Ashley Kafka

M08977 - LONDON CALLINGLast new entry, and last character, from The Amazing Spider-Man 2: when Electro makes his debut in Times Square and is defeated by our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he’s brought to the Ravencroft Institute, a criminal asylum in which he’s supposed to be rieducated. Unfortunately, Oscorp has tentacles everywhere, and Electro becomes the guinea pig for the gruesome experiments of Dr. Ashley Kafka, portrayed by Marton Csokas. Needless to say, the German scientist discovers it’s not a good idea to mess with a supervillain. He’s likely the character who suffered the greatest change from the comicbooks: first of all, he’s not such a Nazi-like psycho in the comics, quite the opposite. Second, he’s not a “he”. In the comics, Ashley Kafka is a woman, even if her role in Ravencroft is more or less the same as it is in the movie. Let’s see together.

Born in PortlandOregon, Ashley Kafka moved to New York City when her parents split up, while she was still very young. She grew up with her mother, a weak-willed woman who let her be the housewife, and Norma, her mentally handicapped sister. Since her mother was unable to cope with Norma’s state, it was up to Ashley to take care of her, and she did it the best she could, at least for a child. Growing up, Ashley became more and more intolerant towards Norma, especially since she sacrificed all her adolescence to her: while other drkafkacomics1boys and girls her age had fun altogether, she was forced to take care of her sister, a situation she couldn’t bare anymore. The girls’ mother died of some disease when Ashley was nineteen, and for her this was the occasion she had waited all her life for finally thinking of herself: she left Norma in an orphanage, and started living her own life. The place, however, wasn’t the best possible, and Norma died little after: the sense of guilt, albeit subconsciously, ended up molding her life nevertheless, and Ashley entered Empire State University, where she gained a degree in Psychology. As a therapist, she eventually kept living her life taking care of other people’s problems instead of her own, but she proved to be one of the most skilled people in her field. She started specializing in criminal insanity, and achieved many successes with experimental therapies. Her studies gained the attention of US Government, that funded her researches and helped her found the Ravencroft Institute: the asylum was built as a maximum security facility, with a private security guard an an extremely skilled equipe of therapists. At fifty-four years old, Dr. Kafka had finally given a shape to her dream.

Kafka’s achievements attracted the attentions of many other scientific personalities, and when Spider-Man faced and defeated Vermin, a geneticist working for Baron Zemo who had become a giant humanoid rat, Reed Richards himself suggested the hero to bring Vermin to the Ravencroft. Despite many of her colleagues renounced to treat Vermin, both scared and disgusted by his appearance, Kafka accepted to start a therapy with him. She managed to unravel much of the monster’s past, and she discovered that his father had raped him more than once when he was a child; when she was about to find a bond to work on, however, Vermin escaped, and Kafka volunteered to help Spider-Man capture him again. During her time with the hero, she managed somehow to work on some of his drkafkacomics2problems as well, and she helped him to cope with the loss of his parents when he was a child (she also faced, as a reflex, the issues with her own parents). The two managed to capture Vermin, and to bring him back to his human state: when his therapy was finally over, and succesfully, the man who was once known as Vermin, Edward Whelan, became her assistant. The Ravencroft grew and received more funds after the Vermin therapy, and Kafka tried to repeat the success with Harry Osborn, who had become the second Green Goblin. The authorities, however, decided Goblin was more self-aware than Vermin was, and took him away without Kafka completing the therapy. With astronaut hero John Jameson as her chief of security, Kafka took in many other patients, but her successes dramatically decreased in number, since many maniacs she was treating didn’t have the slightest intention of being cured at all…

Ashley Kafka is a brilliant and skilled psychologist, a woman with a strong personality who never gives up in front of anything or anyone. Firmly believing that anyone can be rehabilitated, she tries her best to “cure” also psychos like Carnage or Carrion, and other deranged supervillains such as VenomChameleonShriek, Vulture, Electro or Doctor Octopus. Her faith in her own methods often brings her to a blind arrogance, that leads her to make more mistakes that she would normally afford herself to do: her greatest strength, in this moments, also becomes her greatest weakness.

