Solovar

solovarfilmAfter a one-week hiatus, The Flash is going to return tomorrow with a two-parts event revolving around the return of Gorilla Grodd…and another whole bunch of super-intelligent gorillas. In Attack on Gorilla City, however, there will be (apparently) some sort of a twist, as when Barry and the rest of the team travels to Earth-2 to save Harry Wells from Gorilla City, it turns out Grodd is not the one behind the kidnapping, quite the opposite, he’ll be an ally to them, since he’s trying to stop Solovar, the king of the city voiced by Keith David, from invading Earth-1. Well, judging from the latest promotional material, the huge albino gorilla king will indeed battle The Flash, but we know far too well by now not to trust Grodd and what he says…especially considering who the actual Solovar is in the comics. Just a hint: he’s not a villain (and he’s not albino: that’s an element from the animated series). Let’s see together.

Solovar was an extraterrestrial hyper-intelligent gorilla born in Gorilla City, on planet Calor. Wise and good-hearted, Solovar was also gifted with unique mental powers that made him a powerful telepath, a skill that he used to guide the evolution of his people to a technologically advanced utopia. Eventually, however, he realised that Calor wasn’t a safe environment anymore for his people, as the volcanic activity on the surface was becoming more and more unstable, and he started searching another suitable planet to bring the entire Gorilla City to. When a Green Lantern arrived on Calor to save the planet’s other inhabitants (primitive humanoids) from Dryg, a murderous beast, Solovar used both his powers and the advanced technology he disposed of to follow the hero’s energy trail to his homeplanet: Earth. Finding in the new world a suitable environment for his people, Solovar transported the entire Gorilla City in Africa, in the middle of a forest, chosing to keep it hidden from the planet’s dominant species, solovarcomics1the humans: he found out that gorillas on that planet were a non-sentient and not evolved species, so he preferred not to scare humans with his and his people’s presence. Under Solovar’s guidance, Gorilla City kept prospering, away from other civilizations’ sight. A beloved ruler, King Solovar found no opposition in his country…but for one power-hungry gorilla, Grodd, who publicly and privately challenged him. Albeit potentially dangerous, Grodd didn’t represent any immediate threat to Solovar, as the King’s mental powers made him superior to any adversary…but that was something Grodd wanted to fix soon, as he started to investigate on the ruler to learn the secret of his telepathy. One day, while walking in the forest, Solovar was surrounded by human hunters, who shot him with a tranquillizer and brought him to a zoo in Central City, in the USA. Still following his original policy of not scaring the humans, Solovar pretended to be a regular gorilla, never revealing to be intelligent and capable of speaking…until Grodd arrived in Central City as well, still wanting to learn the secret of his powers and claim the throne for himself.

Finding Solovar in the zoo, Grodd was able to steal the Force of Mind from him, rushing to return to Gorilla City and to take control of the gorillas’ army to start a war against the whole world. Solovar couldn’t allow this, so he decided to stop pretending and broke free of the zoo; he looked for Central City’s hero, The Flash, and explained the situation to him, hoping he could trust him, and asked for his help. Since both wanted to protect their people, Solovar and The Flash joined forces, and came back together to Gorilla City. Here, The Flash defeated Grodd by moving faster than the gorilla could think, and later left him to Solovar for judgment; he also promised not to reveal to the world the secret of Gorilla City, and the superhero and the gorilla king parted ways as allies and friends. Grodd was imprisoned and reeducated, but that didn’t work exactly well: when he ended his term, Grodd came back to Gorilla City, just before the marriage of King Solovar and the beautiful Boka (Solovar was widowed, and had a son solovarcomics2from a previous marriage, Nnamdi). Wanting to ruin the life of his rival, Grodd used what had remained of his stolen powers to make Boka fall in love with him, so the female gorilla left Solovar the day before marrying him, and married his worst enemy instead. Surely heartbroken, Solovar watched Grodd obtaining the throne thanks to his marriage with Boka, but when the evil gorilla left to conquer Central City, never coming back after being defeated once again by The Flash, Solovar reclaimed his title as king, and resumed guiding his people to a new age. Finally, when the cohabitation with humans looked possible, Solovar decided to completely change his former policy, and to stop using the advanced technology of Gorilla City to hide it from the rest of the world. He opened the city’s borders, and revealed to humans the existence of the hyper-intelligent gorillas. He even formed a political delegation, and travelled to New York City to ask to the United Nations for membership. Starting a diplomatic tour, Solovar became the frontman of inter-species dialogue and alliance, calling for peace between humans and gorillas. Maybe, the time truly had come for the two races to build a better, common future together…if the racist groups from both sides allowed it.

