Bride of Nine Spiders

brideofninespidersfilmIt’s been quite some time since the last Iron Fist trailer, but some actors and characters have been confirmed in the meanwhile, so we can take a look to at least at one character we now know the identity of. Very briefly in the trailer, we see a young woman fighting, possibly with Iron Fist himself: she’s the Bride of Nine Spiders, portrayed by Jane Kim. We still know nothing of her role in the series, not even if she’ll be an ally or an enemy to the hero (most likely the latter, but you never know), but she’ll most likely make her presence felt since, even if she first appeared only in 2007, she has quite a prominent role in the superhero’s mythology. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about the Bride of the Nine Spiders’ early life…actually nothing, not even her true name. She was born in the secret realm known as the Kingdom of Spiders, an arcane dimension hidden in Nepal and one of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, mystic hidden city-states concealed all aroung the world. The Kingdom, a dark and gloomy realm covered in spider webs, was protected by one of the Immortal Weapons (as all the other Capitals), skilled martial artists in possess of ancient magic, who acted as both guardians and champions of their cities. The girl was trained since a very young age to become the next in the line of the Kingdom of Spiders’ line of Immortal Weapons, the new Bride of Nine Spiders, being entrusted the ancient arts of her people, with the coldest blood being infused in her veins. With the army of spiders living and growing inside her body, the new Bride became increasingly cruel, to the point that nothing human remained within her. Completely committed to her role, the Bride of Nine Spiders protected her realm from many threats, but she herself was not invincible: once, she heard from Earth a song that only she could hear, a distress call that crossed dimensions; traveling to the source of the song, she found the Singing Spider, a powerful creature that had been lost in battle by her predecessorbrideofninespiderscomics1, the Spider Queen. The Singing Spider was held captive, tortured and experimented on by Desmond Guille, a greedy man who used the creature to call out for its mistress, so that he could imprison her and use her for his purposes. The Bride fell into the trap, and Guille used the Spider’s powers to imprison her into an illusion. Enslaved and imprisoned, the Bride had no chance of getting free on her own, but a group of unaware thieves broke into the wealthy Desmond Guille’s home, ending up stopping the song that gave them horrible visions…and freeing the Bride of Nine Spiders as a result. The Immortal Weapon exacted her gory revenge on Guille, but awarded the thieves with the most rare gift of all: mercy. She let them live, and came back to her Kingdom with the Singing Spider once more with her.

Once every 88 years, the Seven Capitals merged to form the Heart of Heaven: during this occasion, the champions from each city would participate to a tournament, whose winner granted the possibility to its city to appear on Earth once every decade, while all the other cities would have appeared only once every fifty years. Being the champion of the Kingdom of Spiders, the Bride of Nine Spiders participated to the new tournament, meeting the other Immortal Weapons in combat. Her first opponent was Dog Brother #1, the champion of Under City: though Dog Brother was a master martial artist and a fearsome killer, the Bride of Nine Spiders managed to defeat him by unleashing on him the horde of spiders she nurtured in her breast, thus winning her first fight. At the end of the first round, however, the tournament was cut short, as the Prince of Orphans, champion of Z’Gambo, asked for all the Immortal Weapons’ help in joining him in K’un-Lun, as some soldiers from Hydra were attacking the sacred city. The Bride couldn’t care less of a rival city, but she soon realised that the Kingdom of Spiders was in danger as well, if brideofninespiderscomics2the invaders destroyed K’un-Lun: she joined the Prince, and the Immortal Weapons together repelled the attackers with ease. Although won, the battle turned out to be just the first step to something bigger, as it turned out Hydra had forged an alliance with a man known as Xao, who apparently knew of an eight, unknwon Capital City of Heaven: the Immortal Weapons chose to suspend the tournament and to form an alliance to investigate the matter thoroughly, chosing to stay on Earth for the time necessary to solve the mystery. During their stay on Earth, the Immortal Weapons won the trust of Earth’s superheroes when they saved Iron Fist’s life from the attack of Zhou Cheng, an old enemy of K’un-Lun. Finally, their quest came to a turning point as they found a map pointing them to a remote region in China: there they truly found the lost Eight City, and they joined forces to explore it and solve the mystery surrounding it. The Bride, however, got separated from the others, and she was captured and tortured by hellish beasts: escaping from that living hell would have required all her skills and powers…

The Bride of Nine Spiders is a (literally) cold-blooded murderer, a cruel warrior who usually shows no pity to her opponent. As one of the Immortal Weapons, she’s a superb martial artist, who can manipulate her own Chi to a variety of uses: she possesses superhuman durability, speed, senses, reflexes and longevity; she can heal herself or others from non-lethal injuries; she has total control over her own nervous system, allowing her not to feel pain or even to resist poisons and toxins; she can telepathically communicate with other people by entering their dreams; she fights with a spiked collar, whose points can be extended to impale her enemies; most notably, she controls a swarm of lethal spiders living inside her body, and she can let them out either from her mouth or from her chest, controlling them telepathically and leading them to attack her opponents with poison or webbing. Deadly and remorseless, a honorable yet sadistic warrior, the Bride of Nine Spiders will do anything in her power to defend the Kingdom of Spiders.

