Heather Duncan (Silver Dragon)

silverdragonfilmThere was still another character spotted in the first trailer for Iron Fist, a supporting not one meant to last long, certainly, and portrayed by a still unconfirmed actress: Heather Rand, the hero’s mother. In the trailer, we only see her as she smiles to Danny as their plane/chopper is about to crush on the Himalayas…and it’s unlikely that we’ll see her much more than this in other episodes. In the comics, her story arc is quite richer, and it spans even after her death…but I doubt that this aspect of her biography will be explored in the show (it’ll be quite complicated to include the afterlife in a show that, superpowers or not, aims to be “grounded”). This will be the last post for a while, the blog is going on hiatus for some days…waiting to return, let’s see together what happens to Heather Rand after the incident on the Himalayas.

Heather Duncan was born in New York City, the only heir of Thomas Duncan, one of the wealthiest merchants of the country. Heather grew up to become a popular socialite, used to live in luxury, but her restless spirit put her aside from her peers, as she wasn’t satisfied with her life, as comfortable as it may be. She found the thrill and the spirit of adventure she missed in Wendell Rand, a succesful businessman with origins shrouded in mystery. The two fell in love with each other, and when Heather was only twenty-four they got married. A year later Heather gave birth to a son, Danny. As happy as their family was, however, Heather knew that her husband was missing something important, a hole in his heart that couldn’t be filled. Finally, nine years later, Wendell tried with a remarkable effort to convince her to join him in an expedition in Tibet, along with Danny and his best friend Harold Meachum. Heather didn’t know the reason behind her husband’s desire, but she understood that it was important for him, and that the origin of his unexplained melancholy laid in the expedition itself. She agreed to silverdragoncomics1come along. In Tibet, Wendell wanted to look for the portal to the lost city of K’un Lun, the home he had been longing for, but during their march Danny slipped down a cliff, and when Heather tried to grab him she followed him to the bottom of a slide impossible to climb. Heather and Danny witnessed the greedy Meachum kill Wendell, and they firmly refused his help, (rightfully) believing he wanted to silence the only remaining witnesses. Heather resolved to bring her son back to the campsite on her own, but on their way the pair was found by a hungry pack of wolves, that attacked them. Heather realised that they didn’t have any chance to survive, not both of them at least, and she prompted her son to run away, as she stayed behind and bought him some time. The wolves eventually slained her, but she died happy, knowing that her son at least was safe.

Being the wife of a resident of K’un Lun, Heather was admitted to Feng-Tu, the city of the dead, where she was welcomed by Lord Tuan and Lady Meng, the king and queen of the afterlife. They told her everything about her new condition, and also the hidden truth concerning her past life…but learning that she was dead and that her husband was from another dimension was far too much for Heather to process, and she fled the Yama-Kings‘ palace in shock. The woman ran into a woodland, where she was found by Dhasha Khan, a powerful sorcerer: Khan promised her he would have taken her pain and grief away, and the woman accepted his help…only to have her soul stolen and locked into Khan’s Soulgem. With his magic, Khan transformed Heather into one of his slave warriors, the Silver Dragon, with her will totally surrendered to the sorcerer. Some time after that, Dhasha Khan summoned to Feng-Tu Danny, who had become the superhero Iron Fist, and the woman he was protecting, Jade, silverdragoncomics2as the latter was in possession of the soul of the Firebird, that the sorcerer wanted. Silver Dragon was sent to face Iron Fist, and Heather could do nothing but to watch herself as she beat her beloved son unconscious, while Khan managed to steal the soul he wanted. After the battle, the Silver Dragon was ordered to guard the Bridge of Pain to protect her master, and in this occasion she fought once again Iron Fist, who had come to claim Jade’s soul back. This time, the hero was able to overpower the Silver Dragon, but when the woman’s mask fell off, he recognised his mother in his enemy. Khan prompted his servant to exploit this moment of shock and to attack Iron Fist, but Heather finally managed to overcome the sorcerer’s conditioning, and resisted his command. In retaliation, Khan incinerated her physical form…thus obviously enraging Iron Fist. When the hero managed to defeat Dhasha Khan, he also stole his Soulgem, and freed all the souls within it, including Heather’s: now, the woman was able to come back to Feng-Tu and to embrace the peaceful afterlife she deserved…always watching over her heroic son from the city of the dead.

