Iris Ann West

Iris WestAnother character from The Flash trailer (not in order of appearance), and she’ll be one of the main ones: Iris West, portrayed by Candice Patton. In the show, she’ll be Barry Allen‘s love interest, and the daughter of his mentor inside the police of Central City. This is not the first live action appearance of Iris: she was already present in the original The Flash tv series, albeit she only appeared in the first episode Pilot: this version of the character, portrayed by Paula Marshall, was a computer graphic artist, who started as the girlfriend of Barry. During the first episode, however, Barry proposed to her, but she refused to marry him, saying their relationship was moving too fast, and she wasn’t ready for marriage. Just to underline her decision, she moved to France, never to be seen again in the show. In the comics, Iris is quite different from both version: she’s not African-American, and she’s not a designer. Let’s see together.

Iris’ story begins in 2945 AD, when the planet was (will be) divided between Earth-East and Earth-West, two blocks in war. Just before the West part of the planet attacked the East part, the two scientists Eric and Fran Russell sent their infant daughter to the past, to a more peaceful era, in order to avoid her the horrors of iriswestcomics1the war, in a last attempt to save her life. The baby arrived in the Missouri of the XX Century, and was taken in by a orphanage in Central City. Shortly after her arrival, she was adopted by physicist Ira West and his wife Nadine, who raised her as she was their own, without telling her she was actually adopted (even if Iris, very smart since her childhood, always suspected it). The curiosity about her origins brought her to develop some impressive investigative skills, and she demonstrated this abilities in highschool already, becoming one of the best journalists of the school’s newspaper and winning more than one award. Her skills gained her an easy access to Columbia University, where she started studying journalism; during college, she also spent her internship in Metropolis, working for the Daily Planet. After college, Iris wanted to make a name for herself, and used the money his father had made with the royalties of his inventions to travel the world. She arrived in Markovia, where she witnessed the riots and the civil war plaguing the country: she took many exclusive pictures, and wrote some pieces for it: once she came back to the USA, she easily got a job as a freelancer, and she kept touring all the States working for a newspaper or another.

It came a time, however, that Iris needed a little bit of stability, and chose to stay in Central City. In her birthplace, Iris found a job as a reporter and photographer for the most important newspaper, the Picture News, and imposed herself as one of the most iriswestcomics2talented journalists of the rag. While her professional life went great guns, her private one wasn’t so bright, as Iris kept finding herself involved in a disastrous relation after the other. Finally, while covering the story of a homicide for Picture News, Iris met Barry Allen, a forensic investigator, who immediately impressed her for his intelligence and honesty. The two dated for a while, and Iris eventually fell in love with Barry, although she sensed he was hiding something from her; she however decided to trust him, and when, in Central City Amusement Park, Barry proposed to her, Iris agreed to marry him. Their marriage was almost thwarted by Professor Zoom, who was in love with her as well, and used his powers to substitute Barry, but the latter managed to defeat him in time, and to marry his rightful bride. During her honeymoon, Iris finally realised what Barry had been hiding from her: he sleep-talked his secret identity as The Flash, Central City’s superhero. Iris faced her groom about it, and she learnt he wanted to keep it a secret as long as he didn’t understand his condition: not even sure if he was human anymore, he didn’t know if he could have children, and wanted to be sure he was “normal” before telling Iris. Not entirely convinced by her husband’s motivations, Iris however forgave Barry, and started in the best way their life together.

Iris West Allen is a strong and determined woman, one who knows what she wants and has all the means and the intelligence to get it. A brilliant reporter, Iris has proven herself to be even more skilled than police detectives, and managed to solve some cases herself while covering the stories for her newspaper. Independent and self-confident, Iris is the source of the strength of one of the greatest heroes ever lived, his life partner and best friend.

