Dwight Frye (Bazooka)

Even this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced a character from the comics, and it’s been quite a surprise. In Devils You Know, the hunt for the Inhumans (and for Lash in particular) leads both S.H.I.E.L.D. and ATCU to Dwight Frye, portrayed by Chad Lindberg, an Inhuman with the ability to detect others like him, and an accomplish of Lash himself. In the comics, Frye belongs to another reality than the main one (not Earth-616, but Earth-148611, a world called New Universe in which history was the same as ours, until the White Event that gave superpowers to some people); he’s a superhuman, but with a different set of abilities, and he’s not Caucasian but African-American. Let’s see together.

Dwight Frye was born in Pittsburgh, and joined the US Army as a young man. As a soldier, he led a perfectly normal life until July 22, 1986, when a mysterious flash of light (the White Event) engulfed Earth, giving superhuman powers to a limited number of people. Frye realised he was among the ones who were now called the paranormals, with the ability to project concussive blasts of energy from his hands. As most of the paranormals, even Frye was collected by Professor Voigt and brought to the Clinic for Paranormal Research, a facility in Wisconsin in which scientists allegedly tried to help paranormals cope with their new abilities. Inside the clinic, however, Frye clashed with many other inmates, mostly for racial issues. What he was living with the racist inmates was exactly the same other African-American patients were living, and Frye didn’t have the slightest doubt when another paranormal, Dionne McQuaid, asked him to join her new group, the Black bazookacomics1Powers, composed solely of African-American patients. Following the spirit of the Black Powers, Frye renamed himself Bazooka, while Dionne became Indigo; along with them, four other patients joined the group: Lionel “Blindside” Berry, Jerome “Squirm” Walkins, Charlotte “Friction” Beck and Ross “Chill” Wexler. Together, they looked over each other’s shoulder, and formed a force to be reckoned with, a group that could earn, if not the respect, the fear of the other patients. Each member of the Black Powers, Bazooka included, left the respective therapy groups to join the new one, creating quite a disorder…especially because the Black Powers now aimed to expose and punish the racists from the other groups, often arriving to use violence and to force the guards to intervene. Bazooka, in particular, was among the most violent ones, often trying to put up a fight with whoever he felt offended by, clashing most of the times with a rival group, the DDTeens.

Things got serious the moment Chill and Blindside got killed, and Squirm nearly followed them in a series of racist attacks. Both Indigo and Bazooka knew pretty well who was behind the murders: Arthur “Freefall” Benway and Rodney “Tangler” Weigand, two white supremacists who had been targeting the Black Powers for a while. Indigo and Bazooka decided they would have seeked justice their own way, and they incited a riot between patients, taking advantage of the following turmoil to target Freefall and Tangler. Bazooka faced Tangler, and managed to blast a hole through him, killing him. The riot was quelled by Leonore “Twilight” Fenzl, who used her powers to sedate all the contendants, but the Black Powers had nevertheless sent a message…even if it wasn’t the one they bazookacomics2expected. Witnessing so much violence and hatred, Friction decided to leave the Black Powers and to come back to her old therapy group, and Squirm soon followed, joining the DDTeens: now, only Indigo and Bazooka remained. The two started feeling a strong attraction one to the other, and they eventually became a couple, the only two remaining Black Powers who formed an even stronger bond than before. The romance ended when the police raided the Clinic in response of claims of unreported deaths and paranormal activities: as always, Bazooka and Indigo answered with violence to the presence of the intruders, and they started a massive battle between the patients and the policemen…a battle during which Indigo was killed. Following the raid, the government shut down the Clinic, and most male patients were sent to the Army to be part of a paranormal strike force. Bazooka was back in the uniform, ready to undergo another training to become more disciplined and ready to take orders…quite a hard task for any instructor.

Dwight Frye is an impulsive and violent man, used to be treated with contempt and brutality and more than ready to answer just the same way. As Bazooka, he has the power to shoot explosive blasts from his hands, sometimes powerful enough to harm his own body as well; he’s also a trained soldier and an extremely strong man. A warrior born who never walks away from a fight, Bazooka is a troublemaker with quite a taste for violence, able to transform even right causes in bloody crusades.

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