Tara

tarafilmIn The Walking Dead episode 07×04 Alexandria Safe-Zone doesn’t look so well in its first dealing with The Saviors, but we get to know some other member of the hostile group. Among the ones spotted in Service there’s one we already heard the voice of in The CellArat, portrayed by Elizabeth Ludlow. In the episode she doesn’t do much more than plundering the community along with the other Saviors, but we’ll have plenty of time to know her. In the comics her name is different, actually it’s spelled backwards: Tara (they changed it in order not to create confusion with Tara Chamblers, an established character in the main cast). Let’s see together who this tough she-Savior is in the comics.

Little is known about Tara’s early life, not even her surname. She was born in a family of Asian descent, and she lived somewhere in Virginia or in the State of Washington. Quite a rebel, she lived her own way, provoking common sense with her piercings and tattoos. When the dead started to resurrect to eat the flesh of the living, however, nobody put attention to her look anymore: the Outbreak brought any civilization to extinction in a matter of months, and Tara, as well as everybody else, was forced to learn how to survive on her own in a post-apocalyptic world. Resourceful and violent, she managed to survive the first days and the ones that followed, and she eventually found a group she fit quite well within: The Saviors, a band of brutal conquerors led by a cunning and charismatic psychopath, Negan. Most of the women arrived to The Sanctuary, the Saviors’ headquarters, found simple jobs and entered Negan’s harem, but Tara was different, and she became the first woman to enter Negan’s army, an equal among the many men composing it. She didn’t have anything to be envious, of course: she could be just as menacing, brutal and lethal as all the others, and she enjoyed plundering the resources of other communities following Negan’s orders. There were a few people she respected, but one of them was Dwight, Negan’s second in command. Everybody, however, made mistakes: when he was coming back from taracomics1Alexandria Safe-Zone, one of the newest acquisitions in the “saved territories”, Dwight was followed to The Sanctuary by one of the residents, Paul Monroe. Tara intercepeted the man along with fellow sentinel John, and she threatened Paul to cut his balls off if he didn’t surrender…but the man was a martial artist, and he easily overpowered both her and John. Back on her feet, Tara was ready to shoot him, but Dwight stopped her, claiming that Negan wanted to question Paul: luckily for Monroe, Tara listened to Dwight’s orders, and let him walk away on his feet.

From that point on, things excalated quickly: the little sign of rebellion from Alexandria became something more, and the defeated community forged an alliance with other two, The Kingdom and Hilltop Colony…as well as with a rogue faction of Saviors who didn’t want Negan as a leader anymore, led by none other than Dwight. Tara didn’t follow Dwight in his rebellion, and she remained loyal to Negan in the following war, a war that The Saviors were winning from the very beginning…until tides turned and she found herself on the losing side. The Saviors were defeated in a final battle in Alexandria and Negan was taken prisoner, but The Sanctuary wasn’t destroyed, as the victorious communities wanted to create a peaceful world after that all-out clash. Dwight came back to The Sanctuary as the Saviors’ new leader, adding the once hostile community to a net of cooperation and trade with the other three: Tara, who already liked Dwight despite his betrayal, chose to stay with him, and adapted to the new world order, even if with some difficulty. For two years, the communities lived in peace and created an effective micro-society, but everything changed once again when Dwight, feeling the pressure of being a leader, decided to step out, and left The Sanctuary. Tara, commenting with fellow Saviors Sherry and Mark, played tough and remarked that the community would have been better without Dwight around, but in truth she was all but pleased by her leader’s decision, and she felt abandoned without taracomics2a guidance. When some time later Vincent, a resident from Alexandria Safe-Zone, came knocking to The Sanctuary asking for aid against a new hostile group, the Whisperers, Tara had only menaces and insults for him, and she sent him away without providing help: from that moment on, The Saviors had to take care of themselves only, and she didn’t want anything to do with the other communities anymore.

Tara is a violent and angry woman, who believes in strength as the only means to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. She’s an accomplished fighter, skilled with both guns and kinves, and she doesn’t have any qualm in using them if the situation requires (but even if it doesn’t). Tough enough to be put on par with the Saviors’ men by a sexist like Negan, Tara is surely a force to be reckoned with, even among a group such as The Saviors.

