Benjamin Martin “Ben” Krullen (Reactron)

ReactronLast character seen in the Supergirl trailer: the obviously evil guy in a shining armor battling the heroine with energy blasts (which she answers to with her heat vision) is Reactron, who’ll be portrayed by Chris Browning. In the show, he’ll be an old enemy of Superman who, unable to defeat his nemesis, decides to vent his frustration on his cousin Supergirl, believing he’ll have an easier job in killing her. He’ll surely be unpleasantly surprised. Waiting to see him getting his butt kicked by Supergirl (it’s unlikely he’ll be developed for more than a single episode…), let’s see who the original Reactron is in the comics. Again, two different origins for this one.

Benjamin Krullen was a violent man who, as many others like him, channelled his natural attitude in a socially acceptable form and joined the army. In those years, the United States were at war with Vietnam, and Krullen was among the first ones to take a plane and go fight the commies over the ocean. A combatant born, Krullen positively impressed his superior officers, and soon rose the ranks becoming a sergeant. The war was exactly what Sgt. Krullen had always lived for, and the blood frenzy took over him: one night, Krullen led his men to attack an “enemy village”… only, it wasn’t a military target at all, it was just a group of non-combative civilians who had nothing to do with Ho Chi Minh‘s forces: despite perfectly knowing he was facing innocent people, Krullen massacred the whole village, leaving nobody alive. One of the sergeant’s subordinates, Joshua Clay, was particularly shocked by the event, so shocked that he ended up triggering latent metagenes that reactroncomics1transformed him into a superhuman: trying to stop Krullen, Clay apparently vaporized the sergeant with a powerful blast of energy, then he went AWOL, and resurfaced only years after as the superhero Tempest. Krullen, however, wasn’t dead: his body had reacted weirdly to Clay’s energy, and he had become a sponge for radiations. With his body unable to retain the amount of energy Clay had discharged on him, Krullen leaked radiations, and was unable to return to a normal life. He was contacted by the evil scientific group known as the Council, who offered him a chance for revenge (and for becoming a soldier once again): the Council gave Krullen a special costume, that enabled him to control the radiations his body emitted, and informed him of Tempest, who was now a member of the super-team Doom Patrol. Krullen accepted the Council’s offer, and adopted the masked identity of Reactron: now able to control his own power, Krullen could fight on equal terms with the man who had challenged his authority… and won. It was time to settle the score.

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Ben Krullen was erased from existence as his entire universe, but he resurfaced soon after in the new one emerging from the catastrophe. Even in this reality, he was an officer in the US Army, a violent man who had become a soldier moved by grudge and unsatisfaction with his previous life. Krullen (sometimes called just Ben Krull) was assigned the mission to guard a top secret scientific military project; the facility he was serving in was attacked, and in the following battle Krullen was heavily injured and contaminated with radiations. In order to save his life (and to complete their experiment), the scientists from the base tended to the officer’s wounds, and equipped him with the StarSuit, an experimental containment suit that allowed him to control a body now constantly emitting radiations. Now calling himself Reactron, Krullen left the army, and looked for more remunerative employers, finding them in several criminal groups. One of his employers eventually sent him reactroncomics2against the Doom Patrol, at the time working with Supergirl: Reactron managed to hold his own against all heroes, until Negative Woman overloaded him with too much energy, and he exploded. The villain’s body, however, reformed, and he was retrieved by Amanda Waller: Reactron was forcefully enlisted in the Suicide Squad and sent to Russia… where also Doom Patrol was. Seeing his old enemies, Reactron lost control, and the Squad’s leader, Deadshot, resolved to shoot him down, piercing his containment suit and making him blow up again. Just like the previous time, however, Reactron’s body reformed, and this time he was hired by Lex Luthor in a team of nuclear energy-based villains, the Nuclear Legion. On their first mission in Bludhaven, however, the Legion was confronted by SHADE, a governmental team, and again Reactron was apparently killed. He resurfaced some times later, with General Sam Lane recruiting him to form a team with Metallo in his plan to destroy Kryptonians: Reactron was given a new suit, powered by a Gold Kryptonite heart, that allowed him to fight toe-to-toe even with the nearly unbeatable Kryptonians who now walked the planet. Finally, Krullen was once again a soldier with a mission.

