Dragos Ibanescu

There’s still one (identified) member of The Quadrant who comes directly from the comics, in the last episode of Arrow. The four leaders of the country’s most powerful cartel include also Dragos Ibanescu, a Romanian gangster comics readers know. Portrayed by Peter Ciuffa, Ibanescu doesn’t do anything, but considering his new business relationship with Ricardo Diaz it’s more than likely that we’ll see more of him and of his colleagues. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look to this secondary villain, who operates in a very known city in the DC Universe

Dragos Ibanescu was born somewhere in Romania, the heir of a powerful criminal family. He moved to the United States as a young man wanting to expand his family business, and he settled in Gotham City, the national capital of crime. He held the facade of a sophisticated and respectable businessman, all the while running his true job: in a city full of competition like Gotham, he managed to find a niche market in organizing illegal dog fights, but he also imported prostitutes from East Europe and managed a human trafficking racket. Along with his right-hand man Curt Harris, Ibanescu earned a fortune from the dog fights, but not all his subordinates were as trustworthy as Curt: one of the latest addition to his team, Guillermo Duran, hired to train the dogs and make them constantly angry by torturing them, was reckless and brutal, something that inevitably obtained unwanted attention. As one of Ibanescu’s girls, Virna, was killed by Guillermo after she tried to escape, her death brought to the crime lord’s lair in the East End three unwanted guests: private eye Slam Bradley, who had been investigating on him, and the duo formed by Catwoman and Holly Robinson, who had been warned of Virna’s death by the Alleytown Kids. While Ibanescu sent his men to deal with Slam, Catwoman confronted Guillermo, and when Ibanescu saw that he was about to lose the fight, he shot him, having him torn to pieces by his own dogs. Believing to have satisfied Catwoman by killing the murderer she was after, Ibanescu told her to leave, but the vigilante hit him with her whip, making him stay still until the GCPD arrived and arrested him. Not exactly the brilliant future he had in mind.

Dragos Ibanescu resurfaced years later, having managed to get out of prison (most likely not in a legal way). Quite paradoxically, Batman‘s crusade against crime had been so efficient that now most super-freaks were behind bars either in Arkahm Asylum or in Blackgate Prison, so the old crime families had room enough to claim back the power that used to be theirs. Ibanescu took advantage of the situation like everyone else, and took back the East End as his territory. He also gained a new partner in the pirate Tiger Shark, albeit their relationship didn’t last long due to some disagreement. Of course, as the families had come to power once again, Batman targeted them as well, and Ibanescu’s business weren’t immune: both the Dark Knight and Catwoman had attacked his men in the East Side, and at top of irony, they weren’t even looking for him, they were actually hunting Hush, who they believed was using Ibanescu as a pawn. On top of that, Ibanescu was summoned by Gotham Child Services, who delivered him a girl, his niece: Jade McKillen, a former subordinate of Killer Croc‘s, and the legitimate heir of the McKillen crime family. Trying to solve one problem at the time, Ibanescu first investigated on Hush, and managed at least to divert Batman’s attention by proving that the weapons the criminal had been using to fund a gang war didn’t come from his business. When he learnt that Jade was actually a friend of Catwoman, who he still held a grudge against, he tried to give the girl to his former business partner Louis “Bone” Ferryman, using her family name as currency, and pointing out that she knew where to find Catwoman (also Ferryman wanted her dead). Bone accepted the offer, and he and Ibanescu forced the girl to reveal the location of Catwoman, which they reached…without knowing that Killer Croc was on the run, looking for Jade, whom he wanted back. The scenario promised to escalate rapidly…

Dragos Ibanescu is a ruthless and greedy man, devoid of the most basic human empathy. He sees everything and anyone as a possible source for profit, and doesn’t care if someone dies in the process of making money for him. He doesn’t get his own hands dirty, and prefers to have others do everything for him, but he likes to think of himself as a great boss and an efficient businessman. Arrogance, however, is a sin that eventually punishes itself…

Advertisements

Cyrus Broderick

There are still a couple of characters who appeared in this week’s episode of Arrow. In The Dragon, Ricardo Diaz manages to obtain a rough meeting with The Quadrant, the main criminal cartel of the country, and two of its members are names well-known to the readers. One of them is Cyrus Broderick, portrayed by Hamza Fouad. In the episode, he doesn’t do anything but sitting and staring at Diaz, but in the comics, in the Prime Earth continuity, his role is much bigger, and despite not being part of The Quadrant, he’s the director of another, scarier criminal group. Let’s see together.

