|Arrival date: May (2013)|
|Canon: G. I. Joe: Rise of Cobra|
|Contact: rosloops (plurk), pyrocornflakes (AIM)|
|New Dodge At A Glance|
|Family: Ana Lewis|
|Acquaintances: Ana Lewis, EMH, Seven of Nine, Allison Young|
|Occupation: Nursing Staff|
There's nothing really known about Rex's early life, save that he has a sister who, at least by the time they're adults, is his only remaining family. So, this backstory is purely headcanon to fill in the blanks: Rex was born to an affluent family in Palo Alto, California. His mother (Dr. Lewis) was a neurosurgeon and his father (Dr. Lewis) was a professor of sociology at Stanford, and his sister Ana was, well, only a few years older than him, so she really didn’t have any accomplishments by the time he was born. At an early age, he excelled in academics and advanced well beyond his classmates, resulting in many skipped grades (which also had the side-effect of making him miss out on a lot of normal development with his peers). When he was sixteen and well into his undergraduate studies, his parents died quite suddenly, leaving him and Ana with nobody but each other. Rex focused his post-graduate studies on biomedical engineering and on programming, and received two PhDs for his hard work. Afterwards, he enlisted in the army as a science officer, which brings us to: G. I. Joe: Rise of Cobra.
Last Voyages HistoryEdit
Rex was pulled from a near-death experience at the end of the film (his sub getting damaged) and brought to the Barge. From practically the beginning, he began to plot to gain power, influence and, eventually, escape (or take over the Barge, he wasn't picky). In order to accomplish this, he began quietly building up alliances while keeping true to his "Doctor" persona. So, he was an over-the-top, gleefully sinister mad scientist, essentially. During his first ever port, the Barge landed at modern-day New York City. He made a seemingly harmless deal with one inmate to retrieve medical supplies and syringes, while working with another to break into university bioengineering labs to steal equipment. These were secretly transported back to the Barge, where he began his work again in secret.
A month later, there was an event wherein the Barge "merged" with its more sinister equivalent (the Mirrorverse Barge), which caused many residents to take on AU identities. In Rex's case, became a version of himself who valued human life over scientific progress, and he died trying to escape MARS's bunker (so, basically, this version of him was 1) repulsed by nanomites and 2) actually died, rather than fake his death), and he made an effort to help people who were suffering by providing secret medical care under the noses of the evil Mirror Wardens. After the event wrapped up, Rex lost some villain street cred, since everyone realized that under the mask and scars, he was actually a young man, not a monster, and that the Doctor persona was, well, just that: a persona. Oh, and they figured out that he actually knows how to provide medical care, so he was roped into working in the infirmary as a member of support staff. Basically, this started attracting more people to him, people who were curious, pitying, interested in seeing his more "human" side. He used this to his advantage, playing nice, so that it got him trusted by the wardens. Which meant: access to more medical supplies and free reign to observe/study people in their weakest moments.
Shortly after that, another heavily disfigured man received surgery to remove his scars and give him a "normal" face. Rex became intrigued and, eager to repair the damages to his respiratory system in particular, volunteered for the same treatment. It was actually a terrible decision on his part, as he was ill-prepared to cope with his old face. His identity as Rex Lewis had been abandoned for years at that point, and as far as he was concerned, he was The Doctor, not Rex. This left him feeling somewhat lost as a result. He didn't quite know who he was (not that he had amnesia or anything, so much as his identity was suddenly upended) or how he was supposed to act, so he sort of let others lead him around for a little bit. This period of adjustment led to some defining moments of his life, some for the better, many for the worst.
With a more attractive face, he suddenly found himself with a great deal of attention from both sexes. Specifically, the vampire Armand and Wichita became interested in pursuing him. Rex, being completely inexperienced and unprepared for this kind of thing, ended up mired in some kind of love triangle from hell, where he was consensually pursuing a relationship with Wichita (because she was so mean and conniving, HOW COULD HE RESIST?) while being stalked, abused and assaulted by Armand in secret.
