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Zero. Generation Hope #6
Art by Salva Espin
|First appearance||Generation Hope #1|
|Created by||Matt Fraction|
|Alter ego||Kenji Uedo|
|Team affiliations||The Lights|
|Notable aliases||The Fifth Light, Zero|
|Abilities||Techno-Organic Creation and Manipulation|
Zero (Kenji Uedo) is a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Generation Hope #1, in the final chapter of the "Five Lights" storyline, and the first storyline of the Generation Hope book. He was created by Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen, and is one of the "Five Lights"—a group of mutants who manifested their abilities after the events of "Second Coming".
Zero first appeared in Generation Hope as a newly manifested mutant with dark intentions and a dangerous power. Following his introduction, he, along with Hope Summers, Velocidad, Transonic, Oya, and Primal, began to feature in the series Generation Hope. He is the last of the Five Lights to join Hope's team, as the first storyline of the Generation Hope series involves the team getting his power under control. He continues to make appearances in Uncanny X-Men as well.
From his introduction, Zero has seemed more distant from Hope and all the other Lights. He is the first of the Lights to acknowledge that Hope has changed them, possibly not for the better, and his dark tendencies appear to be heading him down the path of villainy. He has talked about betraying Hope, and he has mentioned that he believes he would be a lot like Magneto and his Brotherhood or Quentin Quire if he weren't tied to Hope. Additionally, whether subconsciously or not, he has created messages in his room talking about how there is "No Hope" and "No Future."
Kenji Uedo is a successful nineteen-year-old  artist from Tokyo, Japan when his powers first appear. Though originally Kenji just seems to be a messy introvert with hygiene issues, his powers quickly manifest into uncontrollable organic tendrils, which kill his assistant and start to wreak havoc in Tokyo. Soon afterward, Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Hope, and the other Lights arrive in Japan to find Kenji's organic tendrils destroying the city. After Cyclops, Wolverine, and Rogue fail to contain Kenji, Hope heads into his lair to attempt to stabilize his powers, but Kenji attacks Hope by latching tendrils onto her head, which appears to cause an explosion that destroys most of Tokyo. However, this is an illusion, created on a telepathic plane by Kenji so he can live his fantasies. Hope mimics Kenji's power, and sees that Kenji has her pinned to a wall. Hope escapes, but is rendered unconscious by her powers; she is rescued by Velocidad before she falls to the ground.
Using his powers, Kenji becomes a large creature, and he begins to rampage through the city, à la an old monster movie. Hope soon awakens, and she and the other Lights demonstrate their teamwork by getting Hope close enough to Kenji to once again mimic his powers, all while keeping each other safe. Hope becomes a similar creature, and begins to battle Kenji while the two talk telepathically. Kenji scoffs at Hope, and sarcastically asks if she thinks she can save him. When she doesn't reply, Kenji realizes that she does think she can save him, but he tells her that he thinks it's too late. Despite this, Hope defeats Kenji and is able to get his powers under control via a touch, which knocks them both unconscious.
Kenji is taken to Utopia, where he is shown footage of the destruction he caused in Tokyo. Kenji is remorseful, admitting that he has fantasies of killing people, and he wants the X-Men's help to ensure that he never goes on a rampage again. After Emma Frost probes his mind, she convinces Cyclops that Kenji truly is remorseful, and Cyclops agrees to help Kenji. Later, after Hope says she's staying on Utopia, Kenji and the other Lights agree to do the same, but Kenji decides to remain more isolated than his teammates.
When a Sixth Light is discovered in Germany, Hope and the Lights (including Kenji) head there to retrieve it. However, they find that the Light is actually a powerfully telepathic unborn infant, who has taken control of every person within the hospital its mother is staying at. Kenji hooks his tendrils into each of his teammates' necks, granting them immunity from the telepath's influence, and the group heads into the hospital, and convince the baby to be born. Hope touches the child, and its X-gene is suppressed until it hits puberty.
After Hope decides that each of the Lights needs their own codename, Kenji begins to consider his several options. At first, he suggests Derivative or Rei (Japanese for Zero, and a reference to Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion) before settling on simply Zero. Later, after Primal wins the right to stay on Utopia, Zero wonders if Primal truly is happy on Utopia or if he is faking it to remain close to Hope. He and Transonic acknowledge that Hope has changed them all, and Zero doesn't think it's quite right. He reveals that he had considered another codename to spit back at their "messiah": Judas.
Later, a Seventh Light appears in the United Kingdom. The Light is a boy named Zeeshan, whose skin appears to be melting from his body. One of Zeeshan's friends begin to tease him and begins to take photos and post them onto the internet. Though Hope and the Lights (including Zero) rush to the UK, the group is too late, as Zeeshan has already killed himself after his friend "ruined" his life. Four weeks later, Zero is seen outside that friend's apartment, sending a drone in to kill the boy. However, he is stopped by Wolverine, who tells him "It gets better, kid."
As he returns from an obviously tiring mission, Wolverine encounters Hope and the Lights, including Zero, awaiting his return so they can start Combat Training class. Wolverine cancels the class he had no knowledge of, and instead asks them if they shouldn't be doing something more age appropriate.
