Sowande also known as White Hat, has one of the five fingers of the Hand and a powerful African warlord. While attempting to take over New York City, he began recruiting several young people from Harlem to dispose of the bodies of the Chaste in New York City putting him on Luke Cage's radar. He was captured by Cage during the Ambush at the Royal Dragon and eventually was beheaded by Stick, preventing further resurrection.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Forming the Hand
- 1.2 War for New York
- 1.3 Legacy
- 2 Personality
- 3 Powers and Abilities
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Appearances
- 6 References
Forming the Hand
Sowande settled in K'un-Lun and learned how to use chi for healing. However, he perverted the teachings of his masters with four others, including Alexandra Reid, Madame Gao, Murakami and Bakuto, to gain immortality and was banished as a result. Together they formed the Hand, using the bones of Dragons they could find to maintain their long lives. In the wake of being banished, Sowande returned into Africa as he ruled over the Hand there, becoming a feared warlord and a gunrunner, gaining a reputation as a skilled fighter who could stop a man's heartbeat with just a few well-placed strikes.
Fighting the Chaste
- "I had been captive three days when they heard my soldiers approach. The fortress fell silent. The gates remained locked. The Chaste couldn't comprehend it. But the soldiers outside, they were following my orders. They sealed the gates, allowed no one in or out. On the third day, your soldiers turned on each other. By the fourth, they'd run out of the water. By the sixth, no food. I believe it was the tenth day that they knelt before me. Begging to make it stop."
- ―Sowande to Stick[src]
Sowande was once captured by the Chaste who trapped him inside a castle and attempt to torture information out of him, but after three days, Sowande's armies approached the fortress the Chaste held Sowande in. The armies of the Hand starved out the fortress and on the tenth day, when they had run out of food and water, the Chaste knelt before him and begged him to make it stop. In the years that followed, Sowande continued being challenged by the Chaste's forces, fighting against Stick on several occasions throughout his life.
Returning the Black Sky
In the years they lived in New York City, Sowande was given a task, to find and capture the Black Sky. Eventually, Sowande heard the news that Elektra, a long lost Black Sky warrior, had just been killed in battle by Nobu Yoshioka, so Sowande had his soldiers find and dig up her corpse to be resurrected and turned into their own warrior in their mission to finally return to K'un-Lun. Sowande visited Alexandra Reid and informed her that they had found the Black Sky.
Having brought Elektra's corpse from her grave to the secret base of the Hand, Sowande presented it to Reid, questioning how long she had been searching for the Black Sky to be the greatest warrior of the Hand, which Reid claiming she had been waiting for far too long. Sowande noted that reviving Elektra would use the last of the Hand's supply of the Resurrection Elixir and therefore they would risk their own lives in the future without it, which Reid then made it clear that she was satisfied with, believing that Elektra was worth saving for the good of the Hand's future with their own mission.
Seeking to continue their work within New York City without being detected, Sowande hired several young men from Harlem seeking work to be employed as his personal clean-up crew, going to the locations where the Hand had massacred people and clean up after them. Sowande hired both Sean and Cole Miller to do this work, but when both were exposed at a different time, Sowande had them killed. Sowande's reputation also reached Turk Barrett who had passed on working with Sowande but had noted him for often wearing his white hat and jacket and other high-class clothes since the Stokes Crime Family left the gig.
Questioning Black Sky
- "Perhaps you'd be more effective on the battlefield if you killed your enemies, rather than letting them escape. Alexandra insisted we use the last of our resources on you. The ultimate weapon of the Hand. But after your recent failure well, I can't help but ask myself if you are a weapon at all."
- ―Sowande to Elektra[src]
Sowande still stayed loyal to Elektra, going to inform her of when Alexandra Reid needed her help to interrogate Stick. However, Sowande soon began to question if Elektra was really the warrior Alexandra Reid had promised to them, so he then decided to test her while Elektra was examining the weapons she could choose from. As Elektra looked at the Twin Sai, Sowande and his soldiers cornered her, questioning why she allowed her enemies to escape.
Pointing out that Elektra had let both Stick as well as the entire team known as the Defenders to escape her, which had included losing the Iron Fist as a result, Sowande also questioned if Reid was correct in her decision to use the last of their Resurrection Elixir to bring Elektra back into life. Questioning if Elektra was the warrior they had all been promised, Sowande got his answer when he witnessed Elektra easily subdued and killed his soldiers, before walking out and telling him to keep asking himself if she was the weapon which had been promised to the Hand, leaving Sowande alone to consider what happened.
