Maru (Doctor Poison)

doctorpoisonfilmThis has been rumored for quite a while now, but we finally have an official confirmation of which character Elena Anaya is going to play in the upcoming Wonder Woman. No big surprise here, she’s the Golden Age villain Doctor Poison, the spy who battled Wonder Woman during World War II (in the movie, this has been changed to World War I). We don’t know much about the character yet, apart from the fact that she’ll be an ally of General Erich Ludendorff and that she’ll work for him in some capacity. There’s also another rumor around, according to which Maru (Poison’s true identity) will be a rogue Amazon, thus justifying Wonder Woman’s presence in the world of men. Anyway, waiting to see what has been done with this old villain, created in the 1940s, let’s take a look at the original one, an inhabitant of Earth-Two.

Maru was born in the late 1920s, the princess of an unspecified country. Since she was a teenager, she studied chemistry and biology thorougly, becoming an absolute expert in her field, albeit most of the recognition she deserved was denied to her since she was a woman. When World War II engulfed the world, Princess Maru decided she would have made her part as well in the conflict, and agreeing with Nazi Germany‘s view on the need to perfect humanity through a genetic selection and a strong politics, she offered her unique services to the Axis. She soon realised she would have accomplished nothing by presenting herself as a woman, so she tailored a bulky costume and a mask to look like a man, and created the alias of Doctor Poison, claiming to be the world’s most accomplished expert in toxins, venoms and poisons (something that she actually was). Having impressed the Third Reich with doctorpoisoncomics1her knowledge, she became a spy for the Nazis, planning a unique an potentially disastrous attack on the US Army: she managed to contaminate the enemy’s water supplies with one of her newest inventions, Reverso, a powerful drug that modified the brain’s chemistry, so that any intended action resulted in its opposite. As a result, the American soldiers started to do exactly the opposite of what they were ordered by their superiors, giving an incredible advantage to the Germans. With the American army a mess, she had two enemies kidnapped to obtain informations from them: officer Steve Trevor, who had an injured leg, and a nurse who was with him, Diana Prince. The latter managed to escape, but she didn’t warn the army, worried for Steve’s safety: she came back as Wonder Woman, accompanied by the Holliday Girls, the sorority led by her friend Etta Candy. While the Girls distracted the guards, Wonder Woman confronted Doctor Poison, and after exposing her as a woman (her “soft hands” betrayed her, apparently…), she freed Steve Trevor. Defeated, Princess Maru escaped, interrupting her poisoning of the American army.

Doctor Poison’s skills however were still required by the Axis, and in 1943 Maru (still disguised as a man) started working as the Chemical Research Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army. This time, she managed to ground every single American airplane on the Chinese Front thanks to her latest invention, the Green Gas, a special compound that reacted with the planes’ fuel making it inert. With no air force at disposal, the American Army was in great difficulty in the Pacific. Once again, it was Wonder Woman who came to the rescue, and recognising the style of her enemy, she identified and found Doctor Poison. This time, however, she didn’t want to let her escape, and she made sure to capture her with her Lasso of Truth; as soon as the American planes were able to fly again, Wonder Woman took Doctor Poison away from the battlefield and locked her up in the Amazonian prison in Transformation Island, a place in which she would have allegedly reformed. Actually, Princess Maru started to doctorpoisoncomics2behave, becoming the spectre of the woman she was…until five years later one of the other inmates, the alien slaver Eviless, spurred her into coming back to her old self. Eviless selected some of Transformation Island’s inmates: along with Doctor Poison, she gathered the super-strong Giganta, the feral thief Priscilla “Cheetah” Rich, the freezing Byrna “Blue Snowman” Brilyant, the flaming priestess Zara, the Atlantean Queen Clea and the mesmerizer Hypnota, and formed a villainess-only team known as Villainy Incorporated. First, Eviless faked her death, managing to steal Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth when the Amazons came to check on her; later, using their male costumes, Doctor Poison, Blue Snowman and Hypnota tricked Queen Hippolyta into believing that men were on Paradise Island, and when she came out of her palace, the rest of the team ambushed her and captured her with the Lasso. Using Hippolyta as a human shield, the criminals were finally ready to leave the Amazons’ island: the world would have known the genius of Doctor Poison once more.