Nora Thompson

Nora AllenLast but not least, also the first trailer for upcoming tv series The Flash hit the web, and it was quite cool actually. In the Arrow spin-off we’ll see a lot of new characters, and in the trailer we can already spot some of them. Let’s start with Nora Allen, portrayed by Michelle Harrison: Nora is Barry Allen‘s mother, and her murder leads Barry to become a forensic investigator for the police. Despite being killed in the first episode, Nora will appear as a recurring character, most likely in flashbacks. Nora had already appeared in the first The Flash tv series, portrayed by Priscilla Pointer: this time, she was alive and well, and worked as a volunteer in a shelter for single mothers. Oddly enough, in the comics she’s both of them: the living and loving one, and the dead and buried one. Let’s see together.

Once again, there are two different versions of the character in the DC Universe (but this is not the reason for the apparent paradox of the previous lines). In the first one, Nora Thompson was a small-town girl who married Henry Allen, the town’s doctor. Now Nora Allen, the girl lived at his husband’s side during his thirty years of medical service in FallvilleIowa. She also gave him a son, Barry, a boy destined to accomplish great deeds. When Henry retired, Nora and her husband started a new, boring, happy life together, with Barry passing by sometime to say hello to his old noraallencomics1parents. A turning point in the couple’s life happened when they took a car trip together: a biker, Jack Morgan, caused an accident, and almost killed the two. While Morgan himself reanimated Henry (who ended up being possessed by villain Top for some time), Nora fell into a deep coma. After several weeks, she eventually woke up, without any of the brain damage the doctors feared, but on a wheel chair for life. After the accident, Barry finally revealed to his parents he was the superhero Flash, fearing they would reject this, but actually making them proud of what he did. Nora and Henry started to follow their son’s adventures through television, and also saw him dying to save the entire reality during the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths: the sorrow for the loss of their children soon took away the Allens’ will to live, and both Nora and Henry died at a short distance one from the other. Nora, along with Henry, was buried next to Barry’s grave.

The new version of the character shares some traits with the previous one. Even in this one, Nora Thompson was born and raised in a small town of Iowa, Fallville, and ended up to marry the local doctor, Henry Allen. When Nora Allen got pregnant, she soon found out she was expecting twins. The labor pains started on May 23d, on a stormy night, and Nora was brought by her husband to Dr. Gilmore, the man who was supposed to make her give birth to her sons; also another couple arrived, Hugo and Charlene Thawne, with the latter about to give birth to her son as well. Unfortunately, Gilmore was quite drunken that night, and the nurse working with him was blocked at home by the storm. Charlene Thawne was the first one to enter the delivery room, but her infant son strangled himself with the umbilical cord, and the doctor was uncapable of saving him. In order to make things “fair” (and to avoid civil lawsuits) Gilmore took one of Nora’s sons and gave him to the Thawnes, who would have raised noraallencomics2him believing him to be their son Malcolm; Nora instead was told one of the babies was stillborn, and she brought back home only one of them, Barry, while she buried Thawnes’ son believing he was her own. Nora and Henry raised Barry, saw him become a scientist, and got old…but this reality was abruptly erased when Professor Zoom, the nemesis of his son Barry “The Flash” Allen, came back in time and, using his super speed, killed her without being seen. Since nobody else was at home, Henry was arrested for her murder: this tragic event brought Barry to become a forensic detective for the police, trying to solve impossible cases, and in the meanwhile investigating over his mother’s death, trying to exculpate his father.

Nora Allen (née Thompson) is a good and loved woman, a loving wife and mother, who gives her unique imprint to the life of whoever she meets. She found her perfect place in her family life, and she’s ready to do anything for her beloved ones, especially her son Barry.

En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse)

ApocalypseAnd finally we arrived at X-Men: Days of Future Past‘s post-credit scene, which is set in Egypt around 3000 B.C. In the scene, we can see a young man, portrayed by Brendan Pedder, building the pyramids using his powerful telekinesis. In the meanwhile, a crowd is chanting his name: En Sabah Nur, and four horsemen are looking from a distance. This one marks the first live action appearance of one of the most feared villains in the Marvel Universe, Apocalypse, who’ll be of course the main bad guy in the next installment of the series, X-Men: Apocalypse (even if in the new film he’ll be quite different from the young boy with white skin and blue lips we saw in this one). Waiting for the movie, let’s see who Apocalypse is in the comics.