Vanderveer Wayne

vanderveerwaynefilmA new trailer has been released for the upcoming superhero comedy Powerless…and it’s surprising in more than one way. After the pilot has been shown at San Diego Comic-Con, it appears several things have been changed prior to the series’ official debut, so the protagonists are now working for Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises that produces security devices aimed to protect normal people from superheroes clashes against supervillains…and Emily Locke‘s new boss, always portrayed by Alan Tudyk, happens to be Val Wayne, cousin to the more famous (and popular) Bruce Wayne. Val will be a dictatorial boss with an incredible ego, an arrogant and self-important tyrant in his office…and changed his status from original character to comic-based one, as Bruce Wayne’s cousin (full name Vanderveer Wayne) actually appeared in a 1962 story (thus set on Earth-One). Of course, he’s not an inch more likeable than his tv counterpart. Let’s see together.

Despite his famous, wealthy and renowned family, we don’t know much about Vanderveer Wayne’s early life or background: he was born from an unknown branch of the Wayne Family, and despite calling Bruce his “cousin”, he most surely wasn’t his first cousin, as Thomas Wayne‘s only brother, Philip, had no sons. Anyway, Vanderveer grew up just as arrogant and spoiled as a rich kid can be, always having what he wanted, never putting an effort to obtain it. He only attended the best schools in the country, but he also had his private teachers and instructors at home; raised in his family’s pride, he wasn’t used to confront with other boys his age, and grew up with the assumption he was always the best at what he did. He actually excelled in some discipline, as also his sport teachers had to admit the boy was a natural in many fields: he was the best fencer in his class, and his private vanderveerwaynecomics1gymnastics instructor always complimented him for his remarkable achievings. These results, obviously, did nothing to teach him some humility, and Vanderveer was, simply put, an unbearable individual. Once, he decided to pay a visit to his older cousin, Bruce, who resided in Gotham City in his family’s villa (more like a castle), Wayne Manor. From the very first moment, it was plain the two couldn’t be more different, and as he introduced himself to Bruce’s friend, young Dick Grayson, Vanderveer couldn’t help boasting his superiority to both his cousin and the kid. Much to his annoyance, however, none of them seemed to be impressed: this wasn’t a usual thing for Vanderveer, who just loved to be admired, and something needed to be done. The perfect idea came when, wandering in the Manor, he saw some weird costumes in the laundry, that looked exactly like the ones worn by Batman and Robin.

Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, soon appeared and clarified that those costumes were to be used by Bruce and Dick in a masquerade (not that Vanderveer had many doubts about it), but the young man decided he would have impressed his cousin by making him think he was Robin, who matched his physique…the only thing he needed was a Batman. Looking for an impersonator who could look like Batman, Vanderveer found Jumpy Regan, an “actor” who was just perfect: he introduced himself to him and explained his plan, and Regan agreed to impersonate the Dark Knight. The plan would have worked out perfectly, if it wasn’t for a small detail: Jumpy Regan was actually a criminal, and having the chance to kidnap such a wealthy kid as Vanderveer Wayne was too tasty an occasion to pass. The “Dynamic Duo” made his debut as planned, even if also this time Bryce Wayne and Dick Grayson didn’t look as surprised as they should have (unbeknownst to Vanderveer, his cousin and his friend were the true Dynamic Duo), but after a few acrobatics, deemed too risky and reckless even by the real Robin, Regan showed his true colors, vanderveerwaynecomics2and kidnapped Vanderveer. This way, not only the young Wayne was captive, but he had also unleashed a fake Batman in Gotham City, putting everybody at risk. He had to find a way to escape and to warn the real Batman and Robin about the impersonator…but luckily enough, the Dynamic Duo had set sight on him since his public debut, when they saw the copycats as Bruce and Dick, and they soon found the captive. Together, the three of them tracked down Jumpy Regan, and using his athletic skills Vanderveer even helped the heroes capture the impersonator. His thirst for attention and admiration had nearly costed him a lot, and maybe even Vanderveer Wayne could learn some humility from this misadventure. Just maybe.

