Tora Olafsdotter (Icemaiden/Ice)

Let’s come back on Earth, as Lucy W.‘s list introduces us to the most famous Norwegian superhero ever: Ice. As for now, Ice received only one forgettable live action portrayal in the tv movie Justice League of America. In here, she’s an American meteorologist named Tori (instead of ToraOlafsdotter, who gets superpowers after messing with Dr. Eno‘s weather-manipulating machine. She learns to use her abilities just in time to stop a giant tsunami and to join the Justice League of America, and she also starts a romantic relation with The Atom. In the comics, her backstory is completely different, as well as many other things. Let’s see together.

Tora Olafsdotter was born in Norway, the princess of an ancient tribe of Romanifolket known as the Is Bygd. Her father was King Olaf, the ruler of the Is Bygd, and since her very childhood Olaf taught his daughter never to lose control, since she was the heir of the tribe’s metahuman ability to create and manipulate ice. Unfortunately, Tora’s grandfather, the former King, wanted the throne back for himself, and planned to use the girl’s powers to claim it. Tora’s parents compelled their daughter never to use her abilities at all, so that the usurper wannabe would have never found them, and as a result the child grew up repressing everything that from her innermost nature screamed to be let out. Eventually, however, Tora’s grandfather found her family due to a mistake from Ewald, her older brother. King Olaf was confronted and severly beaten by his father, right in front of Tora…who lost control and unleashed all the power she had been holding back up to that moment. The massive snowstorm and ice tornado that resulted killed many people in the immediate surroundings, including the beloved King Olaf she actually wanted to save. This resulted in quite a psychological trauma for the girl, who became obsessed with controlling herself and her abilities. She grew up in what remained of her tribe always trying not to be noticed, but noticed she was years later by a foreigner, Rod Schoendienst, an engineer who had just discovered the existence of the Is Bygd. As soon as he learnt that there was an ice-manipulator in the tribe, Schoendienst made a deal with the current King, obtaining the permission to take Tora away from Norway to serve a greater good: Sigrid Nansen, the Norwegian superheroine Icemaiden, had quit the Global Guardians, and the government was looking for a replacement. Needless to say, Tora Olafsdotter was quite the perfect choice.

Tora wasn’t exactly happy at the perspective of using her powers on a daily basis, but after she met Doctor Mist and the Global Guardians for the first time, she realised she actually had the opportunity to do  something good with her abilities, and she chose to become the second Icemaiden to seek redemption for what she had done to her father. She became close friend with Green Flame, the Brazilian heroine B. B. da Costa, and despite their abilities were the opposite one of the other, they formed a unique bond that made them closer than sisters. Icemaiden, however, didn’t stay long in the Global Guardians, as the team lost funds soon after and was replaced by the Justice League International. This would have marked the end of her brief superhero career, but Green Flame convinced her friend to apply for the JLI instead: when they arrived to the embassy, the JLI was short on members, with Black Canary quitting the team and many others abducted. They were both taken in, and they continued to fight evil on a globl scale; plus, Tora also found love in the person of Guy Gardner, a brash Green Lantern she fell in love with, starting a relationship that would have lasted quite a long time, albeit with some moments of hiatus. What didn’t change in the new team was the relationship between B. B. and Tora, who were now an actual duo: to reflect this, they decided to change their name respectively into Fire and Ice. The only other person Ice was really attached to was Superman, whom she had a crush for for a while; unfortunately, she also witnessed his untimely death, as she was among the ones who tried to stop the relentless Doomsday before the Man of Steel sacrificed his life to put him down (quite remarkably, she was among the very few heroes still standing after going toe to toe with Doomsday). She didn’t have much time to mourn the fallen hero, however, as she was soon called back to Norway: the dying king wanted to make her his heir, but this had upset her older brother Ewald, who was meddling with obscure forces to make sure he got the throne…

Tora Olafsdotter is a shy and naive girl, as innocent and pure as the snow she’s the queen of, but fearsome and relentless the rare times she loses control. As Ice, previously Icemaiden, she has the innate ability to generate and manipulate ice and snow, but she constantly limits her power: when she goes all out, she becomes an extremely destructive force of nature, able to level a building with a massive snowstorm. The perfect girl next door with the power to bring a country back to the stone age, Ice is luckily the gentlest heroine around…you wouldn’t like to see her lose her temper.

