David Linus Lieberman (Microchip)

microchipfilmAt the end of the week, let’s come back to casualgamer‘s long request, and this time we meet a minor yet essential character: Microchip, the assistant of The Punisher. He only appeared in Punisher: War Zone, portrayed by Wayne Knight. In the movie, he acted as an arms dealer, informant, friend and confidante to the Punisher, and he lived in a small apartment with his disabled mother. He’s portrayed so bent on his friend’s crusade that he’s the one who prompts him to continue his brutal war on crime when the Punisher himself is not so sure anymore whether to continue it or not. In the comics, Microchip and Punisher didn’t always see things the same way, and they even had some major disagreements: let’s see together.

Life was never easy for David Linus Lieberman: when he was a child, he and his sister witnessed helplessly as their father, a brilliant engineer, was forced to create weapons for this or that mob boss against his will. While this experience didn’t leave visible marks on David’s sister, who got married and became a happy and perfectly normal housewife, it scarred the boy deeply: he swore he would have always be in control, never to be tormented by prevaricators like his father was. David was a grown up in the early days of computers, and he became one of the first hackers ever… and surely one of the most skilled. Now known as the legendary hacker Microchip, he used his undoubted talents to make quite a fortune through scams and even hacking for commission, but this “game” he played ended up bringing him far too close to real criminals, guys who weren’t happy at all in having a computer nerd nosing around their business. Fearing for his life, Micro left his business, forced to an early “retirement”, and he decided to become what he had always avoided to: an insignificant man, a very normal and very invisible businessman, leaving no trace of his previous identity. David’s sister, in the meanwhile, had given birth to a son, who idolized his uncle and wanted to microchipcomics1follow his footsteps. During his days as Microchip, David had taught his nephew the basis of hacking, but now that he was out of the business he didn’t encourage the boy to imitate him anymore… but this obviously didn’t discourage the boy, who kept training by himself, and became a skilled hacker on his own accord. With all the daring carelessness of his youth, the boy started hacking private computers of important and powerful businessmen… until he tried to do the same with the computer of Wilson Fisk, a respectable philanthropist who secretly was the Kingpin, the undisputed lord of the West Coast’s criminality. Needless to say, the Kingpin wasn’t prone to justify the action of a man trying to steal from him, for young as he could be, and he had the boy killed. His nephew’s death was the event that made David Lieberman become Microchip again: wanting justice, he started investigating on the murder, brushing up on his old skills.

While on Fisk’s trails, Microchip met another man who was leading a lonely crusade against crime, disappointed by the system: Frank Castle, an ex marine who was now the vigilante known as The Punisher. The two formed an alliance, and despite they proved unable to bring down the Kingpin, Microchip realized that Frank’s way of fighting crime was far more effective than the police’s one. He joined Punisher in his mission, putting all his remarkable skills at his disposal. Micro wasn’t only a hacker: he could act as a cyber-investigator, providing intel, intercepting the police communications, using old and new contacts to provide the vigilante with money, weapons and ammo for his crusade. It was during this period that Micro found out that a former lover of his, Jan O’Reilly Frohike, had had a son from him, Louis: despite his best efforts to keep him away from the world he was now in, as soon as he learnt who his father was Louis decided to follow his same “career”, much to Micro’s concern. With his son on the field, Micro changed his view on The Punisher’s methods as well, and he realized that Frank was just as mad as the lunatics he was hunting. At first, he stepped down to the role microchipcomics2of counselor only, always insisting with Frank that he took a break from time to time, hoping to avoid him a total breakdown. Believing that what the Punisher did was necessary, but unable to stand the violence and the blood-bath Castle embraced, he eventually took the problem in his own hands, and locked his friend up, in a desperate attempt to make him regain his lost sanity. In absence of the original Punisher, Micro recruited a new one, Carlos Cruz, a former Navy Seal who became a second, less violent Punisher, who could still instill fear in the criminals, but who no longer killed them. Micro used many psychological experiments on Castle trying to make him regain his humanity, but all his efforts were in vain. In the end, Castle managed to free himself, and submitted his captor and former friend: holding him at gunpoint, he was really about to kill him, but Stone Cold, an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned assassin for hire preceded him, bombing the place. Not even death could bring the word “end” to Micro’s story, however: years later, the mystic criminal known as The Hood brought him back from the dead, promising him he would have resurrected his son (killed while helping The Punisher) if he helped him take down Castle. It was time for the former friends to cross guns again…

David Lieberman is a reasonable man, who went through far too many losses to keep his mind working well. In a particularly tragic moment of his life, he embraced The Punisher’s code and cause, but he’s never been as cold and pitiless as he is, and he’s now more than doubtful about the righteousness of his friend’s war on crime. As Microchip, he’s an extremely skilled hacker, able to crack nearly any system; he’s also an experienced investigator and an unmatched supply-runner, able to gather cash and weapons for any necessity. He’s also a skilled armed fighter, able to sustain a gunfight with The Punisher himself. Usually The Punisher’s voice of reason, Microchip has a “weakness” Castle overcame many years ago: a conscience.


