Aldrich Killian

As you can see from the trailer, the Mandarin won’t be the only villain in the upcoming Iron Man 3: along with the terrorist, Tony Stark will face the sneaky and fascinating Aldrich Killian, portrayed by Guy Pearce. Now, it seems that the movie version, who will put up some sort of triangle involving Pepper Potts, will differ largely from the comics’ one. Trust me, there is absolutely nothing fascinating about Dr. Killian.

First of all, as you can see from the picture, Aldrich Killian is anything but handsome or elegant. He’s quite the stereotypical scientist, shabby, weird, with some incoming sociopathy. In the Marvel comics, he’s quite a young character, and, so far, he’s only appeared in a couple of issues (and it’s unlikely he’ll appear again): there’s not much to say about him, but we’ve got informations enough to provide a little bit of knowledge for everyone who wants to see the movie knowing who the character is. Dr. Aldrich Killian is a scientific genius, who works with U.S. Army in the Vault, a lab in which they’re trying to recreate Abraham Erskine‘s Super Soldier Serum, the one which gave birth to Captain America. Killian’s original approach to the matter was to use nanotech to recreate the serum. Along with his colleague Maya Hansen, Killian was able to create the Extremis Enhancile, a nanotech-based fluid which more or less replicated the effects of the original Super Serum. Unfortunately, while the Enhancile gave the subjects superhuman abilities similar to Steve Rogers‘ ones, it also increased esponentially their aggressivity and violence.

The project was about to be shut, but Killian and Hansen wanted to prove that Extremis worked. Desperate about their creature, the two scientists decided to sell it to some domestic terrorists, who would have become Extremist-enhanced. The terrorists’ success would have proven the government wrong about the serum, and forced it to grant the scientists federal funding to proceed their research. When one of the terrorists went on rampage, and was stopped only by an Extremis-enhanced Tony Stark, an inquiry was opened on the nanotech’s theft. Al Killian, worried by the consequences of his actions and quite sure he wouldn’t have resisted an interrogatory like his stronger and braver colleague Maya Hansen, decided to kill himself, leaving behind a written confession in which he took every responsibility for the accident.

So, it seems that the character’s version in the movie will differ a lot from the comics’ one. Aldrich Killian was introduced as a weak minded person, often subdued to his research colleague, Dr. Hansen. He surely isn’t the self-confident guy seen in the trailer: let’s see what Shane Black has done with him.

Robert Henry Queen

We’ve seen the hero’s mother, today we’re going to see the hero’s father. Robert Henry Queen, portrayed by Jamey Sheridan, is one of the central characters of the new show Arrow, being the one who, repenting for his life of corruption, entrusted his son with the mission of freeing Starling City from criminality and sacrificed himself to make him live. He also appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Jonathan Scarfe: he was associated with Lionel Luthor, and helped him found the Veritas secret society, being later killed by Luthor. In the comics, he’s not always a positive character…

Robert Queen was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Star City. During World War II, he was a naval officer based in the Pacific. During his years as a soldier, he met Moira, a girl who he fell in love with; the two of them got married and, after the war, they came back to Robert’s place in Star City. In here, Robert founded the Queen Industries, which would have become the main economic power of the city. His marriage was blessed by the birth of a son, Oliver, whose timid character often displeased Robert, who had dreamt of a much stronger heir, more similar to himself. He tried several times to fortify Oliver’s temper, without much a result. When Oliver was still a baby, for Christmas, Robert gave him a bow with arrows, the family trademark (Robert was a descendant of Sir Robert Queen the Earle of Dornee, who was a distant relative of Robin Hood himself); Oliver was at first pleased with the gift and immediately started practicing, but ended up killing a rabbit by mistake, and he was hardly traumatized by the event: Robert, once again, was almost disgusted by his son’s weak heart. Also his marriage started to go badly, since he couldn’t resist his natural womanizer aptitude: clearly, Moira found out many of his affairs, and the couple started to break apart, with Robert feeling more and more a prisoner in a marriage he didn’t care of anymore. To try and save what was possible saving, Robert organized a safari in Africa to be some time with his family. He hired the best guide on market, the adventurer Congo Bill, and brought his family in the savannah. In here, he tried to change once again Oliver’s attitude regarding harming other creatures, but his lessons went unheard just as the previous times. He started to hate the way his son was always scared by everything, incapable of taking care for himself, but nevertheless allowed him to stay with them at the camp. Unfortunately, the group was attacked by a pack of lions: Oliver was fast enough to catch his weapons, but his character didn’t allow him to hurt the lions, and he didn’t shoot them. This way, Robert and Moira were killed, while Congo Bill managed to save the child.

