Keniuchio “Ken” Harada (Silver Samurai)

silversamuraifilmFinally, we’re going to deal with the one who will (possibly) be the main antagonist of The Wolverine: the fan favorite Japanese mutant Silver Samurai. Despite his name appeared on William Stryker‘s computer in X2: X-Men United, the Samurai himself never had any live action appearance, until now: Will Yun Lee will portray him in the upcoming movie, but, at least for now, it’s uncertain how much the character will resemble his comicbook counterpart. While hoping for a worthy portrayal, let’s see together who the Silver Samurai is in the comics.

The man who would have become the Silver Samurai was born Keniuchio Harada, illegitimate son of Lord Shingen Yashida, one of the most powerful and influential criminal bosses in Japan. Being illegitimate, Keniuchio couldn’t hope to inherit his father’s empire, especially after the birth of Mariko, a true-born daughter of the Yashida Clan, but was nevertheless considered part of the family. Outside of the official family tree, Keniuchio was trained as a bodyguard for his father and sister, just like in the Medieval Age; from his first childhood, he was taught the strong discipline of the old times samurai, and trained both his mind and body to reach perfection. When he was a teenager he also discovered he was a mutant, and developed the power of channeling a self-emitted and self-sustained energy, something like a tachyon field, through anything. Training as a swordsman, he found out that channeling his energy through a blade made it capable of cutting through any known material (with the only exception, as he would have discovered some years later, of adamantium), thus becoming and incredibly useful asset in Yashida silversamuraicomics1Clan’s ranks. After serving for some times under his father, Keniuchio, now dressing in a silver armor and calling himself the Silver Samurai, was sent to the United States, so that he could not claim any right over his sister, who was to be married to Noburu Hideki, another crime lord, and to inherit the Yashida Clan’s lead. Once in the US, without acquaintances, without a job, without a clear knowledge of the country he was in, he ended up starting a mercenary career, selling his abilities and powers to the best bidder.

The first hiring came from Jerome Beechman, a fellow mutant known as the Mandrill, a monkey-like man who used his pheromones to control women. Along with him and his allies, the female squad known as Black Spectre, the Silver Samurai tried to find his way in the criminal underground, but ended up being defeated by Daredevil. It was after he abandoned the Mandrill, who got arrested, that Keniuchio met the woman who would have changed his life: the Viper, leader of the terrorist organization HYDRA. Viper hired the Silver Samurai as her personal bodyguard, and the two together became quite a formidable couple. At the Viper’s service, Silver Samurai fought many heroes, such as the Black Widowsilversamuraicomics2Spider-Man, the master of kung fu Shang Chi, the New Mutants, even Nick Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. when he and Viper tried to take over his hovering base, the Helicarrier. When Lord Shingen died at the ends of Wolverine, news arrived also in America, and Viper convinced Silver Samurai to claim for himself the place of leader of Yashida Clan, taking it from Mariko: the woman, in fact, was dismantling very criminal activity of the Clan, something that risked, in Keniuchio’s eyes, to weaken the Yashida name. The Silver Samurai came back to Japan with the Viper, and fought against the X-Men and Yukio, one of his father’s assassins, for the control of the Clan, but was ultimately defeated. Seeing the strength of his half-sister, anyway, Keniuchio decided he would have accepted her leadership, and left Viper’s service, starting to do only honorable deeds for his country and his clan. He also won Wolverine’s trust when the Canadian mutant, trying to save Spider-Woman from the evil influence of a cursed sword, the Black Blade of Muramasa, fell under its spell: the Silver Samurai saved both him and the superheroine, and, among them, he was found the only one worthy of wielding the blade, which couldn’t affect his noble spirit. Wolverine was so impressed by Keniuchio’s sense of honor that he decided to entrust the training of his adoptive daughter, Amiko Kobayashi, to him, and when Mariko Yashida died, Keniuchio finally became the respected Oyabun (the leader) of the Yashida Clan, with his old enemy’s blessing.

