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Collective Man
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Contest of Champions (1st series) #1 (June, 1982)
Created by Bill Mantlo
Sal Buscema
In-story information
Alter ego Sun, Chang, Ho, Lin, and Han Tao-Yu
Species Human Mutants
Team affiliations People's Defense Force
The 198
Mutant Liberation Front
Death's Champions
Abilities Ability to merge into a single being possessing five times the physical and mental ability of a single Tao-Yu brother
Ability to temporarily increase the limits these powers by mentally drawing upon outside energy, while in a collective state
Ability to communicate telepathically and teleport to each other via psychic/spiritual-link.

The Collective Man (Sun, Chang, Ho, Lin, and Han Tao-Yu) is a fictional character, a Chinese superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. The Collective Man is actually an identity shared by the Tao-Yu brothers, a set of quintuplets. They possess the mutant power to merge into one body, which variously possesses the collective abilities of all five men or of all of the people of China. The brothers also share a psychic/spiritual link that allows them to telepathically communicate and teleport to one another.

Publication history

The Collective Man first appeared in Incredible Hulk #250 (August 1980), and was created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.

The character subsequently appears in Marvel Super-Heroes: Contest of Champions #1-3 (June–August 1982), Incredible Hulk #279 (January 1983), Marvel Comics Presents #55 (1990), X-Force Annual #3 (1994), Citizen V and the V Battalion: The Everlasting #1-3 (April–June 2001), X-Men Vol. 2 #159-160 (September–October 2004), X-Men: The 198 Files #1 (January 2006), X-Men Vol. 2 #183 (April 2006), Civil War: X-Men #1 (September 2006), #4 (December 2006), Thunderbolts: International Incident (April 2008)

The Collective Man received an entry in the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #2, and in the All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #2 (2006).

Fictional character biography

The five Tao-Yu brothers were born in Wuhan, China. The Collective Man was first seen in the Grandmaster's contest, in which various international superheroes fought one another the proxies of either the Grandmaster or his unknown opponent (actually Death). The Collective Man was teamed with Storm and Shamrock (all unknowingly proxies of Death in the conflict) in battle against the Grandmaster's proxies Captain America, Sasquatch and Blitzkrieger; their battle was ended when Shamrock claimed the prize.

Some time after the contest, the Collective Man fought the Hulk. At some point, the brothers' power decreased so that they only possessed the abilities of five men as the Collective Man. Later, when their superiors in the Chinese military prevented them from visiting their dying mother, Mary, the brothers rebelled and fought the god Ho-Ti, who was apparently working with the government. The brothers left the battle one by one to be at their dying mother's side. The Tao-Yu brother Ho remained to fight the god, but Ho-Ti, seeing the battle was both sad and futile, willingly departed. After the brothers discovered how China had mistreated their other mutant citizens, the Collective Man was later seen as a member of the Chinese revolutionary group 3-Peace alongside the Jade Dragon and Nuwa. They teamed with X-Force to fight the Mutant Liberation Front and the nationalistic China Force.

Later, the Collective Man, now restored to full power, was mystically altered by the fallen god Marduk, who sought to use the Tao-Yu brothers' power to steal the life energy of every person in China in order to reclaim his divinity. The process of absorbing this life energy transformed the Collective Man into a dim-witted, raging, grotesque giant. Citizen V (John Watkins III) and his V-Battalion fought the Collective Man, with the Battalion agent Goldfire accidentally dying in the battle. Citizen V punctured the giant's skin, causing him to explode and apparently die. He survived, possibly thanks to the V Battalion's defeat of Marduk, and the brothers returned to their normal form, now gaining the ability to increase size when merged and to generate additional duplicate bodies. The Collective Man later fought the X-Men on behalf of the Chinese government when the mutant heroes attempted to free Shen Xorn from Chinese custody. It was revealed that the brothers retained their power after M-Day. They have since been spotted on the Xavier institute as part of the 198, where they were fighting Bishop and agents of O*N*E during the escape.[1]

The Collective Man, as part of the People's Defense Force, join The Mighty Avengers and other assembled Avengers teams in defeating The Unspoken, an exiled Inhuman king seeking to enslave the Earth.[2]

Months later, the Collective Man invaded San Francisco's organized crime circuit,[3] while its protector, Wolverine[4] was incapacitated by a "mutant flu" bioweapon released as part of the X-Men: Quarantine storyline. He engaged and was defeated by a group of "substitute" X-Men consisting of Angel, Storm, Dazzler, Pixie, and Northstar.

Powers and abilities

The five Tao-Yu brothers have the mutant ability to mentally synchronize the atoms of their bodies and merge themselves into a single superhuman being. It is possible for only a few brothers to merge into this collective being, however, they prefer to merge all at once.

While merged into their collective state, the brothers possess the sum total of their combined physical and mental capabilities. The Collective Man is capable of further increasing these traits to vast levels by mentally concentrating on the image of millions of his countrymen, a magical ability granted by the Babylonian god Marduk. However, he is only able to do so for a brief period of time. He has increased his powers to levels sufficient to physically overpower Sasquatch in one on one combat.[5]

Following such a deployment of energy, the Collective Man is rendered unconscious. The length of time in which he remains unconscious depends upon the degree of exertion. If the Collective Man taps into his countrymen's physical and mental energies for too long, it can potentially prove fatal.

The brothers also possess a psi/spiritual link that lets them communicate telepathically and teleport to each other's location. In addition, they have also been shown to be decently skilled martial artists in peak human physical condition.


  1. Civil War: X-Men #1
  2. Mighty Avengers #28
  3. Uncanny X-Men #531
  4. Wolverine: Manifest Destiny
  5. Marvel Super-Heroes Contest of Champions #3

External links