Saint of Killers

saintofkillersfilmPreacher continues on June 5th, and despite the pretty poor ratings it’s quite a good show, delivering what it promised, if not an (impossible) accuracy with the source material. In the next episode, See, another major player will be added to the crowd going after Jesse Custer and the mysterious being now possessing him: The Cowboy, portrayed by Graham McTavish. Apparently, also the Cowboy’s origins will be explored during the series, but right now he’s still a pretty mysterious character, and an obviously dangerous one for what matters. Through flashbacks in the Old West we’ll know little by little who he is…but for now we can say he’s one of the most popular characters in the comics series, who answers to the name of Saint of Killers…and no, he’s not as dangerous as he looks: he’s a lot more. Let’s see together.

The man who would have been known as the Saint of Killers was born in the XIX Century: he fought in the American Civil War for the Confederate Army, and he gained quite a fame for himself as one of the most violent and pitiless soldiers ever seen on a battlefield, feared by enemies and allies alike. When the war ended, he moved to Texas, where he lived as a bounty hunter and a scalp hunter. With all the criminals and crooks he met day by day, the gunslinger was convinced that there was no hope for humanity, a violent and stupid race destined to self-destruction…until he met the only person in the world able to make him change his mind. Raiding an Apache village, he found out the Indians had a white girl captive, and he saved her gunning down all her captors. The man brought the girl back to her home, in Laredo, but here the girl had already fallen in love with him: she wanted to free the kindness only she could see under the layers of cynism and bitterness, and to prove to her savior that there saintofkillerscomics1was still hope for the world and for humanity. The gunman accepted the challenge, despite the annoyance of having the blondie go after him wherever he went…but eventually the girl proved to be right, as the man fell in love with her as well. The two moved together, and the gunslinger found out there was more in his life than killing, after all. When the two had a daughter, he truly found happiness: with a future, a family and a perspective, he came as close as he would have ever been to believing that life was worth living. Then, both wife and child fell ill, and the only place selling the medicine, Ratwater, was a week away by horse: the man left in the midst of the winter, hoping to make it in time. Despite a blizzard, the old soldier arrived to Ratwater in time, but here he had a fight with the notorious gang of Gumbo McReady: the criminals ambushed him on his way back in revenge, and managed to kill his horse. Because of this, he arrived a week late, and he found his beloved ones already eaten by the crows: filled with a deep hatred, he came back to Ratwater to exact his revenge on McReady and his men.

Ratwater had been conquered by the gang, and the old soldier found himself against an army of criminals…not that it mattered, as he killed them one by one, using his guns and his sword from the war times. When he arrived face to face with McReady, the bandit had taken an innocent woman hostage, shielding himself with her, but the gunman killed her as well…only, his gun jammed immediately after, thus giving the criminal time to react and to impale him with a shovel. The man’s soul went to Hell because of that innocent life he had taken, but this only increased his hatred, fueled by the injustice of his condition. The fires of Hell usually erased all human emotions of the souls arriving there, but his hatred didn’t disappear, it only grew stronger: the man’s cold heart was enough to freeze the fires of Hell. The Devil, trying to save his domain, tortured the soul for years, hoping to destroy his hatred with pain, but to no avail; finally, the Angel of Death found a solution. Not too happy about his job, and understanding the man’s urge to get revenge, the Angel offered him to take his place and to guide the souls of the saintofkillerscomics2ones dead because of violence in the afterlife, thus being able to walk the earth once again. The gunsman accepted the offer, and the Devil melted for him the sword of the Angel of Death, forging a couple of Walter Colt revolvers, always lethal, infallible, doted with infinite ammo, capable of killing everything and everyone. To test his new weapons, the gunman killed the Devil himself, who was still mocking him. Then, renamed the Saint of Killers, he came back to Earth, and for first he visited Ratwater: now unstoppable and unkillable, he gunned down Gumbo McReady, then he proceeded to erase the town from existence, killing every woman, man and child. He was death, and death he would have brought to anyone, guilty or innocent alike. He then went to rest under Boot Hill, being awakened from time to time to do God‘s will and to erase the evil he was pointed to. After many years, a couple of angels woke him up to send him against a young preacher, Jesse Custer, who had merged with a powerful being named Genesis and who needed to be stopped in any way possible. Not that the Saint of Killers knew any other way than total annihilation, of course.