Cyrus Broderick was, apparently, a respectable businessman from Seattle. He worked as Chief Financial Officer for Queen Industries, and when the new CEO, Oliver Queen, re-emerged after being wrongfully thought dead for years, he became one of his closest allies, helping him in taking the reins of his own company and guiding him through the many traps that financial economy laid ahead. Secretly, he was also a leading member of the Ninth Circle, a secret bank that financed criminal operations and held the accounts of robbers, mercenaries and assassins. On behalf of the Ninth Circle, Broderick also directed the Underground Men, a group of slavers who kidnapped and sold people nobody would have ever looked for as slaves. Many of them were acquired by the Ninth Circle directly, led to “rebirth” by burning their skin with molten lava, had their eyes replaced with the Circle’s coins and brainwashed into mindless servants. The reason Cyrus Broderick acted as Oliver Queen’s best adviser was to maintain his position, from where he could use some of the remarkable resources of the company to finance the Ninth Circle’s activities. Of course, he was also perfectly aware of Oliver Queen’s second “job” as the Green Arrow, and this could prove to be a problem for him and his associates. He manipulated Queen so that his two identities eventually clashed, such as when he dragged him to a meeting with a buyer from Seoul, interested in acquiring Queen’s Carbon Nanotube Battery, perfectly knowing that he was the Korean terrorist Kraken. As Queen recognized him, he left the room in a hurry, only to come back minutes after as the Green Arrow to purchase the criminal. This way, however, Broderick was left, in front of witnesses, in lead of the entire operation, which he could carry on the way he liked.

Things started to fall out of Cyrus Broderick’s control the moment Green Arrow learnt of the existence of the Ninth Circle. During an auction at the Underground Men that he presided with his ritual mask, Broderick was found by Green Arrow and Black Canary, and he was forced to flee as the duo defeated his men and freed the captives. This was bad enough per se, but soon after Oliver Queen confronted his “friend” over Queen Industries resources used for unknown purposes and connected to anonymous accounts. Broderick assured him that nothing shady was behind it, and promised to solve the “technical issue” in the shortest time possible, but he knew that his cover was about to blow, if not blown already. Moving to a more direct approach, he hired the assassin Shado to kill Oliver Queen, and he also had his assistant Wendy killed. He planted false evidence convincing the public opinion, and for a time Oliver himself, that Queen was a dangerous drug-addict, a alcoholic who spent the company’s money with prostitutes and other vices, and who mistreated his subordinates and coworkers. While the public was eating Oliver Queen alive, Broderick successfully stole all his fortune, and when the hero confronted him in Queen Tower it was too late already: the Ninth Circle had successfully taken over Queen Industries. As the Green Arrow was about to capture Broderick, Shado appeared, and as the two archers battled, Cyrus moved to a safer location, where he witnessed the fight and its outcome. He then moved back to the Inferno, the Ninth Circle’s headquarters, to report his leader Dante that Queen had survived, but he had been followed, and Green Arrow and his allies arrived to raze the Inferno to the ground. Broderick escaped, and he moved on to another plan: he had successfully attacked and destroyed Oliver Queen, now it was apparently time he did the same with the Green Arrow, taking away from Queen the one thing he had left…

Cyrus Broderick is a cunning and planning criminal mastermind, a long-term tactician who’s specialized in psychological warfare. As a director of the Ninth Circle, he disposes of an incredible fortune and a small army of subordinates, and he uses the one and the others as pawns on his personal chessboard. Always a step ahead of his enemies, Cyrus Broderick is the most dangerous kind of men, the one who understood that the real power is in moving money rather than in threatening people with a gun…or a bow and arrows.

Ricardo Diaz, Sr.