Keniuchio Harada is a man driven essentially by his honor code, which makes him follow any direct order from his master, even if it collides with his own morality or if it leads him to his own death. Not always acting according to the law, Harada acts nevertheless following what he thinks can bring power and benefit to his clan. As the Silver Samurai, he is a tremendous fighter, a master of any form of Japanese swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat; his mutant powers allow him to channel a special form of energy through any object he wants, making it capable of cutting through anything. A honorable and unbreakable warrior, the Silver Samurai is just as formidable as an enemy as he is as an ally.


Ophelia Sarkissian (Madame Hydra/Viper)

THE WOLVERINEAn all-female movie, this The Wolverine, at least until now. Another character revealed by the trailer is Viper, the lethal leader of Hydra… and it seems that she’ll be able to change her skin like an actual viper. Plus, director confirmed that she’ll be immune to poison and toxins. Quite a foe. The character already appeared in 1998 tv movie Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D played by Sandra Hess. In this version, she was the fusion between two different characters in the comics: the Viper, and Andrea Von Strucker, the mutant daughter of Baron Strucker, a villainess able to kill with her poisonous kiss. Let’s hope that Svetlana Khodchenkova‘s portrayal will be more faithful to the original. At least, a less dumb one.

The Viper’s real name is Ophelia Sarkissian, and she was born in the 1920s, in Eastern Europe (most likely Hungary). She grew up as an orphan, trying her best to stay alive. She was selected with other twelve orphaned girls by terrorist organization Hydra, and was brutally trained by the legendary agent Kraken; at the end of her training, Ophelia had become a ruthless human weapon, and she killed all the other orphans in order to get the title of Madame Hydra. During her youth, she met Chthon, one of the Elder Gods, who saw some potential in the young woman and granted her a slowed aging. In Madripoor, she became a pupil of the elder spy Seraph, and operated in the island with her, until they ended up saving another pupil of Seraph’, the adventurer Logan, who would have later become Wolverine. The two women saved Logan from his nemesis, Sabretooth, but Seraph lost her life, making Wolverine swear an oath of loyalty to Ophelia. Knowing she would have vipercomics1needed the Canadian mutant’s services in the future, the woman came back to Europe, just in time to see the beginning of the Second World War. As one of Hydra’s leaders, Ophelia led a number of agents in operations aimed to grant the Third Reich‘s victory, but she often clashed with Captain America and Nick Fury, the future director of S.H.I.E.L.D., who foiled most of her operations. During the war, Ophelia had the right side of her face scarred, and from that moment she tried to hide her disfigured aspect with her long hair;
in modern times, she managed to use plastic surgery to come back to her original beauty. When the war ended, and the Third Reich lost, Madame Hydra left Europe and moved to the United States, taking control of Hydra operations in New York. She acted mostly in the shadows, until, in the 1960s, Captain America was found frozen in ice and brought back to life: the two old enemies started fighting each other like in the old times, and Hydra lost its grip over New York in a few years.

Seeking for personal power, Ophelia left Hydra, and started a criminal career on her own. She helped Jordan Stryke, a powerful supervillain known as the Viper, escape from his prison in Virginia, but when the two finally broke out, she executed him, taking for herself his name. Introducing herself with Stryke’s head, the new Viper took control of the villain’s team, the Serpent Squad, and brought it back to action. Along with the Squad, the Viper took control of the powerful artifact known as the Serpent Crown, a weapon forged millennia before Christ by the Serpent Men, a race created by the snake-god Set. Viper used the Crown to break the will of Hugh Jones, President of Roxxon Oil, one of the most powerful multinationals in America. Captain America intervened once again and stopped Viper from her plan, which included taking control of many other leaders of economy and politics. After some battles with Nomad and Namor the Sub-Mariner, Viper abandoned the Serpent Squad, and created a personal terrorist cell. She hired the Japanese mutant Silver Samurai as her personal bodyguard, and she eventually fell in love with him, even if the two of them could never start a real relationship (at vipercomics2some point, she was forced by her superiors, using the debt of honor that bond him to her, to marry Wolverine instead, a man she despised). After a failed attempt to take control of the Yashida Clan, a powerful criminal organization whose leader, Lord Shingen, had died because of the intervention of Wolverine and the other X-Men, Viper came back to the US, but in San Francisco her will was taken over by her old ally, the god Chthon, who used her as a pawn to destroy Jessica Drew, the superheroine Spider-Woman. Chthon wanted to use Jessica as a vessel to come to our world, and brainwashed Viper to make her think she was Meriem Drew, Spider-Woman’s long time dead mother. For the occasion, he also granted Viper a special eye, a black orb through which she could send anyone to Chthon’s dimension; she used it on Spider-Woman, but, realizing she had been used, she rebelled to her former ally, and defeated him teaming up with Spider-Woman. After that event, she came back to her usual criminal life, coming back to Hydra and becoming its leader, often clashing with the others pretenders to the title, including the Red Skull.