King Solovar is a wise and intelligent gorilla, a skilled leader who only wishes for the best for his people. Not only he possesses the superhuman strenght and durability of his race, but he also wields the Force of Mind, that grants him unique telepathic powers (among which the mind-control Grodd seeks). Strong-willed and determined, Solovar is also adaptable, and when the tide changes he’s also ready to modify his life-long policy to embrace a new way of doing things, always hoping for a brighter future for his people: he’s a king who not only wants to make history, but who’s willing to follow its evolution and to accompany Gorilla City in the inevitable transition to a nation linked to the others on the planet.

Aristides Demetrios (Olympian)

olympianfilmNew episode of Powerless, new list of cameos and namedrops. Sinking Day mainly focuses on the new deal between Wayne Security and Atlantis, so much of the stuff is Aquaman-related, but there’s a subplot with the three stooges from the Research & Development division trying to figure the secret of Alex, the accountability employee portrayed by Matthew Atkinson. Well, despite the pretty convincing final demonstration provided during the party, all other evidence point to Alex being the new hero in town, the Olympian, a super-strong and flying guy dressed like an ancient Greek warrior. In the comics, the Olympian is another secondary superhero, who’s dressed in an even fancier way than the one we saw in the show, and his personality is…let’s say complex. Let’s take a look at Greece‘s greatest (and disgraced) superhero.

Aristides Demetrios was born in Leiváda, Greece…and he wasn’t exactly a good guy at first. With a rebellious and daring personality, he was a small-time thug, always ending up in jail for petty crimes, ruining all the jobs he could find with his behavior. Once, while he was out of prison, he found a job as a guardian in a warehouse, but he soon got tired of it, and thought of stealing some of the goods the place stored to sell it and make fast money. Instinctively chasing for what shone the most, Aristides stumbled in a very weird and shiny woollen mantle…that turned out to be the legendary Golden Fleece from ancient times, now imbued with mystical powers. Wearing the Fleece, Aristides was granted the powers of the fifty Argonauts, the mythological heroes who first retrieved it…and with their personalities as well. Feeling in himself the voices of the heroes of old times, the man was urged to do something more with his life, and instead of using his newfound powers to steal and rob as he would have olympiancomics1normally done, he used them to become a superhero. Aiding his people and his country in grave emergencies as in solving little crimes, Aristides became known as Greece’s greatest superhero, the Olympian, a formidable foe for both regular criminals and mystical creatures. He even became known in the global superhero community when he helped some “colleagues” from other countries: when Colonel Conquest hid a bomb somewhere in Greece blackmailing the entire country, Olympian helped Wonder Woman finding and disabling it, and when Echidne and other mystic-empowered villains tried to revive the evil Thaumar Dhai, the Olympian aided Superman (who was vulnerable to their magic) to stop the ceremony and prevent the sorcerer’s resurrection. With this new visibility and fame, the Olympian was among the heroes gathered by Doctor Mist to form a new team, the Global Guardians, an international super-team composed of heroes from all around the world.

