Hot Rod (Rodimus Prime)

hotrodfilmThe second character seen in the pics revealed from Transformers: The Last Knight is a new entry, and quite a major one: Hot Rod, who has still an unknown voice actor. We don’t know much about his role in the movie, apart from the fact that he’ll be Bumblebee‘s brother-in-arms, and that he’ll be able to transform into a Lamborghini. Hot Rod is quite a pivotal part of the Transformers universe, and his inclusion was just a matter of time… let’s just hope he won’t be one of the (far too) many place-holders in the blockbuster, a random robot shooting lasers around with no true purpose. As usual, in the meanwhile let’s take a look at the original one… who’s also known by a name other than Hot Rod, a pretty revealing one.

Hot Rod was born on planet Cybertron, in the middle of the centuries-long war that put the heroic Autobots against the tyrannical Decepticons. He himself was an Autobot, member of a squad led by the gigantic Fortress Maximus; Fortress had grown tired of the war as many other Cybertronians, and decided it was about time to simply walk away from it. In order to look for other worlds that could be inhabited, Fortress Maximus sent Hot Rod and Blurr to open space, in a quest for a new home. Hot Rod was young, inexperienced and definitely arrogant, and the first hostile aliens the pair met, he faced head-on without thinking about it twice. As a result, the two warriors were severely defeated, and Blurr was even captured. Forced to escape, humiliated, Hot Rod stumbled upon another Cybertronian, Kup, a war veteran who had escaped Cybertron after becoming disillusioned with the war; the strong will and bravado of Hot Rod awakened something in the old warrior’s soul, and between the two a strange mentor-pupil relationship was born. Kup helped Hot Rod to free Blurr from his captors, then the three of them returned to Cybertron, where they joined Fortress Maximus once again. Finally, a world for a brand new start was found: Nebulos, inhabited by a peaceful race of small Transformers. Hot Rod followed Fortress Maximus there along with many others, but also an unwanted contingent of Decepticons did the same, so the war started all hotrodcomics1over again, albeit on a smaller scale. The locals formed an alliance with the Autobots, and some of them decided to help them by entering in symbiosis with the warriors: Hot Rod was paired with Firebolt, able to transform into a laser gun, and the two fought many years one alongside the other on Nebulos. Eventually, Hot Rod received a transmission from Goldbug, another Autobot, who informed him that the Autobot leader Optimus Prime was on a faraway planet, still fighting the war with the Decepticons, and needing help. The Targetmasters (as the symbiotic couples formed by Cybertronians and Nebulans were called) were needed as well, so Hot Rod abandoned Nebulos to move to another alien world: Earth.

Hot Rod and the others joined Optimus Prime’s team, and they were welcomed in the crashed spaceship Ark, now functioning as headquarters. Despite his unchanging, difficult attitude, Hot Rod developed a strong bond with Optimus, especially after he had disobeyed his direct orders and stayed behind along with him to fight Megatron and Starscream, while the other Autobots returned to the Ark as they were told. It was Hot Rod who managed to make Optimus recover from the deep depression he had fallen into when Ratchet got killed, and he was always on the frontline, facing whatever threat might wait, even when it came to battle the planet-eater Unicron. Hot Rod was among the many Autobot casualties on the alien planet Klo, but he was resurrected by Optimus’ ace up the sleeve, the ultimate warrior known as the Last Autobot, and resumed his neverending fight against the Decepticons. Apart from Kup, who still acted as a calming presence for the hot-headed Autobot, Hot Rod also became close to the female warrior Arcee, who was among the few ones able to make him reason (from time to time): although the two often provoked each other, it became quite clear that something more than a friendship was rising between them. Despite his bad attitude, Hot Rod became such a trusted and respected Autobot that he was chosen as the successor of Optimus Prime the moment the Autobot leader was killed action. Now holding the Matrix of Leadership, Hot Rod hotrodcomics2was entrusted with the wisdom and the power of his predecessors, and he became Rodimus Prime, the new leader of the Autobots. This was finally put an end to his arrogance, as such a responsibility managed to quell his spirit, even instilling into him a great insecurity about his leadership skills. If living constantly under Optimus Prime’s shadow wasn’t enough, the time was indeed a dread one, as Galvatron had assumed the leadership of the Decepticons, and seemed more than intentioned to end the war with the hated Autobots once and for all. The enmity between Rodimus and Galvatron became even harsher than the one between Optimus and Megatron, and the war was about to know a whole new scale to it, one that the new Prime hoped he was able to manage…

