Cover art for Captain Britain & MI:13 #2.
Art by Bryan Hitch.
Excalibur vol.1 #86|
Warren Ellis (writer)|
Ken Lashley (artist)
|Alter ego||Peter "Pete" Paul Wisdom|
Able to throw 'hot knives' spikes of shearing energy from his fingertips|
Pete Wisdom is a fictional secret agent published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Excalibur vol. 1 #86 (February 1995), and was created by Warren Ellis and Ken Lashley. Wisdom is a British Secret Service agent with the mutant ability to throw "blades" of energy ("hot knives") from his fingertips.
Pete Wisdom was initially created by Ellis and drawn by Ben Dilworth, in a pitch for "Electric Angel" for publisher Trident Comics. Wisdom was an angry young Essex man, with the power to summon electricity. Ellis said at Toronto Comicon 2005 that the character is based on Jack Regan from The Sweeney. Later, at Marvel, Wisdom formally debuted, his first appearance was as an agent for the British covert organization Black Air in Excalibur vol. 1, #86 (February 1995).
The pair starred in the Pryde and Wisdom three-issue miniseries, which introduced Wisdom's sister Romany, as well as his father Harold, a retired Scotland Yard inspector. Soon after, Warren Ellis became the 'plotmaster' of X-Force - Ian Edginton was the actual scripter. He next appeared in New Excalibur scripted by Chris Claremont. Originally, the series' mandate was to explore the fallout from House of M in Britain.
In November 2006, Pete Wisdom also starred in a six-issue limited series titled Wisdom under the MAX comics imprint. From May 2008 to July 2009 Wisdom appeared as one of the main characters in the series Captain Britain and MI: 13.
Fictional character biography
What is known about Pete Wisdom's family is that he was born to Scotland Yard detective-sergeant Harold Wisdom. He has a sister, Romany, who is an occultist, a former employee of the police's Department of Unusual Deaths (Dept F.66) and ally of Union Jack. His mother was killed by mass murderer Michael Robert Ryan while waiting for Pete to visit, a visit he had blown off after an argument with her - both he and his father blame him for her death. He went on to join MI6 and later transferred to its fellow intelligence agency Black Air, where he alluded to having been in a relationship with his superior, Michelle Scicluna.
Due to being constantly sent out on wetwork (assassination assignments), he grew to hate his job and wished to leave. Scicluna tasked him to act as a non-combat adviser to Excalibur, who Black Air had requested to investigate in Genosha for them, and in return he could leave Black Air afterwards. Later on he borrowed Excalibur transport to reach and help an old friend, being forced to take Kitty Pryde with him; the two of them ended up investigating Black Air's "Dream Nails" facility and the horrors within, and Wisdom was almost tortured to death by one of his employer's agents. Following this he was invited to join Excalibur by Kitty and they started a relationship (leading to an ongoing feud between him and Lockheed).
Both Wisdom and Excalibur were able to expose Black Air's links to the Hellfire Club, cripple the organization, and prevent its grand scheme. With Kitty, he teamed up his father, his sister, and Department F.66 to track down an occult serial killer. A remnant cell of Black Air then hired a contract killer and former girlfriend of Wisdom's to assassinate him - while he escaped, he'd had Nightcrawler briefly captured by the cell and the guilt caused him to become far more anti-social, driving Kitty away. Unwilling afterwards to see if the relationship could be salvaged, he left Excalibur.
Later on (and sporting an unnecessary eye patch to look sexy), he organized a group of former intelligence operatives to strike out at black-ops agencies and individuals, and requested X-Force's aid in recovering a cybernetic brain from Genosha, fighting Magneto in the process. Wisdom would later be seen as the new leader of the team. He acted as a mentor and showed the team members how to use their mutant powers in new ways. When his sister, Romany Wisdom returned as a villain, Pete Wisdom was apparently murdered. When the remainder of X-Force (with the exception of Domino) were presumed to be killed, Wisdom was revealed to still be alive. Wisdom's survival is supposedly not known to any members of X-Force.
After M-Day, Wisdom retained his powers and is later ordered by MI-13 to find and team with Captain Britain. He then joins New Excalibur. Outside of Excalibur, he worked in a strike team for MI-13 that dealt with "weird happenings", clashing with MI-6, who felt that should be their jurisdiction; Alistaire Stuart had moved to MI6 and Wisdom viewed him as a traitor (to him personally). As a result of his work, he ended up in an arranged marriage with his teammate Tink (a fairy) to cement a treaty between the United Kingdom and Otherworld. He also developed a romance with teammate Maureen Raven, an Ulster-born psychic, but was eventually forced to kill her to end the Martian invasion of Britain.
Following this invasion, Wisdom would once again team with Captain Britain and other heroes to stop the Skrull invasion of Earth. He was contacted by Merlin, who directed Wisdom into setting him free to resurrect a (temporarily) deceased Captain Britain; in doing so, Wisdom had to knowingly open a prison for evil magics (as well as entities like Satannish). Now owed a boon by the dark forces, Wisdom was able to have a magical anti-Skrull shield erected around the British Isles, but it was clear the nation would be under constant threat of the supernatural due to his actions. Wisdom also has to cope with the death of his friend, a John Lennon impersonating Skrull who had worked with him and Spitfire to repel the invasion.