The first adventures with the Global Guardians were indeed the heroic deeds the Olympian was looking for, and he even got particularly close to one of his teammates, the British heroine Godiva. When the United Nations replaced the Global Guardians with the Justice League International, however, the team was about to disband, and only a mysterious new benefactor allowed them to continue their operations…but the benefactor was Queen Bee, the dictator of Bialya. Queen Bee wanted to exploit the Guardians as her personal army so, after “testing” them in a mission in Paris (putting them against a giant robot she had built herself with alien technology), she hypnotized them to force them to do her bidding. This brainwashing process, however, had devastating effects on the Olympian’s mind: without Aristides’ will to keep them at bay, the personalities of the fifty Argonauts started competing for control, and the hero slowly descended into a serious multiple-personality disorder. The only thing that allowed Aristides not to be overwhelmed by the many voices resounding in his head (and not always manging to do it) was Queen Bee’s conditioning, but when the dictator was exposed and put down by a rival, and the Guardians were freed from the mind-control, the Olympian was left with a serious mental condition. Queen Bee’s successor, Sumaan Harjavti, had Olympian forcefully hospitalized, and when he was diagnosed with a serious schizophrenia, olympiancomics2he was locked in a mental asylum. Doctor Mist, however, didn’t want to leave anyone behind, so he insisted for Olympian to be released, and personally treated him: it was thanks to Mist’s and Godiva’s help that Aristides managed to regain control of the many personalities inhabiting his mind, albeit sometimes he struggled to do it. Back to the team, the Olympian regained his position and stayed a loyal member of the Global Guardians…and was even able to resume things with Godiva from where they had interrupted them, at least until the next planetary emergency forced them to put things on hold again.

Aristides Demetrios is a man reborn: once a lowlife and a criminal, he’s now imbued with the iron-will and the heroism of some of the greatest heroes from the past, and he lives following their selflesness and their thirst for glory. As the Olympian, he possesses all the Argonauts’ powers: Heracles‘ super-strength, Kalais‘ flight and agility, Lynkeus‘ enhanced vision, Atalanta‘s super-speed, Admetus‘ intellect, Teleus‘ resistance to psychic attacks and illusions, Hylas‘ ability to survive in every environment and without drinking, eating or even breathing, Zetes‘ teleporting powers, Poriclymenus‘ shapeshifting abilities, Kaineus‘ invulnerability, Meleager‘s healing factor, Staphylus‘ immunity to all poisons, Euryalus‘ longevity, Idmon‘s precognition, Aethalides‘ eidetic memory, Euphemus‘ ability to walk on water and many others. One of the most powerful heroes on the planet, the Olympian unfortunately struggles with a shattered psyche, with the voices of fifty boastful and glory-seeking heroes screaming in his head and battling for control over his body, resulting in quite a complicated and sometimes dangerous figure…

Doris Brinkley

dorischasefilmThis week, Arrow surprised us with an unexpectedly political episode…with a terribly underwhelming and politically correct ending. Anyway, in Spectre of the Gun another new character has been briefly introduced: with D.A. Adrian Chase in the hospital after being shot, Major Oliver Queen goes visiting him, and he meets Chase’s wife: Doris, portrayed by Parveen Dosanjh. Doris is trying to convince her husband not to come back to work before he’s fully recovered, but she doesn’t seem to have much success. Well, for a start start, it’s a surprise to see her alive, since in the comics she appears mostly in flashbacks, being killed at the very beginning of Adrian’s story, and being the main reason he becomes the Vigilante for (but maybe the series will have a surprise regarding who’s the one behind the red goggles); being it a way or the other, her original counterpart is less than a secondary character, and it’s likely to be the same in the series. Let’s take a look nevertheless.

Doris Brinkley was born in New York City, but we don’t know much about her family, early life or studies. Actually, we don’t know absolutely anythig about her until she met a young and ambitious lawyer, Adrian Chase, a man who fell in love with her…and whom Doris reciprocated. The two started dating, and in a few years they got married, coming to live together in Manhattan. Adrian was a wonderful husband, even if he had to work a lot in order to start the law career he had always dreamt of, and Doris always supported him, being extremely proud of the dorischasecomics1man he was becoming. She gave birth to a son, Adam, and some time later to a daughter, Drew: just when her life seemed it couldn’t be more complete or happier, her children changed everything once again, making her feel to be truly blessed. In the meanwhile, Adrian’s career finally took off, and he became Manhattan’s District Attorney, getting famous for his tireless war against the most powerful Mafia families in the city. Albeit worried for her husband, Doris couldn’t be prouder of the man she had chosen to spend her entire life with.

