Simon Williams (Wonder Man)

Of course, the biggest news these days is the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a movie that’s impressively filled with cameos and surprise appearances (as usual, it will take a while to get a pic for each one of them: stay tuned to learn everything you can about them). Let’s start from an announced photo cameo, the one and only Simon Williams, an actor portrayed in-movie by Nathan Fillion. Williams only appears on some posters, the ones for his many movies, that include a Tony Stark biopic, the fantasy Arkon, the horror Axan 2, the romantic comedy Oh, Rebecca! (pictured) and the superhero-parody Toxic Janitor 2. In the comics, Williams is indeed an actor, but he’s also Wonder Man, an impossibly powerful superhero…who dies roughly as many times as Kenny in South Park. Let’s see together.

Simon Williams was born in PatersonNew Jersey, the son of rich industrialist Sanford Williams and of his wife Martha. Simon, a skinny bookworm, grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Eric, but when he refused to enter Williams Innovation as his father’s successor, the youngest Williams stepped in, eager to earn his place in the family. Sanford taught his son everything he could about management, but he died when Simon was little more than twenty years old, and although young and inexperienced, Simon inherited total control over the company. Despite his best efforts, Simon wasn’t exactly able to run the company in an increasingly competitive market, and started losing ground to emerging companies such as Stark Industries: desperate, he looked for Eric’s advice, since his older brother had managed to get rich on his own. Unfortunately, what Simon didn’t know was that Eric was indeed a succesful man, but only because he had become involved with the Maggia crime families; the advice he gave to his younger brother was one you could expect from a gangster, as he told Simon to embezzle Williams Innovation’s funds to invest them into Maggia activities. Trustful and desperate to protect his father’s legacy, Simon did as he was told…but he was immediately caught into stealing the company’s money, and when the board discovered he was involved with renowned criminals, they had him arrested, put on trial and sent to jail. Distraught, humiliated and embittered, Williams declared to the press that he blamed Tony Stark for what had happened to him…a declaration that attracted the attention of Baron Zemo, who was looking for a way to get revenge on his enemy, Iron Man (who, at the time, he believed to be Stark’s bodyguard). Zemo sent one of his Masters of EvilAmora the Enchantress, to break Simon Williams out of jail, then brought him to his base in South America where he offered the disgraced businessman a way to get his revenge: he would have been subjected to an experimental treatment to gain superpowers. Williams accepted, and gained power enough to effortlessly defeat the mighty Executioner in his first test.

Of course, albeit holding a grudge against Stark, and being naive to a fault in trusting the likes of the Masters of Evil, Simon was no supervillain…but Zemo ensured his total cooperation by informing him that, as a side-effect of the experiment, he would have died if he didn’t receive a special antidote once a week. Obviously not wanting to die, Williams agreed to do what Zemo told him: the Baron renamed him “Wonder Man”, and instructed him to win the Avengers‘ trust and to join them, only to betray them when the time came. Soon after, Zemo staged a battle between the Avengers and the Masters of Evil, with Wonder Man readily intervening to save the heroes; introducing himself, Wonder Man told them he suffered from an incurable disease, that he was about to die and that he wanted to do something good with his life before passing away. The Avengers fell for it, and Giant-Man even worked hard to find a cure for his state, but to no avail. Eventually, the time came that Wonder Man was ordered to lure the Avengers into a trap, but in the meanwhile he had experimented on himself how truly good-hearted and heroic they were: feeling giulty, he chose to rebel to the Masters of Evil, and battled them alongside the heroes, only to “die” immediately after for the lack of his serum, happy to have done something good with the last moments of his life. Obviously, this wasn’t the end for Williams, as his “death” was just a coma caused by the unstable nature of his new ionic body. During his unconsciousness, Wonder Man’s body was collected and used by many, as his consciousness was downloaded by Ultron to create the mind pattern for his creation, The Vision, and later even his brother Eric, who in the meanwhile had become the villainous Grim Reaper, tried to use his remains to defeat the Avengers. He was also used as a puppet by villains like Kang the Conqueror and Black Talon, but every time he was resurrected as a “zombie” he was much weaker than before…basically because he was sleepwalking. Finally, the ionic hero returned to true life, just in time to help his fellow Avengers against heavy-hitters such as Attuma, Doctor Doom and Graviton. He “came back to life” with quite a psychological trauma, after all those years in a coffin, but thanks to his friends, Beast especially, he was ready to face them to become the hero he wanted to.