Heather Duncan Rand is a strong-spirited woman, ready to give her own life for her family, especially for her only son, Danny. As the Silver Dragon, she’s an accomplished martial artist, able to fight toe-to-toe even a master like Iron Fist; in the spirit world, she also possesses superhuman strength, agility and endurance. Forced to serve an evil sorcerer who took advantage of her shock and pain, Silver Dragon fights a battle that does not belong to her…and that puts her against the one man she loves more than anything in the world, including herself.

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Daniel Thomas Rand-K’ai (Iron Fist)

ironfistfilmMarvel released another long-anticipated trailer at Comic-Con, another Netflix tv series: Iron Fist. Of course, we got our first glimpse at the titular hero, in both his kid appearance (portrayed by a yet unknown actor) and his adult one (who’ll be Game of Thrones‘ Finn Jones). As for now, we know that Danny Rand will be the son of a wealthy family who’ll lose both his parents during an expedition in China; he’ll be adopted by the martial artists from the lost city of K’un Lun, and transformed into a mystic warrior. Back to New York City, he’ll have to regain control of his father’s enterprise taking it from Harold Meachum, his father’s friend and the responsible of the Rands’ death. So far, the show version matches exactly his comicbook counterpart, albeit his appearance greately differs; if we’ll see Iron Fist‘s trademark costume on tv or not is still to be confirmed (he’ll probably don it in the last episodes only, much like Daredevil), but his exploding fist made his debut in the very first trailer. To see what’s that about, just read on.

Daniel Thomas Rand was born in New York City, the son of succesful businessman Wendell Rand and of his wife, the socialite Heather Duncan. When Danny was only nine years old, Wendell decided to take him, his wife and his friend Harold Meachum on a trip to Tibet: Danny didn’t know this, but his father wanted to find the interdimensional nexus that gave access to the secret city of K’un Lun, a mystical plane of existence he had lived in as a boy. The nexus only opened once every ten years, so Wendell wanted to cross it along with the people he loved the most. While walking down a dangerous mountain passage, however, young Danny slipped and fell down a cliff dragging his parents along. Meachum, who wanted Rand’s share of the company, not only didn’t help him, but pushed him to his death, later offering his assistance to Heather and Danny, at the bottom of the slide: mother and son spurned him, and attempted to make it back to the campsite on their own. On their way to a suspended bridge, ironfistcomics1however, the pair was attacked by a pack of wolves: Danny managed to run to safety, while Heather stayed behind, buying her son time enough to save himself, getting killed in the effort. In that moment, some archers appeared: they were residents of K’un Lun, who managed to save the boy from the incoming wolves, and to bring him to the lost city through the nexus. Before the ruler of K’un Lun, Yu-Ti the August Personage in Jade, Danny expressed his intention to obtain justice for his parents; Yu-Ti acknowledge him as Daniel Rand-K’ai, the son of a resident of the city, and entrusted him to the care of master Lei Kung the Thunderer, who would have taught him martial arts. Danny hardened his fists punching first through buckets of sand, then gravel, then finally rock. He proved to be the most gifted among Lei Kung’s disciples, and when he was sixteen he competed for the Crown of Fu-Hsi: he passed the Challenge of the Many by defeating four masters, and the Challenge of the One by vanquishing the mechanical warrior Shu-Hu. Danny was so promising that eventually the elders of K’un Lun agreed to let him try and obtain the power of the Iron Fist, one of the Immortal Weapons kept in the hidden city.

In order to win the Iron Fist, Danny Rand had to kill the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, who fiercely guarded a brazer containing his own heart, mystycally removed by the warriors of K’un Lun. Danny faced the flaming serpent and won, getting a permanent dragon-shaped scar on his chest, and the power to summon the Iron Fist, mystic energy focused in his hands that gave him superhuman powers. As one of the Immortal Weapons, Danny was offered the opportunity to stay in K’un Lun for all eternity, but he hadn’t forgotten his thirst for vengeance, and decided to cross the nexus once again instead as soon as it reopened. Back on Earth, Danny travelled back to New York City, where Meachum was waiting for him. The man was now crippled for the frost bites he had suffered in Tibet, and was the head of Meachum Industries: he sent a number of hitmen to kill Danny Rand, but the young man, donning the ceremonial garb of Iron Fist, defeated them all, and eventually arrived to confront his enemy face to face…but when it was finally time to exact his revenge, he was overwhelmed by pity, and chose to spare the invalid. In that moment, however, a ninja broke into the office and killed Meachum, disappearing in a matter of ironfistcomics2seconds: when Joy Meachum, Harold’s daughter and Danny’s childhood friend, entered the office, she found Iron Fist with her father’s corpse, and obviously believed the masked man had killed him. Now, Iron Fist had to clear his name, and acted as an outlaw and a wanted man for a while. He started tracking down the man responsible for Meachum’s death, and eventually found out that the warrior was acting following the orders of Master Khan, a powerful sorcerer exiled from K’un Lun. It was during the hunt for Khan that Iron Fist met the private investigator Colleen Wing and her partner, former cop Misty Knight, whom he fell in love with. The three worked together to defeat Khan and his allies, the Ninja and Angar the Screamer, and following their victory Danny was able to prove his innocence to Joy, who readmitted him as the co-owner of Rand-Meachum, Inc. making him a milionaire once again. The world, however, still needed justice, and that was a call that the Immortal Iron Fist just couldn’t ignore.