Ben Krullen is a violent and brutal man, a soldier addicted to war who fights to destroy rather than to protect. As Reactron, he has the ability to absorb and redirect nuclear radiations, that he usually concentrates in lethal energy blasts; his body is mostly made of radioactive energy barely contained by his StarSuit, so any time he’s destroyed he can put himself together again. His new armor is equipped with a shard of Gold Kryptonite, able to remove Kryptonians’ powers for a limited time. Fierce and pitiless, Reactron fights for fight’s sake, eager only to spill the blood of his enemies… whoever they may be.


Maxwell Lord IV

Maxwell LordTime for another villain who’ll show up in Supergirl, and this one will be a recurring character for the whole season: during the trailer, we see a handsome guy flirting with Cat Grant during a ball. That’s Maxwell Lord, portrayed by Peter Facinelli. Lord already appeared in Smallville, where he was the Black King of the secret organization Checkmate; this version, portrayed by Gil Bellows, was a telepath able to extract memories from other people’s minds, and he used this ability to deduce the true identity of The BlurClark Kent. He was later kidnapped by the Red Queen (actually Martha Kent), who manipulated him to protect her son and his secret. The first version of Maxwell Lord didn’t exactly give justice to the character: let’s just hope the new one will be more faithful to the original… the one we’re about to see together.

There are multiple accounts on Maxwell Lord IV‘s origin. According to the first one, he was the son of Maxwell Lord III, an English professor at Yale, a rightful man who came in conflict with his son when the latter started to develop a twisted morality, and who was shot dead soon after. Another account have Maxwell being the son of businessman Albert Lord, the head of the Chimtech consortium: one of Chimtech’s latest products proved to be a highly carcinogenic one, and the administration board members decided to give all the blame to Lord, excluding him from the direction of his own company. Feeling guilty for the lives he had unwillingly ended, and humiliated for the treatment he had been subjected to, Albert Lord committed suicide when his son Maxwell was only sixteen. Being it a way or the other, as a teenager Maxwell Lord grew up with his mother Naomi only: at first a gentle and kind soul, maxwelllordcomics1Naomi lost her mind after her husband’s death, and she became a paranoid sociopath. She taught her son that every man of power is evil, and that he had to be smarter (and crueler) than them to control them and to save himself, so that he didn’t end like his father. Lord grew up a powerful and cunning man, who used his remarkable intellect to play always three steps ahead of the dangerous “powerful people” her mother warned him from; first of all, he ruined through media most of the Chimtech administrators, wanting to take his revenge on them and to acquire the company back, but for the last part he was preceded by Lex Luthor, who bought Chimtech and made it a part of his LexCorp. Studying Luthor’s methodology, Lord found out he employed supervillains to “help” him in his business, hiring, arming and powering them to make profit. Lord decided he would have followed his example, but he would have employed on the opposite the heroic metahumans, manipulating the good guys for his own goals. Lord set sight on the Justice League of America, nearly disbanded and leaderless after the Crisis on Infinite Earths: using his new corporation Innovative Concepts, he financed it, put it back together, and slowly took control of it, until he decided it was time to transform it into an international peace force.

At first, it seemed Max Lord was under the influence of the villainous artificial intelligence Kilg%re, who controlled the businessman in order to manipulate the JLA and conquer the world through the team. It was actually the other way round: Kilg%re acted through the technology of Metron, a powerful New God, a technology Lord needed in order to control the heroes: he fooled Kilg%re, making the living computer believe he was under his control, and in the meanwhile he moved the JLA as pawns on his personal check board. He organised a fake attack at the UNO Building, with a would-be-terrorist he himself had paid and sent there; he then sent the League to save the day, and when they did (the “terrorist” died during the ensuing battle), he came out from behind the curtains and announced himself as the leader of the new, and international, JLA, ignoring the objections of field leader Batman. After that, maxwelllordcomics2Lord didn’t need Kilg%re anymore: he rebelled to the supercomputer and destroyed it, taking the reins of his new Justice League International. Of course, the JLI accomplished many heroic missions all around the world, but Lord always managed to send them against powers rivaling his own, taking a remarkable profit from the actions of “his” heroes; he even manipulated them into fighting threats he himself created, so that he could order an intervention in places he had interests in. Then, a massive coalition of aliens decided to attack Earth, and all the superteams had to form an alliance to repel them, JLI included: the invasion was stopped, but during the war the aliens triggered a Gene Bomb on the planet, activating latent metagenes in many humans… and among these, even Max Lord was influenced. The Gene Bomb activated a latent power in Max, granting him an ability that fitted his already manipulative nature: mind control. Now, he finally had the means to literally take control of the “powerful people” his mother still feared and prompted him to fight, and he would have done it without the slightest regret, whatever the cost.

