Shakedown

Last episode of Black Lightning introduced a new villain, the first of a series, as Tobias Whale obtained the pods of all the members of the Masters of Disaster. The first to wake up from his icy slumber in The Book of Secrets Chapter Three: Pillar of Fire is Shakedown, a man who can emit vibrations from his hands. Named Marcus Bishop (in the comics his real name is unknown), he’s portrayed in the show by Hosea Chanchez, receiving the same change of ethnicity that most characters undergo in the series. Also, the original Shakedown has much more lethal and impressive powers than his live action counterpart: let’s see together.

Shakedown’s past is pretty much unknown: nobody knows what his true name was, where he came from, and not even how he acquired his powers. He had the ability to cause earthquakes by emitting powerful vibrations from his hands, and this skill was exactly what the super villain New Wave was looking for forming her team of mercenaries, the Masters of Disaster, as she was collecting people with powers similar to natural catastrophes. Despite his appearance and the nature of his powers, Shakedown was (almost) gentle, and had a kind heart; plus, his stuttering made him quite shy. It was no surprise that, inside the team, he was the one who always tried to keep the peace among its members, mainly defending Coldsnap, Heatstroke and Windfall from the psychotic New Wave… Windfall especially, and for two reasons: first, she was the favorite target of her violent sister, and second, it was pretty obvious that Shakedown had a crush on her. As a mercenary, he made his public debut with the Masters of Disaster when the team got hired by Mrs. Shelton, a woman who had just lost her daughter, Trina, and who wanted to get revenge on the superhero (unwillingly) responsible for her death: Black Lightning. The Masters attacked with quite a display of power, but much to their surprise the hero surrendered, guilt-ridden and not wanting anybody else to be hurt. Black Lightning’s intentions didn’t pay off, as when the Outsiders intervened to save him, Heatstroke hit Mrs. Shelton with one of his blasts by mistake, killing the contractor and thus making the Masters of Disaster abandon their mission, with nobody left alive to pay them. This was the first but definitely not the last time the Masters of Disaster clashed with the Outsiders.

The second clash between the two teams happened when the Nazi criminal Maxwell Tremaine hired them to kidnap Sapphire Stagg on her wedding day. The Outsiders intervened once again, and this time Shakedown had the chance to test his powers against the ones of Geo-Force, that were quite similar to his own. The two earth-manipulators fought for a while, but eventually Geo-Force, who was more proficient in long-distance attacks, emerged victorious. Shakedown obtained his payback when the Masters were hired by Baron Bedlam to attack Markovia, the hero’s kingdom, and not only he defeated and imprisoned Geo-Force, but also the Outsiders who came to his aid. Ironically, Shakedown found it more difficult to keep peace between New Wave and Windfall than to fight superheroes, and he intervened a couple of times to reconcile the sisters… but to no avail, as Windfall eventually got tired of her sister’s cruelty, and she defected to join the Outsiders. This betrayal, summed to the unexpected intervention of Looker, brought the Masters of Disaster to yet another defeat. New Wave had her sister kidnapped, and successfully cloned her and sent the copy to infiltrate the Outsiders; while the clone did her spy work, though, it was Shakedown the one who defended the original Windfall from her sister’s cruelty, even risking his own neck to protect the woman he loved. Also this plan failed, mostly thanks to Batman‘s paranoia: the clone got killed, Windfall was freed and rejoined the Outsiders, and the Masters of Disaster got imprisoned in the Slab. Not much time later, another unexpected inmate arrived: Geo-Force, who had been framed for a crime he did not commit. Seeing an opportunity, New Wave, Shakedown, Heatstroke and Coldsnap manipulated the hero to join them into a prison break, and they all found freedom again… but now Shakedown had to be very careful to his next moves: with all the disobedience and insubordination he had shown to New Wave, the greatest danger for him came from his ally rather than his enemies.

Shakedown is a contradiction of a man: a hulking brute who works as a mercenary and has no problem in using violence to cause severe damage to things and people, but also a gentle giant who always tries to keep the group together and bring peace in conflicts. He has the power to cause earthquakes by projecting vibrations to the ground with his hands, and he’s also unnaturally strong and durable. A walking natural disaster, Shakedown unites strength and kindness, brutality and care… the moral pillar of a group with no morality to spare.