Blaine Colt (Kid Colt)

Kid ColtThis week’s episode of Agent Carter had quite a tasty surprise for the comicbook readers, and a completely unexpected one. In Better Angels, when Peggy Carter seeks the help of Howard Stark, she finds him busy with his new work of movie director… and he’s directing a movie based on the adventures of the legendary gunman, Kid Colt, who’s also said to be an historical figure in the MCU. Kid Colt, being dead for a century at the very least, doesn’t physically appear in the episode, but there’s an actor portraying him in full, flashy costume, portrayed in turn by Walter Roach. Kid Colt is quite a legend in the Marvel Comics, born during the western era of what was known at the time as Timely Comics. Quite a tasty Easter egg of a character… who we’ll meet together, as usual.

The story of a man like Kid Colt, a legendary outlaw who lived for decades into people’s memory, is always fluctuating between myth and history, and there are several versions of his origins. In each account, he was once a man named Blaine Colt, who lived a peaceful life in the town of Salvation, where he grew up with his father. According to some, it was Blaine’s father who taught him how to shoot since his very childhood. Despite being pretty proficient with guns, Blaine refused to use them in constant duels like most of his peers, and never responded to the teasing of some of the town bullies, including the sheriff and his deputy, Lash Larribee. Larribee went as far as to whip Blaine to a pulp, without getting any reaction from him… a passive attitude that ended up enraging also the boy’s father. Blaine’s only friend was a boy named Gabby, who warned him that the sheriff was aiming to the Colts’ property… too late, as Blaine’s father was murdered, with the homicide pinned on Blaine. Knowing the truth, Blaine finally resolved to use his guns, and killed the sheriff in a regular duel; then, he proceeded to whip Lash Larribee to kidcoltcomics1death. According to other sources, it was Blaine’s older brother, Slim Colt, who taught him how to shoot; when Slim got killed in a duel, Blaine decided he would have never used a gun in his life. However, the local, crooked sheriff killed Blaine’s father, his friend Gabby and even his own deputy Larribee, trying to blame it all on Blaine. Trying to defend himself, Colt engaged the sheriff in a fist fight, and killed him by throwing him off a cliff. In a third and last account, Blaine’s father was killed by a notorious outlaw, Markson. Blaine Colt learnt how to use guns in order to exact his revenge on Markson, and when he was ready, he left the rest of his family behind, and he embarked in a lonely crusade against his enemy. When he found Markson, he challenged him to a duel, and he killed him; despite it being a rightful duel (well, as rightful as it could be for the Wild West laws…), he was deemed a murderer, and forced to live his life on the run. Whatever version is the right one, it’s a fact that, for a reason or another, Blaine Colt killed his enemy (or enemies) according to the law, but he was deemed an outlaw nevertheless; he started to live running from a place to another, and because of his young age he gained the nickname “Kid Colt”.

Kid Colt was an outlaw, but he wasn’t a criminal: wherever he went, he fought against injustice and prevarication, always putting his amazing skills as a gunslinger at the service of the defenseless. During one of his first adventures, when he gunned down a dangerous drunkard threatening the little town of Mojave City, he was even appointed sheriff by the local community, and he acted for a while the role of a law enforcer. That, until one of the city’s outlaws, named Johnstone, recognized him and started blackmailing him. Colt killed Johnstone as well, and he left Mojave City behind, resuming his life as a lonely outlaw. Despite being a loner, Kid Colt crossed paths with many other famous and infamous gunslingers from his era, such as the Two-Gun Kid, the heroic Rawhide Kid, the mysterious and creepy Phantom Rider and the half-Indian Ringo Kid. Some of these legendary outlaws even accompanied Kid Colt in his wandering for a while, and some got closer than others. The best female shooter in the kidcoltcomics2entire West, Arizona Annie, even shared a romantic story with him for, even if it lasted only for the few time they shared together between an adventure and another. Of course, along with friends and allies, Kid Colt met also a number of enemies: at first, he only faced murderers, thieves, bandits and “regular” outlaws, foes he disposed of after a single gun duel. When his fame rose, however, more and more formidable enemies started hunting him down, hoping to make a name for themselves, or simply to collect the bounty on his head: the first really dangerous enemy Colt ever faced was Cash Collins, a proficient gunman leader of the infamous Six-Gun Syndicate. Kid Colt crossed his path when Collins kidnapped Betty Baxter, daughter of a wealthy rancher, who enlisted Kid Colt to retrieve her. Collins even offered Colt a place in his Syndicate, something that Kid pretended to accept, until the right moment to take down the entire gang arrived: he killed Cash Collins, and the rest of the Syndicate disbanded. After the Syndicate, more and more picturesque villains crossed Kid Colt’s path: the sadistic Whip Savage, the quick Scarecrow, the mysterious Mad Monk, the one-handed Hook Creech, the wealthy businessman (and murderer) Brain, the bulletproof Iron Mask… Quite a colorful rogue gallery, for a young man who was becoming one of the most notorious guns in the entire West…

