Emil Blonsky (Abomination)

abominationfilmMaybe you didn’t notice (or you just don’t care, but never mind), but in the episode Pilot of the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tv series, many characters had little cameos. When the agents are looking at the monitors, we can get peaks of some of the Avengers (namely Captain America, Thor and Iron Man) and a couple of “monsters”, as they say. One is the lovely Hulk, the other one… is the ugly and bad version of him, the Abomination. He appeared in The Incredible Hulk as the main villain, a decorated soldier hired by General Ross to hunt down the Hulk, who tried to use the Super Soldier Serum and had some awful counter effects after an overdose, becoming a giant green monster. In the short The Consultant, he’s been revealed to be in the Army’s custody: the World Security Council wanted him to be in the Avengers, but Agent Coulson and Agent Sitwell managed to have Tony Stark irritate Ross in a way he refused to let the Abomination go. Now, he’s still imprisoned somewhere… Let’s see who he is in the comics.

The Abomination’s real name is Emil Blonsky. He was a KGB spy from Yugoslavia, a man deeply faithful to the ideals moving the Comunist Russia, with only one thing he loved more than his own country: Nadia, his beautiful wife, a classic dancer he adored. Despite his sincere feelings for her, Blonsky’s violent nature sometimes surfaced also in their marriage, and Emil sometimes hit his wife when he was drunk enough not to think about it, immediately regretting it once he regained his consciousness. Needless to say, despite their love, Nadia was much safer when her husband was sent on mission. And quite a big one awaited for him: the Soviet intelligence learnt that somewhere in New Mexico the Americans were developing a new kind of nuclear weapon based on Gamma Radiation, a project overseen by General “Thunderbolt” Ross. Blonsky received the task of infiltrating the base and sabotaging the bomb. Blonsky managed to enter Desert Base along with his partner, Bogatin, pretending to be an American soldier, an tried to sabotage the abominationcomics1defense system of the base (and, once, of USA themselves), but he failed, more than once, even if he kept his identity secret, always hiding before anybody could see him tampering with missiles or systems. In those days, Desert Base was visited by the alien known as The Stranger, who had just decided that humanity wasn’t ready for nuclear weapons and decided to annihilate it; using his enormous powers, The Stranger mind-controlled Hulk (the green creature appeared recently in the base) to destroy everything and everyone on his path, but he was unable to control Bruce Banner, his human side. When Hulk reverted to his Banner form, the scientist decided to commit suicide to save the world from himself, and built a Gamma Ray Projector able to invest him with such an amount of Gamma Radiations to kill him. Unfortunately, General Ross stopped him before he could do it (he wanted to use the Hulk for military purposes), and had security take him away. In the lab, however, there was a man hidden: Blonsky, who was trying to sabotage something else in the base. Without knowing the purpose of the machine, he activated it, and was invested by twice the radiations Banner had absorbed when he first transformed into the Hulk.

Unexpectedly to anyone (also to Bogatin, who was witnessing his friend’s “experiment”), Blonsky wasn’t killed by the radiations, but he was transformed as well. He became a massive, reptilian-like green creature, with twice the strength of Hulk (at least, when the latter doesn’t get too angry) and able to retain his full human intellect. The side effect, however, was tragic: Blonsky wasn’t able to regain his human appearance anymore. At first, however, Blonsky was just intoxicated by his new power, and decided he could have taken USA down by himself. He first confronted a still mind-controlled Hulk, and he almost killed him in combat. He then proceeded to attack the soldiers, and ultimately kidnapped Betty Ross (who nicknamed him “The Abomination”) to challenge her father, General Ross. The General was so desperate at the perspective of losing of his abominationcomics2daughter, that, despite his hatred for him, he decided to have the Hulk cured, so that he could go after Blonsky. Thanks to his friend Rick Jones, Hulk broke the Stranger’s control, and, back to his human form, Banner created a machine that could depower Blonsky. The ray worked, but Banner transformed into the Hulk and crashed it before it could completely depower the Abomination. The monster regained his full strength, and attacked the Hulk, sure he could beat him again. This time, Betty’s life was at stake, and Hulk exceeded the Abomination’s strength thanks to his anger. The Abomination was defeated, and Banner’s heroism convinced the Stranger that there was still hope for humanity; the alien then proceeded to kidnap Blonsky, taking him to his planet, Stranger’s World (not a lot of fantasy in this one). Bogatin didn’t say anything back in the Soviet Union about his partner’s transformation, and reported Blonsky to be killed in action; Nadia received all the honors of a war widow, and kept living her life, sure she wouldn’t have seen her beloved husband again. But the Abomination was alive, and he came back to Earth on several occasions. He was once accidentally summoned by a coven of witches who wanted “a tool” to battle Silver Surfer, but he was defeated and sent back to the Stranger’s World. He also tried to start a riot on the planet uniting the Stranger’s prisoners, with the aid of none others than Thor, but his plan ultimately failed. He finally managed to leave the planet thanks to the crew of the Andromeda, a space-ship that freed many prisoners. The Abomination became first mate on the Andromeda, and then, finally, came back to Earth. His hideous appearance, however, prevented him to reveal anybody Emil Blonsky was still alive, so he started a personal war against the Hulk, whom he considered responsible for his condition.