Hot Rod is an impulsive and brash Autobot, whose self-confidence often becomes arrogance; independent and stubborn, he even disobeys orders and challenges authority if he doesn’t see things the same as his superiors. As Rodimus Prime, the weight of command somehow quelled his arrogance, and he’s now quite self-dubious about his role as a Prime, especially since he has to replace a leader such as Optimus. Being a Prime, he’s extremely strong and durable, more than the average Cybertronians, and he can access the wisdom and knowledge of his predecessors; he’s an accomplished marksman and fighter, he can shoot photon laser beams from his forearms, and he possesses six (three per arm) retractable saw-blades he uses in battle; his most impressive skill, however, is his short-circuit ability, which he can fry an opponent’s circuits with. As the other Transformers, he’s able to transform into a vehicle increasing his speed, in his case a Cybetronian race car. A young warrior who had to grow up quickly in order to accept the responsibility of command, Rodimus Prime is an inexperienced leader for a harsh war time, and maybe his arrogance and self-confidence are just what the Autobots need to win a war they can very well lose this time…

Advertisements

Runner (Barricade)

barricadefilmThe first pics from the upcoming Transformers: The Last Knight have been released, and the first robot revealed is an old acquaintance, one of the longest living Decepticons in the movie universe: Barricade, who’ll be voiced by Jess Harnell. Barricade first appeared in Transformers, disguised as a police car with “To Punish and Enslave” written on the side; he chased the protagonists until the end of the movie, and he was the only bad guy to survive along with Starscream and Scorponok. He reappeared in Dark of the Moon as Shockwave‘s second-in-command, and he’s the one who executes Que; he’s apparently killed by human soldiers in Chicago, as it’s shown in an Age of Extinction cameo, but he must have survived the battle, since he’s coming back for the fifth installment. Now, let’s take a look at Barricade in the comics… the non-police car one.

Originally, the Decepticon known as Barricade was Runner, the result of a unique experiment that involved both Decepticons and their sworn enemies, the Autobots. The cross-factional project aimed to create a new generation of miniaturized Transformers, reducing their size in order to increase the efficiency of fuel consumption, obtaining the ultimate racers. The result was the birth of the Micromasters, amazing racers faster than any other Transformer, a neutral faction that would have been able (for the first time in ages on Cybertron) to chose their own faction. Runner was not only the fastest, but also the most vicious among the Micromasters, and his strong attitude managed to obtain the loyalty of three other Micromasters: Ground Hog, Roller Force and Motorhead, three speed demons who only recognized Runner’s authority… and sometimes even ignored it, consumed by the thirst for wanton destruction during the races. Everytime they disobeyed his orders or failed in accomplishing them, Runner severely punished them, imposing an abusive leadership that proved to be the barricadecomics1only thing able to control his subordinates to a certain extent. Together, the four Micromasters formed the Race Track Patrol, which soon became the most violent team of racers ever seen… needless to say which one among the two battling factions proved to be the most appealing for Runner and his men. He joined the Decepticons, and his new teammates enjoyed seeing him running, battling the rival Micromasters with both sheer speed and unorthodox tactics. The Decepticons also gave Runner a new name, praising his ability in blockading his adversaries during the races: now, he was Barricade.