Maxwell Lord is an incredibly intelligent and cunning man, a tactician born with a natural skill for manipulation; years of psychological abuse from his mother convinced him that all metahumans are part of the “authority” Naomi Lord prompted him to control, and he has started a personal war to either control or destroy anyone he feels belonging to this category of “powerful people”. An excellent marksman and a good hand-to-hand combatant, Lord is a metahuman himself, with a limited ability to mind-control people: this power however puts his brain to a great fatigue, and anytime Lord uses it his nose bleeds (if there are more people to control, even eyes and hears, until he loses consciousness). A ruthless businessman and a true puppet master, Max Lord is one of the most dangerous men alive, an éminence grise with a far too extended influence, able to pull the strings of history itself from behind the curtain.

Roderick Rose (Hellgrammite)

HelgrammiteThe new Supergirl trailer showed us quite a bunch of the upcoming supervillains our heroine will have to face in the first episodes of the series, and we immediately start to check them out. First of all, the ugly guy with a creepy mouth, spitting something weird at Supergirl: that’s the insectoid Hellgrammite, who’ll be portrayed by Justice Leak. Not much is known about him yet, apart from the fact that he’ll be an entomologist turned into a human-insect hybrid by a failed experiment. The character is quite an old acquaintance for the Superman readers, and he’ll make his live action debut in the new tv series: waiting to see him, let’s take a look at the original one.

Not much is known about Roderick Rose‘s life before he became the monstrous being known as Hellgrammite (like the larvae of the dobsonfly). He was a brilliant entomologist, with much more than some knowledge of biology and genetics. Rose deeply admired the world of insects, and considered them as a superior life form; he decided he would have tried to combine the genome of an insect with the human one in order to create a superior being… and he obviously used himself as the lab rat for the experiment. The mutagenic process was a success, and Roderick Rose was transformed into an anthropomorphic insect. If from a merely aesthetic point of view the advantages were none, Rose had however gained incredible powers from the process: he now had superhuman strength, a nearly indestructible helgrammitecomics1exoskeleton, and the ability to envelop other people in cocoons and transform them into larval versions of himself, slaves to his own will. Rose renamed himself Hellgrammite, feeling he was the larval stage of a new humanity: he would have shaped the world at his own image, transforming everybody else into drones in his hive. As many other supervillains before and after, Hellgrammite chose as the starting point of his criminal activity Gotham City, where he started hunting down some criminal bosses in order to make them his subordinates. He successfully abducted Turk Trask, as well as Branigan and Dalgo, knowing that the police wouldn’t have minded of disappearing criminals. A journalist, however, did: Jack Ryder, who was also the superhero The Creeper. Ryder informed the city’s most famous hero, Batman, of what was happening, and together they started hunting for Hellgrammite: after chasing him on Gotham’s rooftops, they cornered him in the subway system. The two heroes weren’t a match for the insectoid’s strength, but they managed to knock him out using the electrified rails. The monster was then arrested.

No prison could hold Rose for long in his new state, so he easily broke free and resumed his plan, this time targeting powerful businessmen. The heroine Black Canary tried to stop him, but she was overpowered and enveloped in a cocoon with the others. One of the Hellgrammite’s targets, Deleon, was a crooked financier who had stolen Oliver Queen‘s entire fortune: on Deleon’s tracks, also Green Arrow arrived on the scene, and armed with Batman’s gadgets, the hero managed to defeat him. It was too late to save Deleon (and Queen’s fortune), but Black Canary was successfully freed. After yet another defeat, Hellgrammite abandoned Gotham and moved to Metropolis, where his talents didn’t go unnoticed for long: George Markham, a member of LexCorp board, hired him to kill his boss, Lex Luthor, so that he could raise to power in the corporation. Unfortunately for Hellgrammite and Markham, helgrammitecomics2Metropolis was guarded by an even more formidable hero than Batman, Superman, who readily faced the villain and defeated him (ironically saving his nemesis’ life). At the eyes of Hellgrammite, Superman was some sort of a “rival”, another image of perfect man challenging the one he had developed in his experiments. In order to be able to face toe to toe the unbeatable Kryptonian, Hellgrammite, as many other villains at the time, made a deal with the demon Neron: in exchange of his own soul, he had his powers greatly augmented, to the point that his strength was now able to rival Superman’s. Despite the level-up, however, Hellgrammite wasn’t exactly a match for the Man of Steel, and he soon abandoned his idea of vengeance (and of world domination) and turned to more lucrative activities: he was hired as an assassin by Intergang, and accomplished several missions around the world for them. It wasn’t exactly the bright future the villain had in mind, but it paid the bills.