Princess Maru is an extremely intelligent woman, a brilliant scientist who puts all her wits and her knowledge at the service of…the wrong cause: lacking any kind of human empathy, she embraces the Axis’ ideals of a perfect race and of a strong leadership, wanting to crush all the inferior ones under her heels. As Doctor Poison, she’s the world’s most accomplished expert in terms of poisons and toxins, and she’s skilled enough to create new substances with the most incredible effects. Disguised to hide her gender in a world of men, Doctor Poison believes in the superiority of intellect, and she uses her own to turn the tides of the war.

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Angelo Macon

angelomaconfilmThere’s still one Reaver we can speak about prior to the release of Logan, one that has been spotted in the previous trailers, but remained unnamed until the casting was announced: Macon, portrayed by Stephen Dunlevy. In the second trailer, he’s the bearded guy who holds Logan during what seems to be the mutant‘s first encounter with the cybernetic mercenaries (but that’s just speculation, of course); just like all of his teammates, he appears to have been heavily reimagined to be more realistic, so most of his original cybernetic implants seem to be missing, and he’ll likely sport only a cybernetic limb like the others. In the comics, Macon is not one of the original members of the Reavers, as he joins the team only in its second incarnation, but he’s surely a relevant one nevertheless. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Angelo Macon, apart from the fact that he was born in Australia, and that he spent his entire life in the military. Not connected to any particular national army, he became a mercenary, and his skills attracted the attention of the secret organization known as the Hellfire Club. The Club had just changed leadership, with Sebastian Shaw leading a mutant rebellion and eliminating all the human members of the group, but albeit he didn’t share their ideals, they still paid well, and Macon was always interested in that. He participated to the hard selections, and he was among the ones who survived to become a trooper. His talents were wasted in the simple infantry, so when his loyalty to the Hellfire Club had been tested enough, Macon was given a high-tech armor and joined the Hellfire Knights, the elite corp tasked with the protection of the Inner Circle. Protecting the Hellfire Club’s leaders wasn’t usually a difficult task, especially considering that nobody reached that far to threaten them in the first place, and they were all powerful mutants angelomaconcomics1perfectly able to defend themselves…but a team of mutant superheroes, the X-Men, actually managed to lead a dangerous attack on the Club, thus forcing the Hellfire Knights to take action. The Knights were defeated, but the White Queen managed to submit the attackers…all but one, who was wrongfully believed to be dead: Wolverine. Obviously, Wolverine arrived to save his teammates, and he was confronted by the Hellfire Knights again…but he wasn’t as soft-handed as the other X-Men, and he went all-out on the Knights starting a carnage. Macon was among the few ones who survived the encounter, but he was severely wounded and maimed, thus unable to ever come back to his mercenary life ever again…but the Inner Circle still required his services, so he “miraculously” found himself back to his feet again. Only, not actually his old feet.

Along with the two other survivors of Wolverine’s massacre, Wade Cole and Murray Reese, Angelo Macon was taken to the Body Shop, a factory ran by Spiral in which normal humans were turned into cyborgs with alien technology, thus gaining superhuman abilities. In the Shop, Macon and the others met Yuriko Oyama, a woman who was undergoing the same treatment to become the cyborg Lady Deathstrike, and decided to follow her in a first attempt to exact vengeance on Wolverine, whom she also had a grudge against…but the four of them failed, and barely survived the confrontation. Back to the Hellfire Club, Macon and his two companions found out that the White Bishop of the Inner Circle wasn’t actually a mutant, but a cyborg like them: when he rebelled to Shaw and the others and resumed the Club’s old anti-mutant policy, Donald Pierce abandoned his White Bishop moniker and left the group…followed by Macon, Reese and Cole, who felt to be similar to him in both nature and vendetta against the X-Men, Wolverine in particular. Pierce gathered around himself the three former Hellfire Knights, Lady Deathstrike and the three remaining Reavers, a group of Australian cybernetic robbers, forming the new Reavers, a deadly cyborg-only team he trained until they were a formidable combat unit. Macon and the others faced many robotic replicas of Wolverine and the other X-Men, until they were angelomaconcomics2able to effortlessly destroy them, proving to be ready for the real deal. First, the Reavers took possession of the X-Men’s base in the Australian ghost town of Cooterman’s Creek, taking advantage of the team’s absence, and set a trap for them. Thanks to Psylocke‘s precognition, the X-Men managed to avoid the ambush and fled to the Savage Land instead, but Wolverine, who was returning from a solo mission in Madripoor, came back alone and unaware of the danger. Macon and the others attacked him, proving that the hours of training had paid off, and defeated him, spending hours to torture him, later crucifying him in the middle of the desert and keeping on torturing him. Finally, vengeance was at hand.