Felicia Hardy (Black Cat)

Felicia HardyAnother new entry from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and this is quite a surprising one: Felicity Jones portrays a fan-favorite character, seen under a new point of view. When Harry Osborn takes control of Oscorp after his father’s death, he’s quite unhappy of Donald Menken and the others’ work, and appoints the only young person he sees at the executives’ table as the locum tenens CEO: Felicia Hardy, who will become a loyal ally to Harry throughout the movie. She’s the one who informs him that the mutant spiders’ venom has been stored instead of destroyed, thus indirectly giving birth to the Green Goblin. It’s more than likely she’ll appear in future installations of the franchise, especially considering she’s one of the most popular antiheroes of the Spider-Man‘s characters gallery. Let’s see together.

Born in New York City, Felicia was the daughter of Walter and Lydia Hardy, a rich couple from Queens. When Felicia was little, her father was often away on business trips (she believed him to be a salesman), and it was up to Lydia to raise her daughter. Lydia tried to make Felicia an ambitious and strong girl, and she spurred her always to be the best in whatever she did, never being happy with a second place. In high school, Felicia became a cheerleader and a gymnast, always excelling in everything she did, and being scorned by her mother anytime she reached something less than excellency. One day, however, Lydia came to her daughter’s cheerleading training to tell her Walter had died in a plane crash in South America. Felicia soon found out there was something blackcatcomics1her mother wasn’t telling her, and she did researches on her own: Walter wasn’t dead at all, he was in prison, charged with a number of spectacular thefts, as he was in reality The Cath, a legendary burglar. It took some time for Felicia to realise the meaning of her discoveries, but at last she understood that all her wealth and her comfortable life came from her father’s crimes, and, during a mug, she also found out that a thief’s life brought a lot of excitement and adventure. Quite unexpectedly, Felicia decided to follow her father’s footsteps, and to become a burglar just as good as he had been. She started studying escapology and locks, becoming able to open any door or safe, and she also enlisted in the martial arts class of Miyagi Kanryo, a Japanese master of Okinawa Goju Ryu, who introduced her to martial arts and made her a good fighter, putting at good use her natural gymnast’s skills. She also studied other forms of martial arts and acrobatics, until she decided she was ready to start her own “career”.

Taking inspiration from her father’s nickname, Felicia created a costume and dubbed herself “the Black Cat“, jocking on the fact that she would have brought bad luck to everyone who would have crossed her path. She proved to be a skilled thief, and in a brief time she accumulated quite a fortune in stolen jewelry and items. One day, however, she learnt from the newspaper that Walter Hardy was dying in prison: determined to allow her father to live his last moments out of a cold cell, Felicia used her Black Cat persona to infiltrate in the jail and break her father out, but during the operation she met the new blackcatcomics2superhero in town, Spider-Man. The two briefly fought, until the Black Cat distracted the hero (who was phisycally superior to her) with an explosion in a nearby building, and managed to bring her father home to Lydia. There, she revealed to him that she was actually his daughter Felicia, but Walter wasn’t proud at all, and he begged her not to follow him down his dark path. Felicia, who truly enjoyed her life as an adventurer and a burglar, chose to ignore her father, and went on with her criminal career. During her battles with Spider-Man, however, she started feeling a certain bond with him, feeling him as her only equal, and she tried to earn his trust: to do so, she stole a powerful explosive from The Kingpin, putting herself in a civil war between him, Doctor Octopus and The Owl. She gave Spider-Man the detonator, but eventually she was almost killed by Octopus in revenge. Barely alive, she started to fear for her life, since she had no superpowers in a world full of metahumans, and she also feared for Spider-Man, who now had her trust (and her love), and risked to die protecting her. Moved by this fear, she made a deal with the Kingpin, who wanted to use the thief skilled enough to steal from him: he made her undergo a special treatment to give her the power to actually bring bad luck to whoever surrounded her, and in turn she would have used her skills for him. Her struggle between good and evil was just at the beginning.

Felicia Hardy is a carefree and fun-loving girl, often trying to bury her deepest emotions and turmoils under a layer of thrilling adventures and flirtatious relationships. As the Black Cat, she’s one of the most skilled cat burglars ever, and she’s an olympic-level gymnast and an expert martial artist. She also possesses a certain degree of probability manipulation, more controlled after Doctor Trauma gave her back the powers she had previously lost; for a brief time, thanks to Doctor Strange, she also got superhuman physical attributes such as strength, speed, reflexes, stamina and durability. Always walking on the thin border between being a criminal and a heroine, the Black Cat tries to make always the best choice she can…while having a lot of fun doing it.

