Susan “Sue” Storm (Invisible Woman)

invisiblewomanfilmTime for the second member of the Fantastic Four seen in the trailer of the reboot: Sue Storm, who will be portrayed by Kate Mara. We know little about her, apart from some family stuff that make her different from her comics counterpart: in the movie, she won’t be Franklin Storm‘s biological daughter, but she’ll be adopted. We don’t know much else for now. Obviously, she’s appeared in every live action version of the team: in the first The Fantastic Four she was portrayed by Rebecca Staab, and she married her beloved Reed Richards by the end of the movie. In the much more belligerent version portrayed by Jessica Alba she married him only at the end of the second movie, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (she also was pivotal in the “conversion” of the titular cosmic hero, Silver Surfer, who was convinced by her to spare Earth and to rebel against his master Galactus). Waiting to learn something more about Mara’s version of Sue, let’s see who the Invisible Woman is in the comics.

Born in Long IslandSusan Storm was the elder daughter of Franklin and Mary Storm. Sue spent her early life taking care of her troublesome little brother Johnny, until her mother died in a car accident: her father fell into a deep depression, that led him to alcoholism, that led him to jail being prosecuted for murder. Sue and Johnny moved to their paternal aunt, Marygay, who at the time was renting a room to Reed Richards, a genius student from State University: she got a crush on him, and she even became friends with Reed’s roommate, Ben Grimm. Sue had a little taste of a wider world when her brother Johnny became the target of both the demon Zarathos, who wanted to make him his new host, and of the vampire St. Germaine, who wanted to use Zarathos’ power to revive his master invisiblewomancomics1Dracula. Things ended well because of the intervention of Max Parrish, uncle of Sue’s friend Cammy, but after the experience Sue decided she would have taken care of her brother, and started raising him on her own (thus forging her patience to unbelievable extents). For a time Sue moved to California and tried to become an actress or a model, but she eventually preferred to follow Reed Richards to Columbia University, still feeling something for him: she entered Columbia on a scholarship, and she ended up under Reed’s tutelage. Finally, Reed started being interested in Sue as well, and the two began a relationship. Sue fully entered her boyfriend’s (and then fiancée’s) world, and supported him in his long-time project to build an experimental intergalactic spaceship, which would have revolutionized space travel. She moved with him to Central City when the government started funding the construction of the rocket, and she brought Johnny along. When in Central City, however, an other accident happened: the military base was attacked by an alien known as Gormuu, who almost destroyed the entire city; only Reed’s intervention defeated the invader, but the army believed the creature had arrived attracted by Reed’s inventions, so they decided to suspend the funds for his spaceship.

Not wanting to lose the work of a lifetime, Reed decided to launch the rocket nevertheless, performing a test flight that would have proved to the army the effectiveness of his invention. Sue just couldn’t let him go alone, and joined him as a passenger, while Ben Grimm was the pilot; Johnny didn’t want to leave his sister, so he joined as well. An unexpected solar flare caused the spaceship to be invested with a huge amount of cosmic rays, and despite Ben
aborted the mission, the radiations had already transformed the four friends’ bodies: Sue found out she could become invisible (some years later, further examinations led by Reed discovered she had many more powers than she invisiblewomancomics2herself believed). The quartet was taken into custody by General Walter Montgomery, who put them in quarantine, but while imprisoned the new superhumans stopped another mutated, Franz Stahl, who was trying to take over the base along with a guy he was manipulating, Ray Perry. Upon the defeat of the two hostiles, Sue and the others proved to Montgomery they were capable of controlling their powers and posed no threat, so they were released. Reed proposed to the group to use their newfound powers to do something good, acting as superheroes (even if he had in mind something closer to “super-explorers”), and Sue and the others agreed. The group, now calling themselves Fantastic Four, moved from Central City to New York City, where Reed rented the top floors of the Baxter Building and transformed them into their base. Sue, who went by the name Invisible Girl (it took little time for her to turn it into Invisible Woman), had from the very beginning the most delicate task: to keep the group together, trying to control her ever-childish and exuberant brother Johnny and to stay close to Ben, who didn’t take well his transformation into a rock monster; she also had to remind her fiancée to come out of his lab from time to time, something that he tended to forget. What Sue had gained from the accident was a family, and she found herself playing the role of the mother, taking care of all the others.