Advertisements

Beatriz Bonilla da Costa (Green Fury/Green Flame/Fire)

Powerless came back from the hiatus…and I totally missed it, testifying how much I like this show. Anyway, some big news had come in the previous episodes, as in Van v. Emily: Dawn of Justice a new hero came to Charm City, after Crimson Fox decided to move to Metropolis: it’s Green Fury, portrayed by Natalie Morales. If we needed any more confirmation that Powerless was aiming for characters from the Global Guardians, now it’s official, as Green Fury is another member of the team…even if she’s known with her most famous moniker, Fire. With this super-name, she appeared in the tv movie Justice League of America, portrayed by Michelle Hurd, as a member of the title’s team and a quick friend of the newcomer Tori “Ice” Olafsdotter. She also appeared in a cameo in The Flash: if Earth-1‘s Bea da Costa is reportedly deceased, an evil (and male) version of her from Earth-2 can be seen in Zoom‘s army of meathumans. Now, while we enjoy a third live action incarnation of the character, let’s take a look at the original one.

Beatrix Bonilla da Costa was born nearly during Chrisis on Infinite Earth, so as a result her origin story was changed almost immediately after being told. In her first, short-lived incarnation, she was the last born in a mystical Brazilian tribe, the Ge, daughter of Ramon Corvalho, a surveyor in the Amazon River Basin, and Carlota da Costa, the mother she grew up with. A prophet from the Ge foretold she would have received a great power from the Sky Spirit, and indeed when she was fifteen years old the same man contacted her telepathically, unlocking her dormant pyrokinetic abilities. The girl grew up and became a brilliant woman, head of the Brazilian branch of Wayne Enterprises, but she also started using her powers for good under the alias Green Fury. During her career she often helped the Super Friends, but it was meeting Superman that changed her life: although she first battled the Man of Steel since he was mind-controlled by Overlord (managing to hold her own thanks to Superman’s weakness to magic), the two became allies, and when Superman was contacted by Doctor Mist to help him in battling the evil wizard El Dorado, Green Fury was among the heroes gathered to repel the menace, and she proved essential into dealing with the magician. Following this adventure, she joined Doctor Mist in his newly formed international superhero team, the Global Guardians. As said before, however, this version of her early life soon changed, as the entire universe was rewritten. In this new reality, B. B. da Costa was born in Rio de Janeiro, and she grew up to become a beautiful model. Her career led her to become a showgirl, until she was recruited by the SNI, the Serviço Nacional de Informações, the Brazilian secret services. When her boss and recruiter stole an experimental pyroplasmic gun (a special flamethrower) and ran, she was assigned to retrieve the weapon and arrest the man: during the following battle, however, the gun exploded, imbuing her with pyrokinetic powers as an unexpected side effect. Hunted by the other spies for her failure, she became the heroine on the run Green Fury.

Green Fury was recruited by Doctor Mist as a founding member of the Global Guardians, an international superhero team where she could find a shelter from the Brazilian authorities. While she was in the GG, she changed her codename in Green Flame, right before her team was replaced by the Justice League International, that took all the United Nations‘ funds that kept the Guardians alive. With her team disbanding, B. B. and her friend and teammate, Icemaiden, approached the JLI hoping to be allowed in…and they turned out to be pretty lucky, since the team was short several members who had been kidnapped, and Black Canary had quit: they were both accepted as new members. To celebrate their inclusion in the Justice League, the two heroines shortened their battle
names into Fire and Ice, respectively, and they immediately blended in, bonding particularly with Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. Fire accompanied the JLI in many adventures, but it was during the Dominators‘ invasion that she went through another major life-changing event: the aliens’ Gene-Bomb affected her as well, making her fall into a coma. When she woke up, her powers had been increased radically, as she was not only able to shoot fire, but to become a fiery creature as well. At first, she couldn’t control these new abilities, as they were triggered mostly by strong emotions such as fear; Big Barda and Mister Miracle helped her regain control by training her the same way on Apokolips they taught discipline to the Female Furies. After such a harsh training, she came back to be a reliable member of the JLI, always proving her worth in the most difficult battles…until she found herself completely outmatched when the team faced a grey monster later known as Doomsday: as hard as she hit him, the monster wouldn’t even slow down, and she arrived to the point of burning herself out to try and damage him, leaving her powerless. It was during this time that her best friend Ice was killed by the Overmaster: she regained her powers too late to help her, but certainly not to avenge her…

