Jeffrey Solomon Mace (Patriot)

patriotfilmFinally, in the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we met the organization’s new director portrayed by Jason O’Mara… and he’s indeed a character from the comics, a veteran with his origins dating back to 1941. Some of you guessed it before the episode’s release (I didn’t…), but in Meet the New Boss we learn that the director is in fact Jeffrey Mace, and the show reinvented him from the super-soldier he is in the comics by turning him into… yes, an Inhuman, apparently gifted with superhuman strength and durability, as we can guess from how easily he incapacitated a deranged Melinda May. His presence in S.H.I.E.L.D. is part of a government-sponsored plan to include Inhumans after the events of the previous seasons, and it’s funny that he mentions Captain America at a certain point, since the two character are closely related in the comics. Let’s see together.

Jeffrey Solomon Mace was born in New York City, and he grew up in Yancy Street. As a young man, he got hired by Walter Goodman as a reporter for the Daily Bugle, and on his workplace he met two of his entire life’s best friends, fellow reporter Mary Morgan and photographer Jack Casey. When World War II engulfed Europe, Jeffrey tried to enlist to do his part, but he was rejected because of his flat feet. Despite this, Mace didn’t resign himself to just stand and watch, and tried to make the difference through his work as a reporter… but that still wasn’t enough (also because his job was at risk: Goodman didn’t appreciate reporters who tended to be part of the stories they told). Then, one day, Jeffrey witnessed Captain America fighting some Nazi spies disguised as dock workers: unable to simply stand aside, he joined the hero in his battle; Cap, impressed, thanked the man for helping him out, and called him a “true patriot”. Inspired by Captain America, by his words and by what he represented for common people, Jeffrey Mace decided to follow his footsteps, and secretly underwent a severe training to be just like him; soon enough, he tailored a costume for himself, and as a homage to Cap’s words, he named himself Patriot. When Mary told him about some problems her patriotcomics1father, Otis Morgan, had at his company, Morgan Shoe Company, Jeffrey decided it was a good occasion to make his public debut: dressed as the Patriot, he arrived on place, and single-handedly fended some union busters off. From that moment, Jeff used his job as a journalist to find situation in which the Patriot could be useful, and he repelled the invasion from the private militia known as the Yellowshirts, stopped the Nazi killer Mad Violinist, prevented the escape of captive Nazi officer Lt. Heinrich Von Betz and much more; he even met other heroes such as the Human Torch, Toro and Angel, and with his spontaneous heroism and proud patriotism he became an inspiration even for the veteran heroes.

The first major emergency the Patriot faced was when the king of Atlantis, the Sub-Mariner, attacked the surface world: the Patriot led a small army of heroes against him, gathering the robot ElectroHurricane, the Phantom ReporterMister E and Fiery Mask. All the heroes united could do nothing but buy time until Captain America and the Human Torch arrived to subdue the Sub-Mariner, but their heroism didn’t go unnoticed, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself congratulated the Patriot. During this meeting, the Patriot had the chance to talk to the President heart to heart, and convinced him to have the United States join the conflict in Europe. Jeff joined the other heroes another time, when Bucky asked for his help after the Red Skull had brainwashed the Invaders, Captain America included: the Patriot contacted other heroes (namely Thin Man, Whizzer, the Red RavenMiss America and Blue Diamond), and together they formed the Liberty Legion; the Liberty Legion faced the brainwashed Invaders in an epic battle in the Yankee Stadium. The Patriot managed to defeat the Red Skull and to free his idol and the other Invaders from his control: while Cap and the others came back to England for the war, the Legion swore to stay together and defend America from any threats patriotcomics2while its greatest defenders were in Europe. The Patriot himself led the Legion against hundreds of Nazi spies, super criminals and mad scientists; one of the latter, Doctor Hanz Groitzig, kidnapped Mary Morgan and experimented on her: when the Patriot intervened to save her, she had been mutated already, and had gained superhuman abilities… which she used to confirm the Patriot’s secret identity, and to join her long-time friend in his everyday war against evil as Miss Patriot. Finally, World War II came to an end, and the world mourned the loss of its greatest hero, Captain America: to honor his memory the best he could, Jeff decided not to abandon the Patriot’s identity, and kept fighting crime on American soil even in times of peace… especially considering that the Cold War was already providing new enemies to the US.

