Banshee (comics)

Banshee (comics)


real_name=Sean Cassidy
species=Human Mutant
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="X-Men" vol. 1 #28
(January 1967)
creators= Roy Thomas
Werner Roth
Stan Lee
alliances=X-Men Interpol NYPD Factor Three Muir Island X-Men Generation X X-Corps
powers=Superhuman hearing
Sonic screams
Concussive blasts
Sonic energy lances
Ability to cause nausea, disorientation or unconsciousness
Immunity to powers of Black Tom Cassidy|

Banshee (Sean Cassidy) was a Marvel Comics superhero, a member of the X-Men. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Werner Roth, he first appeared in "X-Men" #28 (January 1967).

An Irish mutant, Banshee possesses a "sonic scream," capable of harming enemies’ auditory systems and causing physical vibrations.

A former Interpol agent and NYPD officer, Banshee was always a decade older than most of the X-Men and had only a relatively short tenure as a full-time X-Man. He was, however, a mentor of the 1990s-era junior team Generation X.

Fictional character biography

Early life

Sean Cassidy is the heir to both a small fortune and a castle in Cassidy Keep, Ireland, where he was born. In his youth, he marries Maeve Rourke and takes a job with Interpol as an Inspector. While Cassidy is away on a long mission, his wife discovers she is pregnant and gives birth to their daughter, Theresa Cassidy. Not much later, Maeve dies in an IRA bombing. With no means to contact Sean, his cousin Tom takes care of Theresa. When Sean returns to learn of his wife’s death, he is devastated. Before Tom can even tell him of the existence of his daughter, Sean lashes out at Tom with his sonic scream for not having taken better care of Maeve. While Sean flies away in anger, Tom falls into a chasm, breaking his leg as a result of the attack, which leaves him with a limp. Angrily, Tom swears to make Sean pay and vows to never tell him about his daughter, raising her himself instead.

Factor Three

Cassidy leaves Interpol (later retconned as being due to Deadpool unintentionally botching one of Sean's missions), and becomes a freelance detective. The villainous Changeling discovers him through the group Factor Three and invites him to join the organization. Cassidy is appalled upon learning Factor Three's goals and adamantly refuses. However, Factor Three, with the Ogre, captures him and places a headband containing explosives around his head to force him to obey them. Code-named after the banshee, a spirit from Irish mythology, Cassidy is forced to obey Factor Three's commands and performs various criminal missions for the organization. On a mission in New York City, Banshee encounters the mutant team of superheroes called the X-Men. Professor Charles Xavier is able to use his telepathy to disarm the headband and remove it, allowing Banshee to help the X-Men defeat Factor Three. ["X-Men" Vol. 1 #28]

Later, Factor Three again capture him ["X-Men" Vol. 1 #35] but he helps the X-Men defeat Factor Three's ally, the Mutant Master. ["X-Men" Vol. 1 39] The Sentinels capture him, but he is released from their captivity. ["X-Men" Vol. 1 #60] While on the run from the Secret Empire, who were capturing mutants in order to harness their powers, he fights Captain America and the Falcon, mistaking their then fugitive status for a link to his pursuers. ["Captain America" #172]

Time with the X-Men

A few years later, ["Giant-Size X-Men" #1] Xavier approaches Banshee to join his second group of X-Men and Banshee accepts. After the mission at Krakoa, Banshee remains with Charles Xavier and, along with Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Thunderbird, becomes a part of the first core team of "New X-Men." Banshee accompanies the team on many different missions and is present for several key moments in the X-Men's history, including the first appearance of the Phoenix and the team's first encounter with the Shi'ar. While with the X-Men, he meets the X-Men's ally, Dr. Moira MacTaggert, ["X-Men" Vol. 1 #96] and then falls in love with her. Alongside the X-Men, he first fights his cousin Black Tom Cassidy and the Juggernaut. ["X-Men" Vol. 1 #101-103]

However, Banshee loses the use of his powers when his vocal cords are severely damaged in battle with the terrorist Moses Magnum ["Uncanny X-Men" #119] and leaves the X-Men to stay with Moira MacTaggart. [Uncanny X-Men #129]

Banshee later learns of his daughter Theresa's existence. Theresa has developed sonic powers of her own, which she uses under the alias of Siryn. Siryn feels obliged to assist Black Tom with his crimes, as he had raised her. Siryn reforms after the pair were defeated by Spider-Woman and the X-Men, and she is reunited with her true father.