Donald L. Menken

Donald MenkenFirst new entry from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, one of the villains (or sort of): Donald Menken, portrayed on screen by Colm Feore. In the movie, Menken is a close cooperator of Norman Osborn, and when he dies, he welcomes Harry as the new CEO of Oscorp. He’s the one who covers up the accident involving Max Dillon, and who later frames Harry for doing it, using the episode to actually fire him and take possess of the company. Unfortunately, going up against an Osborn is never a good idea, and when Harry teams up with Electro he learns quite well not to mess with the family. In the comics, he’s quite different from his movie portrayal: first of all, he’s much younger…and has more hair. He surely is a close associate of Osborn’s, even if he’s a little bit more deranged, taking example from his employer not only for his business tactics. Let’s see together.

Very Little is known about Donald Menken’s past prior to meet Norman Osborn: a cultured man and a ruthless businessman, Menken made himself known into high places, helping one powerful man or another to gain the others’ attention. Finally, he was noticed by Osborn, who got intrigued by the absolute lack of morality and scruples of the young man: seeing in him some sort of younger version of himself, Osborn hired him as his personal assistant in Osborn Industries, a job that Menken gladly accepted. Working with Norman, also Donald started to feel with the man the same kind of connection the CEO had felt towards him, and became fiercely loyal to his boss. Because of his donaldmenkencomics1nature, Menken was often assigned with “dirty” tasks, such as when Osborn oredered him to destroy every evidence of the work of one of his scientists, David Lowell, the responsible of Photogenesis Project (a research aimed to give normal humans superpowers through photosynthesis): Menken complied, but was faced by Lowell himself, who wanted to protect his work. Menken, eager to complete the job he had been assigned, beat the scientist, making him fall onto his formulas and become the superhuman Sundown, an incident that Menken himself saw to cover. When Norman Osborn (who secretly was the supervillain Green Goblin) apparently died, Menken kept his position, since his former boss’ son, Harry, entrusted him with the same responsibilities. It was up to him to investigate on some break-ins in buildings and labs formerly belonging to Norman, but he couldn’t understand who was behind the thefts, until he received a call from Europe.

Once on the other side of the Ocean, Donald Menken was contacted by some members of an old sect calling themselves the Cabal of the Scriers, who took him to their hideout, where their new leader was waiting. Surprised, Menken found out that the leader in question was Norman Osborn himself, back from the dead: Osborn told him about his Green donaldmenkencomics2Goblin identity, and asked him to join him once more. Donald followed Osborn once again, and after swearing his loyalty, he came back to the United States to spy on Harry and on Spider-Man on Norman’s behalf. He was one of the people who moved the strings to make Harry become the second Green Goblin, and when the boy died, Menken pretended to change flags and to work with Roderick Kingsley, CEO of Kingsley International and Kingsley Limited, and secretly the Hobgoblin. Menken planned a hostile takeover of Osborn Industries (now under Liz Allen‘s direction) from Kingsley International, but clashed with George Vandergill, board chairman of Norchem Industries, who threatened to expose his many dummy companies if he didn’t let him take over Osborn’s company. Furious, Menken manipulated his new boss, Kingsley, and had him kill Vandergill as a “collateral casualty” during one of his rampages as Hobgoblin. With business rivals and other Goblins under control, Menken had finally prepared the return of his true boss, Norman Osborn, and he would have been ready to be at his side when the real Green Goblin would have decided the time was the right one.

Donald Menken is an ambitious and unscrupolous man, a brilliant businessman who never allows anything or anyone to stand in his way. He’s devoutly loyal to Norman Osborn, the only man he considers worthy of being his inspiration, and he tries with every means possible to establish himself as the true Osborn heir. Cunning and deceiving, Menken is the perfect spy for Osborn, and the perfect undercover agent for the Green Goblin, a trustful cooperator that will serve his boss and master in any way he sees fit.