Of course, Adrian’s take on Mafia wasn’t exactly a safe one, and many dangers laid ahead for both him and his family, but things got a little better, at least as Doris was concerned, when the D.A. office started to work along with the New Teen Titans: the idea that her husband was working with superheroes, albeit young ones, made her feel safe, and she believed that nothing bad could have happened to Adrian and to her children. What happened next, proved that she was wrong. Working toe to toe with Robin, Adrian Chase and his office started to take on the Scarapelli family, one of the most influent ones of Manhattan: man by man, connection by connection, business by business, their empire started to crumble down, marking one of the greatest victories of the D.A. office. Doris witnessed all of it, and was always there to support her husband, but her confidence in him and in his allies made her incautious. One night, for Adam’s birthday, Adrian’s Uncle Arthur sent a present to the boy, a nice clown doll Doris immediately loved. The moment Adrian came back home from work, Doris greeted him and, dorischasecomics2while hugging him, she told him what his uncle had done for them…unfortunately, Adrian didn’t have any “Uncle Arthur”, but he couldn’t even finish to say that aloud that the bomb hidden in the clown doll exploded, killing Doris and her children, and leaving Adrian barely alive.

Doris Brinkley Chase is a tender and loving woman, who lives for her husband and children, and completely dedicates herself to them. Fully supportive to her husband, she’s the one he takes the strenght to fight his impossible battles from, the one corner of peace and happiness he treasures not to be tainted by the violent world he constantly faces.

Gabrielle Haller

gabriellehallerfilmI don’t know you, but Legion is getting more and more confusing…especially considering that the protagonist is one of the most unreliable narrators ever, due to his mental state. Anyway, the mind trip in Chapter 2 provided us with a new character to speak about (there should be two of them, but it’s better to wait a while for the dad, as there are two father figures in David‘s life): David’s mother, still unnamed, portrayed by Tatyana Forrest. We don’t see much of her, not even her face, but she seems to be a caring mother, as we see her in a couple of flashbacks, gardening and playing with her children. The book David’s father reads to him seems to imply that the young mutant eventually killed her, but that’s pure speculation right now. In the comics, David’s mother is called Gabrielle Haller, and this is her story.

Not much is known about Gabrielle Haller’s early life: she was born somewhere in Germany, and she came from a Jew family. When the Nazi Party rose to power, Gabrielle and her family were captured along with millions of other Jews, and they were brought to an unspecified concentration camp. Life became a living hell, and Gabrielle witnessed her entire family and her friends killed in cold blood, forced to work until death, humiliated and tortured. She herself became a guinea pig for some gruesome experiments, as some Nazi scientist was working on a way to store secret information directly into people’s brains as if they were computers. Something went wrong with the procedure, and as soon as the data were stored into Gabrielle’s brain, her psyche reacted badly, and she fell into a catatonic state. Gabrielle was kept alive just to see if she recovered, so that the same process could be repeated, but in the meanwhile the war came to an end, and the Nazis were defeated…not that the young woman knew anything about it. After she was freed from the concentration camp, Gabrielle was brought to many psychiatric hospitals, but nobody was able to cure her from her state, and many believed her catatonia to be a result of some sort of schizophrenia. Eventually, she was sent to a specialised hospital in the newborn State of Israel, and she spent there some years after the war…until a new doctor arrived: Charles Xavier. Xavier proved to be more capable than all of his colleagues in reaching for his patients gabriellehallercomics1and to cure them from their illness, but he had a secret: he was in reality a mutant, an extremely powerful telepath who could literally reach for his patients’ minds. Feeling that Gabrielle’s mind was wounded but still active, Xavier used his telepathy to help her come out of her catatonic state, and reawakened her. In the following months, he helped her to recover, while the volunteer Magnus watched over her physical rehabilitation. In those days, Gabrielle fell in love with her savior Charles, and the two started a relationship. Everything was finally returning to normal…until the information stored in her brain proved to be of great value to someone still wanting them: Nazi-inspired terrorist organization HYDRA.