Armand's continued abuse drove Rex to the brink. On the one hand, he was trying to actually pursue a life with Wichita (he sort of fell hard into a "FIRST LOVE" mentality, since, well, first girlfriend, lost his virginity to her, compatibly manipulative personalities), see if he could function as a semi-normal man his age, but on the other, the torment from Armand was driving him hard into revenge mode. He kept a pleasant face in public, but in private, he grew paranoid and mistrustful of the wardens, and he began manipulating/pitting people against each other to get his revenge on those who wronged him. Plus, this entire time, he was still acquiring supplies to create a new batch of nanomites. After a few months of little revenge plots and abuse, Rex finally struck back against Armand, murdering him with a syringe full of a substance that was deadly to vampires (Count D's blood :V). This cost him a great deal of blood, since his neck was ripped open in the process, and much of his stability crumbled for a period of time after. It didn't help that murdering Armand only led to the vampire's obsession with him worsening, culminating in Armand kidnapping Rex, tying him to a bed for a few days before trying to turn him. It didn't really succeed; Rex felt the effects for a few days, then returned to normal (since nobody can really die on the Barge, nobody can really be turned to a vampire, either). Physically, anyway. Mentally, he was traumatized and received no treatment for his problems, as he was victim blamed in the aftermath.
For the next few months, Rex was more vicious, lashing out against others, losing his grip over his friendly/harmless persona, and throwing himself more completely into his secret project. When triggered about his experiences with Armand, Rex had a tendency to turn explosively argumentative, and once, this ended in him quietly murdering another vampire (who insulted him by claiming he had a taste for letting vampires feed on him) in port by "accidentally" pushing him into a mob of ravenous zombies. Unfortunately, Wichita happened to vanish into the zombie port, leading Rex to lose himself further. She was, at this point, the only person (aside from his sister) keeping him grounded, the sort of light at the end of the crappy Barge tunnel. With Wichita gone, Rex basically threw his hands up and went "fuck it," completely giving up on normalcy and redemption.
Rex arrived at New Dodge in May, 2013, ready to continue his nanomite experiments. He got a job as a member of the nursing staff at the clinic and has been pretending that he's just a regular medic, and not a scientific super genius with a penchant for terrorism. Upon discovering that Allison Young was working on a nanite project, he conspired to continue his experiments using her nanites. And so, he stole the nanites from her room and began using the equipment he brought with him to reprogram them into something else.
In June, his sister, Ana Lewis, arrived at New Dodge. The two had a brief argument over Rex being the world's worst brother, but ultimately, she agreed to help him with his experiments. Towards the end of the month, they began to inject the other settlers with the new nanite solution, which would increase impulsivity and decrease morality.
Rex changes his identity/persona at the drop of a hat, so who he authentically is tends to be buried underneath lies and false demeanors. Even before his accident, Rex's identity had a phony exterior-- a trait that's become more severe as he's lost most of his attachments to humanity and withdrew from the outside world. When he's in one of his personas, Rex is controlled, confident. However, once there are cracks, once somebody tries to reach the real Rex-- whoever that may be-- he can be dramatic, histrionic and completely vicious, lashing out to heapblame on others, so that he can avoid responsibility for his own actions and the pain they might have caused to the people-- well, person-- he cares about. Rex is perfectly willing to change who he "is" to suit whichever role needs filling at the time, and he will likely be very careful about the image he presents until he can come up with a role that will fit in well.
Rex's primary persona in the film, "The Doctor," is quite gleeful and ridiculous, with elements lifted-- probably unconsciously-- from his colleague and mentor, Dr. Mindbender, along with some beliefs he mimics from McCullen. Basically, once his accident "killed" Rex Lewis, he re-developed his personality to fit his new "Doctor" identity. As the Doctor, he doesn’t speak or act or even move like Rex did-- obviously, the accident had a lot to do with it, but even then, he tends towards the theatrical as the Doctor to such an extent that it appears to be a deliberate act. He's also pretty fabulous and seems to like stroking/fondling/touching things. Later, when he puts on his Cobra Commander mask, his demeanor changes again, and he takes more charge and revels in blatant villainy, where before he was at least somewhat subtle. As the Commander, Rex outright cackles and makes clichéd villain speeches.
