Donald Gill (Blizzard)

Donnie GillNew week, new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: in Seeds, we met a young genius cadet of the Science branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, the lonely Donnie Gill, portrayed in the show by Dylan Minnette. In the episode, Donnie allies with his only friend Seth Dormer to create a freezing machine and to sell it to the best bidder (actually the villainous Ian Quinn, who’s revealed to be a member of Centipede). The machine works far too well, and from freezing a swimming pool it arrives to create a massive storm. Well, Donnie is an old acquaintance for the comics readers, since he’s a recurring enemy of Iron Man and an unlikely hero within the Thunderbolts: the supervillain Blizzard. His freezing devices (and, at the end of the episode, powers) hint at his villainous incarnation in the comics, but it remains to be seen if the character will be further explored in the show. In the meanwhile, let’s see who he is in the comics.

When Gregor Shapanka, the original Blizzard, was killed by Arno Stark (the alternate Iron Man from 2020), the British industrialist (and secretly criminal leader) Justin Hammer was searching for a replacement. Hammer’s agents soon stumbled upon Donald Gill, an adventurer eager to make some money and earn some fame, and they recruited him. Gill received blizzardcomics1from Hammer Shapanka’s costume and arsenal, an advanced thermal technology that allowed him to create and manipulate ice; he became the second Blizzard, and was paired with two other supervillains, Beetle and Blacklash, in the so-called B-Team. Along with his teammates, Blizzard fought Iron Man several times and, during their many battles, the hero (who was at that time James Rhodes) saw something good in Donnie, and tried to convince him several times to reform, without much a success: despite his own will, Gill was always in a state of necessity that almost obliged him to commit crimes, if he wanted to earn something for a living. When Blacklash got killed by the Sentient Armor, the B-Team disbanded, and Donnie found himself without a cause and, overall, without an employer.

Looking for a job, Donnie ended up being hired by M.O.D.O.K., and battle the Avengers for the first time. During the fight, Blizzard was defated and humiliated by the superheroes, and the most he managed to do was to flee before being captured. He met in a pub She-Hulk and tried to unload his anger and frustration on her, freezing her while she was drinking a beer, but the heroine easily broke the ice and invited Blizzard to drink with her. When he got blizzardcomics2drunk and fell asleep, she handed him to the police. Out of prison, Donnie came back to Hammer, and started working for him again, but Rhodes’ words had planted something inside him, and he felt out of his element with his old life. Finally Beetle, who had now reformed and become the heroic MACH-1, invited him to join his new team of Thunderbolts (a squad of reformed villains): it was the occasion Blizzard was waiting for, and he joined his friend to fight for justice (or something that was close to it at least). He acted as a hero for a while, until his costume broke and he, unable to repair it, left the Thunderbolts. He was found alone and penniless by the Mandarin, who hired him as a terrorist. The Mandarin gave Blizzard an empowered armor, but also implanted a bomb on him and on other villains to insure their loyalty: no wonder that Blizzard and the others rebelled against the Mandarin and allied with Iron Man and Ezekiel Stane to take him down. Again, Blizzard was given a chance for redemption, but it was up to him to take it or not.

Donald Gill is an unusually meek and good-hearted person, at least for someone who claims to be a supervillain. He naturally worries for others, and is ready to risk everything to protect his peers, something quite unusual for a criminal wannabe; that’s one of the reasons he sees himself better as a hero, and tries his best to find redemption everytime he’s given the chance. As Blizzard, his armor allows him to lower the temperature around his body of several degrees, actually freezing potentially anything using the atmosphere’s moisture. After he was exposed to the Terrigen Mist, he found out he was of Inhuman linage, and gained super powers: he’s now a living battery, able to store, manipulate and emit electrical currents. A new man, Blizzard is eager to show the world what he’s truly capable of…apart from robbing banks, of course.

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