Name: Hisako Ichiki
First Appearance: Astonishing X-Men #4 (October 2004 Marvel Comics)
Created by: Joss Whedon and John Cassaday
“Who doesn’t want to make the A-list?”
Back in 2004 when Joss Whedon and John Cassaday joined the ranks of X-books, they were given a brand new title to be the crown jewel in the X lineup. Their Astonishing X-Men run was a thing of legends and still stands as one of our favorite runs of all time. Sneaked into issue #4 was the introduction of one excellent new character, Hisako Ichiki. While she only had a small part to play in that issue and first story arc, she soon became a part of the team and one of our favorite newer X-Men.
Armor’s code-name comes from her powers. She can create a powerful, psionic exoskeleton armor around herself. The armor is extremely dense, and almost impenetrable, though adamantium has been shown to go through it. While wrapped by the armor, she has super strength, increased speed, and agility. She can also expand the size of her armor incredibly, to that of a building even.
Her first appearance in Astonishing X-Men #4 was very brief, but very notable for showing her powers and her bravery. While the X-Men were away on a mission investigating the lab were a mutant cure was being developed, the X-mansion was left unguarded. Hisako and her best friend Wing were getting ready for bed, talking to each other down the hall as they went to their respective rooms. That is when they ran into Ord, an alien introduced in the first issue of the series.
He came to the school looking for the X-Men. The two tell him that they don’t know where the X-Men went or when they’ll be back. Sensing they are in danger, Hisako armors up and tells Wing to run as she hits Ord, trying to protect her friend. Unfortunately, Ord who had just taken down the entire X-Men in the first issue, is to powerful for Hisako as he bats her away and goes after Wing. Wing tries to take flight away, but stops knowing he can’t just leave Hisako. This pause gives Ord the chance to grab Wing and inject him with the cure, which is the driving factor the young student kills himself a few issues later.
Right from the start we see the type of hero Hisako is as she tries, unfortunately unsuccessfully, to protect her friend. Since that first appearance, she joined the X-Men throughout Whedon’s run as she developed her powers further, and has been used in various other X books, albeit in much smaller doses. Since Utopia she has not been used as much, which is a real shame. Armor is one of the best new X characters in years and with any luck, she will come back to a more prominent role once again.