MI-13's first battle was against the Duke of Hell Dr Plokta, who gained power when people willingly sold their souls to live in their heart's desire; Wisdom was tempted with the fantasy of Kitty, Maureen and everyone he'd gotten killed still being alive. His team-mate Captain Midlands, however, betrayed them to Plokta from the start to live in a fantasy where his wife had not died; disgusted and angry, Wisdom deliberately destroyed his fantasy and had him arrested. However, understanding how Midlands felt (due to his own losses), he showed him some mercy and gave him the chance to commit suicide.
In the United Kingdom's war against Count Dracula, Wisdom took a key command role. Despite an initial routing, he came up with a successful tactic of using misinformation, a staged defeat, a blackmailed Plokta's dream corridors, and pre-emptive strikes to prevent Dracula and his invasion force from realising the UK still had a magical spell that meant a vampire had to be invited into its borders. The bulk of the army was destroyed in an instant: Wisdom said that Dracula thought he was playing chess but you would only do so if you "don't care about the pieces... [otherwise] you cheat". 
Powers and abilities
Peter Wisdom has the power to absorb ambient heat and solar radiation, and release the absorbed energy from his fingertips as "hot knives" of pure thermal energy, said to be as "hot as the surface of the sun". He can leap from high distances and use the thermal energy to slow his descent. He can fire his hot knives as projectiles, or leave them attached to his fingertips like claws for close physical combat. He also has years of experience in espionage from working for Black Air and British Intelligence.
House of M
Pete Wisdom appears as both the personal secretary and bodyguard to Brian Braddock, the King of Great Britain. 
The Ultimate version of Wisdom made his first appearance in Ultimate Human #1, a mini-series written by Ellis and starring Ultimate Iron Man and Ultimate Hulk. This Wisdom is an ex-British Intelligence agent thrown out of the organization after testing his "British Enhancile Project" on himself turning him into the Ultimate version of The Leader. The Leader attempts to steal Tony Stark's nanotechnology as Banner and Stark work together to try and incorporate it into Banner's physiology in the hopes that it will grant him control over his transformations into the Hulk. A flashback reveals that Wisdom was an ambitious Director of Operations for the Special Intelligence Service who strongly disapproved of the European Super-Soldier programme (which eventually produced Captain Britain), believing British superhumans should be trained covert agents, rather than based on the American model. Wisdom persuades the Head of Service to give him four weeks to prove his point before the European programme starts and arranges for Dr. Stragg, the scientist responsible for the Enhancile Project, to use him as a test subject. When he returned to the SIS, the Head of Service judged the project a failure, having turned Wisdom into a "circus freak", and told him to "run and hide". Wisdom now hopes that Banner's DNA and Stark's nanotechnology will increase his abilities and enable him to "save" his country. When Stark commands a decoy Iron-Tech robot into the base of the Leader, Banner transforms into the Hulk. The Hulk resists the Leader's influence, and pounds him into the ground. The Leader, almost dead, commands an C-17 down onto the Hulk, ultimately killing Wisdom/Leader.
- The Earth-1610 version of Peter Wisdom has an enlarged brain, an attempt to duplicate the peculiarity of Tony Stark's DNA that causes him to have brain tissue throughout his body. He also has a strengthened skull to support this, due to injections of the Super-Soldier "stack" created by Banner. However, his neck is apparently unable to support the weight of his enlarged cranium, as Wisdom is shown wearing a halo brace to keep his head upright; he also uses a wheelchair in every appearance after his transformation. His enhanced brain has given him psychic talents, including the ability to kill someone by willing them to stop breathing.
- thecomicbooks.com, bottom of the page, "Warren Ellis on Excalibur"
- Pryde and Wisdom #1-3 (1996)
- New Excalibur #1-24 (2005-2007)
- Super Spy Weekend: Pete Wisdom, Comic Book Resources, March 9, 2008
- The British Invasion: Paul Cornell on Captain Britain and MI: 13, Comics Bulletin, April 10, 2008
- Pryde and Wisdom #2-3
- Excalibur #88-90
- Pryde and Wisdom
- Excalibur #119-20
- X-Force vol. 1, #94-95
- X-Force #102
- X-Force #105
- X-Force #115
- Wisdom(MAX) #4
- Wisdom(MAX) #1
- Captain Britain and MI:13 #3-4
- Captain Britain and MI:13 #7
- Captain Britain and MI:13 #9
- Captain Britain and MI:13 #14-5
- Uncanny X-Men #463
- Comics Continuum: Tuesday, December 18 2007: Marvel Comics for March
- Ultimate Human #1 (January 2008)
- Ultimate Human #3 (May 2008)
- Ultimate Human #4
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z vol. #2 (May 2008)
- SDCC '06: Paul Cornell Takes On Pete Wisdom For Marvel/MAX (cached), Newsarama, July 23, 2006
- Speaking With Wisdom (cached), Wizard, October 31, 2006