The Saint of Killers is an undead man capable of feeling only hatred and lust for the kill: emptied by any other emotion, his heart is so cold that even Hell froze in contact with it. As the new Angel of Death, the Saint is completely invulnerable (he’s been able to emerge unscathed even from a nuclear explosion), utterly unstoppable, inhumanly strong; he’s a skilled hunter who never misses a prey, and an infallible marksman who never misses a target. His Walter Colt revolvers are the most powerful weapons in the universe: they cannot miss their target, they never jam nor run out of bullets, they cannot be separated from their owner, and they kill the target no matter what kind of wound they cause; most of all, his guns can kill everyone, including God or the Devil. The most dangerous being on Earth (and everywhere else), the Saint of Killers is an unstoppable killing machine fueled by a neverending hatred and an unsatiable thirst for revenge, a walking doom that is the living nightmare of every creature in existence.

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Marya Maximoff

maryamaximofffilmWell, this one isn’t exactly a new entry from X-Men Apocalypse, since she already appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but now we can be pretty positive about who she is. We’re talking about Ms. Makimoff, the mother of Quicksilver and of a yet unnamed little girl (possibly the Fox version of Scarlet Witch, but that’s still to be confirmed). With Magda being properly introduced in Apocalypse, this leaves “Ms. Maximoff” to be identified with Marya Maximoff, the other mother figure for Magneto‘s children, namely their adoptive mother (even if in the movie continuity she’s actually Quicksilver’s biological mother). In the comics she doesn’t have much of a role, but she’s worth mentioning nevertheless: let’s see together.

Not much is known about Marya’s early life, not even her maiden name. She was part of a group of Romany travelers, and she grew up moving mostly in the area of Transia. Only the Romanys dared to live in the woods area at the feet of Wundagore Mountain, which was said to be cursed and full of black magic (and that claim had actually its parts of truth, as the Elder God Chthon had been imprisoned under the mountain eons before, soaking the land with his magic, and the High Evolutionary had his secret citadel and lab built atop the mountain, so the place was crowded with his human-animal hybrids). When she became of age, Marya got married with Django Maximoff, a doll-maker from her same tribe; Django was also a renowned magic user from the tribe, since the wood he used for his dolls was taken from the trees that fed on Chthon’s magic. Not that this upset Marya in any way: she was a sorceress herself, member of an ancient Romany coven. Still young, Marya became pregnant, and soon gave birth to two twins, Ana and Mateo. The woman was truly happy with her family, but then something horrible happened, and her children died: it’s still unspecified what precisely happened to Ana and Mateo, if some maryamaximoffcomics1kind of child disease or, according to some accounts, a wolf attack on the Romany camp; being it a way or another, the newborns were dead, and Marya’s family was distraught. With nothing else to do but to mourn their lost children, Marya and Django resumed their traveling in Transia, but when they approached Wundagore Mountain they found themselves face to face with an unexptected guest: the High Evolutionary himself, who had learnt of their loss. The superhuman geneticist had two children with him, Wanda and Pietro, the children of a powerful mutant, Erik Lehnsherr, and of his wife Magda: he entrusted the babies to the Maximoffs, asking them to raise them as if they were their own. Marya happily accepted.