Helen Stacy

helenstacyfilmLast recurring character in The Amazing Spider-Man 2: at the beginning of the film, when Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy attend to the ceremony of the end of highschool, Gwen’s numerous family can be seen. While in the comics she has no brother (she has three in the movies), she surely has a mother, who answers to the name of Helen Stacy. Portrayed by Kari Coleman, Helen appears just at the beginning and at the end of the movie; she already appeared in the first film, during an embarassing family dinner during which Peter had to try not to appear a total creep to George, Gwen’s father (thus earning Helen’s sympathy). She also appeared at the end of the movie, attending to her husband’s funeral. In the comics, she’s less than a secondary character, especially because she only appeared in a single story, but we know something of her nevertheless. Let’s see together.

Absolutely nothing is known about Helen ‘s early life, not even her maiden name. She was born in New York City, likely in a wealthy family; we have no clue about any brother or sister. At a certain point in her life, she met George Stacy, a young man who had just entered New York City Police Department along with his brother helenstacycomics1Arthur. Helen fell in love with him, and the two ended up getting married a short time after. George’s career in the NYPD was quite a bright one, and he became renowned for being one of the most efficient and overall honest cops in the city; by her side, Helen was quite proud of her husband, even if, for him to be a good cop, it meant for her that she saw him very little. When George and Arthur were still quite young detectives, they received an assignment involving a serial killer operating near Oscorp: Helen understood quite well how much dangerous this task would have been compared to the others, but, despite being clearly worried, she didn’t even try to prevent her husband from doing what he knew was right. Helen, in the meanwhile, had gotten pregnant, and she gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Gwendolyne: she started questioning her husband’s commitment to his job, since he now had a family to take care of, and a person who depended on him entirely. Helen’s bad feeling about the Oscorp’s affair proved to be right, and both her husband and her brother-in-law risked to die dealing with a supernatural creature, a science freak which would have been nicknamed the Proto-Goblin: George came back home, but his leg was broken, and from that point he would have needed a walking cane to move. Now that he was hurt, and that he had experienced a kind of crime normal cops weren’t enough to stop, George was more inclined to listen to his wife’s worries, and he decided to retire from NYPD to spend his life with his family.

Helen finally had her family reunited under the same roof, and she could stop worrying about receiving a phone call at late night telling her her husband had been killed in line of duty. However, despite George spent happy years with his wife and daughter, he never really stopped caring for his city and his job, and kept contacts with his former colleagues in the department. Helen focused on her daughter Gwen, who grew up to become a beautiful and brilliant girl, deeply helenstacycomics2attached to her parents, her father especially. When the vigilante Spider-Man started his activity, Helen was influenced by her husband’s positive view over the superhero, a position that put him in contrast with his colleagues. In that time, Gwen had finished high school and started college, and George felt his presence at home wasn’t needed as much as before: when US Colonel John Jameson called him out of retirement, Helen saw her husband donning the uniform again. She was quite worried, especially because of his old age and of the kind of city NY had become with all the superhumans in the streets, but tried to support her husband the best she could. Unfortunately, once again she proved to be right, and George ended up being killed during a battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus. In order to help her cope with the loss, Helen encouraged Gwen to move to England for a time, while she stayed in New York waiting for her to return.

Helen Stacy is essentially a good woman, deeply devoted to her family. Despite she supports her husband George in whatever he needs her to, she’s often worried for him, and she tries her best to be a mother for Gwen when her husband is out for work. Helen is the proverbial great woman behind a great man, patient, caring and understanding, proud of her husband and her daughter, but often acting only behind the curtains as a supporter of both.

Gustav Fiers (The Gentleman)

Gustav FiersAnother recurring character from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 today, despite he’s quite a surprise in his own right. At the end of the first The Amazing Spider-Man, doctor Curt Connors is visited in jail by a mysterious figure, known only as “The Man in the Shadows“, who tells him Norman Osborn has got some plans in store for Peter Parker. The character’s identity has been a mystery until now…and he’s not someone anybody was expecting: Michael Massee is finally credited as Gustav Fiers, and he once again appears just for a few minutes, promising further developement for both the character and the general storyline. This time, Fiers visits Harry Osborn in prison, updating him on the state recruitment of his new team: while he visits a secret section of Oscorp, we clearly see some very known equipment: Rhino‘s armor, Doctor Octopus‘s tentacles, and the Vulture‘s wings, so it’s quite positive he’s assembling the Sinister Six…just like he did in the comics. Let’s see together.