This week on Arrow the titular hero had the shortest screen time ever…and that’s not a bad thing, as we had the chance to learn to know a little better a big baddie that came pretty much out of nowhere. In The Dragon, Ricardo Diaz Jr. relives through flashback his hellish childhood in an orphanage, and by doing so he lets us see a picture he treasures of his father, the one who according to his bullying companion Jesse Federico “ain’t coming back”, meaning either he’s dead or he walked away from him. In the comics, Diaz Jr. does indeed lose his father, but when he’s much older, and in quite a traumatic way. And, just like in the show, we see Ricardo Diaz Sr. only in flashbacks, and furthermore only his silhouette. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Ricardo Diaz’s past. He was born somewhere in South America, probably Colombia, but he moved to the United States when he was still a young man. He eventually settled in the State of Washington, in Seattle, where he was led to by following the drugs he was already selling on the American market. Seattle was the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, and was still missing someone able to unite it under a single lead, turning the many different criminal activities into a single, great empire. Ricardo Diaz was that man. He started from the low ranks, climbing his way up, conquering with fear, money or bullets the several cartels operating in Seattle. He eventually obtained the monopoly not only of drug dealing, but also of prostitution, assassination for hire, and even robberies, as everyone in town had to pay something to him for the privilege of operating in the city, and nobody could do anything without his say so. He soon started to be known in the streets as the King of Crime, and he successfully hid his true activity behind the facade of a wealthy and inspired businessman. He rapidly rose to the top, where nobody dared to challenge his authority.

While his “professional” life couldn’t be any better, he also managed to obtain something in his private one, and he married an unknown woman and had a son from her, whom he called Ricardo as well. The bond between father and son was strong, and Ricardo Jr. idolized him, believing him to be invincible and almighty, just as Ricardo Sr. actually saw himself. But no empire is meant to exist forever, and even Ricardo Diaz was a giant with clay feet. He ruled unchallenged for most of his life, but suddenly there was somebody who not only challenged him, but fought his organization from the roots: Green Arrow, the mysterious archer who had named himself the protector of Seattle. Green Arrow fought his way through the labyrinth that was Diaz’s crime empire was, until he eventually managed to discover the real identity of the man at the top. Diaz still believed himself to be untouchable and invincible, but he had to change his mind swiftly the moment he found the vigilante right in his house (he didn’t know this, but the Green Arrow he was facing was actually John Diggle, helper of the original). In front of his enemy, helpless and alone for the first time in his life, Diaz crumbled, and all his pride evaporated, leaving only a coward begging for his life. He asked for mercy, but Green Arrow granted him none: Diaz was severely beaten by the vigilante, and eventually he was executed on the spot, with his son witnessing everything from behind a door, crying as the myth that his father was faded just before his very eyes. His death, however, was just the beginning…

Ricardo Diaz is a clever but arrogant man, a ruthless crime lord who makes the grave mistake of believing himself to be invincible due to his numerous and remarkable successes. A charismatic leader and a skilled tactician, he leads from behind the scenes a huge criminal empire with an iron fist, controlling pretty much every single crime happening in Seattle. Greedy beyond measure, Diaz simply doesn’t know where to stop, and as usual, his hubris will be his end.

Brigid O’Reilly (Mayhem)

The debut of Cloak & Dagger is rapidly approaching, and Freeform just released some new promo pics, portraying some of the recurring characters. First in line there’s Detective Brigid O’Reilly, who’ll be portrayed by Emma Lahana. In the show, O’Reilly will be a cop with a strong sense of justice, that will apparently put her at odds with some of her not-so-clean colleagues. The difficulty of being a woman in a men’s world will also be referenced. In the comics, Brigid is indeed a detective, and definitely a honest one, but she ends up becoming something completely different because of the intervention of our young heroes. Let’s see together.