Magda had abandoned her children to protect them from their father, who had become a murderous monster and didn’t know of their existence yet: to respect the last will of the children’s mother, Marya decided to keep for the twins the names Magda had chosen for them. She and Django raised the babies as if they were their own, and Marya truly loved them like she loved Ana and Mateo, giving to them all the love and the care she didn’t have the chance to give her children. The tribe managed to settle into a single land thanks to Django, who assured the tribe’s work to a miller in exchange of a large plot of land in his property. In this period, Wanda became old enough to be introduced to the coven, and Marya brought her to Lilia Calderu, the mother witch: at the presence of the entire coven, Marya included, Wanda was introduced for the first time to the secrets of the black magic known only to the Gypsy women of their tribe. From that moment, however, things became complicated: Pietro and Wanda started manifesting their mutant powers, and this increased the suspicion and the grudge from the rest of the population; the miller kicked the Romanys out of his land, and in every place they tried to settle sooner or later they received the same treatment. Plus, Django was quite concerned of letting Wanda learn the tribe’s secrets, since she was not their daughter, not a Romany as well, while Marya defended her right, even if it wasn’t a birthright (one of these conversations was maryamaximoffcomics2overheard by the twins, who were obviously quite shocked in learning they were adopted). Pietro, wanting to help his family now that Django couldn’t find any job, used his super speed to steal from some villagers, but he only got scolded by Django, and disappeared for three days: Marya, anguished, looked for him along with Wanda, and when they finally found him they were able to reconciliate…but the villagers had found out about the thefts, and they angrily attacked the Romanys, setting their camp afire. The twins managed to save themselves, but Marya was trapped into her caravan and burnt alive: she was however happy to know that her beloved children at least were still alive…

Marya Maximoff is a loving and caring woman, who happily accepts two babies abandoned by their mother as if they were her own. She’s an initiate in the local Gypsy coven, and she can use black magic to an unknown extent (anyway in a lesser form than her daughter Wanda or even her husband Django). A loving mother and a loyal wife, Marya is one of the pillars of her tribe and community, and one of the few bright memories left for the Maximoff twins.

Allison Barnes

allisonbarnesfilmOutcast is about to be released, and there are many promotional pics from the first episode, A Darkness Surrounds Him, showing us most of the cast (the pilot also received a couple of early screenings, so we already met all the characters appearing in the first episode). Let’s start with a member of the main cast: Allison Barnes, portrayed by Kate Lyn Sheil. In the show, she’s the estranged wife of the protagonist, Kyle Barnes, and their marriage failed after she was possessed by a demon and tried to arm their daughter, Amber, something for which Kyle took the blame. Judging from that final phone call, we’ll most likely see more of Allison throughout the show, and she’ll possibly be developed in a different way from her comicbook counterpart…but for the moment let’s take a look at the original one.

Not much is known about Allison’s early life, not even her maiden name. She lived in RomeWest Virginia, and when she was little more than a teenager she met a boy her age, Kyle Barnes, an orphan who was living with an adoptive family. Allison and Kyle grew close one to the other, and eventually they became a couple, with Allison taking sympathy in Kyle’s tragic past, with a comatose mother, a runaway father and even an abusive adoptive brother. The two reached adulthood together, and they eventually got married, and Allison was more than determined to give her man the family he had never had. With her love and kindness she brought light into Kyle’s life, and when the two had a daughter, Amber, it seemed they could truly be happy together. Of course, this wouldn’t have lasted long, since Kyle Barnes had a shadow haunting him since he was born, and it followed him wherever he went, corrupting everybody close to him…especially the ones he loved. The Barnes’ perfect family life ended the moment Allison was suddenly attacked and possessed by a demon: at first she only displayed a slightly weird behavior, but the more the demon took control of her, the more allisonbarnescomics1her personality and conscience were buried deep inside, leaving the creature in control of her actions. One day, the demon made Allison hurt Amber, hurt badly: when Kyle came back home, he found his wife attacking their daughter, the same way his mother Sarah had hurt him many years before. Along with the curse of being followed by demons, Kyle had also inherited the gift to be able to lure them away: he exorcised his wife, in a violent struggle that ended up hurting her as well. When the demon was gone, Allison came back to her senses, but she didn’t remember anything of what had happened, and she was shocked to see herself and Amber covered in blood. Kyle, knowing that the truth would have been simply unbelievable, took the blame, and told her that he had attacked them both. For the woman, obviously, this was a shock.