Susan “Sue” Storm is a caring woman, who puts her family’s safety and well-being before anything else; she’s also strong and determined, quite the opposite of the damsel in distress most of her friends and enemies believed her to be at first. As the Invisible Woman, she’s by far the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four: she’s able to turn herself or anything (and anyone) else she wants invisible, and she can also create extremely durable, invisible force fields she can give any shape she wants to, even changing their density and size and using them to “levitate” or as solid projectiles against hostile foes; the force fields last just as much as she can concentrate on them. Sue is for the team (and not only for her actual children) a warm and caring mother, despite being pretty severe: with a mother’s heart, she’s perfectly able to turn into a fierce lioness anytime her cubs are threatened… not a pleasurable experience for whoever is on her way.


Ernst Mueller

Ernst MuellerLast episode from Agent Carter introduced yet another obscure villain from the Marvel Comics’ past, much to the readers’ delight. In The Blitzkrieg Button, we see Chief Roger Dooley traveling to Germany to interrogate a Nazi war criminal, about to be hanged in Nuremberg: it’s Colonel Ernst Mueller, portrayed by Jack Conley. Mueller is considered responsible for the massacre of quite a number of Soviet soldiers in the Battle of Finow, but he reveals to Dooley that no battle ever occurred, as the Nazis found the enemies dead already… thus providing another mystery for the series. In the comics, Mueller is indeed a Nazi, but never rose to the rank of colonel, despite being pretty well considered in the army, and a member of a notorious elite squad whose name is just the same as the episode’s one. Let’s see together.

Very little is known about Ernst Mueller’s early life. Born in the German countryside, he was a teenager when Adolf Hitler came to power, and just as most of his peers he joined the Hitler-Jugend (the Hitler Youth), which formed him into the perfect and loyal Nazi. When Germany attacked Poland, Mueller had already become a strong ernstmuellercomics1supporter of the regime, and he was eager to join his friends in the military. Thanks to his background, Mueller entered cavalry, and distinguished himself in many battles, soon earning for himself the fame of being the best knight in the entire German army. His fierce loyalty to the cause and the country (and the Führer) and his unmatched skills made him the perfect candidate for the army’s new special project: since the Howling Commandos, the American squad led by Sgt. Nick Fury, were causing so much trouble to the Nazis, Hitler had ordered Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker to concentrate all his efforts in finding a way to defeat them. Strucker had come with the idea of creating a double of the Commandos, a Nazi team in which every single member possessed the same unique skills of the enemies and could counter them perfectly. Since among the Howlers there was a superb horseback rider, Robert “Reb” Ralston, Strucker needed a soldier from the Nazi cavalry to be put against him: the choice fell unavoidably upon Ernst Mueller, who was more than proud to serve his country and his party in such a delicate and fundamental mission.

Mueller joined the other five elite soldiers chosen among the Nazi ranks, and went through a hard training led personally by Baron Strucker. In order to be an even more perfect match for Ralston, Mueller was trained by Strucker to use the lasso, the trademark weapon of his American double. When Strucker deemed his team to be ready, he named them the Blitzkrieg Squad (following the idea they would have destroyed their adversaries and won the ernstmuellercomics2war “in a flash”) and organised a trap for the Howlers: he had a fake V-2 rocket site built in Germany, protected from aerial attacks, and just waited for the Allies to send a commando team to destroy it. The Americans proved to be pretty predictable, as the Howling Commandos soon arrive to accomplish the mission: in the following battle, the Blitzkrieg Squad proved to be more than able to take over the Howlers, as each one of them managed to defeat his double. Mueller faced Ralston for the first time, and managed to unsaddle him using the lasso. The Howlers, however, managed to escape under Nazi disguise, maiming the Nazis’ victory. It wasn’t much time before Strucker led the Squad behind enemy lines, in Scotland, to invade Kerrydale Castle and free the Luftwaffe pilots kept prisoner: this time, however, there was no surprise effect, and the Howlers knew who they were facing. Mueller faced Ralston once again, but this time he was overpowered by the American’s skills. Defeated and forced to retreat, the Blitzkrieg Squad faced other defeats at the hands of the Howlers and even of the super-powered Invaders. Following his repeated failures, Strucker was removed from command, but this was not the end of the Blitzkrieg Squad, since it was entrusted to the lead of Colonel Klaue: the war was just about to start again for Germany’s finest.