Brigid O’Reilly was born in Manhattan, New York City, but not much is known about her early days. She had an inseparable friend, Rebecca Nales, a college friend she had a lot in common with. After college, both Brigid and Rebecca enrolled in the Police Academy, and they both climbed through the ranks and became detectives, always having each other’s back. In the NYPD, Brigid took on any kind of case, becoming a respected and appreciated officer, albeit some of her corrupt colleagues started fearing her as well. During one of her cases, she was investigating on a group of “chickenhawks“, criminals who preyed on runaways. She found one of them in an alley, shocked by the meeting with two new vigilantes, Cloak and Dagger. O’Reilly didn’t like this the least, as she believed vigilantes did more harm than good, and she had the confirmation just the night after: she finally cornered the remaining chickenhawks as they were following two runaways, but one of the kids got shot in the back after the super-duo’s intervention. Her next case revolved around a serial killer, and in this case Cloak and Dagger teleported directly into her office to offer her help. O’Reilly immediately shot them, but Cloak absorbed the bullets and unarmed her. As the duo showed good intentions, O’Reilly reluctantly accepted their offer, and they told them the name of the main suspect: Duane Hellman, a clerk who had been fired by three stores, two of them being the crime scenes. O’Reilly, Cloak and Dagger went to the third shop, just in time to stop Hellman…but then Cloak absorbed him into the Darkforce Dimension. O’Reilly tried to stop him grabbing the killer, but nearly got sucked in as well. She was released, but as she ordered Cloak to do the same with Hellman, he remarked that he was already “gone”. Just one more reason to arrest the two vigilantes.

Feeling guilty for having helped the vigilantes take justice into their own hands, and also for believing that Hellman had it coming, O’Reilly hunted Cloak and Dagger down, until she located them at Holy Ghost Church, protected by Father Delgado. She snuck in, and hid until she was alone with Cloak, who was in the middle of a fight with a gangster, Cheka. After the struggle, O’Reilly confronted Cloak, wanting to arrest him for murder, but as she made him realize he couldn’t call himself a man if he didn’t control his urges, Cloak released Hellman for her to arrest. Now, she didn’t have any reason to arrest him, and she let him go. From that point, she started an on-and-off cooperation with the duo, always trying to prevent them to kill criminals. Then, she decided to clean the NYPD from a wide net of corruption she had discovered. Captain Petrovic gave her a team of five: Detective Brady, Officer Kris Cleary, Roger Falcone, Officer Luois Mazzilli and Eddie Sawchuck. Their investigation led them to the docks, where a shipment of drugs were expected to arrive, with the police closing an eye on it. One of Falcone’s informants had pinpointed the location of the drug, and in fact O’Reilly and her men found it into an abandoned warehouse…but also Falcone, Brady and Sawchuck were corrupt, and they had led the others into a trap. As they moved into the warehouse, O’Reilly, Cleary and Mazzilli were trapped into a glass cage, that started filling with poisonous gas. O’Reilly tried to break the glass by shooting at it, to no avail. She swore vengeance with her dying breath, as she saw her two officers die as the traitors escaped. Cloak and Dagger arrived just as she was about to die, and they tried to save her, with Cloak enveloping her in his darkness, and Dagger trying to heal her with her light, but even this failed, and Brigid died. Some minutes after that, however, she came back to life, with the vigilantes’ powers having mutated her: she was now a zombie-like creature, thirsty for vengeance and with toxic powers. Mayhem was born, and she craved Falcone’s blood.

Brigid O’Reilly used to be a honest and by-the-book cop, but she’s now a brutal vigilante filled with holy rage, who hunts down and kills mercilessly the criminals in her way. As Mayhem, she can either exist in gaseous, intangible form, or in a solid one, that constantly exudes a corrosive, toxic gas from her skin; this gas can paralyze or kill anyone once it enters someone’s bloodstream, and it can also act as defense as it is acid enough to melt bullets; it’s also a hallucinogen, that Mayhem uses as a truth-serum; she also has razor-sharp nails she uses in combat to open wounds to allow the gas to penetrate the bloodstream. Now the ruthless vigilante she used to despite as a cop, Mayhem resolved to deliver justice in a more violent and direct way, believing institutional justice not to be as swift and effective as slicing a throat…

Painkiller

Seeing how much he had changed in The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain, many had already guessed it, but with this season’s finale it’s official: Khalil Payne is the Black Lightning version of Painkiller. Portrayed by Jordan Calloway, Khalil first appeared in Lawanda: Book of Hope as a model student in Garfield High School, who became Jennifer‘s boyfriend but who was paralyzed during the shooting at Reverend Holt‘s march. Abandoned by everyone, Jennifer included, Khalil has been taken care of by Whale, and with some breakthrough high-tech he’s been made able to walk again by Martin Proctor…with some interesting side-effects, that make him a perfect new henchman for Whale. In the comics, there’s no past as a good boy to speak about, as Painkiller is simply mean. Let’s see together.