Angelo Macon is a ruthless mercenary, who replaced his thirst for money with a thirst for vengeance against the man who took his humanity away, Wolverine. As a cyborg, he possesses superhuman strength, stamina and durability, while his eye implants allow him to see in a variety of spectrums and make his aim virtually infallible; he’s an extremely skilled combatant, a deadly marksman and a weapons expert, with his skills honed and augmented by his cybernetic body. Deadly and precise, Macon relinquished his humanity becoming more and more a killing machine…not that there was much humanity to begin with.

Bonebreaker

LoganA few days before the release of Logan, the official credits give away a few of interesting names…and we already have a couple of pics we can finally pair a name with. First of all, the former Mortal Kombat: Conquest star Daniel Bernhardt, who had been spotted as a member of the Reavers, is revealed to be none others than Bonebreaker, the original leader of the team…and, in the comics at least, surely the most recognizable of them all. In the movie, Bonebreaker’s look has been changed to be more realistic, so he only has a cybernetic arm…but, in the comics, he’s been modified much more, and he’s much more menacing, being famous for having his entire lower half replaced…with a tank. Waiting to see the new movie, let’s take a look at one of the minor antagonists, who’s also one of the weirdest-looking villains in the comics.

Not much is known about Bonebreaker’s early life, not even his real name. He was born somewhere in Australia, and he made a name for himself as a mercenary, first, and a robber, later. He formed a gang of people greedy and violent just like him, and he named them the Reavers; looking for a headquarters, they ended up in the ghost town of Cooterman’s Creek, in the Outback, a secret military base filled with advanced technology abandoned there by unknown forces. Using the futuristic tech they had found, the Reavers modified their bodies, turning into heavily-armed cyborgs, thus improving their success rate in their robberies. Plus, in the desert, Bonebreaker found an Aboriginal mutant with the unique power to open portals to any known location in the world (thus his nickname, Gateaway): the Reavers forcefully recruited Gateaway to work with them, so that he could lead them wherever in the world, bringing them back immediately after. With such an offensive power and a safe way of traveling, the Reavers became nearly unstoppable. Everything went well until Roma, a cosmic ally to the mutant team Excalibur, informed the X-Men of the bonebreakercomics1Reavers’ existence, and of the mutant they held captive: the mutants travelled to Australia and confronted Bonebreaker and his men, resulting in the latter’s defeat. Most of the Reavers were destroyed during the battle, and the remaining ones were forced to go through the Siege Perilous, a portal to another dimension in which they would have been judged for their sins. Bonebreaker, however, managed to escape along with two of his best men, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy, leaving their base behind to be taken by the X-Men, who started using it in their place. Wanting to reform his team and to exact his revenge against the X-Men, Bonebreaker sought the help of a powerful man who had a grudge of his own against the mutant heroes, the cyborg Donald Pierce, former member of the Hellfire Club: Pierce agreed to help him, but to his own terms. First of all, Bonebreaker allowed him to take the leadership of the new Reavers.