Ernst Mueller is a proud and serious man, who firmly believes in the Nazi cause and is ready to give his life fighting for Germany’s glory. He’s one of the finest soldiers in the army, and his skills in horseback riding are unmatched in Europe; he’s also a master in the use of the lasso, an unusual weapon for him he’s been trained to upon entering the Blitzkrieg Squad. Fiercely loyal to his country, Ernst Mueller will stop in front of anything or anyone to allow Hitler’s vision to become a reality.

Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic)

mrfantasticfilmFinally, after waiting for months, we got our first trailer from The Fantastic Four, the upcoming reboot by Josh Trank, as well as our first look at the protagonists. Speaking of Marvel’s first family, let’s start from the head of the household, Reed Richards, who’ll be portrayed by Miles Teller. From what we can see, this version will be significantly younger than his comics’ counterpart (and even than his live action predecessors), but he’ll always be the genius behind the project that brings himself and his three companions in the Negative Zone and that eventually give them powers. In the first (unreleased) The Fantastic Four, Reed was portrayed by Alex Hyde-White, and he was a scientist who organised a space mission to study a comet, but the intervention of the thief known as The Jewler made the ship’s shield fail, so that the four explorers got exposed to cosmic rays and got superpowers. The latest version was Ioan Gruffudd‘s one, again slightly younger than the comics (he even got his white hair due to the shock following a fight with his former boss Victor Von Doom rather than from age), and this time the mission involved a space station and cosmic energy clouds… with the same results as always. Now, let’s see who the Fantastic Four‘s leader is in the comics.

Reed Richards was the only son of brilliant physicist Nathaniel Richards and of his wife Evelyn. From his very childhood he proved to be a prodigy, and had a natural grasp over even the most difficult problems in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. By the age of seven, Reed was smarter and more cultured than any high school student, while at fourteen he was already college-level. He learnt to strictly follow the rules when his favorite uncle, Ted, was charged for anti-government activities and died in depression soon after (in the same period, Reed lost his mother to an illness, quite a difficult time for him). Finally Reed entered State University in HegemanNew mrfantasticcomics1York, where he met the guy who would have become his best friend: football star Ben Grimm, his roommate. He also met a foreigner genius, Victor Von Doom, who elected him to his personal rival, an enmity that brought him to cause an explosion during an experiment ignoring one of Reed’s advises, an accident that got him expelled. Reed lived well his college years, and spent even his summer months studying in a room rented to him by Mary Storm, but he wanted to learn more. When he served in the military with Ben, Reed used the occasion to travel the world, and when his duty tour ended he started an adventure that brought him to a brief but intense relation with a woman named Alyssa Moy and to an intricate plot around a mystical artifact, the Claw of Bast, that brought him to China, Egypt, Romania and Mexico; it was during this time that Reed first opposed a vengeful Von Doom, still trying to get the better of him. Eventually, Reed came back to the United States, where he started teaching at Columbia University. One of Reed’s students happened to be Sue Storm, niece of Reed’s former tenant Mary: Reed and Sue fell in love, and eventually started a relationship. In the meanwhile, Richards was still trying to realize the project of his life: a revolutionary interstellar spaceship he was designing since his college years.