B. B. da Costa is a Reinassance woman, with a career just as various and diverse as a flame can be in time; strong and independent but also carefree and self-conscious, Bea makes all the experience she has had in the years before becoming a heroine an asset for her teams. As Fire, she can generate and control green fire; she’s also able to turn herself into a fiery being of pyroplasm, thus gaining intangibility and flight. A committed heroine, fiercely loyal to her friends (particularly to her best friend Ice), Fire is also one of the few members of the JLI who doesn’t shy away from killing, having learnt from her spy days that extreme situations call for extreme measures…

Mark Mardon (Weather Wizard)

Mark MardonAnd now for the last character appeared (sort of…) in City of Heroes, first episode of The Flash: when Joe West tells David Singh the responsibles for the bank robbery are Clyde and Mark Mardon, he shows him a picture of the two criminals…and that’s everything we have of Mark for now, despite him being one of the most known and popular villains in DC Comics. Since his brother Clyde survived the plane accident and developed the powers that in the comics belong to Mark, it’s likely he’ll show up again as well, taking his rightful mantle as the Weather Wizard. The character already appeared in Legends of the Superheroes portrayed by Jeff Altman: in this version, he’s a member of the Legion of Doom, and along with the rest of the team he crashes the superheroes party and threatens them all with a hidden bomb. He also appeared in the tv movie Justice League of America, even if his name and origin were changed: portrayed by Miguel Ferrer, he was named Dr. Eno, a greedy scientist able to manipulate weather via a special machine; under the alias The Weatherman, he almost destroyed the entire New Metro before being stopped and arrested by the titular team of superheroes. Waiting for him to pop out again in The Flash, let’s see who he is in the comics.

Mark Mardon was born in Central City, and he grew up with his older brother, Clyde. The two, however, couldn’t be more different: as the latter was calm and responsible, the second one was impulsive and selfish. Becoming a young adult, Mark couldn’t help but becoming a small-time criminal, a burglar who continuously came in and out of prison. Finally, police caught him once again, and he was convicted to spend several years in Tri-State Prison, one of the toughest jails weatherwizardcomics1around. Still trying to avoid punishment, Mark used a window to escape from the prison transport, and desperately look for a place to hide: he immediately thought of his brother Clyde, who was at the time living in an isolated house on an island in Big Water Lake. Mark found Clyde, who had become a scientist, in the middle of an experiment, and asked him to hide him: his brother, however, told him he would have done a favor to him by calling the police and allowing him to grow up, and took the phone. Panicking, Mark grabbed the first thing he could in Clyde’s lab, a strange stick which happened to be his brother’s latest experiment, a futuristic device able to manipulate weather (nicknamed the Weather Wand): responding to Mark’s unwilling gesture, the Wand summoned a lihgtning that killed Clyde. Still shocked for his brother’s death, Mark tried to study his notes, from which he understood (more or less) what the Wand was; he also read from Clyde’s diary that he was about to share his discoveries with the world, in order to make it a better place for anybody to live in…and Mark decided it would have become a better place to live in for himself, as a beginning. Understanding the potentialities of the Weather Wand, Mark decided to use it for his crimes, and created a costume to hide his identity and to become a super-thief: the Weather Wizard was born.