Danny Rand is a serious man with a noble spirit, the son of two worlds who unites in himself the wisdom and the self-discipline of K’un Lun’s ancient traditions to the contemporary West’s carefree and daring spirit. Brave and selfless, he dedicates his entire life to fight evil, faithful to his mystic legacy. As the sixty-sixth Iron Fist, he’s able to manipulate his chi, the mystic energy that flows in every living being’s body, and he can channel it mainly in his fists, which gain incredible destructive potential (able to easily punch through solid steel), but also in another variety of ways, such as to heal himself or others, to enhance his own senses and physical attributes to superhuman levels, to slow down his aging, to shield himself from magic attacks, to manipulate other people’s minds and much more; he’s also one of the best martial artists in the world, who masters a variety of styles from both K’un Lun and Earth, both armed and unarmed; he has vast knowledge over the human body, so that he can exploit his adversary’s pressure points and overwhelm even foes far superior to him in terms of raw strength and size. A young milionaire with the heart and mind of an ancient guru, Iron Fist is the point of connection between two worlds, a hero of justice who protects his two dimensions with his unbreakable fist and his indomitable heart.

Cornell Cottonmouth

cottonmouthfilmFirst trailer for Luke Cage has been released, and it’s pretty awesome. At the end of it, we see the titular hero facing the one that will be the bad guy of the show: Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, portrayed by Mahershala Ali (his younger self, who’ll appear in flashbacks, will be portrayed by Elijah Boothe). Stokes will be the owner of a nightclub in Harlem, and he’ll eventually cross paths with Luke Cage because of his criminal activities in the block. In the comics, Cottonmouth is actually Cornell’s real name, but he is a drug dealer nevertheless. He also meets Cage much earlier in his story: let’s see together.

Cornell Cottonmouth was born in New York City, in the Harlem district. The son of a poor black family, he mostly lived on the streets, where he decided he would have taken the reins of his life…and of others’ as well, standing up from his original poverty. There weren’t many opportunities for a guy like him, and eventually Cornell resolved to join the local criminals, starting from the bottom to raise to the top. He made a name for himself in Harlem by changing his appearance, having his teeth artificially sharpened and pointed and using them to intimidate (and hurt) his enemies and rivals. Eventually, Cottonmouth reached the top as he had wanted to, and became one of the most powerful and influent drug dealers in Harlem, controlling every ounce of heroine entering the block, first, then the entire city. His control over his men was absolute, as he ruled over them with fear, using both his incredible strength and his fearsome teeth to intimidate them; if somebody betrayed him, Cottonmouth used snake poison to dispose of him, a trademark to send a message to whoever wanted to follow the same path. One day, one of his heroine shipments was stolen, but the culprit was immediately arrested for smuggling by the police: it was a former thug from Harlem, Carl cottonmouthcomics1Lucas, who was sent to Seagate Prison, out of reach for Cottonmouth (the real thief was actually Willis Stryker, Lucas’ friend, but the boss never knew about it). Cottonmouth’s business continued as always for some time, until he found yet another nuisance within his organization: one of his men, Flea, was actually an informant for an unknown third party. This time, Cottonmouth hit quickly and lethally as the snake he was named after, and he had him killed with the usual poison. Then, he investigated on who Flea was reporting to, and found out it was a man named Luke Cage…who looked incredibly similar to the same Carl Lucas that had allegedly stole his heroine shipment years before.