Blaine Colt is a man on the edge, constantly running from the law despite never being a criminal (at least, not for his era’s standards). As Kid Colt, he’s one of the most skilled gunslingers of his time: he’s an absolute master in the use of his twin Colt .45 pistols, and he’s nearly infallible with them; he’s also a proficient rider, and his loyal horse Steel is the one companion that never leaves his side in his adventures. Kid Colt’s young age, ill fame and outlaw life make him a daring adventurer, always on the verge of self-destruction, sometimes even brutal with his enemies; despite his violent methods, however, Colt is and remains a rightful man, always ready to defend who cannot protect himself from the many prevaricators and true criminals the Wild West is full of.

Joseph “Joe” Monteleone (Tar Pit)

Tar PitThe Reverse-Flash Returns, this week’s episode of The Flash, didn’t introduce any new character, but in the trailer for the next one, Fast Lane, we already get a look to the new “freak of the week”. While Barry Allen teams up with Harrison Wells to find a way to close the breaches to Earth-2 for good, in fact, a new metahuman will arrive to distract them from their duty, one who is able to turn himself into liquid asphalt… and who Cisco promptly nicknames Tar Pit. The villain will be portrayed by Marco Grazzini, and he promises to put Barry’s abilities to the test in a brand new way. Waiting to watch the villain’s live action debut, let’s take a look at the original one.

Joseph Monteleone was the youngest heir of the infamous Monteleone Family, a powerful Mafia organization who controlled criminality in Keystone City. The head of the family was Joseph’s brother, Jack “The Candyman” Monteleone, and Joey lived pretty much on his big brother’s shoulders, always waiting for him to solve the messes he caused. Jack, who took care of the family business, tried to involve Joey in it, and to give him a job in the drug trafficking branch, but the sense of business didn’t run the same in the family, and Joey was simply not interested, preferring to exploit all the privileges coming from the Monteleone’s wealth without getting too involved with the “serious stuff”. Joey often played with pretty criminality, believing himself invincible and untouchable because of Jack’s connections, but eventually the day came he pushed it too far: bored and in search of a thrill, he attempted an armed robbery, and he got arrested by the local police. Even in jail, Joey acted all arrogant tarpitcomics1and insolent, sure that his brother would have solved the situation for him once again… but Jack this time didn’t do anything (whether he hadn’t influence enough to take Joey out of prison or he wanted to teach his little brother a lesson, remains unknown). Joey realized this time he would have had to pay for his actions the moment he was transferred to Iron Heights Penitentiary, an event that brought him on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Finally, Joey was forced to grow up and to take responsibility for what he did… but first he needed to learn to control himself and to stay focused, so he started practicing meditation while in prison. Of course, he had heard that “meditation makes you free”, but in his case it became quite literal: finally spending some time with himself, Joey discovered a latent ability he had always had, but never bothered to find. He was, in fact, a metahuman with the ability to project his astral form (more or less his soul) into inanimate objects and to possess them. Obviously, he used this power to “possess” objects and items outside the prison, having fun by wreaking havoc in town, while his body stayed in his cell.