First of all, Mardon hunted down the three policemen who had arrested him, looking for revenge. He found and “punished” the first two, but as weatherwizardcomics2he approached the third and last one he was confronted by The Flash, Central City’s new superhero. Flash had guessed the Weather Wizard’s real identity, and had anticipated him understanding his pattern: the two fought, but the hero’s superspeed eventually proved to be superior to Mardon’s still immature ability to control the weather, and the criminal was arrested once again. During his time in prison, Mark had plenty of time to study his brother’s notes, and he finally understood the true functioning of the Wand. His mastership over that technology was such that he became able to replicate it: he broke out of jail with his new Weather Wand, and embarked in a new project. Realising he was thinking in a far too small scale, just using the Wand to summon lightning bolts on his enemies and to fly on wind currents, the Weather Wizard built a Weather Control Station able to amplificate his Wand’s powers, and used it to cast an eternal winter on an entire city, Oakley County in Wyoming, later asking for a huge ransom to free it. Oakley County was just a test, as he planned to build an even bigger Station to imprison the entire United States in his area of influence…but, once again, he was stopped by a speedster, this time Kid Flash, who teamed up with Elongated Man to arrest him. Despite his defeat, the Weather Wizard had now finally understood the full extent of his power, and was ready to use it all, with the help of other villains in the group known as The Rogues, or even by himself, being more than a threat for whoever crossed his path…

Mark Mardon is an intelligent and brilliant man, but also a greedy and unscrupolous one, who uses his many talents for his personal benefit only. With the years, Mardon also proved to be quite unstable, sometimes even depressed, mostly because of his sense of guilt towards his brother’s accidental death. As the Weather Wizard, he uses the Weather Wand to manipulate weather, summoning lightnings, snow storms and even tornados, using strong blasts of wind to fly and levitate, and much more; the Wand is powerful enough also to manipulate Earth‘s magnetic field, but the Wizard seldomly uses his weapon to this extent, perfectly understanding the potential destructive consequences. Intelligent and powerful, the Weather Wizard has fought The Flash and the other members of the Justice League more than once, everytime proving himself a tough opponent, although driven by a personal, weird moral code.

Raymond Palmer (The Atom)

atomfilmNow for the second character who has a cameo in Injustice: Gods Among Us: in the background of the Insurgency stage, we can see The Atom working at the computers. The character has had two live action appearances so far, both quite disappointing: the first one is in the tv special Legends of the Superheroes, in which the hero, portrayed by Alfie Wise, speaks about his engagement to Giganta. The second one is in Justice League of America tv movie: Atom, played by John Kassir, is the overweight and nerdish founding member of the Justice League, who befriends Ice and introduces her to the team. Needless to say, in the comics The Atom is quite different. Quite a lot, in this case.

Little or less is known about Raymond “Ray” Palmer‘s early years, but that he was born in Ivy Town, Connecticut, from David and Sue Palmer. David died from cancer when Ray was still a teenager, and he tried his best to help his mother raise his little brother Danny; both Sue and Danny died shortly after, and Ray was left alone. Thanks to his great intellect, he managed to enter Ivy University, studying physics, and becoming one of the best students of renowned scientist Alpheus Hyatt, who would have become his friend and colleague post-graduate. During his studies, Ray met Jean Loring, a brilliant law student who became his girlfriend. Dr. Palmer atomcomics1brilliantly ended university, and asked Jean to marry him, but she refused (more than once, actually), since she wanted to establish herself as a famous lawyer before creating a family of her own. The two stayed together, and Ray started working as a researcher for Ivy University. After retrieving a small fragment of material from a dwarf white star that had fallen on Earth, Palmer started studying it, discovering its incredible properties: projecting ultra-violet rays through a lens made from the fragment, he could shrink any object to a minimal size. His experiments were meant to find a solution to problems such as overpopulation or famine: altering the size of people and food could have saved lives. There was a problem, still: everything he shrinked became unstable, and exploded moments after size alteration. The technique surely needed improvement, but Ray didn’t know where to start from in order to stabilize matter during the shrinking process. As often happens, enlightenment came from the least forseenable source.