The Race Track Patrol built quite a name for itself, and not only was feared by the Autobots’ Micromaster teams such as the Race Car Patrol, the Off Road Patrol or the Battle Patrol, but since in lack of enemies they often attacked other Decepticons, even the allied teams (the Air Strike Patrol, the Sports Car Patrol and the Military Patrol) learnt to stay away from them if they valued their lives. Barricade wasn’t just a great racer and a fearful warrior, however: as the leader of his team, he was also smart and intuitive, and soon realized that the Micromasters’ situation wasn’t one of equality with the other Decepticons, who considered them as some kind of funny little mascots, not to be taken too seriously. Sure that the Micromasters would have never obtained their rightful place among the other Decepticons if not with strength, Barricade joined forces with Skystalker, a “huge” Micromaster who had become an agitator and seemed to have a plan to change the situation. Leading a rogue faction of Decepticons, that included Barricade and his men, Skystalker challenged Megatron‘s successor, Shockwave, and actually managed to defeat him and to disassemble him. Using Shockwave’s head, barricadecomics2Skystalker was able to give orders to the Decepticon factions, thus assuming control. Finally, for Barricade and the others a new world rose, one in which the neverending war between the “bigger cousins” could finally become a problem of the past, and in which the Micromasters were treated with the respect they deserved… but the return of the Autobot hero Countdown was about to foil the little Decepticons’ plan, exposing Barricade and the other rogues to the wrath of the ones they had deceived.

Barricade is a fast-thinking and fast-running Micromaster, a pitiless warrior and a brutal and abusive leader. Barricade’s iron fist is the only thing that keeps in check the members of the Race Track Patrol, and his strength (and his short temper) is rightfully feared by allies and enemies alike. Gifted with the strength, durability and stamina of his race, although he’s definitely weaker but also incredibly faster than a “guzzler” (the normal-sized Transformers), Barricade can transform into a Formula-1 race car, obtaining an even greater speed. Battling a war he doesn’t feel as his own, Barricade is only waiting for the right occasion to go against the guzzler and to create a new kind of Decepticons, not chained to the mistakes of the past and opened to a new future… possibly filled with havoc, chaos, and most of all speed.

Albert Desmond (Mister Element/Doctor Alchemy)

doctoralchemyfilmThe reveal of The Flash Season 3’s bid bad has been quite a surprise, considering that the chosen villain isn’t exactly a heavy hitter in the comics: instead of a new evil speedster (who will anyway appear in the first episodes), our hero will confront the Machiavellian Doctor Alchemy, who’ll be voiced by Tobin Bell (yup, after Candyman, we get now the Jigsaw Killer). It’s still unknown who will physically play him, and what role he’ll have in the post-Flashpoint story, but it’s pretty sure he doesn’t mean any good, and it’s more than likely that there’ll be a known character under the mask, possibly undergoing some major continuity changing due to The Flash time-traveling. In the trailer he only appears for a second, a blink-and-miss moment that however allows us to speak about his comicbook counterpart: let’s meet the new Flash nemesis.

Albert Desmond had always been a smart man, a highly intelligent kid growing up into a great student who eventually became a skilled and accomplished chemist. He was a honest and peaceful man, a law-abiding citizen whose kindness and gentleness won the heart of Rita, the woman who became his wife. Unfortunately, there was more to Al than met they eye, and there was also a darker side to him… this time literally, as the man suffered from a dissociative identity disorder. If one personality was kind, loving and honest, the other one was violent, greedy and basically evil: Rita, unable to understand what happened to her man from time to time, eventually left him, and the good chemist remained alone, prey of his darker self… who was just as smart and skilled as he was, but with a completely different attitude. Al used his knowledge of chemistry for crime, and he created the identity of Mister Element, a thief with a never-before-seen equipment (an “elemental arsenal” as he called it). Donning impenetrable doctoralchemycomics1bulletproof silicon armors, using an “elemental gun” able to compose different elements and to shoot them, or even creating new elements such as the formidable “magnetic light” Elemento, Mister Element made quite a name for himself in Central City, standing out as one of the most unlikely (and proficient) bank robbers ever… that until he crossed paths with The Flash, who managed to counter each and every move thanks to his incredible speed. Once, Mr. Element even managed to send him to open space thanks to Elemento, but eventually the Scarlet Speedster survived the experience and captured the criminal, sending him to jail… and changing his life forever. Al Desmond’s cellmate, in fact, was in possession of a peculiar, vital information: he knew the location of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, and he recklessly shared his knowledge with Desmond. Now, Mister Element had a brand new goal.