Simon Williams is a well-meaning but impulsive man, who wishes to do good in his life but ends up embracing an embarassing number of bad choices…always finding the courage and the will to amend, of course. As Wonder Man, he’s a being composed of pure ionic energy, a unique nature that grants him a variety of abilities: he’s impossibly strong, pretty much invulnerable, impervious to fatigue, extremely fast, gifted with enhanced senses and theoretically immortal, since he doesn’t age and he can heal from any kind of wound to any extent (a characteristic that allows him to come back from the dead over and over again); he’s also able to fly, to alter his size and to manipulate ionic energy into powerful blasts, and possibly even more, since the full extent of his powers is still unknown, mostly due to the traumas that prevent him to fully explore them. Hurt but not broken, Wonder Man is a phoenix who constantly rises from his ashes, always trying to be the hero he desperately longs to be, in a constant struggle between his fragile psyche and his inhumanly powerful body.

Melissa Bowen

After a brief hiatus, we come back with the third and last character appearing in the first Cloak and Dagger‘s trailer: Melissa Bowen, portrayed by Andrea Roth. In the show, Melissa will be Tandy‘s mother, and apparently she’s been turned into a much more sympathetic character, an optimist by nature who stands by her daughter’s side despite the many difficulties they face together. This makes her quite different from the selfish and self-centered character we learnt to know in the comics, and it’s quite unsure what this will mean for Tandy’s origin story, since her complicated relationship with her mother was a big part of the reason she ran away from home in the first place. Anyway, waiting to meet a brand new version of Melissa Bowen, let’s take a look at the original, bitchy one.

Not much is known about Melissa Bowen’s early life, but she was born most likely in Ohio, from an unknown but certainly wealthy family. She grew up with her older brother, Michael Bowen, but the two of them couldn’t be more different one from the other: while Melissa was pretty much self-centered and vain, Michael was selfless and altruist. The ridge between the two of them became even more apparent when, after he came back from the Korean War that deeply shocked him, Michael decided to become a priest, while Melissa, who was a renowned socialite even when she was little more than a girl, started a career as a super-model (something that certainly didn’t quell her ego). When Michael moved to New York City, since he wanted to stay closer to poor and needy people, the relationship between him and Melissa certainly grew colder, but they never really broke it, considering that, differences aside, they truly loved each other. Still young and beautiful, Melissa met a rich and fascinating businessman, Nathan Tyler, who became quite smitten by her; albeit she didn’t exactly love him, she agreed to marry him, seeing in his wealth a promising boost to her career. Melissa’s calculations were clearly well-based, as she saw her popularity grow enormously thanks to her husband’s influence, and she became more famous (and richer) than she had ever hoped for.

After some time, Melissa got pregnant, and even if this meant a hiatus in her modelling career, she found out that being a mother was a blessing to her popularity. She gave birth to a daughter, Tandy, and she insisted on giving her her surname rather than Nathan’s, planning on the baby’s career as her successor as a model even before she could say a single word or move a step. In this time, her relationship with her brother Michael grew closer again, as the priest enjoyed to spend some time with his baby niece, soon becoming Tandy’s favourite uncle. In the meanwhile, however, Melissa’s relation with her husband was quickly deteriorating, and she eventually divorced him, ignoring the pleads of her daughter who deeply loved her father; Tandy was heartbroken when Nathan was estranged from her life, and even more when, distrupt, he left the country to look for enlightnment in India…but Melissa didn’t care much about it, as she had obtained in the divorce Nathan’s hestate, quite a substantial profit. Albeit she was now a single mother, Melissa didn’t pay much attention to Tandy, taking care of her own career in need of a reboot; even her love life received a change for the better when Michael introduced her to one of his former comrades, Phillip Carlisles, a good-hearted man who quite unexpectedly managed to win Melissa’s affection. Once again ignoring Tandy, who wanted her father back and not a substitute, the woman married Phillip, who actually turned out to be an excellent stepfather, loving and caring as much as Melissa was distant and disinterested. Years of neglecting her daughter, eventually, paid a price, and when Tandy was fifteen, she ran away from home; while Phillip was heartbroken for this and immediately went after the girl, Melissa was pretty much unbiased: if being a mother brought her popularity, a personal tragedy such as this one could only improve her situation even more…

Melissa Bowen is a selfish and egotistic woman, who’s barely able to realize somebody besides her exists. Beautiful and rich, she always had whatever she wanted in her life, and she’s simply used to have it that way. Incapable of feeling any true love for anybody but herself, Melissa is exactly where she wants to be in her life: at the top.