Believing that a new rival was rising, Cottonmouth decided to send Mr. Cage his trademark snakes…and was quite impressed the moment his intended target disposed of the poisonous beasts unscathed. Wanting to make a different kind of offer to him, he sent Cage two of his henchmen, Mike and Ike, but they got busted before saying what they wanted to tell him…but not before revealing Cottonmouth’s whereabouts. The boss received the visit of the furious Luke Cage, and the two exchanged some blows…only to realise that their strength matched. Seeing potential in his enemy, Cottonmouth offered Cage a place in his organization, and the latter accepted it. To test his new super-henchman’s loyalty, Cottonmouth sent him to steal some heroine from a rival, Boss Morgan, a mission that Luke easily accomplished, earning his new boss’ trust. One of his most trusted advisors, however, Mr. Slick (gifted with a photographic memory, and used as a “living records keeper” by Cottonmouth), told him that he had still some suspects on Cage, so Cornell devised a trap, putting some fake records in his office. The trap worked out pretty well, as soon after Luke Cage was caught attempting to steal them: enraged, Cottonmouth attacked him along with Slick. During the fight, Slick ended up falling from a window to his death, and only then Cottonmouth revealed to his enemy that he was the actual record keeper, and that all the data Cage was looking for were stored in his mind only. cottonmouthcomics2Cage wasn’t exactly worried by that revelation, as he had collected on his own enough evidence to bring down Cottonmouth’s organization with or without Slick: he grabbed the crime boss and slammed him through an oak desk, knocking him out. When the police arrived, Cottonmouth was unconscious and ready to be arrested, and thanks to the inside job from Cage it was possible to keep him in jail for many years. But he wouldn’t have stayed there forever, and he had all the time in the world to plan his own vengeance.

Cornell Cottonmouth is a vicious and greedy man, a criminal born whose lust for power overwhelms any care for others. Used to dig his way into the underworld from scraps and to count only on himself, he’s extremely determined and strong-willed. He also possesses superhuman strength and durability of unknown origin, and he’s an excellent hand-to-hand fighter; he has extensive knowledge over many different poisons, and in battle he can use his sharp teeth as an unconventional weapon (when Luke Cage broke his original ones, he replaced them with golden prothesis). The ruthless leader of a fearsome drug empire, Cottonmouth is the undisputed boss of Harlem’s underground, and he’ll do anything to mantain his position.

Bibbo Bibbowski

And finally we’re at the last character from casualgamer‘s list (if you have any other, you only have to ask). We meet now another supporting character, Bibbo Bibbowski, who’s had so far three live action appearances (albeit the last one’s not exactly official). First he appeared in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, portrayed by Troy Evans, as the owner of his unmistakable bar the Ace O’ Clubs. He then appeared in Superman Returns, portrayed by Jack Larson, in a much older version: nicknamed simply “Bo“, he’s the one who speaks with Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent, always at the Ace O’ Clubs. Last but not least, he also appeared in Man of Steel, portrayed by Bruce Bohne, albeit he’s named only in the movie’s novelization: he’s the one who pours Lois Lane a drink while she meets her source, Glenn Woodburn, while investigating on the mysterious Joe from Ellesmere Island. Now, the only trait in common between the live action Bibbo and the comics’ one so far has been the ownership of the Ace O’ Clubs: let’s see what else there is to say about him.

Not much is known about Bibbo Bibbowski’s early life, not even where he was born. He had a brother, a very smart guy who was an egghead since he was a child: while Bibbo pretty much enjoyed brawls and often fought with the other kids, his brother abhorred any form of violence, and dedicated himself to his studies. The first one grew up to become a professional boxer, while the second one became famous as Professor Bibbowski. As a boxer, Bibbo could make good use of his great strenght on the ring, and at least for a while he had success and earned some money. Then, at a certain point, something changed, at least in his attitude, and he quit with boxing, moving to Metropolis and becoming a longshoreman. In the nearby Suicide Slum Bibbo found the place that would have become his second home, the ill-famed bar Ace O’Clubs, which he became a loyal costumer of. Bibbo spent most of his time at the bar, and he only left it to work, so it was pretty easy to find him there. One day, a guy dressed as Superman entered the Ace O’ Clubs, looking for informations on a guy he was pursuing. Believing him to be some bibbobibbowskicomics1sort of clown looking for troubles, Bibbo punched him…with the only result of nearly crushing his own hand: that guy was the real deal. Oddly enough, this was the beginning of the friendship between Bibbo Bibbowski and Superman: the ex boxer had learnt to respect strength, and there was nobody tougher than Superman out there. After that brief confrontation, Bibbo elected Superman as “his favourite hero”, and he even helped him in his ongoing investigation. An admiration based on pure physical strength wasn’t exactly meant to last long, as there were guys out there who were even tougher than Superman, one of them being the infamous bounty hunter Lobo.

