This article refers to the original human individual. For the BLACKLIGHT Entity "ZEUS," see Alex Mercer (Blacklight)
Alexander "Alex" J. Mercer was the former head researcher of the BLACKLIGHT virus at Gentek. He is responsible for the First BLACKLIGHT Outbreak, and as such is responsible for millions of deaths.
Early Life Edit
Born as Alexander J. Mercer, Mercer experienced a brutal childhood spent in abject poverty; his first nine years were spent in foster care. When he turned 10, he was finally returned to his mother, who had spent the last nine years in prison, but for Mercer it was better to be in foster care. He was the only parental figure for his sister, Dana. As kids, he and Dana would play together and watch scary movies. It is presumed that Alex's father died shortly after he was born. He took up an interest in martial arts and Parkour to occupy his attention and as a distraction from his life; due to the harshness of his early life, Alex was quite aggressive during matches.
However, his intellect and aptitude in science provided him an opportunity to leave behind his troubled past. He trusted no one, had no friends, couldn't care less about what others thought of him, and found solace only in his work. By the time he was hired by Gentek, Mercer was a borderline sociopath. He knew this, and didn't care.
After earning a doctorate degree in genetics at Columbia University, Mercer was hired by Gentek and became the head of the BLACKLIGHT project at Gentek. Alex's team was tasked with engineering weaponized viruses from samples given to them by the government. The samples that were provided exhibited curious behavior, including mimicry and retention of genetic information from infected hosts.
While working at Gentek, Alex met Karen Parker, another genetic researcher, and entered a relationship with her.
Despite his success, or perhaps because of his success, Dr. Mercer was considered a potential liability by Blackwatch, and elite army created to combat exotic biological threats. He was placed on their watch list, and was constantly monitored throughout his life just in case his loyalty ever came into question.
At some point during this time, Alex broke up with Karen.
After six years of working at Gentek, Mercer and his team soon engineered a particularly virulent and potent virus codenamed BLACKLIGHT. However, at this point Alex became suspicious of his work. His brilliance allowed him to realize there was something more to his work with BLACKLIGHT than simply "curing cancer," suggesting that perhaps it was to be used as a sort of government bio-weapon. He often confided with Karen about his suspicion. Over time, Gentek became scrutinized by Congress and investigations were proposed. Fearing an information leak, Blackwatch decided to cover it all up.
Due to his paranoid nature, Alex launched his own secret investigation on Gentek, getting back in touch with his sister Dana for assistance, who had by then become an investigative reporter. However, it was Alex who realized that Gentek employees associated with the BLACKLIGHT project were being silenced by Blackwatch. Mercer decided not to inform his sister, knowing she would panic. He plotted to gather all of Gentek's highly classified information on the BLACKLIGHT project and release it to the public, exposing the company for the evil that it was. Even though he tried to keep his investigation secret, Karen managed to learn of Alex's plot to reveal the information to the public, keeping it to herself at first.
When Alex learned a general inspection purge was about to happen on Gentek scientists, he fled, fearing for his life. He attempted to smuggle a laptop with classified documents, as well as a vial of the BLACKLIGHT virus, out of quarantine and take it with him as "insurance"; while Mercer tried to escape, Karen found out and initially tried to stop him, though upon listening to his reasoning she decided to let him go and offered to accompany him. He refused, paranoid that they would be caught together and simply left her behind at Gentek. He mailed the laptop to Dana with no information regarding his coming disappearance.
Death/Release of Blacklight Edit
Alex almost managed to escape Manhattan Island, but at the final moment he was caught, cornered by Blackwatch agents while waiting for a train at Penn Station. In a fit of frustration and rage, knowing he was about to die, Mercer threw his vial of BLACKLIGHT on the floor, just before being shot by the agents.
The vial smashed on the floor, unleashing the Virus which quickly spread to everyone in the station and began a biological appocalypse. Thus, the First Outbreak had begun. As Mercer's body fell on the viral sample, it became infected. When his body was recovered along with all the others back to Gentek, the BLACKLIGHT was reconstructing his body cell by cell, his biomass feeding the virus as it replicated the dying matter it infected.
From this point on, Dr. Alexander J. Mercer was no more; he had fully and completely died at Penn Station. What took his place was a fully replicated body composed entirely of BLACKLIGHT, a perfect clone of Mercer that became the first Prototype.
Mercer's body was brought to the Gentek morgue, being processed in with the other corpses from Penn Station. The BLACKLIGHT reconstructed his form from within until all that was left was viral matter, fully replicating his appearance. Thus, no one realized the unique infection present within. However, since Mercer had died just as he was being infected, the virus experienced the effects of amnesia; it would be unable to recover Mercer's memory for a time, but would believe itself to actually be the real, living Alex Mercer.
As a child, Alex was positive and full of life, often playing games with Dana in spite of their rough upbringing. However, perhaps as a result of his difficult childhood in foster care, Alex grew up to be a cold individual, both paranoid and borderline sociopathic. He still had some small capacity to care for others, such as his sister Dana, as well as his girlfriend Karen Parker, who he had a loving relationship with for a time.
He trusted no one, had no friends, couldn't care less about what others thought of him, and found solace only in his work. By the time he was hired by Gentek, Mercer was a borderline sociopath. He knew this, and didn't care.
Prior to his death at Penn Station, he released the deadly Blacklight virus simply to spite those who denied him information. His motivation was utterly personal, as he didn't bother to take human cost into account, being able to murder scores of humans without remorse or hesitation.
As a regular human being, Alex Mercer possessed no outstanding powers or traits.
Alex had some background in martial arts and parkour, though nowhere near as refined as competently trained soldiers or heroes.
Where his physicality didn't stand out, his intellect and talent with genetics certainly did. Alex managed to earn a doctorate degree in genetics at Columbia University, and managed to score a job at Gentek shortly after. Mercer's skill in altering genes made him a valuable asset to Gentek, with his work being years ahead of his nearest competitor. He became head of the BLACKLIGHT Project, tasked with engineering weaponized viruses from samples provided by the government. With Mercer's leadership and hard work, the team successfully engineered the virus which was codenamed "BLACKLIGHT," which proved to be a particularly virulent and potent strain. The BLACKLIGHT Virus would then be the source of millions of deaths across New York City through two separate outbreaks, bringing the Virus and Mercer into infamy.
- Dr. Mercer is often confused with the BLACKLIGHT Entity that has assumed his name and form following his death. While Mercer was responsible for creating the virus and releasing it during the first outbreak, most people also credit the Entity's actions during the first and second outbreak to Mercer as well.