.

Eventually, Bishop and Deathbird return to the Sol System and encountered the inert planetary mass of the Living Monolith on their way to Terra Firma. Curious, the two land their craft and investigate the man-shaped planet. Suddenly Deathbird betrayed Bishop to a cadre of Skrulls and he was returned to Earth to implement the ultimate plans of the Skrulls' ally, Apocalypse.[35] Deathbird was herself betrayed and transformed by Apocalypse into one of his Horsemen.[36] With the title of War, Deathbird helped Apocalypse assemble the X-Men he referred to as "the Twelve."[37][38] Apocalypse was defeated, however, and Deathbird and the Horsemen scattered.[39]

Deathbird and Bishop later run into each other during the Maximum Security event. Earth had been made a prison planet, with an energy barrier around the solar system, and Deathbird had the key to unlocking it. Bishop confronts her, and the two fight. Deathbird dares Bishop to kill her, before opening an airlock and getting sucked out into space. Bishop was able to close the airlock, and admits to himself that he hates her.[40]

Some time later a globetrotting X-Men team led by Storm exile themselves from their home and teammates to find Destiny's thirteen diaries since none like the idea of having their destinies defined.[41] This team would recruits new members Heather Cameron and her brother Davis.[42] During a mission to infiltrate the ship of the intergalactic warlord Khan, Heather's appearance changes to resemble the alien Shi'ar race, and it was theorized that she and Davis had some Shi'ar heritage, Jean Grey noting that the cranial markings on her head and the crest of feathers she had manifested indicated Heather is of Shi'ar royal ancestry.[43] An entry from Destiny's diary seems to imply that at least Heather was "Mothered by War," which happened to be Deathbird's Horseman moniker while she was serving Apocalypse. The entry shows a picture of Deathbird facing off some of the X-Treme team members (Storm, Bishop, Thunderbird and Lifeguard in her Shi'ar appearance).[44]

The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire

Deathbird was rescued by the Imperial Guard; Lilandra imprisoned her because she posed a threat to her rule.[volume & issue needed] Vulcan is captured by the palace guard as he enters Shi'ar territory on his quest for vengeance against the entire Shi'ar race.[volume & issue needed] He is incarcerated in the same maximum security installation that houses Deathbird.[volume & issue needed] Vulcan is released by a member of a secret order that wishes D'Ken to lead the Shi'ar once more; Vulcan releases Deathbird.[volume & issue needed]

Vulcan is enthralled by Deathbird, and they become romantically involved. He promises to put his quest for vengeance on hold.[volume & issue needed] Deathbird convinces Vulcan to finish the healing process that the Shi'ar members of the secret order had begun on D'Ken, who remained in a coma since the M'Kraan Crystal incident.[volume & issue needed] When D'Ken discerns Vulcan's feelings for Deathbird, he invokes an ancient Shi'ar custom and invites Vulcan to marry Deathbird and become part of Shi'ar royalty.[45]

Vulcan and Deathbird are married in front of the M'Kraan Crystal just as the X-Men, Lilandra, The Starjammers, and the Shi'ar loyal to Lilandra attack.[volume & issue needed] During the chaos that ensues Vulcan kills D'Ken (never having promised not to kill him) and assumes the throne of Emperor of the Shi'ar Empire, with Deathbird as his Empress.[volume & issue needed] During the fight Polaris crushes the ribs of Deathbird's husband and she instructs the Imperial Guard, still loyal to the ruling family, to protect them as they flee.[volume & issue needed]

The Providian Order

At some point after Vulcan's death she was captured by a top secret organization, however they were not interested in Deathbird, but in her child - a hybrid of an atavistic Shi'ar and a Human Mutant.[46] The Providian Order, as the organization calls itself, was created to bring equality and uniformity to the universe, by creating a new perfect race.[47] Sharada Darthri, the geneticist of the Providian Order, experimented on the baby and infused it with Kree geneline, thought the influx was stopped by the awakening of Deathbird, who rampaged through the laboratory.[48]

Powers and abilities

Deathbird is a genetic mutant who belongs to the Shi'ar species.[49] She possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, flexibility, reflexes, coordination, balance, and endurance well beyond the average limits of her race. She shares the same avian-like physiology typical of her race, such as having hollow bones, but in her case the avian characteristics are more pronounced. This is because she is a "genetic throwback", meaning that she resembles the more primitive Shi'ar who were birds of prey. She has inherited atavistic characteristics such as fully functioning wings, which most Shi'ar lack, and is capable of self-propelled flight at a natural winged flight limit velocity.[50] Her wings are also very strong, as she could flex her wing to throw Ms. Marvel off the building or to the wall.[51] Her fingernails are essentially talons which can score steel and tear through substances such as bone and tissue easily.