The three original Reavers were joined by Pierce, three of his soldiers from the Hellfire Club who had been maimed by Wolverine (MaconCole and Reese), and Yuriko Oyama, a Japanese woman with a vendetta against Wolverine. The last four were cyborgs like Bonebreaker and his men, and together they formed a brand new incarnation of the Reavers, even more powerful than before thanks to Pierce’s resources. First of all, the Reavers exploited a moment in which most of the X-Men were away on a mission to retake possession of Cooterman’s Creek, setting there an ambush. When they came back to their base, however, the X-Men were warned by precog Psylocke and managed to escape from the trap using the Siege Perilous, thus spoiling the cyborgs of their revenge. Much to the new Reavers’ delight, however, Wolverine was in a solo mission in Madripoor, and he came back to Australia without suspecting anything…so that Bonebraker and the others managed to catch him by surprise, and spent several days torturing him, later crucifying him in the middle of the desert. The young mutant Jubilee helped Wolverine to escape, but the Reavers remained in the reconquered base. Soon after, they received a hacker attack from New York City, and Pierce sent Bonebreaker, Reese and Pretty Boy to investigate. The source of the attack was Microchip, the computer expert ally to The Punisher, and the trio attacked them without holding back. In the following fight, one of Microchip’s defense devices, the Dalek, managed to hold the three cyborgs back long bonebreakercomics2enough for the two vigilantes to escape through the sewers, but as soon as the moving turret was destroyed, Bonebreaker proceeded to raze the Punisher’s warehouse. The trio pursued their target, and in the following gunfight they even killed Micro’s cousin; the Reavers were on the winning side, until The Punisher triggered a series of explosives that heavily damaged them, with Bonebreaker having the tank that formed his lower half completely demolished. The three cyborgs retrated back to Australia, where Bonebreaker’s body was rebuilt even better than before. Now, he was ready to resume his hunt for mutants, starting with the new X-Men on Muir Island.

Greedy and violent, Bonebreaker is just what his name suggests: a man who enjoys brutality, bent on sadism, who only acts following his personal gain. As a cyborg, his implants grant him superhuman strength and durability, and his legs have been replaced with a motorized chassis running on tank treads; the lower half of his body is equipped with many highly destructive weapons, such as machine guns, missile launchers, an energy shield generator and even anti-aircraft artillery. Having embraced Pierce’s war on mutants, Bonebreaker is literally the tank in the Reavers’ arsenal, a super-armed cyborg who’ll crush under his treads anyone unlucky enough to be his enemy.

Accelerated Man

acceleratedmanfilmA bunch of new promotional pics from the next week’s episode of The Flash has been released…and there’s one guy we were waiting for since he was spotted on the set some months ago. In Attack on Central City, the two-parts battle against Grodd and his army comes to an end, as the gorillas use Gypsy to travel to Earth-One and bring the war to Central City…but Gypsy will apparently double-cross the gorilla monarch, as she collects allies from other dimensions and bring them to Earth-1 to join The Flash and the others. One of these allies appears to be the Accelerated Man, portrayed by Sean Poague, a character barely known in the comics (he only appeared in a couple of issues, and without any line of dialogue), but who’ll maybe have some surprise for us in the show, considering that HR Wells comes from Earth-Nineteen…a trait that he has in common with the comics’ Accelerated Man. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about the Accelerated Man’s origin story, we don’t even know what his real name is. He was born in England, but not our England: he was hailing from Earth-19, basically a steampunk version of our Victorian Age. In this world, after the death of Queen Victoria, King George inherited the crown, and started an era of incredible technological progress in his land, introducing the newfound electric energy in everyday life. With England becoming the richest and most advanced country in the world, also other nations started to follow its example, and the new science created true living miracles, humans empowered by the revolutionary technology now at disposal. One of these was the Accelerated Man, a man who, thanks to an unspecified accident involving electricity (possibly something similar to the lightning bolt that on Earth-1 and others hit Barry Allen turning him into The Flash) gained an incredible speed, that granted him a acceleratedmancomics1variety of amazing abilities…that he luckily chose to use for the common good. The Accelerated Man became one of the greatest heroes ever on his Earth, battling the many individuals who had gain powers, skills and abilities thanks to the same technology that had granted him his own, but who made an opposite life choice. He didn’t always fight this battle alone: when the threat what far too great for a single hero to handle, he joined forces with three other crime-fighters: Bat Man, a genius inventor and amazing fighter who was a counterpart to Batman, the Wonder Woman (Diana Trevor, equivalent to Diana Prince) and the Shrinking Man, a genius scientist who could change his size (counterpart to The Atom). When the four of them joined forces and brains, nobody on their Earth could challenge them.