Son of August and Elizabeth Fiers, Gustav was raised in a wealthy environment, since his parents had enriched themselves with the slave trade prior to Civil War. Gustav had a younger brother, Karl, and a younger sister, Isadora, and the three of them were taught the “ideals” of racism and lust for money that moved August. The whole family in 1912 took a pleasure vacancy on the Titanic, and when the ship hit the iceberg, they all thegentlemancomics1survived thanks to their money, since they were able to pay for their place on a lifeboat: from that moment, Gustav became truly devoted to his father’s philosophy of life. Isadora died early for encephalitis, and Karl became the only rival in inheritance: the young man, however, became attracted to anarchist ideals, and left his family to become a ruthless mercenary known as the Finisher. When August died, Gustav was the only son left to inherit their fortune, and he managed to make it grow in a very brief time. Fiers wasn’t satisfied with normal ways of making money, and became involved in a number of criminal activities: from smuggling to blackmailing, from political murders (often entrusted to his brother Karl) to drug-dealing, there was no activity Fiers wasn’t involved in. He also became a financial advisor to powerful men of the ‘3os and ’40s (Al Capone included), and financed many wars and uprisings both abroad and in the USA. To protect himself, he started going only by the name The Gentleman, but he ended up being tracked by a treasury agent named George Williams, who almost captured him in Lakehurst, New Jersey, in 1937. To cover his escape, Fiers engineered the LZ 129 Hindenburg tragedy, an expedient that also made him even reacher, since he had already invested a big amount of money on a new flying technology, the airplane.

Fiers escaped to Europe, and during World War II he kept raising up his patrimony by selling weapons to both the Axis and the Allies. However, Williams had followed him in Casablanca, where The Gentleman was operating, and managed to contact the Invaders, the American superhero team led by Captain America. Cap and the others thegentlemancomics2arrived in Morocco to arrest Fiers, but he managed to escape by blowing up a nightclub. He kept working with the Nazis, especially with his friend and ally Johann “Red Skull” Schmidt, and survived the fall of Germany by escaping from the Allies’ forces. Fiers was apparently involved in all the major events of the century: he was aboard the Andrea Doria, he prevented Anna Anderson (maybe Anastasia Romanova) from claiming her lineage, and got involved in the spy game of the Cold War. He also finance AIMHYDRA, the Red Brigade and other terrorist organizations, taking pleasure (and wealth) from the chaos he created. His organization, eventually, was infiltrated by foreign agents led by George Williams: Fiers captured one of them, Canadian mutant Logan, and tortured him for information. Realising his cover had blown up, Fiers escaped, leaving the Canadian to die, but Logan was rescued by two American agents, Richard and Mary Parker. When the Finisher started to work for the new Red Skull, Albert Malik, Fiers recognized the Parkers among his ranks, and informed the Skull that they were American spies, having them killed by his brother. From that moment, Fiers started monitoring the life of Peter Parker, the spies’ infant son, so that he could have exact his revenge when the boy would have been old enough to “apreciate it”. Thanks to his constant spying, Fiers learnt that Peter had become Spider-Man, and enjoyed seeing both the progresses and the misfortunes happened to the young hero. When his brother Karl ended up being killed by Spider-Man himself (an ironic event that resembled Spider-Man’s origin), The Gentleman decided it was time to intervene personally, and contacted his old friend the Chameleon to gather once again the Sinister Six, an alliance of Spidey’s deadliest foes. Blood called for blood, and Fiers was eager to claim what was his by right.

Gustav Fiers is a greedy and unscrupolous man, a hidden preeminence behind some of the bloodiest and worst events happened during the XX Century. As The Gentleman, he has no superpowers, but he uses his genius-level intellect, his nearly limitless wealth and his vast knowledge to control people and organizations. Despite being very old, he has mantained both his mind and body into shape, and he’s able to easily overpower men much younger then himself; his walking cane is just a way to pretend to be weaker than he actualy is, and hides more than a weapon. Extremely powerful, influent and dangerous, with thousands of enemies who both fear and hate him, The Gentleman can be seen as the man who truly shaped the XX Century, an agent of chaos that prospers over death and disorder.