In the concentration camp, Nazis had implanted in Gabrielle’s brain the coordinates of a secret storage of gold, gold that the war criminal Baron Strucker wanted: along with his HYDRA agents, Strucker attacked the hospital, and kidnapped Gabrielle. Magnus as well turned out to be a mutant, and he joined Xavier in the pursuit of Strucker: the two friends alone vanquished HYDRA forces, freed Gabrielle and recovered the gold…but a different view on the possible coexistence of humans and mutants made Xavier and Magnus part ways, and the latter left with the gold to finance his own personal war. Xavier stayed with Gabrielle, and the two lived together for some time, until they amicably agreed their relationship had come to an end, and Xavier left Israel. Gabrielle, however, was pregnant with Charles’ child, but she chose not to tell him, so that he would have not felt forced to stay with her. She gave birth to a son, David, and she gave him a father when she married another good man she had met, the psychiatrist Daniel Shomron. She resumed her studies and she succesfully graduated at Law School, obtaining remarkable results in her career, all the while being a good mother to David. Her professionality and her personal history allowed her to become the public face of Israel in Europe, and she became the Israeli ambassador in Great Britain, taking all her family with her to live in London. Being Israel’s gabriellehallercomics2ambassador wasn’t exactly a safe job, and Gabrielle realised it far too well when she became the target of a terrorist group while on a trip in Paris: many men broke into her house and murdered Daniel, keeping her and her son at gunpoint…and it was the shock of seeing his stepfather killed and her mother and himself threatened that awakened David’s mutant powers. The boy unconsciously killed all the terrorists, then fell into a catatonic state similar to the one his mother had experienced years before. Luckily enough, David woke up soon after, but he was different, having become nearly autistic. Looking for a specialist, Gabrielle turned to Dr. Moira MacTaggert for help, knowing the woman was one of the world’s most skilled specialists in mutants, and that she personally knew the boy’s father. She entrusted her son to her, but she put one condition: for no reason in the world, Charles Xavier had to be involved in her child’s life…

Gabrielle Haller is a woman molded by pain, who turned her past suffering into strength. Intelligent and determined, a single mother (at least for some time) and a career diplomat, Gabrielle constantly struggles to start a new life, but her past keeps haunting her, first with the results of the gruesome experiments performed on her in the concentration camp, then with the legacy the man she once loved left to her son, one that will make her life much more complicated than it’s already been.

Jules & Lionel Luthor

lionelluthorfilmWith this week’s episode of Supergirl we complete the Luthor family tree (at least for this generation). In Luthors, in fact, we see a little bit more of Lena‘s past in a couple of flashbacks, where Lionel Luthor, portrayed by Ian Butcher, adopts the girl and introduces her to his wife and son. This version of the Luthor patriarch is modelled on the one we saw in Smallville: in the ten-seasons long show, John Glover portrays the one who, for most of the series, has been the most charismatic character around, first a ruthless villain who’s more or less an anticipation of what his son will become, then an ally to Clark Kent, “cured” by his evil personality by Jor-El himself, then again a villain when his evil Earth-Two version replaces the deceased good Lionel and becomes the main ally of Darkseid on Earth. This cunning and Machiavellian businessman is very different from both versions ever appeared in the comics, since the Luthor patriarch has been a good man in a world, a despicable loser in another: let’s see together.

On Earth-One, the head of the Luthor family was Jules Luthor, a honest man born and raised in Kansas, in the rural town of Smallville. As an adult, he found a job as a simple salesman, and he fell in love with a girl of his same town, Arlene. The two got married, and moved to a farm out of town to start a family. They had a son, Lex, and some years later they also had a daughter, Lena. Because of his job, Jules was often away from home, and Arlene did most of the parenting, with Lex giving her a hand with the farm as soon as he grew up. When Arlene told Jules that their son, Lex, was growing more and more intelligent, and that he felt restricted in the farm, Jules worked even harder to afford a house in Smallville, and the family moved there. Even this, apparently, wasn’t enough, as Lex soon found julesluthorcomicsother ways to express his genius, and after entering a dangerous competition with the local hero Superboy, Lex ended up endangering the entire town. Jules felt somehow guilty for not being there when his son clearly needed him, but he couldn’t support his criminal turn; wanting to protect Lena, who was still a baby, Jules decided to disown Lex, and convinced Arlene that it was far better for their baby girl if she wasn’t influenced the slightest by her older brother. In order not to be found by Lex, then, the Luthors moved away from Smallville, and even legally changed their name to Thorul. Jules even told Lena, who missed her brother, that he had died in an accident while climbing. This brand new life, however, didn’t last as long as Jules had imagined: soon after, while driving with his wife Arlene, he was involved in a car accident that killed them both, leaving Lena to be raised in an orphanage.