Orana (Wonder Woman)

oranafilmThere’s still another trailer that has been released in the last days, the second one for Wonder Woman, which offers a look at another couple of characters. During a sequence on Themyscira‘s beach, we see a group of soldiers going ashore and attacking the Amazons: one of them tries to repel them by performing quite a leap and shooting an arrow to them…but she finds out that rifles work better. The short-lived Amazon is Orana, portrayed by Mayling Ng, another character exhumed by the long-lost Earth-One. In the comics, Orana surely lives longer than she does in the upcoming movie, but she doesn’t live long nevertheless, just enough to steal from Diana her superhero name… Let’s see together.

Orana was an Amazon, born on Paradise Island as one of the immortal women protecting and guiding the World of Men from afar. When Queen Hippolyta decided to hold a tournament to select one Amazon warrior to send to the World of Men to act as the superheroine Wonder Woman, guarding peace and love in a world of war and hatred, also her daughter, Princess Diana, participated to the tests; envious already of Diana’s skills, Orana briefly confronted her Queen, asking Hippolyta if she would have been fair and impartial in judging a competition involving her own daughter. Hippolyta reassured her on that, but the result was the one Orana was expecting: Diana won every single trial, and she was awarded with the title of Wonder Woman, ready to be sent to the outside world. Sure that an injustice had been perpetrated, Orana spent the following years training, wanting to become better than her princess. When she believed to be finally ready to challenge Diana, she came to Hippolyta with a challenge for her oranacomics1daughter: a new tournament to reassign the title of Wonder Woman. Since the Gods of Olympus had decreed the possibility to do so with their laws, Hippolyta accepted, and she called Diana back to Paradise Island to compete. Despite her initial resistence, Diana eventually accepted the challenge, and a new four-days tournament with trials based on the four natural elements (fire, earth, air and water) began. Orana surely was determined and competitive, but she was also rash and inexperienced: her actions more often than not endangered the lives of the other competitors; as a result, Wonder Woman lost time and energy in saved the other Amazons (and even the world from a meteor shower) from the side-effects of Orana’s “enthusiasm”, and she ended up losing the tournament. At the end of the fourth day Hippolyta, pleased by Diana’s compassion, decided to confirm her as the current Wonder Woman.

Orana was enraged for the decision, and so were the Gods of Olympus, according to which the law had been violated. Rather than putting her mother against the Gods, Diana chose to relinquish her title, and Orana became the new Wonder Woman, receiving all her predecessor’s equipment and leaving to New York City. In the big city, Orana became immediately frustrated with the people, who took her for an impostor and failed to acknowledge her as the new Wonder Woman; later on her first day as a heroine, she tried to stop the terrorist Warhead, but when the police intervened she mistook them for enemies, and in the following commotion the villain escaped. The Amazon became even more enraged when she found out Diana had escaped Paradise Island going against the Gods’ laws, and accused her of wanting to sabotage her efforts; the two left as enemies, with the new Wonder Woman ordering Diana not to mess with her business, and the old one telling her successor not to come to her looking for help. Soon after, Warhead tried another assault on New York: Orana confronted him and his men, but while she was deflecting bullets aimed at her, she failed to notice that the terrorist had already dropped a neutron bomb on the Columbus Day parade on the streets. Luckily enough, Diana oranacomics2intervened just in time, grabbing the bomb in mid-air and saving the day; she then instructed Orana to fly the Invisible Plane higher to intercept Warhead’s chopper, but the new Wonder Woman could only see her predecessor stealing her glory, and not only she ignored the advice, but she also started quarreling with the princess…failing to notice that Warhead had armed his machinegun on the helicopter and was about to start shooting. When she realised what was happening, it was too late already, and Warhead shot her, putting an end to her brief career as Wonder Woman.