Emil Blonsky is a patriot, but also a greedy and violent man, a loyal soldier who focuses his anger into the missions entrusted to him by his superiors. The only human feeling he’s able to feel is the unconditioned love for his wife, Nadia, replaced by a neverending pain and a deep rage from the moment he lost her forever. As the Abomination, he possesses an overwhelming strength, being also nearly invulnerable; he also possesses superhuman speed and stamina, and a powerful healing factor; retaining his human intellect, the Abomination has proven to be more a threat than Hulk ever was. When the two titans battle, the earth itself shakes.


Maria Hill

mariahillfilmYesterday night the new tv series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered, an expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that will follow the missions of a S.H.I.E.L.D. team (led by the revived Agent Coulson) committed in the containment of super-powered individuals… promising the introduction of more than a character from the comics. In the Pilot episode, we met again one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s directors, Maria Hill, portrayed by  Cobie Smulders. She debuted on the big screen in The Avengers, while facing the crisis started by Loki‘s schemes and trying to contain her direct superior, Nick Fury. She’s set to return in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but her role in the movie is not yet specified. We can assume she’ll enlist Captain America into S.H.I.E.L.D., following him in his first steps in a brand new world. Waiting for the second Cap movie, let’s see who Director Hill is in the comics.

Well, we cannot say that Maria Hill had a happy and “normal” childhood. She was born in ChicagoIllinois, on the coldest day of winter (the temperature dropped under 40 degrees below 0, that year). The difficult weather conditions made her birth quite a difficult one, and her mother died after the delivery. Maria’s father, who was deeply in love with his wife, instead of welcoming the girl as the last living memory of his beloved, regarded her as his wife’s killer, and never forgave her for “murdering” her own mother. Maria grew up in quite a hostile environment, feeling every year more than the previous one her father’s disdain towards her. She tried her best to gain her parent’s love, and she always turned out to be the best in what she did: the best student, the best athlete, the best-polished girl in town, but she always failed in her attempts. As a teenager, she surrendered to the idea she would have never been loved by her father, and she slowly became a cold-hearted woman, mariahillcomics1surely well-prepared and professional, skilled and reliable, but with little or no compassion at all. She joined the Army, and she served for a while in Madripoor, quite a difficult territory, an Asian principality which had been ruled for a while by the war criminal known as Viper. Her services in the East gained her the attentions of her superiors, and she continued her career joining S.H.I.E.L.D., under the directorate of the living legend Nick Fury. Used to do everything by the book and extremely law-abiding, Hill became a fierce opponent to Fury’s way of directing S.H.I.E.L.D., and the two of them often clashed over the most delicate positions the organization embraced. Eventually, Fury lost his credit among S.H.I.E.L.D. and the superhero community when he organized a preventive attack in Latveria with a small group of super-powered agents, and then erased their memories of what had happened perfectly knowing it was against any international treaty (the so-called Secret War). When Latveria retaliated, almost killing Luke Cage in the process, Fury abandoned his position as S.H.I.E.L.D. director and disappeared without leaving a trace. The position as leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. was now vacant, and some leaders of UNO nations had a crystal clear view on who would have been a more than perfect replacement.