Just as with Moira, not even Robert stayed away from his son’s life after his own death. When the War of Lights began in the universe, many Black Lantern Rings were sent in every galaxy, and brought back to life dead people to turn them into Black Lanterns. The Black Lanterns were zombified version of their alive selves, but retained their memory and their character, the only difference being that they were all servants of the death entity in the DC Universe, Nekron. Among the ones brought back to life, there was also Robert Queen, who faced his son, now the vigilante known as Green Arrow. Although they posed as enemies, at least in death Robert recognized that his son had finally met his expectations and become a “real man”. When Nekron was defeated by Hal Jordan, one of Earth’s Green Lanterns, Robert came back to his grave.

Robert Henry Queen is a very intelligent and work-committed man, who was able to start a major company like Queen Industries virtually from nothing. He is harsh and hard-tempered, especially with his son, but behind his anger towards Oliver’s weakness there is a true concern about the boy’s lack of self-confidence: being a self-made man, Robert thought that Ollie wouldn’t have survived in the “real world”, and tried to make him strong, at any cost.

Nancy Callahan

Everyone knows Robert Rodriguez‘s and Frank Miller‘s cult movie Sin City: finally, the authors have started to work on the sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Unfortunately, there have already been some problems on the set, since Jessica Alba doesn’t want to play the “hottest” scenes regarding her character, Nancy Callahan, since she doesn’t feel comfortable with her body anymore, after two children. Since she’s lately been the most talked actress of the film, we’re going to speak about her character, Nancy.

Nancy Callahan was born and raised in Basin City, lovely nicknamed Sin City, really not a good place to raise a child in. When she was only eleven, she was kidnapped by Roarke Junior, a child-raper and serial killer, whose actions were promptly covered by Senator Roarke, his father and the city’s most powerful man. Nobody thought Nancy would have come out of it alive, but, just before Roarke could begin with her, she was saved by police detective John Hartigan, who couldn’t care less of Roarke’s influence and shot the maniac’s ear, hand and genitals. Before Hartigan could finish Roarke, anyway, he was betrayed and shot by his partner, Bob, who sent him to a coma. Nancy witnessed the entire scene, and tried to tell the policemen what happened, but they declared the girl was too shocked to tell anything sensible, and discarded her story. She also tried to testify during Roarke’s trial, but Hartigan, blackmailed by the Senator, asked Nancy to step back, and to let them frame him for the raper’s actions. Faitfhul to her hero, Nancy agreed, but kept writing letters to John every week, for the whole eight years he was put in prison. She had to use a false name, Cordelia, since Senator Roarke was ready to kill anyone who could say something about his son, Nancy in first place. She hid for some time, and she tried to live in the darkest corners of Basin City, so that the Senator’s men couldn’t find her. At a certain point, she was assaulted by some boys, but she was saved by Marv, an ugly brute with a kind spot for ladies who would have become one of her closest friends.

Nancy grew up a beautiful woman, and started law school, so that she could become a lawyer and save her hero from jail. In order to pay her studies, however, she ended up being hired at Kadie’s Bar, a strip club (more a dive than something else). At Kadie’s, she worked as an exotic dancer, one of the tavern’s most popular ones, and she had the occasion of meeting many of the most peculiar citizens of Basin. She had many boyfriends, but her stories ended very soon: despite she tried to fall in love with some man, she couldn’t cancel her feelings towards Hartigan, who would stay her first and truest love forever. She had the occasion of meeting the (former) detective once again when he was let out of prison, after confessing all Roarke’s crimes as his own, fearing for Nancy’s safety (Roarke had sent him a girl’s finger, making him believe it was Nancy’s). The two soon found out that their reunification was part of Roarke Junior’s plan to find out Nancy’s hideout, since he had been obsessed with her since the day Hartigan denied him his pleasure with her.

Nancy Callahan is a kind woman, a rare sight in Sin City. Despite her golden heart and good character, she often finds herself involved in underground criminality’s operation, mostly because of her friendships, which go from Marv to the Old Town‘s prostitutes. With the years, she learnt how to take care of herself, and she has grown a strong instinct for survival; underneath the hard skin, anyway, there lasts a romantic spirit, the same she had when she was a scared, wounded eleven-years-old girl.