One night, Nathaniel Richards mysteriously disappeared, and left to his son two billion dollars. Reed spent most of the money to finance his spaceship project, and even received funds from the federal government. The project was based in Central CityCalifornia, and Richards moved there with Sue, her brother Johnny and Ben, who had promised him he would have piloted his rocket. Near his work’s completion, however, Reed was informed that the government was about to cut funds, having lost interest: in order to convince them to reconsider, Richards mrfantasticcomics2decided to steal his own spaceship and to perform a test flight to another solar system and back by himself. Ben accepted to accompany him as a pilot, despite some doubts about the ship’s shields, and Sue and Johnny insisted to be there as passengers. The four friends infiltrated Central City’s base and managed to blast off with the spaceship, but something unexpected happened: an unforeseen solar flare had charged Earth‘s Van Allen Belts with an incredible amount of cosmic radiation, far too much for the spaceship’s shields to bear. Ben decided to abort the mission and to come back to Earth, but it was late: the radiations had already mutated the four’s bodies. Reed, for example, could stretch his body as if it was made of rubber: the military took them in custody, and put them in quarantine. During their imprisonment, Reed and his friends managed to foil the plans of Professor Franz Stahl, another mutated who tried to take over the base, thus proving to the officer in charge, General Walter Montgomery, that they were not to be considered a menace. Free to go, Reed Richards proposed to the others that they used their newfound powers to help other people. Renaming themselves the Fantastic Four, Reed, who now went by the name Mister Fantastic, and the others became the first superhero family. Reed used what remained of his fortune to rent the top floors of the Baxter Building in New York, and used his (frequent) inventions to fund the group. Despite saving the world more than once, Reed’s greatest failure kept haunting him, as he was incapable of curing his best friend Ben from his new condition (if turning into a giant rock monster could be called a “condition”).

Reed Richards is one of the most intelligent men on the planet (some say the most intelligent), a scientist driven by a neverending curiosity towards anything inexplicable and mysterious. Charismatic and altruistic, Richards is a loving husband for Sue and a caring father for his children Franklin and Valeria, but he tends to be quite absent-minded when it comes to his job, and he can ignore everything around him while he’s focused on his research and experiments. As Mister Fantastic, his intellect has been even augmented by the cosmic rays, becoming even more “flexible”, and his body became elastic, a characteristic that Reed uses in many ways: he can elongate his body to great extent, change his own shape to a variety of uses (he can bounce like a ball, flatten or inflate himself, or even mimic other face’s features); his flesh is also highly resistant, to the point that he can deflect bullets and contain explosions. Albeit being pretty arrogant and sometimes close-minded, Richards is the perfect leader for the team: wise, smart and cautious, guided by a strong sense of morality (even if he can be pretty self-righteous sometimes), Mister Fantastic will do anything to protect his family, even while leading them into dangerous missions.

Renee Chandler

Renee ChandlerThere’s still another character who made her debut in the past week’s episode of Constantine, the last member of Chas Chandler‘s family: Renee, portrayed by Amanda Clayton. In Quid Pro Quo, we meet Chas’ estranged wife at first fighting with her ex husband over his lack of punctuality anytime he has to spend a weekend with their daughter, Geraldine, but then she becomes understandably worried over her daughter’s conditions. At the end of the episode, it appears that Chas and Renee recover some of the past affection for each other, as she sees how much her husband still cares for his family and enters his world a little bit. Anyway, the only common trait between the tv show and the comics version is the aversion towards Chas’ best friend; her separation and fights with her husband comes from Geraldine’s adult version, while her physical appearance is something entirely new. Let’s see together who Renee is in the comics.

Born and raised in London, Renee was just an average girl who spent her time with friends in the city’s pubs. Eventually, she met the man who would have become the love of her life (for most of the time, at least): Chas Chandler, a taxi driver who she started to date and she eventually got engaged to. Before their marriage, Renee didn’t reneechandlercomics1like pretty much Chas’ best friend, John Constantine, a weird and egoistical man who Chas spent most of his time with; when Renee finally managed to hook up with Chas, she believed that he would have changed his priorities and would have started to spend more time with her and less with John: she was wrong. Not only Chas kept disappearing night and day to follow Constantine in one of his absurd adventures (she still had some problems in believing the whole exorcist thing), but when he was away, Constantine’s friends (girls mostly) started to call her on the phone looking for the mage, something that deeply irritated the woman. If she didn’t like Constantine from the very beginning, with time she learnt to truly hate him, and she saw him just as a man who prevented her husband from staying with her (or even from working properly as a taxi driver, forcing her to look for other ways to manage the house). Finally, Renee got pregnant, and started to hope that with a child on arrival Chas would have finally put Constantine at least at the second place in his mental ladder, after his family. Again, she was wrong: Renee gave birth to a girl, Geraldine, who Chas loved with all his heart… but Constantine’s dimensional emergencies and demonic catastrophes still kept him away from her.