Allison simply couldn’t explain to herself how the gentle and meek man she had married could have been capable of arming both her and Amber: betrayed, afraid and overall willing to protect her baby girl, she decided to break up with her husband, and she took her daughter along and moved away from him. In a small town like Rome everybody knew everything about everybody else, so life for her estranged husband became quite impossible, and the man left Rome, starting to travel through the country. Allison, despite that episode of violence haunted her nightmares, still loved Kyle, and she kept contacts with Megan Holt, Kyle’s adoptive sister, the only one she could confess her true feelings for her man, and who could tell her how Kyle was doing, despite Megan herself didn’t have many news about her brother. From time to time, Allison received weird phone calls: she picked up, but nobody on the other line ever said anything, she only heard somebody breathing; she suspected it was Kyle, but she never got to speak with him via telephone. Finally, after years of silence and distance, Kyle came back to Rome, and of course his darkness followed him…not that Allison knew anything about it. Allison learnt that her estranged husband had come back to town when he spotted him behind a tree, looking at Amber: she approached him, and they started talking. Kyle tried to tell her he was fixing what was wrong with him, allisonbarnescomics2but she cut him short, telling him to come back when he had managed to do it; she however told him that they could have had a perfect life together, if it wasn’t for that single episode back then. She kissed him, then she warned him she would have called police if she ever saw him around Amber again. When a few days later the girl, seeing her father, happily hugged him, she abruptly brought her inside the house, forbidding her to see her father again, and even slapping Kyle for touching her (she slapped him over and over again, until Amber begged her to stop). Shocked by her own reaction, Allison came back home, knowing that the most difficult part of her post-marriage had just begun…

Allison Barnes is a strong yet scarred woman, who saw her entire world crumbling down in a matter of minutes. Now a single mother trying to protect her daughter from the man she still loves but whom she cannot trust, Allison is dragged into a world of darkness and evil that she doesn’t understand…and that she simply cannot believe in.

Anya Lehnsherr

anyalehnsherrfilmMagneto‘s new family still counts another member in X-Men: Apocalypse: little Nina, portrayed by T.J. McGibbon. In the movie, Nina is a mutant with the power to communicate with animals, and possibly control them, albeit she’s still inexperienced and activates her abilities only unconsciously (and that’s the reason she gets her family in trouble by calling a flock of ravens, hawks and other birds against the police). Also in the comics Magneto had a daughter, her name being Anya rather than Nina, and she wasn’t a mutant…at least not yet, since most mutations only manifest themselves during puberty, and the girl was far too young for that the last time we saw her. There’s not much to say about Anya, since she’s a very short-lived character…but being Magneto’s firstborn, she deserves a place for herself nevertheless. Let’s see together.

Anya was born the daughter of Max Eisenhardt and his then girlfriend Magda, a Jew and a Romany who had escaped a Nazi concentration camp and had found a shelter on the Carpatian Mountains. She was named after Magda’s mother, who had been killed in Auschwitz. When Anya was born, her parents were still somewhat on the run, but they found a new home in a small village south from their original position, thus giving the baby girl a proper house for growing up in. They also got married, and Anya lived with her family in the village for the first years of her life. When she was still a baby, Max changes his name into Erik Lehnsherr, and his wife and daughter changed their surname accordingly: this way, they believed they were more protected from anyone who could still be looking for them. Anya grew up knowing nothing but the small village on the mountains, and the Romany anyalehnsherrcomics1inhabitants that had befriended her family and helped her father to change identity and to hide his past. Despite both Anya and Magda were happy in the village with the simple life they lived, Erik dreamed of something more, something different: he wanted to get a place in a University, to find a better job and to ensure his family a better future; after convincing Magda, Erik brought his family to Ukraine, moving in the city of Vinnitsa.