Maria Hill was appointed as Executive Director, seen by the powerful people that elected her as someone who would have cut the support S.H.I.E.L.D. had previously given to the superhero community, and who would have been more loyal to the United States than to UNO. Hill was this, and more. As a first act as Director, she tried to prevent the Avengers to reform after the team’s disbandment following Scarlet Witch‘s madness. Her plan failed the moment a crisis in the Savage Land forced Captain America to form a whole-new formation of the heroes, but she kept monitoring the Avengers, trying to contain them in any way she could. Despite following the US President’s order regarding the mariahillcomics2superhuman community, Hill proved to have a conscience on her own when she refused to nuke an island the Avengers were operating on, thus gaining Iron Man‘s respect, if not trust (the two of them would have later become even lovers). When the US Government, following the destruction of Stamford‘s elementary school during a fight between the New Warriors and the villain Nitro, approved the Superhuman Registration Act (a law that forced every superhuman being to register their secret identities and become official government agents), Hill was entrusted with the application of the new law. She summoned Captain America, and ordered him to lead the Avengers against any rogue hero or villain refusing to register; when Cap refused, she tried to have him arrested, only to see him vanquishing a S.H.I.E.L.D. elite squad and running away, becoming the leader of the Secret Avengers. During the following Civil War, Director Hill was among the fiercest and most effective supporters of the official Avengers led by Iron Man: she blackmailed Wonder Man forcing him to support the Act, and released the deadly Thunderbolts (in the formation led by Songbird) after the rogue hero Spider-Man. The events of Civil War, anyway, tried Maria more than she expected, and she resigned from her position, suggesting that Tony Stark took her place, something the President allowed. From that point, Hill was appointed Acting Deputy Director, keeping an eye on every new Director from Stark on.

Maria Hill is an incredibly cold woman, calculating and almost incapable of empathy. Gifted with an incredibly strong personality, Hill has always managed to be obeyed and respected, despite never been loved. As a S.H.I.E.L.D. officer and operative, she’s received a hard training that makes her a proficient armed and unarmed combatant, expert of many forms of martial arts and of any kind of fire weapon. A good tactician, experienced in espionage and a real master in dealing with the high spheres, Maria Hill is one of the strongest pillars of S.H.I.E.L.D., an agent who will always be faithful to her assignment.

Steven “Steve” Rogers (Captain America)