Orana is an arrogant and childish woman, with a pride matched only by her ambition: brutal as a fighter and determined to obtain what she wants no matter the cost, she’s an Amazon who knows no compassion. As Wonder Woman, she possesses superhuman strength, speed, agility and durability; she’s trained in the art of war, and she’s a superb hand-to-hand combatant; she possesses all her predecessor’s equipment, including the Invisible Jet, the magic Lasso of Truth, the indestructible Bracelets of Submission and the tiara. With no idea on what being a hero means, Orana fights for her ambition and her wounded ego, constantly comparing herself to Diana and trying to achieve more glory than her princess.

Ishmael Gregor (Sabbac)

sabbacfilmLet’s come back to Arrow and to the new character introduced in the flashbacks. In So It Begins, we follow the final steps of Oliver Queen‘s initiation to Bratva, the Russian Mafia. After completing the final test, Queen is introduced by his friend Anatoly Kniazev to the Pakhan, the local godfather, named Ishmael Gregor: portrayed by David Meunier, he is the one who sends Oliver to infiltrate Konstantin Kovar‘s casino to allow him to kill him…but in the following episode it’s revealed he’s actually an ally of Kovar’s, and that he sold Queen to him. Gregor is an established villain in the comics, but not exactly from the Green Arrow‘s rogue gallery…and he’s definitely something more than a mob boss, albeit he starts that way. Let’s see together.

Ishmael Gregor was born in an unspecified city in Russia. He entered the local criminality, and he rose in ranks until he became a renowned boss, feared and respected. Something happened to fracture his criminal empire, and Gregor found himself forced to leave his homecountry, moving to the United States of America. Even as an immigrant, his fame preceded him, and in New York City he could rebuild his empire on foreigner ground. While in the States, he learned of a man named Timothy Karnes who had made a deal with several demons to obtain amazing powers: by spelling the first letters of the devils giving him power (SatanAymBelial, Beelzebub, Asmodeus and Crateis) he became Sabbac, an evil demonic version of Captain Marvel. Karnes, defeated by the Marvel Family, had been imprisoned, and his voice box removed to prevent him from spelling the incantation: needless to say, Gregor wanted his power, and sent his men to investigate on where Karnes was kept. When he found Karnes, he contacted him, telling him that he wanted to serve the one and only Sabbac with a spell that would have sabbaccomics1allowed him to access his powers without spelling the word. Obviously interested, Tim Karnes allowed Gregor to use him during the ritual. Ishmael broke Karnes out of his prison, and prepared him for the ceremony, along with a bus full of people he had kidnapped: obviously, he had deceived the original Sabbac, and at the end of the ritual Karnes and all the people on the bus were dead, sacrificed to the demons, and the powers of the devilish supervillain had passed on to Gregor, but in an amplified form. Not only he inherited all the powers of Sabbac the King of Devils, but he could transform into a giant demon, able and willing to crush everyone opposing him. And, of course, someone opposing him immediately appeared, as the Outsiders had learnt of his plan and had sent somebody stopping him.

Three of the Outsiders, GraceThunder and Jade, arrived on the scene, but they were too late to prevent Gregor from obtaining Sabbac’s powers, and they found him fully powered-up. The other Outsiders came to the rescue, but they found themselves outmatched the moment Sabbac summoned an army of demons to face them: only the intervention of Captain Marvel Jr. allowed the heroes to destroy the demons, thus forcing Sabbac, who still had to learn how to control his powers, to flee. Ishmael kept a low profile for a while, strenghtening his influence and expanding his empire, until he resurfaced in Las Vegas, where he started taking over the local criminality. Many others had interests in Vegas, but Sabbac didn’t fear anybody…until he received quite a loud message from the Secret Society of Super-Villains in the form of the world’s deadliest mercenary, Deathstroke the Terminator. Without the slightest effort, Deathstroke killed all Sabbac’s men, crippling his power over the city, then he offered a membership in the group, telling him he could have achieved much more than a city by joining them. During his time with the Society he also cooperated with the Fearsome Five in freeing Mammoth from Alcatraz, but he also gained a major power-up: while he was on mission for the Society in Gotham City, he witnessed the explosion of the Rock of Eternity, destroyed during a fight between Captain Marvel and Aztar the Spectre. Sensing a strong magic in the Rock’s sabbaccomics2fragments, Sabbac approached them, finding the freed Seven Deadly Enemies of Man (the embodiments of the seven deadly sins): he absorbed them, augmenting his powers beyond any known limit. When the Outsiders came to try and stop him again, he was simply invincible…until Katana managed to lock him in his magic sword, the Soultaker. Such a simple tool couldn’t hold him for long, however, and Sabbac would have soon be freed from his prison to wreak havoc in the world once again.