On the surface, Rex once came across as a perfectly nice, if slightly awkward, young man. In the only flashback removed from a high stress, combat situation, he seems generally friendly and good-natured in the company of others, playful and teasing with his sister (as was his duty as Ana's younger brother), polite and thoughtful with his friends. However, even in these moments where he's smilingly allowing his sister to put him in a headlock and practically baby him in front of Duke, there's something a little off about Rex. He's 'on'-- normal and affable-- when attention is on him, then seems to shut down once the focus is shifted. His sister's own engagement seems to involve Ripcord, who's not even related, more than it does Rex, who stands off to the side awkwardly, making an ambivalent face, like he's trying to smile and keep the performance going, but doesn't feel much of a need to since nobody's watching. What he's actually feeling is a mystery, as his expression is very vague. This is the first indication that Rex may not be all that he seems, although it's a subtle one, easy to miss
and possibly not even deliberate.
Given his age and credentials, it's fair to assume that Rex has probably skipped several grades, graduating from high school and even college without fully developing or maturing emotionally, missing out on many common life experiences that would have helped him become better prepared for the world. He's a case of somebody entrenched in academics, isolated by his projects, his obsessive need to excel and push the boundaries of technology. This likely accounts for part of the reason why he's so undeveloped as a person, why he has to resort to these "characters," rather than act like a genuine person. Rex has never really fit in with his peers, and he wasn't terribly well socialized, hence the awkwardness, the stiffness that's present when he's no longer playing whatever role he thinks he should be playing.
Looking at Rex before his accident and the gleefully sadistic person he became after, it would be easy to think that he's been twisted and embittered by his injuries-- and while that's certainly a factor, it would be a mistake to think that Rex is the way he is solely because of this accident. The truth is, Rex has always had a "dark" side, although he wouldn't classify it as such (after all, science, to him, has no moral qualities). His nice, normal persona cracks pretty quickly when he's out of sight from Duke and the others, confronted with temptation. Rex's passion for science completely overrides what little empathy he might have for others-- and while most people wouldn't know how little he feels for others upon first meeting him, it becomes quite apparent when one throws science into the mix. The reverence Rex gives to science goes beyond what most would consider normal or healthy. When faced with footage of an agonized man being experimented on (along with McCullen's helpful commentary that "science requires sacrifice"), his first response isn't horror, but amazement. He calls it beautiful, rather than awful, and is absolutely excited about what he sees in the potential advancement of nanomite technology. Rex's first and foremost love, even when he was "good," is science, not humanity. This divide between him and humanity only grows after his injury, but it was always present.
Rex has issues with control, which are tied in with his obsession with science/technology. Rather than allow the chips fall where they may, Rex would rather seize control in order to ensure that his own goals are met. This doesn't merely extend to situations or organizations, but also people. Literally. He'll brainwash or "reprogram" people without any remorse or hesitation, with no respect for their own autonomy or sense of self. This willingness to control others extends from his grunts/minions to individuals on more equal footing to him, such as McCullen/Destro and Zartan (although he did fail to inject the latter with his brainwashing nanomites). He has no qualms with betraying others and will do so as soon as it becomes convenient for him. Despite the fact that he and McCullen seem to be on pretty good terms with each other (well, as good as two megalomaniacal supervillains can be) and their goals are pretty similar, he still schemes to stage a coup behind McCullen's back, and he's sadistic enough to devise a particularly poetic method of doing so, although it's worth noting that, in his way, Rex does help McCullen even as he hurts him. The nanomites do heal McCullen's injuries, just not in any way he would have liked. It's a complicated relationship, as Rex likely feels some degree of attachment to him (as McCullen is responsible, in a way, for rescuing him and healing him. Given that he was rescued from certain death by MARS, likely treated and recovered in MARS's custody, isolated from the rest of the world, Rex probably has a small degree of Stockholm Syndrome, which further complicates things), but he's not content to play second fiddle. Even though McCullen's plan was going to allow for Rex to do all of the science and research he wanted, Rex wouldn't be satisfied unless he was the boss. Although Rex pretends to only be concerned with research, it's clear that his ego and his controlling tendencies drive him to desire more.
