Donald Pierce, the White King
- Pierce appears in 1980 in The Uncanny X-Men during the Dark Phoenix Saga.
- He regularly appears afterwards as a major anti-mutants terrorist bigot. He doesn’t bother with any “saving humans” ideology. He just satisfies his own hatred for mutants.
- With his Reavers, and particularly Deathstrike, he’s a major threat to any mutant team.
- Real Name: Donald Pierce.
- Former Aliases: White Bishop.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: Anton Pierce (ancestor living in 1872, so probably his great-grand-father).
- Group Affiliation: The Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle, The Reavers.
- Base of Operations: Pierce-Consolidated Mining, Australian Outback, The Randall House in Boston.
- Height: 6’2″ Weight: 220 lbs.
- Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond
Powers & Abilities
Pierce is an electronics and cybernetics’ genius. He first used his talent on himself. Over the years, he turned his entire body artificial. Even his brain is cybernetically enhanced.
His cybernetic body grants him enhanced abilities, such as:
- Enhanced strength to make Colossus (Piotr Rasputin) bend one knee in a wrestling-like hands lock.
- Enhanced speed to catch Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) or Wolverine (James Howlett).
- Armored body to endure fire from squad-level weaponry.
- Extendable limbs to grapple up to 10m away.
Being an industrial baron, he’s insanely rich.
The Pierce family made its fortune in the 19th century in the trade of cotton, rum and slaves. Anton Pierce entered the Hellfire Club in 1872. He made it to the Inner Circle two years later.
Donald Pierce was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the CEO and principal shareholder of Pierce-Consolidated Mining. He inherited the family’s fortune and industrial estates.
White Bishop of The Hellfire Club
His cybernetic body’s abilities, coupled with his immense wealth and ambition, opened him the doors of Sebastian Shaw’s Inner Circle of The Hellfire Club.
Pierce first appears as The White Bishop, when Jason Wyndgarde (Mastermind) is offered a chance for admission. To prove his value, Mastermind shows his control over Jean Grey and how she might take the vacant Black Queen’s position. The X-Men expose Wyndgarde’s manipulations.
During the fight, Pierce reveals his cybernetic body. We later learn that he started to replace his body with artificial parts after a lost battle against Cable. He shows incredible fighting abilities.
During this fight, Wolverine critically wounds three Hellfire Club’s guards: Macon, Reese and Cole. Pierce’s cybernetic genius saves their life by replacing their wounded bodies by artificial counterparts. They will serve him faithfully ever after.
Secretly, Pierce is an anti-mutant bigot. Along his ambition to take over the Hellfire Club, he wants to get rid of all mutants, starting with The Inner Circle and The X-Men. He reveals this true nature when he kidnaps Professor Xavier and Tessa (Black King’s personal assistant). The New Mutants foil his plan.
The Hellfire Club takes him in custody to deal with this traitor their own way. They imprison him in a remote, heavily guarded, facility in the Cumberland Highlands of Kentucky.
Leader of the Reavers
The Reavers were originally a gang of heavily armed cyborgs. Based in the Australian Outback, they used Gateway’s teleporting ability to commit random acts of piracy all around the world. Pierce had secretly assembled, enhanced and equipped this gang as his personal shadow army.
The X-Men defeat them, with only three Reavers escaping: Pretty Boy, Skullbuster and Bonebreaker. The X-Men, then looking for a way to keep a low profile, take possession of The Reaver’s base of Cooterman’s Creek. It is an extensive underground network with high-tech communication equipment.
The escaped Reavers rescue their shadow leader from his jail in a bloody attack. After several years as the Hellfire Club’s private prisoner, Pierce is free, reunited with the remnant of his secret cyborg army. Macon, Reese and Cole, blindly faithful to Pierce, complete the crew.
