Anton Vanko (Whiplash)

whiplashiifilmOn with casualgamer‘s list we meet a high-tech villain, the newest Whiplash. He appears in Iron Man 2 portrayed by Mickey Rourke, and he’s portrayed as the son of Anton Vanko, a Russian scientist who claims to be the true inventor of the ARC Reactor. When his father dies, Ivan Vanko starts a family feud against Tony Stark, son of the man who stole his father’s work, and eventually teams up with Justin Hammer and builds an armor and a pair of electrified metal whips, as well as an army of battle drones, to defeat his loathed enemy. Now, the movie version of Vanko wasn’t exactly a memorable one, albeit Rourke did a good job in portraying him (as always, villains don’t have much space in Marvel movies): this version of Whiplash, however, is pretty recent, born in 2010, so there’s not exactly much to say about his comics counterpart as well. Let’s see together.

Anton Vanko (no relation to the original Crimson Dynamo) was born in Russia, in the village of Volstok. He was the only son of an eccentric inventor, Igor Vanko, and he himself developed, since he was a kid, quite a taste and a skill for weird engineering and science. Anton’s life changed completely the day Iron Man arrived in his village (it actually wasn’t the real Iron Man, but an impostor who had stolen one of his armors to frame the hero, but obviously Anton couldn’t possibly know this): the Armored Avenger attacked the village without any reason, razing it to the ground and causing a number of innocent victims…among which there was also Igor Vanko. Enraged for his father’s death, Anton managed to grab a rifle and to shoot the attacker, damaging his armor and causing the chest plate to come off it. “Iron Man” escaped, and Anton was left in what remained of his village to mourn his father…and to nurture his rage and his thirst for vengeance. Thanks to his remarkable scientific know-how, Vanko reverse-engineered the chestplate, and used it to build a suit of armor for himself, equipping it with energy whips. whiplashiicomics1After six months of work, Anton Vanko left Russia and arrived in the United States to hunt down and kill the man responsible for his father’s death and his village’s destruction…and finding Stark wasn’t exactly a hard task, since he had been arrested for the crimes he had allegedly committed, including the destruction of Volstok, and was now in prison. As the new Whiplash, Vanko broke into the prison, and killed a number of guards with his whips before finally finding Stark: he attacked him, trying to kill both him and Pepper Potts, who was on the scene, but Stark had built an emergency Iron Man suit using the machines he had found around in the prison, and he managed to repel the attack. Whiplash withdrew, but it was just the first round: he wouldn’t have been taken by surprise the following time.

Vanko repaired his armor, and resumed his hunt for Iron Man, who in the meanwhile had broken out of prison. Whiplash located his enemy in a luxurious palace, which turned out to be the headquarters of a crime syndicate…and much to his surprise, he also learnt that Stark was indeed framed, and that the syndicate were responsible for the destruction of Volstok. The village, in fact, was inhabited by an activist who was organising an anti-government organization, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had hired the criminals to erase any potential threat without showing the government’s involvement. Vanko, however, was by now far too deep in his hatred, and despite knowing that Stark was innocent, he didn’t give up on his attempt to kill him: if Iron Man wasn’t directly responsible for Igor’s death, his technology nevertheless was, and he could exact revenge on him. The battle between the two armored titans ended up destroying the building, and despite Whiplash was having the upper hand this time, he was forced to flee when the two rivals were about to be trapped in the raging fire. The building had been destroyed, but Iron Man had managed to collect enough evidence whiplashiicomics2to clean up his name and to expose the syndicate; free of all charges, the superhero even financed the rebuilding of Volstok, as well as the construction of a memorial for the victims of the fake Iron Man’s attack. This was enough for Vanko to suspend his thirst for vengeance against him…at least for the moment. Back to Russia, Vanko travelled to Moscow, with a brand new target in mind: Putin’s residence in the Red Square, hoping to settle scores once and for all with the true responsible of Igor’s death. Of course, after dealing with the Prime Minister, he would have had all the time in the world to resume his old grudge against Iron Man: never start something you don’t mean to end.

Anton Vanko is a brilliant man, a scientific genius who’s however impulsive and emotional. With a violent nature and a taste for vengeance, he uses his father’s death almost as a pretense to unleash his darkest emotions. As Whiplash, he’s equipped with a suit of armor built from the remnants of Iron Man’s Mark 16 armor: the suit increases his strength and durability, and gives him enhanced vision with infrared lenses. Vanko equipped the suit with two energy whips, which he mostly uses to cut through solid objects, but that can be used as grappling hooks as well, and even for propellers for limited flight when the polarity is inverted. Determined and relentless, Whiplash will stop at nothing to avenge his father, punishing everyone he deems responsible for Igor’s death…and a lot of other people who have nothing to do with it.



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