Roderick Rose is an ambitious and cruel man, driven by his own idea of perfection to modify human beings in the shape of the creatures he admires the most: insects. As Hellgrammite, he possesses a variety of powers: superhuman strength, a semi-indestructible exoskeleton, the ability to stick to any surface, an increased leap capability, the power to spit an adhesive substance and to envelop people into cocoons that either kill them or transform them into larval version of himself; the weaker replicas are completely subjected to Hellgrammite’s will, acting like in a hive with the queen. Powerful and determined, Hellgrammite is bent on transforming the entire humanity in a “perfected” version of it… that is, just the way he is.

John Smith (Red Tornado)

Red TornadoPromotional images everywhere! This time they’re coming from the upcoming Supergirl, debuting next month. The character revealed in this pic is Red Tornado, the android who’ll be portrayed by Iddo Goldberg. In the show, he’ll be an experimental weapon built for the army by Dr. T.O. Morrow, but he’ll become sentient soon enough, posing a threat for everybody. We still don’t know if he’ll go superheroic like his comicbook counterpart or he’ll be just a “villain of the week” scrapped after a single episode (that’d be a waste), but I guess we only have to wait and see. The look isn’t exactly promising (so 1990s…), but let’s see how they’ve written the character before judging. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original one, who’s actually one of the main heroes in the JLA.

Everything began on planet Rann, in the Earth-One universe: the planet was ruled with an iron fist by Ulthoon, a despot, who was subsequently challenged by Adam Strange. Ulthoon was defeated, and the outcome of the battle convinced him that, between good and evil, the first one was the superior force. Trying to replicate the heroes of the Justice League of America he had observed on Earth, Ulthoon transformed himself into a new entity, the Tornado Champion, and acted as the JLA on a planet he had made a replica of Earth of. During the process, however, something went awry, and he actually split into two entities: the good one, the Tornado Champion, and an evil one, the Tornado Tyrant. The two clashed, and the Tyrant defeated the Champion: only the intervention of the true JLA managed to stop the villain. Victorious over his enemy, but still unsatisfied of his existence, the Tornado Champion traveled to another dimension, Earth-Two, looking for a purpose. On the alternate Earth, the elemental found evil scientist T. O. Morrow building an android to defeat his enemies of the Justice Society of America: he decided to take redtornadocomics1control of the robot, but in the merging his memory was erased. Morrow, unaware of the “invasion”, programmed his robot to believe he was the original Red Tornado, Abigail “Ma” Hunkel, back on duty: the JSA, albeit incredulous, allowed the android to accompany them on a minor mission to test him, with the android truly wanting to help them. Morrow’s programming, however, acted subconsciously, and the android killed the JSA members one after the other, in a way that it seemed an accident. Realizing T. O. Morrow was behind the death of his new friends, Red Tornado tracked him to his lair, but the scientist escaped through a dimensional portal to Earth-One, where he defeated the JLA as well. Red Tornado, however, followed him, and managed to revive some members of the JLA: along with them, he traveled back to Earth-Two, where the heroes revived the JSA. Together, the two teams and Red Tornado finally defeated the evil genius Morrow, and as a sign of gratitude the JSA allowed the android to join their ranks, in replacement of the original Red Tornado.