A couple of days after the first experiments, Ray, Jean and some friends went on a country outing; during their trip, they explored a cave, that collapsed and trapped them inside. After some time in the cave, Ray decided he would have sacrificed his life to save Jean’s and his friends’ ones, and secretly used the lens on himself, shrinking to the size of an ant and escaping from the cave to search for help. Unexpectedly, he didn’t explode. At first, Ray thought this was because the cave’s moisture that had altered the beam, but this proved to be wrong. Without any possible explanation Ray, now back to his normal size without countereffects, concluded he had some unique x factor in his genome that allowed him to survive the process (that proved to be the metagene, a dormant gene that allows some unique individuals to develop superpowers under special circumstances). Keeping his discovery a secret even from Jean
atomcomics2and the friends he saved from the cave, Ray created the super identity of The Atom, and started fighting crime as a superhero. After some training, he mastered some forms of combat, like judo, but above all he learnt how to use his powers: size alteration came with mass alteration, and he was able to concentrate his body mass in single limbs to gain super strength. He first appeared publicly when he stopped the petty criminal Carl Ballard from using the innocent alien Kulan Dar to do his business for him; Ivy Town instantly fell in love with its new hero, and The Atom started a heroic career that saw him defending the town from many threats, including his first supervillain, the Floronic Man, who tried to conquer Earth with the bred plants he brought to our world from his Floral Dimension. The Atom started working for CIA, and developed a special means of transportation: he called somewhere with a telephone, and when someone answered on the other side, he shrinked to sub-atomic size and travelled through the phone lines, arriving anywhere in a matter of seconds. When Amos Fortune tried to use him to destroy the Justice League of America, The Atom proved to be a tougher opponent than expected, and helped the League to bring Fortune and his men to justice, gaining a place in the team. Known as the Mighty Mite, The Atom soon became one of the most active and popular heroes of the United States.

Ray Palmer is an extremely brilliant and intelligent man, who uses his knowledge and intellect to help other people the best he can. With a good heart and a natural compassion for every living being, Ray became a hero with the genuine intent of making the world a better place. As The Atom, he’s able to shrink to any size he desires, even subatomic, using the special lens he grinned from the white dwarf star’s fragment (the activators of the lens are located in his gloves). At whatever size, Atom is able to alter his mass in order to gain superhuman strength, or to alter his weight so that he can become light enough to glide on air currents. Often underestimated by his enemies, The Atom is a living warning on how appearances can be deceiving.

J’onn J’onzz/John Jones (Martian Manhunter)

martianmanhunterfilmHi again, it’s been a while from the last post! Today, we’ll see one of the two characters who have been revealed to have a cameo in upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us: the Martian Manhunter, one of the founding members of the Justice League of America, who in the game is seen floating in the background of the Watchtower. The character had his first live action appearance in the tv movie Justice League of America, portrayed by David Ogden Stiers. This version was much older than the comicbooks’ one, since he was an elderly alien crashed on Earth, who tried to save it gathering some superhumans in the Justice League; his powers, which only consisted in shapeshifting, were also fading away. He received a better potrayal in Smallville, with Phil Morris taking up the role: in the tv series, he was an old friend and collaborator of Jor-El, who helped Clark Kent in the discovery of his Kryptonian origins on Earth, and followed him in many adventures under the human alias of John Jones. Let’s see together who he is in the comics.

Centuries ago, Mars was a planet inhabited by a greatly civilized race, the Green Martians, who called the planet Ma’aleca’andra. Two of them, M’yrnn and Sha’sheen, got married, and had two sons, twins, quite an uncommon event for Martians: they called the firstmartianmanhuntercomics1 one J’onn J’onzz (translatable as Light to the Light), and the second, who was a mutant, Ma’alefa’ak (which meant Darkness in the Heart). The brothers grew up together, but, while J’onn was a good child, always eager to impress his parents “doing the right thing”, Ma’alefa’ak used his natural gift of telepathy to his own advantage, committing many evil deeds. When J’onn became an adult, he met and fell in love with M’yri’ah, and married her. His brother, jealous of his happiness, mind-raped M’yri’ah, then concealing his presence; J’onn, who had become a manhunter (a Martian cop), tracked down the raper, and painfully discovered that his brother was the criminal. Ma’alefa’ak was found guilty by the Council of Mars, which stripped him of his telepathy and the other abilities natural to his people, banishing him for life. J’onn J’onzz went on with his life with M’yri’ah, and the two had a daughter, K’hym. Unfortunately, the Manhunter’s happiness wouldn’t have lasted long: M’alefa’ak, seeking revenge against the entire planet that had banished him, had created a psychic virus, named after the Martian god of death and darkness H’ronmeer: it infected the Green Martians through their telepathy (so that its maker was immune), and whenever one of them used his or her gift, they ended up starting a mental fire within their minds, going to psychological combustion. In no time, almost every Martian died, and J’onn was forced to see his beloved wife and daughter suffer the same fate of everyone else. Seeing his family burning to death before his very eyes almost drove J’onn mad, and he stood alone, on the planet, waiting for the virus to take him too. But something happened right before he contracted the H’ronmeer.

