Ivan Steranko (Rocksteady)

rocksteadyfilmTime for The Shredder‘s second powered-up goon, spotted in the first trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows: obviously, we’re speaking about Rocksteady, the humanoid rhino we see tossing away cars like they were sheets of paper. The character will be portrayed by Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly, and he’ll be one of the two guinea pigs for Baxter Stockman‘s experiments…with the results we can plainly see from the trailer. Along with his all-time partner Bebop, this is Rocksteady’s live action debut, although the couple was originally set to appear in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of Ooze (they were ultimately replaced by Tokka and Rahzar), and even in the 2014 film. Now, before watching him on the big screen, let’s take a look at the comicbook version.

Ivan Steranko arrived to New York City with the not-so-original idea of making a lot of money as fast as he could. Obviously, with no education, no preparation whatsoever, and especially no morality at all, he ended up in the streets as a criminal, always trying to join the most powerful gang around to make himself a name. His brute strength and his street-smartness made him the perfect goon, and he had no difficulty in been recruited in the local gangs…unfortunately, his nearly total lack of intelligence also made him screw everything up anytime things got even a little bit serious, and he was always kicked out of all the groups he joined, when he didn’t cause the group itself’s disbanding. In his misadventures Ivan wasn’t alone, as he soon met Anton Zeck, another man who, just like him, wanted to make the big time in NY’s criminality. Together they formed the duo Bebop (Zeck) & Rocksteady (Steranko), a couple of brutes who sold their services to the best bidder. Eventually, they were recruited rocksteadycomics1by yet another gang, albeit a different one this time: the Foot Clan, an ancient ninja cult who was trying to expand in the United States. The world the Foot moved in was something different from what Rocksteady had known before, and he soon found himself involved in strange experiments and in old magic (not that he understood much of it). On his first mission for the Clan, he had to help a mutant fox, Alopex, infiltrate the lair of the Foot’s sworn enemies, the Ninja Turtles. Obviously, the mission was a failure, and Rocksteady and Bebop came back to their boss, The Shredder, with another defeat on their ledger. Luckily enough, Shredder’s lieutenant Karai had just come back from a mission with some stolen mutagen, enough for The Shredder to create two super-powered goons to use against the Turtles: in the following selection (a massive everyone-against-everyone brawl), Rocksteady and Bebop emerged victorious, earning their right to be mutated…and thus making an insurance for themselves never to be kicked out of the Foot Clan, becoming two (hopefully…) unreplaceable assets.

The Foot had stolen two beasts from the local zoo, and used them to manipulate Rocksteady’s and Bebop’s genes: Ivan’s DNA was mixed with the one of a rhinoceros, and he became a massive mutant with an incredible strength. Now, along with his warthog-hybrid friend, Rocksteady was a formidable threat for the same Turtles that had defeated him. The Shredder tested his new warriors on the field, and the mission seemed to be a success at first: Rocksteady’s skin proved to be too thick for even Raphael‘s sais or Leonardo‘s katanas to pierce, and he easily overpowered his enemies. When he was about to finish the Turtles off, however, both him and Bebop were blasted away by a grenade thrown by Old Hob, a mutant cat who saved the Turtles and allowed them to flee. The two brutes, following their defeat, tried to “investigate” on Old Hob, and they came across Pete, a mutant pigeon who rocksteadycomics2brought them to Hob in an effort to recruit them in the Mutanimals, a team composed by the many mutated animals of New York…Ninja Turtles included. As soon as they faced the Turtles and Old Hob together, Rocksteady and Bebop immediately launched an attack, ignoring the cat who tried to tell them they were just slaves of Shredder, and needed to get free. When Old Hob learnt that Rocksteady and Bebop were half-humans instead of full animals, however, he changed his mind and engaged them in combat. Rocksteady proved to be a formidable force to be reckoned with: he matched the powerful Slash in strength and even knocked him out throwing a car at him, he dispatched of Leonardo and Mondo Gecko with a single blow, and he even threw Raphael and Alopex off a building, all the while trying to put his hands on Old Hob, who was the one he really wanted to kill. When he was about to finish the cat, however, Master Splinter intervened, and knocked both Rocksteady and Bebop out hitting some pressure points. When the two brutes woke up, nobody was there anymore…and an entire building had collapsed on them. Rocksteady suggested Bebop they came back to the Foot HQ avoiding any mention of their new defeat…something they immediately agreed upon.

Ivan Steranko is a brutal and obtuse man, all brawn and no brain, who seldomly shows some rare sparkle of intelligence, only to bury it deep under a natural violence and a dull ambition. As Rocksteady, he’s an incredibly bulky mutant, whose strength is greater even than his partner Bebop’s one (to the point he’s able to use cars as bats); his incredibly hard and thick skin makes him nearly impossible to hurt, and his frontal horn is often used as an offensive weapon in fight; an expert of heavy guns who often deploys also a sledgehammer in combat, Rocksteady is a vicious street-fighter able to use anything around him as a weapon, and to resort to pretty much everything to overwhelm his adversary. Rocksteady, just as the rhino who gave him his genes, charges to his target head on, without thinking and without planning…and this makes him only more dangerous.

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  1. […] Ivan Steranko (Rocksteady) […]


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