captainamericafilmAlmost forgot: in Agent Carter opening, another character appears, actually the protagonist of Captain America: The First Avenger and its sequel The Winter SoldierSteve Rogers himself, the stars-and-stripes hero Captain America portrayed by Chris Evans. While the last Marvel Cinematic Universe portrayal of the character is more or less faithful to the comics’ one, the previous incarnations of Rogers weren’t at all. In the very first one, 1944 serial, Captain America was a district attorney named Grant Gardner, portrayed by Dick Purcell, a masked vigilante who went around shooting villains. Then, it was Reb Brown‘s turn, and he portrayed Captain America in two movies (Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon) as the son of the original Captain America, who was murdered by terrorist organization FLAG, a modern day guy who decided to become a crime-fighting biker. Last but not least, Matt Salinger portrayed the hero in the 1990 movie: Rogers was this time a lumpy guy who was cured by the Super Soldier Serum and who battled his long time enemy the Red Skull in modern times after being frozen in Alaska. Now, let’s see who Rogers really is in the comics.
Almost foreshadowing his future, Steven Rogers was born on July 4th, 1920, from a poor Irish immigrants family. Joseph Rogers, his father, died when frail and skinny Steve was still a kid, and Sarah, the mother, was killed by a pneumonia soon after. Steve found a job as a delivery boy and moved to a rooming house, trying his best to earn a living as an orphaned teenager. The only evasions he allowed himself were his art (he was a skilled drawer) and cinema, which he loved. Once, in 1940, he watched a documentary about the horrors of Nazism, and decided he would have done his part to protect America and the world from the German tyranny. He volunteered to enter
captainamericacomics1the Army, but he was discharged because of his frail constitution. Steve’s determination was unique, and he came back, time after time, office after office, trying to enlist. His spirit attracted the attention of General Chester Phillips, an old, idealistic officer who offered him a chance to prove himself: Operation Rebirth, a secret project created by German scientist Abraham Erskine whose aim was to create a Super Soldier to fight Nazis. Steve gladly accepted, and started testing for the experiment. After some delays (caused by a Nazi spy, Cynthia Glass), Steve finally underwent the treatment. On the experiment’s day, yet another Nazi agent infiltrated the project, Heinz Krueger, who killed Erskine and tried to do the same with Steve, only to be subdued by the Super Soldier’s incredible abilities. Unfortunately, the formula died with Erskine, and Rogers was the one and only Super Soldier at USA’s disposal. In 1941, Steve Rogers, code-named Captain America and equipped with a unique costume and an indestructible shield built with Vibranium retrieved from Wakanda, was sent in mission for the first time. As an opposite to Hitler Youth, Captain America was paired with Bucky Barnes, a kid who served as a mascot in a military camp Cap had visited. Along with Bucky, Cap accomplished a mission after the other, becoming the Axis‘s main enemy.
During his war time, Captain America fought many Nazi criminals, such as his opposite Red Skull, Baron von StruckerBaron Zemo, the Hangman, mad scientist Arnim Zola and many others; he also gained the trust of powerful allies, such as the Invaders (the original Human Torch, ToroNamor the Sub-Mariner), Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos, Canadian agent James “Wolverine” HowlettFrankenstein’s Monster and others. A living legend, Cap faced any kind of threat the Nazis had up their sleeve, from armies to supernatural threats, until he eventually managed to put an end to the menace of both Adolf Hitler and the Red Skull. During the final days of the war, Steve and Bucky were assigned with the surveillance of a secret drone plane, but Baron Zemo attacked their convoy, arming the drone and pointing it to American soil. In the following battle, the two heroes managed to divert the plane to the captainamericacomics2Atlantic Ocean, but they seemingly died in the effort. Cap, in reality, was brought North by the streams, and his body was frozen solid in the Arctic Sea; the Super Soldier Serum in his veins kept him alive, and he stayed in suspended animation for years. Decades later, Namor found his old wartime ally, who had become the idol of an Inuit tribe while still in the ice; the Sub-Mariner took Rogers away from this “iceman cult”, and, when he faced the newly-formed Avengers, he gave the body to them. The heroes recognized the legendary costume, and, once they realized he was still alive, they proceeded to defrost him and to revive him. Captain America woke up to meet his saviors: Iron ManThorGiant-Man, the Wasp and Hulk, the founding Avengers, who asked him to join their ranks. Rogers accepted, always eager to fight for the right cause, even if he still had to face some traumas, first of all being suddenly projected in a world that, in his time, was considered a distant future. He also tried to replace Bucky for a while with Rick Jones, who also arrived to don his same costume, but at last (after a traumatizing battle with a hard-to-kill Baron Zemo) he decided to let his friend go, giving up of trying to resurrect the past. A natural born leader, Captain America became a reference figure for his teammates, until he was officially appointed as the leader of the Avengers in most of their formations. In modern times like in old ones, the Sentinel of Liberty was on the battlefield to defend the values he swore to protect.
Steve Rogers is, first of all, a patriot, a man who firmly believes in the values that are the basis of America (thus often fighting the Government when it doesn’t follow those principles) and who’s ready to sacrifice everything for them. A good man, honest, characterized by a strong will and a natural charisma, Steve is simply incapable of falseness, duplicity or hypocrisy. The Super Soldier Serum brought his physical attributes (strength, reflexes, speed, stamina, durability, senses) to the human peak, and the hard training he underwent during wartime made him the perfect soldier, one of the most proficient fighters ever lived, expert of any form of armed or unarmed combat, an invincible warrior who only fights to protect the weak and the defenseless. A man out of his time, Captain America strives to understand the new world he lives in, with the deep certainty that what was called “good” in the 40s is even more necessary for contemporary times, during which humanity seems to have lost its way.

Timothy Aloysius Cadwallader “Dum-Dum” Dugan

dumdumduganfilmIn the mid-credit scene of Agent CarterHoward Stark is enjoying his swimming pool and a cocktail with an old friend, who’s admiring one of the world’s latest inventions (bikini…): it’s Dum-Dum Dugan, portrayed by Neal McDonough. The actor played the role of Dugan in Captain America: The First Avenger already, as a member of the heroic Howling Commandos and a precious friend and ally for Captain America himself. The first live action portrayal of the character goes back up to 1998, when Gary Chalk played Timothy Dugan in tv-movie Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. This version of Dugan was older and out of the field, a retired agent who became one of the leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D. after a honorable career. Let’s see together who Dum-Dum Dugan is in the comics.