Vinnitsa wasn’t exactly a metropolis, but for Anya it was as big as an entire new world, and everything for her was new and fascinating. Her mother wasn’t exactly happy of moving in the city, as she soon realised that people still didn’t see Gypsies well, despite the Nazis had been defeated years before, but Anya didn’t notice anything of this, and her mother’s concerns didn’t affect her. She was, on the opposite, quite enthusiastic, much to her father’s joy. The Lenhnsherrs found a temporary home in an inn in the city’s outskirts, and Erik soon found a new job as a carpenter (again a temporary solution, waiting for something better to come). Anya spent her days with Magda, and explored much of her new world…but that wasn’t meant to last long. One day, while Erik’s anger against an unfair employer caused his powers to trigger, Anya was sleeping in the inn, and Magda was out shopping: while the girl slept, the inn caught fire, most likely incidentally. When the girl woke up, the lower floor of the inn was already engulfed into flames, and she was blocked on the higher one, in her room: when Magda came back, she desperately tried to reach her daughter, but she was unable to climb the burning stairs. Erik arrived soon after, and using his newfound powers he was able to save his wife, still in the burning house: when he returned to save Anya as anyalehnsherrcomics2well, however, he was attacked by the local police, sent by the dishonest employer who had denounced him. Without her father’s help, Anya was unable to escape a horrible fate, and she burnt alive in her own room: her screams of agony triggered something in Erik, and he unleashed all his fury slaughtering the policemen, and then collapsing from exhaustion. When he woke up, the best part of him had died with Anya, and he was ready to become something else.

Anya Lehnsherr (born Anya Eisenhardt) is a normal girl her age, who’s still exploring a world in which everything is new to her, and in which the most important things in her life are still her mother and father. With her tragic and untimely death, Anya is the unwilling and indirect responsible of the birth of one of the greatest threats the world will never know: the mutant terrorist Magneto.

John Custer

johncusterfilmThe day came, and Preacher started…with quite an over-the-edge first episode, just as it was supposed to be. In Pilot there’s one character we didn’t see in the trailers: John Custer, portrayed by Nathan Darrow. John is the father of Jesse, and we only see him in flashbacks during his son’s recurring nightmares. Apparently, the man was a preacher as well, and he prompted his son to be “one of the good guys”, inspiring him to follow his footsteps…just before being shot and killed by an unknown assailant, obviously before his son’s very eyes (he also told him not to cry, as the Custers “don’t do that”). Well, in the comics John Custer has never been a preacher, but his end is exactly the same…even if we’ve seen very little of him in the show so far. In the meanwhile, let’s see who his comicbook counterpart is.

John Custer was born with quite big shoes to fill: his father was a Marine, and he had fought a number of incredibly dangerous battles during World War II. Since he was a child, John was told that war was an ugly thing, but that your country was always worthy to bleed and die for. With stories of war and heroism in his mind, John enlisted in the Marines as soon as he was of age, wanting to become just as his father, and entered the 3rd Marine Division. He was sent to Vietnam, really wanting to serve his country and to protect its values…but he soon realised that his war was nothing like his father’s one, and that most of his friends died with no purpose, often victims of the idiocy of incompetent commanders. Still he fought, and despite hating every minute of it, he distinguished himself as a war hero, even gaining the Congressional Medal of Honor for his acts of selfless heroism (particularly, he was rewarded for bringing to safety a wounded comrade in arms, Billy Baker, carrying him on his shoulders for miles in the jungle). Both Custer and Baker emerged severly wounded from their shared adventure, and this allowed them to be moved to desk jobs until the end of their turns, until it was finally time to come back home. Back in Texas, things johncustercomics1weren’t exactly much better: the public opinion was widely against the war, and many of his countrymen considered him some sort of butcher rather than a war hero as he had wanted to be; a hippie girl he had asked information for a bus to, Christina L’Angelle, even spat on his face, calling him a “baby killer”. John moved on without reacting, and the girl followed him: she apologised for spitting on him, telling him that she was just doing what she believed her friends wanted her to. John and Christina spoke for a while, got to know each other, and after barely an hour they were in love. John and Christina moved to live together, and little more than a year later they had a son, Jesse. John was finally happy…but he didn’t know that Christina had a past she was desperately trying to escape from.