It didn’t take much for Al Desmond to escape from jail, and the first thing he did was obviously to go and see if his cellmate’s claims were true: against all odds, he actually found the fabled relic, and he took possession of it. The Philosopher’s Stone gave him the power to transmute any element into another one, obtaining a potentially unlimited power. Now, he didn’t even fear The Flash anymore: how could anyone stop somebody able to turn their very flesh into charcoal? Naming himself Doctor Alchemy (but sometimes going back to his old Mister Element moniker), he started a brand new criminal career, this time more than willing to prove his true worth. Despite the untold power he had been granted, however, Doctor Alchemy seemed to be unable to defeat The Flash, and although going close more than once to killing the hero, he always lost the fight to him. It eventually turned out that Al’s good side was still present, and was somehow preventing the bad one from using all his resources, desperately trying to regain control. With a power struggle going on inside his own head, Doctor Alchemy could use but a fraction of the Philosopher’s Stone’s power, and some of its most incredible capabilities (such as creating his astral doppelgänger, Alvin Desmond) he used unconsciously. Eventually, the good Al Desmond managed to defeat doctoralchemycomics2the evil one, and regained control long enough to hide the Philosopher’s Stone from his own dark personality. The evil Albert, however, shared a psychic link with the “twin” he had created through the Stone, Alvin, who managed to recover the artifact and to become the new Doctor Alchemy. Albert Desmond, finally, knew some time of peace, while the artificial self continued to wreak havoc with the Philosopher’s Stone in his possession. It wasn’t much time, however, before the evil Albert took control again: he challenged Alvin and defeated him, stealing the Stone from him and taking possession of the Doctor Alchemy identity once again. The original was back, and this time he wouldn’t have let the “other self” restrain him.

Al Desmond is a sick man, torn between two opposite personalities: one is the honest, gentle, brilliant chemist who tries to leave a peaceful and law-abiding life, the other is a malicious, greedy and violent man who uses his remarkable knowledge to accumulate treasure and to inflict pain. As Mister Element, he possessed an arsenal of chemistry-based weapons, mainly his Element Gun, able to synthesize any known (and unknown) element; as Doctor Alchemy he doesn’t need his equipment anymore, as the Philosopher’s Stone in his possession allows him to manipulate matter to a molecular level, transmuting any element into any other, and giving him an absolute power over organic and inorganic matter. Having abandoned his greed, he now seeks the ultimate knowledge, investigating the secret mechanism of reality, and besieging the absolute power that lies beneath it.

Jack Wheeler (Wild Dog)

wilddogfilmA trailer for Arrow Season 5 has been released, and besides seeing a number of recurring characters and some new ones we still have to give a name to, we get a glimpse of Green Arrow‘s new team, that the hero forms after the original one has disbanded at the end of Season 4. Among the rookies there’s a pretty lively and angry young man, Rene Ramirez aka Wild Dog, who’ll be portrayed by Rick Gonzalez. As far as we know, Green Arrow takes him under his protective wing because of his violent methods, hoping to help him mature from the brutal vigilante he is to a proper hero. In the comics, Wild Dog is Caucasian and is named Jack Wheeler, he has nothing to do with Green Arrow (apart from an alternate timeline created by Booster Gold)… and he’s basically a DC pastiche of Marvel’s Punisher. Let’s see together.

Jack Wheeler’s life had never been easy, and every time he obtained something, he ended up losing it due to external forces. He was born in Quad Cities, Iowa, from a poor family. As a student, he turned out to be an excellent football player, and he entered college thanks to a sport scholarship. During a game, however, he suffered a severe injure to a knee, that forced him to leave the team and to lose the scholarship as a result; unable to pay for his education, he dropped out. Not wanting to weigh on his family, he joined the U.S. Marines, finding a new family in his squad. Even his friends were taken away from him: while his company was on tour for duty in the Middle East, a terrorist group attacked the unit, and he was the sole survivor of a bomb explosion. Dangerously pushed on the edge, Jack came back home, wanting to build a new life for himself and to leave behind his back the horrors he had lived in war. With the money he had earned with the Marines he could finally afford to resume his studies, and he started attending night classes at State University. During his studies he also met a girl, Claire Smith, a ray of light in his far too dark life: Claire managed to make him forget everything he had lost and he had faced, and she was the source of his long-desired happiness. The two fell in love, and Jack was more than wilddogcomics1determined to marry her. There was, however, something that Claire hadn’t told him: her true name wasn’t “Smith”, it was “Carmonti“, and she was the daughter of a renowned crime boss from Chicago who had been recently murdered by some rival family. She had changed name and city to escape from her father’s legacy, but the Mafia didn’t want to let her go. One night, Jack Wheeler saw his beloved Claire gunned down by a hitman: the following investigation from the police found out about the girl’s connections with the Carmonti family, and something inside Jack’s mind just snapped. He had had enough, and it was time he reacted. With a hockey mask, khakis and a t-shirt from State University, he became a masked vigilante.

