Lucas Bishop

bishopfilmFinally, let’s speak of the first newcomer we get to see from X-Men: Days of Future Past, the mutant from the future known as Bishop. Little or less is known about his role in the movie: he’ll be portrayed by French actor Omar Sy, and he’ll probably won’t come from a future so distant as the one in the comics, but “just” from the future old Professor X and Magneto belong to. So, he’ll act as an ally to the current X-Men team to contact and help the team from the ’60s dealing with the emergency of the rise of the Sentinels. Let’s see if the portrayal will give justice to the character; in the meanwhile, let’s speak about Lucas Bishop as he is in the comicbooks…

The main reality in the Marvel Universe is called Earth-616, and it’s the one in which most of the characters live; Lucas Bishop is from another reality, another timeline, called Earth-1191, a dimension in which some things differ from the main one, some major things in this case. In the 21st Century of this timeline, Bolivar Trask had built the Sentinels, mutant-hunting robots, programmed to erase the menace of super-powered beings, starting from mutants, of course, but also metahumans (such as Spider-Man, for example). When Bishop was born, in Australia, Professor X and most of the X-Men had been killed already, along as many other superheroes or supervillains, such as the Fantastic Four and many of the Avengers. Bishop’s family moved away from Australia just a day before it was nuked by the Sentinels, who went far beyond to their original program thanks to Master Mold, the artificial intelligence controlling them. Along with his parents and his sister Shard, Bishop moved to America, just in time to be imprisoned in a concentration camp for mutants (the M on his eye is a souvenir from that experience). They saw the failure of the Summers Rebellion, an uprising that united both normal humans and mutants to fight the Sentinels. The robots were destroyed, sure, but the Rebellion only started a time of civil war in which the bishopcomics1hatred between humans and mutants rose once again. Humans still feared mutants, while mutants formed terrorist organizations such as the Exhumes to fight against humans. Bishop’s parents died in the disorders, and Lucas and Shard were risen by a mysterious old man, calling himself Witness (actually, this timeline’s version of Remy “Gambit” LeBeau). They stayed with him until a “grandmother” (possibly Storm) showed up and took them away from LeBeau: the adoptive grandma taught the two children the stories of the legendary and heroic X-Men, who fought for coexistence between humans and mutants. When the grandmother died, a blind man called Hancock (maybe Cyclops) committed himself to raise the children, always teaching them the way of peace. Lucas, as a teenager, was mistrustful towards this pacifist ideas, and took a liking to the Exhumes, thus despising the Xavier Security Enforcers, a group of mutants founded by Hecat’e that acted as a police force against other dangerous mutants, seeking Xavier’s idea of peaceful cohabitation between mutants and humans.

Everything changed the day the XSE were pursuing an Exhume, Virago, who, on her way, took Shard as a hostage. Bishop tried to protect his sister, and, as a result, he was about to be killed by the woman, only to be saved by Sureshot, an XSE who killed the terrorist. When Hancock was killed by criminals Billboy and Halftrack, the XSE saved once again Lucas and Shard; in this occasion, Bishop manifested his mutant powers (he could absorb and redirect energy), and two XSE, Amazon and Recoil, were impressed enough to offer him a place in their ranks. Bishop accepted, only to the condition of having Shard with him as well, and he entered the XSE as a cadet. Shard became Bishop’s commanding officer, but Lucas preferred to stick to lower ranks in order to patrol streets with his friends Malcolm and Randall. He started to suspect that his sister’s boyfriend, another officer named Trevor Fitzroy, was actually a criminal, but couldn’t prove it, and Shard fell into an ambush set up by Fitzroy. Shard was attacked by Emplates, mutant vampires that lived on bone marrow, and turned into one of them. Bishop then went to Witness for help (he was imprisoned in New York), and he promised he would have transferred his sister’s conscience bishopcomics2into a holographic device…if Bishop agreed to work for him for one year. The man agreed: he killed his sister’s body to free her from her curse, while LeBeau transferred her mind into a device set on her brother’s wrist. Nobody knows what Bishop did during the year he left XSE to work for Witness, and he never spoke about it. Finally, after a year, Bishop came back to XSE and led his Omega Squad (he, Malcolm and Randall) to captured Fitzroy, hidden in the ruins of Xavier Institute. Here, Lucas found a damaged recording from Jean Grey warning about a traitor among the X-Men; when Bishop asked Witness about it, the old man only gave ambiguous answers, leading Bishop to think he had been the traitor at the time. When Fitzroy escaped in the past using a vast amount of mutant life force, Bishop and his team followed him, even knowing they couldn’t have possibly come back. In the past, the three XSE started hunting and killing the 93 mutant escapees, thus clashing with the original X-Men. Bishop, at first, clashed with the ones who had been his childhood heroes, not believing they were who they claimed to be, but ended up allying with them to take down Fitzroy, an effort that took the lives of Malcolm and Randall. Alone in the past, always suspecting towards Gambit (who he still regarded as the “traitor” Jean Grey spoke of in the future) and trying to learn the “soft way” for stopping criminals, Bishop became a member of the X-Men, trying to help for what he could and becoming part of the legend he had always admired.