With the Chrisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-One was erased from existence (until recently, it seems…), and Jules Luthor/Thorul’s life disappeared as well. In the new reality, New Earth, there was Lionel Luthor, one of the local bullies in the rural town of Smallville, Kansas. Lionel wasn’t loved nor respected in town, but he somehow managed to find a girl nevertheless, Letitia. The two got married and had two kids, but it was all up to Letitia to look after the kids and to run the house: the ambitious Lionel was focused on his work. Following his dreams, he moved the entire family to Metropolis to try and become a businessman, but he failed miserably, and the Luthors never moved from the Suicide Slums, the worst and most squalid part of Metropolis. Eventually, the family had to come back to Smallville in shame, and somewhere around this point Letitia died, leaving Lionel the sole parent Lex and Lena had…not that this increased his sense of responsibility: depressed and humiliated, Lionel started drinking, and venting all his anger and frustration on his children, especially on Lex, believing that his thirst for studying and learning was just another way to make him feel stupid. Lena grew terrified of her dad, while Lex simply hated him: in the following years, Lionel became involved in a series of weird accidents that nearly costed his life, but everytime he was saved by the mysterious hero guarding over Smallville. Obviously, the incidents were orchestrated by Lex, who had secretly stipulated a life lionelluthorcomicsinsurance on his father. Finally, Lex found his way when Lionel’s heart, due to alcoholism, started to fail: Lex switched some of his pills, causing an allergic reaction that stopped once and for all Lionel’s heart. With the money from the insurance, Lex finished his study and moved to Metropolis again, ready to start his own company and to become one of the richest men on the planet…but the experience with Lionel had taught him an important lesson, and Lex would have also become the most dangerous man alive, who would have never allowed anyone to treat him like his father did.

The two Luthor patriarchs are extremely different men: Jules is a honest and hard-working man, very sever but always concerned with the well-being of his family; Lionel is an arrogant and bullying drunkard who uses violence on his children to hide the humiliation he constantly feels. Ironically enough, despite their many differences, both men ended up raising the gratest criminal mind ever existed.

Evillo

princeevillofilmMy fault, I completely forgot about Powerless, but the second episode was released last week, and it shone for namedrops, Easter-eggs and references (…for those at least). In Wayne Dream Team we also meet one new character, another long-forgotten one reinvented in a different way: Prince Evillo, portrayed by David St. James. In the episode, Emily Locke is forced by the head of Human Resources Samuel Greene to watch twenty-four hours of an anti-bullism video, in which, among other things, the reforming villain Prince Evillo gives advices against bullying other people. This humiliated, devilish criminal only appears in the comics in a possible future of an alternate Earth that has been erased from existence, the so-called Pre-Zero Hour. Difficulties of timeline and continuity apart, let’s take a look at the once glorious Evillo.

Evillo was born in the 30th Century, on the remote planet Tartarus. His parents were rulers but not native of Tartarus, and they soon learnt that their population valued trachery and cruelty over everything else; fearing their son would have been unable to control such an evil planet, they gave him a name that could inspire fear into the peasants, and trained him since he was a boy into knowing the darker and most dangerous aspects of human behavior, so that he would have been able to anticipate any attack to his own person. Apparently, his parents’ teachings worked far too well, as Evillo not only learned cruelty, sadism, brutality, but he also started to enjoy them: since he was a kid, he was known for his violence against his servants, when he grew up he started blackmailing some of the most important functionaries of the court, and as soon as he reached adulthood, he orchestrated his parents’ death, princeevillocomics1seizing the throne from them. In the following years, Prince Evillo (he mantained the title, as it was the one people had learnt to fear him with) studied magic and became an accomplished sorcerer, and he strenghtened his power over Tartarus; he even had eleven wives, but when he got bored of them he exiled them all in the Realm of Darkness, a hellish dimension he had learnt to open a portal to. He also opened his planet to the worst criminals from the entire galaxy, offering them a safe harbor: this alienated the sympathy of the United Planets from him, but his aim was reached, as he siphoned the scum’s evil energy to increase his magic powers. When he decided his power had grown enough on his own planet, he decided to extend his influence on other systems as well, so he founded a team, the Devil’s Dozen. He gathered the witch The Hag, the irresistible seducer Apollo, the storm-bringer Sugyn and the flying centaur Wild Huntsman, and sent them to other planets to perform robberies and to seed chaos: it was finally time for Prince Evillo to become something more than an isolated tyrant, and the Dozen would have allowed him to become an intergalactic despot.

