Salvatore Vincent Maroni (The Boss)

Sal MaroniThe new trailer for Gotham showed us a lot of new footage, and we got our first look at many new characters. Only the identity of two of them has been fully confirmed, and we’ll start from them. First of all, Sal Maroni, portrayed by David Zayas: he’ll be the main antagonist in Carmine Falcone‘s war for supremacy, and it’s positive he’ll make GCPD‘s life a living hell. The character already appeared in Batman Forever, named Boss Moroni and portrayed by Dennis Paladino: he only appeared in the flashback showing Two-Face‘s origin, and he’s seen disfiguring the future criminal during a trial. His most prominent appearance, until now, has been Eric Roberts‘ version in The Dark Knight: in the movie, he was featured as one of the main villains, heir to Carmine Falcone’s criminal empire, and the main responsible along with The Joker of Two-Face’s transformation. Waiting to see this new version of one of the most vicious gangsters of Gotham City, let’s see who the character is in the comics.

As most of DC characters, there are multiple versions of Sal Maroni. In the first one, he was named Boss Moroni, and he was one of the most powerful and influent gangsters in Gotham City. He was renowned for carrying along a “lucky” silver dollar everytime he had to execute somebody, a stacked two-headed coin that, once flipped, always determined the death of the victim. When he killed a small-time criminal named “Bookie” Benson, Moroni ended up being arrested by Batman, the new masked hero in town, and was trialed by idealistic and incorruptible D.A. Harvey Kent. During the trial, Moroni was quite sure to be absolved, but Kent salmaronicomics1brought his silver dollar as an evidence, incriminating him: cornered, Moroni threw an acid vial at the D.A., horribly disfiguring him. In retaliation, Kent shot and killed him, then surrendering to the police: a new criminal, Two-Face, was born. After the first chrisis, Moroni became Morelli, while his nemesis was renamed Harvey Dent. The trial ended up in almost the same way, but Morelli survived Dent’s shooting, becoming paralyzed. On a wheelchair, Morelli planned his revenge, and underwent plastic surgery to hide himself from Dent, now the deranged gangster Two-Face. He changed his name into Anton Karoselle, and targeted Dent’s family. Morelli tracked Gilda Gold, Dent’s ex-wife, and organised an attempt to her life, knowing that his enemy still loved her: the attack failed, but Dave Stevens, Gilda’s new husband, got killed to protect his wife. Morelli/Karoselle wanted to try again and kill the woman for good, but Stevens’ death had attracted the attention of Two-Face, who now knew his ex-wife’s life was in danger: while Morelly hunted Gilda, Two-Face hunted Morelli. Eventually, the disfigured criminal found his prey for first, and the Italian mobster was killed by the same man who had paralyzed him years before.

The third and last version of the character is the more complex. Here, Salvatore Vincent Maroni was the son of Luigi “Big Lou” Maroni, one of Gotham City’s most powerful gangsters. Sal grew up in his father’s shadow, with all the privileges of a prince of crime. The Maronis rivaled with the Falcones for the control of Gotham’s crime, and when Luigi tried to kill Vincent Maroni‘s son, Carmine, the Falcones answered by murdering Luigi, leaving Sal as the heir of his father’s fallen empire. The Falcones became Gotham City’s lords, while Sal was left with a certain autonomy, but forced to obedience. Maroni didn’t resolve to be just the second power in town, and started building a financial empire to start a new criminal activity from, a task made easier by the city’s new masked crusader, Batman, who targeted mainly Falcone’s activities. With his sons Umberto and salmaronicomics2Pino, Sal controlled a variety of less-important crime networks, mainly usury. The first big investment for Sal came when he started financing Hugo Strange, a scientist who was building an army of mutated super-goons using the inmates of Arkham Asylum. Maroni was promised a huge amount of money in exchange, but soon realised Strange was paying him with the money his supermen had stolen from Maroni himself: when he was about to shut Strange’s researches down, the scientist reacted sending his mutants to kill him. Ironically, only Batman’s intervention saved him from a certain death. In the meanwhile, a serial killer nicknamed Holiday had started killing the members of Falcone’s family, and soon Carmine began suspecting Sal Maroni was behind it. When Carmine preemptively attacked Maroni, killing many of his men, he decided to make a deal with the new D.A., Harvey Dent, to expose Falcone’s criminal empire. In jail, however, Sal was visited by Sofia Falcone, Carmine’s daughter and Maroni’s lover: she told him that the responsible of the attacks was Dent himself, not her father, and he fell for it. During the trial in which he was supposed to testify against Falcone, Maroni attacked Dent with an acid phial he had been given by Vernon Field, Dent’s corrupted assistant: the D.A. got horribly disfigured, while Maroni was shot twice in the chest by a guard. He survived, however, and he was brought back to prison. This was not the end of Sal “The Boss” Maroni.