The child who would have been known as En Sabah Nur was born nearly five thousand years ago in AkkabaEgypt, member of a tribe who feared him from his very first moments of life: with grayish skin and blue lips, the baby was abandoned to die in the desert. This event proved to be a good thing for the infant, since all his kins were slaughtered soon after by the nomadic raiders Sandstormers. The leader of the raiders, a tattooed brute who called himself Baal apocalypsecomics1of the Crimson Sands, found the baby and recognized his potential: he named him “En Sabah Nur” (The First One), and raised him as he was his son. Nur became the greatest warrior of the tribe, the strongest and the most intelligent, and lived by the principle of the survival of the fittest in which Baal believed; he was feared and hated by everyone but Baal, who told him he was the conqueror forseen by an ancient prophecy, and spurred him to reach the top. In an attempt to teach his “son” the secret of the pharaoh Rama-Tut, a self-proclaimed god who was hunting down the Sandstormers, Baal ended up trapped in a cave with Nur, immediately after showing him Rama-Tut’s time machine. Only Nur survived, thanks to his mutant phisiology, and swore to take his revenge against the pharaoh. Found by the vizier’s men, En Sabah Nur became a slave in Rama-Tut’s court, and hid his appearance with a heavy robe; Nephri, sister of Ozymandias (the warlord at Rama-Tut’s service who had hunted Baal and his raiders), got interested in the mysterious slave, but rejected him once she saw his appearance. Ozymandias tried to kill Nur, but his mutant powers triggered, he became a giant and annihilated the pharaoh’s army. Rama-Tut (actually a time-traveler conqueror who had come to Ancient Egypt exactly to try and become the mentor of one of the most powerful mutants ever lived) offered Nur to become his heir, but he refused. In the ensuing battle, Rama-Tut came back to his timeline, leaving behind a wounded Nur; Ozymandias was, in turn, transformed into a sand-made being, enslaved by Nur to become his chronicle writer. Now the raider rejected by everyone could reclaim the throne for himself.

En Sabah Nur spawned many sons, and founded Clan Akkaba, bringing Egypt to a power and a majesty it had never known, nor it would have in the future. Battling Persians and Alexander the Great, Nur purged his army from the weak ones, but soon apocalypsecomics2his desire of conquest went beyond Egypt, and he started to scheme for the conquer of the entire planet. Nur travelled the world, and arrived in China, where another immortal, Garbha-Hisen, brought him to a Celestial ship, which granted him an enormous power and the access to future technology. Now called Apocalypse (a name suggested to him by the owner of the ship, Exon the Searcher), Nur founded the Riders of the Dark, a cult of fanatics who worshipped the mutant conqueror and his idea of survival of the strongest. Another time-traveler, called simply Traveler (actually Cable, who was trying to kill his nemesis before he became immortal), tried to kill Apocalypse more than once, and almost accomplished his goal, but Nur’s blood got mixed in the fight with the Traveler’s techno-organic cells, giving him even more power, and a direct mind-link with the Celestial ship. The Traveler managed to exile Apocalypse in space along with the ship for some centuries, however he managed to come back to Earth and to reform his Riders. Along with them, he haunted the Europe of the XV century, and took a leading role in the transformation of king Vlad the Impaler into the vampire lord Dracula; he also created, for the first time, the Horsemen of Apocalypse, four generals (Death, FaminePestilence and War) chosen among the Riders, direct subordinate of Nur’s. He kept alternating yars of wars and conflicts to ones of slumber in his spaceship, leaving his very existence on the brink of a myth. In XIX century London, Apocalypse met his most loyal yet dangerous servant, geneticist Nathaniel Essex, who for first discovered about mutants’ existence: Nur transformed him into immortal Mr. Sinister to allow him continue his researches, and also instructed him to awake him once more when Earth would have been populated with mutants, a sign that would have meant the planet was ripe for a harvest, with only the strongest allowed to survive. Nur came back to his ship, waiting, savouring his imminent conquest of the entire planet.

