|Zachary Hale Comstock|
|Born||April 19, 1874|
|Arrived in Columbia||1893|
1958 (Alt. Dimension)
|Place of Death||Hand of the Prophet|
|Height||6 ft 1|
|Appears in||BioShock Infinite|
|Voice Actor||Kiff VandenHeuvel|
- "The Lord forgives everything, but I'm just a prophet… so I don't have to. Amen."
- ―Father Comstock
Zachary Hale Comstock is the leader of the Founders, the ultra-nationalist party that founded the floating city of Columbia. He is the main antagonist of BioShock Infinite. Within Columbia, Comstock is known as a prophet, earning the title of "the Prophet" or "Father Comstock." He claims to have the ability to predict the future of Columbia, attacks from his enemies, and the actions of the False Shepherd.
Comstock is an alternate version of Booker DeWitt. After the Battle of Wounded Knee, Booker was overcome with guilt for the atrocities he committed, and sought a way to absolve himself of his sins. He turned to Preacher Witting for baptism, so that he may be reborn as a different man and start anew, free of his past crimes.
In one reality, Booker was unable to go through with the baptism. However, in an alternate reality where he accepted it, he took on the name Zachary Hale Comstock. After the baptism, Comstock became a deeply religious man, and he used his newfound faith to reshape his identity. He soon became a powerful man with a strong pull in the United States government.
Creation of ColumbiaEdit
Not long after his baptism, Comstock met Rosalind Lutece, a genius physicist who was experimenting with manipulating the actions of atoms--through use of the "Lutece Field," she was able to lock atoms at fixed positions in space. Comstock took great interest in her research, which would allow for the creation of a floating city he had seen in a premonition. Receiving support from the United States government, Comstock oversaw the construction of the city, which he named Columbia. It was launched in 1893 with much fanfare, and Comstock became its leader, creating a political party of all whites called The Founders.
Comstock began to see America as "the New Eden," and the Founding Fathers as prophets of God's Great Plan. However, he also saw Caucasians as the only truly free race, and viewed minority races with contempt. He declared Abraham Lincoln "the Great Apostate" who brought nothing but war and death upon the country. He also saw Columbia as the key to usher the world into righteousness and became determined to make it a reality.
Shortly afterwards, Comstock would marry one of his devotees, Lady Comstock.
Discovery of Inter-dimensional TearsEdit
Between 1892 and 1893, while conducting further study into the Lutece Field, Rosalind found that she was able to create a communication field into an alternate universe. She then made contact with Robert Lutece, an alternate version of herself, who was performing the same exact experiment. Determined to find a way to see Robert face-to-face, Rosalind reported her findings to Comstock. Comstock provided Rosalind with additional funding to continue her research, believing her discovery was a window into the future, despite her insistence otherwise. In 1893, Rosalind and Robert were able to create a machine to open Tears into alternate universes; on October 15th of that year, they successfully opened their first Tear, allowing Robert to cross into Rosalind's universe.
Comstock used this device extensively, utilizing Tears to look into other realities, and even see future happenings. When he showed these visions to inventor and businessman Jeremiah Fink, the latter was able to greatly advance technology in Columbia through various inventions such as the Sky-Hook and mass-produced vigors. (He would also eventually create the Songbird for Comstock, based on a "wonder" he saw through the tears.) Due to Comstock's use of the tears, the people of Columbia saw him as a true prophet, and began to worship him.
The Presentation and Secession of ColumbiaEdit
Seen as a floating symbol of American ideals at a time when the United States was becoming a world power, Columbia was sent to all corners of the globe on a goodwill tour. However, in 1901, during the Boxer Rebellion in China, Comstock discovered that the Boxers were holding American citizens hostage and ordered Columbia to open fire on the Chinese populace. This act revealed to the world that Columbia was, in fact, a giant warship. The United States government disavowed Columbia, and ordered Comstock to stand down. Seeing this as a betrayal, Comstock led Columbia to secede from the union, and the city disappeared into the skies. Comstock thereafter declared Columbia the true America, believing the United States to be a shell of its former self and condemning it along with the rest of the world.