John raised Jesse, showing him all of John Wayne‘s movies (the Duke was John’s hero, and he would have become Jesse’s as well) but avoiding telling him stories about Vietnam (something that Billy Baker, still John’s best friend, did in his stead). This normal and tranquil family life went on until Christina’s original family finally found her, who was a runaway: two men from her house, Jody and T.C., broke into the Custers’ house, and assaulted the family. John was soon overpowered, and the two men would have killed him, but they found out that he was Jesse’s father: not knowing how to handle the situation, they decided to bring back home, to Angelville (the residence of the L’Angelle family), man, woman and child, and to ask the matriarch of the family, Marie L’Angelle, what to do with them. Marie, who had wanted Christina to marry a man of her choice, acted comprehensive…on a certain extent: he forced John to marry his woman according to the law, then imposed them to raise Jesse according to L’Angelles’ family values and traditions. These values and traditions proved to be extremely brutal, and overall the Custers where now de facto prisoners of Angelville, as it was forbidden for all of them to leave the place and/or to disobey Marie’s orders. Needless to say, a former soldier like John just didn’t want to give up, and waited for his chance to attempt an escape. The occasion arrived five years johncustercomics2later, and just before leaving John, who knew that he would have been killed if he was caught, took Jesse and left him what would have been his spiritual last will: “You gotta be a good guy, Jesse. You gotta be like John Wayne: you don’t take no shit off fools, an’ you judge people by what’s in ’em, not how they look. An’ you do the right thing. You gotta be one of the good guys, son, ’cause there’s way too many of the bad.” Then, he ran…but he didn’t go far: he was caught not even two miles from Angelville, brought back, and shot right before his son’s eyes. His words, however, were carved into Jesse’s mind and heart, and he would have never been forgotten.

John Custer is a good man, and a brave one: despite hating the war he was fighting, he privileged his honor and fought with all his heart and strengths to protect his comrades (and his country as well), and now that he is a civilian he has the same will and commitment in protecting his family. With a solid morality and a strong character, John is just the hero he wanted to be as a child looking at his father…only, he doesn’t always realise it.

Magda Eisenhardt

magdalehnsherrfilmBack to X-Men: Apocalypse we meet the first new entry: when we see Magneto again, he’s in Polland, hiding from the authorities, and he goes by the false name Henryk Gurzsky. He also has a family, and his wife is Magda, a woman who doesn’t seem entirely unaware of her husband’s true nature and past. Magada is portrayed by Carolina Bartczak, and her presence confirms that the Mrs. Romanoff we’ve seen in Days of Future Past (and in Apocalypse as well) is not the movie version of Magda Lehnsherr. Magda doesn’t live much through the movie, and she has a much smaller impact on the overall story than her comicbook counterpart: let’s see together who the wife of the Master of Magnetism is.

Magda was a Romany girl, the daughter of a woman named Anya. Traveling with her mother, she arrived in NurembergGermany, in the 1930s, and she found a job as a janitor in a local school. The girl tried to avoid as much attention as she could, as the public opinion in Germany was beginning to turn against her people as well, besides the Jews, but beautiful as she was this was quite impossible, and a boy from the city, Max Eisenhardt, was smitten by her, and did everything he could to gain her attention. Magda was quite intrigued by her suitor, but things ended abruptly: in 1936 the Gypsies were all taken to Marzahn, a detention camp from which they were sorted to other camps. Magda and her mother Anya weren’t lucky, and they ended up in Auschwitz, where the older woman was almost immediately sent to the gas chambers. Left alone, in Auschwitz Magda met Max again: the boy had become a member of the Sonderkommando, and he did everything he could to keep her alive, giving her food secretly and protecting her from the officers’ attentions. When the Nazis decided to exterminate all the Romanys in the camp (the Zigeuernacht), Max managed to take Magda away from Auschwitz, to Buchenwald, where he himself had magdalehnsherrcomics1been transferred. Magda faced many risks nevertheless, and she was saved from a violent guard by Max, who hid her under a pile of corpses that the Sonderkommando was ordered to burn, and then sheltering her in his squad’s bungalow, again protecting her from his own coworkers. When a rebellion started in the death camp, Magda and Max used the opportunity to make their escape, and not trusting the advancing Russian Army (they knew that the Russians, wanting to erase any trace of the extremination camps, often killed the prisoners as well) they ran to the Carpathian Mountains, where they somehow survived for months despite their weakened and famished state. Day after day they recovered, and when they believed enough time had passed since their escape, they decided to move south: they stopped in a village, where Max found a job, and Magda could finally marry her man.