En Sabah Nur is a ruthless and cruel warlord, a conqueror blindly devoted to what he himself elevated to an almost-religious ideal: only the strong individuals are fit for existence, the weak ones must be eradicated like a cancer. An absolute genius, Nur conceived plans and schemes spreading over millennia of human history, and his intelligence has brought him to preempt most of contemporary sciences in ancient times. As Apocalypse, he’s one of the most powerful mutants ever: gifted with a powerful telekinesis (which allows him even to fly) and with a molecular-level control of his body, he’s able to shapeshift and to remodel his limbs and appearance, to increase or decrease size at will, to absorb and project energy either to heal, to increase his powers or to creat shields and destructive blasts, and to teleport himself or others; Cable’s techno-organic virus also allows him to directly intergace with any human or alien technology. Immortal and nearly unstoppable, Apocalypse is one of the most serious threats the world has ever faced, a being who converts the strong ones to his cause or annihilates them, and utterly vanquishes the weak ones: a calamity that has deserved his name.

Scott Summers (Cyclops)

cyclopsfilmAnd now we begin with the spoilerish characters: at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, when Wolverine comes back to his present, it’s immediately clear his actions have indeed changed history, as he finds himself in the rebuilt Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and finds, alive and well, Jean Grey and even Scott Summers, portrayed by James Marsden. Scott already appeared in most of the movies in the series: in the first two films, he was Cyclops, the leader of the X-Men, but in the third one, depressed because of Jean’s death, he’s pretty much the shadow of what he used to be (no problem about it: he’s killed by his revived girlfriend in the first ten minutes of the show). A teenager version of him appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine portrayed by Tim Pocock: he is kidnapped from school by Sabretooth and brought to Weapon X program, so that his powers can be transferred into Deadpool. He also makes a small, uncredited cameo in First Class, as a young boy with red sunglasses seen when Charles Xavier uses Cerebro to detect mutants. Just let’s hope that his resurrection will lead to a proper evolution of the character. In the meanwhile, let’s see who the real Cyclops is.

Son of test pilot Christopher Summers and his wife Katherine Ann, Scott Summers was the older child of the family, acting as cyclopscomics1the big brother to Alex. He and his family led normal lives, and from time to time Christopher brought his wife and sons on family trips with his vintage plane; during one of these vacations, when Scott and Alex were still little boys, a Shi’ar ship suddenly appeared on the plane’s route, setting it aflame. Trying to save her sons, Katherine gave them the only parachute on board, with Scott embracing Alex not to let him fall. A moment after the children jumped, the plane exploded, and the parachute was set ablaze: while falling, Scott’s mutant powers manifested for the first time, and the boy used his optic blas to slow his and his brother’s fall; he however hit his head upon falling, and suffered a major brain damage that impaired the part of the brain which would have allowed him to control his optic blast, thus making it always active. Both Scott and Alex suffered from a traumatic amnesia of the events that had led to their parents’ (apparent) death, and they were hospitalized and taken under the protective wing of a skilled geneticist. Unfortunately, the scientist was Nathaniel Essex, aka Mr. Sinister, who took interest in Scott’s power. He sent Alex away, in order to make the boy emotionally vulnerable. After accidentally destroying the hospital’s roof with his blast, Scott was sent to an orphanage, were he was followed by the owner, Mr. Milbury, and bullied by his roomate, Lefty (both of them were cover identities for Sinister, who prevented him from being adopted more than once). When he started suffering from painful headaches, Scott was sent to a specialist (Sinister again), who forged for him special ruby-quartz lenses, able to restrain his blast. When he first used his powers to save some people from falling debris, however, Scott was charged by a mob, who believed he had tried to kill the people he had actually saved: this bad experience led him to crime boss Jack O’Diamonds.