The Lamb of ColumbiaEdit
Through Rosalind and Robert's device, Comstock saw that Columbia would only prosper as long as his bloodline continued to rule the city. However, overuse of the device began to take its toll on Comstock; he aged rapidly, and soon discovered that he had been rendered sterile. Desperate to have a blood successor, he conferred with the Luteces, and the three deduced that a true heir could be procured from another universe.
In late 1893, Robert was able to return to his own reality and find Booker DeWitt; since rejecting Preacher Witting's baptism, a still-regretful Booker had spiraled deep into alcoholism and gambling debt. Comstock had Robert offer to wipe away these debts in exchange for Booker's infant daughter, Anna DeWitt. Booker haltingly agreed, and Robert brought Anna to Comstock.
Almost immediately regretting the decision, Booker pursued Robert to retrieve Anna. He found them in an alleyway preparing to pass through a tear back to Comstock's reality. Although Booker tried to stop him from taking Anna through the tear, Comstock managed to escape with her.
Comstock saw Anna as the key to making his dream of remaking the world a reality. However, the child was rejected by Lady Comstock, who believed her to be Rosalind and Comstock's bastard child. At Lady Comstock's insistence that the child not live under their roof, Comstock created Monument Island to house her. He also saw to the creation of the Siphons as her tear-making powers began to develop, in order to keep them in check. Renaming her Elizabeth, Comstock began to call her the "Lamb of Columbia," and the Founders soon worshiped her as a savior.
Over time, overuse of the Luteces' contraption continued to deteriorate Comstock's body, giving him cancer, and causing him to have the appearance of an old man at thirty-eight. In addition, it gave him knowledge that Booker would eventually find a way to take Elizabeth from him. He began to warn the populace that a "False Shepherd" would appear, and began constructing a plan to make Elizabeth servile to him.
Murder of Lady Comstock and the LutecesEdit
At the same time, Lady Comstock was growing frustrated and angry with keeping the truth about Elizabeth from the populace. Knowing that she was going to reveal the truth, in 1895, Comstock had her killed and framed her servant, Daisy Fitzroy, for her murder. This act set in motion the chain of events that would lead to Fitzroy creating the revolutionary group known as the Vox Populi.
Meanwhile, Rosalind and Robert saw the future of Columbia, and what Elizabeth would become, through their machine. In an effort to prevent such a future from coming to pass, they plotted to take Elizabeth from Comstock and return her to her original universe. However, Comstock soon discovered what they were doing, and ordered Jeremiah Fink to sabotage their contraption, killing the two as they were using it. In actuality, the sabotage caused the Luteces to exist across all space and time, giving them the ability to appear wherever and whenever they wanted. Still determined to stop Comstock, they devised a plan to send Booker to Columbia to retrieve his long-lost daughter.
Comstock becomes aware of Booker's presence after a commotion at Columbia's annual Raffle & Fair and sends his forces after the man, determined to stop him from retrieving Elizabeth. He at one point also confronts Booker directly, mocking the man's personal failures and trying to trap him inside a burning airship. However, Comstock's efforts are initially for naught, as Booker is able to reach Monument Island and Elizabeth willingly leaves with him. Comstock's tactics soon become more aggressive; on one occasion, he uses Siphons to hijack Elizabeth's powers and resurrect Lady Comstock in order to stop them from proceeding.
When Comstock is finally able to recover Elizabeth with the help of Songbird, he takes drastic measures to keep her servile: barricading her in Comstock House, he instructs his scientists to operate on her to decrease her access to her powers, and has her fitted with an electric mechanism that delivers an intensely painful shock when she is disobedient. The scientists then use this device as part of mental conditioning, both to turn her to Comstock's way of thinking and to squash any hope she has that Booker will come for her.
In the reality where this occurs, Comstock successfully turns Elizabeth into a brutal and murderous dictator. However, feeling regret for allowing herself to become Comstock's heir, Elizabeth brings Booker to her universe and gives him instructions on how to avoid this fate, to give to her other self. She then sends him back to the appropriate timeline, where Booker is able to rescue Elizabeth and the two resolve to murder Comstock.
- "It is… finished."