Jeffrey Mace is a hero born: selfless, altruistic, ready to do his part, he never backs down from a challenge, and constantly pushes himself over his limits, often sacrificing his personal interest to a greater good. As the Patriot, he doesn’t possess any superhuman ability, but he’s a superb hand-to-hand combatant, a trained athlete, and a skilled pilot, a man who trained his body to perfection in the effort of following the footsteps of his hero, Captain America. Dedicated to the cause, always on the side of the weak and the defenseless, the Patriot will fight with determination and courage to his last breath to make the world a better place.


Evelyn Crawford (Starling)

starlingfilmWell, not only Rachel McLaughlin‘s character, Evelyn Sharp, will be Arrow‘s version of Artemis, but she will also include another character from the comics in her portrayal, as her full name has been revealed to be Evelyn Crawford Sharp. “Sharp” still doesn’t say anything, but with “Crawford” it’s all another thing, as Evelyn Crawford is actually a character from the comics, recently introduced in The New 52 story line (so exclusive to the Prime Earth reality)… and she does indeed have ties with Black Canary, even if she’s not exactly a copycat, and she’s also closer to the heroine’s age. Evelyn Crawford is a member of the most recent incarnation of the Birds of Prey, and consequently an associate of Black Canary’s, something that the show won’t explore for obvious reasons… but we can nevertheless.

Not much is known about Evelyn Crawford’s early life, apart from the fact that she lived and operated in Gotham City, and that she had an uncle named Earl somewhere in the world. She was also a very religious woman, but this didn’t prevent her from becoming a mercenary and ending up on the Government’s black list of wanted people. starlingcomics1Known as Starling, she managed to stay out of trouble with the authorities, and to accomplish several contracts for quite a number of employers. Eventually, one of her contractors sent her on an undercover mission in the exclusive club Iceberg Lunge, which also served as a front activity for the many illicit business of its owner, The Penguin. During her time in the Lunge, Starling met another undercover Team 7 agent, Dinah Lance, better known as the heroine Black Canary. The two became friends (for a while Evelyn, who was bisexual, even had a crush on Dinah), and after both their jobs were done, they kept in contact, despite Starling was still a wanted woman. When Black Canary founded a women-only covert-ops team in Gotham, the Birds of Prey, she remembered her friend, and called her back to town, asking her to join. Wanting to settle down a bit, and conscious of the advantages of teammates covering her back, Starling decided to accept the offer, and joined Black Canary, the superheroine Batgirl, the haunted samurai Katana and the vengeful Huntress in their crusade to keep Gotham’s streets clean. This, of course, was quite a handful of troubles for each and every heroine in the team.

Life in the team didn’t exactly start the best of ways, as soon the Birds of Prey became the target of an organization of killers, the Cleaners: each one of them was equipped with a stealthy armor that made them practically invisible, and they were mind-controlled by the organization’s mysterious leader, Choke. The Birds needed help, and Black Canary found another team member in the reformed Poison Ivy… something that Starling didn’t like at all, as she starlingcomics2didn’t trust the former (?) super-villain. Between Starling and Ivy (the “talking salad”, as she called her) a rivalry was immediately born, and this put the team in jeopardy several times, especially considering that dismantling Choke’s organization required the team’s cooperation. When Starling managed to save Black Canary, who nearly died after Choke implanted a bomb in her head, she became the Cleaners’ new target: still controlling Canary, Choke sent Starling into a trap, and had her ambushed by dozens of killers. Against all odds, Evelyn survived the experience, and along with the rest of the Birds of Prey she managed to discover Choke’s secret identity and to attack him in his HQ. Case was closed, even if Katana, who had slain “Choke” (a man named Trevor Cahill), claimed they took the wrong guy. Starling, however, had lost faith in her friend, and when Poison Ivy betrayed the team during one of her usual ecoterrorist schemes, just as Evelyn had foreseen, she decided she would have not trusted Black Canary anymore. When the supervillain Mr. Freeze started observing the Birds of Prey, Starling spotted her way out, and betrayed her teammates working as a double agent for Freeze. After all, there had always been just one person she truly looked out for, and that was herself.

