This is an in-universe article with out-of-universe material.
The Enigma was a powerful telepath who imagined himself a superhero.
The man who would become the mysterious Enigma was born more than twenty-five years ago on a ranch in Arizona. His family name was Collins, but his first name has never been revealed. The Enigma was born with great psychokinetic potential and the ability to transmutate human flesh. As an infant, he accidentally mutilated his father's face, an act which drove his mother, Ellen, irrevocably insane. Ellen wanted to be rid of this seemingly evil creature, and tried to pitch him into a dry well on the ranch. Her husband tried to stop her, but Ellen shot him in the face with a shotgun. Ellen threw the child into the well and had it sealed.
The baby survived and grew up in the darkness of the cistern. He gained nourishment from collected pools of water and the endless supply of lizards that darted in an out of the interconnecting tunnels beneath the earth. Growing up, the child learned that he could "throw his mind" into other living creatures, including the lizards that lived in the well. He eventually expanded the range of his telepathy so that he could perceive the thoughts of individuals across the entire state, and conceivably, across the entire country. Because of this gift, the child developed an extremely advanced intellect.
Years passed, and the child eventually grew into a man. His voice carried out beyond the well and across the entire ranch. The current family, cousins of Ellen and her late husband Jim, believed that the ranch was haunted. They convinced a group of priests to come to the ranch to perform an exorcism, and in so doing, discovered the man living in the well. He was taken to a nearby hospital and provided with medical treatment. Having lived in darkness for so long, the light of the surface world caused him great discomfort. Institutionalized, he could not conceive of living in a world without the dark, quiet borders that he had grown up in. Scared and agitated, he used his powers to temporarily incapacitate the hospital staff and discharged himself from the hospital.
The man wandered on his own for a short time and eventually discovered the ruins of a home that had sunken beneath the ground following an earthquake. This reminded him of his old environs and he took to living here. He discovered a collection of comic books that once belonged to the home's previous tenant, a man named Michael Smith. The comic books were titled Enigma, and were originally published during the 1970s by an author named Titus Bird. The man became obsessed with the Enigma stories and decided to pattern himself after the title's main character. He used his powers to alter his physical features and telepathically manipulated a tailor into fashioning a costume for him. With this, he could now assume a new identity for himself – that of the Enigma.
In his quest to maintain a sense of identity however, the Enigma realized that in order to imitate the lifestyle and adventures of the comic book characters, he needed to also create the Enigma's most infamous villains. He used his powers to transform a traveling salesman named Roger Cliff into a villain called the Head. The Head was based on one of the original Titus Bird characters, but this living version of the character was much more violent. The Head became a serial killer who claimed his victims by extracting their brains by way of a special, metal instrument.
During this time, the Enigma also developed a psychic connection to the comics' original owner, Michael Smith. Smith began having recurring dreams wherein he saw the Enigma's mask and face. As this ephemeral bond grew stronger, Smith became obsessed with learning about the Enigma and as a result, nearly became a victim of the Head. The Enigma saved Michael from certain death and succeed in vanquishing his foe.
The Enigma didn't stop with just one villain however. He then transformed retired stage actor Victor Lamont into a character called the Truth. The Truth was even more dangerous than the Head, as he represented the ultimate antithesis of everything the Enigma was meant to be. In the original comic stories, the Truth had actually defeated the Enigma, but as the series was cancelled after issue #3, there was no way of knowing if the character would recover in time to defeat his foe. The Enigma fought against Victor Lamont's incarnation of the Truth at Saint Peter's Cathedral in Pacific City and was nearly killed. He recovered however, and like before, was able to destroy his opponent.
Another comic character that manifested as a result of the Enigma's actions was Envelope Girl. Envelope Girl was originally super-model Victoria Yes, who had been granted the ability to teleport people within the folds of her paper-thin body. Unlike the others, Envelope Girl was not an inherently violent adversary, but the Enigma nearly killed her when he shredded her envelope-shaped body parts.
With no more canonical characters to draw inspiration from, the Enigma began to create villains of his own. He transformed a trio of country-western singers into a team of bizarre murderers called the Interior League. As before, he faced and defeated them in combat, but only after the League had succeeded in causing the deaths of several people.
During this time, the Enigma's connection to Michael Smith grew even stronger. Michael fell in love with the Enigma, and the Enigma was desperate for human companionship. Michael learned however that the homosexual feelings he had for the Enigma were not of his own nature, but the result of the Enigma telepathically manipulating his psyche. Enraged at first, Michael soon accepted his altered sexuality, preferring this lifestyle over the one he had been living.
In early 1993, the Enigma and Michael Smith (along with Titus Bird) learned that the Enigma's mother, Ellen Collins, was still alive. Apparently, some of the Enigma's power had bled into her, transforming her into a monstrous, psychopathic killer. The Enigma believed that she would soon be even more powerful than he, and would possess the power necessary to end his life. Once she grew strong enough, Ellen Collins broke free of the asylum where she had been remanded and stalked off to hunt down her son. Mother and son faced one another for the second and possibly final time in the middle of a desolate field on the outskirts of the city. The results of this reunion have never been recorded.
- Psychokinesis: The Enigma possesses several psychokinetic powers, not all of which have been aptly defined. One of the more visceral powers at his disposal is the ability to molecularly rearrange living human tissue. As an infant, he accidentally mutilated his father's face, which ultimately resulted in him being cast into the dry well. As an adult, he used this power to transmutate several people into the living incarnations of characters from the Enigma comic book series.
- Telepathy: The Enigma has the ability to broadcast his thoughts into the minds of other people. His proficiency with this power is strong enough that he can actually plant psychic commands or, if he chooses, completely rewrite an individual's personality or behavioral patterns.
- Telekinesis: Although the Enigma rarely uses this application of his psychokinetic prowess, he does possess the power of mind over matter. One of the few instances that he used telekinesis was when he caused a green lizard to float through the air, thus luring Michael Smith to the scene of the Head's latest crime.
- Flight: The Enigma has the ability to fly of his own accord, though this may be just an extension of his telekinesis.
- Superhuman Strength: The Enigma is several times stronger than a normal human and has demonstrated this ability while physically combating the various threats that plagued Pacific City.
- Mind Control
- Mental Illness: Because the Enigma has never experienced any sort of true social interaction, his moral code does not conform to the standards of modern society. The Enigma cannot distinguish between modern concepts of right and wrong, and has in fact created his own system of ethics.
- The Enigma exists within an insular continuity, separate from that of the mainstream DC Universe as well as other Vertigo titles.
- The Enigma's family name is Collins. His first name, if he even has one, has never been revealed.
- 9 Appearances of Collins (Enigma)
- 3 Images featuring Collins (Enigma)
- 2 Quotations by or about Collins (Enigma)
- Character Gallery: Collins (Enigma)
This character exists under the Vertigo Imprint which is intended for Mature Readers. Vertigo titles although they may cross over into regular DC continuity.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Vertigo Characters."