Ishmael Gregor is a man with an immense ambition, a ruthless criminal who lusts for power. With no consideration at all for the life of others, Gregor can sacrifice anything and anyone to obtain what he wants. As Sabbac, he possesses a great power granted by the demons he made a deal with: he is superhumanly strong, fast, agile and durable, he’s nearly invulnerable, he can summon demons from Hell, he can manipulate and project hellfire, he can heal from virtually any wound, and he can also absorb other magical powers and beings of demonic origin. With a power finally matching his ambition, there is nothing able to stand in Sabbac’s way now.

Laura Kinney (X-23)

x23filmApparently we’ll solve the mystery on what Essex Corporation wanted to do with the Weapon X‘s blood they collected at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, and the answer is right here in Logan‘s first trailer: X-23, the little girl Wolverine is assigned to protect by Professor X. Real name (sort of) Laura Kinney, the young mutant will be portrayed by Dafne Keen, and she’ll be quite a turning point in Wolverine’s life: Professor X says she’s “very similar” to the titular hero, and that’s an understatement, considering she’s a clone of the Canadian mutant. This said, Wolverine is the closest thing she has to a father. Why she’s hunted down by the Reavers or what her presence will mean on the long term for the other mutants remain to be seen, in the meanwhile we can always take a look at the original one.

Everything began when The Facility, a secret and shady organization, began their efforts to replicate the original Weapon X Project, that had succesfully created a super-soldier by bonding the skeleton of a mutant, Logan, with indestructible Adamantium. The leader of the project, Martin Sutter, was unable to make any subject survive the experience, so he hired geneticist Sarah Kinney to create a functional clone of the original Weapon X. The only DNA sample they possessed of the super-soldier, however, was damaged, and after twenty-two attempts it was clear that the Y chromosome was impossible to recreate; Kinney proposed to create a female clone of Weapon X, but both Sutter and his assistant and protégé Zander Rice opposed the idea. Kinney didn’t listen to her superiors and secretly create a female clone…the first that actually survived, the twenty-third experiment: X-23. Martin Sutter, seeing the succesful result, allowed Kinney to proceed, but since the woman had disobeyed a direct order, he punished her forcing her to act as a surrogate mother to the feral clone. The baby clone was raised in captivity, and trained to be a human weapon: Sarah Kinney did her best to make the girl stay human, but everytime she thought she had achieved something, the baby x23comics1showed a feral and murderous character; this was because of Zander Rice, who kept torturing X-23 whom she saw as a copy of Wolverine, the man who had killed his father. Rice exposed the girl to radiation poisoning when she was only seven to forcibly activate her X-Gene, and he imbued her claws with Adamantium. There were a few people that treated X-23 nicely, and one of them was one of her teachers: Rice tested on him the trigger scent, a chemical compound meant to trigger an uncontrollable berserker rage in X-23; the experiment succeeded, and the girl lost control, killing her teacher and emerging heart-broken from her blind rage. Deemed ready for an on-field test, X-23 was sent around the world in several missions, killing a variety of targets; every mission was more difficult than the previous one, in an attempt from Rice to kill her, but she always survived and came back to the base. Then, finally, Zander Rice received from Sutter the leadership of the X-23 program.