Following her pregnancy, Renee grew overweight, a trait that Constantine often used to mock her, thus not exactly raising his popularity from the woman’s side. Despite all their problems, Renee still loved Chas, and albeit she often reneechandlercomics2used “psychological torture” to make his life a living hell and convince him to cut all bonds with Constantine, she always stood at his side. Things changed when Chas became a little bit too involved in Constantine’s world: the demon Nergal possessed the taxi driver, making him his mortal vessel. Eventually, Chas was freed by the demon’s presence, but some part of Nergal’s essence remained within him, changing his character: during one of their umpteenth discussions, Chas lost control and beat her under the influence of Nergal’s tainted blood. Feeling this as the last drop, Renee took Geraldine and abandoned her home and her husband. It was only some time later (after Chas saved London all by himself from the demon Tuma’el) that Chas and Renee could meet again peacefully, sitting at the same table to make everything clear: Chas’ latter adventures had brought him to reconsider his life and the man he wanted to be, and in both cases Renee was a big part of it. Renee accepted to come back with him, and the two formed a family again… just in time, as Geraldine got pregnant being only sixteen, deciding to move to USA with her layabout boyfriend. Geraldine gave birth to a daughter, Trish, and she eventually broke up with her boyfriend: Geraldine needed her parents, and luckily enough Renee and Chas were together once again, ready to be at their daughter’s side.

Renee Chandler is an imposing and frightful woman, with a strong character and a just as strong determination. Ill-tempered and misanthropic, Renee can be astonishingly adorable with her family, her husband included. The only human being she cannot feel any kind of empathy (even less likeness) for is John Constantine, Chas’ best friend, a man she deeply hates and despises, a selfish self-proclaimed exorcist who repeatedly tries to ruin her life and her family.

Percival “Pinky” Pinkerton

Pinky PinkertonThere’s yet another character in the pics from Agent Carter‘s upcoming episode The Iron Ceiling. The young man in question shows the same look of another Howling Commando, Montgomery Falsworth… who was in fact mistaken for him in the first movie: it’s Pinky Pinkerton, portrayed by Richard Short. He’ll appear as a new recruit of the Commandos, following the orders of Dum-Dum Dugan and travelling the world doing what he does best… until he’s called back to the United States to help Dugan’s old friend, Peggy Carter, accomplish the mission the S.S.R. assigned to her. Pinkerton is another of the original Howlers from the comics, and it’s pretty funny they’re bringing so many old characters to the screen with this show. Waiting to see who else pops up, let’s see who Pinky Pinkerton is in the comics.

Born in England at the beginning of the century, Percival Pinkerton was the second son of the heir of the glorious Pinkerton family, holding a name which was a synonymous of a glorious military tradition. Both he and his older brother Reginald felt compelled to follow their father’s (and grandfather’s, and great-grandfather’s and so on) footsteps and to enter His Majesty’s Army. Unlike Reginald, who found himself at ease with the harsh training and severe discipline of the academy, Percy soon got bored, and preferred to spend his time chasing girls, hanging out with friends, driving fancy cars. Eventually, his results with studies were so bad that he was asked to resign from pinkypinkertoncomics1the academy, something that he did, but he also refused to go back home, ashamed of his failure and unable to face his father. Despite his best efforts of avoiding his “family fate”, however, war reached Percy nevertheless, and when World War II engulfed Europe, he knew he had to do his part: he joined the army, and both the “home-training” his father made him go through and his time at the academy proved to be useful, as he became a commando. He served many years as a regular commando (possibly even in Spain, judging from his red beret), until he received the offer of his life: one of the legendary Howling Commandos, Junior Juniper, had fallen in action, and the Howlers needed a replacement. Being the best in his ranks despite his weird appearance, Pinkerton was selected by Happy Sam Sawyer as the new member of the First Attack Squad, and sent to Nick Fury and the others just before they embarked on a new, deadly mission. Seeing this skinny and lumpy man with eyeglasses carrying an umbrella on the battlefield wasn’t exactly a good first impression for the Howlers, and all of them actually doubted he had what it took for being one of them: they would have changed their minds almost immediately.