Joey also enjoyed to play some pranks on the local hero, the third Flash, while in his disembodied form, such as when he inhabited a fire hydrant and sprayed the superhero. One night, however, while trying to escape from his abusive cellmate, he ended up projecting himself into a vat of hot asphalt, getting a body of burning tar. Much to his surprise, Joey was stuck in that new body, unable to come back to his old self. Joseph Monteleone’s original body remained in Iron Heights, comatose, while his essence now permanently inhabited the liquid asphalt: he had become Tar Pit… and he wasn’t exactly sad about it, seeing all the potentialities of his newfound power. After spending some days mastering his new body, Tar Pit realized Keystone City was celebrating a big hockey game… and he decided to crash the party by stealing the Stanley Cup. The appearance of a gruesome fiery monster obviously created panic, and most of the attendants escaped… but the city’s hero couldn’t just stay and watch, and The Flash intervened. At tarpitcomics2first, Tar Pit caught the hero off-guard, and managed to have the upper hand against him, exploiting the fact that Flash couldn’t possibly touch him. Unexpectedly, a new player intervened: Captain Cold, who teamed up with Flash to stop Tar Pit. The combined forces of the two unlikely allies eventually subdued Tar Pit, who ended up damaging himself with a solvent. In the time The Flash took care of the unconscious metahuman, however, Captain Cold stole the Stanley Cup for himself, outsmarting both of them. Joey was brought back to Iron Heights, but he escaped soon after, and tried to begin a new criminal career… only to meet The Top, a veteran supervillain who hypnotized him and forced him to be a part of his new Rogues, whom he sent against Captain Cold’s original ones. In the following battle, Tar Pit fought Cold, Flash, Heat Wave and the original supervillains, until they were all stopped by an unwelcome guest, Professor Zoom. In the chaos that followed, The Top lost control on his men, and Tar Pit escaped thanks to the help of Mirror Master. The experience, albeit a negative one, had taught Joey that in a team he had more chances to success than alone, so he later joined the Secret Society of Supervillains: a brand new life was waiting for him… maybe.

Joseph “Joey” Monteleone is a childish and whimsical young man, unable to take anything seriously, a spoiled kid who only thinks of himself… and most of all, of having fun. Originally a metahuman able to project his astral form into inanimate objects, he’s now Tar Pit, a hulking monster made of molten tar, a super-strong and invulnerable behemoth who can burn things and people just by touching them, who can shoot chunks of flaming tar from his body, and who can merge with the nearby asphalt to increase his mass and strength (as well as to trap eventual enemies). Nearly unstoppable, Tar Pit’s greatest weakness is still his arrogance and his not-so-bright intellect, limits he’s pretty much oblivious to.

K’hym J’onnz

K'hym J'onnzThe last episode of Supergirl brought in the brawl an infamous evil race from the DC Universe, the White Martians… and it also gave us a brief look at the Martian Manhunter‘s past. In Strange Visitor from Another Planet, in fact, the attack of the White Martian makes J’onn J’onnz experience a painful flashback from a couple of centuries back, when his family was slaughtered along with all the Green Martians (except for him). In the flashback, we also get a look at J’onn’s daughters, K’hym and Tan’ya, in the moment they were taken away from their father and led to death. Tan’ya is an original character from the show, but K’hym actually appears in the comics as well… and she doesn’t live much longer than her tv counterpart, sorry. Let’s see together.

K’hym J’onnz was born on planet Ma’aleca’andra, the fourth from the Sun, the planet that centuries later people from Earth would have called Mars. K’hym was the only daughter of the noble J’onn J’onnz and of his beloved wife, M’yri’ah. K’hym was the joy of her parents’ lives, and she lived a normal and happy family life… or, at least, she would have, if it wasn’t for her paternal uncle, Ma’alefa’ak, J’onn’s twin brother. Ma’alefa’ak hated everything regarding Martian culture, and especially he despised his twin brother, doing everything in his power to undermine his happiness. K’hym was mostly kept away from her uncle, and the only times she met him he tried to teach her his ideas as well, but J’onn and M’yri’ah watched over their daughter, and M’alefa’ak never managed to convert the girl to his cause. Everybody in the J’onnz family underestimated Ma’alefa’ak’s hatred, and they would have soon realised it the worst way khymjonnzcomics1possible… but, in the meanwhile, everything proceeded as always on Ma’aleca’andra. When K’hym became a teenager, her entire family underwent a traditional rite on Mars, the G’amal’khul: the members of the same family connected via their telepathic powers, leaving a “piece” of themselves within the other family members’ psyche. This way, they would have always been one with the other, and they would have shared the respective lives even after their physical death. A teenager Martian, K’hym had now a fraction of her parents’ mind in her own, and she herself had left part of herself in their mind: it was, in fact, a psionic reflection of what had already happened in their heart. Unfortunately, this ceremony was the last moment the J’onnz shared together.