cyclopscomics2Jack O’Diamonds forced the young boy to work for him, abusing him when he refused. When FBI agent Fred Duncan assaulted O’Diamonds’ lair and arrested him, Scott was sure he would have been arrested as well, but Duncan was working with Charles Xavier, a telepath who understood the boy’s history, and decided to take him with him. Taken to Xavier’s institute, Scott found in Xavier the first family in a long time, and started to see him as a father figure. He was also trained to become Cyclops, the first X-Men, the founder of a team of young mutants who would have helped normal people to accept mutants’ presence among them through their heroic deeds. When Xavier found other mutants for his school (Hank “Beast” McCoy, Warren “Angel” WorthingtonBobby “Iceman” Drake and Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey), Scott was elected leader of the X-Men, and although he proved to be an excellent tactician and a good leader, he however suffered from major lacks in social capabilities. He also fell in love with Jean, but, being extremely shy, he didn’t even try to confess her his feelings. He was also afraid he would have hurt her sooner or later with his uncontrollable power, and wanted to keep her at a distance; also Jean, however, liked him, and she made the first move: the two finally started dating, becoming the first official couple in the X-Men. From the first moment he had entered the School, Scott faced many difficult moments: he created the identity of Eric the Red to infiltrate Magneto‘s criminal organization that was threatening to destroy the X-Men for good, and he acted as Xavier’s successor during his (many) apparent deaths. He even found his brother, who joined the team and become Havok, and even his father, who had become the space pirate Corsair, but wasn’t able to entertain good relationships with either of them. In everything he faced, however, he had now a family to support him, and Jean by his side.

Scott Summers is a brilliant and intelligent man, strenghtened and hardened by a number of personal tragedies, a young man who rapidly grew up in order to face the many responsibilities he had been entrusted with. Scott has found in the X-Men the family he lost as a small child, and is ready to sacrifice himself to protect his teammates. As Cyclops, he’s a well trained hand-to-hand fighter and a superb tactician, but his trademark is the extremely powerful optic blast he emits from his eyes, an uncontrollable burst of energy that forces him to always wear the visor and lenses Xavier built for him copying Sinister’s technology. A great leader and a good man, Cyclops is an anchorage for all his X-Men (with the possible exception of Wolverine, who he shares a not-always-friendly rivalry with), a mutant who fights for the peaceful cohabitation with humans, following the dream of his “father” Xavier.

Jean Grey (Dark Phoenix)

darkphoenixmovieLast character appearing in X-Men: Days of Future Past outside the main storyline: when young Charles Xavier uses his newly refound powers to explore Logan‘s mind, he gets some glimpses of his tragic future, from the experiments under Weapon X program and his killing of the love of his life, Jean Grey, portrayed by Famke Janssen. In Xavier’s vision, Jean doesn’t appear in her “normal” human form, but in the twisted and deformed version of the Phoenix as she appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand. This version pretty much differed from the original one in the comics, as in the movie the Phoenix (or rather the Dark Phoenix she becomes during the battle of Alcatraz) is the result of Jean’s personality disorder, a destructive second identity her powerful brain created in which Xavier locked up all of the girl’s aggressiveness, violence and impulsiveness (freed by the traumatic events of X2). In the comics, the Dark Phoenix’s origins are a little bit more alien and a little less psychological. Let’s see together.

