Tran Coy Manh grew up with his family in war torn Vietnam. As well as his mother and father, Tran had his younger twin siblings Leong
, his twin sister Xi'an
, and they all travelled around Vietnam where ever his uncle General Nguyen Ngoc Coy
was posted. Vietnam was a dangerous country to live in, and soon they were attacked by the Viet Cong. One VC soldier was about to attack Tran, when he suddenly stopped in his tracks. Tran's life had been spared, but the miraculous manifestation of Xi'an's mutant powers. She possessed the soldier's mind, and commanded his body to move away from her brother. However, Tran tried to copy his sister and soon discovered that he shared the same mutant power. He possessed the soldier after Xi'an had released him, and maliciously commanded the Viet Cong to smash his own head repeatedly against a wooden post. Tran had murdered the Viet Cong soldier, and stood laughing over the body, while Xi'an was appalled. Unlike his sister Tran relished in his new powers and shared this new knowledge with their uncle. The General vowed to protect his nephew and the two formed a dangerous partnership.
Mayor Story Arcs
When South Vietnam fell, General Nguyen arranged the evacuation. However, only he & Tran were on the transport, leaving Xi'an with their mother, father, and the younger twins Leong
. While the remnants of his family braved the treacherous journey to escape Vietnam, Tran lived like a young prince in America under his uncle's protection. In return he offered General Nguyen his services, using his mutant power to possess and manipulate others for his uncle's criminal schemes.
Tran was never to see his mother or father again. His father was murdered while his mother and twin sister were raped by pirates. Xi'an had fallen sick, leaving her too weak & unable to use her powers to protect herself or her parents. His mother later died on the day that they were rescued by the American Armed Forces. Xi'an and the twins were then sent to live with their uncle & brother. General Nguyen approached Xi'an to work for him like Tran did, but she refused. She took the twins and found refuge with Father Bowen
, who had been a soldier fighting in Vietnam & was sympathetic to their cause. He helped them find an apartment, secured employment for Xi'an and even arranged for her to start school. However, the General had the apartment ransacked and kidnapped Leong & Nga.
Spider-Man & The Fantastic Four
Although Tran's uncle was a criminal gang lord, in the public eye he was still a well respected General. Tran attended his uncle to many public functions, including a charity art sale. At the art sale his uncle boasted about how he had purchased many of Alicia Masters'
sculptures to re-pay the nation for giving him a new home. He then introduced Tran to Mr Fantastic
and the Invisible Woman
. The twins were also there, but the General sent them away before Mr & Mrs Richards asked them too many questions.
When the children were taken somewhere more private, Spider-Man
appeared before them. The Fantastic Four
believed that he was attempting to kidnap Leong & Nga, and therefore began to fight with their old friend. Tran asked for his uncle's permission to intervene, but was commanded to wait and let the heroes do all the work for them. However, as the Fantastic Four had been holding back, Spider-Man appeared to be winning. The General gave Tran his permission to possess Spider-Man, but Tran had to fight for control.
Unwittingly Tran was actually fighting against Xi'an's will power. She had Spider-Man under her possession, and when Tran tried to possess the same mind they ended up fighting for dominance over Spider-Man's body & mind. Ultimately Xi'an was weaker than Tran; while he was strong, had eaten and lived in warm luxury, she had had starved and struggled for survival. His physical strength boosted his abilities, and therefore Xi'an's connection with Spider-Man was severed. While Spider-Man began to regain his consciousness, he was knocked unconsious by the Thing
. The heroes all left, leaving Tran and General Nguyen to co-ordinate the next wave of imported goods from Vietnamese smugglers.
Brother Versus Sister
Tran was unaware that the local super heroes were working together. Therefore he could not possibly know that Mr Fantastic had contacted Charles Xavier
and borrowed a portable Cerebro
unit, with which they located Xi'an taking refuge in a local church. There, the heroes listened to her story and agreed to help her.
As a crew of Vietnamese smugglers unloaded their goods on the East Side of the Brooklyn River, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four attacked. However, their plan was foiled when Tran knocked his sister unconscious and possessed the Fantastic Four, forcing them to attack Spider-Man. Xi'an slowly regained her consciousness and begged her brother to stop. When he refused, she used her power to possess him. Although she was weaker, her determination was stronger. Xi'an refused to let her brother hurt or kill anyone ever again, and dominated his mind until she absorbed him body & soul. He physically disappeared, leaving only his green uniform. His black half of the yin-yang symbol disappeared and re-appeared on Xi'an's matching green uniform, completing the yin-yang against her white half.
Tran's body and mind died, while Xi'an absorbed his life force retaining part of him within her for the rest of her life.
In exactly the same way as his twin sister "Karma", Tran could telepathically reach out to other sentient beings and possess their minds. Once he had taken possession of a person, he could control their body, and therefore force that possessed being to do or say anything. He could coax them to perform simple tasks such as standing still, or other tasks that require fine motor control of the body. Although a possessed person's movement would be more rigid than usual, Tran was capable of reproducing any kind of complex or acrobatic movement.
When Mr Fantastic examined Spider-Man's mind after Karma had possessed him, he declared that it was as if Spider-Man had been 'switched off' for the duration of the possession. The consciousness and mind of the possessed victim is temporarily disconnected with their own body.