The Devil’s Dozen did its job well…maybe too well, as the group attracted the attention of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The first fight between the two teams ended in the sorcerer’s favor, as he managed to capture Lightning Lad and to escape with his prize. Back to Tartarus, Evillo kept gathering other potential members to complete the Dozen, and two “criminals” with the unlikely names of Sir Prize and Miss Terious auditioned: obviously, they were not who they claimed to be, as they were Star Boy and Dream Girl in disguise. The two heroes freed Lightning Lad, and the three of them together defeated and dismantled the Devil’s Dozen. Even Prince Evillo, despite his status, spent some time in prison, leaving the rule of Tartarus to his twin daughters, Stilletta and Styx. When he finished his term, he came back to his throne, becoming a law-abiding king (prince) and a respected member of the United Planets. Well, at least for a while: when his daughters became infatuated with the Legion of Super-Heroes, princeevillocomics2Evillo decided it was his duty to grant them whatever they wished for, so he arranged the abduction of Polar Boy, Matter-Eater Lad and Calorie Queen, hoping to satisfy them. He entrusted Matter-Eater Lad to Dr. Orbal, one of his loyal servants (and one of his genetic experiments) since he had been wounded in the process, and returned to his occupations…but, once again, underestimating the League was the cause of his downfall, as Matter-Eater Lad, after being cured by Orbal, escaped from the infirmary and, trying to find a way out of Tartarus, ended up opening a portal to the Realm of Darkness, thus freeing the hundreds of people Evillo had exiled there…including his wives. The prince’s palace was suddenly croweded with furious people who wanted to exact revenge on him, and he found himself surrounded and overpowered by all the people who had been his victims in the previous decades. While the Legionnaires escaped, Evillo was tortured and killed by the escapees…but this was not the end for him, as some time later Mordru, a sorcerer even more powerful than Evillo, resurrected him and used him as a pawn against the Legion. Being reduced to a slave was, for the mighty tyrant, a fate far worse than death…but at least he had a chance to get his revenge.

Prince Evillo is the cruel and sadistic ruler of Tartarus, a clever and deceiving man devoted to evil and brutality since his childhood. He’s a very talented sorcerer, and he can grow a pair of horns on his forehead from which he can shoot the Dark Rays able to send people to the hellish Realm of Darkness or the painful and potentially lethal Blasts of Darkness, or even hypnotize people, making even the best heroes serve him in evil ways; he also disposes of advanced technology compensating for the lacks of his magic. Evil just as his name suggests, Prince Evillo craves for power, and is ready to extend his dominion over the entire galaxy.

Andrea Rojas (Acrata)

acratafilmFinally, we exploit a little break between tv series and trailers to start the new request, coming from Lucy W. (another pretty long one). She asks for the characters appearing in the videogame Scribblenauts Unmasked: I’m not familiar with the game, but judging from the list of characters in it, it must be the crowdest game ever! Let’s proceed in alphabetical order, starting with Acrata, the Mexican superhero. In live action, she first appeared in Smallville Season 5, portrayed by Denise Quiñones, even if her super-name was changed into the Angel of Vengeance, with Acrata being the name of the company her mother worked for. Posing as a simple reporter for the Daily Planet, shy Andrea Rojas possesses superhuman strength coming from a heart transplant from a metahuman, and she uses it to fight evil by night continuing the work of her murdered activist mother. The Angel is the first superhero Clark meets, and she continues her war against Luthor Corporation in the web series Vengeance Chronicles, where she teams up with Chloe Sullivan. Her story in the comics is pretty different, with other powers, another backstory, and other motivations. Let’s see together.

