The Lankan mutant died fighting Wolverine and his daughter X-23. But, comic books have ways of reviving deceased characters. So, maybe our Sri Lankan character will return one day
Senyaka was recruited by Fabian Cortez as a member of the Acolytes when Magneto was presumed dead
by AVI KUMAR
The X-Men may not be the most powerful superhero team but they probably have the most diverse character lineup. They also have a Sri Lankan named Suvik Senyaka in the comic book series. In an interview that took place before the WGA strike, writer Scott Lobdell told Life that he created the mutant after a Lankan he met when he was in his twenties.
The most iconic X-Man, Wolverine is Canadian, villain Magneto is a Jewish Holocaust survivor, Bishop is Australian Aboriginal and Storm is from Africa…..and others in the roster also hail from diverse places. The X-Men may not be able to match the Avengers or Justice League in terms of raw strength but they definitely have more inclusion. “I think we were way ahead among comics; and a lot in that regard” Lobdell said. “At the time, in the 90s, I wasn’t trying to make any statement. I just wanted the characters in the comic books to represent the many different people
I would meet at both ‘cons’ and in
Lobdell was the woodshop instructor at a youth camp in upstate New York in 1985 and met a Sri Lankan called Sam Senyaka. The author said it was “short for something much longer” but cannot recall the full name now.
The X-Men are mutants, born with unique abilities. But they face discrimination and are tasked to overcome challenges from both regular humans who hate them and evil mutants who want to instigate war. A few storylines parallel civil rights and other issues revolving around overcoming discrimination.
Senyaka was recruited by Fabian Cortez as a member of the Acolytes when Magneto was presumed dead. They are a more radical faction of mutant extremists than Magneto’s original Brotherhood – Senyaka was among them. The Lankan’s first appearance was in Uncanny X Men #300 in 1993.
The 63 year old writer explained that there was a motif among the Acolytes where they introduced characters with just the last name instead of code-names. So, he added Senyaka in this span. The Lankan mutant is renowned for his ability to impeccably assassinate his targets.
Senyaka’s superpower is his psionic bio-whip that drains the bio-electric energy of those it makes contact with. The stolen energy increases his natural abilities putting him at peak human fighting capability. His appearance resembles that of a ninja or in a context from our neck of the woods - a grease yakka. Colombo-based fan Malinda Rodrigo says that Senyaka’s inclusion was “a ‘milestone’ for Sri Lanka”.
Many in Sri Lanka watched the 1992 cartoon Uncanny X-Men and 2008 Wolverine and the X-Men that aired locally on MTV (now Sirisa TV). Both shows portrayed Senyaka. Lobdell expressed he was sorry he’d never seen either show and missed his creation’s on-screen appearances.
Lobdell said that fellow writer Fabian Nicieza used to mock him after the latter added new people like Revanche and Hazard and said “what new ideas did you bring other than ‘Senyaka from Sri Lanka’?”
But the Lankan made it into the toy line when many of Nicieza’s characters didn’t. And Lobdell has never let his friend forget it. “ Fabian did co-create a character named Deadpool, so I guess that puts us on even footing” he joked.
In the 2008 cartoon, Wolverine and The X-Men, Senyaka is seen trying to capture the teleporting monkey like X-Man Nightcrawler one episode. Lobdell recounted how when he told people in the 90s he wrote X-Men comics, some would say “wait they do comics as well?”. Because the cartoon was the first introduction to the X-Men for many.
The Lankan mutant died fighting Wolverine and his daughter X-23. But, comic books have ways of reviving deceased characters! And as they say “no one stays dead except uncle Ben [Spider-Man’s uncle]”. So, maybe our Sri Lankan character will return one day.
Senyaka once tussled with the scarlet clad mercenary, Deadpool who called him “Senyaka Dabba Doo” - a nod to Fred Flintstones’ trademark phrase.
As Deadpool 3 comes to cinemas and will feature some of our favourite Marvel characters in live action form, Lobdell added “It would be nice if we saw Senyaka appear onscreen.”