Tandy Bowen (Dagger)

And here were are, for the second half of the couple who will hit our screens in the upcoming Cloak & Dagger: Dagger, of course. In the show, Tandy Bowen will be portrayed by Olivia Holt, and she’ll apparently suffer quite a change from her comicbook counterpart: she’ll be always a member of a rich Southern family, but she’ll end up on the streets pretty early on in her story, and she’ll become a thief along with her boyfriend Liam. The same accident that gave Tyrone Johnson his ability to emit and control darkness will give her the one to create light daggers (hence the name), and she’ll eventually break up with Liam, we don’t know yet if peacefully or not, to be with Tyrone instead. That’s as much as we know as for now, so now it’s time to take a look at the original Tandy, another well-known and beloved character in the comics.

Tandy Bowen was born in Shaker HeightsOhio, a wealthy suburb of Cleveland. She was the daughter of Nathan Tyler, a rich landlord, and of his wife, Melissa Bowen, a famous model who pretty much thought only of herself (and who insisted to have Tandy inherit her surname, wanting to “open a road” for her when she would have become a model too). When she was still a kid, Nathan and Melissa divorced, with the first leaving the country altogether to seek inner peace and enlightment in India; Tandy was deeply hurt by her father’s departure, but Melissa wasn’t exactly the best person to understand her pain and to do something about it, quite the opposite: soon after, obviously without caring for her daughter’s feelings, she married another man, Phillip Carlisle. Phillip was a nice man and a caring stepfather, but Tandy didn’t accept him nevertheless, always thinking of her real father. Missing the presence of the one person who she perceived had truly loved her, a sixteen-years-old Tandy eventually started a relationship with an older boy, Rob Daltry, searching in him all the love she was missing…but eventually Rob had to leave for college, and this broke Tandy’s heart once again. Not wanting to stay a day more in a house she didn’t feel loved in, Tandy made up her mind and took the first bus to New York City, leaving behind her previous life. Her first encounter with the Big Apple, however, wasn’t exactly the nicest one, as almost immediately a man stole her purse and ran away; luckily enough, another young man stopped the first one and won her purse back, giving it back to her. Grateful, and realizing that her savior was in need as well, Tandy bought him some food: the young man was Tyrone Johnson, and he had run away from home just as she had, albeit for different reasons. The two became fast friends. Immediately after, a group of men arrived and offered the two teens some food and shelter: naive to a fault, Tandy agreed to follow them, and a mistrustful Tyrone followed her just to make sure this wasn’t some kind of trap. The latter, unfortunately, turned out to be right, and they both got kidnapped.

This goons weren’t “regular” kidnappers, however, as they were working for Dr. Simon Marhsall, a criminal scientist who was testing for Maggia a synthetic heroine, D-Lite…unfortunately, all the teen runaways he had used as test subjects had died in the process. Tandy and Tyrone, however, were different from the others, and the drug awakened some latent mutant gene they both possessed: after being experimented on, they escaped, jumping into the Hudson. When they reemerged, they found they had gained superhuman abilities: Tandy was glowing with light in the dark, and she soon found out she could make that very light a solid object; Tyrone, on the opposite, was now a being of pure darkness. By common accord, the two decided to use their newfound powers to protect other street kids from the dangers they had faced, and they named themselves Cloak & Dagger. First things first, they found themselves forced to defend themselves from Marshall’s men, who had come to collect the only surviving guinea pigs: Dagger struck them down with her light projectiles, while Cloak absorbed them into the darkness he was, killing each one of them. Then, they started hunting for the scientist himself: during their quest, they obviously needed food and shelter, and Tandy, born in a devout Catholic family, asked for help to Father Delgado, a priest who welcomed them in his church. While looking for Marshall, Cloak & Dagger met people who started influencing them to pursue another path, rather than the murderous vigilantes’ one: Brigit O’Reilly, a police detective, and Spider-Man, a young superhero Dagger took quite a liking to, and she even began flirting with him, causing Tyrone’s jealousy (unbeknownst to Tandy, in fact, Cloak loved her more than just as a friend). Despite Spider-Man’s teachings, however, Cloak still killed, as it was difficult for him not to due to the nature of his powers, and this brought to Simon Marshall’s death; Dagger, on her part, stayed with him, and eventually found out that her light powers could feed Cloak’s darkness enough for him not to consume living people. As friends or as something more, the two of them had become apparently inseparable…