Lucas Bishop is a tough man from a tough world: always used to do what he must to survive, with no half measure, he strives to learn how to fight “evil” without becoming just as violent as the criminals he’s pursuing. With a professional military training, Bishop is a master of both armed and unarmed combat; his mutant ability allows him to turn the energy he absorbs into physical attributes such as strength, durability, speed or stamina, or to use it to heal or to emit energy blasts. The rules of the new world sometimes seem to soft for Bishop, and the X-Men he now lives and fights with are not always up to the legendary image he created starting from the stories he heard as a child, but one thing’s for sure: Bishop will do whatever he thinks it’s necessary to prevent his future to happen.

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Zatanna Zatara

zatannafilmToday we leave the Marvel Universe in order to speak of the last DLC character released for Injustice: Gods Among Us, the heroic sorceress Zatanna Zatara. Despite being an extremely popular character, she only received one live action appearance in the tv series Smallville, as a recurrent guest star in the last three seasons. Portrayed by Serinda Swan, Zatanna acted both as a mysterious ally to Clark Kent and his friends and, more often, as a pesty and unpredictable menace, who enjoyed putting people and relationships at risk just for some fun. In the DC Universe, she’s a powerful and precious member of the Justice League of America (in several incarnations of the team), and definitely a heroine. Let’s see together.

Zatanna was born the daughter of Giovanni “John” Zatara, an adventurer and one of the most powerful magicians ever lived, and Sindella, member of a mystical race called Homo Magi. From her very first childhood, it was clear she would have been an incredibly skilled magician, especially considering her well-known ancestors, a century-long lineage that includes, among the others, the inventor Leonardo da Vinci, the alchemist Nicholas Flamel, the clairvoyant Nostradamus and the wizard Cagliostro. When her mother faked her death in order to come back to her people in Turkey, John kept her magical origins secret from his daughter, but, also as a child, Zatanna was fascinated by magic and prestidigitation. In her childhood, Zatanna lost her father too, since the sorceress Allura cursed them both with a spell that prevented each other to ever meet each other. The girl was raised by strangers, always with the desire of meeting her natural father. Once a teenager, she discovered her father’s diary and, inspired by it, she created a stage persona and started studying magic. With the money gained with her shows, Zatanna gave a new energy to her quest to find out the truth about her parents, and she started looking for her father around the world. In her travels she met John Constantine, a British occultist who she started an affair with, and who helped her zatannacomics1discovering her true powers: an innate ability with magic, the real stuff. She also met some members of the Justice League of America who helped her with her search. Finally, thanks to the help of Batman, Robin, Hawkman and HawkgirlElongated Man and Green Lantern, Allura’s spell was broken, and Zatanna was finally reunited with her father. John had finally the occasion to speak to Zatanna about her true origins, and especially of her mother Sindella. Finally, Zatanna had found a place in the world, having found loyal friends in the JLA and, most of all, a family she belonged.

Unfortunately, the family reunion didn’t last long. Zatara taught her daughter to handle her magic ability and to cast some spells: Zatanna learnt that, speaking backwards (a homage to her father’s style), she could bend reality to her own will. When Zatanna visited the city of the Hidden Ones (the Homo Magi she belonged to for half her genetic heritage) to learn more, however, things didn’t go as planned, and the other magicians threatened to keep her segregated forever, since they were feeding off medulla jewel, a special part of her brain that emanated a unique kind of energy, the same of her mother’s. Sindella herself intervened to save her daughter, but she died in the effort of protecting her from the Hidden Ones. Her mother’s death gave Zatanna the will and strength to take upon her Sindella’s heritage, and she studied to become one of the world’s most skilled magicians. She helped the Justice League with every magic foe that was beyond the other heroes’ reach, and she was finally regarded as the magician she always had been. When the Great Evil Beast, the embodiment of all the world’s evil, threatened to conquer and destroy all reality, both divine and demonic forces joined to stop it, and Zatanna was part of a team of four magicians committed to fight the Beast: the group consisted of Zatanna, her father, Constantine and Sargon the Sorcerer. The Beast was extremely powerful, and barely become aware of the sorcerers’ attacks; it noticed them just twice: the first time, its power litterally burnt Sargon alive, but he decided to die nobely and didn’t break the circle, passing away holding the zatannacomics2hands of his comrades; on the second time the Beast glimpsed at the magicians, Zatanna was about to be annihilated by its gaze, but John transferred the effects of the monster’s attack on himself, thus protecting his daughter and sacrificing himself to save her life. Eventually, Zatanna and Constantine managed to neutralize the Beast, but Zatanna’s life had changed forever one more time. Now carrying with her the will of her father and her mother, both of which died to protect her, Zatanna fought with the Justice League against many powerful foes, until she decided to give up with her adventurer’s life. She retired in Shadowcrest, Zatara’s manor, and became one of the Sentinels of Magic, powerful and hidden guardians watching over the balance of light and dark in the physical world and the other dimensions.