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Wendy Jones (Windfall)

Black Lightning just entered a hiatus till next month, but the last episode introduced a couple of new guys from the comics… well, the first one has simply been confirmed in her identity, that many already suspected. The pod girl who in her confusion caused quite a ruckus in Freeland in The Book of Consequences Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues, has now been officially named Wendy Hernandez. Always portrayed by Madison Bailey, she’s quite clearly the show’s version of Wendy Jones, with a different surname and ethnicity, but with the same powers of her comics counterpart, who’s nicknamed Windfall for reasons you can imagine. In the comics, she has some close ties to the group of supervillains appearing on the show’s horizon…

Wendy Jones was destined since before her birth to be a metahuman: when her mother was expecting her, she let the company she was working for perform unspecified DNA experiments on her, just as they had done with her older sister Becky before her. As a result, Wendy was born with the power of aerokinesis, the ability to manipulate air and wind, just as her sister could do with water. Wendy grew up mainly with Becky, but the latter wasn’t a perfect big sister, quite the opposite, she constantly abused Wendy, forcing her into total submission. When Becky, who had found out about the experiments, killed their parents, Wendy didn’t do anything to stop her, and she followed her even when she decided to become a mercenary. This was not loyalty: Wendy knew quite well that Becky could have killed her just like she had done with her parents, and lived in constant fear of her sister. Naming herself Windfall, Wendy was the first recruit of the team that would have been known as the Masters of Disaster: the leader was clearly Becky, now New Wave, and the team counted the icy Coldsnap, the fiery Heatstroke and the earthquake-inducing Shakedown. New Wave acted as a dictator more than a team leader, and Windfall was relieved to see that her other teammates weren’t truly evil like her sister… but she was in command nevertheless. The Masters of Disaster first crossed paths with the Outsiders when they got hired by an old woman whose daughter, Trina Shelton, had been accidentally killed by Black Lightning during one of his battles: they however found the hero so guilt-ridden and broken that he surrendered to them without a fight, leaving them with no motivations. The second time, though, it was all much more violent: Baron Bedlam, the usurper of Markovia, called them to help him overthrow the rightful king, Geo-Force. Windfall didn’t want to take part in this (especially considering that Bedlam wanted to clone Adolf Hitler to aid him), but this mission eventually changed her life.

The Outsiders came in Geo-Force’s aid, but they found the Masters of Disaster waiting for them, and they were soundly defeated. This battle, though, was the first occasion during which Windfall started to rebel to New Wave: as she was fighting against Halo, Wendy refused to kill her, and not only that, she even saved her from her murderous sister. The two almost came to blows, and only Shakedown’s intervention managed to calm things down. Windfall, however, felt some sort of bond with Halo, and she kept visiting her in Markovian prisons. When a new member of the team, Looker, came and defeated the Masters of Disaster single-handedly, Windfall exploited the commotion to free the Outsiders, deciding to side with Halo, who had managed to shake her moral compass. Rather than coming back with her sister, Windfall escaped with the Outsiders, but she was recaptured shortly after: a vengeful New Wave cloned her, sending the clone in her place to the Outsiders. Batman was suspicious as ever, though, and thanks to his mistrust the team avoided an ambush, trapped the Masters and freed the real Windfall, who disposed of her clone. Only after this ordeal Wendy was allowed into the Outsiders, and she formed a close friendship with Halo and Katana. Halo in particular was like the sister she had never had, and Wendy got very close to her, even sharing an apartment with her. When the Outsiders disbanded, Wendy followed Halo into Lady Eve‘s Strike Force Kobra, albeit with some perplexities… not realizing that “Halo” was actually the villainess Spectra, who had swapped bodies with the heroine. Thanks to an intervention from the new Outsiders, Windfall saw through the deceit, and she sided against Spectra, joining the reformed team. After a massive battle against Felix Faust, though, Wendy decided that she would have stopped being Windfall, trying to start a normal life for a change and enlisting to college… but “normal”, unfortunately, wasn’t something allowed to people like her…