Aside from her natural physical advantages, Deathbird is a formidably trained warrior of great skill and cunning, having trained the likes of Gladiator. She is also skilled at hurling javelins. She uses a variety of javelins, some of which are designed for specific offensive effects. She carries the javelins as eight-inch (203 mm) quills on twin wrist-bands; when removed from its sheath, a quill will telescope to about four times its original length. Her standard javelin can be used as a spear-like projectile to wound or kill her foes. She has also used a javelin that emits noxious, acrid fumes upon impact. Some of Deathbird's javelins are so designed that when their tips touch they emit a powerful, repeating 35,000 volt electrical charge. Deathbird has also used other equipment of Shi'ar design, including battle armor, and a large, advanced, one-woman energy cannon.


C. M. Edwards of Game Rant named Deathbird one of Marvel's "most iconic female vilains," describing her as a "prominent threat to both the X-Men and Captain Marvel."[52] Liz Wyatt of Comic Book Resources referred to Deathbird as an "iconic vilain" of Captain Marvel.[53] Darby Hart of Screen Rant called Deathbird one of the "best female vilains" of the X-Men and a "major cosmic antagonist" of the superhero team."[54]

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

An alternate version of Deathbird appears in the Age of Apocalypse storyline.[55] She is the leader of the Starjammers. It is also revealed that she took over the Shi'ar throne when she and D'ken murdered their father. Deathbird was later betrayed by D'ken who forcibly took the throne for himself before murdering Lilandra. With nowhere else to go, she joined the Starjammers to oppose D'ken's rule.[volume & issue needed]

Star Trek/X-Men

An alternate version of Deathbird appears in Star Trek/X-Men. Deathbird defies the will of her sister and leads a Shi'ar force into the Star Trek reality. She attempts to partner with the reality-controlling Gary Mitchell.

X-Men: The End

An alternate version of Deathbird appears in X-Men: The End.[56] She and Lucas Bishop have a daughter named Aliyah. Deathbird is killed by her daughter after having been infected with a Brood Queen egg.[citation needed]

In other media


Cal'syee Neramani / Deathbird makes non-speaking appearances in X-Men: The Animated Series.[57] This version, following Lilandra Neramani's ascension to the throne of the empire, sought to overthrow her sister and install herself as Majestrix. In the process, she joined the forces of Apocalypse, who later turns out to have been using her for his own plans and abandons her.

Video games


In 2013, Eaglemoss Publications released a Cal'syee Neramani / Deathbird action figure as part of the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection action figure line.[61][62]