Jack’s plan was simple: he would have given back to bad people some of the violence they were spreading in the streets… and he would have done with tons and tons of bullets. By day, Jack Wheeler was a simple mechanic, doing the best he could to survive month after month; by night, he was a brutal vigilante who practiced skeet shooting on every single mobster, drug dealer, rapist, thief and murderer in town, a madman just as brutal and violent as the people he went after. If he soon became a hero for the common people in the neighborhood, a beloved protector of the innocents, his methods put him on the wanted list, and he had to defend himself from policemen as well as from local criminals (usually escaping from the first ones, and sending to the morgue the latter). He became famous the moment he intervened in a delicate hostage situation, the same in which he earned his street name: the vigilante broke into the area, killed all the criminals present and saved the hostage, a tv reporter; witnessing the carnage, the local SWAT officer ordered his men “to shoot him down like the wild dog he was”, and the reporter used the declaration to christen the vigilante “Wild Dog”. At first, Wild Dog’s main enemies were the members of the Committee for Social Change, an all-American terrorist organization aiming to reinvent US society. He also came in conflict with a number of local gangs, and even with a Christian fundamentalist group, the wilddogcomics2National Legion for Morality, that caused a number of arson (and killed quite a lot of people) in order to stop pornography. Wild Dog made a step out of the street war the moment he joined a small group of vigilantes like him to repel an alien invasion, and later he was even recruited in a larger team of B-class heroes and villains sent to stop the alien bounty hunter Lobo from killing editor Mike Carlin. Apparently, he had finally made a step out of his league… hoping that his sanity followed him long enough to prevent an indiscriminate carnage.

Jack Wheeler is a broken man, who has taken from life more hits than his psyche could stand: he is now bent on a bloody revenge against any form of criminality, and he fights fire with fire, spreading leaded justice on the streets. As Wild Dog, he’s a superb athlete and warrior, a highly-trained soldier versatile with any kind of weaponry; he wears a body armor and dons a pair of “shock gloves” (stun gloves able to knock anyone out with a simple touch); although he usually fights with a Jatimatic GG-95 PDW machine gun, he possesses a wide arsenal of weapons (as well as a utility belt), and he can kill his enemies with literally anything. Deranged, brutal and motivated, Wild Dog is back to war, a kill-or-be-killed game with no prisoners and no survivors, a neverending battle he wants to be a part of.

Nucleus

nucleusfilmThe second and last season of Powers came to an end… and if I’m not mistaken, this time most of the newcomers are original characters, and besides the one we already spoke about, there’s just one new entry from the comics (if I’m wrong, tell me the usual way). In the second episode, Funeral of the Century, Walker tries to prevent a gang war between the electric-powered Quantums and the tech-based Hacks, and meets an old friend of his, the Quantums’ leader Nucleus, portrayed by Brian Stapf. Nucleus’ appearance is short-lived, as the the one he believes to be his second-in-command Laser is actually the shapeshifter THX, who kills him along with all the other Quantums present and flees, triggering the war Walker tried to prevent. In the comics, Nucleus is not a villain at all, quite the opposite, he’s one of the most famous superheroes around, an old glory now in retirement. Let’s see together.