Red Tornado proved to be a valuable member of the JSA, and he was also the only one able to escape from living star Aquarius‘ dimensional prison to travel to Earth-One and enlist the help of the JLA to save his friends and his entire universe. Due to his nature being thorn between the two dimensions, the Red Tornado also became the tool for the villainous cosmic being Creator² in merging the two realities: abducted by the god-like being, the android was saved by Green LanternAtomSpectre and a few others, thus preventing the destruction of both universes. During a mission against Nebula Man, however, Red Tornado seemingly died while sacrificing himself in detonating a bomb in open space: actually, the explosion created yet another dimensional portal that transported the redtornadocomics2android back to Earth-One. Feeling he had never truly belonged with the JSA, Red Tornado asked JLA for membership, and they gladly granted it to him. With the JLA, Red Tornado became more and more human: he found a job as a teacher, and decided to adopt a human name, John Smith. He even met Kathy Sutton, a woman he surprisingly fell in love with, demonstrating he had now access to the entire array of human emotions. The two got married, and even adopted a girl from Bialya (a Middle-East nation), Traya. The evolution of the android didn’t go unnoticed for T. O. Morrow, who kidnapped his “son” to try and understand how he could overcome his original programming and become sentient. Morrow deactivated Tornado and opened him, only to find inside him the two elementals, the Tornado Champion and the Tornado Tyrant, who had never been truly parted one from the other and who resumed their everlasting fight. The JLA intervened to save their friend and teammate, and during the battle the new recruit, Firestorm, managed to reassemble the android, and to merge to him both the Champion and the Tyrant, who got their memories erased once again. Back to life, Red Tornado resumed his life, now knowing what he owned to Morrow, what to Ulthoon, and what was a consequence of his own actions and decisions: master of his free will, he was now ready to be completely human as he had always wanted.

John Smith is a man who literally had to build himself from nothing: born with a pre-programmed personality and no free will, he managed to free himself from Morrow’s control and to develop his own character, learning step by step what it meant to be free and to be human. As the Red Tornado, his robotic body grants him superhuman strength and durability, as well as immunity from any kind of organic disease; he’s also highly intelligent, and he can connect with other systems and computers. The elemental Ulthoon trapped inside him gives him the power of aerokinesis, the ability to control air and wind: he’s able to create tornadoes, to form wind walls used as shields, to fly at high speeds, to shoot air blasts and much more. Albeit extremely powerful, Red Tornado started as a naive child to slowly grow into an adult man capable of experiencing all the specter of human emotions: now, he fights to maintain the humanity he fought so hard to conquer.

Zebediah Killgrave (Purple Man)

Purple ManLast character appearing in the Jessica Jones promotional pics, this time the show’s villain: Zebediah Killgrave (misspelled Kilgrave), portrayed by David Tennant. Not much is known about him, apart from the fact that he’ll be a man with connections to Jessica Jones‘ past, and that he comes back to ruin her life once again. In the comics, Killgrave is known as the Purple Man because of his skin color, but the show preferred a more realistic approach to the character, and now he only wears in purple, with a perfectly normal pigmentation (understandable… but disappointing). Everything else remains to be seen… in the meanwhile, let’s take a look together at the original one.

Zebediah Killgrave was born in RijekaCroatia, when it was still a part of Yugoslavia. A gifted intellect, Killgrave became a physicist, and his skills as a scientist attracted the attentions of the Soviet Union‘s agents. Considering his remarkable intelligence, his manipulative nature and his perfect cover, the Soviets offered Killgrave to become an international spy, an offer that the man immediately accepted, feeling it akin to his character. Posing as a simple scientist, Killgrave traveled the world stealing military secrets for the Russians, working in labs and facilities as a “guest” physicist. During one of his missions, Killgrave was sent into a chemical refinery in the United States to collect data on a secret compound the Americans were producing, an advanced nerve gas. During the night, he tried to steal a sample of the substance, but a security guard caught him: the man shot him, but hit one of the canisters instead, and Killgrave found himself completely covered by the chemical. As an immediate result, his skin was permanently purplemancomics1dyed purple, but apparently nothing else changed in his organism. Still in pain, confused and panicked, Killgrave was arrested by the guards, and brought in for questioning: unable to focus, the spy gave a weak and absurd justification for his presence near the canisters at night… and much to Killgrave’s own surprise, the guards believed him and let him go freely. The accident obviously aroused Killgrave’s suspicions, and he started to investigate the phenomenon: he tried again with random people, telling unbelievable lies and asking for impossible things. The experiments were successful: everybody was simply eager to do whatever he asked for, they gave him anything, did things for him, and allowed him to do anything to them. The chemicals had given Killgrave the ability to control any other person’s will, and everybody promptly obeyed anything he said. Perfectly understanding the potentialities of his newfound powers, Killgrave quit being a spy and began an “activity” of his own.