On Earth, in Colorado, a self-proclaimed scientist named Saul Erdel was trying to use some ancient Martian technology he luckily came upon to assemble a machine he wanted to use to make contact with extraterrestrial life: the device sent a teleporting beam centuries back in time, and caught the wandering J’onn J’onzz, bringing him to present Earth. The Martian was in a semi-catatonic state, and istinctively created a telepathic link with Dr. Erdel: the man learnt of what happened on Mars, and also discovered the wounds in J’onn’s psyche. He managed to heal them using the martianmanhuntercomics2bond they shared, and recreating his origins taking inspiration from his favourite writers, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury. Healed, J’onn became friends with Erdel, and stayed with him for some time, with his memories appearing only through his pyrophobia; he remembered that Mars and his family were dead only months after, but he understood that his friend had manipulated his memory for healing him from a deep trauma, thus forgiving him. When Erdel died of a heart attack, J’onn decided he would have fulfilled his friend’s wish to see him as a champion for good and, using his shapeshifting abilities, he disguised himself as a human, taking the name John Jones and becoming a policeman in Middleton. Some time later, many superheroes appeared on Earth, and J’onn understood he could now use his natural abilities publicly: he created the super identity of the Martian Manhunter, devising an appearance that was something between his natural one (which he perceived as a private thing: even on Mars, only his family saw him with his real look, while publicly he changed form, as anyone else on the planet) and a human appearance. With his enormous powers, his centuries-old wisdom and his investigating skills, the Martian Manhunter became a formidable force for good, a founding member of the Justice League of America, and one of the most tireless defenders of Earth.

Born more than a milliennia ago, J’onn J’onzz has a noble and righteous spirit, and perceives his crime-fighter activity as a service to the people. His unique Martian physiology grants him a variety of superpowers on Earth that makes him one of the most powerful beings on the planet, able to compete against Superman: he’s a shapeshifter, also able to turn invisible and to phase through solid objects; he can fly, he possesses superhuman strength, durability, stamina and speed, heightened reflexes and senses; he’s Earth’s most powerful telepath, capable of projecting illusions or to mind-control weak-minded people; he can regenerate from virtually any wound (he also had his head regrow once) and is extremely long-lived; being a manhunter, he is also extremely intelligent and well trained in hand-to-hand combat. A formidable fighter and protector, the Martian Manhunter is ready to do whatever is necessary to prevent what happened on his homeplanet from occuring again.

Guy Darrin Gardner (Green Lantern)

guygardnerfilmFinally, we’re arrived at the last Green Lantern (at least, the last one who has had any live-action appearance) who has a cameo in Injustice: Gods Among UsGuy Gardner, Earth’s third Green Lantern. He has appeared in the awful tv movie Justice League of America, portrayed by Matthew Settle. This version was quite a mix of many Lanterns from the comics: he had Gardner’s name, Kyle Rayner‘s costume and mask (sort of), and Hal Jordan‘s personality. Not much of a portrayal. To this, add the fact that, for flying, he had to materialize a helicopter’s helix like Inspector Gadget, and you’ll have an idea of the overall quality of the movie’s version of the character. Let’s see who Guy Gardner really is.