Wendy Jones is a young woman who carries a lot of emotional and psychological scars: subjected to her psychotic sister since her childhood, she’s now far too much dependent on others, always looking for somebody to look up to. As Windfall, she has the ability to control air as she likes: she can use wind to fly, she can create sudden gusts of wind and even tornadoes, she can “build” impenetrable wind walls and even suck the air out of isolated environments, suffocating anyone inside. A girl who’d like just to have a normal life with normal relations, Windfall is constantly dragged into things bigger than her, forced into teams she doesn’t want to be a part of, and that make her goal of normality always a little bit further from her: her only relief is the fresh air she can enjoy, letting herself be taken by winds to such heights that other people and daily problems seem to not even exist anymore…

Margaret “Maggie” Pye (Magpie)

This week on Gotham another historical villain from Batman‘s rogue gallery will make her live action debut. In 13 Stitches, an unusual alliance between Penguin and Selina will be forged, as the two will try to outsmart a thief who’s been stealing from them both. The culprit is none others than Magpie, portrayed by Sarah Schenkkan, a kleptomaniac villain who’s been troubling Batman since the 1980s in the comics, and who’ll have here a darker and more goth-like appearance. Before witnessing her debut in flesh and bones, let’s take a look at her paper counterpart.

Maggie Pye was born in Gotham City, possibly the world’s capital of insanity. Since her childhood, she was compulsively attracted to shiny and bright objects, that she felt the urge to possess; because of this form of kleptomania, the other children ridiculed her, and started calling her “Magpie”, turning her name into that of the bird she took her habits from. With time, Maggie overcame this obsession and learnt to control it, but it was still there, lingering in the back of her head, ready to come back to the surface… and so it did. A renowned academic, Maggie Pye obtained the job of her dreams as the curator of Gotham Museum, but this experience turned into a living nightmare: all those beautiful objects around her made her old obsession come back, and the awareness that she would have never owned them broke her psyche. She became obsessively jealous of all the visitors who watched what she considered her treasure, and she decided to take countermeasures. Using her childhood moniker, Magpie, she hired a group of thugs whose sole purpose was covering her tracks (and she mercilessly killed anyone who disappointed her, thus keeping the ranks), and then she created perfect duplicates of the antiquities of her museum, stealing the originals and replacing them with the booby-trapped replicas. It was inevitable that the explosions at the museum attracted some unwanted attention, but the shocked, read-headed curator who wore huge eye-glasses wasn’t among the police’s suspects… but the new Gotham’s vigilante, Batman, was a better detective, and started investigating on the woman.

Magpie’s career suffered from terrible bad luck since its very start, as in that same time Superman had come to Gotham City to arrest Batman, only to strike an alliance with him and start a long-time friendship… not that Magpie rejoiced about it, as she was the first criminal arrested by the unstoppable duo. Imprisoned, she came back soon after to reclaim her treasure and steal other goods, mainly jewels, but she was stopped once again by Batman, this time accompanied by Robin. As she was separated from her loot once again, she suffered from a major emotional and nervous breakdown, and she was locked into Arkham Asylum, with the many other delusional villains of Gotham. Here, therapy and treatment didn’t do much for her kleptomania, quite the opposite: Magpie started to prostitute herself to guards and even other inmates in exchange of the shiny objects she craved so much, even if this meant to face the disgust of her cellmate, Poison Ivy. Despite their obvious differences, the two eventually learnt to get along, and Magpie used her shiny treasure to get Ivy enough life to dig a tunnel, and escape together… in an attempt that turned out to be even more insane and chaotic than Arkham’s usual. The two prisoners, trying to find a way out, broke into a sealed ward, that had been sealed to trap the Skarva, powerful demons who once haunted the place. The Scarva broke free, and possessed both Magpie and Poison Ivy, turning them into monsters and starting a bloodbath into the asylum. The crisis was solved from behind the scenes by Warren White, who made a deal with the demons, and Magpie came back to her original form. Not even this traumatic experience was enough to make her change life, though: as soon as she was out, she joined Intergang, ready to collect some other treasure to add to her collection…

Margaret Pye is a very disturbed woman, a kleptomaniac obsessed with collecting beautiful and shiny things, compelled by her psychopathy to pursue her “treasure” without consideration for anything else. As Magpie, she’s an expert of traps and explosives, and she’s very skilled in creating deadly replicas of the objects she steals; she’s also a capable hand-to-hand fighter. As wanted a thief as she may be, Magpie still struggles to see the reason behind the manhunt she’s victim of: from her perspective, she never stole anything, she’s merely reclaiming what’s hers by right.