Making robberies was extremely easy for Killgrave: he just entered a bank and asked for the money. He soon became extremely rich, and created the criminal alias Purple Man to accomplish a series of frauds. Everything was at his disposal: money, expensive tools, houses, even people. If he wanted a woman, he just needed to speak to her, and she was his to control. He raped many women this way, but one among them was an exception: Melanie, a girl he unexpectedly fell in love with. Hoping that she would have loved him for what he was, Killgrave released her from his mind control… and she fled to Canada, horrified by the Purple Man and by the things he had done to her (Killgrave would have known this only years after, but Melanie was pregnant, and she gave birth to his daughter, Kara, who inherited her father’s powers). Disappointed by “mere humans”, Killgrave moved to New York City, where he purplemancomics2began building a criminal empire, aiming to conquer the entire city… and the world soon after. His megalomaniac plan was soon thwarted by Daredevil, a hero with a force of will strong enough to resist the Purple Man’s powers. Killgrave was arrested, but he obviously managed to escape quickly (simply asking a guard to escort him to the outside). Wanting to avoid facing Daredevil again, the Purple Man moved to San Francisco, where he reprised his plan to create a criminal empire. Again, however, Daredevil stopped him, and forced him to abandon all his projects; back to New York, the Purple Man tried a new approach, and used his powers to force Maxwell Glenn, an industrialist, to commit crimes on his behalf. Caught, Glenn was put on trial, and committed suicide. His defense attorney, however, was Matt Murdock, so once again Daredevil faced (and defeated) the Purple Man, who nearly died when he fell into the sea during the following battle. The experience, however, changed Killgrave’s perspective: he realized he didn’t have to be personally committed in any criminal activity, as his powers allowed him to obtain anything he wanted for his whole life. The Purple Man, for the time being, retired from the scenes, and dedicated to a comfortable and luxurious life… at least until his neverending ambition moved him to some bigger projects.

Zebediah Killgrave is an ambitious and greedy man, able and willing to obtain anything (and anyone) he wants. As the Purple Man, he emits powerful pheromones that allow him to mind-control anybody hears his voice, with the only exception of people gifted with an incredible force of will (quite a rare phenomenon: so far, only Daredevil, the Kingpin and Dr. Doom proved to be strong enough to resist Killgrave’s powers, and the first one sometimes surrendered to them as well); another effect of the chemicals he’s been infused with is an accelerate healing that allows him to survive even critical injuries and wounds. A man with an immense power and no morality at all, the Purple Man is one of the most dangerous individuals alive, capable of forcing an entire city to obey his will… and his will is never aimed to anything good.

Patricia “Patsy” Walker (Hellcat)

Trish WalkerThird character seen in the Jessica Jones promotional pics: Patsy Walker, portrayed by Rachel Taylor. In the show, Patsy will be Jessica Jones‘ best friend, a former child star and model who’s now a radio host in New York City. Her look slightly changed from the comics, and the fan-favorite red-hair has become a blondie; it’s still uncertain if in the show she’ll go super-heroic as in the comics, but it’s pretty unlikely considering what we know up to this point. Patsy is one of Marvel’s oldest female characters, created in 1944 for romantic comics; she showed up again to become a superhero in the 1970s with a different backstory, and from that point she returned to stay, even if as a secondary character. Let’s see together who the original Patsy (or Trish) Walker is.

Patricia was the daughter of Joshua and Dorothy Walker. When Patricia was a teenager, her mother, a comicbook writer, started a series fictionalizing her daughter’s real life, using her (renamed “Patsy”) as the protagonist, and all her friends as secondary characters… as well as love interests, much to real-Patsy’s embarrassment. Her best friend (and roommate for a while) Hedy Wolfe, her brother Mickey, her high school boyfriend Buzz Baxter, everybody became a character for Dorothy’s comic series, and after a decade of love stories involving her fictionalized counterpart, it’s no surprise Patsy was more than relieved when the series ceased publication. In the meanwhile, as a reaction to her mother’s work, Patsy had developed a love for the kind of comics Dorothy despised the most, superhero ones, and she even had a crush for Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards for a while. When she finished high-school, however, Patsy stopped with any kind of comics, and she married Buzz Baxter (quite ironic, considering that was the future Dorothy’s comics had foreseen for them). Buzz, in the meantime, had joined US Air hellcatcomics1Force, and the newlyweds spent their first years of marriage traveling from a military base to another. After fighting in Vietnam, Buzz changed personality completely, and Patsy’s marriage became far less happy than she had imagined. The two moved to New Jersey, where Buzz worked as a security officer in Brand Corporation. While they were there, tension between Patsy and Buzz grew, until their marriage came to an end, and they divorced. In Brand Corporation, however, the woman had met and befriended one of the researchers, Hank McCoy, and she started working with him as his assistant; close to him, Patsy found out McCoy was actually the mutant hero Beast, and she promised to keep his secret in exchange for his help to become a “superheroine” like she dreamed as a teenager. What was born as some kind of joke, however, became serious after the divorce: alone and looking for a new (old?) purpose, Patsy came back to her friend, and asked him to keep his promise. Beast was at the time a member of the Avengers, but he wasn’t sure that was enough to allow him to help his friend, so he just offered her to help him with some investigations inside Brand Corporation… but things turned a weird turn soon enough.