Ophelia Sarkissian is a woman who only knew murder and betrayal since her childhood: raised to be a natural born killer, she doesn’t have a real perception of good and evil, and is only capable of seeking her own objectives, using every means possible. As the Viper, she doesn’t have any superhuman power (apart from an incredibly slow aging), but she has reached the peak of human capabilities regarding her strength, speed, agility, reflexes and durability; she is also one of the best martial artist in the world, an experienced swordswoman and an infallible markswoman. Via a controlled exposure, she has also rendered herself immune to any known toxin, poison or venom. Cold, determined, with a brilliant mind and a deranged morality, the Viper is one of the most formidable threats the world has ever known.


The WolverineAnother female lead for the upcoming The Wolverine: this time we’re speaking of Yukio, the Japanese assassin played by Rila Fukushima. At the moment, we don’t know how much the film character will differ from her comicbook counterpart, since not much has been told, even from the actress herself, who just remarked that Yukio is “a very physical character”. Something we can tell for sure: the movie version has got more fantasy than the comics’ one regarding her hairstyle. Maybe it’s just because Logan prefers redhairs…

Little or less is known about Yukio’s past, not even her real name (it’s unclear if it’s actually Yukio or maybe Yukiko, since Logan sometimes called her that). She traveled the world as a rōnin, a masterless samurai, and she used her incredible combat abilities at the service of the better bidder, or even for herself. She used to be a thief in England, and she even paired for a while with the mutant adventurer Remy Le Beau, who would have become the X-Man known as Gambit some years later. The two teamed up for a heist, but she was betrayed by the mutant cajun, and left behind. From England, she tried to contact the ninja group The Hand and traveled to the Valley of Mercy and Wrath, homeland of the cult, but it’s unclear what happened there, apart from an intense training. Some years later, having become an incredibly skilled martial artist, she was hired by Lord Shingen Yashida as an assassin for his clan, and she became one of his most capable and trusted subordinates. When the X-Men came in Japan to ask for Sunfire‘s aid, Wolverine fell in love with Mariko, daughter of Lord Shingen: when he saw that her daughter was about to lose her honor with the mutant, Shingen ordered Yukio to poison him, and she complied, later bringing Logan in front of Shingen. The two fought in a duel and Wolverine, weakened by the poison and worried to scary Mariko going berserk, lost against Shingen. With Wolverine’s life in his hands, Shingen ordered him and Yukio to kill a rival of his, Katsuyori, and the two left his palace to obey. During their mission, Yukio developed a crush on Logan, and became quite jealous yukiocomics1of Mariko, but decided to help Wolverine win her hand nevertheless. Back to Shingen’s stronghold, Yukio entered Mariko’s chambers, and killed her abusive husband, Noburu Hideki, who was trying to flee with her. Meanwhile, Wolverine killed Shingen in a honorable duel, and Mariko took the lead of the Yashida Clan, with Yukio staying as her bodyguard and agent.