Zatanna Zatara is a carefree and provocative girl, who masks the pain of a cursed childhood behind a cheerful behavior and attitude. As one of the world’s most powerful magician, Zatanna disposes of a vast amount of powers, such as flight, the manipulation of the four natural elements, the ability to heal herself or others from wounds, teleportation, telepathy, and especially transformation, which she uses most often to turn her opponents’ weapon into harmless objects. She is also a good hand to hand fighter, and she uses some objects, such as her wand (which is not clear if it’s just a stage tool or an actual magical artifact) and her top hat (used as a dimensional portal) to increase her magic. Last one of a powerful lineage of magicians, Zatanna protects the worlds from threats whose existence normal people cannot possibly be aware of.

Max Eisenhardt/Erik Magnus Lensherr (Magneto)

magnetofilmSecond character having a cameo at the end of The Wolverine, Magneto is one of the most famous and powerful villains in the Marvel Universe. In the movies, he’s been portrayed in almost every film in the series by Sir Ian McKellen, as an enbittered old man that, after surviving Nazis’ extermination camps, swore vengeance against a world unable to accept minorities. In X-Men: First Class a younger version of the character appeared, portrayed by Michael Fassbender, seen at the beginning of his “career” when he was still hunting for Nazi war criminals in the 60s. Both versions will appear in X-Men: Days of Future Past next year, linked by a time travel. Despite he apparently lost his powers at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand, he seems to have regained his magnetic abilities, and he’s ready to use them in an alliance with the X-Men against a new menace for the mutant race. Let’s see who he is in the comics.

Magneto’s true name is Max Eisenhardt, and he was born in the 20s in Germany. He was the son of Jakob Eisenhardt, a decorated World War I veteran, and his wife Edie. He grew up in a big and loving family along with his sister Ruth, showing a sharp intellect that made his parents proud. While attending school in Nuremberg, Max fell in love with Magda, a Rome girl daughter of one of the school’s cleaners; Max tried to impress her in many ways, both with scholastic and athletic achievements, but, being a Jew, things didn’t go well for him, despite being one of the school’s best. Erich Eisenhardt, Max’s uncle, was found beaten almost to death for courting a German woman, and Max himself was first disqualified from athletics and then expelled from school when, magnetocomics1winning twice in a row a javeline competition, he was accused of cheating; Jakob searched for the help of Major Scharf, a veteran he saved from death during the war, but he got beaten too, and Scharf claimed they were even since Eisenhardt survived their encounter. In order to protect his family, Jakob decided to move to WarsawPolland, immediately after the Nuremberg Laws, but the Nazis soon invaded their new homecountry and the Eisenhardts were locked into the Ghetto. Max became a smuggler, and started to steal food and supplies for his family. When the situation became even worse, and the Germans started to deport Jews into the Death Camps, Jakob decided to escape with his family, but they were betrayed and the Nazis caught them. The entire family was executed on place, but Max was saved by Jakob, who protected him from the bullets (actually, Max’s newborn mutant powers may have had a role in the boy’s miraculous survival). Believed to be dead, Max was buried along with the corpses of his dead family in a mass grave, and spent some hours under the ground, strieving to breath among the dead. The nightmare was far from over, and when the boy managed to dig his way out of the grave, he was found and caught by the Nazis again, and brought to Auschwitz. In here, a teenager Max became a Sonderkommando, a Jew forced to help the Nazis run the gas chambers. It was thanks to this task that he managed to be reunited with his beloved Magda and to save her from certain death. At the end of the war, when the Sonderkommando revolted, Max and Magda escaped from Auschiwitz, got married and lived in isolation in a village on the Carpatian Mountains. They had a daughter, Anya.