Timothy Aloysius Cadwallader Dugan, Dum-Dum for short, was born in Boston,  Massachussets, some time in the 1920s. When World War II was spreading through Europe, Dum-Dum was working as a strongman in a circus. It was in this period that, in Netherlands, he met two American soldiers who were trying to escape from the Nazi army during a rescue mission: Nick Fury and Sam “Happy” Sawyer. Using his great strength, Dum-Dum saved the two Americans and helped them bringing the scientist they were protecting in England, but his job in the circus was now compromised, since he had helped the enemies of the Reich. Unable to come back, and now determined to do his part in the war, Timothy joined the British Army, also gaining some accent that would have made him be often mistaken for a British guy from there on. In the meanwhile, Nick Fury had been appointed leader of a task force, and Happy Sawyer was the man in charge of forming it: remembering the help he and his fellow received while escaping the Nazis, Sawyer tracked Dum-Dum Dugan back in the British Army, and offered him the role of second in command in Fury’s First Attack Squad  (nicknamed “Howling Commandos”). Dugan accepted the offer, starting with Fury and the others a friendship that would have lasted more than half a century. With his inseparable fedora, Dum-Dum became the terror of the Nazis, and his dumdumdugancomics1exceptional strength and his mastership over small weapons and unarmed combat were feared by all enemies. Dugan’s rival during the war was Siegfried, a bar brawler that Baron Zemo had chosen as a member of his Blitzkrieg Squad as a match for Dum-Dum. He also fought many other war enemies, such as the Red SkullColonel Klaue, the Agent of 1000 Faces and many others, also supernatural ones like the immortal Baron Blood. Dugan also led the team every time Fury was absent or wounded, proving to be quite a capable leader: that’s why Happy Sawyer ordered him to found and train another task force, the Deadly Dozen, which he also led in mission alongside his fellow Howlers Dino Manelli and Percival Pinkerton. He was reassigned to the Howling Commandos just in time for the end of the war, and he fought the decisive battle against Adolf Hitler along with the Howlers, the Deadly Dozen and also the heroic duo Captain America & Bucky.

As a volunteer, he joined Nick Fury and the Commandos in Korea, first, and then in Vietnam, being the most experienced soldier in the squad after Fury himself. After all this time fighting together, Dugan and Fury became close friends, and it was no surprise that Dum-Dum followed Fury when he was appointed director of S.H.I.E.L.D., a global security secret organization. Dugan was enlisted as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s sub-director, and responsible for the security of the Helicarrier, the floating headquarter. Along with another old Howler, Gabe Jones, Dum-Dum was among S.H.I.E.L.D.’s best operatives, and, above all, Fury’s most trusted man. Together, they fought the Zodiac, Hydra, the Maggia and many other terrorist organizations, as well as single individuals of great power (Mentallo, the Fixer, a cybernetic clone of Yellow Claw and many others). When the mutant giant lizard known as Godzilla attacked the States, Dum-Dum was put in charge of the Godzilla Squad, a team created specifically for hunting dumdumdugancomics2and containing the monster. He led the Squad with a unique style (he also charged the giant beast with a shield and a lance, like a Medieval knight), and grew to respect Godzilla in some ways, with time. When Godzilla eventually left the States and came back to the Ocean, Dugan was reassigned to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s sub-directorate. He was raised to the title of Director when Fury “died”, but he resigned when the whole death thing was revealed to be part of an elaborated plan to expose some spies inside S.H.I.E.L.D., and he came back to be the Deputy Director, happy to be with his “resurrected” friend again. All the years on the field proved his physique, and Dum-Dum suffered a serious heart attack, that greatly compromised his on-field capabilities. When most of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were replaced by Deltites (cyborgs created by Arnim Zola and a rogue Life Model Decoy), Dum-Dum had his loyalty in Fury put on the test for the first time, when Nick’s plans to eradicate the LMD menace involved putting his friend directly at risk. When the chrisis was solved and the Deltites destroyed, Dugan stayed at Fury’s side despite everything had happened, and always followed him in the following adventures.