Andrea Rojas was born in Coban, Guatemala, the daughter of Bernardo Rojas, a renowned researcher and archaeologist specialised in Prehispanic Cultures. When her father was offered the position of professor at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana de Mexico, Andrea followed him in Mexico City, and she slowly fell in love with the same disciplines her father taught. Since she was a little girl, her father told Andrea of the glory of the empires that once ruled in Central America, and he shared with her his passion for history, archaeology and ancient traditions and religions. Growing up, Andrea ended up studying Mesoamerican Anthropology, and she became quite a skilled researcher of her own, specialised in the Mayan Empire. Along with her knowledge, she also acratacomics1increased her social commitment, as she started to publicly denounce the collusion between the Mexican government and the local organized crime, especially drug cartels and slavers. With the soul of an anarchist and the spirit of a revolutionary, Andrea became a researcher, an archaeologist and an activist, trying to make current Central America a better place while trying to make it remember its glorious roots. It was during one of her archaeological expeditions that Andrea found traces of an old Mayan ritual, one that apparently allowed the ancient priests to travel wherever they wanted in the dark: researching the legends, Andrea found some truth in it, as she discovered the magic symbol that represented the night and, empowered with the right magic, allowed the ancient Mayans to obtain supernatural powers. After recreating the ritual, Andrea Rojas empowered said symbol, and decided to use it to strenghten her battles for justice: she tailored a black-and-green costume, and she stitched the Mayan symbol on the hood’s forehead, obtaining the abilities of the night priests anytime she wore it. She named herself Acrata (yup, like the chili peppers), the Spanish word for “anarchist”, and she started targeting organised crime and corrupt policemen. Mexico City had a new protector.

Acrata became renowned in Mexico for being quite a pain in the back for the government, as she specialised in foiling illicit activities striking from the shadows, and leaving mocking graffiti behind. Her fame went international when a group of eco-terrorists led by the wizard Duran, member of the Oto Tribe, started targeting some major industries in Mexico; at first she sympathized with Duran, but then it became clear that his plan was something more than simply sabotaging some eco-criminals, as he meant to summon the Aztec god of creation Ometeotl to destroy the world and make it reborn from its ashes. Duran was too powerful for Acrata alone, so she joined forces with other two Mexican heroes, El Muerto and Iman, and even with Superman, who had come to help solving the global chrisis (albeit he was vulnerable to Duran’s magic). At the end of the day, Acrata saved the girl the wizard wanted to use as a sacrifice for the ritual, thus contributing to save the entire planet and becoming a acratacomics2world-famous heroine…something she didn’t truly liked, as she preferred to continue with her local anti-government activity. Despite this, she accepted Superman’s offer to become a reserve member in the Justice League of America, thus increasing her popularity. Acrata realised how famous she had become soon after, as Oracle contacted her to join the new formation of the Birds of Prey, an offer Andrea refused, since she had more job to do in her own country. Of course, “fame” didn’t mean just good one, and when the villain Eclipso started kidnapping heroes and villains connected to the shadows, Acrata was among the targets, and she was abducted by the criminal to be brainwashed and used in his army. Eclipso’s plan never saw its success, however, and when he was defeated by the JLA, Acrata was freed along with the other prisoners: she came back to Mexico, ready to resume her neverending battle for justice.

Andrea Rojas is a brave, idealistic woman, ready to give all herself to the cause she firmly believes in; an anarchist and a revolutionary alike, she’s a cultured woman who uses her knowledge to empower the people, and who admires the great personalities from the past who fought her same battles (she named her cat after Emiliano Zapata…). As Acrata, her Mayan magic symbol allows her to teleport through shadows, and to become invisible in the darkness; she’s also an extremely skilled athlete and martial artist, being among the best fighters in the entire continent. A tireless combatant for justice and freedom, Acrata is always ready to oppose an illegitimate government and to fight criminality, wherever and in whatever form it presents itself.