Consumed by his hatred towards his homeplanet, and by the grudge towards his twin brother, Ma’alefa’ak had devised a horrific way to exact his revenge against his own people: he engineered a powerful virus, a telepathic disease that infected anybody using psionic abilities. The virus, which would have become known as the H’ronmeer’s Curse, named after the Martian God of Death, triggered Green Martians’ unborn pyrophobia, and affected their brain in such an effective way that the ones who fell ill believed they were on fire so strongly that their body reacted as if they were severely burnt, eventually dying because of the psychosomatic stress. The virus could infect Martian minds only when they were using their mental powers, and J’onn J’onnz was the first one to realize this, trying to prevent his family from accessing their psychic abilities to save them. K’hym, however, was a teenager, and she had just started to learn to use her mental powers: unable to fully control them, she often triggered them without intention, and she was the first one to succumb to the disease; her mother, who wanted to lessen her pain, followed soon after. J’onn couldn’t do anything but watch helplessly as the two people he loved the most burnt alive before his very eyes, consumed by a psychic fire he couldn’t extinguish. khymjonnzcomics2K’hym died suffering a terrible pain, as well as most of Mars’ population. A part of the girl, however, still lived: the fraction of her psyche transferred in her father’s mind was still alive, as J’onn was one of the very few Green Martians still living in the universe. J’onn’s mind, however, wasn’t a shelter for K’hym and M’yri’ah only, as Ma’alefa’ak as well had joined J’onn in the G’amal’khul when they were young: from within her father’s psyche, K’hym tried to protect J’onn from her uncle’s evil influence, keeping alive everything noble, honorable and good he had, containing all the hatred Ma’alefa’ak tried to infect him with. Now, it was the daughter’s turn to protect her father from a threat he himself wasn’t completely aware of.

K’hym J’onnz is a normal girl her age, enthusiast over everything concerning her newfound physical and psychic maturity. She’s deeply bonded to her family, and she truly loves her parents. Despite being this young, she already possesses an average Green Martian’s powers, albeit in small scale: superhuman strength, speed, durability and stamina, heightened senses, flight, density manipulation, telepathy, telekinesis, limited invulnerability. A beloved and loving daughter, K’hym keeps watching over her father even after her own death, a psychic ghost who never leaves J’onn’s mind.

Cain Marko (Juggernaut)

juggernautfilmBack to casualgamer‘s request, we’re now seeing one of the most popular villains/anti-heroes in the Marvel Universe: the unstoppable Juggernaut. He was one of the many characters misused in X-Men: The Last Stand, an undervalued villain played by Vinnie Jones, part of Magneto‘s Brotherhood of Mutants for no apparent reason. In the movie, Juggernaut is portrayed as a super-strong and invincible mutant, who plays a relevant part in the final Battle of Alcatraz, but who’s eventually defeated by the combined forces of Kitty Pryde and Leech. He was set to appear in Days of Future Past as well, but at the last moment his part was filled by Quicksilver instead. Compared to his comicbook counterpart, this Juggernaut is surely much smaller and less powerful, and most of all, he has nothing of the original one’s backstory. Just to be clear: no, in the comics Juggernaut is not a mutant. And he shares a story with one of the major X-Men

Cain Marko was born the son of Kurt and Marjorie Marko; Kurt was a brilliant atomic researcher, but also an abusive father and husband, and eventually Marjorie left him. When Cain was only three years old, his mother died, so he was raised by his father, who kept sending him to boarding schools he regularly got expelled from (quite a troublesome child). When one of Kurt’s colleagues, Dr. Brian Xavier, died in an accident, the man started courting his widow, Sharon, aiming to her wealth. Sharon fell for it, and the two got married: after being expelled from the umpteenth boarding school, Cain moved to the family’s new home, a large mansion in Westchester County. Cain met not only his “new mom”, but also a stepbrother he didn’t know to have: Charles Xavier, an educated and intelligent young man who soon became Kurt’s favorite. The athletic and violent Cain started bullying the meek Charles in retaliation for the affection Kurt felt for him, only to be beaten by his father even more than usual. One day, while he was receiving a severe beating from Kurt, Cain realized that somebody was inside his head, reading his juggernautcomics1thoughts and emotions: it was Charles, who had just developed his mutant powers and was unable to severe his first connection ever, the one with his stepbrother. Now, somebody knew of Cain’s secret feelings, of his anxiety, his anguish, his need to be loved by his father… he was ashamed of it, and he hardened his feelings towards Charles even more. When Sharon died, the three men lived alone together, and their relationship became even harsher… to the point that, one night, Cain accused Kurt of having intentionally murdered Brian Xavier. In the struggle that followed, Cain destroyed much of his father’s laboratory, setting it on fire; Kurt managed to save both his sons from the fire, but he died for smoke inhalation. Cain somehow considered Charles responsible for everything, and regarded him as an enemy: every success in school and in sport was a new personal offense to Cain, who eventually decided to leave home after a last fight with Charles. Big, muscular and not particularly smart, he joined a private army and became a mercenary, a field in which he finally could excel, venting all his aggressiveness and his brutality. During his years, he met and befriend the mutant Tom Cassidy.