Evelyn Crawford is quite a complex woman: a pious believer but also a remorseless killer, a loyal and dependable friend but also a selfish and untrustworthy survivor, a loner but also a good team-player, and much more. As Starling, she’s an expert mercenary, lethal with any kind of firearm, an excellent pilot and hand-to-hand combatant, a skilled spy and a resourceful tactician; with her remarkable wealth she can afford a number of gadgets she uses as both as a mercenary and a crime-fighter, and despite lacking any kind of superpower she had nothing to envy to the other Birds of Prey. A riddle of a woman, Starling will die for you or stab your back, depending on where her priority interest lays.

Rafael “Rafe” Scarfe

rafaelscarfefilmAs Luke Cage is to be released in a couple of days, we got a brand new trailer, which introduces another recurring character in the series. We see Misty Knight speaking with her partner about how much their job has changed since superhumans started popping out in the streets: the other cop is Rafael Scarfe, portrayed by Frank Whaley. As we just said, he’ll be Misty’s partner, and he’ll join her in her investigation on the mysterious bulletproof man, Luke Cage… but apparently he won’t be lucky in his manhunt, as we can see him further in the trailer with his shirt covered in blood and a couple of bullet wounds on his chest. Whether he’ll survive the experience or not, it remains to be seen. In the comics, he’s been one of the main supporting characters of the Heroes for Hire, a hard-as-nail cop who cooperated with the street heroes. Let’s see together.

Rafael “Rafe” Scarfe was born and raised in New York City. During his youth, he enlisted in the US Army and was sent to Vietnam during the war. When he finished his tour, he decided to leave the Army and to pursue a career in police. Trained, smart and honest, he rose through the ranks and became a Lieutenant, and made quite a name for himself for both his talents (he was also a skilled baseball player in the NYPD‘s team) and his flaws (an extremely cultured man, he often became annoying with his many caveats and unrequited advises). Scarfe was partnered with another tough cop, Misty Knight, whom he immediately got along with: they worked together for five years, and they collected an impressive numbers of arrests and solved cases. One day, Misty was caught in an explosion while she was trying to set off a bomb and lost her left arm: Scarfe was the one who aided her, trying to stop the blood loss with his jacket and rushing her to the nearest hospital. The woman was in a coma for days, and Rafe never left her bedside, waiting for his partner to awaken. Luckily enough, Misty recovered, but after the accident she quit with police; she and Rafe anyway remained friends, and when she became a P.I. Scarfe often helped her. The irony of fate wanted that Scarfe also formed bonds with the rafaelscarfecomics1people that would have had a pivotal role in Misty’s new life: an old friend of Rafe’s, Professor Lee Wing, contacted him because his beloved daughter Colleen had been kidnapped by a monstrous madman, who had started a killing spree in the middle of New York City. After some investigation, Rafe found out the culprit was Mitchell Tanner, one of his old comrades in arms: named Warhawk, he had undergone weird experiments from the CIA and had become an invincible super-soldier. Rafe believed Warhawk was experiencing PTSD, and warned the hero Iron Fist, who was on his trails, that it would have been impossible to defeat him, if everything he had learnt about him in Vietnam was true. The hero ignored the warning, and eventually he managed to defeat Warhawk: from that moment, however, Rafe and Iron Fist became good friends.

