Joseph Manfredi (Blackwing)

Joseph ManfrediIt looks like Whitney Frost has found new precious allies in her personal war with Peggy Carter and the SSR in the last Agent Carter episode. In The Atomic Job, in fact, the actress-scientist-criminal-superhuman seeks the help of The Maggia, a powerful Mafia-like organization, and the leader of the Los Angeles division is a secondary yet known villain in the comics: Joseph Manfredi, portrayed by in the show by Ken Marino. The leader of the L.A. branch of the Maggia will be a recurring character from here to the end of the second season, and it’s more than likely that his organization will be quite a pain in the back for Peggy and her friends…but it could have been worse: he could have had the same powers his comicbook counterpart has. Let’s see together.

Joseph Manfredi (sometimes called with his Italian analogue name, Giuseppe Manfredi) was born in OrlandoFlorida. He was the son of Silvio “Silvermane” Manfredi, the rightfully feared criminal boss leader of Maggia, one of the most powerful criminal organization in the United States, and of his wife, Caterina. For still unknown reasons, Joseph didn’t follow his father’s footsteps, at least not at first, and he preferred to go solo, starting a criminal career on his own rather than joining Maggia. Quite peculiar in his tastes, as a young man Manfredi developed the uncommon ability of training bats, surely a bizarre skill…that somebody, however, found interesting and useful: Joseph was approached by Maynard Tiboldt, better known as the Ringmaster, who offered him to join his Circus of Crime. Despite having at disposal such a remunerative family activity such as Maggia leadership, Manfredi accepted the offer, and became one of Ringmaster’s acrobatic criminals: he tailored for himself a black costume, and took the stage name of Blackwing. During the show, Blackwing blackwingcomics1hovered thanks to his costume from a side to the other of the big top, impressing the audience with his trained bats; for the Circus’ “secondary” activity, the same bats proved to be extremely useful in the heists the Ringmaster orchestrated. During that time, however, the Circus of Crime crossed paths with Daredevil: despite Blackwing’s bats managed to confuse the hero’s radar sense for a while with their ultrasounds, eventually Daredevil managed to defeat each and every member of the Circus. While the Ringmaster and the others got arrested, however, Blackwing managed to escape, avoiding capture. While he was traveling with the Circus of Crime, his father had become leader of Hydra: with nowhere else to go, Joseph came back to Silvio, and joined him in his new, larger organization, becoming Air Action Division Leader of the reformed Hydra.

Obviously, while working with Hydra Joseph Manfredi and his trained bats had to defend themselves and Silvio’s plans from S.H.I.E.L.D., the organization’s main enemy. When Silvermane ordered the abduction of a lawyer, Foggy Nelson, the man’s friend, Daredevil, joined Nick Fury and his strike team along with Black Widow to save him: in the following battle, Hydra was defeated, and Blackwing lost once again in a duel against Daredevil. Escaping capture once again, Blackwing joined forces with another villain, the second Jack O’Lantern, this time working for the new/old leader of Hydra, the Red Skull himself. Serving under the Skull, Blackwing and Jack O’Lantern fought Captain America, and lost, but their leader was nevertheless quite impressed by their abilities, so much that he ordered his underling Mother Night to recruit the duo in the new formation of the Skeleton Crew. Along with Cutthroat and Crossbones, the two criminals fought against Captain America again, but the hero was helped by Diamondback and The Falcon; being an “aviary hero”, Blackwing took on the Falcon himself, but he was eventually defeated. This time he couldn’t escape capture, and he blackwingcomics2was sent to the Vault, the maximum security prison for supervillains. He didn’t stay locked up for long, however, as the new Crimson CowlJustine Hammer, orchestrated his break-out in order to recruit him in her Masters of Evil; Hammer wanted to blackmail the world’s governments using a device that could alter weather, but her plan didn’t quite succeed, as the Masters of Evil were hunted down by the Thunderbolts, and defeated. Tired of his continuous defeats, and ashamed of his reputation as a loser, Joseph Manfredi eventually decided to quit with his costumed activity, and put down the Blackwing costume for good. He was a Manfredi, he had being a boss in his veins: he founded Heavy Mettle, a secret associations formed of armored supervillains he himself created, moving the strings from behind the curtains and coming back to the family tradition. Now, finally, the world would have known a new Joseph Manfredi…a winner, this time.

Joseph Manfredi is an ambitious and greedy man, determined to follow his father’s footsteps in criminality, but to do it his own way rather than to take advantage of his family connections. As Blackwing, he is a talented bat-trainer, able to control every single move of the animals thanks to sonic devices he uses to communicate with them; he moves with a hoovering glider similar to Green Goblin‘s one, and the wings of his costumes allow him to fly for short distances; he’s also a skilled acrobat and martial artist, able to make a stand also with proficient fighters such as Captain America or Daredevil. Quite brilliant despite his ill-fame and his appearance, Manfredi is a leader born, and the moment he decided to stop following other people’s orders is the moment he discovered his true self: the world will soon know what being a Manfredi means.


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