Vanderveer Wayne is an arrogant spoiled kid, boastful and self-important, always craving attention and always trying to prove himself superior to anybody else. A skilled fencer and a remarkable athlete, he’s been good enough to pretend to be the real Robin, even if his abilities don’t match the original one’s. Unpleasant, intolerable and snob, Vanderveer is a real jerk, the worst the Wayne Family has to offer.

DeSaad

desaadfilmFinally, we arrived to the last character from Brick89‘s pretty long list, and we end with quite a nasty bad guy: DeSaad, professional sadistic and Darkseid‘s loyal advisor. This far, Desaad only appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Steve Byers. In the show, he is the head of the “unholy trinity” preparing Darkseid’s arrival on Earth, and he constantly tries to corrupt Clark Kent to the Darkness to make him a servant of his master. He fails in his main task, but he manages to corrupt Oliver Queen instead, until the superhero breaks free of his control and kills him and the other two prophets with Orion‘s bow. This portrayal wasn’t exactly up to the main source, but it nailed some aspects of the character nevertheless. The others are here.

The real name of the New God DeSaad (sometimes mispelled Desaad) is unknown, as is his original family. He was born on New Genesis, a living paradise for the New Gods. When he was a boy, an innocent and good-hearted boy, his playmates and companions were two beloved pets, a little bird and a cat. Among the New Gods around there was one observing him, one who had no place anymore on New Genesis: once called Uxas, he was now Darkseid, the embodiment of all evil. Darkseid studied the boy, and soon realised the great love that linked him to his pets: one day, when the kid came back home, he found his bird missing, and some feathers on the cat’s bed. Distraught, torn by pain and anger, the boy didn’t know what to do…until Darkseid appeared, speaking to him in a mellifluous tone, convincing him that his poor little bird needed to be avenged. Falling for it, the boy took the cat, and buried him alive in his garden. When he completed his task, he came back home…and found the bird, who had just flown away for a while and had come back on his own. Furious at himself for what he had done, he directed his rage on the bird, and killed him as well, thus definitely destroying his innocence. Following those monstrous acts of violence and torture, the boy abandoned New Genesis, and followed Darkseid to his planet, Apokolips. In his new home, he chose a god name desaadcomics1for himself, after observing through the New Gods’ devices a man from the future who lived on a distant planet, Earth: enamoured with Marquis de Sade‘s methods, he christened himself DeSaad. Darkseid’s right hand man, he was once forced by Darkseid’s mother, Queen Heggra, to poison Darkseid’s beloved Princess Tuli, in order to make him marry a woman of her chosing, Tiggra. Suli died as planned, but Darkseid found out what had happened: in revenge, he forced DeSaad to poison Heggra as well, thus obtaining control over Apokolips, and bonding forever DeSaad’s destiny to his own. From that moment, DeSaad was appointed royal torturer and Darkseid’s advisor, always in his shadows.

DeSaad was pivotal in allowing Darkseid obtain control of the Omega Force, betraying Darkseid’s brother Drax (whom he had allegedly helped in gaining the power, being his “best friend”) and granting the ultimate power to Darkseid. DeSaad lost his position of second in command when Darkseid’s son Kalibak was born: wanting to obtain his influence back, DeSaad immediately entered in competition with the brutal but simple-minded New God, and manipulated him so that he often found himself doing the exact opposite of what he was told, thus being constantly punished by Darkseid and moved back in the chain of command. Every failure on Kalibak’s side signed a raise in power on DeSaad’s one. When his master was looking for the Anti-Life Equation and had taken the lead of the Intergang (a criminal group on Earth) for his pursuit, DeSaad liked the way the crooks worked, and when Darkseid abandoned them, he disguised himself as his master and kept leading them; unlike Darkseid, however, DeSaad didn’t have any particular aim, and only wanted the Intergang to cause pain and suffering to as many people as possible. His machinations, however, sometimes backfired on him: after manipulating Kalibak once more, he threatened to tell Darkseid all about his umpteenth action against his father’s orders, and the brutal New God reacted in the only way he knew, with violence, slaying his father’s advisor. Albeit treacherous and dangerous, DeSaad was vital to Darkseid’s plans, so as soon as the tyrant found out about his death he desaadcomics2resurrected him, making him take his place by his side once again. This happened more than once actually, and each and every time DeSaad ended up killed because of one of his plans going out of control, Darkseid promised him it would have been “the last time” he revived him. Feared on Apokolips as well as on New Genesis, DeSaad specialised in torturing prisoners and random people alike, making the pain last days without killing his victims, making quite a name for himself to be dreaded in the entire universe. Not even Darkseid’s throne was entirely safe from him…