Mandarin

Marvel Comics’ article today, and we’re continuing to check the characters appeared in the latest Iron Man 3 trailer. This evening, time for Tony Stark‘s nemesis, the always feared and loved Mandarin, leader of the Ten Rings terrorist association, played in the movie by the great Sir Ben Kingsley. “Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: heroes. There is no such thing.” Great introduction, for a character well known to the comics readers…

Regarding  the Mandarin, we don’t even now what his real name is. He’s gone under a lot of aliases: Gene Khan (a way to pay homage to his ancestor and life model, Gengis Khan), Zhang TongTem Borijin, and many others. Maybe, the only true part of them is the surname “Khan”, but even that remains a mystery. We know that the Mandarin was born around 1920 in a very wealthy Chinese family. He is the son of an important and powerful descendant of the aforementioned Gengis Khan and of a British aristocrat. The boy’s parents died soon after his birth, and he was raised by his father’s sister, a woman enraged with the entire world, who handed down her hatred to him. Although he gained all his parents’ money, the boy and his aunt spent all their wealth for having him trained in combat and acknowledged in science by the most expensive teachers in the world. As a result, the Mandarin went bankrupt at a very young age and, uncapable of paying his debts nor the taxes on his family estate, he was sent away along with his aunt, becoming homeless. His aunt died for the grief, and made sure with her last words that her nephew hated the world as much as she did. The Mandarin then started wandering the world, trying to get the means to get his revenge on the society that stole his house and fortune and “killed” his aunt. Travelling all China, the man reached the forbidden Valley of Spirits, a land in which nobody entered for centuries, since it was thought to be cursed. In the Valley, the Mandarin found the skeleton of Axonn-Kar, a dragon-shaped alien from the planet Maklu IV, and the remnants of his ship. He stayed there for years, until he gained complete mastership over Makluan science, ages beyond terrestrial one. In the ship, the Mandarin also found ten Power Rings, weapons of great power, which granted him many gifts, and Ultimo, an alien robot which he reactivated and used many times against his enemies.

When he abandoned the Valley, the Mandarin was a reborn man, with more knowledge and wisdom than anyone else. First of all, he decided to conquer the world, wanting to guide it with wisdom and harmony, so that the same thing that happened to him with the Communist government didn’t happen to someone else. He started his campaign by conquering the area around the Valley itself: he gained some followers, convinced by his superior skills, and kept expanding his influence in the nearby Chinese regions. His thirst to understand more about Makluan science made him kidnap, with the aid of the local warlord Wong Chu, the billionaire genius Tony Stark and the physicist Ho Yin Sen, forcing them to work for him, and inadvertently prompting the events that led to the birth of Iron Man, who would have become his nemesis. Sure to be the world’s best chance to gain a peaceful and enlightned guidance, the Mandarin attempted many times to conquer the entire planet (also by taking psychic control over the Hulk), but always failed because of Iron Man’s interventions.

The Mandarin is a scientific genius, having mastered every terrestrial science and a lot of alien ones. He’s also and extremely skilled martial artist, whose control over chi (body’s inner energy) has granted him with many abilities, first of all an extreme longevity. His most fearful weapons are, anyway, his Ten Rings, an unlimited source of power: each one of them gives the Mandarin a different ability (ice blast, electro blast, fire blast, impact beam, vortex beam, disintegration beam, mento-intensifier, black light, white light, matter rearranger). A megalomaniac and a tyrant wannabe, the Mandarin is easily among the most dangerous men alive, a warlord with thousands of followers who believe in his vision of the world and are ready to give their lives to help him change the society they hate.

Floyd Lawton (Deadshot)

It seems that The CW is going to introduce new major characters in every Arrow episode! That makes it difficult for me to stay up to date with every episode, but I’ll try to do the best I can. In the latest Lonely Gunmen we’ve witnessed the debut of DC Universe’s deadliest marksman, Deadshot, portrayed by Michael Rowe. He already appeared in Smallville Season 10 portrayed by Bradley Stryker in a much more Western-ish appearance: he was a member of the Suicide Squad, and was good enough to place a bullet on Superman himself. Let’s see who Deadshot is in the comics…