Pierce recruits Lady Deathstrike. She holds a deadly grudge against Wolverine. Pierce holds a grudge over The X-Men. These goals are close enough to make a temporary alliance. The Japanese’s cyborg body comes from Mojo’s Body Shop. Pierce is impressed by such advanced cybernetics. He develops a particular attraction to Deathstrike: the beauty of her cybernetics’ design and the spirit of the woman fascinate him.
White Bishop or White King?
Claremont first introduced Pierce as White Bishop of The Hellfire Club. Next thing we know, he’s addressed as White King. However, we never see him as White King of the Hellfire Club. Indeed, when Magneto is offered the position, it’s mentioned that it was vacant for much longer than Pierce’s betrayal.
We can assume, as suggested in TSR6896-Uncanny X-Men Box Set Roster Book, that Pierce was disgraced of The Hellfire Club as White Bishop and appointed himself White King of the Reavers. His megalomania and frustration are certainly enough to make this bold claim.
Crusade against The X-Men, part 1
Pierce wants revenge on The X-Men. He leads his Reavers in open assaults against the mutants’ bases. In the Australian Outback, while Wolverine is away minding his own business, Psylocke senses the assault coming. She convinces The X-Men to flee through The Siege Perilous.
When Wolverine comes back, Pierce captures him. He tortures him. Jubilee, who was secretly roaming the underground complex after stowing away on a Gateway’s portal from Los Angeles, frees Wolverine. Pierce makes cyborgs of two dingoes to track them. Wolverine is still incapacitated after Pierce’s torture. But with the help of Jubilee, they evade the cyber-dingoes.
Pierce thinks the X-Men took refuge on Muir Island. He launches an assault. The surviving Morlocks were stationed there since The Mutant Massacre. The Freedom Force reinforces the Morlocks. The battle is hard, with Legion playing both sides. The Reavers retreat but make two casualties: Stonewall and Destiny. Destiny’s death deeply affects Mystique. She blames Forge for the death of her long time lover.
Crusade against The X-Men, part 2
After the attack, Banshee and Forge learn the X-Men did not die in Dallas. Together, they go on a quest around the world to find them. Cylla Markham is a friend of Banshee: an former contact from his time as an Interpol agent. She’s an independent pilot and an asset Sean calls to move with a very low profile.
For that, Fenris (Andrea and Andreas Strucker), anonymously tipped, blows her plane in mid-flight. Cylla is fatally injured. Pierce visits her on her sick bed and offers her a cybernetic body to save her life. To be able to fly again, she accepts and joins the Reavers.
As Wolverine escaped his grip, Pierce is obsessed with killing him. He builds two androids: Albert, a duplicate of Wolverine and Elsie-Dee, a walking bomb in the form of a little girl. Albert is the bait to lure Wolverine wherever he may be. Elsie-Dee is supposed to explode upon contact with Wolverine.
But Elsie-Dee’s artificial intelligence is too evolved. Getting close to Wolverine and his buddy Jubilee, she grows a conscience. It puts her initial programming on stand-by. She will roam the world with Albert, aboard a hijacked B-2 Stealth Bomber.
During this period, he smuggles cybernetics to The Kingpin, for a very fat fee. We can assume he does it with other organizations, compensating for the lack of attention to his legitimate business, and thus maintaining his cash flow.
Elsie-Dee and Albert as deus ex machina
After the initial encounter with Wolverine, these two robots will appear several times. It’s often as Deus Ex Machina, coming out of nowhere, giving an edge to the somewhat ill engaged heroes (like for Wolverine in Canada or Generation X with Bianca LaNeige).
They also provide some comic relief (Elsie-Dee’s speech impediment, opposed to her superior intelligence and abilities and Albert’s constant look of jury-rigged robot, full of glitches, but still bloody efficient).
A GM who wants to ease things for the PCs could make a guest appearance of these two and their Stealth Bomber. Don’t hesitate to renew their appearances, it will build the comic relief.
The Upstarts is a group of megalomaniac mutants. They play a game where they earn points for killing influential players in the mutants’ community.