Keith Kenyon (Goldface)

This week’s episode of The Flash saw Barry and Ralph trying to put their hands of a weapon that would allow them to stop Cicada once and for all (by doing of the Cure exactly the one use Caitlin forbade…), but this mission leads them to dark paths. In Goldfaced, the two heroes go undercover in the organization of the greatest tech dealer in Central City, Goldface, portrayed by Damion Poitier. Goldface is a crime boss, a metahuman with a body literally made of gold, and the ex boyfriend of Amunet Black, all traits that find some correspondence to the comics counterpart, albeit slightly changed. Let’s take a look.

Keith Kenyon was born somewhere around Coast City, California, the son of a renowned labor union leader. Following the wishes of his blue-collar father, he enrolled in California University and studied political sciences, but he wasn’t exactly happy with the future prepared for him. An opportunity to change his life came when he retrieved by chance a sunken chest of gold in the bay: smelling wealth coming, Keith took it, without considering that the gold had been exposed to a number of toxic wastes over the years under water. The unique combination of chemicals had given the gold mutagenic properties, and Keith found himself covered in a gold-like aura (which he later called Auric Energy) that gave him a number of superhuman abilities. Kenyon saw in this accident the perfect opportunity to turn away from his father’s expectations, becoming rich in a faster and easier way, and he abandoned university, preferring to become a serial robber. Known as Goldface, Keith Kenyon crafted an armor entirely made of gold, that acted as a second protection that, summed to his golden skin, made him virtually invulnerable, and even built a weapon that he called the Gold Gun, a placebo tool that merely channeled his own powers. Becoming a themed villain, he only targeted gold, and took plenty of it. He slowly built his own gang of criminals, and along with them he looted several treasures all around the sea, even building his own hideout in Hawaii. It was here that his men had to poison a pilot, Hal Jordan, who had found the gold they were looking for before them. The goons apparently took care of the pilot, but shortly after Kenyon’s base was visited by the hero Green Lantern… who found himself outmatched, as his Power Ring was ineffective on Goldface’s armor, yellow as it was. During their fight, though, Green Lantern sprayed royal water on his foe, making Goldface lose his golden cover and invulnerability long enough to be knocked out with a single punch: jail was the next stop.

Goldface didn’t stay in prison for long, and he started a personal war against Green Lantern, challenging him over and over again, but ending up defeated all the times. Eventually, losing even after joining forces with other criminals like Black Hand, Goldface decided to ignore his nemesis and to focus on building a criminal empire, laying low for a while. His efforts paid off, and he managed to extend his control over several cities, having crime syndicates and even Mafia families accept his leadership… only one city resisted to him: Central City. Feeling his presence to be needed, he moved there in person, and immediately made an example of one of the bosses resisting him, Mugsy Malone. There was one other problem though: as long as The Flash protected the city, Goldface couldn’t properly rule it. To take care of the problem, he kidnapped former villain Mick Rory to extort from him The Flash’s secret identity, but Rory escaped. Goldface then enhanced his armor and publicly beat the hero, later starting to execute a cop anytime The Flash showed his face again. Eventually, after several other clashes, Goldface was defeated by the combined efforts of The Flash and the deadly Eradicator, coming back to prison. Surprisingly, it was Green Lantern Guy Gardner to break him out of jail this time, as he recruited the villain in an army he aimed to direct against Qward. On his way to the battlefield, Goldface proved his might by murdering another corps veteran, Tomar-Re, but he eventually found himself entangled in a cosmic battle beyond his comprehension, a war between the embodiment of two rival universes. Even when the universal threat was over, Goldface stayed in space for a while, involved in battles with the Green Lantern Corps, but when he came back to Earth he just wanted to change life. He served his time, then moved to Keystone City, where he married a woman, Amunet Black, and became the Commissioner of Union 242, just what his father had wanted for him in the first place. Maybe it wasn’t too late to change life: only time would have told.

Keith Kenyon is a smart and careful man, moved mainly by greed and ambition, but characterized by an undeniable intelligence. As Goldface, his skin is made of organic gold, making him extremely durable (durability increased by his golden armor) and superhumanly strong; for a time, he also manifested other powers, such as turning inanimate objects and even living beings into solid gold (a power now compensated by his Gold Gun), manipulating anything made of gold, and even negating certain forms of energy. Terribly powerful and dangerously cunning, Goldface eventually grew tired of a risky and meaningless life, and tried to turn on a new leaf… but hold habits die hard, and his fate is not as solid as the gold he’s made of.