DeSaad is a cruel and sadistic man, who devoted his life to finding new and monstrous ways to exact pain from others. As a New God, he’s immortal and possesses superhuman strength and durability, but his most worrisome skill is his cunning intellect: a master planner, he’s also a proficient engineer and inventor, and he always creates new torture machines to help him in his job (such as his trademark siphon, that can extract powers and emotions from a person and transfer them to another), as well as many other devices with the most diverse uses. Treacherous by nature, DeSaad is also a coward, and he doesn’t betray Darkseid simply out of fear; if the day comes Darkseid is not the most powerful player around anymore, however, it’s more than sure that DeSaad will promptly switch sides and swear his eternal loyalty to a new master.

Donna Hinckley Stacy Troy (Wonder Girl)

wondergirlfilmThe penultimate character from Brick89‘s request is quite a tough lady, who unfortunately received only one (unfaithful) live action adaption despite her popularity: Wonder Girl, the sidekick of Wonder Woman (and later heroine on her own). Debra Winger portrayed the character in the Wonder Woman tv series, but instead of having Donna Troy take the mantle of the young heroine as in the comics, they created DrusillaDiana‘s little sister and second daughter of Hippolyta. At first, Drusilla arrives to America to urge Diana to come back to Paradise Island, but she’s involved in a misadventure involving Nazi spies, and she stays (at least for a couple of episodes) to fight evil as Wonder Girl at her sister’s side. In the comics, her origins are quite different, and she doesn’t make such a mess during her first mission. Let’s see together the first steps of a heroine who grows up to become one of the greatest female heroes of DC Comics.

The first version of Donna Troy was a simple human, an orphan who saw her mother die of cancer, and who later suffered another major tragedy when the orphanage she grew up in burnt to ashes. She was found by the heroine Wonder Woman, who took pity in the girl and grew fond of her: wanting to offer her a family, Wonder Woman took Donna to Paradise Island, and made her a honorary Amazon. Thanks to the futuristic Purple Rays Donna was given powers nearly identical to an Amazon’s ones, and she spent years training in the many arts of Paradise Island, including the art of war. When she was finally ready, she joined her mentor in her quest in protecting Men’s World as Wonder Girl, basically the teenager version of Wonder Woman. This, however, was the happy part of her story: after Chrisis on Infinite Earths, her past was completely rewritten. She was actually born in Themyscira, but not as a human, not even as a regular Amazon: Princess Diana was sad and lonely, since she was the only child on the island, so when she was twelve years old, the sorceress Megala created a magic mirror for her. When Diana looked into the mirror, a fragment of her soul was absorbed by it, creating a magic duplicate of the princess who wondergirlcomics1could be her friend, so that the kid didn’t feel lonely anymore: Donna was born. Being a duplicate of the original, the resemblance between the two girls was striking, and even Megala had problems telling the two of them apart. The girls played on this resemblance, but this proved to be Donna’s downfall as well: an old enemy of Hippolyta, the Dark Angel, wanted to abduct Diana in revenge against her nemesis, but she took the wrong girl, and kidnapped Donna instead. The evil sorceress vented all her cruelty on the baby, and cursed her to live through many lives, each one of them would have ended up in tragedy: she knew a mother’s greatest pain is to know her child is suffering, thus she inflicted the greatest pain she could conceive on the one she believed to be Hippolyta’s daughter. Donna began her personal trip to hell.