When the aliens Z’Nox tried to conquer Earth, the X-Men repelled their forces, and Professor X made sure there was no Z’Nox darkphoenixcomics1remained on the planet. The Fantastic Four, however, feared Xavier’s plan wasn’t enough to guarantee Earth’s safety, and organized a mission in space to reach the enemy planet: Mr. Fantastic teleported the whole planet in the Negative Zone, thus ending the menace. While in space, Jean Grey’s was reached by an ancient and powerful entity, the Phoenix Force, which became fascinated by the unlimited potential of the young girl. Years after that episode, Stephen Lang and his Sentinels kidnapped Jean Grey, Professor X, Banshee and Wolverine, bringing them to his spacestation. The X-Men fought back and escaped from the station, but a solar storm engulfed the shuttle they were escaping on: Jean had psychically absorbed the skills to pilot the shuttle, and she was alone in the cockpit in order to keep the others safe from the radiations, but she was dying because of the exposure. In that moment, the Phoenix Force came back, and offered Jean the chance to grant her deepest wish: the girl only wanted to save her teammates, but her approaching death would have prevented that. The Phoenix thus possessed Jean, and brought the X-Men safely back to Earth, while the shuttle crashed into Jamaica Bay. The Phoenix, however, created a copy of Jean Grey’s consciousness and body, and while the original one was put into a coma, slowly healing from her injuries at the bottom of the bay in a telekinetic cocoon, the “other Jean”, possessed by the Phoenix Force, emerged unscathed from the remains of the shuttle. Without even realising why (Phoenix’s and Jean’s personalities had merged, with no memory of what had happened during the fall), Jean announced to her teammates that, from that moment, since she had risen from her ashes, she would have called herself “Phoenix”.

Nobody, not even her boyfriend Scott “Cyclops” Summers, realised what had happened to Jean. Her powers, however, kept increasing esponentially: she was able to repair the M’Kraan Crystal (a mystical artifact that served as the nexus of all realities), saving the universe, and she blocked Scott’s powers to allow him to truly see her for the first time in his life. Starting to fear her own darkphoenixcomics2powers, however, Jean tried to restrain herself…until she became the target of the psychical attack of Mastermind and Emma Frost, who used their powers to project a powerful illusion into her mind, and to transform her into the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. The battle that ensued between Cyclops and Mastermind broke the last barriers Jean had erected to contain her powers, and she let them go, transforming into the Dark Phoenix. After driving Mastermind insane with a simple glance, the Dark Phoenix, wanting to tie her bonds with the weak identity of Jean Grey, defeated the X-Men single-handedly, and then abandoned Earth, looking for a fitter environment to the goddess she had become. While trying to refuel the energies she had lost in her space travel, Jean consumed a star, starting a chain reaction that killed billions of people in the nearby planets. Both the Shi’ars and the Skrulls tried to stop her from consuming other stars, but the Dark Phoenix easily destroyed the aliens’ fleets. Only Professor X’s intervention managed to rebuild the barriers Jean had created herself, and to bring the woman back to her sense. Jean, however, was later arrested by the Shi’ars, and sentenced to death for genocide: trying to save his pupil, Xavier challenged the Shi’ar empress Lilandra to Arin’n Haelar, a honor duel in which the victor was the rightful. The X-Men battled the Imperial Guard, but were defeated, and when Cyclops was apparently killed, Jean lost control again: the Dark Phoenix was back.

Jean Grey’s psychical clone is identical to the original: strong, intelligent, caring, she’s a beacon for her friends and teammates. When the Dark Phoenix persona prevails, however, she’s a being of pure instinct, conscious of her own power and greatness and eager to prove herself; whenever she feeds, galaxies die, and whenever she gets angry, the universe trembles. Her telekinetical and telepathic powers are brought to an incredibly wide extent, and she’s able to manipulate matter and energy at will. She’s also able to survive in open space, to fly, to create destructive cosmic flames, to manipulate time and the very strings of existence, and, of course, to resurrect from her own ashes. Immortal and unstoppable, the Dark Phoenix is a malevolent yet pure being, like an almighty child barely aware of the consequences of her catastrophic actions.

Angel Salvadore

angelsalvadorefilmSecond character coming back in X-Men: Days of Future Past, albeit not in person. When Mystique breaks into Bolivar Trask‘s office and reads the files he hides in his safe, she finds out the autopsy report of some mutants Trask experimented on and killed: one of them is Angel Salvadore, portrayed by Zoë Kravitz. In the movie we don’t only see a photo of her corpse, there’s also one of her wings kept in a caveau, the same one that Magneto goes to in order to retrieve his helmet. Angel already appeared in First Class as a stripper who becomes one of the first recruits of Charles Xavier‘s and Magneto’s school, but she abandons her companions to join Sebastian Shaw after the first encounter with the Hellfire Club; she later changes sides again, and joins Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants. In the comics, she changes team just a couple of times, but she’s mainly a member of the X-Men. Let’s see together.