Benjamin Parker

Film Title: Love HappensFinally, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit the screens (at least here in Europe, in the US you’ll have to wait some more days), and there’s quite some characters to speak about. Let’s start with the old ones, so that we’ll avoid potential spoilers. First of all, we get another glimpse at beloved Uncle Ben, again played by Martin Sheen: he only appears in a couple of flashbacks, first speaking with his brother Richard about taking little Peter with him, and later with a couple of FBI agents informing him that Richard escaped with secret researches to be sold to the best bidder (something he just couldn’t believe). The character already appeared in the original Spider-Man trilogy, portrayed by Cliff Robertson: as always, he’s introduced to die, as his death is the trigger to Peter’s evolution into Spider-Man. He then appeared in dream sequences speaking with his nephew. Despite not being much different, let’s see together who he is in the comics.

Benjamin Parker was born in New York City at the beginning of the ’20s. Since his very childhood, his difficult familiar situation forced him to become an adult before time, and he acted as a father figure to his much younger brother Richard. He unclebencomics1served in the Army, and immediately after came back home to take care of Richard. He fell in love with May Reilly, a beautiful girl from Brooklyn, but he didn’t have quite the time for girls and started working as a carnival barker in Coney Island to earn some money for his family. Despite his many commitments, Ben kept courting May, but she was attracted to Johnny Jerome, a man much richer than Ben and quite the adventurer, a guy who, May thought, would have given her a better, more exciting life than the one Ben could ever give her. Ben didn’t give up on May, especially because his instict told him Johnny wasn’t the one who could have made her happy: in fact, he found out that he was a criminal, and told the girl. Unfortunately, May took him for a jealous liar, and didn’t listen to him. One night, Jerome reached for May and proposed to her, asking her to flee together, but Ben followed him, and told the girl that her soon-to-be fiancée had just killed a man with some accomplices and robbed a jewelry, and that police was arriving. Hearing the sirens, May realised the truth, and broke up with Johnny, who was arrested immediately after. Ben spent the night with her, comforting her weeping in his arms.

Finally, Ben’s determination and honesty brought results, and May, freed from her teen-aged delusions of a wealthy and adventurous husband, learnt to apreciate him, and eventually fell in love with him. Ben and May got engaged, and eventually unclebencomics2married, moving to a small but comfortable house in Queens. They lived together a long, happy time, darkened only by the lack of children: despite it had been a common choice, the two started to realise what they had renounced to only when they got too old to change their minds. The “solution” to their problem came unexpectedly when Richard, who had become a CIA agent in the meantime, was assigned with his wife Mary a risky mission in Algeria, and he asked his trusted brother to take care of his infant son, Peter, as long as they came back. Unfortunately, the never came back, as they died during the mission. Despite being quite old at the time, being the closest relatives Ben and May obtained the custody of Peter, and acted as his parents. Ben was the closest person to his shy and studious nephew, and supported him all his student’s life, when he was bullied by his schoolmates. When Peter gained superhuman powers due to a radioactive spider’s bite, he abruptly changed his character, and alienated from his uncle and aunt. Ben tried to teach one last lesson to him, one that he had learnt by experience: with great power, there must also come great responsibility, but Peter had become too self-confident and arrogant to listen. When a burglar enter the Parkers’ home, Ben tried to defend May, and was shot and killed by the criminal. When Peter realised the killer was the same thief he didn’t stop just some hours earlier, he finally understood his uncle’s lesson, and became Spider-Man.

Ben Parker is a good man: wise, honest and strong, he has the gift of making the life of everyone around him better with just his presence. A tender and loving husband for May and a dependable father figure for Peter, Ben uses his wisdom and good heart to give precious advices to his nephew and to whoever asks him. He’s also a determined and strong-willed man, who never gives up on what he thinks he’s right. Beloved by everyone, he’s the man who forged and indirectly created Spider-Man.