Sal Maroni, known both as The Boss and The Italian, is one of Gotham City’s most powerful mob bosses, ruler of a criminal empire built by his father, destroyed by Falcone, and rebuilt by himself. Maroni doesn’t possess any particular ability, and he’s also lacking the streategic intelligence of his rival Falcone, but his determination and his inventiveness have been more than enough for him to make his empire come back to what it was before Big Lou’s death. Cruel and single-minded, Maroni has all the means and the intention of becoming the new absolute crimelord in Gotham City.

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Johnny Royale

Johnny RoyalleWe have yet another picture from the upcoming Powers, this time it portrays one of the series’ villains: it’s Johnny Royale, portrayed by Noah Taylor. In the comics, Royale is quite a secondary character, despite his huge impact and influence on tha main storyline and on the characters’ evolution, but in the series it seems he’ll have a bigger role, covering the entire first season. Judging from his look, he’ll be pretty much the same well-dressed chain-smoker he’s in the comics, not exactly a nice guy, and even less a pleasurable company, especially for the protagonists. Before discovering how Taylor will portray the character, let’s see together who the villainous Royale is in the original comicbook series.

Very little is known about the early life of the man who would have become famous as Johnny Royale (sometimes spelled Royalle), not even his true name. He was likely born in Chicago, where he spent most of his life, and was never renowned for being a good guy. Royale had a good nose for affaris, and a brilliant intellect that allowed him to spoil almost any situation to his own advantage. This skills where common to many people in Chicago, but Royale had something more, something different: he was also a Power, a man gifted (or cursed, depending on each one’s point of view) with unnatural abilities that made them gods among humans. Royale in particular was a teleporter, he could appear wherever he wanted, and disappear immediately after. Instead of chosing to become a hero, like many had done before him, Johnny preferred to use his powers for his own advantage (as it was predictable) and became a supervillain, knowing that no bank vault or rich apartment would have been out of his reach with his teleportation skills. Inevitably, he entered in conflict with the heroes of the city, battling them more than once during the years. Things became even harder for a “honest” crime master johnnyroyallecomics1when some of the most powerful heroes of his time, such as DiamondRetro-GirlZora and Triphammer, formed a team and started working together. In order to counter this move, Royale contacted the most vicious and powerful supervillains around and, in 1986, he reunited them in a squad like nobody had ever seen. A massive battle ensued between the heroes and the villains, a battle that was interrupted by an unforseen force, a criminal known as Wolfe, that started a destructive duel with Diamond, a fight that ended with them both losing their powers. The villains eventually lost the war they had started, and much more: the greatest battle they fought put an end to the costumed heroes (and villains) era, bringing the government to much harder and decisive measures to control the ever-growing Powers. Obviously, Johnny Royale was among the first ones who guessed an era was changing, and decided to take his insurances to be at the top of the chain even in the new world.

