Naif al-Sheikh

Created by Joe Kelly & Doug Mahnke

NAME + ALIASES:
Naif al-Sheikh

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Shiya (wife, deceased) unnamed children (deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice League of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Justice League Elite #1 (September 2004)

+ History

Naif al-Sheikh is an Arab man who is an expert in international espionage. In this community, al-Sheikh met Vera Black, an English woman with cybernetic arms. Upon Vera's brother's (Manchester Black's) apparent death, she took it upon herself to clear the family name and reassembled his Elite as a force for good. As Sister Superior she convinced al-Sheikh to enter the fold. With their deep cover experience, they envisioned a team that could use unconventional means to combat unconventional threats.

It took some doing to convince al-Sheikh to mastermind the new "Justice League Elite," especially since he despises metahumans. But he was swayed by his strong ties to Vera and by his dedication to the cause of global justice. He also seems highly motivated by the deaths of his wife, Shiya, and two children who were killed by a metahuman operative named Wolfwood.

This Elite became a sort of "not-exactly-sanctioned don't-ask-don't-tell covert operations unit. Their mission was to hunt and eliminate extranormal threats to the Earth before they went public. Their new headquarters was called the Factory, located in New Jersey. (JLA Secret Files 2004) Al-Sheikh held so much clout that he addressed a clandestine assembly of powerful world leaders who agreed to assert that "the Elite do not exist." (JL Elite #1)

In their first mission, they infiltrated The Blood Brothers, an organization of assassins. The Blood Brothers led the Elite to a foreign terrorist dictator, Hi-Shan Bhat. The Elite took down both the Blood Brothers and Bhat's regime, but with Bhat in custody, Manchester Black's disembodied mind began asserting some control over Vera, who blacked out while Bhat was being held. In this time, Menagerie secretly coaxed Coldcast into killing Bhat. Coldcast retained no memory of the act, and no other members were present.

Al-Sheikh always remained in the Factory's command center, so he had no choice but to trust Vera's account. When she returned, she confided her experience only to al-Sheikh. The rest of the team — and the JLA proper — were led to believe that Wolfwood was the killer. Wolfwood had been there also working undercover. Al-Sheikh was enraged over the mysterious circumstances of the dictator's death and immediately set about a forensic investigation. Both knew that this bode poorly for the Elite's future. Because the Elite were in complete control, and Vera could sense external lifesigns and teleport signals, suspicion was of course cast on the team itself — someone on the team was obviously responsible for Bhat's death. (JL Elite #1-3)

Their next mission was equally disastrous. Coldcast led them to a drug ring called Aftermath. (#4) The Elite infiltrated them and were finally invited aboard their interdimensional ship — and encountered Wolfwood again. (#5-6) Wolfwood again sniffed out Vera's disguise, but did not blow her cover. In their private conversation, he claimed to be on their side and making amends for his past as well. Wolfwood had also been present during Bhat's death and offered to reveal the team's killer. (#7)

Back at the Factory, al-Sheikh was cut off from the undercover team and continued his autopsy of Bhat. Vera had also asked Manitou Raven to conduct a mystical inquiry. Raven and al-Sheikh made their conclusions around the same time, but before Raven could reveal the team's killer, he followed the team in pursuit pursuit of Aftermath and died taking the brunt of a bomb. (#8) Soon, Vera's disembodied brother finally took over her body completely. (#7) Chess had allied with an ancient female warrior named Eve, who was trapped in the Source Wall. (#8)

During all of this, al-Sheikh's second autopsy of Bhat yielded DNA evidence linking Coldcast to the crime. When Coldcast returned to the Factory, he was taken by the JLA and charged with Bhat's death. Al-Sheikh disbanded the Elite and kindly offered housing for Manitou Raven's widow, Dawn, which she refused. Instead it was Dawn who gave him a gift — her husband's mystical hatchet, which could not pierce the skin of a good man. (#10)

All seemed lost for the Elite. Even al-Sheikh was hard-pressed to believe in Vera's innocence. But Manitou Raven's spirit would not rest until justice was done: he appeared to the members of the Elite and implored them to regroup against Manchester and free Vera. This timing was fortuitous. Al-Sheikh held the kill switch for Vera's advanced cybernetic technology; at the moment of Raven's intervention, he had reluctantly been at the ready to destroy her. (#11) He ultimately refused and was taken into custody at Pennington Army Prison in Montana.

After Manchester Black was defeated by the Elite, Vera was restored and she pulled the strings to get al-Sheikh released from prison. Together they hinted at starting a new endeavor with "a few friends." (#12)

Though Naif al-Sheikh's manner can be very abrasive, his Muslim beliefs fuel his desire to do good in the world. He has shown disdain for infidels, metahumans and women alike, but he has also demonstrated the sensitivity to grow and change with every experience in life.

+ Powers

Al-Sheikh has no superhuman abilities. He has built his career in espionage, however, and holds sway with heads of state all around the world.

He is also a formidable computer engineer. He has cybernetic helper with artificial intelligence that serves as both aide and confidant, if he so desires.

He also possesses Manitou Raven's mystical hatchet, which can not pierce the skin of a good man.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

» SERIES:

 Justice League Elite, 12-issue limited series (2004-05)

» SEE ALSO:

 The Elite