Having learned that all of the Defenders had just been tracked down to the Royal Dragon where they were currently engaged in a fight against Elektra under the orders of Alexandra Reid, Sowande then gathered his own soldiers together and prepared to join the fight. As they drove to the Royal Dragon, Sowande sat in complete silence as he prepared himself for the fight, removing his hat at one point, all while his soldiers loaded their guns ready to massacre as many of the Defenders as they could.
Interrupting the fight, Sowande's soldiers opened fire into the Royal Dragon, causing the Defenders to take cover while Cage used his bulletproof body to deflect most of the shots. Madame Gao however stole one of the men's guns and executed him, telling Sowande to stop shooting as they needed to take Iron Fist alive. Sowande and Gao's men then surrounded the Defenders as they prepared for the fight, with Stick telling the Defenders to work together in order to survive the fight. However, the fight began early when Matt Murdock chose to take on Elektra alone and left the others to fight.
Sowande personally took on Luke Cage, avoiding all Cage's powerful strikes while repeatedly hitting him on his pressure points with the aim to stop his heartbeat with some carefully placed strikes, leaving Murakami to lead the fight against the others. Taking their fight back outside, Sowande promised to find out if Cage was unbreakable, kicking him into the streets. Sowande then had one his soldiers drive a van directly into Cage, sending him down the street as Jessica Jones called out to him and Sowande then got into another van and gave chase, hoping to finish off Cage once and for all.
Sowande and Cage then continued their fight further into New York City where Sowande and his men fought against the unbreakable man. Eventually, Cage proved himself to be more durable and formidable than Sowande had expected, and he managed to defeat all of Sowande's men as well as Sowande himself, knocking him unconscious during their fight. Cage then proceeded to tie up Sowande and locked him inside the back of the van before Cage tracked down the other Defenders to Chikara Dojo and then proudly presented them all with the now captured Sowande.
Kept blindfolded and bound to a chair, Sowande was questioned about the Hand and their own plans with New York City, although Sowande insisted that there was nothing the Defenders could do which would make him betray the Hand. Sowande explained that his training in K'un-Lun had given him the discipline he needed to withstand whatever they threw at him, claiming that they were all mice who had fallen into a well, promising that this War they were now fighting would soon drown them during the conflict.
When Sowande was asked by Matt Murdock what the Hand wanted with New York, Sowande claimed that the city had been controlled by the Hand for centuries, with Jessica Jones noting that she had traced the Hand's grip over New York back to 1820, which Sowande scoffed at by questioning if that was the best she could do. When asked why they wanted Danny Rand, Sowande claimed they did not want him, but his Iron Fist, claiming that Rand himself had failed the entire city of K'un-Lun and was useless to them, even claiming that he was the dumbest Iron Fist he had yet encountered.
Rather than give them any more answers right away, Sowande proceeded to taunt that the other Defenders, mocking Luke Cage for allowing Cole Miller to die in prison while Jones had failed to save John Raymond. When Jones became angered, Sowande tormented her even more by comparing his mind games to the ones Kilgrave had played on her. Sowande then mocking claimed the Hand were already heading for their respective loved ones; mentioning Claire Temple, Karen Page, and Trish Walker as some potential targets. In an impulse, Jones punched Sowande and knocked him out.
Awaking once again, Sowande's eyes were finally unblinded, as he greeted Stick who had just removed the blindfold. When Sowande noted how he had wondered when they would see each other again, Stick joked that he was unable to "see" him. Sowande questioned Stick about the Chaste and decided to try and get inside Stick's mind as he told him the story of how the Chaste had once captured him as Stick had.
Sowande explained in considerable detail how his own faction of the Hand had followed Sowande's orders and not stormed the castle where he was being kept, but instead would not allow the Chaste inside to leave, eventually having members die of dehydration and starvation until they begged Sowande to let them go free. Stick, however, was unaffected and told him to shut up, but Sowande then taunted him that neither he nor the Defenders would ever be able to win the War against the Hand, promising that soon he would be free of the chair he was tied to and would turn it into his throne.
Beheaded by Stick
Eventually, the Defenders returned to the abandoned building with a new ally, Daredevil, who used his Billy Club to wrap a wire tightly around Sowande's neck as he began questioning the Hand's schemes while Sowande struggled to breathe. Sowande continued to taunt him, calling him by his commonly used name of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, while claiming that he could not kill him, and even if he did, he would still come back fighting, promising that the Hand would still win.