The mission was a highly dangerous one, even for the Howlers’ standards: they would have travelled to Germany to stop one of the Third Reich‘s main men, Baron Heinrich Zemo, who had built a death ray to use on England. During the mission Pinkerton (nicknamed “Pinky” by the Howlers) proved himself extremely useful, and thanks to his effort the Howling Commandos destroyed a U-Boat, a tank, an ammunition damp, and some coast defenses… all of this before reaching Zemo’s castle. During the actual battle with the Baron, the Howlers managed to destroy the death ray (along with the entire castle), and came back to England victorious: Pinky Pinkerton was then officially welcomed among the Howlers. Percy’s attitude was a source of fun for his teammates, but his gallantry became a pinkypinkertoncomics2source of fun for Nick Fury’s girlfriend instead: upon meeting the only British in the Howling Commandos, Pamela Hawley found his gentlemanly behavior amusing, and she pretended to be fascinated by it just to have Nick become jealous (a small satisfaction, even in war times). The following mission proved to be the most difficult so far, as the Howlers were ordered to kidnap Adolf Hitler himself in Berlin: they infiltrated thanks to a mole, but Baron Strucker recognized them, and exposed them. In the following battle, only Nick Fury and Izzy Cohen managed to escape, taking Strucker as a hostage, while Pinky Pinkerton and all the others were taken captive: the small time spent in Nazis‘ prison was more than enough for a lifetime, and Pinky resolved never to be captured again. When Fury came back to save his companions, he had forced Strucker to help him kidnap Hitler, and the Howlers came back to England with the Führer himself… unfortunately, he was just a double, but the mission proved that Hitler was actually using lookalikes, so it was a small victory in its own account. Despite the not-so-pleasurable experience, Pinky decided he would have stayed with the Howlers: his greatest fear had always been the perspective of dying alone, but with such friends and teammates, he knew for sure it would have never happened.

Percy “Pinky” Pinkerton is a fancy-free, light-spirited man, fiercely loyal to his friends, but usually devoted to as many pleasures as he can manage. Despite his overall attitude makes him look unfit to war, Pinky is brave and courageous, often putting his life on the line with no second thought. He’s a capable fighter, an expert in explosives, a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and a good marksman (especially with his rifle), but his most distinctive (and curious) weapon is his bumbershoot, an inseparable umbrella that he actually uses in battle: he can fence with it, he can use it as a grappling hook, he beats enemy soldiers with it as it was a club, he even uses it as a parachute. Despite his appearance, his being loyal and unpredictable makes Pinky Pinkerton one of the most valuable Howlers ever.

Samuel “Happy Sam” Sawyer

Happy Sam SawyerWaiting for the new episodes of Agent Carter, we got some new pics from the upcoming The Iron Ceiling. In this episode, Peggy Carter will be assigned a proper mission finally, but she’ll need some help, and she’ll call her friends from the war times, the Howling Commandos… but they will have a rather different formation since World War II, with new recruits joining the ranks. One of this newcomers will be Happy Sam Sawyer, a captain from the Nisei Division portrayed by Leonard Roberts. In the show, the character will have his race changed (nothing new) and will be portrayed as Afro-American instead of Caucasian, thus possibly leading to the revelation that he’s actually the grandfather Antoine Triplett spoke about in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Anyway, it’s pretty ironic to see him being portrayed as a rookie in the Commandos, considering that in the comics he’s been the very first one. Let’s see together.