Lobo was in Metropolis with a helper of his, the teleporter Raof, because a group of unspecified aliens had tasked him with killing Superman: during their first confrontation, Lobo emerged victorious, and Superman escaped…thus leaving Bibbo with a brand new idol. The Czarnian bounty hunter, somehow flattered by Bibbo’s admiration, decided to make him his sidekick, and entrusted him with a vital task: he had to film him with a pair of special recording goggles during his fight with the Man of Steel, so that he could present an evidence to his employers and thus be paid. What seemed to be an easy job turned out to be quite a mess: during the fight, Bibbo, Lobo and Raof ended up completely drunk with Okaranna Liquor, and they lost their memory of a fight that, somehow, Superman had won (actually, thanks to a cheat from the Eradicator); plus, Bibbo had mounted the goggles backwards, so the only thing recorded was the back of his head, and his comments on a battle nobody could see nor remember. With such “evidence”, Lobo got fired from his contractors and gave up on taking Superman’s head, leaving the planet. After that weird misadventure, Bibbo resumed his admiration for the Man of Steel, and even started “defending his honor” from anyone criticizing him (even random bystanders). Bibbo’s life changed the moment he literally won the lottery…with a ticket he didn’t even buy (it was lost by Gangbuster). With all that bibbobibbowskicomics2money suddenly in his possession, Bibbo could fulfill his life’s dream…and he bought the Ace O’ Clubs, becoming the new owner of the bar. From his bar, he helped all the people in need from the Slums, and he kept aiding his hero anytime he needed it (or, much like, anytime Bibbo believed he needed it). He even got involved in Superman’s fight with Doomsday, as he allied with Professor Hamilton and tried to stop the monster with an experimental gun, with no effect. Despite the effort proved to be useless, it was the least anyone could expect: he just couldn’t twiddle his thumbs while his favourite hero got beaten by a monster!

Bibbo Bibbowski is a brute with a heart of gold, a good man at heart, who’s however not exactly smart. He’s a very strong and accomplished boxer, but he doesn’t have any other particular talent besides that. He has a true adoration for Superman, to the point that for some time he went around dressed like him calling himself “Superdood“, and adopted a white cub calling him “Krypto“. Albeit in his rough and clumsy way, it’s positive that Bibbo will always do the right thing and lend a hand…or at least, he’ll do his best to do both.

Ganthet

ganthetfilmAlmost at the end of casualgamer‘s list, we find a pretty relevant supporting character: Ganthet, the most famous member of the Guardians of the Universe. So far, he only appeared in the Green Lantern movie voiced by Warren Burton, and he was featured in a pretty backgroundish role. Despite being considered one of the wisest characters in the DC Universe, in the movie he doesn’t seem so smart, as he first sends a bunch of Green Lanterns guided by Thaal Sinestro to deal with Parallax, then, when they obviously fail, he allows Sinestro to forge a Yellow Power Ring to fight fear with fear…not exactly a smart move. In the comics he’s less disappointing…and much more present in the life of the Green Lantern Corps (and not only). Let’s see together.

Ganthet was born eons ago on planet Maltus: he was an immortal, member of the most ancient race in the universe. The Maltusians, in fact, had reached the apex of technology, civilization and evolution when in the rest of the galaxies the first signs of amoebic life were developing. Gifted with cosmic powers, the Maltusians had built a perfect utopia on their homeplanet, and they lived there in armony one with the other…until one of their best scientists, Krona, broke one of the few taboos and built a time machine to investigate on the origin of the universe. The actions of Krona brought to the “accidental” destruction of one billion years from the timestream, thus resulting in an irreparable damage: the universe didn’t have enough matter anymore to be reborn from a new big bang after the incoming big crunch, and even more Krona had created an Anti-Matter Universe, a shadow of our reality that eventually caused “evil” to appear in the universe for the first time in history. Ganthet and another small fraction of Maltusians felt responsible for what Krona had done, and decided that they would have tried to contain the abomination that evil was, protecting the universe the best they could. The moved on the planet Oa (regarded to as “the center of the universe”), and became the Guardians of the Universe, a group of enlightened beings that guarded over the entire ganthetcomics1reality, battling evil in every form and trying to restore the lost balance and order. The Guardians created a special police force, the Manhunters, androids tasked with patroling the galaxies…but their lack of empathy and of judgement ability led them to be more dangerous than useful, so the Guardians decided to replace them with “special agents” found in every sector of the universe, the Green Lanterns: using a Green Power Battery kept on Oa, Ganthet and the others gave the Lanterns access to the power of Ion, the cosmic embodiment of willpower, thus granting them the abilities they needed to keep peace in the universe. Ganthet and the others, on their side, took care of recruiting and guiding the Lanterns, putting their wisdom (and sometimes their strength) at their service.