- ―Zachary Hale Comstock's last words
After boarding and navigating Comstock's ship, The Hand of the Prophet, Booker and Elizabeth confront Comstock in his cabin. There, Comstock tries to regain Elizabeth's trust by weakening her faith in Booker, grabbing her and demanding that Booker tell her the truth about her lost finger. In a fit of rage, Booker grabs Comstock by the throat and smashes his head against a stone baptismal font multiple times before drowning him in it.
After destroying the Siphon at Monument Island, Elizabeth is able to unlock the full extent of her powers and discovers Comstock's true origins. She and Booker travel to the place of Booker's baptism after the Battle of Wounded Knee, where he was "reborn" as Comstock. Elizabeth then reveals that, in order to truly destroy Comstock, Booker must die before he can either accept or refuse the baptism. With this revelation, Booker allows a number of Elizabeths from different universes to drown him. In doing so, Comstock and all of the events he put in motion—up to and including the creation of Columbia—are erased from existence.
- Main article: Booker DeWitt
While Comstock accepted baptism and changed his name in some realities, in others he rejected it and retained the name Booker DeWitt. Unable to find succor in religion, Booker turned to the vices of gambling and drinking to deal with his lingering guilt over his actions at Wounded Knee. At some point he met a woman that would become the mother of his child but she died in childbirth, sending him further into his downward spiral of gambling debts and alcoholism. Eventually Comstock had the Luteces use their Tears to make an offer to erase Booker's debts in exchange for the infant Anna, an exchange he immediately regrets though he fails to retrieve her.
About two decades later, the Luteces had a change of heart and sent Booker to Comstock's universe to retrieve Anna, though the journey disrupted his memory.
One variant of this Booker became a prominent leader of the Vox Populi and was held up as a martyr to their cause during their revolution after his death in the Hall of Heroes.
- Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1
In an alternate reality, Comstock's path shifted course when Anna's head rather than her pinkie was severed by the closing of the Lutece Tear. Overwhelmed by horror, Comstock had the Luteces help him escape to a new time and place where he could start a new life and forget his guilt. The Luteces opened a tear to Rapture, where Comstock lost his memories of his prior life and began using the his original name once more, Booker DeWitt, as a private detective.
At some point in his years of residency in Rapture, he took in a young orphan girl named Sally, who disappeared one day while he was gambling at Sir Prize. His search for her lead him to torture Dr. Yi Suchong for fifteen hours but yielded no leads. He lost all hope when a police friend of his, Sullivan, told him they had found her dead. A woman named Elizabeth came to his office on New Years Eve 1958 and hired him to find Sally, claiming that she was not dead. Though initially skeptical, Comstock followed her and eventually found Sally in Fontaine's sunken department store.
His struggle to pull Sally out of a vent and the realization that she had become a Little Sister triggered the memory of his identity as Comstock and Anna's death. The Luteces appeared and remarked that Comstock always ran away from his problems by stealing the lives of others. Comstock, once again guilt stricken and horrified, told Elizabeth he was sorry. Elizabeth, unforgiving, told him he wasn't, but would be. Comstock was then impaled through the chest by the drill of a Big Daddy.
- Welcome Center
- Comstock Center Rooftops
- Monument Island
- Battleship Bay
- Soldier's Field
- Good Time Club
- Downtown Emporia
- Hand of the Prophet
Behind the Scenes Edit
- Comstock is apparently only thirty-eight years old during the events of BioShock Infinite. In a Voxophone located on the Hand of the Prophet airship, Rosalind Lutece suggests his advanced aging is due to the cancer caused by the Luteces' machine.
- Comstock's dying words in-game are the same as the last words traditionally attributed to Jesus Christ in the Christian faith.
- Comstock's name is potentially an allusion to Anthony Comstock, a 19th century American politician responsible for the 'Comstock Laws' which labeled anything remotely sexual in nature (including anatomy textbooks) as pornographic and banned their publication. He referred to himself as the 'weeder in God's garden' and was known for his religious fanaticism and extreme methods.
- In his quarters on the Hand of the Prophet, is a uniform that has the U.S. Army variant of the Medal of Honor pinned on it. However, the Medal of Honor has a neck order both for wear and display.
- During the Hall of Soldiers area, Slate vehemently condemns Comstock for lying about being at the Battle of Wounded Knee and others, when in reality he actually was at the battle, only as Booker DeWitt.