Being the only Eisenhardt survived to the war, Max learnt the hard way what humans could do to somebody they regarded as “different”. On the Carpatians, Max contacted Georg Odekirk, a renowned forger, and asked him to create a new identity for him, since what remained of Max Eisenhardt died in Auschwitz. Max was given the name Erik Lensherr, which belonged to a dead Rome, and added to it the middle name Magnus. With a brand new identity and a new life to live, Erik moved to Vinnitsa with his family, but in there men’s hatred reached him once again: he used his mutant powers for the first time, trying to force his boss, who was cheating on the pay, to make him justice, but the only result was that his house was set on fire that same night. Erik tried to save Anya, who was trapped inside, but was stopped magnetocomics2by KGB agents, called by his boss. The man was forced to watch helplessy as his daughter burnt alive, and the rage triggered once again his powers: controlling magnetism, he annihilated the soldiers and the agents restraining him, killed much of the crowd that had gathered to watch, and destroyed a big part of Vinnitsa as retaliation. Magda, traumatized by both her daughter’s death and her husband’s violence, fled, without even saying to Erik that she was pregnant once again: they would have never seen each other again. Trying to leave pain behind, Erik travelled to HaifaIsrael, and started volunteering in a psychiatric hospital for Holocaust victims. There, he met Charles Xavier, a young idealist who became his best friend. Despite they didn’t reveal each other their nature as mutants, they spent hours discussing the possibiliy of a peaceful coexistence between homo sapiens sapiens and homo sapiens superior, with Erik always remarking the evil nature of mankind and the impossibility of peace. While the two of them were in Haifa, a major Nazi criminal, Baron Von Strucker, attacked the city with his Hydra, trying to collect part of his gold back. Revealing their nature for the first time, Erik and Charles fought together, but Xavier stopped his friend from killing Strucker once he was defeated. After the battle, Erik decided that Charles’ ideals were incompatible with his own, and he left with the Nazis’ gold. After some time working for Mossad hunting Nazi criminals around the world, Erik created a new identity, Magneto, swearing to protect any mutant from the fear and the hatred of the normal humans. Magneto gathered other mutants with his same ideas on mankind and founded the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, a terrorist organization committed in asserting the superiority of mutants over humans. The war for supremacy and survival had begun.

Max Eisenhardt, or Erik Lensherr, is a man who endured an extreme pain, and survived enough to turn it into anger. Being an excellent strategist with a good military training and a genius level intellect, Erik is a man dangerous enough to be considered a dangerous criminal mastermind, but, more to this, he’s also the most powerful mutant on the planet. As Magneto, he has complete control over magnetic fields, and this doesn’t only allow him to manipulate metals, to create force fields or to fly: it also allows him to manipulate Earth’s magnetic field itself, causing unimaginable damage to the planet if he only wanted to. Luckily, despite his violent nature, Magneto possesses a strong ethics, and has been during the years also a precious ally to the X-Men and their cause. A man who could destroy life on Earth, only fights for the protection of an ethnic minority…with every single means he considers necessary.

Charles Francis Xavier (Professor X)

professorxfilmFinally I’m back, with a ton of characters to speak about. In these days, I managed to see The Wolverine, and there are a couple of very well known characters appearing in the mid-credit sequence. The first one is Professor X, leader and founder of the X-Men, portrayed in almost every movie of the series by Sir Patrick Stewart. The younger version of Charles Xavier that appeared in X-Men: First Class was portrayed by James McAvoy, and both actors will return in X-Men: Days of Future Past next year. The movie version of the character has more or less the same personality and powers as the comics’ one, but differs in many details regarding his past. Sure, Xavier was a friend of Magneto and started to fight for mutant rights along with him, but in quite a different way than the one portrayed on screen. Let’s see together.