Guy Darrin Gardner was born in BaltimoreMaryland, son of Roland and Peggy Gardner, and brother to Mace. Roland wasn’t exactly best father of the year, quite the opposite: an alcoholic and a violent man, he often beat Guy, making him feel inadequate in whatever he tried to do to impress him. Guy’s frustration grew the more Roland praised Mace, who, on the opposite, did everything just like his father wanted. Finally, as a teenager, Guy decided he could have never satisfied his dad, and, instead of trying to best Mace, he guygardnercomics1became exactly the opposite of him. Mace was responsible, Guy became reckless; Mace was perfect, Guy did his best to be the worst imaginable; Mace became a cop, Guy chose the path of criminality. The boy spent most of his time going in and out of juvenile hall, making himself a name as a troublesome delinquent. When he was eighteen, he tried to reach the upper category, and stole a car. A cop cought him on the scene and, instead of taking him to jail, he brought him to his brother: Mace beat the crap out of him, telling him to stop being someone he didn’t want to be and to stop hurting the people who cared for him with his behavior. Surprisingly, the lecture worked, and Guy started studying again, got a real job, and paid his way through college with his own savings. In University of Michigan, he learnt how to discharge his aggressivity in positive ways, and entered the local football team; he studied Psychology and Education, and got a deserved degree. In the meanwhile, unfortunately, Mace turned out to be a corrupt cop, and, during some “business”, some drug dealers shot him in the back, leaving him paraplegic. The man couldn’t stand the humiliation, and drowned himself in a river; in the same time, Roland’s liver gave up, and Guy had the occasion of making it up with his old man before losing him too. From this events, Guy decided he would have made something of his life, and started working in a prison, helping inmates with anger management problems. One of them was Hal Jordan, in prison because of alcoholism problem. The two became friends, and when Guy had to quit the job, since it risked to worsen his problems with aggressivity, they kept in touch. Guy became physical education teacher for special education children, a job he loved.

In that time, dying Green Lantern Abin Sur landed on Earth, searching , for a successor. His Power Ring found two possible candidates, Jordan and Gardner, but the first one was nearer to the crashing point and was chosen. In that time, n accident occured to Gardner and his whole class, and temporarily put him out of commission: a earthquake almost threw the schoolbus he and his children were in, and they were saved by a new superhero,  Green Lantern, actually Hal Jordan, guygardnercomics2who recognized him as his friend and as the man who was chosen by Abin Sur with him. With his legs broken, forced to stay in bed, and then to use a cane to walk, he returned to a normal life after months, but didn’t feel like coming back to work with the school children, since he felt guilty for the accident. He travelled for a while, and during his trips he met Kari Limbo, a fortune teller with whom he fell in love. The two started travelling together, and, for the first time in his life, Guy was really happy. Everything changed when Hal Jordan, who had problems with his Power Battery and had to leave Earth to reach Oa and investigate, asked him to replace him during his absence. Guy surely was quite shocked, but ended up accepting…until the Battery ended up exploding in his face, seemingly killing him. In reality, he was teleported to the Phantom Zone, where evil Kryptonian General Zod brainwashed him and made him an ally of his: the two together battled and defeated Green Lantern and Superman, and the two heroes barely escaped the dimensional prison. Jordan (who, believing Guy dead, was about to marry Kari) came back to the Phantom Zone to save his friend, but Sinestro, the rogue Lantern, had already kidnapped him and brought him to the Anti-Matter Universe; Jordan managed to save his friend, but Guy had fallen into a comatose state. Gardner would have woken up only years after, with the firm belief that Hal Jordan was the source of all of his problems; plus, he started to believe to be fitter than him to be Earth’s Green Lantern. The two had a harsh confrontation over Abin Sur’s grave, and Gardner discovered that Hal had quitted being a Lantern some time before, while John Stewart had become his replacement. The Guardians of the Galaxy, anyway, needed more Lanterns for the battle against the Anti-Monitor, and Guy was enlisted: he would have proved to be quite a troublesome, even if worthy, member of the Corps during the war, and in the future missions.

Guy Gardner is a complex man, whose real character never hits the surface of his behavior: he has quite an indomitable will, but is also insecure and afraid of not being up to the challenges he has to face. He is boastful and arrogant, hot-headed and ill-tempered, but his aggressivity is often a form of self-defense. He nevertheless possesses a strog moral code and a deep and sincere sense of justice. As a Green Lantern, he uses the Power Ring, which allows him to manipulate many forms of energy and to build mind-construct powered by his will, as well as to survive in open space and to communicate with any known language. Surely not a Latern who acts by the book, Gardner is still one of the best members the Corps can count upon.