Angel Salvadore was born in a small town in Wyoming, from a poor woman and a man who had an affair with her, and abandoned her the moment he learnt she was pregnant. Angel lived with her little sister and her parents, and nobody but her mother knew she was the daughter of another man.angelsalvadorecomics1 Her step-father, however, suspected something, and, unfortunately for Angel, he was a violent and abusive man: she became the target of his physical, emotional, verbal and even sexual assaults; the mother didn’t seem to notice or to care what her husband was doing to her daughter, and the girl was left alone to defend herself from the father. When she was fourteen years old, Angel started finding blisters and blotches on her back, at her shoulders’ level, and this only encreased the abuses coming from her step-father. One night, she tried to fight back, and threatened the man to sue him for child-abuse, but he bluntly answered that nobody would have believed he had molested a mutant: shocked by what he had said, Angel fled from home, and took refuge in a nearby park. She cried herself to sleep, praying that what her step-father said wasn’t true and she wasn’t a mutant…but the man was right. That very night, while she was sleeping, Angel formed a cocoon, from which she emerged the morning after…with a brand new pair of wings.

Before even realising she had completed her mutation, Angel was attacked by the U-Men, a group of human fanatics believing to be the “Third Species“, and hunted mutants to harvest their body parts and “improve” themselves with them. The U-Men wanted angelsalvadorecomics2to take her wings, but Angel’s body subconsciously reacted on its own: she vomited acid on the nearest assailant, and used her new wings to produce ultrasonic waves that incapacitated the attackers. She then tried to fly away, but she wasn’t able to control her new limbs, and ended up crashing nearby: the U-Men sedated her, and took her away. She woke up on a vivisection table, with the U-Men about to cut off her wings, when a clawed mutant came to the rescue: Wolverine. The X-Men, in fact, had spotted Angel using Cerebro, and Jean Grey had used it to direct Wolverine to the girl’s imprisonment place. Wolverine made short work of the U-Men, and gutted many of them…but Angel’s first reaction, understandably, was to throw up from the stress and from the view of her kidnappers’ entrails. The acid blast hit Wolverine right in the face, but luckily his healing factor made him survive the experience. Logan convinced Angel to follow him to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and another misadventure with a mutant-hating bartender on the way convinced the girl even more of the necessity of a safeguarded environment for what she had become. However, she was still quite scared of her lethal protector, and her life at the new school started in plain distrust and suspicion towards the other mutants…until she met Barnell “Beak” Bohusk, another “freak” who soon became her boyfriend, allowing her to live her new life with another spirit.

Angel Salvadore is a girl who grew up sooner than her age requested because of a childhood of violence and abuses: hardened by a hard life, she’s however completely disoriented when facing the changes that occured to her in first person, and she’s quite frightened of being a mutant. Angel has developed an insectoid physiology, with a pair of fly-like wings that she can use either to fly or to emit powerful supersonic waves by making them vibrating at high speeds; she also possesses special glands that emit a corrosive digestive acid, that she can use as a weapon as well. Whenever she’s heavily damaged, Angel can create healing cocoons, inside which she can heal from her wounds quite fast. Fearing herself and the new world around her, Angel is a young mutant who just made her first step in a wider world.

Azazel

azazelfilmFinally, X-Men: Days of Future Past is in theatres, and, by the way, it’s simply awesome. In the next days we’ll focus on the characters appearing in the movie that we didn’t see in any previous trailer: be warned, the first three will be spoiler-free, but the last two won’t, so if you didn’t see the movie already be careful. We’ll start with Azazel, portrayed by Jason Flemyng: in First Class, he was a member of the Hellfire Club, but joined Magneto in his first Brotherhood of Mutants after Sebastian Shaw‘s death. In Days of Future Past he’s dead from the very beginning of the movie, but we see a picture of him (of his corpse, actually) when Mystique reads Bolivar Trask‘s files, and we learn that he’s been killed and experimented on in order to study his powers. In the comics, Azazel has proved to be quite hard to kill, and I doubt Trask and his men would have been able to do that. Let’s see together.