Tandy Bowen is a good-hearted and cheerful young woman, who instinctively trusts others and who has no true experience on street life, relying for that on her best friend (and later lover) Tyrone. As Dagger, she’s a living generator of Lightforce, a form of “living light” that grants her several abilities: she can summon daggers of solid light that she throws with expertise, and once they hit someone she has visions on how their life can be different if “enlightened” (and the victims usually change their lives, once touched by Lightforce); through the daggers, she can either absorb people’s lifeforce to incapacitate them or even kill them, or she can on the opposite heal them from poisons, drugs and toxins; she can also create light halos and sometimes forcefields. The day to Cloak’s night, Dagger is a girl full of passion and joy, bent on a violent crusade, but in a way that quells her partner’s brutality, while his seriousness helps her remain focused.

Tyrone Johnson (Cloak)

Next trailer for the future tv series is Cloak and Dagger, another piece of the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first trailer briefly showed us the origin of the two protagonists, and let’s start from the one who comes first in the title: Cloak, portrayed by Aubrey Joseph. In the show, Tyrone Johnson is a African-American teenager, a basketball player who risks to die in a dangerous clash with an unknown force; an incident gives him the power to generate and manipulate darkness, an ability that will put him in close contact with Tandy Bowen, a girl with the power to generate and manipulate light, whom he’ll fall in love with. Now, waiting to see what this new series will bring on the table of the MCU, let’s take a look at the original superhero…whose powers end up becoming quite creepy.

Tyrone Johnson was born in South Boston, son of Otis Johnson. Raised from a poor family in the slums, Ty developed quite a stutter since he was a kid, a handicap that made it difficult for him to bond with the other kids; despite this, he proved to be a good student, overcoming his speech difficulty mostly thanks to his best friend, Billy. He and Billy were quite inseparable, but one fateful day he and his friend, while in a store, witnessed an armed robber breaking in, killing the clerk and running away with the money; Billy, afraid that the policemen would have blamed them for the clerk’s death, ran as well, but this proved to be a mistake: the cops arrived, and seeing a black boy running away from the scene of a murder, pointed their gun on him. Ty tried to stop them proclaiming Billy’s innocence, but he started stuttering uncontrollably, and he couldn’t say a single clear word: as a result, the cops shot and killed Billy right in front of the seventeen-years old Tyrone. This resulted in quite a trauma for the teenager, and he ran away from home, trying to distance himself from his guilt and from a police he still feared. He arrived in New York City, in Manhattan, but he finished all his money with the bus ticket. With no other option at hand, he spotted a rich girl walking alone on the street, and considered robbing her…but someone preceeded him. Acting on instinct, Ty stopped the thief, and gave the purse back to the girl: she was Tandy Bowen, and Tyrone learnt that she was running away from home as well. The two became fast friends, and Ty immediately realized that the girl was quite naive, completely inexperienced regarding street life. The proof of this arrived almost immediately, as Tandy accepted the offer of a bunch of weird men who offered her a shelter: worried for his new friend, Ty accompanied her, and his suspicions proved to be well-based, as the men kidnapped them both and sold them to Simon Marshall, a chemist working for the criminal cartel Maggia. Marshall was testing a new synthetic drug, D-Lite, and Tyrone and Tandy had just become his new guinea pigs.