Yukio’s services proved to be useful more than once: when Wolverine and Mariko announced their official engagement, they invited to Japan the X-Men for a dinner, unaware that Mariko’s enemies were at work already. While Mastermind controlled Mariko and forced her to break her engagement and to start Yashida Clan’s criminal activities again, the head of Hydra, a Nazi-inspired terrorist organization, a woman known as Viper, allied with Mariko’s half-brother, Silver Samurai, to take control of the Clan. An expert of toxins, the Viper managed to poison the X-Men during the dinner, and only Yukio and Wolverine, with their sharp senses, managed to avoid to drink the poison; Storm was stopped just in time by Logan, Rogue was unaffected by the venom’s effects, while the others had to be attended to in order to save their lives. Yukio and the remaining X-Men moved against Viper and the Silver Samurai, but, during the fight, Storm’s powers went out of control because of the Samurai, and she risked to be struck down by her own lightning. Yukio saved her, and, from that moment, the two yukiocomics2women became good friends (Storm even changed her look drastically, inspired by Yukio). The X-Men defeated Mastermind, Viper and the Silver Samurai, but the wedding was canceled nevertheless. Yukio stayed in Japan with Mariko, but met the X-Men many other times, always helping them (she also became part of Mutant UndergroundProfessor X‘s secret information network). She teamed up with Wolverine and his pupil Kitty Pryde in the battle with the demon-ninja Ogun, and, following Logan’s request, she adopted Amiko Kobayashi, a girl Wolverine had saved, and trained her in martial arts. She had a little clash with the X-Men the moment she realized Gambit had become part of the team, but she took her revenge framing the cajun mutant for a theft she had committed, thus settling her debt. When Sabretooth tried to take revenge on Wolverine (again…), he hired Omega Red and Lady Deathstrike to kidnap Amiko, something they did, despite Yukio tried to stop them: the following fight left her severely wounded, and with no honor anymore. She asked Wolverine to kill her to rid her from her shame, but he refused, and saved Amiko on his own. Yukio spent some time on a wheelchair, because of the wounds inflicted to her by Omega Red and Deathstrike, but, after months and months of treatment, she finally healed and came back on the field.

Yukio is a very strong-willed woman, with an even stronger sense of honor. Despite allowing herself some little theft from time to time, she lives with the code of an ancient samurai, always ready to die for the people she swore to protect. Yukio is an excellent martial artist, who joins the discipline of a samurai to the techniques of a ninja; her signature weapons are scalpel-like shurikens, which she uses with infallible precision.

Mariko Yashida

Mariko YashidaFinally, some pics from the upcoming The Wolverine surface, and they give us a look at some of the movie’s major characters. First of all, we’re going to speak about Mariko Yashida, Wolverine‘s main love interest in the film. She’ll be played by Tao Okamoto, and she seems to be pretty much like her comicbook counterpart… but for one little particular: the actress said in an interview that she’ll do some fight sequences, and that Mariko herself is a good martial artist in the movie. Well, that’s something different from the original character. Let’s see together.

Mariko’s family surely is a wide one: being a Yashida, she was born the daughter of Lord Shingen, head of the Yashida Clan, and the half-sister of Kenuichio Harada, the powerful mutant and warrior better known as the Silver Samurai. She was also the cousin of Shiro and Leyu Yoshida, the Japanese superheroes known as Sunfire and Sunpyre. She didn’t have voice in the rule of the Clan, since, being a woman in a world of traditional men, she wasn’t even allowed to speak in public. She never felt this cultural bonds as an imposition, until she met the X-Men, an American team of mutant superheroes who came to ask for her cousin Sunfire’s help. Among them, there was Wolverine, a man with no memory of his past who was simply called Logan, a feral and tormented hero who at first scared Mariko, but who ended up charming her. The two fell in love, and, when Logan came back to US, she followed him with using as a pretext her father’s business, and the two started a relation during the time she was in New York. Unfortunately, when Mariko came back to Japan, Lord Shingen had organized her wedding: she had to marry Noburu Hideki, a criminal associate of Yashida Clan, to strengthen the bond between the two criminal marikoyashidacomics1organizations and to settle a debt. Unable to resist her father’s will, Mariko married Noburu. He was a cruel man, who beat her and despised her, and Logan came to Japan to free her from him; Mariko refused to flee with him, since her honor was bound to her father’s desires for her. Lord Shingen, understanding far too well the real feelings between his daughter and Wolverine, ordered one of his personal assassins, lethal Yukio, to drug the mutant, and then he challenged him to a duel, since Logan had attempted to Mariko’s honor. Even if Wolverine was drugged and not in his best shape, he still held his ground against the expert samurai Shingen, but, when he went on a rampage and was about to kill his opponent, he saw Mariko looking at him with fear, and, losing his will to fight, he ended up losing the duel. His life and honor now belonged to the Yashida Clan.