The two met together during a softball match between NYPD and Marvel Comics‘ staff: Iron Fist, in his Danny Rand persona, was passing by in Central Park, and was invited by Rafe to join his team. The game ended in a tie, and both teams enjoyed their time… but among the spectators there was also Princess Azir, heir to the throne of Halwan; her nemesis, Master Khan, had sent the Monstroid to dispose of her, and the space robot appeared in Central Park, aiming for the young woman. Without hesitation, Lt. Scarfe organised his men in no time, and led them against the Monstroid, even if their guns could do nothing against it. However, albeit the entire force got easily defeated, Rafe bought enough time for Danny to change into Iron Fist and to engage the Monstroid in battle, destroying it. After the incident, Scarfe and Iron Fist escorted the Princess to the airport, but when they came back to Professor Wing’s house they found it had been attacked, and the professor wounded. As they approached, Scarfe noted some “policemen” dragging away Colleen Wing and tried to question them, but they shot at him in response: only Iron Fist’s intervention saved him. Together, cop and hero pursued the fake policemen, and rafaelscarfecomics2managed to corner them in a dead end… but then they got attacked by Angar the Screamer, who used his voice to make them hallucinate. Rafe regained his senses just a moment before Iron Fist, and stopped the hero from killing Angar: questioning the criminal, they found out he worked for Tony Stark. At this point, Rafe’s and Misty’s paths met once again, as in the meanwhile Colleen had become Misty Knight’s best friend, and the two worked together: Misty joined Rafe and Iron Fist in their raid to Stark Industries, where they discovered Stark was innocent and had nothing to do with the attempts on Azir’s or Professor Wing’s life, or with Colleen’s kidnapping. It was Scarfe who discovered the culprit, Master Khan, and who, thanks to his friends from Interpol, even managed to locate him. The lead was pivotal to Misty and Iron Fist in rescuing Colleen Wing and defeating Master Khan: from that moment, any time the Heroes for Hire or the Daughters of the Dragon needed help (or simply someone to arrest the criminals they incapacitated), they knew they had a precious friend in NYPD.

Rafael Scarfe has been many things in his life, a dutiful soldier, a hero cop, even a baseball player, but one thing he’s always been: a good and honest man, and a fiercely loyal friend. Trained under the army, he’s more athletic and skilled in combat that many of his fellow policemen, and his past experiences as well as his innate bravery make him face without hesitation even superhuman opponents (sometimes even successfully, as with the humanoid wolf Fera). Cultured, intuitive, smart and dependable, Scarfe is a cop who always plays by the book… unless some friend’s in need: this is an occasion some rules are worth breaking for.

Amadeus Cho (Mastermind Excello)

amadeuschofilmNext character in Brick89‘s list is Amadeus Cho, a teenager hero who lately in the comics got a lot of attention, but who in the movies is still just a background character. Cho only appears in The Incredible Hulk, and in a pretty disappointing version: he’s the computer nerd portrayed by Martin Starr who’s bribed with a pizza by Bruce Banner when he infiltrates Culver University. Well, since his mother has been introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s possible that this version of Amadeus Cho will be soon retconned to give space to a more faithful version of the character, especially considering that he was only credited as “Computer Nerd” at first, and that his name was revealed later in the movie’s novelization. Anyway, this is the only Amadeus Cho we have so far, and it’s a good excuse to take a look at the original one nevertheless.

The son of Korean immigrants Phil and Helen Cho, Amadeus Cho was born in TucsonArizona. Since his very first years, Amadeus proved to be an incredibly gifted kid, developing an outstanding intelligence that put him far above the average of his peers. He absorbed information like a supercomputer, and learnt a lot of things by himself, becoming highly cultured, besides being smarter every month he lived. His parents, and Helen particularly, soon understood he was a genius born and supported his talent, providing him with new passions and new things to learn: school was but a formality for Amadeus, and when he was fifteen he was already a senior in high school, much more intelligent and cultured than his professors. It was during this year that the soap corporation Excello organised an online game for highly intelligent teenagers, an extremely difficult quiz named Brain Fight. Obviously, Amadeus participated, and he didn’t even break a sweat to win the $5,000 reward. Apart from the amadeuschocomics1money, Amadeus won the title of Mastermind Excello and the position of 7th smartest man in the world, a result that made his parents and his little sister Maddy rejoice… but the Chos didn’t know that there was a secret aim behind Brain Fight: the CEO of Excello was Pythagoras Dupree, a genius himself (self-proclaimed 6th smartest man in the world), former child prodigy, pathologically envious of whatever other intellect might challenge his own. Dupree had organised Brain Fight to find other geniuses like him… and to kill them to eradicate possible rivals before they became adults and could challenge his genius. Unwillingly, Amadeus had revealed his existence and his genius to Dupree, and the latter didn’t wait a moment to act: he sent his men to the Chos’ house, and had them blow it up. Amadeus would have died in the explosion as well, but that night a mysterious girl (the goddess Athena in disguise) made him arrive late for dinner for the first time in his life: as a result, now Amadeus was alone in the world, with his entire family brutally and senselessly murdered.