Samuel Sawyer was a responsible and serious American citizen, who joined US Army out of pure sense of duty and followed with growing concern the escalation of violence in Europe in the 1930s. When after Germany‘s attack on Poland the United States temporized instead of intervening, Sawyer decided it was time for him to do something, and he traveled to Europe and offered his services as a US Army’s lieutenant to the British Army, an offer that was gladly accepted. As his first mission in a war-ridden Europe, Sawyer was sent to Marrakech, in happysamsawyercomics1Morocco, where he had to escort a German defector scientist, Wilhelm Steuben, safely to England. Despite the intervention of some corrupt French officer and local criminals, the mission was a success, and Sawyer’s reputation grew in the army. In order to prepare him for further missions, the British sent Lt. Sawyer to Finley’s Flying Circus to have him trained in parachuting; once in there, Sawyer met other two Americans who had made his same choice, Nick Fury and Red Hargrove, a couple he formed a bond with. Red also nicknamed him “Happy Sam” because of his constantly serious face: Sawyer didn’t like it, but the name was catchy and everybody started using it. When Germany attacked Holland, the British Army ordered Sawyer to go there to save a British agent, and Happy Sam chose Fury and Hargrove to accompany him. Thanks to Nick Fury and to an American strongman they found in place, Dum-Dum Dugan, the mission was another success. To that mission many others followed, until Japan attacked the United States in Pearl Harbor: Sawyer was called back to the States, where he met Dugan and Fury again. Finally, he was serving his own country in the war, after years of serving on his own initiative.

In 1942 Happy Sam Sawyer was sent to North Africa, where he became a war hero, but where he also received a serious wound that prevented him from joining combat missions ever again. Now unfit for active duty Sawyer, promoted captain, kept fighting in other ways: he reunited Nick Fury and Dum-Dum Dugan, and made them the commanding officers of the First Attack Squad, an elite team selected by him personally that would have become famous as the Howling Commandos. Sawyers himself provided the Commandos with their training, and assigned them the difficult missions other squads wouldn’t have been able to accomplish. Several times Fury got reprimands happysamsawyercomics2from other officers because he didn’t go by the book during his missions, but Sawyers always stood up for him. Seeing the positive results of the First Attack Squad, Sawyer was entrusted with the formation and training of other similar squads: the second, nicknamed the Maulers, led by Sgt. Bull McGiveney; the all-Asian Nisei Squad, led by Jim Morita; the National Guard’s Commando Squad, aka the Missouri Marauders, led by Sgt. Bob Jenkins; and the elite squad known as the Deadly Dozen, led by Combat Kelly. Sawyer had quite a talent for identifying individuals with exceptional personal talents, and to assemble them in perfectly efficient teams, whose strength came by the unique skills of each members and the teamwork they provided together. Sawyer formed, trained and led each one of these groups, acting from behind the curtains for most of the time, but often disobeying his doctors’ and superior officers’ orders and joining his men in active combat. Nobody could keep a man like Sawyer behind a desk for too long, not even the President himself.

Happy Sam Sawyer is a serious and continuously frowned man, fiercely loyal to his country but even more to the men at his command. An extremely well-trained soldier, Sawyer is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, a nearly-infallible marksman, a skilled parachutist and a good athlete; not even his incapacitating wound managed to dull his greatest skill: his tactical mind, that makes him one of the most precious assets in the American Army. A superb tactician, instructor and leader, Happy Sam Sawyer is a true war hero, a man who’ll never stop fighting for what he firmly believes to be the right cause.

Martin Stein (Firestorm)

firestormiifilmDid you think that two heroes sharing the same super-identity was enough for a single tv show? Well, think again, because yet another component of Firestorm is coming to The Flash, and made a brief photograph-only appearance in Revenge of the Rogues. We’ve seen him on Caitlin Snow‘s tablet while she makes some researches on the F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. project, the same that may hold the key to understanding what happened to her not-so-dead fiancé: we’re speaking of Professor Martin Stein, who will be portrayed by  Victor Garber. As for now, we know he was the head of the project, and that he called some mysterious friends for funds when the university wanted to shut him down… then he disappeared. Waiting to see what has happened to him in the show, let’s see what his fate has been in the comics… and I don’t think they will differ much.