Nucleus’ origins are mostly shrouded in mystery, and even his secret identity remains unknown. He was a Power, and he had the ability to absorb and control enormous amounts of nuclear energy, thus being one of the most powerful (and potentially dangerous) people alive. Luckily enough, Nucleus didn’t have the intention of conquering the world at all, and he became one of the greatest superheroes of his time, using his incredible powers for the greater good… always being careful not to destroy entire living areas with the radioactive remains of his energy emissions. There was possibly a single Power stronger than Nucleus at the time, and luckily enough he was a hero as well, the greatest of them all: Super-Shock, the nearly omnipotent protector of Earth. Nucleus and Super-Shock worked together a couple of times, but it was only when the latter forged an alliance with the amazon warrior known as Ultrabright that the idea of a team came out. Nucleus, Super-Shock and Ultrabright joined the mystical nucleuscomics1nunchaku-wielder Dragonfist and the world’s greatest detective Red Hawk (along with his teenager side-kick Wing) and formed Unity, one of the greatest super-teams the world had ever known. Unity faced the threats too great for the single heroes, even for the most powerful ones in the world. Unity was a beacon of hope and an incredible force for good… as well as a remarkable source of brands and merchandising, becoming an incredible money-maker for the one who held the rights of the company, namely Ultrabright. Nucleus kept fighting the good fight even when Unity became a private corporation in the hands of his amazon friend, but then something entirely different intervened to shake the team in an irreparable way.

When Red Hawk was involved in a sexual scandal with Wing, Unity suffered a major repercussion, and only Ultrabright’s skill in business managed to save the brand. The original team, however, could do nothing but to disband, and the heroes went separate ways. Nucleus came back to Utah, where he resumed his solo heroic career for a while, until he became too old for that and decided it was time to retire. Obviously, national insurance wasn’t the best for one who had been a superhero all his life, and “saving the world” didn’t have a funding program, so Nucleus’ life slowly became more and more miserable, until he found himself basically living in his own basement, spending his entire time in front of a computer screen, surfing the internet as the ultimate troll. Not being able to be an example for people anymore, he found an acceptable compromise in telling the youngsters what to do with their lives on the web, and criticized everyone and everything with flames and offending posts, replacing his war against evil with a crusade against everything wrong with the new generation. Past can come back to bite even a passionate internet troll, and for Nucleus the moment arrived when his former friend and teammate Super-Shock finally lost it: with the years, Super-Shock had lost his connection with his own humanity, and now believed himself to be a god that could and must rule over humans to prevent them from destroying themselves. He had killed Red Hawk after exposing him as a nucleuscomics2pedophile, and eventually he came for Nucleus as well. After so many years, Nucleus was surely rusty, and by the way Super-Shock was the one person in the world he couldn’t possibly damage… but he put up a fight nevertheless. The battle he couldn’t win ended as everyone expected it to, and Super-Shock killed him as well: Nucleus’ body, however, released altogether all the nuclear energy he had stored in decades, causing a massive explosion that was recorded as the biggest nuclear disaster Utah had ever faced. That surely left a mark for Nucleus to be remembered.

Nucleus is a man who simply wants to make his part: gifted with an enormous power, he uses it for serving and protecting, often masking his overwhelming arrogance and despise for the common man with the compassion a superhero has to show to the ones he saves. As Nucleus, he’s able to store and manipulate a virtually unlimited amount of nuclear energy, which he can use to fly and to emit powerful energy blasts, mostly; if he loses control of his powers, the result is the same of a leaking nuclear core, making him not only one of the most powerful men on the planet, but also one of the most dangerous. Embittered with age, he’s now a grumpy old man who spends his time reprimanding the youth for pretty much everything, an old glory the world has forgotten who doesn’t forgive the world for it.

Dexter Tolliver

dexyertolliverfilmLast character appearing in Suicide Squad (if I missed somebody just tell me in the usual place, DC movies often play the “blink and you’ll miss it” game) is Dexter Tolliver, portrayed by David Harbour. In the movie, he appears as an officer of the US Government who questions Amanda Waller‘s decision to form the Task Force X, but he’s also the first one to change his mind and to support her the moment the Enchantress recovers in a matter of seconds some secret Iranian papers the intelligence was after for months. In the comics, Tolliver works for the Government as well, but he’s much more present in the life of the Suicide Squad, being their official liaison (albeit he’s sometimes called Derek Tolliver instead of Dexter). Let’s see together.