Royale abandoned his full-time activity as a crime-lord, and decided to become a honest businessman. Sort of, at least. He opened an underground club, thus mantaining a grasp over the city’s darkest secrets, and offering a shelter to his old friends from the villains squad. Just to be safe on both sides of the law, Royale also started to “work” as an informant to the Chicago Police Department, especially to the Powers Unit, which his old enemy Diamond, now known as Detective Christian Walker, worked for. This turned out to be a double-edged razor, since it was true that the policemen closed an eye on the illegal trades he attended to in his club, but the devoute permanence of cops in his venue ended up damaging his affairs, since many of his clients didn’t trust him much anymore. Sick and tired of it, and trying to take advantage even from this uncomfortable situation, Royale sued the entire district for harassment, claiming the continuous interrogations, sometimes brutal ones, damaged himself and his business. The lawsuit was an easy-to-win johnnyroyallecomics2one, and this didn’t simplify Royale’s relation with the police. When a powered killer started electrocuting the members of a group of cosplayers dressed as the heroes of the past, Walker suspected an old foe, The Pulp, who was nowhere to be found. Since his last known associate was Royale himself, he was brought to the department to be interrogated. Royale acted arrogantly, he claimed he didn’t even know the guy, and mocked Walker and his partner Deena Pilgrim repeatedly. When he got tired of the interrogation, he used his powers to get away (an illegal act, by the way), and Pilgrim tried to stop him by grabbing his arm…with the only result of ripping it off. Because of this, Pilgrim was suspended from service, and she couldn’t do anything but wait the moment Royale would have sued her for brutality, putting an end to her career. While Walker pursued The Pulp, Pilgrim went to Royale’s club. When she faced the now maimed crimelord, she shot him point-blank, putting an end to his activities for good…and worsening her condition as all the suspects obviously pointed to her.

Johnny Royale is a greedy and egomaniac man, who uses his sharp intelligence to analyze any situation and to find a way to expolit it to his favor. He is a teleporter, able to instantly move from a place to another with his simple will, an ability he has used to become a rich and influent man. The true mastermind of the entire (super) criminal underworld, Royale may not be an active villain anymore, but he surely is still a threat to his old enemies.

Barbara Morse (Mockingbird)

Bobbi MorseWhen the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was announced, the multiple Agent Koenig teased the presence of Bobbi Morse in the new year’s cast: finally, we have our first look at Bobbi, who’ll be portrayed by Adrianne Palicki and will make her debut in episode A Hen in the Wolf House. Apparently, Bobbi will be introduced as an agent of Hydra, working as chief of security. If everything goes as planned, she won’t stay Hydra for long, and she’ll join the light side in no time. In the comics, she’s never been part of Hydra, working for S.H.I.E.L.D. from the very beginning. Anyway, waiting to see what this first live action appearance of Bobbi will be, let’s see together who she is in the comics.

Barbara Morse was born in San DiegoCalifornia, daughter of Susan (nothing is known about her father). She grew up with her brother, Ben, and eventually she moved to Georgia to get her Phd in biochemistry at the Institute of Technology. Thanks to her high grades, Professor Wilma Calvin allowed her to participate to Project: Gladiator, a government-funded research meant to recreat the Super Soldier Serum that gave Captain America his powers. Bobbi proved to be an excellent scientist, so much that she attracted the attentions of S.H.I.E.L.D., who offered her to join: she agreed, and she trained herself hard during her free time, excelling in both the physical training and in the espionage one. When Ted Sallis, another scientist involved in Project: Gladiator, disappeared, Bobbi received her first assignment: she had to stick close to Paul Allen, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent believed to be a traitor responsible for Sallis’ disappearance, and to investigate on him. Bobbi became Allen’s girlfriend, and she spied on him, reporting to S.H.I.E.L.D.; the two of them mockingbirdcomics1travelled to the Savage Land, a hidden tropical paradise in Antarctica, to enlist the heroic Ka-Zar and ask him to find Sallis. Ka-Zar agreed to help, and followed them to the Everglades, where the trio was unable to find the scientist. Bobbi and Ka-Zar, however, discovered a subversive organisation, A.I.M., trying to take possession of Project: Gladiator, and they even proved Paul Allen was a traitor. During the battle, a monstrous being appeared and killed Allen (unbeknownst to them, the monster was Ted Sallis himself). With her first mission accomplished, Bobbi was ordered by Nick Fury to escort Ka-Zar during his stay in the civilized world, and the two developed a romantic relation. They broke up when it became clear Ka-Zar would have never left his Savage Land, and while the Jungle Lord came back to his Antarctic paradise, Bobbi returned to S.H.I.E.L.D. to accept the first mission she was offered. Now preferring on-field action over biology, she was assigned with the capture of El Tigre, a dangerous South American subversive, a mission she easily accomplished. Known by the locals as The Huntress, Bobbi stayed in South America for a while, solving the problems S.H.I.E.L.D. had with local powers.

When the S.H.I.E.L.D. division leader Rico Santana, operating in Mexico City, became corrupted and killed a lawyer who was supposed to testify against him, Bobbi exposed him and had him arrested by his superiors. Realising many other S.H.I.E.L.D. high officers weren’t exactly honest, she started investigating on many other divisional operations, chosing for herself a new codename, Mockingbird, a name taken by an old CIA operation Nick Fury had taken mockingbirdcomics2part to (the name quite fitted her, since she liked to mock her enemies during combat). Bobbi wanted to take the evidence she had collected directly to Fury, but once in Manhattan, she was attacked by local division’s leader Carl Delandan, who had convinced Spider-Man she was a traitorous spy who had to be stopped. During the battle with the manipulated superhero, Mockingbird had the microfilm she was carrying destroyed, but Delandan’s corruption was revealed to Fury directly. In retaliation, Bobbi was shot by Dealandan’s men, and ended up to the hospital. While she was hospitalized, Fury followed her trails, and apprehended many subversives and corrupted agents within S.H.I.E.L.D. ranks; when Bobbi was released from the hospital, Fury himself decorated her, praising her for her marvelous service. Sick and tired of government’s organisations, however, Bobbi resigned from S.H.I.E.L.D., and became a solo adventurer. While investigating on Cross Technological Enterprise, a crooked company who had built a machine to brainwash superhuman beings and make them faithful slaves, Mockingbird met for the first time the archer Hawkeye: antagonistic at first, the two heroes teamed up to take down Crossfire and his men, and developed a romantic feeling for each other. Eventually, Bobbi proposed to him, and the two got married. When Hawkeye became the leader of the West Coast Avengers, Mockingbird followed her husband, finally becoming part of the team of World’s Greatest Heroes.

Barbara “Bobbi” Morse is an extremely brilliant woman, able to learn anything in no time, with a natural ability to adapt to any situation. She’s a skilled gymnast and athlete, and a front-rank-spy, often used in dangerous undercover operations. As Mockingbird, she operated without superpowers for most of her heroic career, even if her combat skills rivaled Captain America’s; she possesses a couple of battle staves that can be joined to form a bo staff, weapons she has complete mastership over, and her special glasses allow her to see in a variety of spectrums; recently, she’s been exposed to a mix of the Super Soldier Serum and the Infintiy Formula, and she gained superhuman strength, durability, speed and agility, and enhanced healing (possibly longevity), but the full extent of her new powers is yet to be explored. Adventurer, genius, spy, heroine, Mockingbird has been a lot of things in her life, and every time, she proved she’s able to play with the best in every field.

Daniel Whitehall (Kraken)

Daniel WhitehallThe new season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hit our screens, and the first episode, Shadows, turned out to be pretty good, actually. We’ve been introduced to a brand new villain: in the 1945 flashback, we see Peggy Carter and some agents from S.S.R. attacking the last known base of Hydra and arresting its leader, Nazi officer Daniel Whitehall, portrayed by Reed Diamond. In a yet unexplicable way, Whitehall managed to survive to our days mantaining a youthful appearance, and he’s now the leader of a powerful Hydra cell, who’s employed the Absorbing Man to steal a very powerful artifact from the military. We’ll surely see more of him during the season, but in the meanwhile, let’s see who he is in the comics.

Since the birth of Hydra, there was a secret officer among their ranks, simply known as “Kraken“, who was responsible of training their best agents, a legendary figure ranked among the best spies in the world despite nobody had ever been able to prove his existence (everyone who tried had disappeared). The world’s greatest espionage organisations, such as S.H.I.E.L.D. or S.T.R.I.K.E., looked for their enemy in the wrong place, since the Kraken wasn’t a German agent as most believed, but the former British Intelligence officer Daniel Whitehall. The man had become fascinated by Hydra’s view of the world, especially by the mission he felt they had entrusted him with: to allow people to become “what they were supposed to be”, training them, showing them their path, putting a vast amounts of talents, intelligence and resources at the service of promising young people who could have accomplished much in their lives. Whitehall had put on the armor of Kraken, and had become the lead trainer of Hydra, the krakencomics1man responsible for shaping their best agents and developing their best assets. Kraken worked toe-to-toe with Baron Von Strucker, the founder and leader of Hydra, and reached him in Japan, where he founded training houses for boys and girls, eight per gender, hard schools in which only the best survived to become human weapons. Whitehall personally travelled the world to select and recruit the youth with more potentialities, taking them in his school: also future high-ranking officers such as Viper were his pupils at the beginning of their career in Hydra. In Japan, he also met a young boy, Tomi Shishido, a mutant martial artist from Kobe; studying the boy, he realised he would have become a formidable force in the future, and he decided to give him the Godkiller Sword, a powerful artifact built by the Japanese Gods for Zeus in ancient times, starting a series of events that would have transformed Tomi into the cruel Gorgon. He also was responsible of the creation of the Hive, a super agent created from the merging of a normal subordinate with a vicious, genetically altered parasite.

Whitehall’s mission moved for a little while from its original tracks when Leonardo Da Vinci, the Reinassance genius, contacted him in 1961 to join the Great Wheel, a secret team composed of the world’s greatest spies (from every line-up), whose aim was to retrieve some dangerous technology all over the world. Everyone received a codename from the zodiac, and Whitehall was named Leo (nobody apart from Von Strucker, who was in the Wheel as well, knew he was actually Kraken). Whitehall was partnered with Capricorn (Vasili Dassiev from KGB), Aquarius (John Garrett from S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Pisces (Shoji Soma, leader of The Hand). The four of krakencomics2them travelled to Egypt to retrieve the power source from a spaceship crashed in the desert. Unfortunately, the ship belonged to the Badoon, a combative alien race, and the spies were attacked by security drones. Whitehall donned his armor to protect himself and his teammates, and while he defeated the drones, Dassiev retrieved the power source. Unfortunately, Dassiev and Viktor Uvarov betrayed the Wheel, and tried to kill its members to take possession of the technology Da Vinci had been storing: in the following battle, the forces of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra, The Hand and the Zodiac together submitted Uvarov, who gave birth to the Leviathan cartel, starting this way a war which would have continued until our days. After the Great Wheel broke, Whitehall came back to his original mission, recruiting and training gifted young people for Hydra, always acting in the shadows and reporting directly and exclusively to Baron Strucker, thus mantaining his true identity a secret for enemies and allies alike. Unfortunately, even the nearly legendary Kraken couldn’t escape old age, and when he found himself dying for a terminal disease, he was forced to retreat from activity, coming back to London for the first time in decades. His legacy, however, lived on in his pupils, who would have forged the world.

Daniel Whitehall is a man with a mission, which he gives some sort of sacredness to: he firmly believes he’s helping people to become what they’re meant to be, and acts on consequence, training (mostly) to death boys and girls until they’re able to exploit any hidden potential they possess. Extremely gifted as both a tactician and a spy, Whitehall’s very existence is in doubt for most of his enemies, and even allies. As Kraken, he possesses a special armor that appears whenever he dons his helmet (a technology of unknown origin): the armor improves his strength and durability, allows him to project energy blasts and to teleport himself even at great distances, and makes him virtually invulnerable. A self-righteous missionary following strong ideals, Kraken is one of the most dangerous men on the planet, fueled by his own belief in working for a better future.

Zora

ZoraSecond preview pic from Powers got many people puzzled: who’s the weird-looking woman in the photo? Some relative of Star Trek‘s Geordie La Forge? I’m sorry for the Trekkies, but this is Zora, portrayed by Logan Browning. Well, she surely is a little bit flashy, even more than in the comics (’nuff said), but the character herself is pretty interesting, an she’ll be one of the recurring of the series. Again, we have another race swap in the show, and after Deena Pilgrim, another Caucasian blondie from the comics becomes an Afro-American in the show; surely, Browning seems to be gutty enough to portray the character, independently from her look. Especially if they dress her in a way she doesn’t look like a back dancer from a Pat Benatar’s concert.

Very little is known about Zora’s past and, considering she was immortal, it’s unknown even how old she was exactly. Differently from many other Powers, Zora claimed to know exactly how she came to develop her superhuman abilities: at a certain point of her life, she fell into a deep spiritual crisis, and she rejected any belief in God she previously had. She emerged from this crisis believing in herself as the only God of her life, and from that moment, she started developing amazing powers, which she could bend energy and light with. She started traveling the world, looking for a purpose in her new life, and around 1000 B. C., she arrived in PekingChina. She heard of a place of enlightment, the Wushu Mountain Temple, and she decided to climb the long ladder to reach it and meet Master Han Xian-Zi. Once she arrived at the Great Temple, she found out that the claims about the wisdom of the master were grounded, and he became her first mentor. From Xian-Zi, Zora learnt meditation and found inner peace, discovering a new way to live her god-less life. She also mastered her powers to an extent she zoracomics1didn’t believe to be possible, all thanks to the self-discipline the old master taught her. During her time in the Great Temple, Zora also found one of the few things she wasn’t looking for: love. Another pilgrim in search of wisdom, a nameless man nicknamed the Great Walker, arrived to the temple, and started studying with Zora and the others, looking for enlightenment. Walker was an immortal, just like her, a tormented soul who didn’t understand his place in the world and, unlike Zora, unable to remember much of his past. Zora became attracted to him, even if he considered a curse the powers she regarded as a blessing. When a villager arrived to the temple asking for help against an invading force, Walker wanted to intervene, while most of the Powers chose not to: Zora, along with the Chinese incarnation of Retro-Girl and Super-Shock, decided to follow Walker, thus creating the first superhero team in history. They repelled the invader, then Walker decided to move on and to leave the temple.

Zora followed him, but when she realised he didn’t remember her nor his life at the Great Temple “just” a century after, she preferred to live her own life. They met again several times during the following centuries, and for Walker it was always like the first time, while Zora kept nurturing a strong feeling for the man. They kept meeting and parting, until they met again in 1986, in the United States of America. In Chicago, Walker had become the superhero known as Diamond, and Zora had decided to follow him in this new adventure, becoming part of his new team, along with the new Retro-Girl and Triphammer. Zora was still in love with Walker, and, despite having to share him with Retro-Girl (something that didn’t seem to bother her at all) she became sure he was the one she wanted to share her immortal life with. Diamond felt a strong attraction to her as well, some sort of zoracomics2reminiscence of their past, and eventually the two started a secret relation. When a fight with the supervillain Wolfe costed Diamond his powers, Zora decided to stay in Chicago nevertheless, as close to her man as it was possible. When Diamond became Detective Christian Walker, Zora stayed by his side, and they secretly got engaged. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t have lived to see her own marriage: during an investigation, the now powerless Walker met a deranged superheroine created by the government, Boogie Girl, an emotionally unstable young woman who had gone mad with her immense power. Walker was about to be killed, but Zora intervened, and tried to bring the heroine back to herself…but Boogie Girl was far beyond saving. A battle of titanic proportions ensued, and Zora managed to subdue Boogie Girl, but her right arm got ripped off, and she was mortally wounded. She collapsed, and Walker reached her in the midst of the battlefield. Just before dying, Zora told her beloved one she would have done anything for him, and then passed away in peace, in the arms of the man she had loved for millennia, a man who now, having become mortal, wouldn’t have forgotten her ever again.

Zora is a strong and determined woman, hardened by millennia of experience and sometimes pretty cynical. She believes in nothing but herself, and she claims to gain her strength from the idea she’s the only god to herself. She possesses a variety of powers, from flight to super strength, but she’s especially gifted in the manipulation of light and energy: she can shoot blasts of pure energy or build energy constructs with her mind, to use them in battle or just as interior designs for her house. Seemingly impervious and extremely powerful, Zora seems to have a single weakness: her love for the man now known as Christian Walker.

Calista Secor (Retro-Girl)

Calista SecorNew pics from the upcoming tv-series Powers, and a couple of new characters revealed as well. First one is Calista Secor, portrayed by Olesya Rulin. It’s still unknown what kind of a role she’ll have in the series, but it’s likely it won’t differ much from the comics version (especially judging from the t-shirt she’s wearing in the pic). Calista will be featured in the first episode, and will become an important recurring character throughout the series (even if it’s likely the show will jump a few years, if Rulin is the only one set to portray the character). In the meanwhile, let’s see together who the girl is in the comics.

Calista Secor’s family couldn’t be called the perfect one, quite the opposite. Her father disappeared when her mother got pregnant, and she never met him; her mother, by her side, didn’t want to take care of the one responsible for the loss of her man, and she mostly ignored her in order to find another man to stay by her side. Calista witnessed to a never-ending series of step-fathers, and from the best ones to the worst ones she saw pretty much everything. It’s likely the absolute worst was the last one, a man named Flinch. Flinch brought Calista’s life to an all new level of misery, but that wasn’t the worst part of it: when she was just seven years old, Flinch broke up with her mother, but he had something to say about some money the woman owned to him…money that she clearly didn’t have (or didn’t want to give him). As an answer, Flinch decided to kidnap Calista, and held her hostage, threatening her life if he didn’t get his money back. In response, Calista’s mother disappeared without leaving a trace, and the girl didn’t see her ever again. Before things got really bad, an retrogirlcomics1unexpected hero intervened: Detective Christian Walker, from the Chicago Police Department, broke in and incapacitated Calista, saving her. The police tried to trace her mother, but with no result: while they were still searching, Calista was entrusted to Walker and to his new partner, rookie Deena Pilgrim, even if they were investigating on a brand new case. Somebody had murdered the superheroine Retro-Girl, and Walker had to find the killer. Oddly enough, from the very beginning of the investigation Calista proved to know many things she wasn’t supposed to about the crime, so much that she pointed Walker and Pilgrim to the right man, a deranged fanboy who had built a Power Drainer on his own and slit the troat of his beloved heroine. The boy was arrested (and later killed by Triphammer) and Calista was given over to child services.

Calista was entrusted to a new family, but the strange flashbacks she experienced during the investigation with Walker and Pilgrim continued. She also started to manifest superhuman powers she previously didn’t have, first of all a remarkable strength and a growing invulnerability. The thing Calista didn’t know (yet) was that Retro-Girl was some sort of a mystic legacy of superheroines, that passed over from woman to woman anytime the current host died. Calista Secor had been chosen by the mysterious force to become the new Retro-Girl, a calling which was hard to ignore…especially for a growing-up teenager. Time passed, and the Powers became quite a number, too many for the government to control; the law that forbid every Power, good or bad, to manifest their abilities in public was just the logical conclusion. retrogirlcomics2Calista, however, had just learnt to master her (impressive) superpowers, and was quite intolerant towards any rule: when she first had the occasion, she donned her new costume and made her debut as the new Retro-Girl. As some sort of cosmic irony, during her first night out as a superheroine Calista saved Walker and Pilgrim, who were about to be overpowered by a superhuman criminal. Ten years had passed since their last meeting, but Walker recognised the girl he had saved despite the costume: he reached her in the shop she worked in, and made her notice she was breaking the law by acting as a superheroine. She told him everything she knew about the legacy of Retro-Girl, and also about some flashbacks involving him, memories that belonged to more than one past Retro-Girl; starting from this connection, she asked him to be trained to be a true heroine, to use her powers for the greater good (and not to be noticed while doing it. Seeing her persistence, and curious about his own past, Walker agreed, and officially became the new Retro-Girl’s mentor.

Calista Secor suffered quite a traumatic childhood, but the experience gave her strength instead of making her lose her heart. Cheerful and gutsy, Calista grew up inspiring herself to Christian Walker, the hero who saved her as a child. As Retro-Girl, she possesses disjointed memories of her predecessors, and all their powers: she’s super strong, she can fly, and she’s virtually invulnerable. With a remarkable force and no experience, Retro-Girl is a teenage heroine who strives to take the place in the world she firmly believes belongs to her.

Baxter Stockman

Baxter StockmanAnd here we have the last character appeared in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, albeit just for a cameo: Baxter Stockman, portrayed by K. Todd Freeman. If you don’t remember who this guy is, don’t worry: he only appears when April O’Neil is looking at the movie she made as a child in her father’s lab, and he appears in the background, shadowed (that’s why the pic is like this). In the film, Stockman is one of the three scientist, along with John O’Neil and Eric Sacks, who studies the new mutagen that will eventually create the Ninja Turtles. It’s unknown what happened to him after the lab was destroyed by fire and O’Neil died, especially considering that most of his scenes were cut from the final release. Anyway, let’s see together who Stockman is in the comics. And no, he’s no secondary character at all.