Amadeus hit the road, hoping to hide his trails from Pythagoras Dupree and his men, and to survive on his own (something that wasn’t very difficult, considered his intellect and his resourcefulness). After the attack to his house, he grew quite paranoid, and he didn’t trust anybody he met, thinking that anyone could be Dupree’s spy. The only other being he allowed to be his travel companion was a coyote puppy he found on the road, whom he named Kirby (short for Kerberos). Together, Amadeus and Kirby traveled the country, always trying to stay hidden and to avoid unwanted attentions… but even all his caution eventually failed, and Amadeus was spotted by authorities, and consequently by Excello. Dupree’s agents tracked him down, and where about to finally dispose of him… if it wasn’t for another genius hunted down by the whole world: Hulk. The Green Goliath obviously didn’t know Amadeus’ story, but he saw a defenseless teenager pursued by mysterious men with clear killing intent, and he didn’t need anything else to intervene. Hulk saved the boy, and from that moment, he started following the giant, considering him his friend. The two stayed together for a while, until the Hulk mysteriously disappeared, and the boy found himself alone again. Meanwhile, a battle among superhumans in Stamford, Connecticut, had killed a amadeuschocomics2number of children, and the Government had ratified a new law, the Superhuman Registration Act: according to S.H.I.E.L.D., an intellect such as Mastermind Excello’s was an ability that needed to be registered, and they started hunting him down. Cho’s brain was far too much for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle, and he managed to outsmart them and to escape in New Mexico, in a hideout previously owned by his friend the Hulk. From here, Amadeus hacked the Baxter Building security system to learn what the Pro-Registration Faction was up to… but he discovered something else: a group of the smartest heroes in the world, the Illuminati (Mr. Fantastic, Black BoltProfessor X, Dr. StrangeIron Man and Namor), had sent Hulk in space. Plus, the giant had ended up on a different planet than the one the Illuminati calculated: now it was up to Amadeus to recover his friend… and to unleash his fury on the ones who had betrayed him.

A loyal friend and a loving son, enthusiastic and cheerful, Amadeus Cho is a perfectly normal kid… or at least, he would be, if he wasn’t as smart as he is. His intelligence also causes paranoia and a general mistrust towards nearly anybody, apart from a selected number of friends, namely Hulk and Hercules (albeit with time this trait of his character diminished a little). As Mastermind Excello, he’s one of the ten smartest men on the planet, able to rival with Iron Man, Doctor Doom, Mister Fantastic, Hank Pym or Hank McCoy; he possesses a so-called hypermind, a brain able to perform an infinite amount of complex calculations at the same time, to absorb unlimited information, to identify any possible variable in a situation (even on a quantum level) and to change the outcome based on his previsions. With a gift that more often then not proved to be a curse, Amadeus Cho tries to cope with his limitless intelligence, and with a world that doesn’t seem ready for it.


canelofilmNew sneak peeks from the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode showed us another character from the comics, albeit a more than secondary one. In Meet the New Boss, not only we’ll finally know who the new S.H.I.E.L.D. director is, but we’ll also meet Robbie Reyes‘ boss, Canelo, portrayed by Daniel Zacapa. Canelo will be introduced as the owner of Canelo’s Auto and Body, and he will obviously share a relation with the new antagonist (possible future costar) of the series… but this is as far as our information go so far. Well, even in the comics Canelo doesn’t have much of a story line, and he appears mostly as a background character, but he’s there nevertheless, so as usual we’re going to take a quick look at him.