Every time Donna reached the lowest point of her life, Dark Angel appeared, made her remember all of her past lives (and sufferings), then erased from the world’s memory her current life, making her start a new one, in a sadistic neverending cycle. After being born several times, Donna came into the world again as the daughter of Dorothy Hinckley, a single mother who was mortally ill. Just before dying, Dorothy gave her daughter into adoption, and Donna was taken in by Carl and Faye Stacy, who raised her as their own. Tragedy struck once again, as Carl Stacy suddenly died in an accident at work. Unable to raise Donna on her own, Faye gave her in adoption once again, but it’s unclear if the girl was taken by another family or if she was put into an orphanage. The only thing she remembered from this part of her life was a fire that destroyed the place she had learnt to call “home” and that killed the people she regarded as family. She was miraculously saved by Rhea, a Titan and  the ancient Goddess of Earth: compassionate and caring, Rhea brought Donna to New Cronus, where the Titans resided, and made Donna one of her Titan Seeds, children from all around the universe she had saved from certain death. Each Seed was named after a place that used to worship Titans, and Donna received the name “Troy”, in homage to the city that ruled on the Bosphorus in ancient times. Rhea raised the Seeds as her own children, preparing them to become gods among gods, but when they reached adolescence she sent them back to their original planets, with their memory of New Cronus erased, until, after developing in their own environment, they were ready to come back as experienced and wise gods. When wondergirlcomics2she turned thirteen, Donna was sent back to Earth, where she grew up once again experiencing being sent from foster family to foster family. With her body reaching maturity, however, both her Amazonian heritage and Rhea’s blessing emerged, and she found out she had superpowers. Adopting the name Wonder Girl, she used her abilities to help people, so that nobody would experience her same pain: along with other teenager heroes, Robin, Speedy and Aqualad, she founded the Teen Titans, a “junior Justice League“, thus strenghtening her commitment in making the world a better place…until a curse she didn’t remember of exacted his toll once again, obviously.

Donna Troy is a young woman forged by the pain she endured during her childhood, who managed to turn her suffering into compassion, her grief into empathy; she uses her strength to protect others, and albeit passionate she always tries to help. As Wonder Girl, she possesses Amazonian strength, speed, durability, stamina, agility and reflexes, she heals quickly from physical wounds and she can fly; being Wonder Woman’s duplicate, she also shares a psychic bond with her; she’s been trained in the art of war, and she’s a superb hand-to-hand combatant, a weapon master and a skilled tactician; she fights with her Lasso of Persuasion, that forces anyone touching it to do what she demands, and the Amazonian Bracelets of Submission, nearly indestructible. Molded more by her personal tragedies than by the fires of battle, Wonder Girl lives a neverending cycle of loss, abandonment and loneliness, but she always tries to rise above her defeats, alone or with her loyal friends.

Mister Mxyzptlk

mr-mxyzptlkfilmAnother big character coming from Brick89‘s list, which is almost at its end: Mr. Mxyzptlk, one of the most annoying DC “villains” (as a villain he can be considered) ever. The pesky Imp never appeared in a movie, but tv apparently loves him: he first appeared in Superboy, portrayed by Michael J. Pollard, in a version that was practically identical to his comicbook counterpart, even graphically, with bowler hat and everything. In Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanHowie Mandel portrayed a much more malicious version of the character, this time human-sized and with no trademark: he trapped LoisClark and the rest of the world in a time loop leading to the planet’s destruction, but the two protagonists managed to trick him into spelling his name backwards, thus sending him back to his dimension for good. In Smallville a completely different version appeared: in Season 4 Trent Ford portrayed Mikhail Mxyzptlk, a foreigner student from the Balcans with the ability to influence anybody’s body (Clark’s included) into doing anything he says; Chloe manages to strip him of his powers with a particular sound frequency, but Lex Luthor offers to restore them in his labs. Last but not least, we’ll soon see the Imp in Supergirl as well, portrayed by Peter Gadiot, and apparently also this time he’ll look like a regular guy. Now, let’s take a look at one of the most peculiar characters in the DC Comics.

It’s quite difficult to summarize a bio of someone like Mister Mxyzptlk, considering that he’s a native from the Fifth Dimension (called a Zrfffian), not bound by limits of space, time or even logical consistency. Apparently, in New Earth, the first time he came to Earth was as a serious and uptight student who wanted to learn as much as he could of the alien dimension. During his study trip he met the three young heroes from Young JusticeRobin, Impulse and Superboy, who recognised him as the interdimensional prankster who had been tormenting for years Earth’s greatest hero, Superman. The young Mxyzptlk was simply outraged, as he didn’t recognize himself in the description, quite the opposite: he swore he would have never become that person. This, unfortunately, badly affected the timeline, creating a major paradox: as a result, the world itself risked to be destroyed thanks to the three heroes’ intervention. Trying to save the universe, Robin, Impulse and Superboy decided to put Mxyzptlk under a “prankster therapy”, and they made him watch a video of the Three Stooges, until the young Imp fell in love mr-mxyzptlkcomics1with the stupid jokes and pranks of the comedians, triggering the evolution into the well-known trickster everybody loved to hate. If this was the actual origin of the pesky Imp, or just an elaborate ruse from Mxyzptlk to mock the young heroes, remains a mystery. Being it a way or the other, when Mister Mxyzptlk came back to Earth, he was a full grown adult, and he was an immortal being growing constantly bored of his eventless existence. When he first met Superman, he found in the invincible hero a great way to spend his time, and made him the constant target of tricks and challenges, involving him in a series of ridiculous and impossible misadventures the Man of Steel usually emerged from by tricking the Imp into spelling his name backwards (the nearly unpronounceable Kltpzyxm), thus forcing him to come back to the Fifth Dimension for ninety days at least. This game was the one thing that kept Mxyzptlk happy, despite his many failures, and he took quite some joy into mocking the most powerful hero of the three-dimensional world. Then, the Chrisis on Infinite Earths happened.