Francisco Paco Ramon (Vibe)

Cisco RamonSecond character appearing in Arrow episode The Man Under the Hood is another scientist from S.T.A.R. Labs, young and inexperienced Cisco Ramon, portrayed by Carlos Valdes. He’s the young boy working at late night with Caitlin Snow, when they’re both surprised by an attack of Deathstroke, who aimes to one of the items in the storage. Surprisingly enough, Caitlin and Cisco manage to survive the encounter by knocking out the villain with Doctor Light‘s equipment, and then update Felicity Smoak about the health condition of Barry Allen. Cisco will be a recurring character in upcoming The Flash, and it’s likely that he’ll develop some more powers than just intellect. As well as Caitlin Snow, Cisco is based on The New 52 storyline rather than on the original one (the first version of the character was named Paco Ramone): let’s see together who he is in the comics.

Born in DetroitMichiganFrancisco Paco Ramon lived a normal life along with his two older brothers, Armando and Dante. Unbeknownst to the three of them, cosmic forces were gathering to conquer Earth: the approaching menace came from the alien planet Apokolips, ruled by the tyrannical Darkseid, an evil New God who wanted to enslave the planet and add it to his dominion. Darkseid used a Mother Box (a sentient supercomputer, capable of more things than even the New Gods could vibecomics1completely understand) to open special dimensional portals, called Boom Tubes, all over Earth, allowing his squads of Parademons to pass through. Unfortunately, one of the Boom Tubes opened in Detroit, in the exact same spot in which the three Ramons were hanging out. As the portal opened, Cisco found himself caught in the bursting energy, and was about to be sucked in: while Dante couldn’t do anything but to watch terrified from a distance, Armando intervened, pulling Cisco out of the Tube…and sacrificing his own life in doing so, since a Parademon coming out of it slained him, and made him the first casualty in the Apokolips invasion. Darkseid and his forces were eventually repelled by Superman and other big guns, but the Ramons suffered a major loss, since Armando was the moral guidance of the three brothers. Francisco knew he owned his brother his very life…and much more than that: the short time spent into the Boom Tube had somehow modified his very DNA, giving him powers he slowly learnt to control: he was able to sense any kind of living beings in other dimensions, being connected to all the worlds accessible to the Mother Box, and overall he was now able to emit seismic vibrations from his whole body. Feeling he was alive for a reason, Cisco started using his powers for the common good, supported by his brother Dante.

Cisco learnt to use his new powers, and spent five years as a low-profile superhero, helping the people of his neighborhood the best he could. Thanks to his vibrating powers, he was also able to evade security cams and people’s cameras, thus mantaining anonymity. He couldn’t, however, escape the all-seeing eye of Amanda Waller, leader of A.R.G.U.S.: she sent one of her agents, Dale Gunn, after the boy, to make him an offer. Gunn met Cisco, and brought him vibecomics2to the place in which a Parademon was: he told him it was the same one that killed Armando (even if it wasn’t), and Cisco, in a burst of rage, killed it. After that, Cisco agreed to follow Gunn, and met Waller: he was offered to be a founding member of the Justice League of America, a super-team meant to face the already-existing Justice League in case they became a menace. Cisco was nicknamed Vibe, the counter-metahuman to Barry “The Flash” Allen. In a test, he was ordered to fight Bart Allen, aka Kid Flash, who had more or less the same powers of Flash. Vibe managed to cut Kid Flash from the Speed Force, proving to be able to match the real Flash if the situation required it, but he started to have doubts about his leaders, since Bart Allen wasn’t evil as he was supposed to be. He was then ordered to take down Gypsy, a “dangerous metahuman”, but ended up joining her when Amanda Waller ordered her men to kill her for no reason. Finally, Waller showed her true colors, and sent the Suicide Squad against both Vibe and Gypsy. Now a fugitive, Cisco had to find a way to defend himself against his former fellow A.R.G.U.S. agents, especially from Crowbar, recruited to be his counter-metahuman, just the way he had been for The Flash.

Francisco Ramon is a honest guy, a good young man who tries to do the right thing inspired by his brother’s heroism; he is, however, quite naive and simple, a trait that proves to be a flaw in a world of deceits and double-plays like the one he’s entered in. As Vibe, his mutated body constantly vibrates, allowing him not to be captured on image; he’s able to channel the vibrations in his hands, then releasing them in powerful and destructive blasts of seismic energy. Something from the Boom Tube also remained inscribed in his DNA, and he’s able to feel and perceive living beings on other worlds, even the smallest ones. Powerful and heroic, Vibe tries to do the right thing, unfortunately working for the wrong guys…