Most of the runaway teens who had been experimented on by Marshall didn’t live to tell the experience, as the synthetic heroine still had lethal side-effects; the modified formula didn’t kill Ty and Tandy, but it affected them in unexpected ways. The teens managed to escape, but soon Ty had to stop, finding himself victim of a strange hunger…then, he realised he was engulfed into pitch-black darkness. The darkness wasn’t engulfing Tyrone, however: the darkness was Tyrone, and his hunger came from a living portal that he now was that was absorbing any light in the nearby; Tandy, on the opposite, was glowing in light, and her presence eased Ty’s craving. Upon realizing they each had superhuman abilities, Tyrone and Tandy decided they had to stop Simon Marshall now that they had a chance to: covering his ghostly appearence with a cloak he found in an alley, Ty came back to the Maggia lab with his friend, and started absorbing in his darkness the goons Tandy struck down with her light daggers, until they managed to do the same with Simon Marshall. Seeing how powerful they were together, the teenagers declared an open war on crime, and named themselves Cloak & Dagger, new superheroes in New York. The duo started as brutal vigilantes, mercilessly killing criminals like Marshall who inflicted to others a pain similar to the one they had to endure; soon however they met Spider-Man, another superhero in town, who recognised them as young, misguided innocents rather than cold-blooded murderers, and decided to guide them. Cloak, however, felt the urge to consume living beings, so Spider-Man’s no-kill way appeared extremely difficult to follow for him. Ignoring the hero’s teachings, Cloak and Dagger tried to kill two of the top mob bosses in New York, Silvermane and Kingpin, but they failed; as a result, Dagger embraced Spider-Man’s values, and tried to make Cloak do the same, although she understood how difficult it was to him. Tyrone, eventually, started developing strong feelings for the girl who was now bonded to him in a way or the other, and he found himself reciprocated: now a couple in life and in crime-fighting, Cloak & Dagger were more formidable than ever.

Tyrone Johnson is a serious and dour young man, sometimes brutal in his crime-fighting and usually melancholy. As Cloak, he’s a living conduit to the Darkforce Dimension, a condition that grants him several abilities: he can create fields of darkness in his vicinity, a darkness that instills fear and cold in the ones affected by it to the point of turning them insane if overexposed; he can teleport by travelling through the Darkforce Dimension, bringing others along, he can fly, and he can become intangible (even if it’s more correct to say the opposite, as he’s usually intangible, and he has to concentrate to become solid again); from the Darkforce Dimension, the Predator compels him to consume living beings, draining them of their life force by absorbing them into a pocket dimension, but as Cloak found out, also Dagger’s light can quell his hunger for some time. Just as gloomy as the darkness he’s made of, but gifted with a heart of gold that puts him always on the frontline to protect the ones he love, Dagger especially, Cloak is a young man who tries to escape a destiny that keeps pulling him in the dark, grateful for the one ray of light he constantly has by his side.

Seyg-El

With most of the series coming to the end of season, we start to see the trailers for the new ones coming next Autumn, and the first among these is Krypton, set on the doomed planet Krypton a couple of centuries before Superman arrives on Earth. The protagonist of the series will be Superman’s grandfather, Seyg-El (in this version mispelled Seg-El), who’s introduced as a young member of the disgraced and ostracized House of El who fights to reconquer the lost honor of his family. The series will be part of the DC Extended Universe, acting as a prequel to Man of Steel, and as we see from the trailer it will all be told in a message Seg-El leaves to his future grandson Kal-El. Now, waiting to meet Superman’s grandpa in flesh and blood, let’s take a look at his paper version…who surely doesn’t start as a disgraced nobelman at all.

Seyg-El was born in Kryptonopolis, one of the richest and most populated cities on planet Krypton, second only to the capital Kandor; he was the son of Ter-El, and he was a member of the renowned House of El, one of the most important noble families on the planet. Since his birth, Seyg-El was genetically destined to the Kryptonian Science Council, and his formation was programmed so that he could excell in it and lead it. He grew up along with his brother Zim-El, but the relationship between the two wasn’t exactly a siblings’ one, as relations were in general pretty cold within the House. As all the nobles on Krypton, Seyg-El didn’t chose his mate, as she was selected by the Master of the Gestation Chambers to preserve the purity of his blood: he was introduced to a girl named Nimda An-Dor, who became his wife. From her, Seyg-El had two children: a son, Jor-El, and a daughter, Kara Seyg-El. Just as sibling relationship, even the father and son one wasn’t exactly a passionate and warm bond on Krypton, and Seyg-El, who took care of Jor-El’s education personally, treated him with cold interest, making sure that he learnt Kryptonian traditions and science, but with the same attention a particularly detached teacher could have for a promising student. Jor-El, however, wasn’t like his father at all: albeit he properly studied Kryptonian etiquette and history, and he proved to be a versatile scientist and a curious researcher, he didn’t like the strictness of Krypton’s traditions, and dreamed of something more in his life than genetic perfection and oppressively organised society. Seyg-El didn’t understand his son’s ambitions, quite the opposite, he came to consider him a public embarassment, an apple that had fallen far distant from its tree. The greatest dishonor that Jor-El ever brought to his father came when the boy was about fifteen years old, and a great opportunity came to him and to the House of El in general, albeit in one of the harshest times ever for planet Krypton, as the Green Plague was claiming thousands of lives.