Banshee's powers gradually return as he heals, and he remains an ally of the X-Men and especially of Moira MacTaggert. He reveals that he had an encounter with Wolverine before either of them joined the X-Men. ["Classic X-Men" #26] Eventually, Sean heals fully and regains his sonic powers. ["Marvel Comics Presents" #24] After the near dissolution of the team following the events of Inferno, Banshee is instrumental in piecing the X-Men together and returns to the team for a second stint. ["Uncanny X-Men" #254-255]

Shortly after the team is formed into the "Blue" and "Gold" teams, Banshee's jaw is broken in battle, and he leaves the X-Men again to be with Moria McTaggart. ["X-Men" Vol. 2 #5]

Generation X

For a time, Banshee is the co-headmaster at the Massachusetts Academy where he teaches the young mutants of Generation X in the use of their powers alongside Emma Frost. Banshee and his students investigate odd going-ons and Cassidy Keep. Banshee also becomes part-guardian, for a time, to Franklin Richards, Artie and Leech. However, the Academy eventually closes its doors due to the students abandoning their teachers. During this time period, Dr. MacTaggert dies from injuries sustained in an explosion set up by the shapeshifter Mystique.


Banshee, distraught and possibly suffering from a breakdown, founds the "X-Corps", a group of mutant adventurers who came into conflict with the X-Men over their questionable methodology and membership. Among the group are several former members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It is revealed that Banshee was having the new Mastermind, the daughter of the deceased original Mastermind, manipulate the Brotherhood's members into having them work with him. However, it turns out that Mystique was posing as one of the members, Surge, and she is working with the new Mastermind behind Banshee's back. Mystique helps the brainwashed members revolt, two members of the X-Corps are killed and Mystique stabs Banshee through the throat before being stopped by the X-Men. Banshee survives the attack and recuperates in hospital.
Siryn later joins a similarly-named yet less militant organization known as the X-Corporation, in order to atone for what she perceives as her father's misdeeds.


In "" issue #2, Banshee attempts to save an airplane full of innocents from the mystery villain of the series, who is piloting the X-Men's original jet, the Blackbird. Flying towards it, he attempts to damage the craft's trajectory with a sonic scream. However, his throat has not completely healed, affecting the strength of his scream so that it doesn't deflect the jet, which flies straight into Sean. In the next issue, Wolverine and Nightcrawler find Sean's lifeless body and confirm that he and all the civilians died in the crash.

iryn is told

In X-Factor #7, Cyclops delivers the news of Banshee's death to his daughter, Siryn. Siryn is given a video tape that Banshee made for his daughter in the event of his death. In the message, Banshee states that he felt he had done more good than bad in his life, and that he hoped St. Peter would allow him entrance into Heaven. He expresses the hope that he would there be re-united with Siryn's mother. Siryn refuses to believe that Banshee is really dead, citing all of the X-Men in the past who have been presumed dead but later returned. In his will, Sean gave his daughter the family castle—Cassidy Keep—as well as his pipe.

Powers and abilities

Banshee is a mutant whose superhumanly powerful lungs, throat and vocal cords could produce a sonic scream for various effects, in concert with limited, reflexive psionic powers which directed his sonic vibrations. He could hover or fly at the speed of sound, and could carry at least one passenger. He could overwhelm listeners with deafening noise, stun them with tight-focus low-frequency sonic blasts (effective even against shielded ears by penetrating the skull via bone conduction), plunge them into a hypnotic trance, disorient them, nauseate them, or simply render them unconscious. Using sonic waves, he could rapidly vibrate himself or other masses at will. He could generate sonic blasts which struck with tremendous concussive force, liquefying or outright disintegrating targets at his highest levels of power. By radiating sound waves outward and reading the feedback, he could locate and analyze unseen objects in a sonar-like fashion. By modulating his scream's harmonics, he could confuse most scanning equipment. He could instinctively analyze, replicate, and block sonic waves or vibrations from other sources.

Banshee generated a psionic field which protected him from the detrimental effects of his sonic vibrations, though his sonic powers could still injure him when pushed beyond safe limits. For a while, his sonic powers were gone after having to use them up and down the harmonic scale to stop a weapon of Moses Magnum's. His physiology seemed fully vulnerable to conventional injury when his sonic powers were not engaged. Banshee had selective hearing, enabling him to focus upon, enhance, or totally block out any given sound in his environment; this shielded him from the deafening sound of his own screams, and made him a superhumanly acute eavesdropper in surveillance situations. Sean and his cousin Black Tom were immune to each other's natural mutant energy powers, though Sean's immunity did not extend to the new powers Tom later developed via artificial mutations.

