Characters: Kilimanjaro

Real name: Ezekiel Itosi

Occupation: Guardian, elder, farmer, occasional adventurer

Identity: Known to the public

Legal Status: Citizen of The United Republic of Tanzania

Place of Birth: Tanzania

Known relatives: Bibi Itosi (wife); many sons, daughters and grandchildren.

Group Affiliation: The First World (Africa's superhero team), reserve member of T.A.S.K.

Powers and Abilities: Kilimanjaro has the ability to increase his size from just around 6 ft. to a maximum of approximately 200 feet. This ability comes from the "Heart of the Mountain" gem that the ancient god Ruwa, placed in his chest. Kilimanjaro's strength and durability also increase and at his maximum height he can lift (press) in excess of 85 tons.

T.A.S.K. member Kraken has suggested that the "gem" is in fact a sophisticated device that draws matter from an inter-dimensional source and repurposes it as extra mass in this dimension. He has theorized that the gem keeps the interdimensional matter in a state of "mass flux," allowing Kilimanjaro to avoid the affect that the additional weight and volume (of normal matter) would have on his strength and agility. Kilimanjaro explains it as simply the "magic of the mountain's heart."

Brief Personal History: Approximately 150,000 years ago Earth was visited by extra-dimensional beings whose existence was based on the use and manipulation of esoteric energies (these energies would go on to be known and "magical" or "mystical"). Seeking to sustain themselves on [REDACTED], they were in time vanquished and scattered by the "gods" of the House of Olodumare and its warriors -- who in turn become masters in the use of these esoteric energies; Earth's first "magic wielders." Many of the scattered extra-dimensional beings took refuge in the dark hidden places of the world and become threats for thousands of years to come. Decorated twin warriors Ruwa and Marwe were among hundreds of warriors charged with tracking and eradicating these creatures.

They tracked a host of creatures to what would become Mt. Kilimanjaro and a great battle took place at the summit of the mountain. During the battle Ruwa was poisoned by the enemy and Marwe saved his brother by throwing him clear while he trapped himself and the creatures in a null space between dimensions -- (a pocket dimension) leaving his focus gem weapon behind. Weakened, Ruwa fell into a regenerating sleep.

Ruwa woke to discover that the poison had forever weakened him and he could only expend his previous level of energy once or twice a year (although he was still quite powerful by human standards). Sensing his twin was still alive, he waited until he regained his vigor and entered the null space in search of his sibling, only to be overpowered by the entrapped horde and cast out in defeat. This would become the first attempt in Ruwa's obsessive quest to save his brother from the horde populated pocket dimension. He would launch successive incursions into the null space, each ending in failure.

Years passed and the foothills of the mountain became more and more populated. By the time the Bantu people of East Africa migrated to the mountain and became the Chaga, Ruwa had become a legend on the mountain. Over time Ruwa became the Chaga's chief deity and at some point he started bestowing his brother's focus gem to worthy Chaga warriors. Those warriors, who considered being chosen by their deity to be the highest of honors, would then accompany him on his quest to free his twin -- with many losing their lives in the attempt. Those surviving the unsuccessful battles would then be tasked with guarding the entrance to the null space dimension and the now-exhausted Ruwa. This practice continued to the present day.

Ezekiel Itosi was born on the mountain in 1934 and won the honor of serving Ruwa on his 16th birthday. Ruwa found himself impressed with the boy's bravery and prowess in battle. He was also astonished when Ezekiel unlocked the one ability from his brother's gem that no one else had in all the previous centuries -- the ability to alter the bearer's size. They fought the horde six times and eventually found Marwe-using the last of his strength to fashion a new gem that could hold the pocket dimension together even if he breathed his last.

The young Itosi helped the godlike warriors escape but fell as the exit slammed shut; leaving him trapped to face the horde all alone. Ezekiel spent the next five years in constant, desperate battle -- not only against the demon horde but also against despair and insanity. Eventually Ruwa and Marwe regained their strength and came to Ezekiel's rescue. The young Chaga warrior emerged physically whole but scarred and changed in ways that were not immediately evident.

Sometime later, the true damage of Ezekiel's time battling the horde came to the fore. A malevolent entity from the null space had psychically latched onto the young hero and while the entity could not fully take control of Itosi, it could subtly influence him. Ezekiel grew dissatisfied with his mountain life and left his people to wander the continent. He soon joined a group of mercenaries and used his abilities in the service of their vicious activities. For three years Ezekiel was the instrument that fed the entity's bloodlust and the mercenaries' infamy grew. It would eventually take the efforts of Ruwa, John Henry and certain members of T.A.S.K. to bring them to justice and rid Ezekiel the malevolent voice in his ear.

Horrified by his actions, Ezekiel retreated to his mountain home and dedicated himself to keeping watch on the null space and protecting the people and the animals of Tanzania. He married, started a family became an elder in his community. John Henry asked him to join T.A.S.K. but he only agreed reserve member status. He was aided by Makeda in battle against Anansi when the spider trickster sought to breach the null space and enlist the horde as his personal army. At the conclusion of that adventure he accepted the warrior woman's offer of membership with The First World and took the codename "Kilimanjaro." The members of the First World place great value on Ezekiel's counsel and wisdom.

Many years have passed and while the "Tower of Tanzania" has regained the trust of his people and the respect of his peers, he's still haunted by the years he was trapped with the horde and the memories of acts he committed as an agent of a demonic entity.

Written by Damion Gonzales
Character design by Sean Isaakse