First of all, Deadshot’s real name is Floyd Lawton. He was born the youngest of two brothers, and he had quite and adoration for Edward, his big brother. The two of them lived with their mother, Genevieve, and their father, the wealthy and powerful George Lawton. Now, Edward was good in everything he did (sports, studies, girls), while Floyd wasn’t. He lived in his brother’s shadow, but still loved and idolized him. To compensate the good attentions given to Edward, Floyd bacamen quite a little delinquent, putting up every kind of possible trouble. At a certain point, Genevieve, who had quite an evil side, decided to use her sons to get rid of her hated husband, and put up some lies about him, telling David and Floyd that George was a violent and evil man, who would have killed her if someone didn’t do something before. Edward, the always good son fond of his mommy, decided to help her and agreed to kill his father, on Genevieve’s suggestion; Floyd, on the other hand, didn’t fall for it, and refused to harm his own father. For this brave decision, he was closed in the houses’ shed. From the window, Floyd saw Edward shooting George (the shot would have paralyzed him), broke free, grabbed a gun and climbed a tree: from a branch, he tried to save his father by shooting his brother’s rifle, meaning to disarm him, but, at the last moment, the branch broke, Floyd fell, and he ended up shooting his brother in the face, killing him instantly. Not a lucky guy, indeed. His brother’s death by his own hands took away every meaning Floyd gave to life at all, and forged him into an assassin.

Lawton began to travel the world, building up his markmanship and becoming infallible with a rifle, a gun or any kind of fire-arm. The main intent behind this obsession with aim was Floyd’s promise to himself, that the one which killed Edward would have been his last missed shot. When he arrived in Gotham City, Floyd witnessed the amazing deeds of the Batman, and decided to take his place as Gotham’s protector, following someway his brother’s footsteps as the hero. For the occasion, he created a costume and the identity of Deadshot, the new lethal vigilante. His plan went horribly wrong: his capabilities in fighting crime weren’t enough to make Gotham’s citizens see him as the new hero, and Deadshot became quite frustrated because of it; he decided to change his plans and to become the master of the city’s underground criminality, giving up to his original nature. Batman and Commissioner Gordon managed to publicly unveil his schemes, and Deadshot was arrested. Years later, Lawton stole a device from the Penguin, who had been put in a cell near to his one, that allowed him to escape from prison. Seeking vengeance against Batman, Lawton reinvented his Deadshot’s identity as a killer, and began to kill innocent people to gain Batman’s attention. After some fights with the Caped Crusader, Deadshot eventually used his unique skills to become an assassin-for-hire, making a name of himself as the best marksman ever lived, a killer who never misses a shot. After continuously being captured by Batman, Deadshot finally received an offer he couldn’t refuse, and became a member of the Suicide Squad, a secret team used by the Government for dirty works, led by Amanda Waller and formed by convicted criminals.

Having brought his physical condition to a more than excellent level, naturally agile and athletic and, above everything else, having mastered and incredible aim and knowledge of fire-arms, Deadshot surely comes up to his boasts to be the greatest marksman ever. An assassin with deep emotional wounds, who always seeks someone who can fill the hole left by his brother’s death, Deadshot is nevertheless one of the most dangerous men alive, with no superpowers, but armored and equipped enough to be more than a challenge for every super-being.

Hershel Greene

The last The Walking Dead episode, Sick, has been quite shocking. The developers have shown another time their firm will to follow the comicbooks’ story, but only to a certain extent, leaving space for original material: that’s good. Now, since one of the series’ regulars, Hershel Greene, portrayed by Scott Wilson, has been under the spotlights during the last episode, let’s see who he is.

Hershel Greene was born in his family farm (owned by the Greenes for 160 years, it seems), and he was raised in there, learning to love animals and to work hard. Grown a man of gentle spirit, Hershel went to college to become a veterinarian, so that he could treat the animals he was so fond of. Something happened in Atlanta that chenged his plans for the future: in the big city, he met a girl he fell in love with, and, after the studies, the two of them got married. Hershel decided to stay in the city with his wife, and the two shared a beautiful life full of love together; she gave him seven children, and they started a business together, a vet study in which he did all the medics, and she took care of the administrative part: he grew more and more in love with her with the years’ passing. Unfortunately, Hershel’s wife died of an unspecified disease, and Hershel fell into a deep depression. He tried to find another reason to live in his children, and, despite putting their protection and care above everything else in the world, he didn’t find in them sufficient grounds to go on. He met religion, and became a deeply religious person, but, even if his faith allowed him to live on, he was still emotionally destroyed. He then remembered a promise made many years before to his father, who left the family farm to him asking him to take care of it. With nothing else to lose, Hershel came back to the farm with all of his children, eventually managing to find peace again. In the simple, daily life at the farm, Hershel taught his sons and daughters to love nature and each other, he gladly paid for their studies, raised them in a religious education and found his perfect environment to live in, finding joy in the care of the animals of the farm and in the love for his children.

