Manikin (Whitman Knapp) is a character created by Bill Mantlo and Dave Ross. Manikin first appeared in Alpha Flight # 44 March of 1987.
Whitman Knapp first met Alpha Flight interning at the New Life Clinic, under the supervision of Lionel Jeffries (a.k.a. Scrambler) Lionel's brother, Madison was the main engineer for Alpha Flight. Roger Bochs, another member of Alpha Flight, developed the bends on a mission and could not safely phase out of his robotic armor. He was brought to the New Life Clinic for treatment. Dr. Knapp kept in contact with the Canadian super team for some time henceforth. He slowly but surely, developed a close relationship with Persuasion.
Believing Scrambler's insanity had been cured, the team got careless, and he went on a rampage nearly killing them all. He also revealed why he had chosen Knapp as an intern. Knapp had a latent power which Scrambler activated. He then teamed up with Bochs to deliver the final blow, but was defeated by Knapp and Alpha Flight. After the battle, Alpha Flight was impressed with Knapp's efforts and offered him membership in the group, Beta Flight, which he accepted. He served there until the Alpha Inquisition, when the team disbanded. He chose to go back to being a doctor, having felt uncomfortable in the role of the hero.
As was mentioned earlier, Knapp and Persuasion had grown quite close, eventually becoming a couple. The two lovebirds stayed together during their tenure as members of Beta Flight and joined in many adventures alongside their senior team. It seems that at sometime they ended this relationship almost definitely due to Persuasion becoming an apparent villain and member of an anti-Canadian government group of super powered usurpers.
Shortly thereafter, it seemed that the stress of Knapp's medical career had taken its toll. He began thinking of himself as a fictional character and even had "conversations," with his creator. The issue was later revealed to be the work of the Dreamqueen, who was using members of Alpha and Beta Flight to gain a foothold on this world. She was eventually defeated, and life for the good doctor returned to normal.
When Alpha Flight was reformed, Whitman chose to remain as a doctor until much later, rejoining shortly before the Consortium attacked, possibly because Alpha Flight needed another opinion in diagnosing Diamond Lil's cancer. He eventually became the Beta Flight adviser. However, during Beta Flight's first full mission, he was injected with poison by the Jackal. While his body recuperated on its own at Department H, the facility was attacked by the Hardliners. In order to save his life, his other selves gave up their lives. However he found afterward that he was still able to transform to these forms, and that the four entities merely had to work together in order to fully heal him.
He is presumed to have been depowered following the events of M-Day, though he has not been heard of since his previous interaction with Alpha and Beta Flight.
Manikin is able to shapeshift into 3 seperate beings in various stages of evolution
- Proto: A semi-sentient glob of primeval goo capable of floating, squeezing through tight spaces, and corroding substances through secretion of acid.
- Ape-Man: A pre-homo sapien hominid of limited civility with enhanced strength, superhuman agility, an heightened invulnerability.
- Highbrow: An advanced human whose body was combined with technology who could float, had enhanced senses and intelligence, and the ability to teleport.
His powers lay dormant for much of his life, until Scrambler (who's power is activating/enhancing x-genes in others) gave him the boost that he needed to reach the next step in evolution.
Knapp is also a skilled physician, with a PhD.