One of the Upstarts controls Sentinels. He launches them after Pierce. Though he’s not a mutant, as a former member of The Inner Circle, he’s worth a lot of points. The Reavers are unable to defend Pierce. All but Deathstrike and Cylla are destroyed.
Pierce uses Gateway to flee and find the one responsible. He ends up in The Hellfire Club, where another attack takes place against The White Queen (Emma Forst). Three sentinels follow him through Gateway’s portal. In the big fight that follows, Pierce is apparently killed.
In fact, Fitzroy doesn’t destroy Pierce. He keeps his body. Pierce’s body can store his mind in its circuitry, as a backup unit to his cybernetic brain. During Onslaught, Pierce’s original memory and programming are restored.
In turn, he restores Skullbuster. With him and Deathstrike, he brings Milo Thurman to the Weapon X facility in Canada. There, he tries to make him a cyborg, hoping to gain control of Thurman precognitive visions. Domino interferes. But she can’t save her ex-husband from the facility’s destruction.
Retour en grâce ?
Sebastian Shaw, recently back from the dead himself, has taken back the control of The Inner Circle from the incompetent hands of his son and executioner Shinobi Shaw.
Shaw is a cunning businessman, able to put his personal grudges aside when it best suits his interests. He secretly allies with Pierce, despite his former betrayal and obvious mutants hatred. They plan to get their mitts on a piece of Apocalypse (En Sabbah Nur)’s technology. Pierce hopes this success will return him to his former status in The Inner Circle.
Cable stops them. Shaw escapes, leaving Pierce falling a several hundred feet fall. The fall is not quite enough to destroy the cyborg. He survives and uses the sky cycle left by Cable to reach a safe haven. Ironically, it’s Cable’s cabin in the Swiss Alps. There, Pierce finds all the technology he needs to rebuild his body and more.
Donald Pierce is a striking man with blond hair and blue eyes.
When he was White Bishop of The Hellfire Club, he dressed in their XVIIIth century style clothes. He wore his hair long, tied in a pony tail. His clothes hide his cybernetic body.
As The Reavers’ leader, he dresses in more practical clothes, with a huge dramatic purple cloak. He wears his hair short. At this time, he proudly exposes his cybernetic body.
The Sutherland connection
Pierce’s name and appearance were modeled by Byrne upon Donald Sutherland. The last name comes from Sutherland’s character from the 1970 movie M*A*S*H, Hawkeye Pierce (ref.) .
Donald Pierce is an ambitious anti-mutant bigot. He was planning on taking control of The Hellfire Club and kill its mutant leaders, and then destroy every mutant. He’s also racist and anti-communist… well pretty much anti-anything-but-what-he-is.
He can express a form of self-loathing about being a cyborg. He’s short tempered, and can enter violent tantrums. He’s obviously crazy: alternating period of ultimate self-confidence, even half-joking about his cyborg condition, with outbursts likely hiding an inferiority complex.
He leads his Reavers with an iron hand. He’s stronger than any of them. But most of all, they fear the way he can (and does) alter their cybernetic body, for he’s the only one able to do important repairs on them (except for Deathstrike whose cybernetics originate from the Mojoverse).
He likes to corrupt his enemies’ entourage as a way of gaining ultimate victories.
“Donald Pierce is a cyborg ! A cybernetic organism… Part man, part machine. A living being, with the power of a juggernaut !”
“Curse you ! I may only be half-a-man, but I’m more human than you’ll ever be… freak !”
“More mutants are appearing every day, in more parts of the world. But no matter. Each time one appears… I will be there to destroy him.”
Tessa: “The Hellfire Club won’t let you get away with this.”
Pierce: “By the time they discover my plans, it will be too late ! The Club… Its wealth, its power… will be mine ! And your beloved master, Sebastian Shaw, and the rest of his mutie clique, will be no more than a memory !”