  1. ^ "Who all DID you create Dave?". Nightscrawlers. Archived from the original on 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  2. ^ "Dave what do you think of John Byrne's penciling of X-Men?". Nightscrawlers. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  3. ^ Letters page of Ms. Marvel #15. "[T]he original inspiration for DB -- if memory serves -- came from Chris, the original character from John Byrne, and the final design -- refined from John's original -- from Dave Cockrum"
  4. ^ Smith, Thompson (August 23, 2021). "The Untold Truth Of Marvel's Deathbird". Looper. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  5. ^ Schlesinger, Alex (November 21, 2023). "10 Most Creative Ideas X-Men Added to Marvel Lore (That Have Nothing to Do with Mutants)". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  6. ^ Newby, Richard (2019-03-09). "Where 'Captain Marvel' Sequel Could Go". Billboard. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  7. ^ Hood, Cooper (February 15, 2021). "Captain Marvel 2 Theory: Who Zawe Ashton Villain Character Is". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  8. ^ Chisholm, Emma (March 27, 2020). "10 Members of Royalty from Marvel Comics". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  9. ^ Brehmer, Nat (July 15, 2018). "10 Couples That Hurt the X-Men (And 10 That Saved Them)". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  10. ^ Beaty, Drew (July 15, 2022). "Captain Marvel: Main Comic Book Villains Ranked Lamest To Coolest". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  11. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  12. ^ Jackson, Matthew (November 12, 2021). "3 comic book stories that 'X-Men '97' should tackle". Syfy. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  13. ^ Wright, Grace (January 6, 2020). "A Secret Shi'ar Assassination Plot Hatches in New Mutants #5". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  14. ^ Adams, Timothy (January 10, 2022). "X-Men Get Radical New Costumes in Secret Mission". Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  15. ^ Ms. Marvel #10. Marvel Comics.
  16. ^ Uncanny X-Men #156. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ Ms. Marvel #9-10. Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ The Avengers #189. Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ Ms. Marvel #22. Marvel Comics.
  20. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #155-157. Marvel Comics.
  21. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #161-162. Marvel Comics.
  22. ^ X-Men Spotlight On: Starjammers #1-2. Marvel Comics.
  23. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #274-277. Marvel Comics.
  24. ^ The Avengers #346. Marvel Comics.
  25. ^ Iron Man #279. Marvel Comics.
  26. ^ The Avengers #347. Marvel Comics.
  27. ^ Quasar #35. Marvel Comics.
  28. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #341-345
  29. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #348. Marvel Comics.
  30. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #353. Marvel Comics.
  31. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #354. Marvel Comics.
  32. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #357. Marvel Comics.
  33. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #358. Marvel Comics.
  34. ^ Team X 2000. Marvel Comics.
  35. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #372. Marvel Comics.
  36. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #374. Marvel Comics.
  37. ^ Cable #74. Marvel Comics.
  38. ^ X-Men #96. Marvel Comics.
  39. ^ X-Men #97. Marvel Comics.
  40. ^ Bishop: The Last X-Man #15. Marvel Comics.
  41. ^ X-Treme X-Men #1. Marvel Comics.
  42. ^ X-Treme X-Men #9-10. Marvel Comics.
  43. ^ X-Treme X-Men #14. Marvel Comics.
  44. ^ X-Treme X-Men #10. Marvel Comics.
  45. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #483. Marvel Comics.
  46. ^ X-Men vol. 4 #18. Marvel Comics.
  47. ^ X-Men vol. 4 #19. Marvel Comics.
  48. ^ X-Men vol. 4 #20. Marvel Comics.
  49. ^ Allan, Scoot (2019-07-07). "X-Men: The 10 Most Powerful Members Of The Xavier Family, Ranked". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2022-11-08.
  50. ^ Murray, Kirsten (November 18, 2019). "X-Men: The 10 Most Powerful Female Villains, Ranked". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  51. ^ Ms. Marvel #9-10. Marvel Comics.
  52. ^ Edwards, C. M. (November 16, 2023). "Marvel: The Most Iconic Female Villains In The Comics". Game Rant. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  53. ^ Wyatt, Liz (October 15, 2019). "Captain Marvel: 10 Iconic Villains, Ranked". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  54. ^ Harn, Darby (September 29, 2021). "X-Men: 10 Best Female Villains". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  55. ^ Lealos, Shawn S. (September 16, 2018). "Age Of Apocalypse: The 30 Strongest Characters In Marvel's Coolest Alternate World". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  56. ^ X-Men: The End #1–6. Marvel Comics.
  57. ^ Balino, Tomas (December 5, 2020). "X-Men The Animated Series: 10 Things You Missed In Sanctuary, Part 2". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  58. ^ "X-Men 2: Clone Wars - Genesis Instruction Manual" (PDF). 1995. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 August 2021. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  59. ^ Sunu, Steve (September 13, 2016). "The Best (and Worst) X-Men Video Games Of All-Time". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  60. ^ "Voice Of Deathbird – Behind The Voice Actors". Behind The Voice Actors. Check marks indicates role has been confirmed using screenshots of closing credits and other reliable sources((cite web)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  61. ^ "COMICLIST: NEW COMIC BOOK RELEASES LIST FOR 05/08/2013 (1 WEEK OUT)". May 1, 2013. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  62. ^ "CLASSIC MARVEL FIG COLL MAG #199 DEATHBIRD (FEB131235)". Previews World. Retrieved 2024-01-11.