Art by Chris Bachalo

  • Name: Jonothon
  • Code Names: Chamber,
  • First Appearance: Generation X #1 (Nov ’94)
  • Powers: Projects Fiery
    Psionic Energy
  • Teams Affiliation: Generation X, X-Men, Weapon X, New Warriors


Everyone remembers their first time. Kitty Pryde’s ended
with her phasing through her bed, Iceman’s first time was alone in his bedroom,
and Primal’s first time had him chasing down a girl till he could sate his
desires. When Jonothon Starsmore’s mutant abilities appeared for the first time,
the psionic energy he projected created a gaping hole in chest, destroyed his
jaw, and crippled his girlfriend Gayle. The London native mutant had a
nightmare to start his journey to the X-Men. That tragedy would shape Jono’s
angry, sarcastic personality. For years he would push people away, preferring
to be alone to hurting someone again. With his unique design and biting wit,
Jonothon would take up the name Chamber and become a fan favorite X-Man.

Chamber was created by Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo. He
was recruited to join the new Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, led by
Banshee and Emma Frost and shipped off to Boston to join his new classmates. When
he arrived at Logan International Airport, he was attacked by the vampiric mutant,
Emplate. Luckily, his new Generation X classmates and teachers were there to ward
off the attack. Jono did not quickly bond with his new classmates, preferring
to wallow in self-pity over his condition. He showed bravery and potential in
many battles, including single-handedly defeating X-Men for Omega Red. Chamber
began bonding with the high strung Paige Guthrie, the sister of the then
X-Force leader Cannonball, known in her own right as the mutant Husk. As he taught
Husk to relax they began to develop an on-again/off-again romantic
relationship. Jono also began to bond with his teammate Angelo Espinosa (known
as Skin due to his grotesque mutation that left him with six feet of extra skin
and turned his existing skin a grey pigment) due to their shared physical deformities.
The two even went on a road trip that involved hitch hiking with none other
than Howard the Duck. When the school was eventually closed, Chamber was
offered a position on the X-Men proper but he did not feel he was ready and went
home to London.

Art by Chris Bachalo

While in London Chamber began dating pop star Sugar Kane and
living a life of excess. The two often appeared in tabloids together, as her
dating a mutant was considered scandalous. A story leaked to the press that she
was pregnant with Jono’s child and Kane was kidnapped by an anti-mutant group.
Chamber, alongside the X-Men who were in London for other reasons, rescued her
before she admitted the truth. Their relationship was all a publicity stunt, a
way for Sugar to make headlines by dating someone who was very distinctly a
mutant, she didn’t love him, she wasn’t pregnant, it was all a lie. Chamber was
devastated and returned with the X-Men back to Westchester. He was a valuable
asset to the team (during Casey’s Uncanny run) and was able to assist when
Mystique’s Brotherhood attacked Paris.

Art by Ian Churchill

Chamber was given his own self-titled mini-series in 2002,
written by Brian K. Vaughn with art by Lee Ferguson. After a bombing at Empire
State University killed six mutant students, Chamber enrolled, under the
direction of Xavier, to sniff out the anti-mutant group responsible. His
investigations lead him to meet Gigi, the leader of the mutant tolerance group whose
members were killed. Gigi was distraught as her boyfriend was killed in the
blast but she pointed Chamber in the direction of the genetic purity group
Purity. Chamber also developed a friendship with fellow mutant Amber, he confided
and in who he really was and why he was really here in return for help on the
investigation. Jono came to the conclusion, based on energy readings that
appeared at the crime scene, that the bombing was caused by a mutant.
Furthermore his investigation showed that Gigi’s boyfriend had similar
explosive powers to Chamber’s. He rushed to confront Gigi and found her holding
Amber at gunpoint. Gigi admitted it all was an accident and her boyfriend couldn’t control
his powers so she covered it all up. Chamber and Amber were able to subdue Gigi
and turn her into the proper authorities. Xavier was impressed with Chamber’s
performance and wanted to give him increased responsibilities in the field, but
Jono refused. This experience showed him he had much to learn and he requested
to be removed from active duty as an X-Man.

The next few months of Chambers life did not go so well.
Husk began dating the much older Angel, even though Jono and her hadn’t been together
in a while he always felt like she would be there for him. Worse, two of his
former Generation X teammates, Jubilee and Skin, were crucified on the lawn of
the Xavier Institute and Angelo would not survive the experience. I’m going to take a second here to point out
that all those bad things were part of the WORST run of X-Men ever by Chuck
Austin, please don’t read them, they go so far past “so bad it’s good” it isn’t
even funny.
Jono was crushed and directionless after these experiences and volunteered
to infiltrate the Weapon X program as a mole for Wolverine. After a bar fight
with the X-Men where he got to punch Angel in the face (see incredibly satisfying
picture below), Chamber was approached by Brent Jackson, the head of the new
Weapon X.

