Armando Ramone (Reverb/Hardline)

This week’s episode of The Flash has been possibly the best one yet, highly entertaining, funny and full of great ideas. In Welcome to Earth 2, among other things, we meet a lot of doppelgangers from Earth-2 of people we used to know in very different ways in Earth-1, and the most surprising of them all is probably the alternate version of Cisco Ramon, always portrayed by Carlos Valdes, but with a complete twist on the character. The alternate Cisco is, in fact, the superpowered crimeboss Reverb, who has learnt to use his powers to a far greater extent than his Earth-1 counterpart, and who used them to become a criminal, able to inspire fear also in other powerful metahumans such as Killer Frost or even Deathstorm. In the comics there is a Reverb, and he’s a character linked to Vibe…but not to The Flash‘s Vibe, inspired by The New 52 version of the character, but to the original one. Let’s see together.

Armando Ramone was born in Detroit, the elder son of a numerous family composed of four sons and three daughters, plus the parents. When Armando’s father died, his mother got married again with another man, but the boy was the true paternal figure and role model of his siblings, especially of Paco, one of his younger brothers. The two brothers grew up together, and hanged out with the same friends and companies; they also, secretly, developed the same metahuman powers, which allowed them to emit powerful vibrations they could use in a variety of ways. They both decided to keep their powers secret in order not to get involved in things bigger than themselves, and they eventually joined El Lobos, a local street gang. Armando soon became the leader of the gang, and Paco followed him…until in his younger brother something changed, and the two siblings found themselves thinking on a different wavelenght: Armando enjoyed his present life, and was careful to stay out of business not of his concern, while Paco wanted something more, he reverbcomics1wanted to help people. When Aquaman formed a new Justice League of America, recruiting in Detroit, Paco decided he had had enough of the street life, and that he wanted to use his powers for something good: he took the name Vibe and joined the new JLA, asking Armando to join him. The latter refused: he couldn’t find a single good reason to abandon the relatively comfortable life he was living to join some crazy people in fancy costumes in helpless crusades around the world. While Vibe saved the world from threats such as AmazoAnton Allegre or Plasmus, Armando still hid his powers and tried to mantain a low profile; he convinced only once Vibe to help El Lobos against a rival gang, involving the entire Justice League in a street brawl, but that ended up putting in trouble the hero with Aquaman and Martian Manhunter, so the two brothers parted ways from that point on. Until, of course, something happened that made Armando reconsider his position.

While serving in the Justice League, Paco Ramone got killed by one of Professor Ivo‘s androids, becoming one of the few heroes dying on the line of duty for the team. He was buried with all honors to the team’s sanctuary, but this obviously didn’t give Armando his brother back. Vibe’s sacrifice, however, had some consequences on the young man, and he started questioning his life choices. Armando eventually decided that he had the duty to honor his brother’s memory, and he quit with his street life, exposing his powers publicly and creating a new identity for himself: Reverb. Hoping to do something good himself, Reverb tried to join the JLA as well, but the team had disbanded and replaced by Maxwell Lord‘s Justice League International, which didn’t accept any more candidates. Luckily enough (?) Lord’s ex-wife, Claire Montgomery, wanted to enter some sort of twisted competition with Max, and founded her own super-team, Conglomerate, a squad sponsored by several corporates and led by time traveler and reverbcomics2ex JLI member Booster Gold. Reverb joined the Conglomerate, and together with them he participated to a number of adventures, gaining a lot of popularity even among the press, but finding himself involved in ethically dubious missions: since the corporates financed the team, the would-be heroes often were ordered to accomplish missions aimed to the financers’ profit only. After the Conglomerate was sent to a small Latin American nation to overthrow the rightful government (a mission that put them in direct conflict with the JLI), Booster Gold and the others finally rebelled to the corporations, and told them they would have only acted for the good of people, not for their interest. Soon after, the team was replaced by another one. Reverb went solo for a while, and he even changed his name in Hardline, trying to reinvent himself. When the second Congolmerate’s members turned out to be villains, and the team was reformed once again, Hardline came back along with fellow veteran Echo and new recruites Jesse Quick, Templar and Nuklon. Even this incarnation of the team however was short-lived, and eventually Armando put his costume away, opening a dance club named Reverb in Old Town Metropolis. Maybe it wasn’t time for him to be a superhero…maybe.

Armando Ramone is, apparently, a selfish guy who only thinks of himself and of his own interest; in reality, he’s just scared of his own potentialities, and refuses to put himself on the first line for fear of failure. If his resolution isn’t strong, his family bonds on the opposite are, and his brother’s model is enough to prompt him to do the right thing. As Reverb (later Hardline), he possesses the same powers of his late brother, and he’s able to emit powerful soundwaves that he can also use to create seismic waves. A hero wannabe more than anything else, Armando tries most of all to honor his brother’s memory: everything else, helping people included, comes in second place.


1 Comment

  1. […] always portrayed by Nicholas Gonzalez. Rupture came to Earth-1 to seek revenge for his brother Reverb, whose death he blames Vibe for…and he puts up quite a fight with his spear. Although the […]

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