When Katsuoyori, a rival clan, threatened Yashida, he ordered Wolverine to assassinate him, thus wanting to make Mariko despise her lover, looking at his beastly and murdering side. While Wolverine and Yukio battled in the campaign against Katsuyori, Mariko finally understood her father’s evil nature, and swore to him that she would have killed him, since he was ruining the Yashida’s name, and she would have committed seppuku immediately after. While in the family fortress, the Yashida Clan suffered the attack of Wolverine and Yukio, now looking for vengeance against Lord Shingen: Noburu Hideki tried to take Mariko and flee, but he was killed by Yukio; meanwhile, Wolverine challenged Shingen in a honorable duel, and killed him, thus preventing Mariko from murdering her father and committing suicide. With her father and her husband dead, Mariko became the head of the Yashida Clan, and vowed to clean it from the criminal activity that had ruined it over the years. She became officially engaged with Logan, but, some times before their marriage, the criminal Mastermind used his psychic powers to make her break the engagement and come back to Yashida’s criminal nature. When marikoyashidacomics2Mastermind was defeated and his mind control broken, Mariko refused to marry Logan all the same, ashamed for the things she did under the criminal’s influence and feeling that she would have been free to marry the man she loved only after cleaning her family’s name. During the time she spent dismantling her father’s empire, Mariko clashed with her brother, the Silver Samurai, who didn’t appreciate what she was doing with the Yashida Clan. Wolverine met her once again, when he entrusted her young Amiko Kobayashi, an orphan girl who became her surrogate daughter. Unfortunately, one of Mariko’s greatest opponents was Matsu’o Ysurayaba, prominent member of the ancient cult of The Hand. Wolverine helped Mariko fighting The Hand on her behalf, but when peace seemed to be reached at last, Ysurayaba had one of his assassins, Reiko, poison Mariko with blowfish’ tetrodotoxin. Facing a long and painful death, Mariko asked Logan to give her a quick and clean death: heartbroken, the mutant complied. From that day, on every anniversary of Mariko’s death, Wolverine chopped a different piece of Matsu’o’s body as revenge.

Mariko Yashida is a gentle and refined woman in a world made of cruel and ruthless assassins. Despite her peaceful nature, Mariko possesses an incredible inner strength and willpower, and she is able to rule the Yashida Clan with authority and firmness. Divided between two countries and the love for her man and for her family, Mariko fights to bring order and balance in her world and in her life.

Cobi (Starro)

starrofilmThe number of characters present in Injustice: Gods Among Us keeps rising: another popular DC villain has a cameo in the game, Starro, the galactic conqueror, who appears in the Fortress of Solitude prisoner of something like a fishball. The alien warlord already appeared in Smallville, in the episode Prophecy, in quite an unexpected version: in this portrayal, he was a mechanical device built by the Toyman, and the villain used it to force Stargirl to battle her fellow heroes. Tess Mercer discovered the device and found a solution to mind control, thus foiling Toyman’s plans. In the comics, Starro is no device at all…

At the beginning of Justice League of America‘s activity, the heroes were forced to battle a giant alien starfish, able to produce millions of little clones of himself, who attached themselves to people’s face and controlled their mind, transforming them in puppets at the orders of the alien conqueror. The League almost lost the battle, since some heroes fell under Starro’s control and started battling their own teammates, but eventually starrocomics1the common effort of Superman, Wonder WomanBatman and the others defeated the monster, who escaped from Earth (after absorbing much of the planet’s knowledge thanks to his underlings). For years, Starro battled Earth’s heroes, and for years the League and the other teams believed that the giant starfish was the actual Starro… but they were wrong: the real Starro never showed himself and acted from the shadows, controlling the Star Conquerors and using them to subjugate entire worlds to his thirst for power. The alien controlling the Stars was once named Cobi, inhabitant of planet Hatorei. People on Hatorei had developed a unique global psychic link, which connected everyone’s mind with everyone else’s one, and the planet soon became the most ethical and stable culture in the entire universe. Cobi lived in peace with his beloved brother Andrez, in a world ruled by mutual love and respect. The paradise known as Hatorei was destined to break apart the moment a Starro Motherstar arrived on the planet: the Motherstar was the queen of the predator species known as Star Conquerors, psychic parasites who traveled in the universe in search of a suitable planet for a queen’s nest. After enslaving the population thanks to their immense psychic powers, they used people as vessels to build their nest, until a new queen was born and they were able to start their wandering again. Unfortunately, Hatorei people shared a mind link already, and this made the “usual procedure” much more difficult.