As X-23’s first mission under Rice, she was ordered to kill Sutter and his family. Back to the base, a surprise was awaiting for her: Rice had created a number of female clones of Weapon X, and he wanted to use them as a private army. Sarah Kinney ordered X-23 to kill Rice and destroy the new clones, before escaping together; X-23 did as she was told, but Zander Rice had exposed Kinney to the trigger scent, thus forcing a thirteen-years old X-23 to kill her “mother”. In her last living moment, Kinney named X-23 “Laura”, in a last effort to make her human. Laura moved to San Francisco, obtaining hospitality from Debbie, Sarah’s sister. Some Facility’s agents tracked her at her aunt’s home, and she was forced to flee, taking to safety both Debbie and her daughter Megan. Knowing that the Facility would have never let her go, Laura decided to finally control them man responsible for her existence in the first place: Wolverine. She tracked the mutant down to Xavier’s Mansion and she attacked him, even defeating him: instead of killing him, she revealed to him who she was and what she was doing there…but he already knew, as Sarah Kinney had sent a letter to him time before. Still surprised, X-23 realised she was surrounded by a x23comics2squad of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents led by Captain America, arrived to arrest her for the numerous murders she had committed. Taken to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, the girl was interrogated by lawyer Matt Murdock, who deemed her innocent; Captain America wanted her to atone for the many killings, but he decided to free her, so that S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn’t use her as a living weapon as well. Living in the streets of New York, Laura ended up becoming a prostitute, but her wandering eventually brought her to cross Wolverine’s path once again two years later. Even if she still attacked him on sight, Wolverine managed to calm her down, and after they shared an adventure with the X-Men, he convinced her to follow him to Xavier’s Mansion, where she was enrolled in the New Charles Xavier School. Maybe, it was really time for her to be the human girl her mother wanted her to be, rather than the feral beast they had turned her into.

Laura Kinney is, to say the least, a confused girl: trained to be a living weapon, living as a feral beast, she still has to fully understand the rules of civil cohabitation, and she mostly relies on her instinct even in every-day life situations. Violent and distristful, but instinctively protective towards the ones she loves, she reacts as a wild animal still to be tamed. As X-23, she possesses Wolverine’s healing factor, that allows her to heal from most injuries, to be immune from any disease and poisoning, and to age very slowly; she also possesses rectractable claws, two in the hands and one in the feet, covered in indestructible Adamantium; she possesses enhanced senses, that backfires on her by forcing her to attack anybody she feels to be a threat, a feeling that can be manipulated with the trigger scent. Trained to be a living weapon, she’s an accomplished martial artist, a skilled spy who knows several languages, an infallible tracker, and even an expert in the use of long-ranged weaponry. Born to kill, X-23 struggles to make her life something more than a series of reponses to hostile stimuli, and to become something more than the living weapon she’s been designed to be: a person.

Arlene & Letitia Luthor

arleneletitialuthorfilmNo new character seen in Crossfire, the fifth episode of Supergirl‘s second season, but we finally learn the name of the mysterious scientist running Project Cadmus: she’s none other than Lillian Luthor, the mother of Lex and Lena, portrayed by Brenda Strong. Lillian holds a grudge against aliens after her “poor” Lex was “deceived” by the “evil” Superman who made the world see him like a deranged psycho, so she started a crusade to kill all the aliens, just to prove she’s not crazy. Perfectly logical. The character, always named Lillian, already appeared in Smallville, even if she’s dead long before the beginning of the story: portrayed by Alisen Down, she mostly appears in flashbacks and in Lex’s allucinations, being the lovely mother opposed to the severe and authoritative father Lionel. In the comics, there are two different versions of this character, but none of them is anything more than a less-than-secondary character, and none of them is named “Lillian”. Let’s see together.

The first version of the Luthors’ mother existed on Earth-One, and she was called Arlene. She was born in Smallville, a little rural town in Kansas. Nothing is known about her family of origin, but as a young woman she met Jules Luthor, a salesman she fell in love with. The two got married, and they moved to the town’s suburbs, in Jules’ family farm; soon after they had two children, Lex and Lena. Since Jules was often away for work, it was up to Arlene to raise her children, and when he grew up, Lex helped with the farm; as the woman soon realised, however, he was far too smart to be a farm boy: he was actually a natural-born genius, who felt limited in the suburbs. In order to grant their son more stimuli, the Luthors moved to Smallville, where Lex became a fan of the local hero, Superboy, and even started helping him. Soon enough, an unfortunate series of events led Lex to be arleneletitialuthorcomics1consumed by envy and paranoia, and he started a lethal competition with Superboy: while trying to kill the hero over and over again, Lex also endangered the entire Smallville more than once, using his intellect to build futuristic but deadly machines. Arlene was surely aching to see her son act like this, but she had to take care of Lena as well: along with Jules, she decided to protect their youngest daughter, so they disowned their first born, and left Smallville forever. In order not to be found, the Luthors changed their name into Thorul (a simple anagram of Luthor), and they told Lena that her beloved older brother had died in a tragic car accident. Quite ironically, both Arlene and her husband were eventually killed in a true tragic car accident, and their daughter was raised in an orphanage.

After Chrisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-One was wiped away from existence, and so was Arlene and (that version of) her family. In the universe resulting from the collapsing of the multiverse, New Earth, she was a woman named Letitia, and her story began in Smallville, Kansas as well. She married a local, Lionel Luthor, who had more ambitions than good ideas: somewhat of a bully, Lionel wasn’t liked by Smallville population, and even becoming a family man didn’t help his reputation. Letitia did her best to stand at his side, but the man didn’t make it easy for her. The two had a couple of kids together, Lex and Lena, but Letitia raised them pretty much on herself, since Lionel only cared about work. Believing he had found the right way to become an important and respected enterpreneur, Lionel moved along with all his family to Metropolis looking for better business, and at first it really seemed that the Luthors’ life was about to change for the better. Eventually, however, Lionel’s incapacity costed him his work, and he lost a lot of money. The entire family was forced to move to the Suicide Slum, the poorest and and most disreputable neighborhood in the all city. Lionel fell into alcoholism, and Letitia wasn’t a good company either, going from depression to apathy to bursts of rage. Both of them vented their arleneletitialuthorcomics2frustration over their children, especially over Lex, a “bookworm” they couldn’t apreciate the value of. Not that the boy minded it at all: as soon as he was old enough to do it, he made a life insurance in his parents’ stead, counterfeiting their signatures. Then, he engineered their death, earning a lot of money from it and finally having wealth enough to found his own company, LexCorp, and to move away from Suicide Slum. At least in death, Letitia had been a better mother than she had ever been during her life.

The two women who have been Lex’s and Lena’s mother couldn’t be more different: Arlene is a caring mother and a hardworking woman, who always puts her children’s wellbeing over anything else, while Letitia is an abusive parent and a grudging wife, who abandons herself to depression and vents her resentment on her children. The only element they share is the constant disappointment their son Lex is for both of them, and the role he more or less directly assumes in their untimely death…

Donald Pierce (White Bishop)

donaldpiercefilmIn the meanwhile, another long-awaited trailer has been released, the one for Logan, the third movie on everybody’s favourite clawed mutant. In the trailer, we got our first look at the movie’s main villain, Donald Pierce, who’ll be portrayed by Boyd Holbrook. We don’t know much of Pierce, apart from the fact that he’ll be a cyborg just as he is in the comics, and that he’ll be a mutant hunter, using Caliban‘s powers to locate the few remaining mutants and (maybe) kill them. The representative of a new step in human evolution, the cybernetic Pierce will lead his team, the Reavers, into the hunt for WolverineProfessor X and young Laura. In the comics, Pierce is quite an old acquaintance of the readers, an enemy of the X-Men who proved to be a menace for our heroes more than once: let’s see together.