Timothy “Dum-Dum” Dugan is a good man and a loyal friend, always putting himself on the first line to fight for a good cause. Despite his remarkable age, he’s still a good S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, and, even if his skills are not the same as when he was young anymore (especially after the heart attack), he’s still one of the strongest men in the team, and a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, master of judo and many other martial arts. A boxer and a wrestler, a nearly infallible marksman, a skilled tactician and a capable leader, Dum-Dum Dugan is one of S.H.I.E.L.D. best resources, a honest and upright man of proved integrity that will never betray the ideals and the people he’s fighting for.

Howard Stark

howardstarkfilmAt the end of Agent Carter, a very important man calls the Strategic Scientific Research to order Peggy Carter‘s promotion to the newborn Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistic Division (aka S.H.I.E.L.D.), another old acquaintance: it’s Howard Stark, portrayed by Dominic Cooper. The character first appeared in the Iron Man movie series: in the first one, portrayed by Gerard Sanders, as an absent father for Tony Stark, whose death in a car accident left his son a forever-immature man with some Oedipus complex. In Iron Man 2 Howard was portrayed by John Slattery, and, through registrations, he finally made his son acknowledge his love for him, and he also left a legacy for Tony to bring on (the creation of a new element, native of Asgard). Finally, he appeared in his youth in Captain America: The First Avenger, where he became a friend and ally for Steve Rogers. He’s set to return in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and, since it’s Cooper portraying him once again, he’ll certainly appear only in flashbacks. Let’s see together who Tony Stark’s father is in the comics.

Howard Stark (Jr.) was the son of billionaire Howard Stark, Sr., and lived in RichfordNew York. Since he was very little, he developed a passion for mechanical engineering, a trait he had inherited from his father. Growing up, he became a famous and respected inventor, and he ran Stark Industries with his father until his old man’s death. When he was young, he met Maria Collins Carbonell, a brilliant woman he fell in love with; the two married just before World War II started, signing the beginning of howardstarkcomics1Howard’s governmental period. Because of his intellect and skills, in fact, US Government decided to deploy Stark’s inventions during the war. During the ’40s, Stark actively participated to the Super Soldier Project, the same one that later gave birth to Captain America, and to Manhattan Project, becoming one of the scientists who created the Atomic Bomb. Fully understanding the danger a man like Howard Stark represented for the Third Reich, the Nazi mastermind Red Skull had him and his wife kidnapped. Howard and Maria were tortured for days by the Skull, who wanted to learn something about the Manhattan Project, but the Starks proved to be loyal and strong, and they resisted torture until they were freed by Captain America, Bucky and Nick Fury‘s Howling Commandos. When the War ended, Stark built yet another thing for the Government: with Cold War starting, he created an army of robots he called Arsenal, and he hid them under his own mansion; the robots were programmed to activate in case of a Russian invasion, but, many years later, the Avengers accidentally activated them, and had to destroy them in order to stop their destructive spree.

During the Cold War, Howard Stark was contacted by a secret organization, which called itself Brotherhood of the Shield: a sect of men and women who excelled in their own field who vowed to protect Earth from any menace. He was also contacted by the Hellfire Club, but he refused their offer to join their ranks, preferring to enter the Brotherhood. In here, he became friends with another genius man, Nathaniel Richards (future father of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four), and he worked with him for the brotherhood. Together, they found and enlisted Leonid, a mysterious man with great powers, and they introduced him to the High Council located in the Immortal City, an underground base in RomeItaly. It was the time in which the Brotherhood had split in two opposite factions, one with Leonardo Da Vinci as a leader, the other led by Isaac Newton (both the geniuses were time-travelers). In order to prevent the Brotherhood’s howardstarkcomics2destruction, Stark and Richards, aided by the mysterious Night Machine (actually, a resurrected Nikola Tesla in disguise), appointed Leonid as an arbiter to the conflict: with Leonardo as a new leader, the Brotherhood lived on, slowly evolving into S.H.I.E.L.D. Meanwhile, Howard had a son from Maria, Anthony Edwards, who grew up to be a genius just like his father was. Maria’s gestation had had some problems, and Howard asked for some alien help to save his unborn child: with the help of Rigellian Recorder 451 and Kree technology, Howard had saved his child, and also “programmed” him to be a better inventor than he ever was, allowing humanity to reach unthinkable technological goals in no time. That’s why Howard always pushed his son to his limits, never praising his successes, but always asking more from him. This behavior, however, alienated Tony from his father, and the two became strangers one to another. Tony developed a real rivalry with Howard, starting a conflict that was never solved, since Howard died, still relatively young, in a car accident that took the life of Maria as well. Some say that the accident was orchestrated by the V-Battalion, a heroic team Stark maybe joined during the war, that had been turned by Baron Zemo into a private organization for his evil plans.