During the first millennia, Ganthet was pretty much like all his brothers and sisters, but then something evolved in his personality (something pretty rare, for an immortal being). While the other Guardians of the Universe were very severe and stern, always following strictly the rules they had given themselves and the Green Lanterns and never accepting the slightest deviation from them, fearing another incident like Krona’s, Ganthet developed an unusual empathy for a Maltusian, and he also valued individuals, while the other Guardians only thought of the “greater good” and considered the sacrifice of a few for the good of many others something more often than not unavoidable. Because of this, Ganthet often came into conflict with his siblings on how to lead the Lanterns, but in return he was also considered a mentor from many within the Corps, and he shared a deep bond with each one of them. When Hal Jordan was unexpectedly recruited in the Green Lantern Corps in place of the deceased Abin Sur, Ganthet found in him a personality and a value system that pretty much matched his own, and this intrigued him: he started making researches on Jordan’s homeplanet, Earth, and became intrigued with humans, considering them a unique race, with a lot of potential, but desperately in need of guidance. Wanting to protect Earth from the many threats coming from outside, and to guide humans towards the bright future they undoubtedly could achieve, Ganthet decided to join forces with other cosmic beings with the sole purpose of watching over Earth: along with the god Zeus, the New God Highfather, the ganthetcomics2immortal wizard Shazam and the mysterious mystical being Phantom Stranger, Ganthet founded the Quintessence, whose members reunited every time a menace of cosmic proportions threatened Earth (even if following this close the “progresses” of human race eventually made Ganthet somewhat disillusioned about their effective capability of fulfilling their potential). Despite the many failures he faced, Ganthet kept hoping in his original dream and project, committed to guard over the universe’s order until the end of time.

Ganthet is one of the wisest beings in the universe, as old as life itself, an immortal who only wishes to see peace and order rule the cosmo again; he’s somewhat a “deviant” Maltusian, as he actually cares for individual lives and even for emotions, often questioning his siblings and even rebelling to their decisions starting purely on his empathy. As a Maltusian, he’s immortal and virtually invulnerable; he can naturally store and manipulate cosmic energy, and he possesses vast psychic powers, including telekinesis and telepathy; he can heal most physical wounds from himself and others, and his brain is far more evolved than humans can comprehend, and he’s able to learn and speak any language after hearing it for the first time, and his tactical thinking often borders into clairvoyance. A cosmic being of untold power and wisdom, Ganthet is somewhat “human”, an “imperfection” that proves to be an unexpected strength in dealing with problems that go far beyond simple order and logic.

Alec Holland (Swamp Thing)

swampthingfilmAnother superhero coming from casualgamer‘s list, and another vaguely mystic one: Swamp Thing, a pretty rather popular anti-hero (especially after Alan Moore‘s run). Our beloved monster first appeared in Wes Craven‘s Swamp Thing movie: he was portrayed by Ray Wise in his human form, and by Dick Durock in his monstrous one. In the movie, he was a peaceful scientist who was killed by a terrorist colleague, Anton Arcane, and who was resurrected as a human-plant monster, bent on revenge against Arcane and on protection for his love interest Alice Cable. Durock returns in the sequel The Return of Swamp Thing, where the monster once again fights against a resurrected Arcane and even seduces his daughter Abby. Durock came back for a third time for the role in the tv series, with Swamp Thing once again fighting against Arcane, accompanied this time by his personal mutants, the Un-Men. The movie version is slightly different from the comics’ one, starting from the fact that (at least originally, now things have changed again) Swamp Thing is not exactly Alec Holland, even if he has his memories and conscience. Let’s see together.

Alec Holland was born in HoumaLouisiana, the son of Larry and Alice Holland. He grew up with his brother Edward, and since his childhood he developed quite a keen intellect and scientific curiosity, that led him to study biochemistry at college. During his studies he also met Linda, the girl who would have soon become his life-long colleague…as well as his wife, of course. Alec and Linda found a common passion both in the discipline they had chosen to study, and in their social and political commitment. After graduation, they decided to work together on a project aimed to solve the problem of food shortage. They moved to the Louisiana’s bayou, where they built a lab and dedicated to their research for years. At the end of their effort, the Hollands managed to create what they called a Bio-Restorative Formula, able to stimulate any plant on a genetical and hormonal level to evolve rapidly, so that anything could survive in any place of the planet (enabling tomatoes, for example, to grow in the Sahara Desert or in the Arctic). For all these years, Alex had been financed by what he believed to be the federal swampthingcomics1government…but it was not, as he soon realised. When Holland communicated to the mysterious Mr. E that he had indeed accomplished his life-work, the man, who was actually Nathan Ellery, the leader of the terrorist organization The Conclave, sent two of his goons, Bruno and Ferret, to steal the research and to dispose of the scientists. Linda was killed on the spot, while Alec was knocked out by Ferret and left in his lab, while Bruno planted a bomb in it. Alec Holland woke up just a few seconds before the bomb exploded, and he was unable to evade the lab as quick as he was trying to: aflame, drenched into his own Bio-Restorative Formula, he ran into the swamp, where he died. This would have been the end for the scientist, if not for two factors: the burning Formula that affected the nearby vegetation, and The Green (the elemental force formed of all plant life on Earth), who was in need of a new protector. The Parliament of Trees, the Green’s collective mind, chose Holland, or rather what remained of him, as their new champion, and they “burrowed” his memories and conscience.

The dying scientist’s mind, memories, personality were absorbed by the nearby vegetation, and the plants, dragged together by both the Bio-Restorative Formula and the Parliament of Trees’ will, united to form a humanoid body, a plant creature who believed himself to be a transformed Alec Holland. Confused on both his own nature and condition, the creature who now referred to himself as “Swamp Thing” started to hunt the men who had killed Linda, as well as to look for a “cure” to his state, believing he could revert to human form. Swamp Thing managed to track down The Conclave and to confront its leader, Nathan Ellery, but the businessman and terrorist always managed to elude him, and kept sending his men to him to extract from his body the secrets of the lost Formula. Ellery was not the only one who kept hunting down the monster in the swamps, and The Green was continuously under attack from many sources. The Swamp Thing found a formidable foe in Anton Arcane, a mad scientist obsessed with
immortality, who believed that he could learn the secret of eternal life from the creature. The fight with Anton ended up involving, in a form or another, all members of the Arcane family: Abby Arcane, his niece, became a close friend swampthingcomics2and ally to the Swamp Thing, and eventually a strong feeling rose between the two, to the point that Abby became the lover of the monster; even Anton’s brother, Gregori Arcane, joined in the hunt for the monster, and when he accidentally stepped on a landmine, Anton transformed him into the Patchwork Man, a monster similar to the Frankenstein’s Monster who became a formidable adversary for Swamp Thing. Arcane used the little knowledge he had gathered on his rival to create an army of Un-Men, mutant monsters that were able to physically challenge the seemingly indestructible plant monster…and eventually Arcane turned himself into an Un-Man, becoming even more dangerous. Quite ironically, Swamp Thing ended up being hunted down also by a former friend, Matthew Cable, a federal agent who believed the monster to be responsible for the Hollands’ death. With so many enemies to protect himself and the swamp from, the creature kept steadily looking for a way to become a human again…without knowing that he had never actually been a human to begin with.

Alec Holland is a brilliant and idealistic man, truly convinced to be able to make the world a better place thanks to his science; an accomplished biochemist, he firmly believes that the genius of a few must be used at the service of the wellbeing of many. As the Swamp Thing, he is a being composed of sentient plants, and he can control and communicate with any other kind of vegetable life; he’s pretty much impervious to any kind of damage, and he possesses vast levels of superhuman strength; he can generate non-sentient copies of himself, regenerate lost limbs, and he can even be reborn by “reincarnating” in other masses of plants, being de facto immortal; all his powers can be augmented by the Green, while pollution can weaken him. A fierce and dedicated protector of the Earth and of the Green in particular, Swamp Thing is an elemental champion, an indestructible avatar who lives between a life of memories that does not belong to him and a nearly sacred mission he still has to fully understand.

Adrianna Tomaz (Isis)

isisfilmOn with our magic tour from casualgamer‘s list, we find an anti-heroine who’ll most probably be relevant in the future of the DC Extended Universe: Isis. Her first live action appearance was in The Secret of Isis tv show, where Joanna Cameron portrayed Andrea Thomas, a high school teacher who finds an ancient amulet in Egypt and who becomes able to summon the powers of the goddess Isis, in a similar way to her male counterpart, Captain Marvel, with whom she shared a narrative continuity. The character then reappeared in her most recent incarnation in Smallville: in the episode Isis, it’s Erica Durance‘s Lois Lane who finds the amulet and transforms into an incarnation of the goddess, bent on finding her husband Osiris and to reunite with him; in the episode, Erica Cerra portrays Adrianna Tomaz, who in the comics is the secret identity of Isis, and who in the show is an Egyptologist (and the curator of Metropolis Museum) who helps Clark Kent exorcize Isis from Lois’ body. Now, let’s see together who Adrianna Tomaz truly is in the comics (also Andrea Thomas briefly appeared on paper, but it was just a spin-off series of the tv show).