It turned out that Beast’s suspicions were well-founded, since the Corporation was actually involved in many illegal projects. When the mutant hero called for his teammates, the leaders of Brand decided to solve the incoming emergency the hard way, and locked the building with all the occupants inside: among the prisoners, there were many Avengers, chief of security Buzz Baxter (who was actually an accomplish), and Patsy Walker. Looking for a way to free the captive heroes, the woman found the costume Greer Grant (the Avenger Tigra) used when she was The Cat: with the costume increasing her natural athletic skills, Patsy presented herself to the villains as Hellcat, defeated her ex-husband, and freed the Avengers so that they could save the day. Patsy believed she had gained her hellcatcomics2place among the Avengers, but not all the heroes agreed: especially, the alien Moondragon insisted she needed more training before joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Eventually, Patsy accepted Moondragon’s judgment, and followed her to Titan. Here, Hellcat was trained extensively in martial arts, and she even developed some minor psionic abilities. Finally, Moondragon deemed her to be ready to be a heroine, and the two women traveled back to Earth, where Moondragon had heard a psychic call for help from Doctor Strange. Hellcat and Moondragon assisted Strange in his battle, and following that, he offered them membership in his team, the Defenders. Finally able to prove her worth, Patsy agreed, and became a core member of the Defenders (basically a less-organized version of the Avengers) for years. She befriended her teammates, especially the Valkyrie and Kyle “Nighthawk” Richmond, but she grew particularly close to another one: Damion Hellstrom, also known as Hellstorm the Son of Satan. After helping Hellstorm to regain part of his human nature, Hellcat realized she was actually in love with him… and that he reciprocated. The two of them started a romantic relationship, and eventually they got married. With that, Hellcat had finally taken her distance from the Patsy Walker of her mother’s comicbook, and was ready to create a whole new life more similar to the person she felt to be…

There are actually two different Patsy Walker(s): one is the romantic, easy-going and cheerful girl her mother has created in her comics, a smart yet skittish girl whose main ambition is to be the star of the school ball; the other is a strong and determined young woman, a fighter at heart who tries to prove her true self and her true value out of the cheesy and pink world created by her mother. As Hellcat, she’s an extremely skilled athlete and martial artist, and in combat she uses steel alloy claws protruding from her gloves and boots; she also possessed limited psionic abilities, but Moondragon took them away from her when she judged her to be inefficient in her usage. With a strong personality and a heroic attitude she wants to show the world, Patsy Walker is somehow still trying to convince her mother she’s not the girl she’s been writing about, even years from Dorothy’s death.

Carl Lucas/Luke Cage (Power Man)

Luke CageSecond main character seen in the Jessica Jones promotional images, and this time quite a superstar in the Marvel Universe: Luke Cage, portrayed by Mike Colter. In the show, he’ll be a man with a mysterious past, whom Jessica Jones meets during one of her investigations; the two will become allies… and maybe something more, following the comics. Anyway, Colter is preparing to reprise the role in his own tv series, Luke Cage, which will be aired next year. In the muscular Cage there’s certainly more than meets the eye, and hopefully it will be explored during the show… in the meanwhile, let’s see who this giant of a man is in the comics.