Dexter (or Derek) Tolliver’s early life was pretty much unknown: he was American, but his family and birth place remained a mystery. He had however a number of important connections, as he managed to obtain a job in the Government, working for the United States National Security Council. For some unknown reason, he was assigned to be the liaison between the NSC and Task Force X, a secret black ops unity composed of some of the worst criminals in the world, forced to cooperate via an explosive device implanted in them and ready to detonate in case of disobedience, and commanded by Amanda Waller, an unscrupulous and determined government officer. Tolliver didn’t trust Waller nor her men, but he found them to be quite a useful tool in certain situations, and followed the team’s progresses with interest. When the superhero Firestorm demanded the destruction of the entire world’s nuclear arsenal, the Government decided he was a threat more than an asset, and Tolliver was ready to dexyertollivercomics1send the Suicide Squad against him to take him out. For the occasion, aiming at the maximum deniability, Tolliver ordered Waller to recruit some known recurring foes of Firestorm, so SlipknotKiller Frost and Multiplex joined the core members Deadshot and Captain Boomerang in assaulting the hero. Things became complicated when the Justice League International joined the battle: panicking, Tolliver ended up releasing another powerful villain, one that wasn’t exactly under his total control differently from the others, the Parasite. The fight grew in scale until it became a small war, but eventually the presence of the JLI proved to be enough to repel the Suicide Squad and Firestorm survived the experience, even reaching a deal with the government regarding nuclear weapons. Despite losing the game, Tolliver realized that the Task Force X could be used for a variety of goals, and decided to exploit the situation in his own favor, using the many leverages he had at disposal.

Tolliver had started a mutually beneficial relationship with a US Senator, Joseph Cray, a corrupt politician who had assured a number of advantages to him in case of reelection. Considering his precedents, it was highly unlikable that Cray got reelected, but Tolliver had just what he needed to assure his new friend the result: he contacted Amanda Waller, and told her he would have exposed the existence and the deeds of the Suicide Squad if she didn’t order her “pet criminals” to kill all of Cray’s adversaries. Unfortunately, Amanda wasn’t a woman who got along quietly with blackmail, and she was also one of the leaders of Checkmate, a secret intelligence agency. Needless to say, Tolliver had many skeletons in his closet, and it took little time to Checkmate agents to discover the tastiest ones: Waller blackmailed Tolliver in return, promising she would have brought him down along with her if he only whispered the name “Suicide Squad” near the press. Cornered, Tolliver couldn’t do anything but abandon his ally, and Joseph Cray was left alone to face his campaign. The story with Task Force X however was far from over: the Squad’s on-field leader, Rick Flag, had overheard Waller’s conversations with Tolliver, and he had resolved to go down the entire line to protect his men. Flag shared the informations he had only dexyertollivercomics2with some of his most trusted teammates, and conceived a plan to save the Task Force X: while Deadshot killed Senator Cray, he personally confronted Dexter Tolliver, and ended up killing him, thus making sure he would have not put in jeopardy the team ever again. The problem wasn’t buried with Tolliver, despite Flag’s and Deadshot’s efforts: a corrupt police officer found the liaison’s papers on the Squad, and sold them to the Daily Planet, thus exposing the team’s existence. From his grave, in some hell, Dexter Tolliver was probably laughing at his enemies, who had framed themselves with their own hands…

Dexter (or Derek) Tolliver is a greedy and corrupt man, who uses politics to obtain personal wealth and power. Quite clever, he’s however not nearly as smart as he believes himself to be, and his arrogance will be his downfall in dealing with an actual shark like Amanda Waller.

Lawrence Eden (Incubus)

incubusfilmThe second villain for Suicide Squad was quite a surprise, since he appeared being completely unannounced (and quite unexpected, after all the theories regarding who the big guy in the underground was): in the movie, upon her awakening the Enchantress seeks help from her long lost brother, Incubus, voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. The ancient demon takes possession of an unnamed businessman, portrayed by Alain Chanoine, and helps his sister to get rid of Amanda Waller‘s control, then he starts aiding her in accomplishing her plan to take revenge on humanity, guilty of betraying the ancient gods and of replacing them with machines. Incubus proves to be more than a match for the Suicide Squad, and only El Diablo seems able to directly damage him… for a while. In the comics, he surely is a magical villain, but he’s not Enchantress’ brother, since he’s related to another mystical heroine from the comics. Let’s see together.