Adrianna Tomaz was born with her brother Amon somewhere in Egypt, but she lost her parents at a very young age, and she eventually found herself in the nearby country of Kahndaq, which was at the time ruled by the ruthless dictator Asim Muhunnad. Adrianna grew up alone under the regime, but she didn’t bow her head, and she became an activist of sort, always criticizing Muhunnad and trying to make her country a better place to live for everyone…thus attracting the wrath of the dictator, obviously. When she was a young woman something unexpected happened: Kahndaq was attacked and conquered by Black Adam, an ancient resident embued with superhuman powers, revered by the local population as something between a god and a prophet. Adam killed Muhunnad and took control of the country…and in those days, the criminal group known as Intergang decided they would have ingratiated themselves to the new ruler, and thought to do so by paying him $ 2.000.000 in gold, and by granting him a precious gift in isiscomics1the form of a slave…and who better than the woman who was such a pain in the back for the previous government, and who promised to be just as such for the new one? Adrianna was captured and enslaved by the Intergang, and brought in front of the new ruler of Kahndaq as a welcoming gift…but much to her (and Intergang’s) surprise, Adam wasn’t exactly the kind of dictator everybody expected him to be: he freed her, and killed the Intergang agents. Despite obviously being shocked by Adam’s demonstration of power (and most likely happy not to be a slave anymore), Adrianna wasn’t scared at all for being in front of a demigod, and bluntly told him a thing or two he could have done to make Kahndaq better, much to Adam’s perplexity…and amusement. The newly appointed king understood that there were many things Adrianna could actually teach him about his country, and chose to listen to what she had to say: for the following weeks, the two animately discussed the future of Kahndaq, and the woman managed to change Adam’s view on the world and on people to a certain extent. They eventually became friends…and then something more.

Black Adam fell in love with Adrianna, and she reciprocated his feelings: the woman became so important for the anti-hero that he decided to recover the ancient Amulet of Isis from his beloved wife’s tomb, and to give it to her. The amulet had last been wielded by Hatshepsut, a Queen Pharaoh who had used it to bring peace and order through all Egypt, and Adam believed that those strength and values lived on in Adrianna…but the relic was now dormant, and only a far greater power could restore it. Adam travelled to the Rock of Eternity, asking its keeper, his former nemesis Captain Marvel, to reawake the amulet, swearing that the new wielder would have used its powers for a good cause. Marvel looked into Adrianna’s heart, and agreed to do as he was asked: the amulet was restored, and given to Adrianna as a gift: everytime she said “I am Isis!“, she gained the powers of the ancient Egyptian goddess. Together with her beloved, Isis travelled the Middle East in a humanitarian isiscomics2crusade aimed to free all slave children (and to find Amon in particular, since Adrianna’s brother had been kidnapped and enslaved by Intergang as well). During their travels, the relationship between Adam and Adrianna grew and matured, and eventually Black Adam asked Isis to marry him…and she said yes. Captain Marvel, happy to see his old enemy with a changed heart thanks to Adrianna’s love, officiated the marriage, and the woman who was once a slave officially became the queen of Kahndaq. Shortly after their marriage, Isis finally found her brother Amon, who had been tortured and crippled by Snake Fatale in the effort of forcing him to join Intergang. Since she couldn’t heal his wounds, Isis asked for Adam’s help, and her husband imbued her brother as well with divine powers, transforming him into Osiris (thus allowing him to heal completely). Isis had finally reunited her family, but now she wanted more: she wanted to change the world, to destroy injustice, to eradicate the causes that allowed a child like Amon to be enslaved and tortured…and with her husband at her side, she was ready to take on the whole world to do it.

Adrianna Tomaz is a strong and idealistic woman, an activist for human rights who despises injustice and cruelty wherever she sees them, and who’s willing and able to destroy the causes of inequality and criminality. As Isis, she possesses the powers of the Egyptian goddess: flight, superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability and reflexes, and telekinesis; she can also heal other people with a simple touch, and she can manipulate weather and the natural elements (she can summon wind or rain, manipulate electricity and fire, make plants grow, cause earthquakes, make volcanos erupt, and much more). One of the most powerful women on the planet, Isis fights for a world rid of injustice, of cruelty, of war, and she has all the power she needs to make people forcibly abandon their evil ways.