Jonathan Phaedrus

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Jonathan Phaedrus
Abilities Epic
Aliases Limelight, Prof
Groups Reckoners
Homeworld Earth (Reckoners)
Introduced In Steelheart
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And every life you take, even the bad ones, takes a bit of your soul with it.


Jonathan Phaedrus, usually referred to as Prof, is the leader of the Reckoners, a group which hunts down and kills Epics.[2] Somewhat ironically, he himself is an Epic of considerable power, [3] known by the alias Limelight.[4]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]


As a "gifter", Prof can loan his Epic abilities to non-Epics, often the members of the Reckoners. He disguises his giftings by attributing the effects to various devices. By gifting his abilities to others, he also lessens the psychological effects of being an Epic.
Matter Disruption
Disguised by the tensors. Prof can turn inorganic matter into dust. This dust seems to have less volume and weight than the original substance. He can also carve improvised weapons such as swords using this ability. Because the ability is controlled by the mind, each person has a different mental trick for activating this ability.
Disguised by the jackets. Prof can use his forcefields for many purposes, such as blocking incoming projectiles, creating a disc to fly on, traveling quickly and safely along the ocean floor, trapping or crushing people in bubbles, creating a walkway or bridge, attacking with spears of light, or simply illuminating an area. When he used this ability to its fullest extent, he was able to contain an explosion powerful enough to destroy a city. He usually gifts a much weaker version of this ability to the Reckoners, providing them with full-body shields that offer limited protection against falls, bullets, and other dangers. The forcefields give off a greenish color, which is related to the name 'Limelight'.
Accelerated Healing
Disguised by the harmsway. A rare occurrence, Prof is a High Epic with two prime invincibilities. His healing factor can heal injuries that would ordinarily be fatal in a matter of seconds. When spread among the team, it can heal critical or traumatic injury in a couple of days.
Enhanced Strength
Prof is often described as having a solid build. In Firefight, David states that Prof seems especially strong. This could be a separate power, or it could be a form of bio-feedback resulting from his Accelerated Healing. It could also be his forcefields doing the lifting.


Prof's weakness is failure, and the risk of it. This can be seen as he refused to enter a contest pre-Calamity and his reluctance to use his abilities in Steelheart, instead gifting them to others.


Prior to the arrival of Calamity, Jonathan Phaedrus was a fifth-grade science teacher. He was involved in a romantic relationship with Tia, who at the time worked for NASA. At some point after the arrival of Calamity, the school where he worked was destroyed by an Epic while still in session. The details of this incident are unclear, and it is possible that the Epic in question was Phaedrus himself experiencing his Rending.[5]. Sometime prior to the events of Steelheart, he was part of a team of "hero" Epics consisting of himself, Lincoln, Abigail Reed, and Amala. This venture ended in catastrophe as every member of the group other than Phaedrus succumbed to Calamity's corruption. Sometime later, he and Tia founded the Reckoners.


David manages to track down the Reckoners, a rebel group fighting against the Epics, and finds Megan Tarash, a member of the Reckoners, in Newcago. After he helps her as the Reckoners plan a hit on Fortuity, David convinces Jonathan to let him join. Jonathan later plans to free Newcago from Steelheart's influence by killing the Epic after David reveals that he saw Steelheart bleed. Jonathan is revealed to be a High Epic and a Gifter that shares his powers through the guise of advanced technological equipment such as the tensors. He later fights Steelheart and helps David in eventually taking the Epic down.


Following the events of Steelheart, Phaedrus travelled with David to Babylon Restored to take out his old friend Abigail Reed, now known as the Epic Regalia. Despite being an Epic himself, Prof consistently tells David that all Epics are evil, including Megan, after David tries to assure him that Megan was fighting the corruption of her powers. Due to Regalia's plotting, Phaedrus is forced to use his powers more and more. This culminates when Regalia detonates a bomb made using Obliteration's powers to destroy Babylon Restored. Phaedrus is able to stop the detonation but the extensive use of his powers drives him over the edge and makes him a full Epic. He subsequently kills two members of the Reckoners team, Exel and Val, and tries to kill David Charleston, but is stopped by Firefight.


In the third book of the series, Prof served as the main antagonist of the book. While consumed by his powers, Prof went to Ildithia and continued Regalia's plan of taking Larcener's assumer abilities and replacing Calamity, unaware of the fact the Larcener himself was Calamity. He faced off against David's team twice, but soon David redeemed him by making him confront his weakness. In the end, he aids David in taking down Calamity and freeing the Epics from the corruption of their powers; however, he grieves from his actions and his murders of Tia, Exel, and Val while he was under the corruption of his powers.


After Jax’s brother was killed by the Epic Lovestruck and his family killed by Obliteration, Prof found Jax, took care of him, and fed him as they traveled across the country. He took Jax to the Coop, leaving him to be trained by Zeff as a Reckoner.[6] Later on, Prof visited the Coop to check up on Jax’s progress and give the Texas Reckoners new assignments.[7]


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