The Accelerated Man learnt truth about the potential and the nature of his powers only years after he had gained them and had started his war against crime, and he learned it from a fellow speedster coming from a different dimension. He understood that, like many others like him spread in parallel realities, he was a living conduit to the Speed Force, a mysterious energy field the electric accident merged him with, and which he took his speed powers from. All this he learned from the Red Racer, the speedster of Earth-36, who was traveling at the speed of light around the entire Multiverse to gather all the speedsters he could find…forming an army like nobody had ever seen. Red Racer, in fact, was involved along with many other heroes from all the corners of the Multiverse in a battle against the corrupted Monitor Nix Uotan, who had joined the forces of The Gentry, a group of cosmic beings bent on transforming the Multiverse into a hellish dimension just fit for them. Along with hundreds of speedsters, the Accelerated Man followed Red Racer to Earth-8, where the resistance had gathered for a final showdown, and they hit the nearly almighty Nix Uotan with hundreds of punches at light speed, defeating him and allowing the other heroes to purify him, making him return a powerful ally. The Accelerated Man acceleratedmancomics2stayed with the thousands of heroes present on Earth-8, and joined them in the fight against The Gentry and their leader, Empty Hand, a hard battle at the end of which The Gentry was succesfully exiled in a single universe…for the time being. The Harbinger A.I. (the sentient computer from Earth Prime counterpart to New Earth‘s Harbinger) celebrated the victorious heroes who, under the guidance of the Superman from Earth-23, formed the inter-dimensional group Justice Incarnate, ready to come back to action as soon as The Gentry showed up again. Until that moment, the Accelerated Man came back to Earth-19 with his teammates, continuing with his everyday battle.

The Accelerated Man is a true hero: brave, selfless and brilliant, he puts his knowledge and his skills at the service of his people, his country, and eventually the entire Multiverse. As a speedster, his connection with the Speed Force grants him superhuman speed, which results in the ability to phase through solid objects, to travel through time and between dimensions, to create air tornados by moving his arms and static electricity through his movement, to run on vertical surfaces or even on water, and much more. Granted with a never-before-seen speed, the Accelerated Man fights for justice, for freedom…and of course, for His Majesty.

Alia (Green Lantern)

aliafilmNext character in Lucy W.‘s list in one of the many Green Lanterns we’re going to meet: Alia. As for now, Alia had only one live action appearance, in which she differed completely from the original source material: in Smallville, she was a Kryptonian woman from Kandor, cloned along with many others and brought to Earth by Lionel Luthor. She’s the one who fatally injures Jor-El‘s clone, and for this reason she’s executed by General Zod. She also appears in an alternate future in which Kandorians conquered Earth, but even this version is killed in a fight with Clark Kent, accidentally impaling herself on her own sword. In the comics, Alia is indeed an alien, but she’s not a Kryptonian, nor she is a villain. Let’s see together.

Alia was born on an unnamed planet, inhabited by sentient beings made of pure energy. On her homeplanet, Alia had a husband, Ran-Dee, and together they had a son (although it’s unclear how a sexual reproduction could happen between non-physical beings). Intelligent, strong-willed and selfless, Alia was eventually chosen to enter the Green Lantern Corps, the intergalactic peace force whose powers came directly from the will of its members: the woman accepted to be recruited, and she became the new Green Lantern of Space Sector 0281, patroling and protecting her planet along with many more. In her days of service, doom came to her Sector as the being known as the Unimaginable, a villainous energy creature who had grown bored of his (seemingly) eternal existence and who was aliacomics1searching for something exciting to do in the universe, arrived near her home planet after battling the Justice League of America on Earth. The Unimaginable wanted to provoke a fight, and to do so he attacked the planetary system’s sun, making it go supernova…and killing everybody on the nearby planets, including Alia’s husband and son. Distraught and enraged, Alia engaged the creature in battle, but he proved to be too strong for a single Green Lantern to handle, and soon her Power Ring ran out of energy, leaving her defenseless…well, almost, as her species had quite some abilities on its own. Using her own energy form, Alia created an energy sphere that became a prison for the Unimaginable, sacrificing herself to stop the destroyer.