When the multiverse became a universe, Mr. Mxyzptlk emerged from the cosmic cataclysm pretty much unchanged and unscathed, with his pesky and annoying nature being exactly the same. He resurfaced in Metropolis posing as a human, Ben Deroy (or DeRoy); just to mess with Superman, he seduced his love interest Lois Lane, and convinced her to marry him, but he was exposed as an Imp by the hero just in time. As usual, to be sent back home he challenged Superman into making him spell his name backwards, and among all his aliases he chose the impossible “Mxyzptlk”, spelling it on a giant typewriter, believing it to be impossible for the hero to make him say something like “Kltpzyxm”. Superman actually managed to do it by taking away the first paper with the name written on it and challenging the Imp into writing it again…in the meanwhile rewiring the typewriter, so that when Mxyzptlk used his magic to type again the exact same keys, his name appeared spelled backwards. In the new universe, however, this trick could only work once, as each time Mxyzptlk appeared the conditions to send him back mr-mxyzptlkcomics2home changed, even if the urgency of interrupting his absurd games before he hurt someone was always the same (once, for example, he animated the Daily Planet building just for fun…but all the people inside it weren’t having as much fun as he was, obviously): from painting his face blue to finding him in a world-wide hide and seek game, Superman found himself forced to fulfill a number of conditions for winning the Imp’s games. The only constant in the challenges was the honesty showed by Mxyzptlk in respecting his own rules…but that changed as well. On Earth during Superman’s absence, the Imp found a substitute to annoy in the hero’s nemesis, Lex Luthor, but with the mogul the game turned out to be much more different that the usual one, as Luthor easily exploited Mxyzptlk’s honesty to trick him faster than Superman ever could…thus, however, teaching him what a lie was. The following time, Mxyzptlk forced Superman to have a race around the world with The Flash, telling the latter he would have left only if Superman (the slowest among the two) won…while the rule he magically casted told the exact opposite. Not bound to truth anymore, there was a whole new universe of fun to explore for the Imp…

Mr. Mxyzptlk (real name unknown, but even more unprononceable than the one he chose on Earth) is not exactly an evil being, rather being simply annoying, an immortal Imp who just wants to have fun, especially if at someone else’s expenses. Despite his puckish attitude, he’s actually one of the most powerful beings in the universe, an interdimensional sorcerer able to bend reality itself, who ignores and manipulates space and time, who can subvert any known physical law; he’s also aware of his nature as a comicbook, and sometimes he talks directly to the authors to modify the stories involving him. Luckily enough, Mxyzptlk is childish and immature, and is not interested into killing his adversaries or even causing serious damage…that wouldn’t be fun. If he acted seriosuly just for a moment, without limiting his own powers with rules of his invention, the universe itself would be in dire danger.

Skeets

skeetsfilmYou can’t speak of Booster Gold without mentioning also his long-time buddy…no, not Blue Beetle, the other one: Skeets, his inseparable artificial companion. Skeets appears in Smallville as well, voiced by Ross Douglas, and he’s, just as in the comics, an artificial intelligence stolen from a museum by Booster Gold to provide him knowledge of the past thus helping him become a superhero. His appearance, however, changes drastically in the show: rather than being a floating semi-spherical drone, in fact, he’s reduced to an earpiece, making suggestions and sarcastic remarks to Booster for his ear only. In the comics, his backstory is more or less the same, but his role in Booster Gold’s life changes drastically with the stories’ progression, as well as his appearance. Let’s see together.