Art by Georges Jeanty

Jackson saw that Chamber was a very powerful mutant who was
disinterest in Xavier’s dream. He offered to fix Jono’s broken body in exchange
for him working for Weapon X. Chamber’s initiation mission was to assassinate
the U-Man leader, and mutant organ trader John Sublime. While he wavered with
this decision, Chamber worked with the black ops team to attack and kill Sublime.
Chamber continued to investigate the program, including the Neverland mutant concentration
camp, and reporting back to Wolverine. He was unfortunately brainwashed by the
program and forced to work for Weapon X for real. Fate played against Chamber during
a large battle for Weapon X that happened on M-Day. The device that healed Jono’s
injury failed. The Decimation wave hit him. He lost his mutant abilities and
was left with a gaping hole in his chest.

Art by Ramon Bachs

Jono was put on life support and worked with a Dr. Hartley
to repair his mind psychologically. When Pete Wisdom came to talk to Chamber
about how the New Excalibur could help him recover, Jono was spirited out of
the hospital. Jono awoke to find that his chest had healed with a large tattoo
on it, his skin turned grey, eyes blood red, and he had blue lips. Hartley
revealed that the Clan Akkaba, worshipers of Apocalypse, healed him with
Apocalypse’s blood. The same blood that runs through the veins of the Starsmore
family. He refused to join the clan and ran away. When Excalibur caught up with
him and offered to save him, Jono lashed out telling them “Not everyone wants
to be saved. Not everyone wants to play dress-up as part of the brand-spankin’-new-X-Men-team-of-the-month…
Some of us just want to be left the hell alone.”

Art by Scott Kolins

Jono was eventually pulled back into the superhero game by
his old teammate, Jubliee. He joined the latest incarnation of the New Warriors
as Decibel. To replace his lost powers he acquired a vocal harness that gave
him a sonic scream and the ability to make hard light objects. He said his old
powers could only destroy and these new ones would give him a chance to create.
When the Warriors disbanded, Jono made his way to the mutant island nation of
Utopia. The mutant Legion accidentally warped reality around Utopia causing the
Age of X to occur. While most everything was reverted back to normal, the event
reignited Chamber’s original mutant powers and appearance. He went with
Wolverine during the Schism and ended up mentoring students with physical
deformities thanks to their mutation. He has yet to appear in the post-Secret
Wars universe.

Art by Rafa Sandoval

Must Read

Chamber has been a part of many runs but his best appearance
remains his first. Generation X by Scott
Lobdell and Chris Bachalo is a fantastic teen superhero book. Chamber gets
quickly established in that series and becomes a very dynamic character. Modern
readers should recognize both names on this creative team and may have strong opinions
on them. Let me assure you this is not the Lobdell that turned so many readers
off Teen Titans or Red Hood & the Outlaws, this is the
man at his best. A loose narrative that doesn’t lose sight of its’ characters
and characters that are almost all three dimensional out of the box. This is an
earlier Chris Bachalo with less of the messy, sketchy style that he is known
for today, but just as experimental and innovative with his designs as ever.
Look at Chamber or Emplate and you can see why Bachalo is as highly acclaimed
as his is today. This series is poorly collected, only issue #3 is on Marvel
Unlimited. There are two print collections, Generation X Classic Vol 1 & 2 but they only collect the first 11
issues. This is one that isn’t hard to find in long boxes and tracking down the
floppies is one of the only ways to read this great series as of now.

Art by Chris Bachalo


Chamber keeps showing up. Even when people don’t really know
what to do with him, he keeps showing up. He is a character that artist want to
draw, and writers want to write. He is angry and brooding without going full Anakin
Skywalker. He is visually stunning and always sticks out in a crowd. He is
someone with so much break out potential, he just needs to be on the right team
at the right time. He is pretty comparable to Glob Herman as a fan favorite
student but I think the nod goes to Jono thanks to his longevity and better
character work. I am also going to push him above Rachel Summers because I
think at the end of the day, he is the more interesting and dynamic character.
I am going to be more excited to see Chamber light up a page than I am Rachel.
Plus this is my list so I can put him where I want. That puts Chamber comfortably
at #3 in the Xavier Files.

Chamber was requested by
/u/johnlongest & /u/jbaum311 on reddit. Thanks for the request! If YOU have
a character you want me to do, send me a message on my Ask Box and I’ll get it
added to the list. If you send it anonymously I can’t respond privately to you
which means if there is an issue or something I think you should know, I can’t
tell you and who wants that. I am pretty well booked with requests will April
so don’t be shocked if it takes a little bit to get to yours, I am on it!
Thanks for reading!


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS