Marco Scarlotti (Whiplash)

Marcus ScarlottiToday we come back to Marvel, since in A Fractured House, the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we’ve been introduced to a brand new villain. When poor General Glenn Talbot is attending a meeting at the United Nations, a strike team who claims to be S.H.I.E.L.D. breaks in, and kills many attendants using the Diviner Disks (weapons created engineering the Obelisk): the team is led by Marcus Scarlotti, portrayed by Falk Hentschel. Obviously, Scarlotti is no S.H.I.E.L.D., he’s a HYDRA agent posing as one of Phil Coulson‘s subordinates to put the public opinion against the “good spies”, doing it pretty well actually. It’s likely we’ll see more of him in the future, since he’s an established villain in the comics, and one of Iron Man‘s most recurring foes. Let’s see together.

Marco “Mark” Scarlotti was the son of two Italian immigrants, Antonio (Anthony) and Barbara, who moved in the United States before he was born. Raised in ClevelandOhio, Scarlotti showed since his childhood quite a talent for machines and design, and his parents saved money enough to allow him to go to university. Mark attended college and graduated in engineering, ending up being one of the best students of his year. Despite he could afford a bright (and wealthy) future through honest ways, Mark wanted something more: he wanted everything…and he believed the only way to obtain the luxury he was dreaming of was through crime. Organized crime was always in search of new talents, so the boy didn’t have any problem in finding an employment in the Maggia, the international crime syndicate gathering the most powerful families and coordinating them on an international level. Scarlotti was hired as a weapon designer, a task he proved to be pretty versed to. Once again, he whiplashcomics1didn’t think his position was up to his expectations, so, while still accomplishing the tasks he was entrusted with, he also designed weapons for himself. Using a unique steel fiber he himself had designed, Scarlotti created a special whip he started practicing with until he became an expert. With a weapon that was able to cut through any known substance (except adamantium), Scarlotti took the initiative and acted as a field agent, joining a squad and going on the streets with a bulletproof costume he himself tailored. The Maggia team he was part of was confronted by Iron Man, and Scarlotti, now naming himself Whiplash, engaged the hero in battle: surprisingly enough, his whip proved to be able to cut also Iron Man’s armor, and the two fought to a stalemate, until they both retired. Thanks to Whiplash, the mission was a success, and Scarlotti obtained what he was aiming to: he had been noticed by Maggia’s leaders.

The Maggia seemed to realise they had been underestimating Scarlotti’s talent, and agreed to assign him to a more important mission. Scarlotti was given a new name and a new backstory, and under the alias of Mark Scott he infiltrated Stark International, getting hired in a plant in Cincinnati. Also at Stark International they were able to recognize a true talent when they saw one, and the new employee Mark Scott soon rose in tha ranks until he became head of research, starting to steal important datas he then sent to the Maggia. The head of the company, Tony Stark, guessed there was something wrong when some Maggia thugs started using his own technology, and sent his bodyguard, Iron Man, to investigate (nobody knew at the time that the two were one and the same). Trying to protect his cover, Scarlotti presented himself with his Whiplash costume, pretending he had been spying whiplashcomics2from the inside and thus “protecting” Mark Scott. The two fought once again, and Whiplash was ahead of the game for the all time; Iron Man, however, managed to survive the battle (albeit barely), and the villain, bored by an unconclusive fight, left. Once again, Scarlotti’s ambition took the best of him, and he decided to quit Maggia, believing he could have taken care of himself without employers. A freelance criminal, Whiplash received an offer he just couldn’t refuse by a cosmic being known as Black Lama: he would have killed Iron Man for him in echange of the Golden Globe of Power, entering in competition with Man-Bull and Melter, other two supervillains. The three of them, forming the Death Squad, attacked Iron Man at San Diego Comicon, but this time there was no strength in numbers, since the hero managed to use the villains’ abilities one against the other, subduing everyone of them. Finally, Iron Man defeated Whiplash and had him arrested…but the Maggia didn’t want to lose one of its best operatives, and bailed him out, hiring him from time to time as a hired gun. In this case, a hired whip.

Mark Scarlotti is an extremely greedy and ambitious man, with a great intelligence he only uses for personal profit. A perfect union of brain and braw, Scarlotti is not only a skilled and brilliant engineer, but is also a good hand-to-hand combatant, a master in the use of both the whip and the nunchakus. As Whiplash, his main equipment consists in a special body armor he himself designed, light-weighted but extremely durable, and of course his trademark cybernetic whip, a weapon made of a unique alloy composed of woven boron-filament-impregnated sapphire strands plus steel braid, able to reach twice the speed of sound and, consequently, to pierce even steel; he also carries along a pouch with other weapons of his invention, one more lethal than the other. A powerful and intelligent criminal, Whiplash’s main weakness is his own boundless ambition, that makes him never satisfied with what he achieves, always looking for something more that, more often then not, makes him lose even what he has already.

Nergal

NergalAnd now for the final character who appeared, even if briefly, in the first episode of Constantine, Non Est Asylum: when Furcifer attacks the cab John Constantine, Chas Kramer and Liv Aberdeen are traveling on, the exorcist is knocked out, and has a nightmarish flashback of the failed exorcism of Astra Logue. In his memory, we can clearly see the demon claiming Astra and dragging her to Hell, a demon we later learn to be named Nergal. This is Nergal’s first live action appearance, and he seems to be even uglier than in the comics. In the series, he’ll soon appear in human form to haunt Constantine, and he’ll be portrayed by Joey Phillips; as for now, we only have this shadowy, horned figure appearing from what looks like a portal. And, of course, we have all the information we need on him from the comics. Let’s see together.

Apparently, there are two kind of demons: the ones who are born as demons, former angels who followed Lucifer Morningstar in his rebellion against God and were exiled to Hell since then, and other who were once human souls, tainted by evil in a way that, once in Hell, allowed them to “climb the ladder” to become demons themselves, just as the angels had done billions of nergalcomics1years before. Apparently, Nergal belongs to the second kind, despite some evidence pointing to the contrary (there was a Babylonian deity named Nergal far before the alleged human life of the demon, but it’s possible he took his name after the deity itself…since demons are master liars, nothing can be considered sure about them). According to some (unconfirmed) sources, Nergal was once a boy living in Europe in the XVII Century, a young man who became the follower of a local witch. His relation with the evil woman brought him in undisclosed territories, and he became even worse than his mistress, a soul craving only for pain and suffering. He was responsible of the rape and killing of many children in the area, until he was arrested and processed. When it became clear he had sold his soul to the devil, or to whoever was in his place at the time, the young man was senteced to death and, accordingly to the laws of that time, he was burnt on a steak. In Hell, the man found quite a comfortable environment for him, since all the pain the people suffered there and the atrocities the demons committed only made him stronger. From a tortured soul, he rose in ranks until he became a god-demon, a powerful entity in the afterlife, and was assigned the title of Duke of Mendacity (another good reason not to trust anything regarding his past). As all demons, Nergal started tormenting the living, trying to corrupt what little innocence still lingered in the world. Then, he found a soul he got particularly attached to: John Constantine.

Nergal first “met” Constantine when the latter was still a teenager: he was the one who pushed the boy to try his first cigarette ever, and to steal a packet immediately afterwards, thus starting Constantine’s longest and most destructive addiction. From that moment, Nergal kept following John, influencing him from the darkest corners of his mind. As a young man, Constantine became an amateur nergalcomics2occultist, and joined forces with others like him: when the group, in Newcastle, tried to exorcise a lesser demon from a girl by summoning a more powerful one, it was Nergal who answered the call, but he was too powerful to be bent on the summoners’ will. He destroyed the lesser demon just for fun, and took for payment the soul of the little girl, enjoying the pain and horror that he brought on everybody’s lives. The girl became a toy for all demons in Hell, and Constantine was overwhelmed by guilt: that was a glorious victory for Nergal, who furtherly rised in ranks. He became the leader of the Damnation Army, a group of lost souls who had become his slaves; Nergal used them to oppose the Resurrection Crusade, Christian fanatics acting on behalf of angels. In the middle of the battle between the two groups ended up a girl, Zed Martin, daughter of the leader of the Crusade: she was destined to give birth either to the Messiah, starting the Second Coming, or the Anti-Christ, finally opening the gates of Hell on Earth. When Zed met John Constantine and befriended him, becoming also his lover, Nergal saw a unique opportunity to win the war with the Crusade, on a side, and to deliver the finishing blow to his favorite toy, on the other. When Constantine got severely wounded, Nergal visited him in the hospital, offering him a deal: he would have healed his wounds by injecting him some of his demonic blood, granting him the power to save either Zed or the entire world from Armageddon, and he in turn would have sold his soul to him, and foiled the plans of the Crusade. Nergal would have not only destroyed his adversary, he would have turned him in what he hated the most: himself.

Nergal is, simply put, the embodiment of evil. Cruel, sadistic, highly deceptive, Nergal enjoys the pain and the suffering of human beings, and uses his many abilities to corrupt innocence and to make the lives of the few pure ones around a living hell. As all demons, Nergal can possess the body of humans, and has at disposal a variety of powers that go from superhuman physical attributes to magic and reality manipulation; being a Duke of Hell, he also has control over a vast number of lesser demons and damned souls, that form his personal army. Powerful and intelligent, Nergal is extremely dangerous, a demon who only exists to spread suffering and fear in the world.

Roger Huntoon

Roger HuntoonAnd here we are, for the last human character appeared in Non Est Asylum, the first episode of Constantine. When we first meet John Constantine, he’s a patient in Ravenscar, a mental asylum in which he mainly wants to punish himself for what he had (unwillingly) done to a little girl during a failed exorcism. The psychiatrist following his case is Dr. Huntoon, portrayed by Miles Anderson: he uselessly tries to convince the exorcist that demons do not exist, and that he’s just personificating the evil of the human being that killed Astra Logue, but his therapy doesn’t seem to be very effective, especially considering that Constantine finds himself forced to perform an exorcism on another patient just a little bit after their conversation. Anyway, Huntoon doesn’t seem to know John other than as a patient, and that’s quite a difference from the comics: let’s see together.

Roger Huntoon was born in LiverpoolEngland, as far as we know a normal boy from a normal family. Growing up, he became quite a fat boy, a trait that in school became his ruin in his relation with other boys and girls his age. From childhood to adolescence and even after, Huntoon was mocked because of his appearance, something that made him become increasingly resentful against pretty much everybody, especially a bully who tormented him in high school and that nicknamed him “Piggy“: John Constantine. It was during high school that Huntoon met his first love, Diane, a girl she wanted to ask a date to. Unfortunately, rogerhuntooncomics1also Constantine had a crush on Diane and, needless to say, he was the one who won her heart (and everything else), in the meantime “teaching” her to mock Piggy as well. This was the stimulous Huntoon needed to turn his anger into something fertile, and from that moment he decided he would have proven superior to the other guys using his brain and intellect, rather than trying to beat them in their own game. Once he finished high school, he started studying psychiatry, becoming a doctor and specializing in criminal minds. Following his studies, Huntoon tried to find a connection between mental illness and the growing numbers in the superpowered community, a research that gained the attention of many interested powers, some of them simply curious, some others aiming at a personal profit. Huntoon started working at Ravenscar, a mental asylum in the Northern part of England, but his research brought him on the other side of the ocean, as he was called as an expert in Gotham County to work in the most renowned mental institution of the entire United StatesArkham Asylum.

Arkham, and Gotham City in general, proved to be quite a rich source of datas for the book Huntoon was writing, and he always got new subjects to study. When Batman brought to Arkham, for the first time, the mutant cannibal known as Killer Croc, Huntoon was simply delighted to finally have the opportunity to study a true metahuman. While in Arkham, Huntoon examined many of the most disturbing psychopaths in the world, and interrupted his research only for a very personal issue: when John Constantine, following a breakdown occured in Newcastle, was internalised in Ravenscar, Huntoon came back to England to deal with him personally. During Constantine’s time in the asylum, “Piggy” Huntoon took his revenge by torturing his old rival with psychiatric drugs and rogerhuntooncomics2electroshock therapy, coming back to the US only when Constantine left the facility (even if he hadn’t been cured of his “delusion” about demons and angels). Back to Arkham Asylum, Huntoon became the chief administrator of the place, and had access to every patient he wished for. He studied closely John Dee, the dream-manipulating supervillain known as Doctor Destiny, and the second Psycho-PirateRoger Hayden, learning from them a variety of psychological manipulation techniques. Eventually, Huntoon completely his “masterpiece” and published it as Pow! Psychology: Understanding the Super-Men (and Women), an essay that labeled superhumans as a threat. Wanting to sell the highest number of copies possible, Huntoon transformed his book into an event by including to it some (fake) pictures of the naked Teen Titans, thus turning his essay in a scandal and assuring himself quite a celebrity. Finally, the fat Piggy Huntoon had taken his payback on all the slim and good-looking guys who were his nightmare when he was a boy.

Roger Huntoon is surely a brilliant man, a cunning psychiatrist and an intuitive media person, but he’s also a greedy and miserable manipulator, a man driven by grudge who finds in other people mental disorders he should cure in himself first. His book is not only a legacy or a professional study: it’s a vengeance shaped in decades.

Richard Simpson

Ritchie SimpsonThe second character appeared in Constantine‘s first episode, Non Est Asylum, is another one of the good guys: when John Constantine realizes he’s fighting Furcifer, a demon who feeds on electricity, he decides he’ll need the help of an old friend to defeat the beast. The old friend happens to be a university phd specialised in metaphysics and with quite a taste for little robots: Ritchie Simpson, portrayed by Jeremy Davies. As for now, we only know Simpson is quite a good hacker, able to shut down the entire city of Atlanta with his laptop, and that he’s an amateur occultist who took part in the failed exorcism of Astra Logue. Well, both of these elements are correct in the comics as well: let’s see together.

Richard Simpson, “Ritchie” for friends, was born in LondonEngland, from an unspecified family, and we know nothing about is early life, which we can assume wasn’t totally normal at a certain point. Still very young, Ritchie became interested in occultism, studying old books and gaining information wherever he could about a field that looked to him more and more fascinating. Soon, Ritchie arrived at the level of mage, actually being one of the best around in London (or at least, so he believed). His new knowledge and abilities ritchiesimpsoncomics1brought him closer to other people like him, young mystics and sorcerers who wanted to know each other: student Benjamin Cox, the biker Frank North, the musician Gary “Gaz” Lester, the nun Sister Anne-Marie, and of course John Constantine, a self-proclaimed exorcist who decided to form a group out of them, believing they could have been some sort of “superhero squad” in occult. Another passion of the group was music, so first of all they formed a rock band, traveling the country looking for one-night employments. Finally, Ritchie and the others arrived in Newcastle, brought to the Casanova Club by a warning of a friend of Constantine. Once on the place, they found a slaughterhouse, with the clubowner Alex Logue and all his guests torn to pieces and scattered all around the club: only Logue’s daughter, Astra, was still alive, albeit clearly possessed. Constantine convinced the others to try an exorcism on the girl, summoning a more powerful demon to force the lesser one to flee. Things went horribly wrong, and Astra’s body was mauled, while her soul was brought to Hell by the demon the group of unexpert exorcists had summoned. Shocked and remorseful, Ritchie decided to leave the band, as everyone else did. That was the end of what would have been known as the Newcastle Crew.

Despite this horrific experience, or maybe just because of it, Ritchie Simpson kept studying occultism, finally finding a field in which he could specialize: he joined his knowledge of magic with the new science coming out, computer science, merging the two of them and becoming a techno-mage. Ritchie discovered the existence of another plan of existence accessible with ritchiesimpsoncomics2computers and existing within the magnetic fields generated by them; Ritchie named it the Fifth Dimension, and started exploring it. Thanks to both his magical and hacking skills, Ritchie created a special equiment that allowed him to literally download his consciousness inside a computer, and from there on the internet, a disembodied mind who had an entire world of knowledge and information at disposal. Once again, however, Ritchie got into trouble when his old friend John Constantine came to him looking for help. John was investigating on a Christian fanatic group trying to make a new Messiah be born: the Resurrection Crusade; Constantine, however, was completely unprepared and needed information on his enemies, thus he asked Ritchie to look them up in the Fifth Dimension. Ritchie accepted to help him: he located the Crusade’s computers, and infilatrated them in his disembodied form. He found interesting information about the Tongues of Fire, the strong arm of the sect, which looked like exactly what his friend was looking for. When he tried to hack their system as well, however, a powerful electrcal backlash hit him, running through him to his office, and burning his physical body to ashes, much to Constantine’s horror. Trapped in the Fifth Dimension, now Ritchie’s consciousness was just a bunch of data floating in the cyberspace.

Ritchie Simpson is a smart and brilliant man, a flexible mind able to bring together the oldest of “sciences” with the newest one to create something entirely new. He’s a skilled computer programmer and an expert hacker, but he’s also an experienced mage with some knowledge of occultism: merging these two natures of his, Simpson became a techno-mage, able to directly communicate with computer systems and to download his consciousness in the cyberspace, gaining access to any kind of data and information. A good man and a loyal friend, Ritchie tries to use his skills only to help people rather than to harm them…a favor not everybody else is eager to do to him in return.

Astra Logue

Astra LogueThe last tv series we were waiting for in 2014 finally arrived: Constantine, that debuted with the first episode Non Est Asylum. In the pilot, we meet some characters we can track back to the Hellblazer comics, first one being Astra Logue, portrayed by Bailey Tippen. In the show, little Astra is John Constantine‘s greatest sin and regret, a girl he unwillingly damned to Hell in a clumsy attempt of saving her from a demon. Following Astra’s death, Constantine retired in an asylum, only to be called back to action by a dead friend. Apparently, now demons enjoy to torture poor Constantine using Astra’s memory, making her appear in allucinations and illusions to manipulate the exorcist. In the comics, her role is more or less the same. She’s just a little bit more sinister. Let’s see together.

Astra was born in the first 1970s in Newcastle, daughter of a local club owner named Alex Logue. Life wasn’t easy for her from the very beginning, since Alex wasn’t exactly the cheerful and funny man he showed publicly: a cruel and despicable drug-addict, alcoholic and pervert, Alex started abusing his daughter since her first childhood, both physically and verbally, bringing her to a continuous state of fear and hatred towads her parent. Growing up, Astra’s feelings towards her father grew with her, as Alex brought her to his Casanova Club and made her the main attraction in the “traditional” orgies. From that moment, she desperately tried to find a way to get her revenge over him. Still a kid, she unwillingly astraloguecomics1started practicing occultism: knowing that her strength wasn’t enough to oppose her father, she relied on other beings’ power, hoping to find a way to conjure a protector. Unfortunately, Astra’s inexperience proved to be an element of devastating consequences, as she managed, without even realising it, to summon a fear elemental, a lesser demon called in by her desperation and hatred. Following the direction Astra was unconsciously pointing him to, the demon attacked and killed everyone in the club, mauling every single person except the girl: the vision of the massacre was more than enough to drive Astra mad, but if that wasn’t enough, the elemental had no intention of going away after accomplishing his “mission”, and decided to stay with the one who had conjured him. Insane and alone, Astra started spending her time in a state of confusion, dancing and singing in the deserted Casanova Club. Things would have stayed like that probably forever, if it wasn’t for an unexpected help.

Some time before his daughter killed him with all his guests, Alex Logue had called in a band to liven up the evening: luckily enough, the band was composed by friends who shared also an interest in occultism. The band had been there, and the leader, John Constantine, had decided never to return because of how Alex used Astra in the shows. A friend of his, Ray Monde, however, told him that something weird was happening in Newcastle, so Constantine and the crew came back, finding Astra alone and delirious, dancing on the recording of the screams of horror of the victims of the slaughter. Seeing that the girl was impervious to outside stimulations, Constantine had her hypnotised, and forced her to reveal to him and the others what had happened. Astra told the members of what would have been known as Newcastle Crew everything about the abuses she had to suffer and her unwilling summoning, revealing she had been possessed by the demon immediately after the massacre. To free her, Constantine decided to use the collective power of his group to conjure a more powerful astraloguecomics2demon who, bent to his will, would have forced to flee the one possessing the girl. When all the preparations were finished Constantine started the exorcism, but the demon he summoned didn’t obey to him at all. Instead of presenting himself in human form, the creature possessed Astra as well, fighting off the lesser demon, but demanded the girl’s soul as a payment for his “job”. Constantine casted him out of the girl’s body and tried to flee with her, but the creature, whose name he revealed to be Nergal, was far too strong, and claimed what was now his: the only thing Constantine could save was the disembodied arm of Astra, the only thing he was able to hold. For Astra, an entire new meaning of suffering was about to be disclosed to her, as she was damned to spend eternity in Hell, the torture puppet of Nergal and of every other demon who wanted to taste an innocent soul, just for a change…

Astra Logue is a simple creature tainted by evil at a young age, a girl who has been forced to suffer sexual abuse from her father and from whoever else he thought fit. As a result, Astra is able to feel only fear and hatred, a combination that attracted the attention of a far greater evil than her father. Despite everything, Astra is never just a victim, and even in Hell she shows to be quite resourceful, managing to climb the “social ladder” and freeing herself from the role of simple toy of Nergal (she’s been seen advicing Lucifer Morningstar during his battle with the other lords of Hell, Azazel and Beelzebub). Astra is the embodiment of corrupted innocence, quite a rare asset in Hell, that makes her all the more interesting for any kind of demons…

Theresa

TheresaI promised you three new characters from The Walking Dead, and here we are with the third one (the image is pretty blurry, but she never appears clearly in the episode). At the end of Strangers, poor Bob Stookey wakes up to find Gareth blabbering about loss and vengeance and a bunch of people eating his severed legg: among these last ones there’s a single woman, Theresa, portrayed by April Billingsley. As for now, in the show she only appeared in a single sequence, and she’s introduced as one of the (few) survivors from Terminus, a happy community of cannibals luring people into their “haven” to rob and eat them. In the comics, her role is pretty secondary, but she’s there nevertheless. Let’s see together.

Almost nothing is known about Theresa’s past, and all the information we have on her come from the words of another guy, since she really seldomly spoke. Anyway, we know she lived in a small town near Atlanta, and lived a normal life, possibly with a husband and one child or more. Then, the outbreak occured, and for Theresa life became a living hell, as for everyone else in the world. She escaped with her family (if she had one), trying to avoid the walkers and the death they brought along. It was at this point that she lost her husband/mate (if she had one). She arrived with other survivors in an abandoned country house on the road to Washington D.C., an isolated place well defended because of a fence surrounding it. The survivors were organised and led by Chris, a man who appeared to be the only one who knew what he was doing, and Theresa learnt to trust him, doing everything he said…even when things became weird, to say the least. The house had some supplies inside, and every survivor brought theresacomics1something along, but eventually the food ran out. Some of the men in the group tried to hunt something, but they proved to be quite awful hunters, and nobody had any idea on how to cultivate. The only destiny for the group seemed to be starving to death, until Chris came up with a horrifying but pragmatic idea: the only way they could survive was eating the most unuseful members of the group, the weakest ones, just like bears who eat their cubs in time of famine. Some members of the group opposed to the idea, but some others trusted Chris enough to follow him also in this path: Theresa belonged to the last ones. She agreed to kill the children and to feed on them, finding justification in the need for survival. From that point, she would have followed Chris, no matter what.

Even the children inside the group, eventually, ran out, and the group faced hunger again. Once a cannibal, always a cannibal, and when Chris told his companions that they would have hunted other people to kill and eat them, the idea didn’t meet the strong opposition of the first times. Now calling themselves the Hunters, Chris, Theresa and the other four members of the (now) small group started preying on the people traveling the road between Atlanta and Washington, targeting the loners, chasing the small groups to attack the ones who remained behind, always avoiding the big groups, perfectly aware of the scarceness of their forces. Things went well for a while, but eventually they couldn’t find any small group passing by, even less loners. The perspective of hunger pushed Chris to change plans, and to order the theresacomics2Hunters to stalk also bigger groups: the first one they found was Rick Grimes‘ one, escaping from the prison, their last shelter that had been destroyed by The Governor and his men. While Greg and Charlie, the best trackers and shooters among the Hunters, followed Rick’s group, Theresa, Chris, Albert and David stayed at the house, preparing for the upcoming supplies. Greg and Charlie came back from their observation mission with an unexpected guest: Dale, an old man left behind by the group. The Hunters cut off one of his legs and cooked it, but when the old man woke up, he told them the meat they were eating was tainted, since he had been bitten by a zombie and he had been left behind on his own request. Theresa panicked, but David reassured her and the others by saying that the cooking had cleaned the meat. They however decided to eat the healthy ones, and used Dale as a bait, leaving him in front of the church the group had elected as their new shelter. When an Asian boy, Glenn, came out, the Hunters shot him down, hitting his leg. Glenn was saved by his companions, but the Hunters’ siege had begun. Hopefully, Theresa would have had other dinners, and this time of fresh meat.

Teresa appears to be a perfectly normal woman, in good relationship with her friends, still peaceful and balanced despite the spreading apocalypse. In reality, something inside Theresa broke, and her loyalty towards Chris led her to forget what it means to be truly human: now she only considers “people” the ones who share her everyday life, the other Hunters; all the others, are just food.

Mark David Shaw (Manhunter)

Mark ShawThis week’s episode of ArrowCorto Maltese, introduces another new character from the comics: Mark Shaw, portrayed by David Cubitt. In the show, Mark is  an agent of A.R.G.U.S. who disappears from radars during his mission in Corto Maltese: worried, Lyla Michales asks her husband John Diggle to assure he’s alright, unfortunately the agent has simply gone rogue. We learn in the episode that he’s tired of doing Amanda Waller‘s dirty job, and he’s trying to find a way out of the espionage world by selling out his teammates and retiring to private life with the fortune earnt from it. In the comics, the character is pretty much different: first of all, he’s not a villain, even if he does has a really bad attitude and a dirty criminal record; second, he has nothing to do with A.R.G.U.S. or espionage in general. Let’s see together.