During the War in Korea, Marko was enlisted as most of his peers… and in his platoon he met again Charles Xavier, a soldier as well. Under enemy fire, Cain decided to desert, and tried his escape in the jungle, only to be followed by his stepbrother who wanted to take him back. The two ended up in a nearby cave, which hid the lost Temple of Cyttorak: inside, Marko stumbled upon a large ruby, a stone that he immediately grabbed… with unexpected results. The ruby was the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, a mystical artifact that transformed its wielder in the avatar of the ancient god Cyttorak: Cain began to transform into a large, superhuman being, when the Korean army bombed the place. Xavier managed to escape, watching helplessly as his stepbrother was buried under hundreds of tons of rock. Charles came back to his unit, giving Cain for dead… but with Cyttorak’s power, Marko was now indestructible, and he needed no food nor air to survive. Slowly, he dug out of his rock prison, and he emerged to a new life: he was now the Juggernaut, the unstoppable avatar of Cyttorak, a man who had given up his soul to the ancient deity to obtain an immense power… which he intended to use. Cyttorak gave Marko an armor he could juggernautcomics2summon any moment, as well as a special helmet to protect him from the psychic powers of the first enemy he wanted to slain, his stepbrother Charles. Years had passed, and Xavier was now a crippled professor who had transformed his mansion into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters… a cover for a shelter for young mutants, raised as children, trained as the X-Men. Juggernaut attacked Xavier and his proteges with all his might, and easily subdued them all; Xavier telepathically asked the Fantastic Four for help, and the Human Torch arrived at the mansion to assist them in battle. Juggernaut proved to be too much to handle even for the newcomer, until the Human Torch melted his helmet, thus allowing Xavier to use his telepathy on Marko, sending him to a coma. The unstoppable brute was reawakened soon after by Factor Three, a group of evil mutants who wanted to use him against the X-Men; this time as well Juggernaut manage to defeat all the X-Men single-handedly… until he was tricked and trapped into the Crimson Cosmos, a dimensional prison existing within the gem. Not even magic boundaries would have held the unstoppable Juggernaut for long, however: the world hadn’t seen the full potential of Cain Marko and his new powers… yet.

Cain Marko is a man hardened by years of beatings and abuses coming by his father; violent and brutal by nature, his grudge, his shame, his anxiety eventually made him a copy of the man he despises the most, a neverending circle that only fuels his hatred and rage. As the Juggernaut, he’s an unstoppable force of nature: his immense strength puts him on equal ground with a power-house like Hulk, and he is able to outmatch other strongmen like The Thing or even Thor; as long as he is the avatar of Cyttorak, he’s utterly indestructible, relentless, tireless, he doesn’t need air to breath nor food or liquids to maintain himself; his already remarkable invulnerability is made even more effective by a personal force field and a fast healing factor; his most astounding ability, however, is his momentum: once the Juggernaut starts moving in a certain direction, it’s absolutely impossible to stop him. A trained soldier, Marko makes good use of his immeasurable strength in hand-to-hand combat, and his mystical armor can be summoned at any time at will. Juggernaut is not exactly evil: more than once he has become a hero, fighting to be a better man than the one he ended up being; he is, essentially, a man with his own agenda… if something or someone stands between him and his goal, well, too bad for it/him.

Jonny Frost

Johnny FrostA new, awesome trailer for Suicide Squad has been released, and in there we can take a little peek to one of the last remaining characters (at least, the ones we know about): Jonny Frost, portrayed by Jim Parrack. In the comics, he’s a short-lived yet central character who appeared only in the Joker graphic novel; in the movie, he’s not just “a” henchman of the deranged lunatic, he’s actually his right-hand man, and he’s seen in the midst of quite some action at the side of his boss. Now, hoping that he’ll end up better than most his predecessors did, let’s see briefly who the original Jonny Frost is.