Skeets was a BX9 Security Robot, and he was built in Kord Industries in Metropolis, in the XXV Century. His main function was to act as a guardian at Metropolis Space Museum, and he was activated for that purpose around the same time former football star Michael Jon Carter started working there as a janitor to repay his debt to society. Used to fame and wealth, Carter wasn’t exactly the kind of guy who would just do what he was told quitely, and Skeets realised this when it was pretty much too late: wanting to travel to the past and use the devices he found in the museum to become a superhero, Carter “stole” Skeets as well, slightly reprogramming him to be his sidekick and living archive in the XX Century. Carter was no engineer, and Skeets wasn’t exactly his mindless servant, quite the opposite, but eventually the robot took a liking in the boastful hero-wannabe, and accompanied him in past Metropolis, providing him extensive knowledge on five hundreds years of history, allowing him to intervene to avoid disasters before they happened: thanks to Skeets, Carter made his debut as a superhero saving President Ronald Reagan‘s life from a killer for hire. Presenting himself as the superhero Booster Gold, Carter gained all the fame and the money he wanted, while Skeets provided him with intel about “past” history and allowed him to intervene exactly when he was needed. All this modifications skeetscomics1to the timeline also influenced Skeets’ data, so he was always up to date. Skeets accompanied Booster Gold in all his first adventures, and stayed by his side also during some personal tragedies, as his twin sister Michelle Carter‘s death. Seeing Carter’s efforts to become a true hero, Skeets became determined to allow him reach that goal, and the two became close friends, despite their relationship had begun with a “kidnapping” (more like a theft, but whatever). Eventually, Booster Gold managed to become the hero he wanted to be, as he became part of Earth‘s most powerful super-team.

Billionaire Maxwell Lord, in fact, was reassembling the Justice League, and he wanted Booster Gold to be a part of it: the hero obviously accepted, but this time he wanted to play it fair and square, and this plan didn’t include Skeets. The robot wasn’t part of the team, so he was put in storage, waiting for Carter’s return; for all the time Booster Gold was out with the Justice League, Skeets surfed on the internet to kill time, learning a lot more about the time he was living in, and shaping his personality, gaining quite an odd sense of humor. He was called back to action when Booster Gold’s power suit was heavily damaged in a disastrous fight against Doomsday; Skeets proved to be incapable of repairing the suit, but he proved to be useful as well, since when Blue Beetle built a giant armor for Booster Gold using the Exorian Flesh Driver, Skeets’ consciousness was downloaded into the armor. This way, not only he could still guide Booster Gold with his advices, but he could also pilot the armor any time the hero was unconscious, thus saving Carter’s life more than once. Since Booster Gold didn’t have any experience in using the Driver and tended to overdo, Skeets also kept in check the armor’s functionalities, so that its capabilities could be rationalized. It was only when Professor Hamilton finally created a substitute power suit for Booster Gold resembling the original that Skeets abandoned the armor and came back to his old, floating robot self. Timing wasn’t the best one, as Maxwell Lord had finally revealed his true colors, and ambushed and destroyed Skeets, later reverse-engineering him to create a highly advanced surveilance system he used to kill Blue Beetle. This, however, wasn’t the end of the little robot: Booster skeetscomics2Gold, mourning both his friends, abandoned the Justice League and the XX Century for a while, and when he came back he had Skeets along, a version of him from an alternate timeline. This time timing was just perfect, as Skeets was pivotal in helping Booster Gold and Batman locate the alien Khaji Da and its new host, Jaime Reyes, allying with them to lead a final assault on the evil A.I. Brother Eye. Skeets was back, and he was still determined to be a hero along with Booster Gold.

Skeets is a peculiar robot, characterised by an unshakable loyalty to his friend Booster Gold and by a weird sense of humor that differs from his original programming. As a BX9 Security Robot, he can fly, he possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of history, and he stores several hidden weapons in his tiny body; plus, since his shell is made with a unique alloy obtained from the corpse of the cosmic time traveler Waverider, he’s able to sustain time travel without any damage. Loyal and heroic in his own way, Skeets is the one companion Booster Gold will always find by his side, an artificial intelligence that sometimes believes in the adventurer’s chances to be a hero more than Booster himself does.

Michael Jon Carter (Booster Gold)

boostergoldfilmAnother big shot from Brick89‘s list, the hero from the future: Booster Gold. Despite there have been many talks of a movie involving him, his only live action appearance so far has been in Smallville. In Season 10, in fact, football player from the future Michael Jon Carter, portrayed by Eric Martsolf, comes back in time to 2011 Metropolis to gain fame as a superhero; boastful and arrogant, he changes his attitude thanks to his meeting with Clark Kent, and even agrees to become the mentor of a young and inexperienced Blue Beetle (whom he helps to stop as his alien armor goes berserk). In the comics, Booster Gold looks a lot like his tv series counterpart, albeit there are some differences in his arrival on present Earth. Waiting to see if all those rumors about a Booster Gold movie will ever become reality, let’s take a look at the original guy.