Son of NYPD detective James Lucas and of his first wife EstherCarl Lucas was born and raised in HarlemNew York City. As a teenager in one of the most violent blocks in the city, young Carl and his best friend Willis Stryker entered The Rivals, one of the gangs fighting for the control of Harlem. The Rivals’ greatest enemies were The Diablos, and the two groups often clashed violently in the city’s streets and alleys. James Lucas took distance from his son upon realizing he was a gang member, but Esther always tried to be close to her boy despite all the mistakes he was making; eventually, however, Esther got accidentally killed by one of the Rivals. Both James and his younger son James Jr. blamed Carl for the tragedy, and the young man lost his whole family in a single night. Heartbroken for his mother’s loss, Carl finally decided to change life, and abandoned his dream of becoming a racketeer and found a honest job. His friend Stryker, however, still stayed in the “business”, and rose in ranks. The two were still friends, and when the criminal cartel Maggia attacked Stryker, only lukecagecomics1Carl’s intervention managed to save the young man’s life. That episode, however, was the final drop for Reva Connors, Stryker’s girlfriend, who became quite scared because of her boyfriend’s violent life: she broke up with him, and she went to Carl Lucas in search of solace. Willis Stryker learnt that her ex-girlfriend was at his best friend’s house, and in his jealousy he believed Carl was the reason Reva had broken up with him. In order to get rid of the “rival”, he stole some heroine from the plantation of another gangster, and hid it into Carl’s apartment; then, he called the police, telling them Lucas was a drug dealer. Police arrived in Carl’s place, found the drug and arrested him. Carl was moved to the State prison, where he learnt of Stryker’s betrayal; because of James Jr. hiding all the letters he sent to his father, Carl also came to believe that his father was dead as well, and this only increased his anger for being unjustly imprisoned. His behavior became more and more violent, as he constantly ended up in brawls and tried to escape; eventually, he was sent to Georgia, to the maximum security Seagate Prison.

In Seagate, Lucas didn’t change much of his attitude, and this led him to become the target of Billy Bob Rackham, a sadistic prison guard who eventually got demoted for his abuses (something that he obviously blamed Lucas for). Seagate Prison also hosted the lab of Dr. Noah Burstein, a scientist who used the inmates as guinea pigs for his genetic experiments in exchange of a reduction of the term of imprisonment. Upon hearing this, Carl Lucas volunteered for these experiments, which involved a variant of the Super Soldier Serum that had given birth to Captain America during war times. While the prisoner was immersed in an electrified chemical compound, Rackham showed up and tampered with Burstein’s instruments, hoping to kill Lucas in the process; the sabotage, on the opposite, accelerated the process, and gave Lucas superhuman strength and an impenetrable skin. With his newfound powers, Carl escaped from Seagate and made his way back to New York. In his home city, Carl Lucas lukecagecomics2legally changed his name into Luke Cage, so to avoid (for the time being) problems with law. Upon his arrival, Carl/Luke met a couple of thugs, who he easily dispatched: the would-be victim of the two crooks offered Luke a reward for his help, and this gave the man an idea. Soon after, Luke Cage created the super-identity of Power Man, and opened a new activity he named Hero for Hire: he offered his services to whoever was able to pay his price, granting protection from the now so numerous criminals in the area. Soon, Cage’s profits were enough for him to open a real office in Gem Theatre in Times Square. Dr. Burstein, who believed in Cage’s innocence, soon reached him and opened a clinic near his office, so that he could provide him medical care in case of need. Burstein also hired another doctor, Claire Temple, who became Luke’s girlfriend soon after. Despite making his being a superhero a business, Cage often found himself working for free for people who couldn’t allow his services, or even refusing payment when he didn’t agree with the mission (like when Daily Bugle‘s editor J. Jonah Jameson hired him to arrest Spider-Man, whom eventually Cage befriended). After all, a true hero was starting to emerge…

Luke Cage is the quintessential tough guy, a man who built himself up from nothing and who managed to put his life together back again everytime someone or something (himself included) ruined it. Brutal and uncompromising with criminals, unexpectedly kind-hearted and gentle with his loved ones (especially his wife Jessica Jones and his daughter Danielle), loyal and reliable for his friends and allies, Cage grew up from being just another mercenary to be recognized as one of New York’s greatest heroes. As Power Man, he possesses superhuman strength and durability, and his skin is completely impenetrable to any kind of damage (bullets included); he’s also a skilled athlete and a street-smart fighter, able to stand his own even against expert martial arts and accomplished combatants. A charismatic leader (even for the Avengers) gifted with a natural nobility, Luke Cage never abandoned his humble origins, and he keeps fighting for the common man.