Howard Stark is one of Earth’s most intelligent men: intuitive, brilliant, capable of seeing things in a way nobody else can, he’s one of the reasons USA won World War II. Unfortunately, his brain cannot make him also the good man he always wanted to be, and his relation with his son Tony has been ruined by both his expectations towards his genetically-enhanced heir and his growing alcoholism problem.

Margaret “Peggy” Carter (Agent 13)

peggycarterfilmLast month, Iron Man 3 has been released in home video, and along with it, another Marvel One Shot (Marvel Studios’ short films), Agent Carter. In the short, three characters return after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, and the first one is the protagonist who also gave the One Shot its title: Peggy Carter, portrayed by Hayley Atwell. The character was featured in The First Avenger as one of Captain America‘s superior officers (and later love interest), a woman striving to prove her value in an Army made of men only. In Agent Carter she still fights the same battle, but in the Strategic Scientific Reserve; she gets to prove herself single-handedly defeating the terrorist organization Zodiac. Apart from appearing in a photo in The Avengers, where she’s revealed to be retired but still alive, she’s slated to come back in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, even if it’s unknown if she’ll appear in some flashbacks or as a ninety-old year woman in the present. Meanwhile, let’s see who she is in the comics.

Margaret Carter was born in Virginia from Harrison and Amanda Carter, a wealthy American family. Margaret, called “Peggy” by everybody, didn’t miss anything during her childhood, but when World War II started igniting Europe, she decided she would have done her part. She started studying, and became idealistically convinced of the necessity of stopping Nazism once and for all… unfortunately, nobody else in her family felt her same commitment to the cause, quite the opposite: Peggy was forbidden to do anything but keeping peggycartercomics1studying to become a good housewife, and attending social events so that she could have met some good marriage prospect. Needless to say, the teenager Peggy didn’t even want to hear something about it and, one day, she fled from her house and she secretly embarked on the first ship for Europe. Once in the Old Continent, the girl reached France and, moving on to the occupied territories, she joined the French Resistance. Despite her young age, she proved to be quite a valuable agent for the Resistance, and she participated to many missions, gaining many valiant soldiers’ esteem. She also met the new hero sent from the other side of the ocean, Captain America, who helped the Resistance in more than one occasion. Carter, who was going by the codename Agent 13 (or simply Mademoiselle for her French Friends), and Captain America accomplished many missions together, and they also became romantically involved. When Cap was sent away for other assignments, they promised each other they would have met again once the war was over. A promise they didn’t maintain.

A short time after, Peggy was kidnapped by the Nazis, and held prisoner by Gestapo in Paris. Luckily, both Americans and Russians were winning a battle after the other, and the Germans were retreating. Paris was freed, but, during the battle, a grenade exploded near Peggy’s prison, and she was hit. She survived, but the shock gave her amnesia, and she didn’t even try to contact Captain America after (on his side, Cap only knew her as Agent 13, so he didn’t have any means to reach her). Peggy was found by some comrade from the Resistance, and she was sent back home in Virginia. Her parents were far too worried to be angry for her escape, and she was welcomed back in Carters’ house. She started recovering from her amnesia, and she kept calling for Captain America during the nights, suffering from a great post-traumatic stress. Meanwhile, the war ended, but Captain America was reported dead in action along with his partner Bucky: Peggy was ultimately broken, and, refusing to speak or to react to anything, she was hospitalized. Margaret spent peggycartercomics2years in a mental hospital, until she started a new treatment with Dr. Johann Fennhoff, an Austrian psychiatrist who was also the criminal mastermind known as Doctor Faustus. The man wanted to use Peggy against a recently revived Captain America, manipulating both Peggy and her niece Sharon to hurt his enemy; Cap, however, discovered Faustus’ plans and freed his “patients”, Peggy included. The two finally met again, with Peggy who had become a middle-aged woman and Cap still a twenty-years old man. The woman slowly regained her mental sanity, and she became friends with the one who had been her first love. Still a good spy, Peggy joined S.H.I.E.L.D., and took back the name “Agent 13”, serving the country until she retired for old age. As an old woman, she entered the Avengers Support Staff, that allowed her to stay close to the one she still loved, and that once loved her in return.