Finally, life smiled again on the two escapees, and they soon had a daughter, who Magda decided to call as her mother, Anya. In the meanwhile, Max was helped by a local to create a new identity for himself and his family, and he changed his name to Erik Lensherr, adopting the one of a deceased Gypsy: this way, he could live better among his wife’s people. Together, Magda, Erik and Anya moved to Vinnitsa, a city in Ukraine, wanting to start anew. Bad luck, however, was still haunting them: the family found a place to stay in an inn, and Max/Erik found a job as a carpenter, while Magda stayed with the baby. The woman had left the mountains just for her husband’s love, but she didn’t like it in the city, and she was disturbed by the way people kept staring at her. After just some days they had arrived in Vinnitsa, Magda went shopping, and when she returned to the inn she found it on fire…with Anya still inside. She rushed in, trying to climb the burning stairs to save her daughter, but to no avail: finally, Erik arrived, and he manifested his powers for the first time, protecting himself and Magda and bringing his wife to safety. Anya, however, was still in her room: Erik wanted to magdalehnsherrcomics2use again his newfound powers to save their baby girl, but in that moment the police arrived, led by Erik’s employer who had denounced him for being a mutant. The police attacked Erik, who couldn’t focus enough to save Anya, and the girl burnt alive in front of her parents. Magda was understandably shocked, but what came after was the final straw for her: Erik, enraged, unleashed all his power for the first time in his life, and slaughtered the policemen and his employer, wanting to avenge Anya’s death. Terrified by what her husband had become, Magda fled, and spent the following months on the run in Eastern Europe, trying to hide from Erik; in that time, she also found out she was pregnant again. Finally, near the end of her pregnancy, she found asylum in the Citadel of Science, a secret town on Wundagore Mountain inhabited by the High Evolutionary and his anthropomorphic animals: Bova the Midwife took care of her and helped her deliver two baby twins, Pietro and Wanda. Magda, however, knew that as long as she was alive, Erik (or rather the monster he had become) could find their children: she had to leave again, and this time for good, in order to protect her children from their father…

Magda Eisenhardt (later Magda Lehnsherr, maiden name unknown) is a good-hearted and peaceful woman, who only seeks a normal and tranquil life with the man she loves and her children. Her tragic life didn’t make her belief in love and kindness fade away, and she still wants peace with all her heart…and that’s why she doesn’t recognize as her husband the mutant mass-murderer Magneto.

Vivian & Costance D’Aramis (Crimson Fox)

crimsonfoxfilmIf all the comicbook-based tv shows we have right now weren’t enough, new ones are coming for the next season, and the first trailer is for the most intriguing one: Powerless, a workplace comedy which follows the misadventures of an insurance company covering the damage caused by superheroes and supervillains. In the trailer, we see the protagonist Emily Locke becoming an everyday heroine by quarrelling with an actual superhero who, catching a train in midhair and putting it in the middle of the street, causes everybody on it to arrive late at work. The superhero in question is Crimson Fox, portrayed by Atlin Mitchell, and it’s still unclear if she’ll be a recurring presence or a one-time-appearance. Anyway, Fox already shows many differences from her original version, starting from her powers (she wouldn’t be able to lift a train); moreover, in the comics she’s one of the very few cases of a shared super identity, as two people don her mantle at the same time…but it’s unlikely the show will tap into that, so we’ll take a look together at how this works in the comics.