Donald Pierce was born in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, the wealthy heir of a rich and glorious family: among his ancestors he could count the British nobleman Sir Waltham Pierce and the American revolutionary Anton Pierce. For generations, his family was part of the Hellfire Club, a secret society aiming and managing to control the politics and economy of the United States of America, and even Donald, being the CEO of Pierce-Consolidated Mining and one of the richest men in the entire US, was invited to join. When Pierce was invited, however, many things had changed in the Inner Circle, the commanding elite of the Hellfire Club: a powerful mutant named Sebastian Shaw had conquered the position of Black King by killing all the human members of the Club, and he had opened the Inner Circle only to other mutants, thus changing completely the aim of the society, that also wanted to preserve the pure American race. Pierce, who was raised according to the principles and values of the “old” Hellfire Club, refused to embrace Shaw’s ideals, he couldn’t have even if he wanted to, since he wasn’t a donaldpiercecomics1mutant…but he saw an opportunity to reform and cleanse the Hellfire Club nevertheless. Using his company’s advanced technology, he installed in his body several cybernetic implants, and then accepted the position of White Bishop pretending to be a mutant: waiting for the right moment to strike, he planned the assassination of the other Inner Circle’s members, shielding himself from the White Queen‘s telepathy thanks to one of his many devices. While acting as the loyal White Bishop, Pierce used the many resources of the Hellfire Club to build his own army of “superior humans”, which he called the Reavers, human mercenaries he granted cybernetic implants to, transforming them into super-soldiers. His relationship with the Reavers was unknown to everybody, until his long-planned take-over of the Hellfire Club was interrupted by an unforseen hindrance: the mutant superheroes known as the X-Men.

The X-Men had been fighting with the Hellfire Club for months, and they had finally managed to locate the Inner Circle, declaring battle to the Club’s leaders. During the ensuing fight, Pierce found himself squaring against NightcrawlerColossus and Wolverine, and it was the latter who managed to nearly sever one of his arms with his claws, exposing him as a cyborg. The Inner Circle lost the battle, but Pierce also lost his position, with his true nature revealed. Full of grudge, he tried to exact his revenge on both the Hellfire Club and the X-Men, and he kidnapped two powerful telepaths from the teams, Sage, Shaw’s personal assistant, and Professor X, the X-Men’s leader. His plan to use his prisoners’ abilities against their allies, however, failed, as Xavier‘s telepathy was on a completely different level, and even his shielding device couldn’t protect him from being incapacitated by the world’s most powerful telepath. Pierce was entrusted to Sage, who in turn handled him to Shaw, who took care of burying him in the deepest hole at his disposal, a secret holding facility in Kentucky. With nothing to lose anymore, Pierce could finally draw his ace up the sleeve, the Reavers…but during his imprisonment the team had a clash with the X-donaldpiercecomics2Men (with Wolverine in particular) and only a few of them had survived. The mercenaries who came to his rescue were just four: the on-field leader Lady Deathstrike and three subordinates, ColeMacon and Reese. Despite their reduced strenght, the Reavers managed to break Pierce out, and under the former White Bishop’s lead the team became a formidable mutants-hunting elite force, a group of racists who wanted to exterminate mutantkind from the face of the planet, starting with Wolverine (who was the one responsible of maiming them in the first place) and Sebastian Shaw. The Reavers created a headquarter in Australia, in the middle of the Outback, in the abandoned town of Cooterman’s Creek: from there, Donald Pierce would have led his “new humans” to the extermination of the so-called “evolved ones”, a war for humankind’s survival that would have known no mercy.

Donald Pierce is an ambitious and cruel man, a racist and a supremacist who despises all life-forms other than homo sapiens (and even among the latter, only a few ethnicities); extremely brilliant, he’s a genius in robotics, a master strategist and a cunning deceiver, who uses his remarkable intellect for his despicable goals. As a cyborg, he has nothing of his original body left but the head, albeit modified: his implants grant him superhuman strength, speed and reflexes, near invulnerability, the ability to repel and redirect psionic energy (useless against extremely powerful telepaths such as Professor X or Phoenix), and several other abilities depending on the various components he instals in his own body, ranging from energy blasts to digital interface. Relentless in his war against mutants, Donald Pierce loathes himself for having being forced to become “half a human being” to fight his self-righteous battle…another thing he blames mutants for, another fuel to his neverending rage and hatred.

Emmett Carson

emmettcarsonfilmTime for the second and last character appearing in The Cell, one of the latest episodes of The Walking Dead. While following Daryl Dixon in his prison tour, we meet the doctor who takes care of him to prevent him from dying due to the “special treatment” he’s been subjected to…and the name is quite familiar, as he’s credited as Emmett Carson, portrayed by Tim Parati. It’s not by chance that his surname is the same as Hilltop Colony‘s doctor, as the two of them are brothers; in the comics, this Carson never receives a birth name, but as declared by Robert Kirkman in an interview we can assume that the name revealed in the tv series is the same as his comics’ counterpart’s. Surely, the show version looks a lot older than in the original material…and if everything follows the same route, he’ll have quite an important role in the story to follow. Let’s see together.