The inhabitants of the planet, conquered by the Starros, shared their deep hatred towards the enemy and the indignation for their new starrocomics2condition of slavery, even if their actions were completely controlled by the aliens. Andrez became the physical embodiment of Hatorei’s collective outrage and will of upheaval, and managed to free himself from mind control. He snuck into the queen’s nest to kill her before she was born, and started to destroy the eggs. One of the hatchling, desperately trying to protect the queen and his siblings, took control of Cobi, and used him to kill Andrez: this only transferred Hatorei’s hatred from Andrez to Cobi, and plus Cobi went mad seeing himself killing his beloved brother. His rage gave Cobi a tremendous strength, and he ripped the parasite off his face, gaining his trademark star-shaped scar. The newborn queen, still small (at least for being a gigantic space starfish), tried to attack Cobi, but with no effect: she stick to the boy’s chest, unable to take control of his mind. Cobi decided he would have kept the queen as a personal trophy, and destroyed the remaining hatchlings. He then used his own psychic powers combined to the queen’s ones, and overlapped Hatorei’s mind link to the Star Conquerors’ one, gaining control of the entire species of space predators. Cobi, still fueled by the rage and the madness that took over him after Andrez’ death, renamed himself Starro the Conqueror, and started a war against the entire universe, starting to use the Star Conquerors to subjugate worlds and populations. Thanks to the mind link with the parasites, Starro became able to absorb the knowledge and the power of every creature enslaved by his minions, becoming one of the most powerful beings in the universe. The most valuable enemies who tried to stop his conquest were “rewarded” with a Star Conqueror attached on their backs: as long as they served him loyally as his generals, Starro let them retain their free will, turning them into mindless zombies at his command if they tried to rebel against him.

The man once known as Cobi, now Starro the Conqueror, is an extremely powerful warlord, a general driven by a destructive madness, whose psyche is irreversibly fused with the collective conscience of the Star Conquerors. Able to control the psychic parasites, Starro uses them to conquer entire planets, whose inhabitants lose their free will and become servants to his cause. His power, strength and knowledge grow the more beings he turns into mindless pawns: at the moment, he has conquered nine whole galaxies.

Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow)

scarecrowfilmLast trailer from Injustice: Gods Among Us shows us yet another character who has a cameo in the infamous Arkham AsylumDr. Jonathan Crane, better known as the Scarecrow, master of fear. The Scarecrow was supposed to appear as the main villain in Batman Triumphant, the fifth film of the original franchise which was never realized thanks to Batman & Robin‘s awfulness. Dr. Crane’s first, and at present only, live action appearance arrived with Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy: the Scarecrow, portrayed in each one of the three films by Cillian Murphy, appears as an ally to Ra’s al Ghul, working for him to destroy Gotham City; when his master is killed, he becomes an independent crime lord, and later a minion of Bane. Let’s see who Scarecrow is in the comics.