Not much is known about Canelo’s life, actually not even his first name. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lived in the Eastern block, not exactly the safest area of the city. Always good with cars, Canelo opened a mechanic’s workshop, which he called Canelo’s Auto and Body. A pretty good mechanic himself, Canelo hired some helpers and assistants for his activity, often underpaying them for their services, and taking for himself the praise for their job. Obviously, you can’t live in the mud and keep your hands clean, so Canelo often made deals with some of the local gangs in a relationship of mutual benefit: his activity was left in peace, with no problems coming from the gangs, and in return Canelo took care of the cars and bikes they brought to him, without investigating much on their origin, and closing an eye if they “casually” matched the description of some stolen vehicle. Business was doing quite fine with this philosophy, and Canelo never found a reason to change it. Things on the streets never got any more peaceful, and gangs fought one against the other for power, control and wealth: only Canelo’s Auto and Body was a constant, a canelocomics1neutral ground for any gang, thanks to Canelo’s peculiar diplomacy that managed to make the workshop resist any gang war, social change or politician. The man wasn’t exactly friend with anybody, but being nobody’s enemy gave him quite an advantage in keeping his activity going, and he made sure that also his employees learnt the rule soon enough not to ruin everything during their first days of work… especially when they had something against the gangs, like Robbie Reyes.

Robbie Reyes was one of Canelo’s newly hired mechanics, and he worked for him just to earn enough money to get away from East L.A. along with his crippled brother Gabe: Canelo knew that Robbie didn’t like the gangs, so he kept an eye on him, appreciating his work, but never trusting him enough to make him part of his most remunerative activities. Robbie even proved to be too smart for his own good, as he was one of the few who realized Canelo was giving him less money than he should have had, and also had the guts to make his employer “notice” it, forcing him to give him what he owed. Everytime it happened, Canelo played dumb, and acted as if it was a simple mistake of calculation, but he knew that Robbie meant trouble, and despite he was a skilled mechanic, he hoped that he would have moved soon. One day, another one of Canelo’s “special costumers” arrived: McCallum, a mercenary who had a brand new car, and needed someone to take care of it for a while. The car was a black 1969 Dodge Charger, quite a fine automobile for a workshop like his own. McCallum had entered a war involving the local gang leader Grumpy and the international supervillain Mister Hyde, and the car itself was full with a particular kind of booty, Hyde’s formula… but Canelo didn’t care anything canelocomics2about it, and just took the money. Unbeknownst to him, Robbie repaired the car, and used it for an illegal car race starting a series of events that unleashed the ghost haunting the car and transformed him into the new Ghost Rider… bringing a lot of unwanted attention to Canelo’s Auto and Body as well. Canelo knew the boy meant trouble, just he didn’t know how much he was right…

Canelo is a clever man in a difficult world, a simple worker who knows how to survive in an urban war zone thanks to a not-so-pure conscience. Not exactly a thief, not properly a criminal, Canelo nevertheless takes a lot of compromises to keep his head above water, and he manages to do so pretty well.

Edward Clariss (The Rival)

therivalfilmDC TV’s return is just behind the corner, and a last trailer for The Flash confirmed the identity of the evil speedster Barry will find in the new reality he created with his time travel. In the new season’s premiere, Flashpoint, Barry finds out that there’s a new hero in Central CityKid Flash, and where’s a Flash there’s obviously a Reverse-Flash, in this case there’s The Rival, portrayed by Todd Lasance. We don’t know much about this new evil speedster, apart from the fact that the Flash from two realities will join forces to defeat him. Curiously enough, last season’s Zoom borrowed many elements from the comics version of The Rival, both in his look and in his story line (just like Professor Zoom had borrowed many elements from the comics’ Zoom), so it’ll be fun to see what the actual Rival will be like… even if there’s the possibility that he’ll be a freak-of-the-week kind of villain. Being it a way or another, let’s take a look at the original stuff.

Not much is known about Edward Clariss‘ early life: born in Keystone City, he grew up to become a brilliant and ambitious man, a gifted scientist accomplished in both physics and chemistry. He became a renowned professor at Midwestern University, reaching a point in his life where he believed he had everything he ever wanted… but of course something happened that made him rethink what he had just achieved. A new student entered university in his department, Jay Garrick, a brilliant young man who was about to make the discovery of the century. While experimenting on hard water, Garrick accidentally discovered a formula that granted him an incredible speed, an amazing power that made him a football star, first, and the superhero known as The Flash, later. Clariss was one of the few people in Midwestern University who knew who was the man donning the winged helmet, since he knew therivalcomics1everything about the experiment. He became obsessed with recreating Garrick’s formula, but there was one last element he missed to complete his work… an element that Joan Williams, Jay’s girlfriend, unwilling gave to him, as he overheard a conversation between her and a friend, about a student Jay had helped by replicating his formula and giving him his powers as a result. Finally, Clariss had everything he needed to replicate the super speed formula, and recreated it, naming it Velocity 9. Sure that he would have at least won a Nobel Prize, Clariss presented his “discovery” to the scientific community… but he was mocked and humiliated by fellow scientists who didn’t believe his claims. Enraged, he decided he would have proved them wrong. In any possible way.