When Sowande briefly mentioned Elektra, Daredevil tightened his grip around Sowande's throat, demanding to know why they had dug up her grave and wanting to know what they had turned her into. Sowande claimed that Elektra was dead and her body was merely a vessel, claiming she was the Hand's own weapon now as the Black Sky. Daredevil, however, told Sowande that twice Elektra had been given the chance to kill him and refused, calling her a faulty weapon, to which Sowande claimed that if this was the case, then the Hand would be forced to execute her, which enraged Daredevil.
Despite Jessica Jones telling him to stop, Daredevil continued tightening his grip around Sowande's throat, claiming that the Hand had failed. Sowande, however, claimed that it was Daredevil who had failed Elektra, mentioning that the death of the Black Sky before was due to Daredevil's lack of protection during their battle against Nobu Yoshioka and his armies. With the cable compressed tightly around his throat, Sowande finally passed out and collapsed to the floor. Stick then checked on Sowande and confirmed, much to his own disappointment that he was indeed still alive and merely passed out.
While the Defenders argued about the fact that Daredevil had lied to them about his previous relationship with Elektra and over the Hand desiring the Iron Fist for some unknown reason, Sowande regained consciousness and decided to make his escape. While the Defenders argued with one another, Sowande managed to loosen the ropes around his hands and quietly moved towards Danny Rand, wielding a glass shard. Before Rand even had time to realize Sowande was free, he was struck in a pressure point on his spine, causing him to fall back as Sowande held the blade against Rand's own throat.
Locking him in his arms, Sowande warned the Defenders not to do anything rash as Daredevil, Jones and Luke Cage looked on in horror, while Rand struggled to fight back due to the strike Sowande had landed. Confident he was now free, Sowande told the group that this battle was personal to all of them and now with the Iron Fist, the Hand could regain their Resurrection Elixir and complete their plans. Telling them that the War was over, Sowande was unaware that Stick had come up behind him. Before he could react, Stick had swung his sword and beheaded Sowande, freeing Rand from his grasp.
The Hand Moves Forward
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Upon Sowande's final death, Stick, wanting to send a message to the remaining leaders of the Hand, decided to take Sowande's head to one of his warehouses where a subordinate discovered the remains and reported his death to the other Hand leaders. Sowande's death served as a clear statement to the other leaders that they were losing the war and this would be an omen for the demise of the Hand. Murakami, Bakuto and Madame Gao were visibly angered and horrified from Sowande's death and even went as far as to express remorse for not finding him themselves, where as their leader, Alexandra, was merely disappointed by this development, stating that Sowande's end was the result of carelessly getting himself captured and reminded them of their history of usurping one another, thus it was useless to "mourn" their loss. As for the remainder of Sowande's remains, his decapitated body was discovered and retrieved by law enforcement as they were investigating a disturbance in the same building where he was killed.
Despite the conflicts in leadership of the Hand, the death of Sowande proved to be a massive blow to the organization; losing one of its "Fingers" for good. Even though leaderships and loyalties were momentarily in disarray, Madame Gao declared that they must honor Sowande by avenging him with the defeat of the Defenders and complete their objective in securing the substance for their most important resource.
Sowande can be described as a twisted individual. He takes pleasure in causing as much pain as he can to his enemies, as evidenced when he pointed out the faults of the Defenders during his captivity. He also exudes a large amount of confidence, talking down to Elektra despite her status as the Black Sky, and being unfazed in his interrogation by the Defenders.
Powers and Abilities
- Artificially Enhanced Physiology: Due to the usage of the The Substance synthesized from the bones of the Dragon, Sowande's physical attributes are enhanced and enable him to live for more than four hundred years.
- Enhanced Strength: Sowande was capable of staggering Luke Cage with his blows through the use of pressure points and even knocked the hero to the ground.
- Longevity: Through the usage of the Resurrection Elixir synthesized from Dragon bones, Sowande, along with the other founders of the Hand, has had his lifespan extended by centuries. He could even have been alive for millennia, as the Hand was believed to be responsible for the destruction of Pompeii in 79 AD.
- Master Martial Artist: As one of the leaders of the Hand, Sowande is a master in martial arts. According to Stick, Sowande can slow his enemies' pulse to the point of heart failure. He was also capable of staggering Luke Cage with his blows through the use of pressure points and even knocked the hero to the ground, whereas other master martial artists such as the Iron Fist and Bushmaster failed to subdue the unbreakable man.
In chronological order:
- The Defenders