Jonathan Crane’s childhood isn’t what we can call a happy one. He was born from Karen Crane, a girl who had the bad idea of sleeping with the first one who promised her a future of love and happiness and who flew away the moment she told him she was pregnant. With no love or care for her son, Karen left him to the gentle care of her grandmother, Marion, a religious fanatic. Whenever young Jonathan did something that disappointed his grand-grandmother, she locked him in an abandoned church, wearing a special suit covered in some chemicals that made all the crows in the building attack the boy, scarecrowcomics1attracted by his smell. Surely this kind of punishment traumatized the boy, who grew obsessed with the very idea of fear… and, sure, vengeance. Even at school, his life wasn’t better: his peers bullied him because of his skinny appearance, and mocked him calling him Ichabod (after the popular character from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) or Scarecrow, a moniker which would have become the synonymous of terror in Gotham City. After spying his grand-grandmother preparing the suit for him, and later studying the chemistry books she hid in her room, Crane learnt how to prepare the chemicals to attract crows, and used them to take vengeance against a bully, who lost an eye. Some years later, he decided he wouldn’t have lived in fear anymore, and took up the courage to ask Sharry Squires, a beautiful cheerleader from his class, for a date. To Jonathan’s surprise, she agreed, but she was actually planning a prank with her true boyfriend, Bo Griggs. When Jonathan arrived at the date, Griggs appeared, disguised as the Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow, and scared Crane to death. Enraged and humiliated, Crane finally reacted, and, during prom night, wearing a scarecrow costume, he shot against Bo’s car, causing a bad car accident which took away Bo’s legs and Sharry’s life. Back home, Jonathan finally killed his grandmother, tasting the flavor of fear and revenge.

Without any proof leading him to Squires’ death, Crane continued his studies, going up to Gotham University and asserting himself as one of the most brilliant student of psychology. He became the favorite pupil of Avram Bramowitz, a living legend in the field, who became his mentor and his model. Despite deeply desiring to become Bramowitz’ colleague, Crane despised his mentor’s lack of interest towards fear, which was becoming more and more an obsession for him. Trying to become a professor himself to prove Bramowitz wrong, Jonathan couldn’t accomplish his goal, since there was no place for other teachers. Using his advanced knowledge in scarecrowcomics2chemistry, Crane then created a psychotropic gas which made whoever inhaled it live his greatest fear. He tested it on Bramowitz, who suffered from a fatal heart attack as a result; with his mentor dead, Crane was assumed as the new psychology professor. He was fired soon after when, trying to explain his class the body’s reaction to fear, he shot a flower pot, and one of the students was injured by a flying shard; enraged, Crane killed everyone involved with his layoff, and, again with no proof leading to him (even this time every death seemed to be accidental), he was hired in Arkham Asylum, where he started to make some experiments on the inmates to understand the true nature of fear. If police couldn’t connect his colleagues’ death to him due to the far too labile evidence, the tracks leading to the Scarecrow were more than enough for the city’s new vigilante, Batman, to follow. Batman found evidence that incriminated Crane for the death of Gotham University’s dean and regents, and, after a brief fight, he was incarcerated in the same Arkham Asylum he worked in. Crane’s phobia of birds, developed as a child, was projected on Batman, but this only made Crane desire a confrontation with him the most: obsessed by fear, he couldn’t just let a personal experience of it fade away, and he became obsessed with defeating Batman, something that, in his case, meant defeating fear itself. Allied with Two-Face in his Injustice Gang, the Scarecrow evaded from Arkham for the first, but surely not last, time, becoming one of Batman’s most dangerous and dedicated enemies.

Jonathan Crane is an incredibly brilliant man, with a wide knowledge of chemistry, physics and psychology. While his mind is so sharp, his emotional world has been deeply wounded by his childhood abuses, and Crane has become obsessed with fear and embittered against the whole world, which he considers responsible for his life as an outcast. As the Scarecrow, Crane is a good hand-to-hand fighter, who developed a personal style of kung fu, similar to the crane style, which he calls violent dancing. However, his most formidable weapon is his mind, and he uses his fear toxin in battle, making his enemies see their most dark and obscure fears come to life before their very eyes. An unpredictable and deranged genius, the Scarecrow is one of Gotham City’s most dangerous citizens, a master of fear who can make also the toughest men cry like babies.

John Wayne Corben (Metallo)

metallofilmYet another cameo for a DC popular villain in Injustice: Gods Among Us: in the Irongate Penitentiary stage, you can see a large robot looking at the fighters. Actually, it’s not a robot, it’s Metallo, a cyborg enemy of Superman. Metallo had two different live action portrayals (the third one, in Superboy tv series, is actually another Metallo, not the first one, John Corben): the first one is in Lois & Clark: Superman’s New Adventure, where he appears as Johnny Corben, a petty criminal portrayed by Scott Valentine. In this version, he’s Lucy Lane‘s boyfriend, who becomes the cyborg villain after some experiments from Lexcorp. He then appeared in Smallville as an adventurous reporter working for Daily Planet. Portrayed by Brian Austin Greene, John Corben becomes the not-always villainous cyborg Metallo when Major Zod‘s army makes some experiments on him. Let’s see who he is in the comics.

