Theodore R. Gaynor

Ted GaynorWell, it seems that Arrow has a policy of “at least one new character per episode”, so, even this week’s Trust but Verify introduced a new one, a villain in this case, Ted Gaynor, portrayed by Ben Browder. In the show, he’s a former military officer, John Diggle‘s superior in Afghanistan. He became a member of Blackhawk Squad Protection Group, but gave himself to robbery soon after. In the comics, Gaynor is in fact an ex soldier, but Blackhawks are not a bodyguard society, and he’s not exactly a common robber. Let’s see together his comicbook history.

Theodore R. Gaynor was born in 1912, in Menomonee FallsWisconsin. He studied in the United States Military Academy at West Point, and, at only 23 years old, he graduated as the top of his class. A received a congressional recomendation and entered the Officer Candidate School, and he proved to be the best of his class even there. He made some friends in high places, and became special attaché in the Marine Corps in no time. While tedgaynorcomics1in the Marines, he started quite a career, until he became top officer, standing out in every mission. Gaynor started to consider himself as the best soldier ever lived, and made no secret of it. His results granted him a rapid access to a special task force, which received orders directly from the President, a squad that operated in secret and was assigned with the most delicate missions, both in a war-ridden Europe and in the States. His European activities attracted the attention of British intelligence, and he was chosen to be part of a international military project, becoming a special operative responding only to Winston Churchill. It was during his service under British Prime Minister that Gaynor gave his best, proving to be a loyal soldier and an incredibly able combatant and strategist; he fought the Nazis and other threats to England and to the States, always a step above his comrades in arms. His marksmanship and especially his skills as a pilot made him quite famous in the intelligence, and Churchill himself recommended him as the new member of the Blackhawk Squadron, short of one man.

The Blackhawks were a team of elite soldiers from all the allied nations, born in Polland when a pilot swore vengeance against the Nazis and gathered some other crack pilots. During the war, the Blackhawks made quite a name for themselves, and gained the attention of the official armies, including the British one: Winston Churchill became their secret sponsor, and they were sent in many dangerous missions battling both Nazi and Japanese forces. Entering the Blackhawks was quite a honor for Gaynor, but he saw it just as something that was owed to him. He was the best, and the Blackhawks were the best of the best: he felt to have earnt the place. This attitude clearly didn’t help him making many friends in the team: despite actually being a superb pilot and a great on-field combatant, tedgaynorcomics2Gaynor always acted as he was the only one among his fellows to deserve his place in the Blackhawks. Chuck Wilson, one of the historical members of the team, noticed Gaynor’s way of thinking, and started keeping an eye on him. During his first missions with the Squadron, Gaynor deployed his abilities as always, but also showed a character far too militaristic, with some ideas that were not too far from the Nazis’ ones. He strongly believed that war was a chance to prove a country’s strength, and he lived his missions not as means to make the greater good prevail, but as an occasion to have every country in the world understand the power of America. Thanks to this ideals, he was sent away from the Blackhawks, something he felt like a personal outrage. He became a mercenary and sold his abilities to the better offerer, until he came up with a vengeance plan. Many years later, Gaynor allied himself with Killer Shark, an historical villain from the war times, and attacked Blackhawk Airways; the superhero Batman tried to stand in his way, but Gaynor managed to kidnap Zinda Blake, aka Lady Blackhawk, the Birds of Prey‘s pilot, and flew. Unexpectedly, it turned out that Janosz Prohaska, the original Blackhawk, believed to be dead for years, was still alive, just in retirement, pulling the strings of his old squadron from the shadows. While Batman convinced Blackhawk to team up with him to save Zinda, Gaynor and Killer Shark brainwashed the girl, and used her to fight the two heroes. Unfortunately, arrogance had always been a major weakness for Gaynor, and he underestimated old Prohaska’s resolve and rage, when he saw what Gaynor had done to his protégé. During a final flight, Gaynor was shot down and killed by his former superior officer, who he had always looked down on.

Ted Gaynor is an extremely skilled pilot and marksman, with a good ability also in hand-to-hand combat and a natural gift for strategy. He is also an incredibly arrogant and boastful man, who thinks of himself as the best soldier ever born. He is, in a personal way, a patriot, but he thinks that what America really needs is war, the only means to prove its superior strength and nature to every other nation; following this idea, he tries to provoke conflict, giving his country more and more (unrequested) opportunities.

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