Embittered towards his peers, and even towards Jay Garrick since he was enjoying all the success that had been denied to him, Edward Clariss decided to use Velocity 9 to become a better version of The Flash… but also his opposite, his reverse (thus becoming the first of a long series of Reverse-Flashes). He tailored a costume nearly identical to The Flash’s one, only much darker in tone and with an upwards bolt of lightning on his chest; he donned a black mask that covered his entire face, and renamed himself The Rival. He started to run with one single purpose: to prove to the world that he was much better than the original Flash. The Rival threw down the gauntlet, and The Flash accepted the challenge… especially because the envious and furious Clariss had started a murdering spree using his superspeed, and needed to be stopped. At first, The Rival got the upper hand in the duel, and his speed proved to be able to match The Flash’s one, and even to surpass it… but there was something about Velocity 9 that Clariss himself didn’t know: as soon as his body burnt the formula in his system, he lost his powers, and Garrick easily arrested him. While in prison, Clariss had time to perfect Velocity 9 to make it last longer, and as soon as he was able to escape he therivalcomics2resumed his crusade against Garrick, challenging him over and over again. Eventually, during a battle, The Rival surpassed The Flash, but for doing so he reached the speed of light… and ended up losing himself in the Speed Force, disappearing. The criminal spent fifty years in the speedsters’ limbo, until the demonic mastermind Johnny Sorrow offered him a way out, in exchange of two things: to be a part of his Injustice Society, and to bring him Jay Garrick’s head on a plate. Clariss didn’t ask for anything else, and accepted Sorrow’s offer: the world would have soon remembered the dread of the original Reverse-Flash.

Edward Clariss is a brilliant and gifted man, but he’s also extremely ambitious and self-important; his envy towards Jay Garrick brought him to embrace a criminal life, and the decades spent in the Speed Force led him to madness, and he is now a dangerous psychopath. As The Rival, he has access to the Speed Force (at first temporarily due to Velocity 9, after his imprisonment he became a being of pure speed energy), which grants him the usual super speed, allowing him to run at incredible speeds, to phase through solid matter, to generate vortexes, to heal extremely fast; as a Speed Force ghost, he’s also able to possess other people as if he was an actual spirit. Deranged, vengeful and envious, The Rival is the sworn enemy of Jay Garrick, a dark and twisted version of The Flash who will murder an entire state just to gain the attention of his nemesis.

Norrin Radd (Silver Surfer)

silversurferfilmWaiting for new tv episodes to come (and from next week there will be plenty), let’s spend some more time on Brick89‘s request, this time with another particularly popular superhero: Silver Surfer. He appeared as a secondary antagonist in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, portrayed by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne; debuting as the herald of Galactus, he calls for his master to feed on Earth, but he’s attacked and stripped of his powers by Doctor Doom. He teams up with the Fantastic Four against Doom, and eventually finds in humanity a cause worth fighting for: he rebels against Galactus, apparently sacrificing his life to destroy him, but he survives the experience, and comes back surfing in open space towards a spin-off that never happened. This version of the Surfer wasn’t exactly the best one we could hope for, but he wasn’t either that bad (apart from the absurd movie ending). His origin story, as he tells it to the Invisible Woman, is pretty much the same in the comics: let’s see together.