Azazel’s origins go back in millennia, as he is one of the world’s most ancient mutants. Azazel was born when in the world two different kinds of mutants battled: on one side, there were the Neyaphem, a group of evil-doers, powerful beings with demonic appearance, with Azazel as their leader; on the other side, there were the Cherayafim, who distinguished themselves for their blonde hair, healing blood and wide wings. The two groups battled each other for supremacy during biblical azazelcomics1times, and they gave birth to humans’ concepts of demons and angels. Azazel, liking the idea of being considered a demon, and at a certain point battled some well-known and extremely powerful demons (among them, even Mephisto and Satannish) for the title of Satan, the ruler of Hell, but he lost to Marduk Kurios. In the meanwhile, the battle with the Cherayafim became more and more violent, until it ended up in an open war: the entire forces of both line-ups clashed, and the Neyaphem lost. Many of the survivors were simply immortal, like Azazel himself, so the Cherayafim decided to banish them, rather than killing them. The angel-like mutants opened a portal to another world, the Brimstone Dimension, and locked their enemies there for all eternity, sealing them up with their blood. For the Neyaphem, it was the beginning of a long time of imprisonment…luckily for them, their leader was a teleporter, and he soon found a way to use his powers to travel back to Earth, even if for a brief time. From the first time he came back to Earth, Azazel started impregnating mutant women, in order to spawn children that would have served as a bridge between dimensions, ready to be used by him to free himself and his people.

Azazel travelled between worlds for millennia, spawning quite a number of sons, all of them Neyaphem. In recent times, Azazel arrived in Germany, where he used his powers to appear like a human; he became a business associate of Baron Christian Wagner, a local nobleman, but it was his wife that lured his interest. The woman, in fact, despite appearing absolutely normal, was a blue skinned mutant: Raven Darkholme, aka azazelcomics2Mystique. Azazel seduced the woman, and managed to sleep with her despite she loved her husband: she got pregnant, and Azazel abandoned her to come back to his dimension. From Brimestone Dimension, Azazel saw that Raven had been forced to kill her husband, who was barren and so quite suspicious about his wife’s pregnancy, and that a furious crowd had apparently killed both her and the baby, Kurt. When time came, Azazel finally gathered all of his children, thanks to his psychic powers, in the Isla Des Demonas, where they were ready to sacrifice themselves to let their father and his people come through. Also Kurt, who had survived and become the heroic Nightcrawler in the meanwhile, was there, but his friends, the X-Men, had followed him while he was in a semi-catatonic state. When Azazel’s children opened the portal to the Brimstone Dimension, the X-Men jumped in, determined to protect their friend from whatever awaited on the other side. Intrigued, Azazel decided to take some fun with them before reopening the portal, and convinced the mutants they were actually in Hell, and he was Satan in person: after eons of imprisonment, Azazel was ready to dally a little bit torturing some hero before getting to serious business…

Azazel is an ancient and cruel mutant, willing to establish his own kingdom on the world. He’s quite powerful, and has displayed a variety of abilities: he’s immortal, and also possesses a healing factor that not only prevents him from aging, but also regenerates his cells at an incredible speed, making him survive also to otherwise mortal wounds; he’s an extremely powerful teleporter, and is able to emit energy blasts that usually paralyze whoever is hit; he’s also able to shapeshift and to mind-control other people to a certain extent; he’s also an excellent swordsman and a skilled acrobat. Considering himself a man of honor (or at least a twisted version of it), Azazel feels a deep hatred and despise not only towards his long-time nemesis, the Cheyarafim, but also against all “normal” mutants, the ones who don’t show any physical sign of their mutation. With all the determination and the power to accomplish his goals, Azazel will stop in front of nothing to free himself and his army and to establish a kingdom ruled by demonic and monstrous mutants like himself.