Jessica (Menagerie)

No Supergirl this week, but in the promotional material for the next episode we have a first look at a new recurring villain. In Menagerie, Kara will help J’onn with his new P.I. activity to forget about what happened at the DEO, but the case she’ll follow him to will bring them to Pamela Ferrar, portrayed by Jessica Meraz… who’s also the same criminal Alex is pursuing. We don’t know much of Menagerie’s role in the series, apart from the fact that she’ll end up joining Manchester Black as in the comics soon enough, and that she surely looks different from her original counterpart, who’s definitely more alien-looking (an appearance that’s thought to be some sort of homage to Top Cow‘s Witchblade). Let’s take a look.

Pamela, surname unknown, was born in Puerto Rico, and she grew up with her little sister Sonja. Apparently, the two girls were orphans, and could rely only one on the other, living in the streets. Nobody would have even noticed their disappearance, or so thought a group of rogue agents from the DEO, the Department of Extranormal Operations: they abducted Pamela, and experimented on her as they were doing with a number of “invisible” people (the “dregs of society”, they called them). The goal of the DEO agents was to weaponize those people and sell them on the black market as slaves, but something didn’t go as planned. Pamela was forcefully bonded to a group of Symbeasts, an alien warrior crèche that became part of her body, living in symbiosis with her and making her able to do with them whatever she could imagine… including slaughtering her captors and escaping. It’s unknown what happened after that, and for how much time Pamela wandered before she was found by Manchester Black, an extremely powerful British psychic. Black was putting together a team of gifted superhumans, and he offered Pamela a place in it. Using the name Menagerie, Pamela became a founding member of the Elite, a group formed to “free the Earth of scum”, taking the drastic measures that the so-called superheroes were too coward to take. Together with her teammates, Menagerie made quite a name for the Elite, brutally dispatching of criminals in the most violent and permanent way. The Elite even crossed paths with Superman in Lybia, where they met as they were trying to solve a terrorist situation in Tripoli. Needless to say, Superman didn’t like seeing the Elite slaughtering the terrorists, but as he tried to stop them, he was swiftly defeated. Victorious, the Elite left, leaving the outdated do-gooder behind.

The chapter seemed to be close, but Superman wasn’t done with the Elite, and with Manchester Black in particular: he challenged the entire team to a showdown, one versus four, on Io, one of the moons of Jupiter. The anti-heroes accepted the challenge, and they met Superman in space… where they quickly killed him in an impressive display of their powers. Superman, however, was still alive and kicking, and he attacked each member of the team without restraining himself anymore: as he faced Menagerie, it looked like he ripped her apart, murdering her with no hesitation. In reality, Menagerie was merely unconscious, as the hero had poisoned her and disrupted the bond between her and her Symbeasts. Just like her, all the other members of the Elite were defeated and arrested, and they found themselves in prison… but they didn’t stay there for long, as President Luthor graced them. While Black became a government operative, all the others were set free, Menagerie included, but her former boss had other ideas. Obsessed with Superman, Manchester Black betrayed President Luthor, and used his powers to mind-control dozens of superhumans, including his former teammates, launching an all-out assault on his enemies. Menagerie was forced to participate to an attack on the President’s life, an assassination attempt that was promptly thwarted by Superman. Seeing in the hero a chance to break free, Menagerie revealed to him that all the villains he had been fighting lately, the Elite included, were not acting on their free will… but before she could explain further, Black sensed her betrayal, and he induced a stroke in her. With her brain severely damaged, Pamela was put on permanent vegetative state: her Symbeasts would have found a new host, one unexpectedly close to her…

Pamela is a woman who had nothing from life, and who’s been taken even what she didn’t have: it’s only natural for her to seek retribution for what she suffered, in a form of “justice” that’s just as brutal and cruel as the injustice it seeks to eliminate. As Menagerie, she has total control over the Symbeasts that live on and in her body, manipulating the alien parasites in whatever form she wishes to (armor, wings, claws, spikes…), and even detaching them from her body to make them attack separately, usually to make them eat someone alive. As blood-thirsty and violent as she is, though, Menagerie is different from her teammates, and knows when to stop… if the others let her, of course.