Son of Jartran and Elmar RaddNorrin Radd was born on Zenn-La, an extremely advanced planet in the star system of Deneb. On Zenn-La, crime, vice, poverty, hunger, illness and conflict had been eradicated, and all the population enjoyed an era of scientific and philosophical progress. Pushed by his father, Norrin became one of the finest intellectuals on the planet, refusing the spreading hedonism of the new generations. Both his parents committed suicide (Elmar because she felt unfit for her society, Jartran for shame after being accused of idea theft), and this only pushed Norrin Radd to seek knowledge even more, alienating himself from his peers, except from his beloved Shalla-Bal. His lover didn’t fully understand Norrin’s restlessness, as she perfectly fit into Zenn-La’s new society and believed that she and her beloved could have everything they wanted and needed, but the man sought a silversurfercomics1knowledge long lost on his planet, and studied his ancestors, explorers and warriors, feeling more akin to them than to his contemporaries. Then, one day, Norrin Radd’s life changed forever: a gargantuan space ship entered Zenn’La’s orbit, and the long-neglected defense system didn’t do anything to stop the invader. Among the population, Norrin Radd was the only one who knew something of the ancient space-traveling technology, and it took a little effort for him to convince the Council of Scientists to allow him to use a spaceship to reach the invaders and negotiate with them. Norrin found out that the invader was but one, and wasn’t interested in any kind of occupation or conquest: it was Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, and was ready to consume Zenn-La. The scientist begged the cosmic being to spare his planet, but the Devourer was starving, and wasn’t very disposed to be merciful. Then, Radd had an idea, understanding that Galactus didn’t want to consume inhabited worlds if it wasn’t necessary: he offered himself as the Devourer’s herald, exploring the universe for him to find deserted planet to feed him. Galactus accepted the offer, and imbued Radd with Power Cosmic, giving him a fraction of his own and transforming him in the being that would have been known as the Silver Surfer.

Despite being impossible for Norrin Radd to come back to Zenn-La and to his beloved Shalla-Bal, being the Silver Surfer had some positive aspects to it, namely the unlimited freedom it granted to him: with the immense powers given to him by Galactus, the Surfer could roam the universe and explore it as he had always wanted to, learning much from other cultures and other forms of life, with the only duty of finding an energy-rich planet with no sentient life on it for his master. Eventually, however, these kind of planets became rarer and rarer, to the point that Galactus, in order to ensure his own survival, progressively erased his herald’s past memories and conscience, so that he didn’t have any more hesitation in guiding him to inhabited planets as well. One day, the Surfer found a powerful barrier surrounding a planet extremely full of energy: Earth. Using his power, he easily silversurfercomics2pierced the barrier, a mimetic coat created by Uatu the Watcher to protect the planet, and he called for Galactus to feed on Earth. Obviously, the shining and silent visitor scared many on the planet, and the heroic team Fantastic Four arrived to confront the invader: after a battle, Silver Surfer fell into an attic, where he met a blind sculptress, Alicia Masters, who, not knowing who she was dealing with, welcomed him and treated him. During his time with Alicia, Silver Surfer remembered Norrin Radd: his humanity, his conscience and his memories resurfaced, and the resentment towards his master for deceiving him and his will to protect humanity brought him to turn on Galactus. With his enormous power, Silver Surfer allied with the Fantastic Four, and bought them enough time for the Human Torch and Uatu to retrieve the Ultimate Nullifier, the only item in the universe capable of posing a serious threat to Galactus’ god-like powers. Galactus was forced to retreat, but not before punishing his rogue herald for betraying him: the Devourer created a special barrier around Earth, synchronized on the Surfer’s cosmic energy, so that he was incapable of ever leaving the planet’s orbit. With his freedom lost, Silver Surfer grew melancholic, but didn’t lose his thirst for knowledge and his noble soul: he wandered his new homeworld trying to understand its people, and to protect them… mainly from themselves.

Norrin Radd is a noble and selfless man, totally bent on his search for knowledge; he’s also a tormented and restless soul, who mourns the life he has lost, but values over everything else the freedom he’s been allowed. As the Silver Surfer, the Power Cosmic grants him a number of astonishing abilities: he can survive in the void of space, and he possesses superhuman strength, durability, stamina, speed and agility; he can fly at incredible speed on his board, and he can absorb and manipulate a nearly unlimited amount of energy, to the point that he can freely rearrange the molecules even of solid matter; the board itself can act as a cosmic energy storage, able to increase the already remarkable powers of its owner. One of the most powerful beings in the universe, and the most powerful among the heralds of Galactus, the Silver Surfer explores the universe in the effort of understanding the meaning of existence itself, and every planet, every people, every individual he meets enriches him with a tile to his mosaic.