Originally, Mark David Shaw was Mark David Fletcher, son of Huge and Rose Fletcher. Huge was a renowned masked criminal of Star City, the Outlaw, and his violent life came to an end soon enough: Mark remained without a father when he was still very young. Rose married another man, a honest one for a change: lawyer Eliot Shaw, who legally adopted Mark and had two children of his own from his new wife, James and Eleanor. Mark grew up looking up to his step-father, who was his new life model. He studied law as well, and eventually became a public defender. Mark believed to be serving justice, but got frustrated seeing how many people were able to manipulate the system to avoid a rightful punishment. When he shared his doubts and anger with his uncle, Desmond Shaw, the old man told him that there were other more effective ways to fight criminality, and gave him a lion medallion believed to be magical (it manhuntercomics1was only technologically advanced): when Mark used it, he was able to contact the Grand Master, leader of a sect of fighters for justice called the Manhunters. What Shaw didn’t know when he accepted to be part of the sect was that the Manhunters were actually androids, a space police corp created by the Guardians of Oa thousands of years ago, but who had gone rogue preferring the hunt of people, guilty or not, over justice. When Shaw realised the Manhunters were using him to oppose the Justice League of America, especially Green Lantern, who represented the new police force created to replace the Manhunters, he soon understood where true justice lied, and with the abilities and equipment the androids had granted him he turned on his teammates, killing the Grand Master himself (who was a robot as well, of course). After that misadventure, Shaw decided he would have been a hero, but on his own, and became Privateer, keeping to clean the streets and assure to justice the criminals who avoided punishment on trial. Being a hero, however, didn’t pay his bills.

Trying to make a living for himself, Shaw reached and uncomfortable compromise, and secretly allied himself with the villainous Key, acting as both a hero as the Privateer and as a villain as Star-Tsar. His criminal life was meant to be short-lived, however, as the hero Red Tornado found out about his double face and had him arrested. While he was in prison, a massive attack on Earth was led by alien invaders who wanted to force humanity to the next evolutionary step, and they manhuntercomics2used the Manhunters to attack certain targets: knowing of his experience with the space androids, Amanda Waller offered Mark Shaw a place in her Suicide Squad as a consultant and field expert in exchange of freedom if he survived the mission, an occasion Shaw readily accepted. Also thanks to Shaw’s contribution, the Manhunters were defeated and Earth saved: Waller kept her promise and Shaw was freed. Now, Mark had the chance to start a brand new life, and he decided he would have not failed himself or others again. He moved to New York City and, with a brand new costume, he adopted the identity of Manhunter, the masked bounty hunter, with the name always reminding him of his past actions and pointing him to a way for redemption. Manhunter made quite a name for himself, managing to catch also international-level criminals such as Catwoman, Captain ColdThe Penguin or even Count Vertigo, who theoretically enjoyed diplomatic immunity. The Manhunter cult kept targeting him, especially now that he was “offending” their name by acting outside (and against) the cult; the cultists also targeted his family, a big mistake they would have paid at a great cost: even if he was a new man, Shaw was more than inclined to use the old methods against the ones who threatened his dear ones.

Mark Shaw is quite a complex man, on a side eager to do the right thing, on the other ending up doing the wrong one for greed. After his time in prison, however, he finally seems to have understood what being a hero means, and despite pretending to be just a businessman who does everything he does for money only, he always helps the ones in need even if that means to lose profit. As Manhunter, he’s an incredibly skilled and trained hand-to-hand combatant and hunter, able to find and subdue most people. His equipment gives him a variety of abilities: his mask contains a lot of scanners, sensors, radars and other tools that improves his vision and his hunting abilities; his costume is highly durable, and contains a number of hidden weapons. His most efficient tool, however, is the Power Baton, an energy weapon that also serves as a combat stick and hides blades, a grappling line, magnetic generator and other weapons, and can transform into nunchakus. Trained by one of the most formidable police force in the universe, Manhunter inherited their abilities and their determination in hunting; unfortunately, he also inherited their (lack of) moral scruples.