Lord Recluse began his life as Stefan Richter, an American of Austrian descent. His father, an Austrian immigrant named Rudolf Richter, took it upon himself to care for Marcus Cole, whose mother had died in childbirth while his father drank himself to death. Stefan and Marcus soon became best friends and served together during the Great War.
During the war, Marcus was exposed deadly German mustard gas. Though he was one of the fortunate few to survive the toxin, his lungs were significantly damaged, leaving him with a chronic condition that worsened as time passed. Stefan was determined find a way to save his lifelong friend, and in hopes of finding a cure, both men became mercenaries in search of the fabled Fountain of Zeus.
After an arduous journey to find the Fountain of Zeus, which they believed to be hidden beneath the Well of the Furies, Stefan and Marcus finally located it on the lost Greek Island, Praxidae. Both men drank from the Fountain and were endowed with god-like powers. These powers rivaled those of the demigods from myth and legend, and instantly cured Marcus' deadly ailment.
Before leaving the island, however, the two also uncovered an artifact they believed to have an unworldly origin. The artifact, a large, jet-black box made of an unidentifiable material, emitted a blinding light that appeared to be the source of the Fountain's power. Stefan, determined to investigate further, arrogantly opened the box and unleashed the energy stored inside of it. The power, a millennium of human creativity, was released into the world in an explosive blast, effectively starting another Golden Age of super-powered heroes. The explosive release of this ancient power caused a collapse in the cave and the ensuing flood of ocean water that ripped through the fractured stone and swept Stefan violently into the open sea.
While swimming toward the shore, Stefan quickly became intoxicated by his newfound power. He envisioned himself as a god among men, able to pave the way to a new age of technocracy science. He was in the midst of this vision when a close friend named Billy approached him in a rescue craft that had been dispatched to search for Stefan. Reaching out a hand, Billy attempted to pull Stefan from the frigid waters. That is when the realization struck him. It was all so clear. He did not need to be rescued from his new destiny. Instead, he needed to embrace it. Stefan reached up, not to take Billy's hand but to take him by the throat, effortlessly snapping his longtime friend's neck and pulling his limp body into the dark ocean depths. Stefan then climbed into the lifeboat and headed toward his new future, and his descent into evil.
After the events that took place on the island of Praxidae, Stefan joined a shady Italian-based organization named Arachnos, then lead by the mysterious figure only known as The Weaver. He quickly rose up through the ranks and was put in charge of the group's American branch based in Paragon City, Rhode Island. It was during his time within Arachnos, that Stefan took the name of Recluse.
As Stefan learned to focus his dark power, physical changes began to manifest in him. His eyes became increasingly light sensitive and began to burn red with malevolence and his back became hunched and twisted, much like the ancient evil demigod whom he aspired to emulate; Tartarus. He further enhanced his body to house eight massive arachnid-like arms outfitted with super-strong steel claws made from an alloy called proto-steel. Completing his transformation, he became known as Lord Recluse, and Stefan Richter was no more.
Lord Recluse eventually became the leader of Arachnos, usurping power after having the current leader assassinated. Soon afterward, he moved the entire operation to the Rogue Isles. In the mid-1950's, Lord Recluse led a successful military coup and declared the Rogue Isles as under the dominion of Arachnos and began to shape his empire. Lord Recluse continues to operate out of the Rogue Isles, ruling with an iron fist and a flair for cruelty as he prepares and plots for world domination.
Alternate Versions and Futures
There are several alternate futures where Recluse takes over the world.
- In the alternate future known as "Recluse's Victory", Recluse manages to defeat Statesman and the heroes and conquer the world, transforming Paragon City into his own image. However, because this timeline is always in flux, it is subject to change.
- In the alternate future shown in Issue #18 of the Guardians of the Dawn Spotlight series, Recluse joins with the heroes in defending the planet against Rularuu The Ravager. Immediately afterward, he orders his Arachnos minions to place power neutralizers around Paragon City, allowing him to conquer the city and then the rest of the world. His reign as world emperor is eventually ended by Statesman II and the Alpha Incarnate Galatea Powers. Due to events in the "Time and Changes" storyline, this future is no longer a possibility.
There is no version of Lord Recluse in the Praetorian Universe as Stefan Richter is murdered by Marcus Cole after drinking from the Well of the Furies.
It is also not known if Recluse exists in any of the other worlds that also have a version of Marcus Cole in it.
Powers and Abilities
As an incarnate being, Lord Recluse's power levels cannot be truly measured.
His abilities are further augmented with the full power of Arachnos at his disposal, including summoning numerous soldiers to do his bidding. But even without his minions, his artificial spider-like appendages make him a veritable one-man army.
While he cannot fly, he can leap great distances.
(See his Paragon Wiki entry for more information.)
Lord Recluse appears in Issue #17 of the Guardians of the Dawn Spotlight series.