Charles Xavier studied the readings from Karma & Tran's battle to control Spider-Man with Cerebro. He reported to Mr Fantastic that both young mutants' powers were "unlike anything [he'd] previously encountered, and it is considerable".
Both Tran and Xi'an were seen to exert control over beings in a different area to themselves. They both physically appear to meditate as they focus their control over the other beings they possess. Since the beings they possess were in different locations, they could see through their victim's eyes.
While they remain in their own bodies, they also appear to have transferred their own consciousness through to their possessed target. Just as Xi'an spoke through Spider-Man (communicating in Vietnamese to Leong & Nga), Tran could also speak through his targets. Therefore a telepathic connection is established between him and his targets.
However, although Tran was in complete control over the body, he did not receive any negative experiences that his victim experienced while in possession of them. This was quickly established when he forced the young Viet Cong soldier to rapidly hit his own head against a post until he died. Tran did not share any of the cerebral trauma or feel the pain from the bruiding and fractured bones. Likewise, he did not suffer as a result of the body dying while under his control. He could perfectly manipulate another human being without fear of repercussion.
Unlike Xi'an, Tran had practised the use of his powers by using them to aid his uncle's criminal schemes. This meant that he had already achieved greater control. He could easily take control of several different beings at the same time, co-ordinating the movements of each person at the same time without any loss of control over them. His group possession was as fierce and fluid as that of an individual being.
His practised powers also enable him to reproduce the super human abilities of others. When he reached out to take control of the Fantastic Four, he was able to control their powers as well as their regular movement. Without any hesitation he could command the Thing to physically attack, the Human Torch
to ignite, Mr Fantastic to stretch and the Invisible Woman to protect herself and send a barrage of invisible force fields. It is conceivable that Tran had the ability to possess and control a super-powered group, but it is unclear how many beings he could manipulate before he lost control over them.
Since Tran 'died' soon after his arrival in America, his powers were never tested to their limits. If he had found himself a professional tutor in mutant powers (such as Professor Xavier, or the White Queen
) then it is possible that he would have been tested to establish the full extent of his abilities. However, working for his criminal uncle only gave Tran the chance to experiment on a much smaller level.
He had already gained enough experience to control several people at the same times, but he still had to enter a meditative state in order to focus on all of their movements. It is possible that he could control many more regular humans, but when dealing with super powered beings he needed greater focus and therefore greater control over their powers. Therefore it is likely that he could not control many more super powered beings than the Fantastic Four. Although it is reasonable to assume that with greater control would have come with more practise. With time he could possibly have controlled a whole army of super powered people.
Also, as the psionic possession was essentially a telepathic skill, it is possible that he could have branched out his skills in other ways. Similarly, Karma has received criticism from Emma Frost for not exerting herself more or pushing the boundaries of her telepathic based abilities.
Tran's power was greater than Xi'an's, but ultimately he was defeated by his sister. His main weakness was that his own body was left defenceless while he was in possession of the Fantastic Four. He had to focus more than usual to control a greater number of beings and use their super powers at the same time. Therefore he sat in a meditative position, and left himself exposed. This was what left him open and succumb to Karma's final attack.
Neither he nor Xi'an had prevously attempted to turn their powers on one another. They had fought for control of Spider-Man's mind, which brought them into conflict with each other. Yet it was not a direct attempt to possess their own twin. Unlike other mutant siblings such as Cyclops
, or Aurora
, Xi'an & Tran were apparently not immune to each other's powers. The first time that Xi'an did try to possess her twin brother, resulted in Tran's death.
There are no details of Tran's personality before his powers developed. However, as soon as his mutant power manifested he is clearly seen as a cold and cruel young man. His first act was to possess the young Viet Cong soldier who was about to kill him. Unlike Xi'an who was willing to simply stop the soldier, Tran murdered him by forcing the soldier's body to kill itself. Xi'an clearly describes Tran's reaction explaining that when her brother laughed it unsettled her.
Tran is always keen to use his powers and aid his uncle. When he first discovered his mutant powers, he knew that his uncle would be able to find a use for his talents & therefore demonstrated his possession skills to the General. Later when the Fantastic Four were fighting Spider-Man at the charity art sale, he was keen to put a stop to the fight with his powers. He has used his power at every opportunity, and appears to enjoy dominating his victims.
Although they share the sme birthday & the same mutant power, essentially Tran is the complete opposite of his twin sister Xi'an. While she was forced to use her powers out of necessity, he used them for personal gain. While Xi'an was frightened of her powers, Tran relished in the opportunities they provided him. She has lived through suffering and torment, desperately trying to protect her small family, while her twin brother lived in luxury and was ready to serve only their uncle.
Their conflicting personalities and attitude towards their powers is reflected in the green uniform that they wear. Both of them wear the Yin Yang symbol on their torso. This symbol has represented balance between good and evil for centuries. Yin Yang are opposed to each other, rooted in each other, transform each other, and are balanced. However, the Yin and the Yang are separated on their uniforms, as Xi'an wears the white half while Tran wore the black. This appears to be a mistake on the part of the creative team; Yin (the black half) represents the female for which is yielding & nurturing, while Yang (the white half) is the active & dominating male force. Therefore, the two halves of the Yin Yang symbol that Tran & Xi'an wore are the wrong way around according to their gender & nature.
The Yin Yang was finally completed on Xi'an's uniform when she absorbed Tran's life force. She had become whole, with both the negative & positive effects of both twins.