So who exactly is this guy? I've played through the game completely, but the audio logs scattered throughout Pandora reveal little about the man behind the mask.

What is his backstory? Where did he come into power as head of Hyperion? Where does his daughter fit into all of this?

  • challenging question.
    – Paralytic
    Dec 18, 2012 at 17:37
  • Is he really handsome? Or is his full name actually Handsome Jack?
    – childe
    Dec 18, 2012 at 17:38
  • Did you really play through the entire game (+side quests)? If you had, most of your questions would've been answered.
    – Kotsu
    Dec 18, 2012 at 17:45
  • He isn't Handsome at all, deformed actually, his mask is the face you see. Handsome Jack is a name he gave himself, obviously self conscious issues.
    – Paralytic
    Dec 18, 2012 at 18:08
  • Is handsome jack a bandit? Because his grandmother owned a buzz-axe, does that mean his parents were also of bandit descent?
    – childe
    Dec 18, 2012 at 20:04

3 Answers 3


Voiced By Dameon Clarke

Handsome Jack is the main antagonist in Borderlands 2. He has taken over the Hyperion corporation, declared himself dictator of Pandora, and stolen all of the credit for finding The Vault, going so far as to claim responsibility for killing The Destroyer. A new team of Vault Hunters is tasked with killing Jack and restoring (relative) peace to Pandora.

Handsome Jack spent his childhood caring for his grandmother, who was physically abusive towards her grandson. The trauma from the abuse led to his eventual mental decline and the murder of his grandmother.

As an adult Handsome Jack was just a programmer for Hyperion before his rise to power, and was known simply as John.

He had married, which led to the birth of his daughter, Angel, one of the universe's rare Sirens. The "disappearance" of his wife, although ECHOs in-game will lead you to believe she has died, only worsened his mental decline as the mere mention of his wife caused severe backlash from Handsome Jack.

Not long after his wife's disappearance,

John placed Angel inside Control Core Angel in order to gain full access and control of Pandora's ECHOnet system, in the process irrevocably linking her to the facility. which is the AI that leads you through your adventures. In an ECHO conversation with the Vault Hunters, Handsome Jack defends doing so, saying he had no choice after "what she did to her mother", though as with any statement from Jack it is unclear if this is a deliberate lie, delusional memory, or if Angel actually did something to her mother. However, a separate ECHO recording mentions the loss of a dozen Hyperion employees due to "accidents" relating to Angel, the incidents being compared to the disappearance of her mother.

Now that he had is daughter secretly in control, he was able to focus his efforts on The Warrior in Pandora's Hidden Vault.

He killed and manipulated his way to Hyperion Presidency.

During this time John began to use the name "Handsome Jack". Contrary to expectations, Jack's trademark mask did not come with his new name; ECHO recordings indicate that the mask was present even when he was known simply as John.

Jack was able to use his daughter to gain full control of Pandora and the ECHOnet system. Jack needs Eridium to keep his daughter's Siren powers at maximum yield, and it is believed that Jack's primary reason for the invasion of Pandora was the abundance of this material appearing in the ground.

He ordered the Hyperion military to forcefully take control of Pandora some time after the Claptrap Robolution.

Handsome Jack sought to lure out Vault Hunters to his sphere of influence by displaying a need for them, then left them for dead in the Windshear Waste. He constantly communicates with them through the ECHOnet, taunting them, threatening them, and otherwise manipulating them.

His building of Opportunity and the drilling into Pandora's core is no secret to the citizens of Sanctuary, but he still keeps a leaderly façade when addressing the citizens of Hyperion-settled villages.

Following Angel's death, he makes his first physical appearance and kills Roland. Lilith attempts to attack him, but is captured to replace his recently-deceased daughter as a catalyst to charge the Vault key. He rescinds the bounty on the Vault Hunters, vowing to exact vengeance himself for Angel's death. His final appearance is at the Vault of the Warrior, and is fought as one of the two final bosses. After being defeated by the Vault Hunters, Jack takes the already-charged Vault Key and uses it to summon and control the Warrior. The Vault Hunters defeat it as well, thus ruining his plans for dominion over Pandora. Jack angrily chastises them for stopping him from bringing his vision of order to the lawless planet, and is then executed for his crimes. After Jack dies, his mask falls off and his real face is visible. His face is deformed, with a vault symbol branded into it, and his left eye blinded. There are competing hypotheses about the cause of Jack's injuries: (1) Angel accidentally injured her father when she was young and unable to fully control her siren powers; (2) Jack was branded by a vault guardian or bandit before he turned the search for the vault over to the vault hunters; or (3) Jack was branded by his abusive grandmother when he was a child.

Wiki Source

Everything not in quotes are my own words w/ help from the wiki of course.

  • A lot of things mentioned here are pretty spoiler-y. You may want to spoiler-text some more things. Dec 18, 2012 at 18:22
  • @DaveMcClelland I added one more not sure what else could be considered a spoiler, feel free to edit it.
    – Paralytic
    Dec 18, 2012 at 18:32
  • A great answer. I'd personally wrap more into spoilers, but it's still great. Also, Best Performance by a Human Male at Spike Video Game Awards.
    – Orc JMR
    Dec 18, 2012 at 19:46
  • @Orc JMR there i wrapped everything that could even remotely be considered a spoiler haha.
    – Paralytic
    Dec 18, 2012 at 19:51
  • 2
    some of this stuff should probably be editted with the release of pre-sequel, eg. how handsome jack got his facial injuries
    – user106385
    Apr 5, 2015 at 3:38

If you want to know more about Jack; here's some extra audio log information on if Jack used to be a bandit, and on Angels mysterious powers. You can find these audio logs at the end of the game: Go to a mission called "Get to know Jack", then you can find these audio logs scattered around.

The fist log is about the disappearance of Jacks wife. The log first starts out when Angel is terrified and is wondering where her mother is. If you are wondering what does this have to do with anything, Angel is a Siren. Meaning that the hypothesis is that angel was to young to understand about a Sirens power, and hurt her mother. The evidence on this is on another log where a man is talking to Jack saying that Angel needed to be shut down, and quoted what Jack's wife said. Another piece of evidence is

after you end up killing Angel

Jack says a piece of dialog that he had restrain her, and that you don't know what she did to her mom.

  • 1
    If you have more information, you can edit it into your previous answer rather than creating an entirely new answer. If you do, please consider running it through a basic spelling/grammar check or have someone check it for you. While we do not expect everyone to write in perfect English, a little effort goes a long way, and might even get you some upvotes. Apr 5, 2015 at 6:26

If you played the pre-sequel, Lilith comes and punches Jack in the face when he found the vault. This caused the vault to smash into Jack's face, leaving it burned and marked.

Lilith calls jack 'handsome' before he became in control of Pandora.

Jack uses Angel because she is a siren. As a siren, she lives forever and is powered by eridium. This means that she could power the key faster then just eridium.

  • to find out more there is amission at the end of the game called get to know jack which is audio logs of given imformation a a possibility that jack used to be a bandit
    – mario
    Apr 5, 2015 at 3:35

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