Painkiller’s past, as well as his true name, family and place of origin, is totally unknown. He was a metahuman, and as soon as he developed his powers, he realized the great potential behind them. He was able to anesthetize anyone with a mere glance, and there were many jobs this could have been useful for. One, for saying, was becoming a professional hitman. Quite a big guy, Painkiller presented himself as a goon like many others, and played along with the prejudice revolving around the “big dumb black man”, using his actually remarkable intelligence to work his way up the ladder and become one of the highest-level enforcers in the country. His services were much appreciated and required, especially when it came to deal with other metahumans, and this was precisely the case he was called for by the Brothers Who Rule, a street gang operating in the Brick City, a troubled neighborhood of an unspecified metropolis. The BWR, who used to rule undisputed over the block, had been recently challenged by a superhero, Black Lightning, who was messing with their affairs, so they invested a remarkable part of their money to hire Painkiller to get rid of him. The hitman accepted the contract, and after showing off his powers with the ones among his contractors who weren’t impressed by his fame, he proceeded with observation and planning. He followed Black Lightning for a while, and learnt as much as he could about him, eventually coming out with a plan that would have solved two problems at the same time, disposing of the electric vigilante on one side, and of the few cops who still had a hope of operating within Brick City on the other. All he asked for from his contractors was an empty warehouse.

Painkiller filled the warehouse with a small number of disposable teenagers from the gang, as well as with a minimal amount of drugs sufficient to set up a fake crack house. He planned to lure Black Lighting there and to call the police, so that in the following battle he would have killed the vigilante and the cops would have shot the kids, immediately becoming teen-killers and losing any possible reputation in the neighborhood. Just in case, he paralyzed the kids’ legs, so that in the remote chance the cops didn’t kill them, he had all the time in the world to do it himself (not that they were too happy of being destined martyrs). Things didn’t go as he had planned, as it turned out that Black Lightning’s powers gave him a partial protection from his abilities. Even in hand-to-hand combat Painkiller was quite formidable, but the moment his adversary managed to avert the carnage he had planned he totally lost his mind, forgetting all tactics and going at the hero with everything he had got. He was just about to kill him, but the police finally intervened, interrupting the struggle…and making Painkiller go even madder. He followed his target, and on his way he effortlessly knocked out an entire police precinct without even blinking. As he found Black Lightning the two resumed their fight, and this time Painkiller was so furious that he didn’t even try to use his powers, going directly for the knives. Once again, a tragic miscalculation brought Painkiller to a humiliating defeat, as when he stabbed the hero with an energy blade, the feedback of Black Lightning’s electric powers severely injured him, leaving him unconscious. Later King, the leader of the BWR, claimed he had been murdered by Black Lightning, but it’s more than likely this was just his usual propaganda, and that Painkiller had been secured in Bellereve or another prison for metahumans.

Painkiller is an intelligent and clever man, but also a brutal killer who has no problems in murdering people in cold blood, and in the most painful ways possible. He disposes of a formidable strength and durability, and he’s a superb hand-to-hand combatant specialized in the use of knives; his powers give him the ability to anesthetize his victims, either paralyzing them completely or just locally, and even to rob them of their senses; he keeps a small knife attached to each one of his braid, so that even his hair are weapons, while his costume contains many other blades, from knives to throwing stars. A careful planner who tends to lose his temper a little bit too fast, Painkiller is a hitman who knows no failure, a relentless killing machine who’s all brain and brawn.