Michael Jon Carter was born on December 28th, in Gotham City…in the year 2442. He was the son of Jonar Carter, an irresponsible and compulsive gambler, and his wife Ellen, a loving mother and a good woman; he had a twin sister, Michelle, and the two were very close. When the babies were just four, Jonar left his family, leaving behind a huge gambling debt; Ellen struggled to mantain both herself and her children with the few money she could earn, and eventually all the pressure affected her health, and she got sick. Luckily enough, Michael grew up to be a gifted athlete, and he obtained a football scholarship to attend Gotham University. A champion born, he earned through football the money he needed to buy medicines for his mother, drugs that he could have never afforded otherwise; as his fame grew and he started to be known as Booster, he realised he could make much more money than what he did already: all he had to do was to bet on his own games, and change the results while playing. Before he even realised it, he had become his father. His “brilliant” plan eventually worked, and Michael managed to buy medicines enough to allow his mother to heal completely…but after the umpteenth fixed game he was caught and arrested, and this proved to be the final drop for Ellen’s old and tired heart, and she died destroyed by her grief. After serving a brief time in jail, Carter was forced to take a part-time job in Metropolis Space Museum as a night guardian…and this proved to be the changing point boostergoldcomics1of his life. While working at the museum, he became interested in XX Century‘s superheroes and supervillains, and soon realised that a man with technology from his time could be a superstar hero in the past. Determined to obtain in the past all the glory he had been denied in his present, he stole and reprogrammed Skeets, a security droid, as his assistant, then he stole some relic in exhibition: a Legion of the Super-Heroes‘ ring that allowed him to fly, Brainiac 5‘s Force Field Belt, a battle suit that granted him super-strenght, and last but not least Rip Hunter‘s Time Sphere. Finally, he was ready to travel to the past and start his life anew.

Knowing what for him was past history, Michael landed exactly during a life attempt against US President Ronald Reagan, and using his equipment he defeated the assailant, Chiller. During the following press conference, Reagan asked for his name, so that he could introduce his savior to the world: Carter wanted to name himself “Goldstar“, but he made quite a mess speaking with Reagan, and mangled his wanted superhero name with his football moniker, resulting in “Booster Gold”, a name that would have stuck to him for all his heroic career. Having clear in mind what he wanted to do with his new identity, he hired an agent, Dirk Davis, and he founded his own company, Goldstar, Inc., which he managed his heroic deeds through. Saving the President had earned him a lot of fame already, and he signed dozens of millionaire contracts with movie companies and for commercials, becoming a brand and a superstar in no time, and obviously getting very rich from it. The Chiller wasn’t acting on his own, however, as he was merely a pawn of the secret society known as The 1000: the group’s leader, The Director, identified Booster Gold as a menace for his plans, and unleashed all his power on him…ending up granting a lot of free ad for the “hero”, who became more and more famous every time he battled (and defeated) The 1000. Soon he could hire a secretary, Trixie Collins, who was just as beautiful and smart as any superstar’s secretary should be. Plus, also Michelle came to the past from the XXV Century, and she became part of Goldstar, Inc. as a heroine in her own right, wearing an electromagnetic suit and calling herself Goldstar boostergoldcomics2(adopting the moniker her brother had intended to use for himself). Things started going badly the moment Michelle died during an alien invasion, sacrificing herself like the hero Booster Gold pretended to be; plus, Dirk turned out to be working for the Manhunters, and manipulated Carter’s money so that he eventually stole everything to the last penny from him, hoping to blackmail him to do the Manhunters’ bidding. Without a family, without his fortune, alone in an alien time, Booster Gold had to become the hero people believed him to be to solve an impossible situation…

Michael Jon Carter is a glory-seeking primadonna, a self-centred athlete who lives for the crowd’s applauses and cheers, and who first of all tries to get a reasonable profit from whatever he does. As Booster Gold, he can fly thanks to a Legion Flight Ring, while his suit grants him several abilities, such as enhanced durability, super strenght, energy blast emission, enhanced vision and hearing, instant knowledge of past events through historical archives from the future; Brainiac 5’s belt also allows him to project a nearly-impenetrable force field, that he can use also for offense purposes; years of time travel modified his physiology, so that some of the previous powers, plus some new ones (such as density control and precognition), are now naturally part of him. Initially only a boastful idiot, Booster Gold learned through difficulties and personal tragedies what being a hero means, and he now has to live up to the reputation he himself created to enchant his audience…this time, however, he’ll do things the right way, for the greater good rather than for his personal gain.