As Rex is primarily interested in technology, facts and his own ambitions, he doesn't hold much stock in emotions/connections. At least, the emotions of others. Rex, himself, is pretty emotional once he starts to lose control of all that rage he has simmering below the surface, but he's so self centered that he doesn't care about the thoughts, feelings or even autonomy of others. This disconnect from humanity becomes worse after his disfiguring accident, because he deliberately sets himself apart from others. Where once he seemed to care about Duke, he now regards him with loathing (as he's twisted his interpretation of his accident in order to make Duke the "villain") and takes joy in having the opportunity to make him into a monster, rather than kill him. Not only does this reveal some rather happy sadism, as Rex sounds positively gleeful over the prospect of turning Duke into a monster, but it also reveals some of Rex's complications with his own image. Given his paranoia, the way he tends to blame others for his actions, it's likely that he has this idea that others see him as a monster, although he probably doesn't regard himself as one. And so, because he believes that he is regarded as a monster for his appearance, he may as well act like a monster. This further drives Rex to cut himself off from past attachments, and, really, anything and anyone but himself.
Even his sister, whom he claims to love, isn't really given much consideration. Although he could have spared her (and Duke) a great deal of grief by letting Ana know that he survived the explosion, he instead runs off with Dr. Mindbender in pursuit of perfecting nanomite technology. In fact, he regards the funeral service held for him with amusement, indirectly mocking his sister's grief. Still, he does become passionate when he explains his motivations for experimenting on Ana, even though he's ultimately playing a big old victim blaming game and using twisted logic to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. He claims to have brainwashed her for her sake, rather than his. He points out that in light of Duke's abandonment of her and his own 'death,' Ana 'felt truly alone' in a way that Duke could never fathom. In using nanomite technology to rid her of her feelings for Duke, Rex makes Ana empowered: she becomes the Baroness, rather than a passive mess who relies on Duke to do everything (like she pretty much becomes when she overcomes his nanomites. Yaaay). However, by the end of the film, Rex has become so corrupt by his greed for knowledge and power that he does threaten to kill Ana-- but, it's worth noting that although he can kill her with a push of a button, he doesn't push the button.
On a lighter note, Rex isn't all business. He's not an austere, stoic sort of villain. Instead, Rex is a gleeful, enthusiastic fella, who takes pleasure in gloating, guffawing, and chortling over his victories. Not just that, but he even takes to explanations and presentations with eagerness and enthusiasm, and he positively eats up compliments from others. He enjoys being respected, having his intelligence recognized. Rex practically preens when McCullen calls him a genius-- again, some indication that he's got a complicated relationship with the other man, simultaneously seeing himself as above him, but also wanting his approval.
He also has a great enthusiasm for snakes and can spout out factoids about them-- in fact, it's implied that not only does he enjoy doing this, but he does it with such regularity that McCullen can't even bring himself to feign interest in whatever Rex is saying when he starts babbling about snakes. Actually, it's probably more of an 'obsession' than an 'enthusiasm,' since, in addition to chatting about snakes, he also keeps dangerous snakes as pets, and he likes to name everything after them, too. Rex is also, by nature, an inquisitive person, as he's driven to always improve on and push science to the furthest possible levels.
Also, he holds a grudge forever, and has a particular hatred for anyone who's wronged him ever (it doesn't matter if you actually wronged him or not; if he perceives it that way, he'll keep on trucking with the hate). And he's a huge coward who values self-preservation over everything else.
Last Voyages ChangesEdit
Although I'm taking Rex from fairly early in his run at TLV, he has changed in several significant ways. At his core, he's pretty much the same person as he was in canon-- a mad scientist with a fixation on snakes-- but the image that he presents to the world is completely different. Rex looks like he did before his accident, with the same twisted mindset he obtained after his accident. Rex is secretly resentful of the positive attention he received after his reparative surgery. More people started to flirt with him, treat him like a normal person, react more positively to his actions. In Rex's mind, it's because they're shallow, that they never would have accepted him when he looked like "a monster." In reality, the positive interactions he got were because his demeanor changed from the stand-offish one he'd previously held to one that seemed more open. Always two-faced and playing with personas, Rex has adopted a new persona to match his face-- where before, when he had a "monstrous" face, he played up his monstrous nature, now uses his boyish appearance to play the part of a nice, charming fellow who only wants to help out and redeem himself from his past crimes.