Alia spent years in the form of an energy prison, containing the Unimaginable within herself; when a cargo ship passing by found her, the crew was unable to save her without releasing the monster she held captive, ending up in the intergalactic prison known as StarLag. After some other years, finally, the prison was visited by Valor, the Daxamite superhero once known as Mon-El. Valor restored Alia (who assumed a humanoid form to interact with him), giving her freedom once again…and releasing the Unimaginable. In the following battle, the two heroes fought the seemingly indestructible creature, who wanted to exact his revenge on the Green Lantern and attacked her with particular ferocity, until he managed to severely wound her. Enraged, Valor hit the Unimaginable with a strong burst of his heat vision, apparently disintegrating him, then he took a dying Alia and, not knowing what to do or how to operate on her physiology, brought her to Oa, the base planet of the Green Lantern Corps, entrusting her to the Guardians of the Universe, hoping that they could cure her. There was little to do, however, as the nature of Alia’s body made it nearly impossible for anyone to operate on her…luckily enough, given time enough, she could regenerate. The Guardians manipulated Alia’s energy form so that she could enter her own Power Ring, to aliacomics2restore herself to full strenght, absorbing little by little the energy of the Green Power Battery to heal herself. Again, this was a process that took years from Alia’s life, but she eventually came out of her ring, fully restored…and just in time, as a rogue Green Lantern, Sinestro, had just formed his own Lantern Corps, and had declared war to his former comrades, resulting in a conflict in which each and every Green Lantern was desperately needed…

Alia is a brave and resourceful woman, a selfless hero ready to sacrifice herself in the line of duty to protect the universe she swore to defend. As a Green Lantern, she possesses a Power Ring fueled by her own force of will, which allows her to fly and to materialize anything she can think of; being a creature of pure energy, she’s also invulnerable to conventional arm, she can take whatever form she likes, and she can absorb and project energy on her own, even without her ring. A formidable Lantern, Alia sacrificed herself more than once for the people she’s meant to protect, and she’s ready to do it over and over again, as long as she can make a difference in the universe.

Anton (Red Guardian)

redguardianfilmSome people were kind of disappointed when, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the leader of the Watchdogs everybody had been speaking about so long was revealed to be an original character, some Russian conspiracy theorist who held a grudge against Phil Coulson, rather than a villain from the comics. Well, after Self Control it seems we were wrong once again, as the gruesome fate of Anton Ivanov, the villain portrayed by Zach McGowan, sheds some light on who this guy was supposed to be: Life Model Decoy, severed head in a jar, Russian nationality and the “Anton” name identify him as the seventh Red Guardian (the Russian Captain America), a guy who’s been recently introduced in the comics (2008), and who had several secrets to hide. Let’s see together.

The life of the man known as Anton is quite an enigma, as much of it has been proven to be false, but it’s still unknown whether he knew his memories were fake or not. As for what we knew at the beginning, Anton was born somewhere in Russia from an unknown family, and he grew up to become a skilled engineer. A true patriot, he enlisted in the Russian Army, where he made himself noticed for both his talent, his intellect and his loyalty; in reward for his accomplishments, he was chosen to wear in battle the Crimson Dynamo armor, the super-suit originally built by Anton Vanko and assigned to Russia’s top agents after the scientist’s death. After an unspecified time as a Crimson Dynamo, Anton was promoted once again, as he was chosen to replace the deceased Krassno Granitsky as the new Red Guardian, the superhero who embodied the whole Russia. This would be quite a marvelous career…if it wasn’t all false: Anton never had a childhood, nor he ever studied to become an engineer, and he never was a Crimson Dynamo either. He wasn’t even human. He was a Life Model Decoy, an android who was a perfect replica of a human being (and often unaware of his own nature of an redguardiancomics1artificial life form, that’s why it’s unclear whether or not Anton knew what he was). He was programmed precisely to take the mantle of the Red Guardian and to lead the new incarnation of the Winter Guard, the national superhero team thought to be disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union: under his command he had the armored Dimitri “Crimson Dynamo” Bukharin, the Darkforce-wielder Laynia “Darkstar” Petrovna and the were-bear Mikhail “Ursa Major” Ursus. Together, they defended Russia from any threat, human or superhuman. To the world, they didn’t exist…until S.H.I.E.L.D. sent an investigation squad on Russian soil without permission, immediately following the murder of a Russian superhuman criminal, Emil Blonsky aka Abomination, and the destruction of a village.