Among the ones who fell victim to the plague was Zon-Em, a respected nobleman, and his mate-to-be, Lara, was left without her future husband. The Master of the Gestation Chambers selected Jor-El as a replacement for Zon-Em, finding his genetic template worthy of mixing with Lara’s one. Seyg-El, understanding the honor this represented, prompted his son to accept, informing him of the privilege the Lords had granted him (Jor-El had not yet participated to the rite of passage to adulthood, and it was unheard of that a “child” was chosen as a mate for a noblewoman). Much to Seyg-El’s relief, Jor-El accepted the offer…but he managed to put him in great embarassment the moment he demanded to actually meet the woman he was supposed to marry and to conceive children with, a request that nobody, in centuries of genetic perfection-oriented combinations, had ever promoted. Father and son argued harshly about this, with Seyg-El seeing this request just another sign of Jor-El’s disrespect for Kryptonian traditions, a meaningless whim of a maverick; Jor-El, however, was unmovable, and when the Master of the Gestation Chambers actually granted his request and allowed him to meet Lara, Seyg-El rushed away, not wanting to have anything else to do with his rebellious son ever again. Seyg-El completely focused on leading the Kryptonian Science Council, and he did so with total respect of Kryptonian traditions, becoming a renowned conservative judge of any Kryptonian matter. To make things worse, soon Jor-El, who had in the meanwhile fallen in love with Lara and had married her nevertheless, became a scientist himself, subject to the Council as a result. Even more, in the moment when all Krypton’s greatest minds were trying to find a cure to the Green Plague without success, letting it destroy millions of lives, Jor-El started exposing theories about a destabilization of the planet’s nucleus that would have brought to the destruction of Krypton. Seyg-El refused to listen to his own son, and ordered him to keep quite about this not to spread panic among the population: this last act of pride, however, would have costed him much…

Seyg-El is a serious and proud member of the House of El, the heir of a long legacy of rules and traditions who consecrates his entire life to respecting and protecting them. A brilliant scientist and a deep connoisseur of Kryptonian history and customs, he’s the leader of the Science Council, a perfect man shaped by eugenics who doesn’t accept the slightest flaw in himself or in others. Severe and inflexible, Seyg-El represents everything that made Krypton great…and everything that marked its downfall as well.

Edgar Cizko (Doctor Psycho)

Apparently Powerless is releasing episodes in a different order than the one announced by the production. Next one will be Emergency Punch-Up, which will see the debut of a new villain, Doctor Psycho, already seen in the promo: he’ll attack Charm City with a poisonous gas, with the immediate effect of locking Emily and her colleagues in their office, unable to come out. This marks the first live action appearance of Psycho, who’s actually a pretty old villain, who debuted in the 1940s. This character crossed four eras of publication, with his deeds being changed and reinvented from time to time, but with his origin story pretty much the same all over Earth-OneEarth-Two, New Earth and Prime Earth. Let’s see together who this madman is.