Jonny Frost was a simple man born and raised in a complicated city, Gotham City. As many others like him, he became a low-life criminal, and his activity as a thug ruined pretty much everything in his life, including his marriage with Shelly, a woman he still loved, but who just couldn’t live with a man like him. Not even being abandoned by Shelly was enough to make Jonny change his life, and he kept working for this or that mobster… until he received the task of picking up a certain “someone” from Arkham Asylum. The man was the psychotic serial killer The Joker, and surprisingly enough, the madman took an immediate liking in Frost, and decided to use him as his driver and right-hand man in his upcoming mission of taking back his empire from all the vultures that preyed on it while he was in Arkham. At first, Jonny helped Joker take shelter in Killer Croc‘s lair, than he accompanied him to his formerly owned strip club, the Grin and Bare It: in there, The Joker made a public return, and after killing the current owner with the help of Harley Quinn, he recruited the attendants in his upcoming war to reconquer jonnyfrostcomics1Gotham. Despite the many new recruits, Frost kept his position as right-hand man, and helped his new boss in killing many thugs who had stolen money from him, and later in robbing a bank (the stolen money was then invested by The Penguin to recreate Joker’s lost wealth). Among the many criminals in Gotham, there was only one who refused to help The Joker, or even to just meet him: Harvey “Two-Face” Dent, more than willing to maintain his power and influence even with the Clown Prince of Crime back. In a rage outburst, Joker killed one of his henchmen and set fire to his strip bar, leaving Frost quite perplexed. Out alone, thinking, Jonny was met by Dent, who warned him against his new boss: he told him The Joker would have ended up killing him, and laughing of it, not because he didn’t like him or because Frost’s life had any meaning to him, just because death was the thing that entertained him the most. Jonny listened to Dent, but decided to stick with The Joker nevertheless. As a result, Dent kidnapped Shelly.

The appointment with Dent made Frost arrive late to Joker’s one with The Riddler, who gave Joker a mysterious briefcase. On their way back home, Joker and Frost were attacked by crooked policemen hired by Dent, and Frost managed to save the life of his boss. This was the final drop, and Joker started an all-out war with Two-Face. Eventually, the two bosses organised a meeting at the city zoo, and Frost accompanied Joker along with Harley Quinn; at the zoo, the content of the briefcase was revealed: information about Dent’s double life… and double wife, data that the Joker could and would use as a leverage. The meeting soon degenerated, and while Joker attacked Dent and Harley killed his goons, Jonny managed to save Shelly… but The Joker immediately raped the woman, telling Jonny they were now even, since he had “cheated” on him first by meeting Dent in secret. Despite this, Frost stayed with his boss… until the end. Dent, in the meanwhile, had had a meeting with Batman, giving him information about The Joker: back to their apartment, Frost and Joker found the window shattered, and jonnyfrostcomics2the madman, who knew perfectly well what it meant, rushed back to the car, prompting Jonny to lead him back to Croc’s lair. Once there, however, Killer Croc and his gang had already been subdued by the Dark Knight, who was now on the duo’s trails. Jonny Frost and The Joker tried to escape to a nearby bridge, and as the latter kept screaming in fear, the first one found himself inexplicably laughing, laughing insanely. Of course, they eventually found Batman waiting for them on the bridge. The Dark Knight started taunting the Clown Prince of Crime, until Joker lost his temper… and shot Jonny Frost in the chin, for no apparent reason. While the two sworn enemies kept fighting on the bridge, Jonny Frost collected his remaining strength to climb on the edge, only to fall into the dark waters below. Eventually, Two-Face was right.

Jonny Frost is a cold and serious man, a small-time crook characterized by a rare devotion towards his employer. Living with The Joker for a while, Frost has learned to understand his deranged mind to a certain extent… and this clearly doesn’t mean anything good for his own mental health. Loyal to a fault, Jonny will follow the Clown Prince of Crime to Hell and back… and that’s exactly what he’ll be asked to do.

Mari Jiwe McCabe (Vixen)

VixenPromotional images gave us a first look at a “new” heroine coming to Arrow: not entirely new, as she debuted in the animated web series of her same name, Vixen. The live action version of the character will be portrayed by the same actress that voices her in the animated series, Megalyn Echikunwoke… and she looks astonishing, by the way. Surprisingly enough, this is not the first live action adaptation of the character, as she already appeared in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, albeit in a very different attire. Portrayed by Lori Fetrick, Vixen was a super-strong and super-fast villainess who posed as a heroine in a plan ordained by the disfigured Lex Luthor Jr. and his top scientist Leslie Luckabee, but she got inevitably defeated by Superman. If the animated series promises anything concrete, this new version will be much more similar to the original one… the one we’re now seeing together.