A gifted detective, veteran undercover operative and formidable unarmed combatant, Cassidy was an excellent marksman and a competent amateur machine-smith, well-versed in combat strategy & tactics and teamwork drills, from his training at Interpol. An effective educator, organizer and lobbyist, he was also an avid American country music aficionado and skillful amateur piano player. As Cassidy, he wielded conventional firearms, sometimes loaded with explosive "micro-bombs." As Banshee, he wore synthetic costuming designed to resist air friction, usually including underarm wings that helped him glide on air currents and his own sonic waves. The "ribbons" on Banshee's costume (a visual trademark of the character) aid him in his flight.

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In Marvel's 1990s event Age of Apocalypse Banshee was a member of the X-Men. He had retired, but Magneto had convinced him to join the fight against Apocalypse once more. He had a close bond with Quicksilver. Over the course of events in those comics, he fights the Horseman Abyss twice, the second time sacrificing his life to destroy the dangerous mutant.

House of M

Banshee is a member of the Genoshan Black Ops version of the Marauders.

Ultimate Banshee

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Banshee is the name of a drug similar to Mutant Growth Hormone. The drug was being made and distributed by Moira MacTaggert, who displayed the powers of Earth-616's Sean Cassidy.

Other media


* Banshee appeared in the "X-Men Animated Series". He also fought Black Tom Cassidy in the Phoenix Saga.


* Actor Jeremy Ratchford portrays the character in a 1996 live-action "Generation X" television movie. In the movie Banshee runs the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters with Emma Frost. Sean is much more laid back in his teaching approach than Emma, and wants to make sure that the students bond as a team. In the movie he can produce a sonic scream that can stun people. While multiple sources have listed Jeremy Ratchford as the voice of Banshee in the "X-Men Animated Series", he has said in interviews that he did not provide Banshee's voice in the cartoon.
* In the film "X2", his name along with his daughter's appears on a list of names Mystique scrolls through on Stryker's computer while looking for Magneto's file.


* Banshee makes an appearance in internet meme The Juggernaut Bitch!! claiming that his 'Jamaican colors' protect him from harm.

Video games

* Banshee appeared as an NPC in the video game "" voiced by Quinton Flynn.

Action figures

Banshee appears in the early 1990s Toy Biz X-Men figure line. He had a whistle glued into his body that could be blown into.

Banshee appears in figure form in the Marvel Legends Annihilus build a figure series.


*"Alpha Flight" vol. 1 #88
*"Avengers" vol. 1 #103
*"Captain America" vol. 1 #172
*"Classic X-Men" #1-3, 6-9, 12-21, 26-28, 35, 37-39, 43, 58-60
*"Deadpool" vol. 2 #1-4
*"Excalibur" vol. 1 #41, 115
*"Fantastic Four Annual" #23
*"Generation X" #-1, 10-11
*"Generation X" #1-21, 23, 25-28, 31, 33-40, 42-52, 57-58, 60-61, 63-70, 72-75
*"Generation X Annual 1995"
*"Generation X Annual 1996"
*"Generation X Annual 1997"
*"Generation X Annual 1998"
*"Generation X Annual 1999"
*"Generation X: Crossroads"
*"Giant-Size X-Men" #1, 3-4
*"Incredible Hulk Annual 1997"
*"Iron Fist" vol. 1 #15
*"Marvel Comics Presents" #2
*"Marvel Holiday Special" #1
*"Marvel Tales" #262
*"Marvel Team-Up Annual" #1
*"Marvel Team-Up" vol. 1#53
*"Moon Knight" vol. 3 #41
*"New Mutants Annual" #6
*"New Mutants" vol. 1 #95-97
*"New Warriors" vol. 2 #5
*"Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z 2006" #1
*"Uncanny X-Men" #253-255, 257-264, 270, 273-278, 280, 314, 316-318, 325, 375-376, 389, 401-406, 463-465
*"Uncanny X-Men Annual" #14
*"Wolverine" vol. 2 #94, 141
*"X-Factor Annual" #5
*"X-Factor" vol. 1 #57-58, 61-62, 69
*"X-Factor" vol. 3 #7
*"X-Force" vol. 1 #31
*"X-Force" vol. 1 #35, 42, 44, 60, 91
*"X-Men Annual" #3
*"X-Men Annual" vol. 2 #3
*"X-Men Unlimited" vol. 1 #16, 23, 25
*"X-Men" vol. 1 #26-28, 35, 37-39, 94-119, 125
*"X-Men" vol. 2 #1-5, 36-37, 49-50
*"X-Men: Black Sun" #1-5
*"X-Men: Deadly Genesis" #1-3
*"X-Men: Prime"


External links

* [ Banshee] at
* [ Banshee] at Marvel Wiki
* [ UncannyXmen.Net's Spotlight on Banshee]

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