Charles Francis Xavier was the mutant son of Brian and Sharon Xavier, a wealthy couple from New York City. The child’s powers were incredibly strong since before his birth: Sharon, in fact, was pregnant of two twins, but fetus-Charles, sensing the innate evil nature of his sister (who would have later become Cassandra Nova) tried to kill her with his already developed psychic powers, leading to a miscarriage. When Charles was a child, Brian Xavier died in a car accident, and Sharon, looking for a father to her son, married Brian’s colleague, Dr. Kurt Marko. Marko was a cruel man, interested only in Sharon’s money, and he immediately started neglecting her, driving her to alcoholism, and beating his step son Charles and his natural one, Cain. Trying to control his newly found psychic powers, Charles tried toprofessorxcomics1 “cure” his step brother Cain from the trauma of his violent father, but his attempts managed only to fill Cain with rage against him: Cain was stronger and envious of Charles’ intellect, and the latter became the object of his brother’s bullying. Sharon Xavier died because of her alcoholism soon after, and this only made Kurt Marko even more violent with his sons. When Charles tried to stop the umpteenth fight between Kurt and Cain, some of Marko’s lab equipment exploded, and Kurt managed to drag out the two children before dying; during this occasion, cain learnt of Xavier’s powers, and regarded him as an enemy from that moment on. Using his father’s fortune, Charles entered Oxford University, and started a brilliant career, gaining both scholastic and athletic success. At university, Charles met Moira Kinross, and the two fell in love; they were about to get married, but Xavier was called to serve in the Korean War…in the same unit as Cain Marko. When his step brother tried to desert, Xavier followed him to bring him back, but managed only to watch helplessy as Cain found the mystical Ruby of Cyttorak and became the invulnerable Juggernaut a moment before the cave they were in collapsed. Xavier believed his brother dead, and came back to his unit. In the army, he became known as the Good Shepherd, loved and trusted by everyone. When he came back for a licence, Moira broke up with him with no apparent reason.

Depressed after Moira’s departure, especially after he learnt that she had married her ex abusive boyfriend Joseph MacTaggert, Xavier used his immense fortune to travel abroad. He left the Army and went everywhere in the world, until he arrived in Egypt. While in Cairo, Charles met a young pickpocket, Ororo Munroe, that seemed to have some special gifts just like him; while trying to contact her, anyway, Xavier was attacked by another powerful mutant going by the name of Shadow King, barely winning the psychic battle that ensued. Xavier decided that he would have dedicated his life to protect normal human beings (homo sapiens sapiens) from evil mutants, and innocent mutants (homo sapiens superior) from the fear and the abuses of humans, trying to build an utopia of peaceful coexistence. professorxcomics2Xavier kept travelling until he reached HaifaIsrael, where he met a holocaust survivor, a man calling himself Erik Magnus Lensherr. The two of them became friends, and spent hours debating what would have happened if humans found out about a new race of superhumans, both being unaware of each other’s mutation: while Xavier was optimistic, Lensherr, having lived the lager experience, believed that cohabitation was impossible, and that the new minority would have been oppressed and hunted just like every other one in history. When the group of volunteers they were working with was attacked by Baron Von Strucker and his Hydra survivors, the two mutants revealed their respective powers and fought together, vanquishing the Nazis; when Erik tried to kill the Baron, anyway, Xavier stopped him, thus alienating Lensherr. Believing their views on humanity were incompatible, Erik left Xavier and escaped with Von Strucker’s gold, and Charles started his wanderings once again. Charles went to IndiaGreeceRussia and many other places, meeting good and bad mutants, and falling in love many times. He lost his hair thanks to the energy constantly emitted by his brain, and lost the use of his legs in a fight with the alien Lucifer. When he came back to the US, he had decided to educate a new generation of mutants to his ideals of peaceful cohabitation with humans, founding a school with the help of FBI agent Fred Duncan. Xavier transformed his manor in the School for Gifted Youngsters, and, after losing his new girlfriend, Amelia Voght (who believed that the best way to protect mutants was to keep them hidden from the world) and his old friend Erik, who he confronted once again after he had become the mutant terrorist Magneto, Xavier found his first students: Jean GreyScott SommersHank McCoyBobby Drake and Warren Worthington III, five mutants looking for a guide. When the first superheroes appeared, Xavier decided that some mutant superheroes would have helped the people accept the new race, and transformed his students in the first X-Men, heroes protecting humans from other mutants. His dream was far from being fulfilled, but the first step had been taken.

Charles Xavier is a wise and extremely intelligent man, an idealist that believes in a world with no hatred or fear between humans and mutants. Despite many mistakes and “necessary lies”, Xavier fights truly and sincerely for his dream, sure that it will lead to a better world. A proficent hand-to-hand fighter and a genius in many fields, Xavier’s greatest ability is surely his mutant power, that makes him the world’s most powerful telepath. His mutation grants him the ability to control people’s body and mind, to locate anyone in any part of the world, to erase or manipulate memories, to make himself and others “invisible” or different in appearance by erasing his presence from other people’s perception, and much more. His abilities can become even stronger when Xavier uses Cerebro, a machine that Professor X himself built after his confrontation with the Shadow King. Despite being on a wheelchair, Xavier is one of the world’s most powerful men, able to change people’s mind with a simple thought…but, despite this, he choses to change it through comprehension and peaceful persuasion.