In ancient times, the Zambesi warrior Tantu, powerless against the tyranny of the warlords, prayed the trickster god Anansi to grant him the strength to protect the innocents: in response, Anansi created for him a talisman, a powerful artifact holding the power of the entire Africa. Its wielder would have been able to summon the power of any living animal, becoming an incredible force for good: Tantu became the first hero of legends, and his totem was passed down to his successors, from generation to generation. Mari Jiwe was born in a small African village, the last descendant of Tantu: her father was Reverend Richard Jiwe, and her mother, Jeanne-Mari, was the first one to tell her the story about the family’s power (and duty). When Jeanne-Mari was killed by poachers, Richard raised his daughter alone, and kept the Tantu Amulet for her to inherit when she came of age. Unfortunately, the Reverend’s half-brother, General Mustapha Maksai, wanted the power of the artifact for himself, and he ended vixencomics1up enlisting the poachers that killed Jeanne-Mari, led by a man named Aku Kwesi, to kill Richard as well. The other villagers, fearing for Mari’s life as well, sent the girl away from home, to the United States of America, so that she would have been safe from her uncle. Mari arrived in New York City, where she reinvented herself as Mari McCabe, a new identity for a new life far away from her home, her family and her heritage. Beautiful and determined, Mari became a famous fashion model, and she managed to earn quite a fortune with her job. Nearly oblivious to her first years of life, Mari used her wealth to travel the world, until she came back to Africa during a tour outside the US. In the Zambesi territory, she eventually came across the President of the region, her uncle Maksai, who had earned the nickname The Ox thanks to the powers of the totem. Suddenly, everything that Mari had tried to forget and to leave behind came back to her with all the strength of the millennial heritage that was still awaiting for her. Willing it or not, the Amulet called for her to defend her people, and Mari McCabe eventually joined the local forces who opposed President Maksai. The battle was eventually won, and Mari claimed the Amulet for herself.

Mari McCabe, however, was now a citizen of the world, a modern woman who knew no boundaries, and the Tantu Amulet adapted to its new host, freeing her from the bounds to her land: she was now free to use its power anywhere in the world, as long as she defended the innocents as Tantu had sworn. At first, Mari was more than reluctant to embrace her family’s power and all the responsibilities it carried along: she wished she could just go on with her regular life as if nothing had happened. The Amulet itself, however, claimed her services: in India, it nearly forced her to fight some poachers hunting down elephants and tigers, during her first public appearance as a “super-heroine”. After a clash with the criminal Admiral Cerebrus, Mari realized she would have never escaped her new life, and she finally embraced the Amulet and what it meant: she renamed herself Vixen, a heroine ready to fight injustice with all the power of Africa running through her veins. When Aquaman started to reform the Justice League of America, Vixen knew that was her place, and she applied for membership. After being examined, she vixencomics2was admitted as part of the new team of the most powerful heroes on the planet. It was during her time with the League that Maksai came back hunting for his niece: he managed to steal the Amulet from her, and to claim its power… but now that it had known the blood of a true heir of Tantu, the Amulet transformed Maksai into a raging beast. Vixen fought her uncle for one last time, killing the monster he had become and finally taking full and undisputed possession of the Tantu Amulet. Back to the League, Vixen helped her teammates fighting several threats, such as the galactic tyrant Despero or the evil superteam Cadre, but she managed to distinguish herself only when the killer android Amazo, who possessed the power of all the original Justice Leaguers, managed to subdue the entire team. Left the last one standing, Vixen faced Amazo on her own, and emerged victorious, destroying the android and saving the lives of all her teammates. Eventually, the new JLA was disbanded by the Martian Manhunter, and Mari came back modeling… until her colleagues were murdered in cold blood by drug dealers. To make justice, Vixen joined forces with the Suicide Squad: whenever she went, injustice followed, and the Amulet’s legacy always prompted her to intervene…

An independent and strong-willed woman, Mari McCabe is the heir of a millennial tradition of legendary warriors, a position that she not always likes to hold, but that she finds herself forced to. As Vixen, she has access to the powers of the Tantu Amulet, a powerful totem that puts her in connection with Earth’s morphogenetic field: with that, she can borrow the ability of any animal ever lived on the planet, such as the cheetah’s speed, the eagle’s flight, the lion’s fangs and claws, the rhinoceros’ strength, the spider’s ability to stick to any surface, the chameleon’s camouflage and so on; she’s also able to summon the abilities of extinct animals such as dinosaurs, or even mythical beasts. An extremely powerful, yet reluctant and insecure heroine, Vixen fights injustice wherever it manifests itself, faithful to a family legacy that had her destiny decided before she was even born…