As usual, not much is known about Emmett Carson’s early life: he lived somewhere in Virginia, and he grew up with his older brother Harlan. While the latter was a doctor, it’s unknown what Emmett’s job was, but we know that, despite loving his brother and having a normal sibling relationship with him, he suffered from a light inferiority complex towards Harlan. The two lived together, and during the Outbreak, when the dead started to rise to feed on the flesh of the living, they both managed to survive, and they started wandering around the country looking for a shelter. Eventually the two of them arrived to a big settlement, called Hilltop Colony, built around a XIX Century colonial villa: the leader of Hilltop was an opportunist and slimy man, Gregory, who, upon understanding Harlan was a medical doctor, immediately welcomed both Carson brothers to Hilltop. The siblings lived together for a couple of years in the colony, and Emmett proved to be just as useful as Harlan: smart, resourceful, cunning, he was the man with a solution for every problem. Well, almost every problem: when Hilltop Colony became the target of a bigger and better armed group, The Saviors, there was nothing even he could do to protect his people. The Saviors came to Hilltop with the same offer they made to every other community they had visited: “protection” in exchange of half of everything the colony emmettcarsoncomics1produced…or face destruction. A man as coward as Gregory immediately offered cooperation to The Saviors, but he underestimated the “half” requested by their leader Negan: upon inspecting Hilltop’s resources, Negan became quite intrigued by the young Carson, realising just how smart and useful he was. As well as many other things, Negan demanded to take Emmett along as well: before getting his people into trouble, Carson agreed to follow him, and he abandoned Hilltop and his brother to follow The Saviors. This was the beginning of a new life for Carson, who (was) moved to The Sanctuary, Negan’s home and The Saviors’ headquarter.

In The Sanctuary, Carson did his best to prove how useful he could be, and his efforts almost immediately paid off, as the eccentric Negan liked his style. He became in a short time one of Negan’s most trusted advisors, and he was also the one in charge of the Iron Punishment, one of Negan’s sadistic ways of keeping control of his men: anybody breaking his rules (mostly the ones caught with one of his women) were marked with a white-hot iron on the face, so that he could be an example for all the others (a second transgression would have been punished with death, obviously). He attended the punishment of Dwight, Negan’s right-hand man, who had slept with his wife Sherry, who now belonged to Negan; he did the same with Mark, a boy who had fallen in love with another one of Negan’s wives, Amber. He took care of organising The Saviors during the uprising of one of the subjected colonies, Alexandria Safe-Zone, but then something unexpected happened: a group of Saviors captured one of the enemies’ main men, Eugene Porter, but while Dwight was questioning him, Carson overheard him saying that he was secretly on his side, as he wanted to bring down Negan. This was a turning point for Emmett, as he now had actually a chance: as good as his life in The Sanctuary could be, with all the privileges Negan accorded to him, Carson still missed his brother and, most of all, his freedom. He confronted Dwight with his knowledge, but he informed him that he would have followed him in his rebellion…and that there were many other Saviors who would have been willing to do the same. Emmett joined Dwight’s rogue faction, and he emmettcarsoncomics2spent the whole day collecting others who, like him, secretly hated Negan’s tyranny, first of all the ones he had subjected to the Iron Punishment. Later that night, using his influence and connections, Emmett guided Dwight, Eugene and the others he had gathered outside The Sanctuary, ready to join The Militia, the alliance of communities who wanted to challenge Negan: it was time he earned his freedom by fighting for it.

Emmett Carson is a cunning and smart man, able to think straight even during emergencies, always analyzing coldly any situation and sorting out a solution. More a man of brain than of brawn, he rarely takes action, but he’s trained to use guns and knives nevertheless. Cold and calculator, Carson hides a deep sensitivity and an attachment to his brother, feelings that in The Sanctuary might be considered weaknesses, but that guide his actions nevertheless.