Edgar Cizko was born possibly in Washington D.C., where he attended college as a medical student, impressing his professors with his superior intellect. Short in size and with a disproportionate head, Cizko was mocked by his fellow students, who called him names and excluded him from any possible friendship; the only relief in his life was Marva Jane Gray, a girl who, albeit she clearly didn’t find him beautiful, agreed to marry him, becoming his fiancée. Cizko, however, had suspicions that Marva was secretly in love with the beautiful and athletic Ben Bradley, and he had a confirmation of this in the worst way possible: one night, some precious radium was stolen from the University’s lab, and Marva testified that she had seen Edgar escaping with it, charging him with theft (actually, the culprit was Ben, who had used a costume to look like Cizko, with Marva knowing nothing of it). In jail, Edgar learnt that Marva was now engaged to Ben Bradley: mad with hatred and jealousy, he lost his mind, and started nurturing a grudge against all women. When he finished his term, he started to study different disciplines than medicine, and albeit becoming a skilled scientist, he also medded with occultism. Inspired by Ares, in the person of his lieutenant the Duke of Deception, Cizko used his new skills to obtain revenge: he tracked down Ben Bradley right before his marriage with Marva and hypnotized him to submission; then, he tortured him and interrogated him, leading him to admit that he was the one who had stolen the radium…trying to exonerate himself, however, Ben lied and told Cizko that Marva was his willing accomplish. Not inclined to spare him under any circumstances, Cizko forced him to eat one of the radium bars, killing him, and then proceeded to meet his once-beloved Marva. By that time, Cizko hated her, but he didn’t want to kill her, as this would have not been enough for his thirst of vengeance: with hypnosis, he forced her to marry him, and he transformed her into his slave, also using her as a guinea pig for his occult experiments. His mental powers kept growing at an alarming rate.

After the Chrisis on Infinite Earths, Cizko’s story remained pretty much the same, apart from the fact that he had studied psychology instead of medicine, and that among the monikers his colleagues used to denigrate him there was “Doctor Psycho”, one that he eventually came to like and use. His hatred for women didn’t change from a reality to the other, and almost inevitably he started to target Wonder Woman, the heroine who incarnated everything he despised. In an attempt to destroy Wonder Woman, he even teamed up with another woman, Circe, whom he considered the lesser of two evils: in a plot aimed to separate the heroine from her closest friends and allies, Psycho implanted horrible nightmares in the mind of Vanessa Kapatelis, Wonder Woman’s friend, and drove her mad, turning her into the new Silver Swan. In the meanwhile, Cizko was also posing as Dr. Charles Stanton, a child psychologist in Boston, and was forcing through hypnosis the students of Adams Junior High School to improve their grades. His “regular” activity was almost spoiled by Helen Andersen, the school’s guidance councillor, who was investigating on the unexpected and innatural improvement of the students’ grades. Doctor Psycho found her and knocked her unconscious, only to start torturing her by projecting horrifying nightmares in the mind of her unborn baby (she was eight-months pregnant), nearly driving her insane and aiming to kill both her and the baby; in that moment, however, Wonder Woman arrived: the heroine had read through Vanessa’s memories and had located her enemy, and she intervened just in time to stop him from killing Helen. Imprisoned in Slabside Penitentiary after briefly joining Circe’s team of villains, he was kept in a dormant state in a straitjacket, as a mental patient, but when the telepath Saturn Girl used her powers to call for her teammates of the Legion of Superh-Heroes, this boost of mental energy was enough to awaken him. Restrained, Doctor Psycho was no match for the guards nevertheless, and he incapacitated many of them running to his freedom: finally, his crusade could continue.

Edgar Cizko is a cruel and sadistic man, bent on a revenge crusade that targets everyone reminds him of the people who used to mock him (that means, pretty much everyone on the planet); a grudging misogynist, he particularly hates women, and enjoys torturing them in any possible way. As Doctor Psycho, he’s one of Earth‘s most powerful telepaths, comparable to the likes of Saturn Girl and Martian Manhunter: he can read people’s minds, he can project hallucinations realistic enough to kill, and he’s also able to mind-control people to do his bidding; through his occult studies, he’s also able to summon ectoplasm to the physical world, shaping them into life-like beings that he uses for a variety of purposes, from sheer combat to infiltration. A skilled psychiatrist who can understand a person’s fear to use it against him, Doctor Psycho is an extremely dangerous mastermind, whose mind compensates greately for his physical lacks. A man who hates women, Psycho is a serial murderer and torturer who takes pleasure from the screams of his victims, bent on a life-long crusade that will never end.

Jackson W. Brice (Montana)

Another character’s name has been confirmed for the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, and it’s nobody anyone was expecting. We knew already that Logan Marshall-Green would have portrayed a subordinate of the Vulture, but now we learn that his character will be called Jackson Brice, quite a familiar name for the comics’ readers, as this is the real name of Montana, one of the Enforcers, among the very first enemies Spider-Man ever faced. In the show, Brice will be one of the scavangers who reverse-engineer several high-tech components to level up in his criminal activities, but in the comics he’s a renowned mercenary and a master of the lasso. It’s possible that this version of Brice will look to the animated The Spectacular Spider-Man‘s version, where he doesn’t get the Montana identity, but he becomes Shocker instead of Herman Schultz (who’ll be present in the movie)…but waiting for a confirmation, let’s take a look at the original one.