Born in New York City, Martin Stein showed since his youth a natural talent towards science, and grew up to become a skilled physicist. Brilliant and self-confident, Stein gained the interest of a young woman, Clarissa Clemens, and he fell in love with her in turn: the two got married, and she supported him while he continued his researches. Stein specialized in nuclear physics, and his ideas for a new way of harnessing nuclear energy firestormiicomics1brought him to win the Nobel Prize. After that, his researches obtained a universal acclaim, and he even earned a job as a professor in Hudson University, where he could bring on his researches, while searching for young and fresh minds to nurture (some of the most brilliant ones would have become his assistants). One of his best students, a girl named Crystal Frost, even developed a schoolgirl crush on him, but he refused her attentions being faithful to his wife Clarissa. It was during his years in university that Stein came up with the idea he would have dedicated his entire life to: the Hudson Nuclear Power Plant, the world’s first absolutely safe atomic testing center, the synthesis of an entire life spent in research. The power plant became an obsession for Stein, and he dedicated all of his time to its design: completely focused on his project, Stein neglected to pay some attention even to his wife, who soon got tired of coming for second in her husband’s line of priority and obtained divorce. Distressed by the failure of his marriage, Stein had to face yet another trouble when he found out one of his coworkers, Danton Black, was stealing his work to sell it to rival firms: the professor fired Black, but he swore revenge, threats that Stein wrongly didn’t take seriously.

The night before the inauguration, Stein was still in the plant to check the last data, but the place was attacked by an environmental extremist group called the Coalition to Resist Atomic Power. The Coalition’s leader, Eddie Earhartfirestormiicomics2wanted to destroy the power plant for good, and when Stein tried to stop him, the younger man easily knocked him out. Tied up and unconscious, Professor Stein was left in the core room with tons of TNT ready to explode: he was saved by one of the members of the Coalition, Ronnie Raymond, who had changed his mind about the group’s ideas when he saw what Eddie was ready to do. Ronnie took Stein on his shoulders and tried to run away, but it was too late: the explosion invested them both, and the immense burst of energy disrupted the two men to a molecular level. Instead of killing them, however, the explosion fused them into one being: since Stein was unconscious at the time of the explosion, he now existed as a disembodied conscience inside Ronnie’s mind. As soon as he realized what had happened, Stein tried to find a way to separate himself from the teenager, but he gave up the moment the process seemed to be irreversible. The explosion of the power plant had created a form of energy that would have been known as the Firestorm Matrix, the same energy that was now keeping Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond together as a single being: the two of them decided to use their newfound powers to protect New York, and became the superhero known as Firestorm, the Nuclear Man. Stein’s past kept haunting him, as the first two nemesis that Firestorm had to face were his old acquaintances: one was Danton Black, now the villain Multiplex, who had obtained superpowers in the same explosion that had created Firestorm; the other one was Crystal Frost, Stein’s former student, who had become the super-powered villainess known as Killer Frost. Luckily enough, Stein was old and wise enough to guide the young and rushy Ronnie (when he wanted to listen to him, of course), and he also understood the potentialities of their powers thanks to his knowledge of nuclear physics: together they formed the ultimate combo team.

Martin Stein is a brilliant man, an absolute genius in his own field whose intellect however brings him often to egocentricity, arrogance and even depression (he’s been an alcoholic for a while). As Firestorm, he possesses a variety of incredible powers, going from flight to energy absorption and emission, from augmented physical attributes to regeneration, from density control to increased brain functions, resulting in one of the world’s most powerful beings. As a disembodied talking head (at least, that’s how Ronnie sees him), Stein must be the voice of reason in the young man’s conscience, instructing him (and scolding him) on what to do and how to do it… with all the frustration coming from being constantly and deliberately ignored.