Cassandra “Cassie” Cain (Batgirl)

This week most of our series will be on hiatus, and we can focus on the several trailers and promotional pics released these days… starting from Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Queen). The first teaser shows us snippets of all the main cast members, including Cassandra Cain, who’ll be portrayed by Ella Jay Basco. We don’t know much of her role in the movie, apart from the fact that she’ll be a young girl pursued by Black Mask for some reason, and that the Birds of Prey will form to protect her. I don’t have high expectations for the movie, actually, but it’ll be fun to see the debut of this particular version of Batgirl, one of the most popular and unique. Let’s see together.

Cassandra Cain was not just born, she was planned and engineered by her father, David Cain, one of the greatest assassins in the world. At the time, Cain was part of the League of Assassins, and wanted to train the greatest agent ever for his master Ra’s al Ghul; he wasn’t satisfied with the children trained in martial arts since their childhood, and he came to believe that genes were fundamental. He found a perfect mate in Sandra Wu-San, a proficient martial artist he seduced with the perspective of the greatness she could achieve in the League. Together they conceived a child, Cassandra, and while Sandra moved on to become the terrific force known as Lady Shiva, David raised his daughter on his own. Since her birth, Cassandra was treated like a human weapon rather than a proper human being: David Cain didn’t even teach her to speak, relying on movement and physicality as her main languages, communicating with her through signs and martial arts. The girl didn’t have any contact with others that weren’t her father, thus being prevented from developing social skills or empathy, while her unique “mother tongue” allowed her to read perfectly thoughts and intentions of whoever faced her through their body language. Finally, when she was eight years old, David decided to test her on the field, and she brought her along for a hit: the target was a businessman, Faizul, who lived in Macau. Cassandra moved as the perfect death machine she’d been raised to be, and swiftly killed the man with her bare hands, crushing his wind pipe… but if up until then she didn’t exactly realize what she was doing, believing it to be some sort of game, she grasped the enormity of what she had done by “reading” Faizul as he died. Seeing death from her victim’s perspective deeply traumatized Cassandra, and she realized that what her father wanted her to do was deeply wrong. She did the only thing she could possibly do: she ran away.

Cassandra Cain had nobody in the world, and she didn’t know how to approach people: she lived in fear and guilt-ridden for the following nine years, a homeless girl surviving on the streets, traveling the world in solitude. When she was seventeen, she arrived in Gotham City, New Jersey, becoming another one of the many runaways who lived in the streets. Shortly after her arrival, the city became isolated from the rest of the country when the bridges were destroyed, and it became an anarchist hell of famine and violence. Cassandra, with her skills, became a courier for Oracle, providing her with information and special items (even “delicacies” like apples). In turn, Oracle took her in and tried to teach her to speak, write and read, as she could see that the girl was suffering from some deep trauma. Cassandra’s presence in No Man’s Land was felt heavily when she realized her father was in town as well, there to kill Commissioner Gordon: she faced David, saving the Commissioner’s life. This feat didn’t go unnoticed, and Batman started to observe her, along with Oracle. Batman learnt about the girl’s past, but he also witnessed her taking several bullets to protect another person, a wanted killer of all: her commitment to protect human life wasn’t in doubt. When Gotham was finally saved and reconnected to the outside world, surprisingly thanks to Lex Luthor, Batman offered to Cassandra the mantle of Batgirl; it took some time, but eventually also Oracle, who had been Batgirl before, agreed to have a successor and gave her blessing. Encouraged by both crime fighters, Cassie took the costume and the moniker, and agreed to help Batman enforce justice in Gotham City. She was legally adopted by Bruce Wayne, while Barbara Gordon kept teaching her social skills and human relations. The path in front of her was still long: Batman took his time to give her full trust, and limited her activities to non-costumed villains only, and only within Gotham City, and she was having a hard time learning to communicate and to interact with people. If this wasn’t enough, her father wanted her back…