Born and raised in New York City, Baxter Stockman dedicated himself to science, and thanks to his genius-level intellect, he soon became a famous expert of physics, robotics and many other scientific fields. Unfortunately, Stockman also grew up to become a dangerous sociopath, who used his skills and research for egoistical purposes, if not for pure fun. When New York’s problem with vermin became almost overwhelming, Stockman proposed himself to solve it and, along with his assistant and computer programmer April O’Neil, he designed and built the Mousers, dog-sized robots that killed and mauled any rat they could find in the sewers. The Mousers were a success, and Stockman soon became the most apreciated scientist in the city. Unfortunately, the Mousers also had another purpose, since their master had programmed them to dig in the bank’s caveaus and to steal all the money the could take. When April found this out, she confronted baxterstockmancomics1Stockman, asking him why he robbed banks when he was already making millions legally: without flinching, the scientist declared he was just trying to have fun, and that he wasn’t actually interested in money. He then ordered the Mousers to kill April, and watched her as she was trying to run in the sewers, with no hope of surviving. He then proceeded with his plan and, with his face and voice covered, he threatened New York to destroy the entire city if he wasn’t given 20 million dollars. As a demonstration, he made the Mousers destroy the Rextab Building, and declared one of the World Trade Center towers would have been next. April, however, had survived, and she came back with her saviors, four giant mutant turtles, who easily incapacitated Stockman. The scientist, however, called back the Mousers and ordered them to self-destruct once in the base…luckily, the combined efforts of April and Donatello managed to foil also this suicidal plan: the self-destruction was avoided, and Dr. Baxter Stockman was sent to prison.

In the following years, Stockman nurtured his hate towards April O’Neil, who he considered responsible for his disgrace. Finally, he managed to break out of prison, and started plotting his revenge. He met the Utroms, a species of brain-like aliens who asked him for help; on the opposite, he stole from them their technology (a stock of lethal nanobots) and fled, knowing the Utroms wouldn’t have followed him risking to reveal their existence to the world. He then broke in a facility of DARPA and, after killing several guards, he locked himself into one of the labs. When the security managed to force the lab’s door, they could only find the dead bodies of the guards, and even Stockman’s dead body, with his head split open and no brain in it. Stockman had baxterstockmancomics2transferred his mind into a huge robot, getting finally ready to exact his revenge from O’Neil and the turtles. First, he attacked April, and injected her with the Utrom nanobots, that slowly started attacking her organism. He was later reached on a rooftop by the turtles and their new ally, the costumed adventurer Nobody, but in the following battle Baxter’s new robotic body proved to be too much for the heroes, and he easily overpowered them. He escaped in the sewers when he realised he was draining too much attention, and started to repair himself from the damage suffered during both the battle and the escape. Eventually, the turtles found him and, along with April’s husband Casey Jones, they battled him once again. Stockman tried to electrocute the turtles with a live wire on water, but Leonardo was quicker, and used the same strategy against him, making his body explode. Stockman was apparently killed by the explosion, but his mind had actually survived. Donatello found Stockman’s remains and decided to keep him alive, in order to gain whatever knowledge he could from the deranged yet brilliant scientist. Stockman stayed quiet, knowing that, in the following years, the nanobots he had injected April with would have started killing her, and he would have had his vengeance without moving a finger.

Baxter Stockman is a genius and a madman, a scientist able to create any kind of robot his mind can imagine, but irredeemably eager to destroy people and things for his own amusement. Even as a normal, defenseless human being, Stockman controls an army of Mousers, powerful robots able to break anything with their powerful jaws. After he transferred his mind into a robot, Stockman gained superhuman strength, speed and durability and the power to repair himself from any damage (he also had a missing arm regrow); he has several weapons installed in his new body, and he also has access to advanced alien technology he stole from the Utroms. Powerful, brilliant and unrestrained, Baxter Stockman is one of the most dangerous men in the world.