The team, composed of Doc SamsonIron ManShe-HulkMaria Hill and General “Thunderbolt” Ross, was indeed investigating the death of the Abomination, apparently killed by the Hulk, or by someone incredibly similar to him. The Winter Guard intercepted the Americans, and tried to force them to leave…but the visitors proved to be quite uncooperative, and the two groups engaged in battle. The skirmish ended only when General Ross found a survivor from the nearby razed to the ground village, and Red Guardian translated for them the word the kid kept mumbling: “Red”, indicating that someone other than the presents was responsible for the murder and the wanton destruction. Red Guardian and Maria Hill agreed to part ways and to continue their investigations on parallel routes, and the incident was solved for the time being. The Winter Guard met yet another American superhero when they helped Blue Marvel in a fight against King Hyperion and Pagan, and once again redguardiancomics2when the Agents of Atlas aided them into repelling an invasion from Krang, the warlord from Atlantis. The relationship with Americans wasn’t always this friendly, since when She-Hulk, now a bounty hunter, came back to Russia with the Lady Liberators, this time Red Guardian and his team met her and her allies as enemies, not wanting to relinquish the man the Jade Giantess had come to collect. During the Secret Invasion, when the Skrulls started an all-out attack on Earth after infiltrating their shape-shifting agents among politicians, superheroes and other key figures, Red Guardian led the Winter Guard against the invading forces in Russia, this time with a strict order not to help any American superhero…an order that Ursa Major disobeyed to as he aided War Machine, who had come to Russia just to help the Winter Guard. When the battle was over, however, Crimson Dynamo convinced his teammates not to help War Machine, who had been abducted by the Skrulls. Despite the many hard battles, Red Guardian was just about to face the greatest yet, as The Presence targeted his team, and a traitor hid in the Guard’s midst: dire times laid ahead…

Anton is exactly what he’s been designed to be: selfless, courageous, smart, patriotic, a leader born, just with his allies and pitiless against his enemies. As Red Guardian, he’s an extraordinary athlete and hand-to-hand combatant, and he possesses a shield made in Vibranium that is both an indestructible protection and a formidable throwing weapon, which automatically returns to him after being thrown thanks to special circuits in his costume; as an LMD, then, Anton is also invulnerable to regular arm, as his robotic body resists pretty much everything (he’s still “alive” after being decapitated by a Dire Wraith). The perfect hero, the new Red Guardian is just as good as he could be if he was designed purposefully for the position he holds…and that just happens to be the case…

Alexander Luthor Jr.

alexanderluthorjrfilmTaking advantage of a small break, let’s expand our Luthor family tree thanks to Lucy W.‘s request, and let’s meet Alexander Luthor Jr., the son of Lex Luthor from an alternate reality. This Luthor from Earth-Three had two live action iterations, albeit very different from the original and one from the other: in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanKeith Brunsmann portrayed the mysterious Mr. Smith, who turned out to be the disfigured secret biological son of Lex Luthor, aiming to rebuild the empire of his deceased father; he had a good-looking pawn, Leslie Luckabee, who appeared in public in his stead, and he acted as the villain behind the curtains until he was exposed and died in an explosion after kidnapping Lois Lane. In Smallville, there were two Alexander(s): the first was portrayed by Nico Ghisi, and was the son Lex has from Lana Lang in a possible reality, one that Lex refused because of the pain Lana’s death would have brought to him; the other was the clone we already met, the one who became Superboy as a teenager, who began his life calling himself “Lex Luthor Jr.”. The original guy is something else entirely, and is quite an ambiguous figure, first being one of the universe’s greatest heroes, then one of its most dangerous villains.