Jack Nimball (Toyman)

The Toyman is dead, long live the Toyman! …or Toywoman, following yet another gender swap. Supergirl came back with a bang, quite literally, as in Schott Through the Heart the original Toyman dies, but a new one is immediately ready to take is place with a number of bomb attacks and lethal toys. The identity of the copycat is revealed to be that of Jacqueline Nimball, portrayed by Brooke Smith, a former prison worker who secretly became Winslow Schott‘s apprentice, and is hellbent on executing his last will. In the comics, Nimball is actually named Jack, and is more of an usurper than an apprentice. Let’s see together, and keep in mind that the continuity of reference is that of Earth-One.

Not much is known about Jack Nimball prior to his public debut in the criminal world. He was presumably born in Metropolis, or at least he lived there for most of his life. Certainly not a saint, he always dreamed of becoming a professional criminal for easy money, and he had the perfect chance when Winslow Schott, aka the Toyman, announced his retirement, wanting to clear his conscience. Nimball grabbed the occasion, tailored himself a jester costume, and somehow obtained many of the original Toyman’s toys and tech, presenting himself to the world as the new Toyman. On his debut, he used futuristic technology to shrink a plane, and escaped capture by dropping explosive balloons all over the city, forcing Superman to save civilians instead of pursuing him. He then used a similar plan to steal a nuclear submarine, and he publicly announced that he would have ransomed off the stolen vehicles for 100 million dollars. The news attracted the attention of the original Toyman, who foiled Nimball’s following heist: as he was about to steal the world’s fastest car, Schott appeared, and threatened to kill him for soiling his name. He would have allowed the copycat to live only if they joined forces, and Nimball agreed to the alliance. Next they stole a satellite rocket, but as soon as the Toymen brought it where Nimball had hidden all his loot, the new Toyman assaulted the other with poisonous cotton candy. What Nimball didn’t know, however, was that Schott had been allied with Superman all the time of their alliance, and that the Man of Steel was hidden in the stolen rocket: the hero came out of his shelter, saved Schott and arrested Nimball. This misadventure taught Jack Nimball not to trust anyone, not even another Toyman, and from there on he worked alone.

The Toyman didn’t stay in jail for much, and he escaped soon after, taking advantage of a sudden monstrous appetite of Superman to rob the city while the hero spent his time eating. As Superman solved the solar energy crisis behind his unusual condition, the Toyman was once again assured to justice. Quite unexpectedly, Toyman was freed by the alien Mr. Xavier, who used him along with other eight criminals for an all-out assault on Superman, having actually an agenda of his own, as he drained power for himself from every fight. Needless to say, even this time the Toyman didn’t get to kill Superman, and he was arrested once again. He spent quite some years in jail, this time being unable to get out on his own, and with nobody interested in breaking him out. He behaved well, and he eventually was out on parole. In the meantime, however, something terrible had happened to Winslow Schott: as he was participating to an inventor’s exposition as part of his new life, his exhibit was destroyed by a rampaging Bizarro, ruining him. Mad with the thirst of revenge after mistaking Bizarro for his old enemy Superman, Schott decided to come back to his criminal ways, but to do so he had to reclaim his identity. As Jack Nimball was walking down the streets of Metropolis, he was reached by a mechanical bird, sent to him by his predecessor: this time, the first Toyman didn’t offer him anything as a condition for his life, and brutally killed him. There was, anyway, a consolation prize: Jack Nimball would have had, years later, the honor of having one of the Toyman’s robots modeled after him. Quite a privilege.

Jack Nimball is a greedy and sneaky man, who has the fault of believing himself to be much smarter than he actually is. As the Toyman, he has quite a talent for engineering, chemistry and physics, and he uses his skills to adapt and modify the original Toyman’s equipment: his arsenal includes a shrinking gun, poisonous cotton candy, explosive bubble gum, flammable chocolate syrup, a flying toy car, and much else. A copycat who wrongfully believes to have what it takes to replace the original, the new Toyman is just an amateur playing with the professionals, a game his toys might not be enough to handle…

Heather McNeil (Vindicator)

Mav apparently has quite a taste for under-represented characters, as the next one in line is Heather Hudson, portrayed by Julia Blake in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Heather is a sweet old lady who nurtures Logan back to health after the Adamantium infusion, but who is killed along with her husband by Agent Zero for this. Believe it or not, in the comics Heather is a Canadian superhero, the on-and-off leader of Alpha Flight known as Vindicator…not exactly the aged lady you see in the movie. Let’s take a look at the much younger and active original.

