Mason's had a real hard time and had to come back from a really dark place.
But... I think he's finally 'comfortable in his own skin'. Being a person that was buried inside all along. There's something to be said for that.
Mason-Baptiste Lafayette was born John Lafayette DeSalle to American parents in the North Dakota region.
His family moved to Quebec when he was young where he attended school. His native language is English, but growing up in Quebec meant he became fluent in French as well. Post-school, he did a short and moderately successful stint as a boxer and MMA fighter. Realizing the limitations of that career, he joined a Canadian Search and Rescue service, where he worked for some number of years.
During that time, he was approached by the US Central Intelligence Agency, who recruited him as an asset to monitor for terrorist and smuggling traffic coming through Canada into the US. He excelled at it until his success caused the son of an international corporate businessman to be caught.
Pulling strings, the CEO worked to pull funding and expose the CIA’s operation. In a panic to shut the situation down, John was cut loose without warning. The CEO, using his connections in the CIA, arranged for John to be ‘bought’ and picked up by Infinity Inc
A Living Weapon
Infinity Inc recognized the genetic potential in John, as a mutant whose abilities had not yet manifested. They triggered his mutations but also altered them. The intent was to create a living Chimera weapon.
To stabilize the chimera abilities, which were genetically altered from his own mutant powers, they flooded his bone marrow with an untested stem cell therapy drug. The drug interacted with his own altered genetics, resulting in his bones being laced with a titanium-magnesium alloy, and the ability for his body to produce more. The original process created too much, which slowly poisoned John over time.
This side effect inspired the company to use it as a means to keep John under control. Regular treatments kept the process stable, and therefore John wouldn't suffer the effects of the poison.
During his time as a living weapon for Infinity Incorporated, he was given the code name of Timber Wolf
. As with Feral
and the rest of the prototype unit, he managed to escape when they did from the Niagra Falls hidden lab. Once they split up, he laid low, keeping to himself until he set up a life in Chicago.
Unfortunately, the metal alloy in his body was still seeping toxins in his body. An engineered 'kill switch' by Infinity Incorporated,
This resulted in manic episodes that eventually resulted in John having a failed attempt at a vigilante in Chicago. He fled north out of the US and managed to get treatment using experimental dialysis. This, combined with his own heightened regeneration, removed the poison and permanently stabilized what was wrong.
John headed back south to rebuild his life in Detroit. After all the years gone, he knew the people he had worked with - and hurt - would be gone, or less than thrilled to see him. So, he used what connections to look for someone to help him build a new identity. A way to rebuild.
Former co-workers from years ago put him in touch with what John thought was Interpol. Instead, it was actually SAFEGUARD
Eager for more information on Infinity Incorporated, they agreed to help John assemble a new identity in exchange for the information. The caveat was that SAFEGUARD would keep in touch on how John was doing in Detroit. In case he might be interested in some consulting work for the organization. A select few, like John's immediate family would know the secret of his name change but outside of that, SAFEGUARD took steps to erase 'John Lafayette DeSalle' for their part of the bargain.
With his new identity in place, John - now Mason-Baptiste Lafayette - set up shop in Detroit as a private detective. To help combat his PTSD problems, which he still has, he visits a local Catholic priest, Father Abrigail Hannigan for regular therapy. Mason also takes medication to help with the lingering chemical imbalance from Infinity Inc's chemical 'kill switch' attempt.
New City, Old Problems
Detroit, like any city, has its own unique problems. Crime and criminial enterprise is one of many. John, now as Mason, found that his work as a private investigator paid the bills. However, it led him right into the path of the wealthy exploiting Detroit and its citizens who didn't have the resources to defend themselves.
His failed attempt at a vigilante still haunted him but he couldn't let people just be ground down. Mason took on a new approach. Using his powers and skills, Mason forged a new 'hero identity' but with some differences.
Before, he was willing to do what it took to stop the problem. He sought out Justice however he could get it. That failed.
The work he had done with Father Hannigan put the world into perspective for Mason. At least, for him it made things a bit clearer.
Justice wasn't something to hunt down. It was something to be supported. People, in general, just want a better life. They wanted to be better. To Mason, being a vigilante, a hero, wasn't about beating down a criminal. It was about compassion. Helping people who were going hungry, overcoming human injustice. Just showing that there really is a path forward out of darkness. A darkness he knew all too well.