Not much is known about Jackson Brice’s early life: he was born in BozemanMontana, from an unknown family, and since he was very young he practiced with the lariat, until he became a master of it. Under unknown circumstances, he met Daniel Brito, an infallible marksman who went by the name Fancy Dan, and Raymond Bloch, called the Ox for his incredible strenght; the three of them had unique talents to put on the market and, wanting to capitalize them, they decided to enter business together as mercenaries, in a team of three they called the Enforcers. As a codename, Brice chose the name of his birth State, Montana. The trio earned quite a fame as goons for hire, offering their services to some of the most influent crime bosses of their time. At a certain point, they moved to New York City to enter the service of Frederick Foswell, aka Big Man, who wanted to take control of New York’s criminality. It was during this time that the Enforcers met the one hero who would have become their nemesis for a while: Spider-Man. At first, Montana managed to take him by surprise with his lasso, capturing him and restraining his movements, but eventually the hero overpowered them all, forcing them to retreat. Foswell, at the time a reporter for the Daily Bugle, was exposed as the Big Man and arrested, so the Enforcers became unemployed…but not for long, as they were soon hired by another kingpin-wannabe, the Green Goblin, who employed them in a desert battle against Spider-Man. Montana and his teammates nearly obtained a victory against Spider-Man, who was out of his usual environment, but the battle was abruptly interrupted by The Hulk, who was hiding in that same area, forcing the trio to retreat once again. When the Enforcers resurfaced, they had formed an alliance with Sandman to kidnap the Human Torch, and they nearly succeeded if it wasn’t, again, for Spider-Man, who intervened to save his friend. For the umpteenth time the Enforcers tried to defeat Spider-Man, this time working for Lightmaster, but things ended the same way as the previous ones.

Montana and the others didn’t want to start any particular private war with Spider-Man, especially considering how bad for business this was, so they soon tried to change their target, accepting a job from former industrialist Techmaster; this time, however, they were confronted and defeated by the mutant singer/vigilante Dazzler. Things didn’t go any better the moment they crossed paths with She-Hulk, who had them all arrested (luckily enough, in one piece). The trio came soon out of jail, but they suffered a loss as Ox fell victim to Karl Stragg, a scientist who apparently killed him in an effort to swap bodies with him; Montana and Fancy Dan recruited Raymond’s brother, Ronald Bloch, as the new Ox, and they resumed their business, entering Mr. Fear‘s services in his war to conquer Hell’s Kitchen. Obviously, Daredevil confronted the trio almost immediately, but he wasn’t a target, as the Enforcers primarily destroyed the activities of Fear’s rivals…who, however, had mercenaries on their own, as Montana discovered as he was faced by The Wrecker, a goon empowered by an enchanted weapon: as he soon found out, criminals were not so careful about his integrity as heroes were, and Montana barely made it out alive. In hospital he rejoined Fancy Dan, who had met the Wrecker after him, and the two escaped together, only to discover that Mr. Fear had lost the war. This, however, was not such a big problem, as the winner, The Hood, required their services instead. Montana didn’t like to work for the demonic crimeboss the least, and he often complained about how creepy he was, and how he always appeared out of thin air when someone was speaking about him. Plus, serving The Hood exposed them all to unusual supernatural threats, as they found out when Satana mind-controlled them to do her bidding, luckily enough releasing them all alive and well when they did what they had been ordered to. When The Hood lost his empire, the Enforcers came back to New York, just as Spider-Man was on a rampage, looking for the killer of Lily Hollister‘s baby: maybe it wasn’t exactly the best time to be back on business…

Jackson Brice is a man of no principle nor honor, a mercenary who only aims to profit and who sells his skills to the best bidder in order to achieve it. As Montana, he’s a skilled martial artist with total mastership over lariat, and he can use his lasso in a variety of unexpected and effective ways during battle. Usually overpowered when facing some masked hero, Montana is nevertheless one of the first names people like Big Man, Kingpin or The Hood call when they need some old-fashioned street thug, a “job” he still excels at.