Heather McNeil was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the eldest daughter of Ramsey and Claire McNeil, good people and hard-workers, very religious. Heather grew up along with her little sister Becky and other five brothers, but her numerous family grew even more when her best friend Elizabeth Twoyoungmen‘s mother died, and her father left her. The McNeils adopted her, starting to struggle a bit to maintain this many children. For this reason, Heather found a job when she was just 17 years old, and she started to work as a secretary for Jerome Jaxon, an important executive of Am-Cam, a local petroleum company. On work she met James Hudson, a research scientist, and despite he was several years older than her, they fell in love. The McNeils didn’t approve this relation, both because of the age difference and the fact that James didn’t have a religious upbringing, but Heather didn’t care: she even followed James when he resigned from Am-Cam, as the suit he had built for geological exploration was to be sold as a weapon by Jaxon. Heather convinced James to ask the Canadian government for help, and they were sent to Department H to expose their case. Not only the Department agreed to help them, but they also acknowledged the potential of James’s suit, and asked him to wear it as a government-sponsored superhero. Heather supported James in becoming Guardian, and she kept working with him as he became the leader of Alpha Flight, the first Canadian super-team. The two finally got married, and during their honeymoon in a cabin in the woods they met a savage, a feral man later known as Wolverine. Heather managed to calm the brute, and to bring him back to a human state of mind. Wolverine was trained by Guardian to be a member of Alpha Flight, but he left the moment he realized there was a growing attraction between him and Heather. The government didn’t take this well.

Apparently, Department H wanted Wolverine to be Alpha Flight’s new leader, and when he left, the team was disbanded. Heather, however, still believed in the project, and when the giant Tundra, embodiment of decay, made his appearance, she secretly gathered Alpha Flight to fight him. When her ex-boss Jerome Jaxon founded a copycat team, Omega Flight, clearly villainous in intention, Heather reunited Alpha Flight once again to fight him, but during the battle Guardian was apparently killed. Instead of breaking her, being a widow just gave her more determination than ever, and she brought together all members of Alpha Flight in Vancouver, acting as a leader despite not having any powers or equipment. Heather’s leadership was skilled enough for the Canadian government to reconsider its position, and Alpha Flight was re-integrated in the original program and funded by the state. On the new base in Tamarind Island, Roger “Box” Bochs and Madison Jeffries dismantled MX39147, the Omega Flight robot known as Delphine Courtney, but salvaged some parts of it, particularly her suit, based on Guardian’s one. They insisted that Heather put it on, acting also as an on-field leader as well. Hoping to uphold her husband’s legacy, Heather became Vindicator, and she tested herself in a first mission alongside her old flame Wolverine against Lady Deathstrike. Under her lead, Alpha Flight faced and defeated many powerful foes, the mutant Mesmero, the Atlantean Attuma and the robotic Sentinels among others, and created many alliances and diplomatic bonds with teams from other states, mainly American ones, in particular with the X-Men. Then, after a number of impostors and illusions, the real James Hudson came back from his grave. For a time, Heather went by the name Guardian and James by Vindicator, but their original codenames eventually set. Now, Vindicator had many problems to solve: her relationship with her husband was difficult to say the least, and as she had become a skilled combatant and leader, she wouldn’t have give up her position so easily…

Heather McNeil Hudson is a self-made woman, who went with her own strength and determination from being a simple secretary to becoming the leader of her country’s most powerful team. As Vindicator, her battle suit grants her a superior strength, durability and speed, flight, the ability to absorb environmental heat and turn it into powerful energy blasts, and much more; she’s an expert leader and tactician, and she’s also a master martial artist thanks to Wolverine’s training. A woman larger than life, Vindicator is a brave heroine, who tries her best to balance her life as a government super-agent with the difficulties of being married to a man who, more often than not, dies and comes back, is replaced by androids or impostors, or even becomes a cyborg…not exactly the easiest marriage ever.