Zero is one of the X-Men to attend the opening of a Mutant History Museum, a group that includes several adult and younger mutants. He got there early, as he wanted to view the "classic design" of the Sentinel. He then criticizes the leaders of the world for restarting the Sentinel Program after Quentin Quire made them tell their darkest truths on television. He mentions that he believes that he would be a lot like Magneto and his Brotherhood or Quire if he weren't tied to Hope. When the Museum is attacked by the new Hellfire Club, most of the X-Men are quickly defeated and Zero is nowhere to be seen. He reappears outside with Hope and the other Lights after Oya's "murder" of the Hellfire grunts. He asks Oya if she is okay, but she mortifies Zero, Hope, and the other Lights by only asking if there is anyone else she needs to kill.
The Schism event concludes with the separation of the X-Men into two different teams (one led by Cyclops and the other by Wolverine). Velocidad, Transonic, Primal, and Zero choose to stay on Utopia with Hope while Idie leaves with Wolverine for the rebuilt X-Mansion now named the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. The team later gets two new members, Pixie and No-Girl (who becomes somewhat close to Zero for a brief period of time).[volume & issue needed]
During a training exercise Hope and the remaining lights on Utopia spar against the likes of Colossus, Storm, Magik, Namor, Psylocke, and Magneto. Zero goes too far and infuriates Magneto during the fight when he digs his techno-organic tendrils into the mutant's eyes. In retaliation Magneto tears Kenji apart by manipulating the metals in his body. To everyone's surprise, Kenji survives the vicious attack and literally pulls himself back together.[volume & issue needed]
Shortly after the sparring exercise Hope learns that the Stepford Cuckoos have discovered a new light in Pakistan and chose to keep it from her. Hope has Pixie transport the team to meet the mystery mutant who is later revealed to be Sebastian Shaw. During the mission, the front lobe of No-Girl is destroyed when Sebastian Shaw detonates himself. Zero then uses his techno-organic powers to make her a new body from parts of his own.
When The Lights are attacked by a group of Utopia residents jealous of the young team's status with the X-Men, Hope usurps Zero's control over his powers in order to force an end to the conflict. This incident galvanizes Zero's distrust of the young leader, who he believes means to subjugate all mutants with her immense power. Using implants he had placed into the brains of a number of Utopia inhabitants, he manipulates a large group of mutants into clamoring for Hope's death. During the ensuing battle, Martha Johansson disrupts Zero's powers, killing him and freeing the affected mutants from his influence.
While traveling the globe, Storm discovered Kenji alive and well, but without the memory of his time among the X-Men. After several exams, it is discovered that Kenji had not died as everyone had thought. His power had restored him after the battle with Martha Johansson. Storm believed him and allowed him to stay, keeping him under close watch, but it didn't take long for Kenji to shatter his innocent facade. As it turned out Kenji was found by Davis Harmon, a cyborg and CEO of Eaglestar Industries, when the later searched the ruins of Utopia to salvage its technology. Being held captive and tortured shattered Kenji's already fragile psyche and he began to blame the X-Men for his demise. Storm eventually took Harmon down and, unbeknownst to her, allowed Kenji to escape his underwater lab. Consumed with revenge, Kenji was disgusted that Storm was spreading hope and fellowship everywhere but had rejected him and let him die when he showed his true colors during his attack on Hope. He began to attack the school and simultaneously unleashed armies of his techno-organic "meat puppets" on the places around the world that Storm had recently helped. He connected himself to Storm so that she could watch her friends die but this only allowed Storm to use her powers on a global scale and she destroyed his armies. Defeated, Kenji tried to goad Storm into killing him, which would prove that her inclusive dream was a lie, because it could never include him. Storm refused and, still connected to his mind, showed Kenji that many of her friends, like Callisto and Forge, were once monsters, but still decided to fight for a better world. She also knew that, deep down, Kenji hoped the same could eventually be true of him. Kenji vanished, telling Storm that he'd see her around. Rachel Grey confirmed that his psionic presence was still in the area and was, surprisingly, at peace.
Kenji has the power of techno-organic creation and manipulation. His abilities are as unique and abstract as his art, and allow him to do numerous different things. He has demonstrated the ability to produce and control organic matter in a variety of shapes and sizes, from multiple tendrils to a small, spider-like drone to a large "monster movie"-esque creature. However, Zero created the "movie monster" after losing control of his powers, and it is unclear if he would be able to create a construct as large and complex while remaining in control. Zero is able to hook his tendrils or other constructs into other people to communicate telepathic messages or images. He also has some limited resistance to telepathy, and is able to share this resistance with others by attaching one of his tendrils to them.
Though Zero's hands were lost to his powers when they manifested, he believes that he doesn't truly need them to create art or do everyday things. Instead, he can use his powers to create organic art, and his tendrils have been able to do things as precise as holding a gun. Theoretically, he could potentially create "hands" using his power if he wanted to. He can also produce a black, ink-like liquid, with which he can write messages or draw.
It has been noted by comic fans, that Zero strongly resembles the characters Tetsuo and Akira from the anime movies Akira. This intentional reference has been addressed by writer Kieron Gillen. Gillen defined Kenji as "A widely hailed new creator who — through a fluke of fate – has his derivativeness that he knows all too well made entirely obvious to the whole world".