Life went on peacefully for the Greenes, until the zombies arrived. The Greene Farm was attacked by some roamers, and before Hershel managed to barricade the entire place, his eldest son Shawn was beaten and transformed into a zombie. Hershel still loved his son, despite he had become a cannibal monster, and wasn’t able to kill him. To face this situation, he developed a personal theory, according to which the zombie plague was just some kind of sickness which would have been cured, in a way or in another. He decided to lock Shawn in the barn, waiting for a cure, and instructed his children to capture every zombie they could find and to lock them too in the barn, in an extreme attempt to save them all. Some time after these events, the Greenes welcomed in their house Otis and his girlfriend Patricia, two neighbours who searched for a place to stay, their house being completely overrun by zombies. It was due to Otis that Hershel and his family met Rick Grimes and his group: while hunting, Otis mistakenly shot Carl, who was brought to the farm. Thanks to his experience with animals, Hershel was able to treat him, saving his life. He then allowed Rick and the others to stay for some time, a choice that he would have regretted.

Peaceful by nature, Hershel is a man of good heart, who really wants to help other people the best he can. His medical knowledge proves useful to the group in more than one occasion, and he’ also comes to be a moral lighthouse for everyone. In a world dominated by chaos and thirst for survival, Hershel Greene is one of the few men able to mantain some tracks of a different, more ordinated world.

Norman Osborn (Iron Patriot)

I hope you have all seen the new Iron Man 3 trailer, it’s really awesome. In the case you didn’t, go watch it. Now. In the case you did, you may have noticed many new faces (or not exactly “faces”) showing up. One of these is the upgraded version of War Machine‘s armor, the Iron Patriot: US Army used the wave of patrioctism following Captain America‘s appearance in the battle against the Chitauri to make its own super-armored agent a little bit more American-looking. So, if it’s Jim Rhodes under the armor, did I make a mistake in the name of this article? Not exactly. The fact is, not only in the comics the Iron Patriot Armor is not worn by Rhodes, but it’s not one of the good guys at all…

I think you know Norman Osborn, the archenemy of Spider-Man: he is better known with the name of his maniac alter ego, the Green Goblin. In case you don’t know him, just ask me and I’ll write an article about him and his greenish criminal identity. Anyway, in the Marvel Universe something big happened after the Civil War of the superheroes (a conflict that had Captain America and Iron Man fighting one against the other because of their support and/or condemnation of the Superhero Registration Act): the shapeshifter alien race Skrulls decided to invade Earth, activating some sleeping agents who infiltrated among superheroes for years. During tha major battle that followed, Norman Osborn, who was leading the team of psychopatic criminals at the Government’s service Thunderbolts, killed the Skrull queen Veranke in front of the media from all over the world. Osborn was acclaimed as a hero, and he was offered by the President himself to replace Tony Stark as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which was immediately replaced by H.A.M.M.E.R., a much more paramilitary force he used for his secret agenda. He also formed a secret alliance, called the Cabal, with some of the most poweful men and women in the world: Dr. DoomEmma FrostNamorThe Hood and Loki. To confirm his public image of a hero, Osborn also founded his personal version of the Avengers, enlisting some of the most vicious criminals in the world (people like Bullseye and Venom, just to be clear), leading them on the field as the Iron Patriot.

The Iron Patriot armor is a flashy and tasteless attempt (unfortunately successfull) from Osborn to stand out as the All-American Hero everyone thinks he is after Secret Invasion. The concept is quite clear: an Iron Man armor painted with the colors of the American flag, so that Osborn becomes some sort of amalgam of the two most iconic Avengers. But Osborn is not Stark, and his technology is not at the same level of the one of his direct rival: this armor is less powerful, despite showing quite a huge array of hidden weapons, and also his Uni Beam, because of his star-shaped projector meant to conquer people’s heart, is much less concentrated than the original one, pointing out how aesthetics should never come before practicalness.

Despite posing as a hero, Norman Osborn is and remains a deranged criminal and, despite his “normal” persona really wants to protect the world (even if in a violent and extreme way…), the Green Goblin identity, still lurking in the darkest corners of Osborn’s mind, controls his actions and makes him do very, very unpleasant things. The power obtained by Osborn as the President’s right-hand man and as the keeper of the State’s most dangerous secrets has only made him more and more powerful and lethal than ever, and the fact that he’s also the people’s darling only worsens everything. Let’s hope than Rhodes will make a better use of the armor in the upcoming movie!