Just as many others, John Corben had his origin story changed over the years. In his first appearance, he was a reporter of the Daily Planet, who also had a crush on Lois Lane. He suffered a nearly fatal car accident, and was saved at the last moment by Dr. Emmett Vale, an old scientist, who replaced his broken heart with an uranium battery. Dr. Vale died of a heart attack soon after, and Corben found out that his new heart needed to be replaced once every twenty-four hours, since uranium depleted quickly; to survive, he became an metallcomics1uranium super-thief, but some times later he discovered that Kryptonite was a better energy source than uranium, and put a chunk of it in his chest. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack since the Kryptonite he had stolen was a fake, and didn’t fuel him. The second and most known version of Metallo sees him as a conman who was, again, fatally injured in a car accident. Corben was found by Dr. Vale, a paranoid scientist who believe that Superman was the vanguard of an alien invasion. Vale managed to save Corben transferring his brain into a metallic body of his own invention, a cybernetic construct powered by a chunk of Kryptonite. When Corben woke up in his new body, Dr. Vale told him everything he knew (or believed to know) about Superman’s true intentions, telling him that his new body, with the strength that provided him and, especially, with the radiations coming from his Kryptonite heart, was the ultimate weapon to kill a Kryptonian. Enraged from what Vale had done to him, Corben, now calling himself Metallo after the alloy his body was made of, killed the scientist and left his lab. Eventually, the opportunity given to him by his new powers led him to battle the Man of Steel all the same, but he was defeated by Superman. After the battle, Lex Luthor had Metallo’s body brought to him and, seeking his Kryptonite heart’s power, he took it away from him, apparently killing Corben.

Corben survived his encounter with Luthor, and managed to escape Lexcorp’s facility in which he was kept prisoner. In order to sustain himself, he started to raid Lexcorp’s warehouses, stealing every ounce of Kryptonite Luthor had collected during his years of war against Superman. Corben learnt how to modify Kryptonite to control it telepathically, so that he could remotely control every single body part of his. When some of his components ended up being a part of Robotman, the heroic cyborg of Doom Patrol, Metallo started a battle against the super team, who allied with Superman to take him down. Defeated, he was metallcomics2captured once again by Lex Luthor, but escaped one more time when he allied himself with the alien conqueror Brainiac. Along with Brainiac, Metallo managed to greatly improve his cybernetic body, and also kidnapped Reginald Augustine, founder of the Cadmus Project, and forced him to upgrade his powers. Metallo began to absorb any technological component present in Metropolis, world’s most advanced city, and grew to gigantic proportions. After other battles with Superman, he shrank to human size again, gaining the ability to transform every part of his body in any mechanical form he could think of. Metallo also battled Batman, when the Dark Knight and Superman embarked on a mission to erase every chunk of Kryptonite from the world: Corben’s heart was ripped of and replaced with an electronic one, that greatly reduced Metallo’s powers. There is yet another version of Metallo, with John Corben being an officer under General Sam Lane‘s command. When the Parasite went on a rampage, Corben volunteered to battle him in a Kryptonite-fueled mechanical suit developed by Lexcorp; when Corben was almost killed by his own suit, Lex Luthor saved his life by integrating him into his suit. Blaming Superman for the accident, also this version of Metallo became one of the Man of Steel’s greates and most dangerous enemies.

John Corben, being a reporter, a conman or a soldier, is a petty and treacherous man, who always has by-ends in everything he does. Greedy and power-thirsty, Corben will get his aim, no matter what the cost. As Metallo, he is an extremely powerful cyborg: apart from an incredible durability and a remarkable superhuman strength, he’s able to absorb any kind of metal increasing his physical size, to transform every part of his body into any mechanical structure he likes, with the only limit of the metal at his disposal, and to control any robotic technology he’s entered in contact with. Powered by radioactive Kryptonite, Metallo is one of Superman’s deadliest adversaries.