Thanks to Fire Hedgehog for the heads-up! It looks like I let myself be fooled by unreliable sources yet again: the Air Elemental in Spider-Man: Far from Home is not the MCU‘s version of Whirlwind, but rather of a similar villain, who actually has more ties to Spider-Man in the comics. We’re speaking of Cyclone, a French super-thug who debuted on the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, and has been a minor threat for some thirty years, even if he started quite a legacy. Sorry for the confusion: now, let’s take a look at the guy who really inspired the monster attacking London in the movie.
Born in Lyons, France, André Gerard was a brilliant engineer, who built futuristic weapons for N.A.T.O. and was pretty good in his job. When he developed his masterpiece, the Cyclone, able to generate tornadoes and powerful gusts of wind, he was sure to be facing a promotion, but his superiors told him that new policies forced them to buy new weapons only from American producers, so he was fired without a second thought. Humiliated and betrayed, Gerard kept the Cyclone technology and made a special suit out of it, deciding to use it to obtain his revenge. When the American media mogul J. Jonah Jameson came to visit Paris, it looked like the perfect occasion to take something from the country that had made him lose his work: as Cyclone, he formed his own gang, and kidnapped Jameson, asking a million dollars in bonds as ransom. This way, he believed, he would have been repaid for the loss the United States had caused to him. From the US, however, two employees of Jameson came instead of the negotiators he was waiting for: Robbie Robertson and Peter Parker. Feeling underestimated, Cyclone had also Robertson abducted, but when his men attacked him they were in turn ambushed by the superhero Spider-Man, who was apparently following the journalist. As all his men were easily defeated by the hero, Cyclone intervened in person, and buried Spider-Man under a wall; he then gave him 24 hours to pay the ransom, or he would have killed both his hostages. Spider-Man appeared before the end of the ultimatum, but not to pay: the two fought again, but this time the hero was equipped with a giant fan, that he used to create a counter-tornado to Cyclone’s one. Crashed against a wall, Cyclone lost consciousness and was eventually arrested, once again humiliated by an American.
Quite ironically, it was also an American the one who got him out of jail: the Masked Marauder, who hired him as a goon and brought him to New York City to work for the Maggia. The Maggia was having trouble with two masked vigilantes: one of them was Cyclone’s old acquaintance, Spider-Man, while the other was Moon Knight. After the execution of Lindy, a gunman who would have testified against his bosses, Cyclone was sent against the two heroes who were investigating the matter, and found them as they were fighting each other after a usual misunderstanding between heroes. Unable to best them both at once, Cyclone resolved to kill the gunman who had called for him in the first place, then escaped, leaving Spider-Man and Moon Knight with no clues… or so he thought. The duo’s detective skills were more than enough to lead them to Grant’s Tomb, where the Masked Marauder planned to reveal himself as the new Maggia leader to his underlings. As the two heroes arrived on the scene, the Masked Marauder fled, leaving Cyclone and a small army of goons to deal with them. Once again, Cyclone was outsmarted, and this time he was bested by Moon Knight, who used his wind powers against him and tricked him to knock himself out. Cyclone spent some other time in jail, but his time with the Maggia, despite the eventual failure, acted as good advertising for him, and he managed to make quite a name for himself as a hired goon, giving up on his grand plan for revenge, but earning enough to be satisfied with his new life. Things were doing pretty great for him, until masked criminals started falling like flies, killed by the mysterious Scourge of the Underworld. Looking for a shelter, he accepted the invitation of a friend, the first Firebrand, in Ohio, where he owned the Bar with No Name, a safe shelter for supervillains. If he was lucky, he would have been safe there…
André Gerard is a brilliant engineer and inventor, but also a greedy and vengeful man, ready to turn violent if spited or wronged. As Cyclone, his special suit is equipped with devices of his own invention that create powerful gusts of winds in the form of whirlwinds, strong enough to bring down a building, that he uses to attack and even to fly. A genius who chose to live the life of a hired muscle for a matter of ego, Cyclone is a force to be reckoned with, a criminal who’s got brains to spare, and who made himself an embodied force of nature.