Of course, it's all a big phony act. Rex is not a nice person, no matter how much he smiles in public or how many hours he clocks in at the infirmary, providing medical assistance. He's been known to take advantage of the leeway given to him by his now-handsome appearance. He'll say cruel things to others in private, then play innocent (and be more or less believed) in public. He arranged for the murder of a naive teenager who had a crush on him, just because he could (and because the boy made him angry), then, when accused of being behind the murder, twisted everything around to make himself look innocent, and the victim look as though he was wronging Rex.
Rex is quick to anger, but he's capable of swallowing it and playing nice for as long as necessary before he gets revenge-- and he always gets his revenge, no matter how long it takes. At the point he's being taken from, Rex has undergone some traumatic experiences that have left him slightly unhinged. He was blackmailed into giving his blood to a vampire (in exchange for the vampire not revealing that Rex was the one behind the teenager's murder), and this morphed into a one-sided obsession, where the vampire was seeking his blood more and more frequently. Despite being stalked and harassed, Rex pretended to cooperate until he could destroy the evidence of his crime, then murder the vampire, nearly dying in the process. Still, Rex has no regrets or remorse. He does, however, now have an extreme aversion to giving his blood, and he's not exactly a fan of vampires in general.
Although he's a two-faced phony, there is a more... not-totally-evil-and-dickish side to Rex. As a child prodigy, he'd spent a lifetime burying himself in academia, and later, his army service. He never really attended parties or dated, and was completely inexperienced at romantic relationships. As such, he has a tendency to be fairly awkward when faced with these kinds of scenarios. Manipulation and murder, he can handle just fine. A real honest-to-god date with somebody he's actually attracted to? Send help. This changed on the Barge, when Wichita (Zombieland), seeing some of Columbus in him (in that both were awkward nerds), took an interest in him. He attended a party and got drunk for the first time in years, impulsively lost his virginity to her and then grew pretty attached to her as the two went from fuck buddies to a real couple. They were similarly mean people, so it was a match made, well, somewhere. Rex is, at this point, pretty devoted to her (although he'd still turn on her if he felt he had to). Not only is she his first love , she's his first girlfriend, period. Nobody but her gets to see his more tender, human side-- at least, not his genuinely tender and human side. He can fake tenderness and humanity all day long.
As you can probably tell, despite his stint on a ship designed to redeem criminals, Rex is far from rehabilitated at this point. If anything, he's worse, because he's expanded his crimes beyond "horrible things in the pursuit of science" to "horrible things because I can get away with anything." Despite his close brush with death, Rex feels almost invincible, as though he can do what he wants to whomever he wants without suffering any consequences. He hides his inner ugliness behind his appearance; he's arrogant and cruel; and he takes pleasure in manipulating others into thinking he's a good, harmless person.
There's something sickly about him, as he spent the last four years in canon largely deprived of sunlight, with his physical activity limited by his disabilities.
Rex takes pride in his appearance, as evidenced by the fact that he keeps himself well-dressed in canon, despite looking like a "monster". He tends to alternate between all-black outfits (regular coat or lab coat, button-up shirt, tie, trousers, boots, gloves) or, when he's feeling ~casual~, button-up shirts + nice jeans combos. Unless he gets really involved in a science project, falls into a state of morose sulking, or works himself to exhaustion, in which case he'll run around in hoodies and t-shirts and other things that makes him look more like a college student than a mad scientist. If he really wants to fool people into thinking he's just an average/harmless fellow, he'll stick with the "college student" clothing to make himself look younger.
Note quite an appearance thing, but related: although he has had his scars and respiratory system tended to, his voice is still raspier, rougher than it was before his accident. Like so.