Incubus as we know him was a being composed of two separate entities, but the story of both began in the Nightshade Dimension (aka the Land of Nightshades), a mystic realm not far from our reality. Two humans, Warren and Maureen Eden, ruled over that land, and they kept the Land of Nightshade peaceful, until a powerful demon known as the Incubus entered the realm, starting to kill and destroy apparently without reason nor logic, following the mysterious orders of his demonic master. Incubus single-handedly conquered the entire realm, albeit his powers were still not at their fullest, since he was an alien to the Nightshade Dimension, and he needed an indigenous vessel to fully express his potential. For a while he was helped by his mate, the Succubus, until she mysteriously disappeared, exiled in another realm… the same realm where Warren and Maureen Eden escaped, along with the princes Eve and LarryEarth. While Incubus continued his work of destruction, Larry Eden on Earth grew up totally unaware of his true origins, and his parents, who had found a parallel life on the new reality (Warren incubuscomics1was now a U.S. Senator) never told him nor his sister anything. When Larry was little, however, Maureen decided it was time her children learnt of their true heritage, and she opened a secret portal to the Land of Nightshades to show them where their true home was. This proved to be a grave mistake, as Incubus immediately knew of their presence, and attacked them: Maureen was mortally wounded, and Larry was kidnapped by the monster. Only Eve managed to come back to Earth unscathed, but not before promising her mother she would have come back to save her little brother. That, however, would have been pretty useless: Incubus had finally found the perfect host to dwell in the Land of Nightshades, and he killed the little prince, taking possession of his body. Now he had all the memories of Larry Eden, and all the powers of the malicious entity he was.

In the following years, Incubus adapted to the new body, and as Larry Eden became an adult, he grew stronger. He spent his time killing the remaining humans in the realm, preparing the arrival of his mysterious master. Only one thing was missing from his plan, and it was Eve Eden, grown up to become the superheroine Nightshade, who unexpectedly helped him in achieving it. Nightshade wanted to keep her promise, and after many solo attempts, she traveled back to the Land of Nightshades along with her friends from the Suicide Squad: DeadshotBronze Tiger, Duchess, Enchantress and Vixen, plus Captain Boomerang who didn’t want to come but was drugged and forced into the parallel dimension. She wanted to save her brother, but the being who mockingly welcomed her had nothing of Larry Eden left: Incubus ruled undisputed, and he was only waiting for his “sister” Even, on one side, and for his mate the Succubus on the other… and luckily enough, the being that had been merged with June Moon incubuscomics2to create the Enchantress was the Succubus herself, eager to join her mate once again. Incubus effortlessly defeated the entire Squad, mostly thanks to the fact that the Succubus abandoned June’s body and joined him, stealing the team’s greatest asset. Then, Incubus used his magic to try and force Succubus inside Eve Eden’s body, so that the two brothers could have united to conceive a cursed child, the incarnation of their mysterious demonic master, who would have brought chaos and destruction to all realms. Eve’s spirit was stronger than June’s, and when Succubus tried to possess her she reacted, overwhelming the demon and destroying her: as a result, she now possessed the Enchantress’ powers, being free from her madness. Using her new mystical abilities, Nightshade freed her companions and defeated Incubus… but she was unable to finish him, since she still saw her brother in him. Deadshot, however, didn’t have this kind of hesitation, and shot the mad tyrant in the head, putting and end to his realm of madness and death once and for all.

Larry Eden is a normal boy, innocent and cheerful as he can be, while Incubus is a totally malevolent being bent on chaos and destruction, who serves a mysterious master whose only purpose is harvesting souls by killing as many people as he can. The two merged together form an evil sorcerer, powerful enough to wipe away all life from an entire dimension all by himself, a vicious tyrant with a twisted sense of humor who uses Larry’s memories to psychologically torture his sister Eve. An extremely powerful magic user, Incubus uses his magic mostly to destroy and kill, and the only thing he’s able and willing to create is a heir, a body that can host his demonic master to allow him to walk in the physical realm once again, to bring the ultimate destruction to all dimensions.