Bartholomew Henry Allen (The Flash)

flashfilmAfter Batman, another iconic DC character appears in casualgamer‘s request: The Flash. In a recent interview, Ed Boon confirmed that the Flash appearing in Injustice: Gods Among Us will be Barry Allen, the second and most famous one. He first appeared on screen in the infamous tv-special Legends of the Superheroes, portrayed by Rod Haase, a very camp Flash with a curious red pajamas. The most popular, and so far the most faithful to the original version of the character, is the one portrayed by John Wesley Shipp in the short-lived tv series The Flash; better to ignore the young, ravenous and unemployed Barry portrayed by Kenny Johnston in the awful Justice League of America pilot. Let’s see who the fastest man alive is in the comics.

Just as the majority of DC characters, also The Flash’ origins have been changed and retold more than once during the years. Once again, I’ll try to speak a little bit of every single one, sticking to my personal favourite as the main line. Barry was born the son of Henry and Nora Allen, and named Bartholomew Henry. He had a twin brother, Malcolm, who was declared stillborn but in reality given to the Thawnes, a couple who had lost their biological son during birth. Barry was born two weeks late, and that was just the beginning of a flashcomics1very bad habit that would have accompanied him for most of his life. He grew up reading the adventures of his favourite superhero, the Flash from the Golden Age, Jay Garrick, and most of his childhood games had him pretending he was his hero. The innocence of his first years vanished the moment Nora was killed, and Henry was arrested for the crime: Barry, distraught for his mother’s death, refused to believe that his father was guilty, and promised himself he would have become a cop to prove him to be innocent; the tragedy also gave him a strong sense of justice and trust in truth. In the following years, Barry took up his father’s activity as a farmer in FallvilleIowa, and managed to unite his job to his passion, chemistry: with his skills and knowledge of amateur chemist, he won Fallville County Fair Agricultural Competition, claiming the first prize, a scholarship to Sun City University. With the winnings, Barry could attend University, and a few years later he got degrees in both Organic Chemistry and Criminology. During his senior year, he used his skills to track down and apprehend a bank robber, and someone in Central City Police Department was so impressed that offered him a job as police scientist. Happy to work in police, satisfying his thirst for justice, and also to live in Central City, the sister city of The Flash’ Keystone City, Barry agreed.

In his very first days in Central City, Barry Allen met Iris West, a reporter for Picture News: she was investigating a case of apparent murder, and the two worked on it together. She was fascinated by Barry’s honesty and responsibility, and he was charmed by her energy and intelligence: the two got along well together, and started dating. A night Barry was working on an important flashcomics2experiment, something unexpected happened: a bolt of lightning hit the lab, covering the scientist with electrified chemicals. Barry was lucky to be alive, and decided to come back home. He noticed something was changed the moment he ran faster than the taxi he was chasing, and, the morning after, he even saved Iris from a stray bullet, following its movements as it was slow as a piece of paper. In some ways, the incident had granted him with superhuman speed. Without a doubt on how to use his newfound powers, Barry decided to become a superhero, arriving to the point of calling himself The Flash, as a homage to Jay Garrick. He developed a special costume, made with a cold cast polyester he invented during his university years: the costume, reacting to hydrogen, could shrink to very small dimensions, small enough to be put in a ring; this way, Barry could become The Flash, and then Barry Allen again, in a matter of seconds. The Flash made his official debut as Central City’s protector while facing the bank robber Turtle Man, the slowest man on Earth, an imitator of Jay Garrick’s nemesis The Turtle. From that first, not so memorable appearance, Flash became one of Earth’s mightiest and most famous heroes, being one of the founding members of the Justice League of America. In the following years, Barry married Iris, and The Flash created a real legacy, a Flash Family, which collected many super-speedsters.

Barry Allen is a brilliant scientist and inventor, and his strong sense of justice and his intellect and intuition make him also a remarkable detective. As The Flash, he’s the fastest man alive, and his speed can match and surpass the light’s one. Barry discovered that he gains his speed from the so-called Speed Force, an extra-dimensional energy that allows him to move fastest than anything or anyone, thus phasing through solid objects, traveling between dimensions and even in time. Also his healing capabilities, perceptions and reflexes are highly accelerated, his aging process being the only thing slowed in him. Discovering many new ways of applying his powers during the years, The Flash is one of Earth’s most powerful, and luckily most heroic, beings on our planet.