Alexander Luthor Jr. was born on an alternate Earth (known as Earth-Three) where Lex Luthor (here Alexander Luthor Sr.) was the world’s only superhero, succesfully defending his people from the Crime Syndicate, an evil counterpart to the Justice League of America. Alexander was the son of Lex and of his wife, Lois Lane…and he was born in the worst possible moment. The Anti-Monitor, the living embodiment of anti-matter, had declared war to his brother, The Monitor, and wanted to destroy the latter’s positive matter universe to rebuild it in his own image; in order to do so, he started to annihilate entire realities…Earth-Three included. Alexander Sr. knew that his universe had come to an end, but he wanted to save his son: a genius inventor, he designed and built a special inter-dimensional capsule, which he put his son in; the set destination was a reality he had previously visited, Earth-One, alexanderluthorjrcomics1where the number of heroes and villains was reversed compared to Earth-Three. Infant Alexander was sent beyond the borders of his reality, and succesfully landed in Earth-One, in the abandoned Justice League Satellite. Sensing the inter-dimensional travel, The Monitor sent his agent, Harbinger, to investigate, and the heroine retrieved the infant, bringing him to her master. It was soon evident that crossing dimensions had granted the baby special powers, as well as accelerate his aging to an extreme rate: in a matter of weeks, Alexander was a young adult, and displayed power over both matter and anti-matter, being able to create portals between universes and to allow positive-matter beings to travel to the anti-matter universe. The Monitor saw in him a great potential, and trained him to become one of his top agents in the incoming war against the Anti-Monitor. When the latter possessed Harbinger and used her against her master, The Monitor was killed (actually he let himself be killed in a cosmic plan to save the remaining realities), thus triggering the last phase of the conflict…one in which Alexander had to take an active role, doing what he was ordered by The Monitor: gather heroes and villains from different dimensions and guide them against the Anti-Monitor and his forces.

Along with Monitor’s other agents, Harbinger and Pariah, Alexander Luthor Jr. took the lead of the impressive army the positive-matter universe had gathered, and he collected powerful heroes and villains from six different realities to line up, bringing them directly to the anti-matter universe where the Anti-Monitor resided. Since one of his most powerful allies was Kal-L, the Superman from Earth-Two, Alex decided to save his wife, Eart-Two Lois Lane, just before that universe was annihilated by the Anti-Monitor, but he chose not to say anything about it, not wanting to distract the hero from the task at hand. Luthor’s powers proved to be vital to the mission, as he acted as a living vessel between universes, letting the army invade the anti-matter universe; at the height of the battle, he even allowed Darkseid to shoot his deadly Omega Effect right through him, hitting the Anti-Monitor and weakening alexanderluthorjrcomics2him enough to allow Kal-L to punch him to submission. The battle was won…but the multiverse was now reduced to a universe, New Earth, with all the other realities erased from existence. Alexander Luthor Jr. was the sole survivor of Earth-Three, and along with him there were Kal-L and Lois from Earth-Two (finally reunited) and yet another version of the Kryptonian, Superboy from Earth-Prime, he was an alien to the new reality; using the last of his burned-out dimensional power, Alex opened a portal to a “paradise dimension” of his creation, where the foursome could have lived forever, with their earned rest granted. Years passed, and nobody in the universe even remembered Alex’s and the others’ existence, but they could see everything going on in New Earth. The “paradise” soon showed its flaws, as Lois started to die of old age, despite Kal-L’s best efforts to “fix” her in the pocket reality he could shape with his will, while Superboy was growing weary for his “imprisonment”; Alex, on his side, envied the childhood Superboy knew and he never did, and Superman’s marriage that he would have never experienced. Convinced that New Earth was flawed as well and that it needed to be repaired by restoring the multiverse, Alexander Luthor started plotting from beyond reality to reshape the universe as he saw fit…

Alexander Luthor Jr. is a genius born, a man (actually a baby, grown up at incredible speed) whose intellect is able to comprehend a multi-dimensional reality; deeply committed to the safety of all living creatures, Luthor uses his many skills to selflessly fight for everybody’s existence. A true Luthor, he’s a genius mastermind, an unpredictable tactician and a skilled inventor and engineer; he also possesses superhuman powers due to some side-effects of the inter-dimensional travel he experienced as a newborn, and he can now manipulate matter itself, opening portals from a place to another and even from a universe to antoher, absorb energy, concentrate it in powerful blasts and even distributing it among other people, fly and modify his own appearance to look like an alternate version of himself; his powers can exhaust if used too much, but they slowly recharge. After fighting for the whole universe just to be forgotten, and years and years of confinement in a pocket dimension, Alexander Luthor Jr. is now tired of watching life happen before his very eyes, and he’s now determined to step in once more to “save” reality…but this time on his own terms.