Cassandra Cain is a girl raised to be a living weapon, programmed to kill and maim… but despite her father’s best efforts, her humanity brings her to understand others’ pain and to value human life, wanting to prevent others to experience what she saw on the face of her first victim. As Batgirl, she’s one of the world’s most accomplished martial artists, trained to perfection since her birth by masters like David Cain, Bronze Tiger, Alpha, Merlyn and later Lady Shiva, Oracle, Black Canary and Batman; her way of communicating, totally based on movements and gestures, allows her to read other people’s intentions, foreseeing without difficulty anyone’s moves and anticipating them; she’s in peak human condition, extremely agile, fast and strong, and she has access to the Bat-Family‘s arsenal of non-lethal weaponry and gadgets. One of the most proficient combatants on the planet, Batgirl is striving to learn to be human rather than a killing machine, but this might be a more difficult challenge than all the ones she’s faced before…

Hackett

The situation in Arrow might be lighter for Oliver Queen now that he’s “reformed” and he’s been hired by SCPD, but the ghosts from his past keeps hunting him. In Past Sins, an unusual assailant tries to unmask him for the fraud he believes he is, and it turns out the culprit is Sam Hackett, portrayed by Luke Camilleri, and unbelievably versatile electric engineer. Sam is the vengeful son of Dave Hackett, the murdered bodyguard who first appeared in Pilot portrayed by Ben Cotton, and who didn’t receive a name until now. The original guy from the comics is simply known by his surname, Hackett, and he’s some sort of amalgamation between father and son. Let’s take a look.

Hackett, first name unknown, was born somewhere in the United Kingdom. As a young man, he served as a pilot for the Royal Air Force, distinguishing himself for his skills, but a life in the army didn’t exactly suited with what he had in mind, so he eventually left, looking for a job in private security. He moved to Star City, in California, where he was hired by young billionaire Oliver Queen as one of his bodyguards. Hackett and Oliver became friends, and the former pilot enjoyed taking the spoiled young man to thrilling experiences, among which trekking through the Arctic. Being in Queen’s security, though, wasn’t Hackett’s only job: during his travels, he had also come in contact with China White, a heroin producer and trafficker based on a volcanic island in the Fiji. China White could use a man with Hackett’s resources and contacts, and she hired him for several small jobs, mainly smuggling with his plane… but even in that case, Hackett wanted something more, and he found an easy and smart way to climb his way into China White’s association. He convinced the gullible and childish Oliver to invest 14 million dollars into a luxury resort in Fiji, a resort that was actually China White’s opium fields and drug refineries. Ollie didn’t doubt his friend, and signed the check… but after that he was publicly humiliated at a charity event, after mentioning his plans for Fiji. Wanting to avoid embarrassing himself again, Oliver told Hackett he wanted to see the Fiji for himself, and left with him on his yacht, the Pacific Queen. Obviously, all of Hackett’s ambitions were in grave danger.

Not wanting to let his boss know that all his money had been used for drug trafficking, Hackett called China White for instruction via radio, and she ordered him to kill Oliver Queen. The man, though, truly considered the boy a friend, and couldn’t bring himself to shoot him in the head as he was told: he preferred to throw him off board, leaving him to the waves. This didn’t turn out to be a smart idea, as Oliver survived the experience, ended on a deserted island and started the survival challenge that would have transformed him into Green Arrow. On his way to come back home, Oliver eventually arrived to the island ruled by China White, where he was greeted by none others than his old “friend” Hackett. The man tried to apprehend him, but Ollie escaped, leaving him behind. Hackett informed China White of the intruder, and she got furious at him for not executing Queen as he had been ordered to. She offered him a last chance to correct his mistakes, and the pilot started hunting his old boss on the entire island. They fought several times, and every time it seemed like it was the last one, but Oliver had the bad habit to always come back from what seemed certain death; plus, he had allied himself with the people China White was using as slaves in her opium fields, endangering the entire operation. It was only a matter of time before China White finally grew tired of all Hackett’s failures: after Queen reappeared for the umpteenth time after he had been reported dead, she got rid of her useless subordinate, and shot Hackett in the heart in cold blood. Not exactly the career he had imagined.

Hackett is a seasoned soldier, a veteran who now dreams of some tranquility, a serene life… and a lot of money, without caring much of where they come from. As a RAF veteran, he’s a trained soldier with impressive agility, strength and proficiency in martial arts, as well as a formidable pilot, a good marksman and a skilled tracker. If it wasn’t for his greed, Hackett would probably be a good man after all; unfortunately, all he cares about is money, and he has no hesitation in killing even someone he considers a friend to earn something more.