Peggy Carter is a very stubborn and brave woman, a heroine ready to sacrifice everything to the right cause. A trained on-field agent and spy, Peggy possesses quite some skill in armed and unarmed combat, being also a valuable asset in the intelligence services. Deeply in love with Captain America, she now has to surrender to a situation in which his beloved one, now a man out of time, is for her unreachable.

Remembering Tommy

rememberingtommyfilmLast character(s) from Kick-Ass 2, and also last member of Justice Forever coming from the comics: the dynamic duo known as Remembering Tommy. They’re a couple of husband and wife who lost a child, Tommy, and became superheroes to avenge him and to do something good in his name. In the movie, they’re a middle-age couple with a t-shirt resembling Tommy’s “Missing” poster, plus a blue paper mask. The woman fights with a brick in her purse, while her husband takes Colonel Stars and Stripes‘s bat for himself once the original owner gets killed. In the comics, they’re quite different characters, at least graphically, and they’re much more menacing. Let’s see together.

Probably, Remembering Tommy’s origin story is the only one who’s real without a shadow of a doubt inside Justice Forever, apart from the leaders’ one. The man who would have become the first part of the duo once went out with his son, Tommy, to buy something at the store. He asked the child to watch after the dog while he was inside, and he repeatedly warned Tommy never to lose sight of the animal, since it was “a valuable thing”, as he said. Irony wanted that, when the man came out of the shop some minutes after, the dog was still there, while the child had disappeared. Some time passed, and when it became clear that Tommy didn’t go somewhere else nearby, nor he went away on his will, man and wife reported the kid’s kidnapping. Both the man and the woman tried their best to find their son, followed the police in its investigation, contacted newspapers to have any news about Tommy, but everything proved to be useless. Tommy was lost, and nobody seemed to care anything rememberingtommycomics1about it apart from his own parents. When Kick-Ass first appeared, the man and the woman had the idea to keep searching for their son directly on the streets, hunting for pedophiles and children’s kidnappers with a vigilante’s method. They created the shared masked identity of Remembering Tommy, and started patrolling the streets. They kept saying they were still looking for their son, but, somewhere deep inside them, they knew they could do nothing but avenge him.

When Colonel Stars and his brother Lieutenant Stripes met the two gladiator-like heroes, they thought they would have been a perfect choice for their newborn team, and they recruited both of them in Justice Forever. Determined, well prepared and moved by a solid motivation, Remembering Tommy proved to be a valuable asset to the team, even if they exceeded in brutality sometimes (not something the Colonel ever blamed them for). When Kick-Ass was introduced to the team by Doctor Gravity, the couple told Tommy’s story without a glimpse of hope, making clear that the illusion phase was more than over. They didn’t participate to Kick-Ass’ first mission with the group, since in their civilian life they still had to attend to their store, a fruit shop that took some time from rememberingtommycomics2their heroic mission. Anyway, Remembering Tommy participated to many other missions with the team, until Colonel Stars was killed in cold blood by The Mother Fucker and his supervillains’ team, The Toxic Mega Cunts. The violence escalation brought the police to a zero tolerance policy, and many masked people, either good or bad ones, were arrested. The couple stayed in the shadows for a while, until Kick-Ass called for what remained of Justice Forever to aid him in the final battle against The Toxic Mega Cunts. Now with the intention of avenging the Colonel as well, Remembering Tommy participated to the fight in Time Square, where they defeated the villains’ army along with Justice Forever. At the end of the battle, however, they were both arrested by the police, who took to jail any man or woman wearing a mask.

The man and the woman composing Remembering Tommy are both desperate people, driven by anger and pain: their son’s loss drove them almost to madness, and they react to the grief beating criminals in the streets. Both of them proved to have quite some skill in fighting: the man handles a big sword, while the woman fights with a mace. Brutal and pitiless, Remembering Tommy punishes every delinquent for the same crime, Tommy’s abduction and possible murder, unloading on every enemy the rage for the incapability of protecting the one they loved the most.