The identical twins Vivian and Constance D’Aramis were born in ParisFrance, where they lived a normal life with their parents. When they were still little more than teenagers, the twins’ mother got cancer, and she died soon after; if this wasn’t a tragedy enough, it turned out that the cancer had been caused by the perfumes the woman was using, since the producing company, one of the richest in Europe, had neglected the safety controls on a number of products. The girl’s father wanted to launch a lawsuit against the company, wanting to expose their illegal (and dangerous) activities, but the company’s CEO, the unscrupolous and powerful Maurice Puanteur, had the man killed, and managed to buy the silence of all the other involved victims. Being just girls, Puanteur didn’t pay much attention to Vivian and Constance, and that was his gravest mistake: the twins, now orphans, swore that they would have obtained revenge over the man who had killed both their parents and who was getting away with it, and they consecrated their entire lives into destroying both Puanteur and the empire he had built. The D’Aramis twins used all crimsonfoxcomics1their resources and ther inheritance to found their own perfume company, Revson, created with the sole purpose of creating a relentless competition with Puanteur’s company, and to legally expose the many irregularities of the rival company. This, however, wasn’t enough to bring down a colossus like Puanteur, and the D’Aramis knew it…but they had yet another powerful asset to display. Apparently, the exposure to the chemicals of both Puanteur’s perfumes when they were little, and Revson’s ones now that they were adults, had modified their very DNA, giving them both identical superhuman powers, which mainly consisted in pheromones manipulation. Vivian and Constance decided to become superheroes, in order to fight evil even outside the bonds of legality…but it would have been suspicious if the CEO of a company had to disappear everytime Paris was in trouble. Even for this, however, the smart sisters had devised a plan, so that their crusade could go on on parallel tracks: one of them should have died.

Of course, the death in question was a simulated one: the two sisters pulled straws, and Constance lost, meaning she had to fake her death and to convince the world that Vivian was the only D’Aramis left. After that, the two sisters could act in complete freedom: they made turns, and while one acted as the company’s CEO the other patroled the city as a superhero, and vice versa. The two tailored a costume each, obviously identical one to the other, and created the shared identity of Le Renard Rousee, the Crimson Fox. In this double, shared life the French twins made themselves quite known in Paris, and they become extremely popular, albeit obviously nobody even suspected that two different people were hiding under the same mask. The most challenging deed was to conciliate the necessity of changing roles with Vivian’s private life, as the twins were physically identical, but had quite a different personality, and the girl’s friends and coworkers had many difficulties in understanding “Vivian” when she approached people and matters in completely different ways from a day to another. Vivian even got married with a man named Rene, and this obviously made it all more difficult. The Crimson Fox ulteriorly changed her (their) life when Vivian, as the crimsonfoxcomics2CEO of Revson, decided to host a fundraiser along with the World Food Organization, inviting many VIPs to collect money for the orphans; among the hosts there was also American billionaire Bruce Wayne, and the Crimson Fox would have been present as a security guard. Despite the heroine was there, a bunch of criminals broke in and took away the money gathered so far, and made their escape on a helicopter: Crimson Fox went on the pursuit, and managed to make the helicopter crash on a nearby building…which happened to be Justice League Europe‘s embassy, precisely on Captain Atom‘s bedroom. Helped by Elongated Man and Power Girl the heroine arrested the thieves, but Captain Atom scorned her for destroying his bed…only to be scorned in turn by Batman, who appeared on the scene and told Atom that he should have thanked Fox and invited her to join JLE. The heroine spat on the Captain’s face and walked away…but after speaking with her sister, they both decided to accept the offer, and the morning after Fox presented herself to the JLE with a new bed for Captain Atom: it was time for the Crimson Fox to make her first step in a wider world.

Vivian and Constance D’Aramis are physically identical, but despite sharing a past and an entire life they’re very different one from the other: Vivian is friendly and outgoing, very carefree, while Constance is more serious and introverted. Albeit usually Vivian takes care of the company while Constance acts as a superhero, they often change roles, and they both attend to both matters. As the Crimson Fox, they have superhuman powers of unspecified origin: they can manipulate hormones, both their own and other people’s, with a variety of effects, such as increasing their own strength, speed and agility, or cause feelings of strong fear or (mostly) desire in others, manipulating their emotions to a great extent; both proficient hand-to-hand fighters, they are equipped with steel-clawed gloves that greately increase their offensive abilities. Used to share everything in their life since they were born, Vivian and Constance now share their life itself, two avenging angels so devoted to their cause that they gave up everything for it.