Mortimer George Norris (Mister Fish)

And here’s the third (and last?) new character from Luke Cage Season 3. In episode 3 Wig Out there’s a goon who has the brilliant idea to try and attack Misty Knight while she’s having a drink with Colleen Wing at a bar, in retaliation for sending his brother to Dannemora. Obviously, this doesn’t end well for the thug, whose name is Mortimer Norris, one the comicbook readers are pretty familiar with. Portrayed by Hakim Callender, Norris is just a big bad guy, but in the comics he’s definitely more peculiar and recognizable, and his battle name, as ridiculous as it may be, actually summarizes it all: let’s meet together Mister Fish.

Mortimer Norris was born in Harlem, New York City, and since he was a kid he developed signs of a physical deformation that set him apart from all the kids his age. He mostly hanged out with his little brother Bill, but he obviously sought a different company. In order to be accepted, he tried to compensate looks with skill, and he trained a lot to become the strongest one around, obviously ending up employed in some of the local gangs as thug. When he was still a teenager, he became part of the Fang Gang, a group of criminal wannabes he had been invited in by Dontrell Hamilton. Always looking for company, he gladly joined Hamilton, Ray Jones, Lonnie Lincoln, Cornell Stokes and Mariah Dillard. Following Lonnie’s suggestion, he even had his teeth replaced with triangular blades, an operation that was supposed to be the trademark of the gang. Then, however, Mortimer got smitten by Mariah, and made advances on her; she was, at the time, Dontrell’s girlfriend, and the tensions the triangle created eventually dismantled the group. Mortimer, on his own again, ended up being employed by the local branch of the Maggia, becoming a full-time goon. Years later, he was assigned with two other thugs by his boss to steal a crate of experimental isotopes from a truck. The heist went as planned, but Norris foolishly opened the crate to see inside: the radiation made him dizzy and confused, enough to make him fall into the East River. When he emerged, the radiation had mutated him, and his DNA had been merged with the one of the river’s fish: he was now even more monstrous than before, a human-fish hybrid who started calling himself Mister Fish. As with the monster look he had also gained some useful superhuman ability, the Maggia promptly made him the leader of the Harlem branch, entrusting him to create a solid territory and start remunerative business.

Mr. Fish created his own gang, with the dwarf Shrike as his second in command. The main business running through his would-be territory was Hudson Trucking, so Fish started destroying the company’s trucks, trying to force them to pay him for the privilege of crossing his turf. When Jake, the company’s representative, tried to fight back, Mr. Fish opened his chest with a single swing of his claws, severely wounding him. The one thing he hadn’t foreseen was that, the moment he recovered, Jake hired Luke Cage to protect his trucks. The hero proved to be a handful for Fish’s men, but he managed to knock him down, later bringing him on top of a building in construction to throw him off the roof and kill him for good. Cage, however, survived the fall, and climbed back for round two. This time, the hero easily dispatched all of Mr. Fish’s goons, and was prepared for the main dish: when Mr. Fish tried to ram him with a girder, Power Man didn’t have to do anything but to move a little, so that he dodged the blow and let Fish and his improvised weapon fall from the rooftop, apparently to Mortimer’s death. His new body, however, proved to be more durable than expected, and Mr. Fish actually survived the fall, but decided to lay low for a while, as he had been clearly outmatched by Cage. As more and more heroes rose, and just as many would-be bosses popped up, Fish stayed in the shadows, observing everything. Finally, years later, he decided to resurface to warn his old friend Lonnie Lincoln, now going by the name Tombstone, that a new rival of his, the Black Cat, was about to attack him to claim from him the leadership over Harlem. Tombstone accepted Mr. Fish’s advice, and actually forged an alliance with him. During one of their meetings, though, another new player burst in: Alex Wilder, a new promise in New York’s criminality. With his gadgets, Wilder beat the hell out of Tombstone, and magically sent Fish to the real Hell. Mortimer Norris stayed among torments and tortures for a while, until Tombstone managed to enlist the help of the sorcerer Black Talon to get him out of Hell. Quite a traumatic return, for someone who had been away so long.

Mortimer Norris is not exactly a brilliant man, not even a clever one, but he knows how to move among criminals, and how to earn their respect with the few talents he has. As Mister Fish, his amphibious physiology allows him to survive underwater and gave him sharp claws, in addition to the artificial fangs he already possessed; he also possesses superhuman strength and durability, and always carries along a ray gun of unknown origin, strong enough to knock out even Luke Cage. A would-be Harlem boss who eventually resolved to occupy just a subordinate position, Mr. Fish is smart enough to understand his own limits and know his place… but not much more than that.