Pierce: “There can be only one devil in your life, Milady. Me. I find you irresistibly fascinating… as a woman and as a machine.” (Kisses Lady Deathstrike)
Deathstrike: “Then Pierce… as a woman and machine… and as a warrior… You will find, possibly to your sorrow… That I always give better than I get.” (Throws him on the floor Osoto-gari style)
Cylla (recovering from severe injuries): “Who are you ?”
Pierce (playing doctor): “A man whose vision… is as infinite as his resources.”
“You know my standing order, Bonebreaker ! The only good mutants are dead ones. And X-Men most of all. Kill her.”
Deathstrike: “You think a mere construct can do to Wolverine what I could not ? Don’t be absurd.”
Pierce: “Of course not, Yuriko. The killer construct is but the bait… The real killing will be carried by out by this one. Cute, isn’t she ? I call her Elsie-Dee.”
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
Tell me more about the game stats
|Dex: 07||Str: 11||Bod: 08||Motivation: Psychopath|
|Int: 05||Wil: 08||Min: 05||Occupation: Mining tycoon|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 05||Spi: 06||Wealth: 015|
|Init: 021||HP: 050|
Data Storage: 10, Flash: 07, Gadgetry (Self Link): 12, Invulnerability: 12, Lightning: 07, Mind Blank: 06, Mind Field: 06, Skin Armor: 04, Stretching: 01, Super Speed: 04
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Flash is Contingent On Lightning (-1) and Minor Marginal (-1).
- Super Speed limited to Initiative bonus and Task duration reduction on gadget building (-3).
- Mind Field is Self Only (-2).
Charisma: 07, Gadgetry: 08, Medicine (First aid, Surgery)*: 05, Scientist (including Computers): 06, Weaponry (Firearms, Exotic): 04
Attractive, Expertise (Business, finance, mining industry), Genius, Headquarters (expansive), Leadership, Omni-Gadget C: 05, Rich Friend (Pierce-Consolidated Mining), Scholar (Cybernetics, electronics).
High (Cole, Macon, Reese), High (Lady Deathstrike), High (Reavers), High (Pierce-Consolidated Mining), Low (mining industry).
MIA (Lady Deathstrike), SIH (Mutants), CIH (Wolverine), CIH (Cable).
As Hellfire Club’s White Bishop
Before his expulsion from The Hellfire Club, Pierce was White Bishop. As such, he had: Connection High (Hellfire Club), Rich Friend (Hellfire Club). He also had: Dark Secret (anti-mutants bigot)
Omni-Gadget represents the way he uses his cybernetics in unusual ways (like using the exposed circuitry of his ripped arm to spook Colossus with a lightning). If he used Omni-Gadget in an adventure, and you found it particularly efficient, then you can add the power to his list. Consider it a permanent upgrade of his cybernetics he installed.
Don’t get confused by the Connections list. Connection High to a team grants Connection Low to each individual members. Cole, Macon and Reese are part of the Reavers, but they also are faithfully close to Pierce. Pierce’s Connection High to the three of them reflects this relationship. Connection High to Deathstrike is a bit different as she’s not so involved in the Reavers, but more directly with Pierce.
Given how competitive Pierce is, I don’t see him making friends with competitors. However, I consider things like blackmail or arm bending as eligible for Connections, High or Low (particularly for villains like Pierce). That’s why I add Connection Low (Mining industry).
Pierce is really rich but his villainous activities require a lot of money. Only one Wealth roll per week might not be enough. If ever Pierce is desperate to make another Wealth roll, he would shamelessly use Pierce-Consolidated Mining’s assets, then use his financial knowledge (or plain bullying) to cover any trace.
Secondary sources like The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe A-Z put him in the “Class 10” strength category. That is not enough for what he does in the comics, like making Colossus bend knees in a wrestling contest.
Source of Character: X-Men comics (up to his last appearance in the 20th century in Wolverine #141).
Helper(s): Peter Piispanen, Pufnstuff, Vincent Paul Bartilucci, Sébastien Andrivet.
Writeup completed on the 5th of July, 2017.