Nora Allen (Cruise)

I waited to write anything about the “surprise character” (yes, everybody knew who she was) from last season’s finale, and it turned out to be a good move, as for the next season of The Flash we have some new intel about her. First appeared in Crisis on Earth X as “Mystery Girl“, the recurring lady portrayed by Jessica Parker Kennedy revealed herself to be Nora Allen, Barry‘s and Iris‘ future daughter, in the finale We Are The Flash. She also told everyone she made quite a mess with the timeline traveling back in time, and she needs help to fix it. What a surprise. Anyway, the character is an amalgamation of two other speedsters from the comics (and no, none of them is Dawn Allen as many had imagined), the first being obviously Nora Allen from Prime Earth, a recent time traveler who made her debut last year with the name Cruise. Let’s see together.

Nora Allen came from a possible future, not exactly the happiest one possible. She was the daughter of Barry “The Flash” Allen and of Jessica “Green Lantern” Cruz, two of the greatest heroes from the Justice League. She was born in Keystone City, and raised with her little twin siblings, Jason and Jenny. While the twins had taken from their mother, and were able to tap to the entire Emotional Spectrum without the need of a Power Ring, Nora had inherited her father’s connection to the Speed Force, and was quite a powerful speedster. She spent her childhood running with her dad, her absolute favorite moments, and she also visited the Justice League Satellite to play with the other kids: George Marvin “Cube” Stone, son of Cyborg, Hunter Prince, the son of Wonder Woman adopted by Superman and Lois Lane, and Eldoris “Serenity” Curry, daughter of Aquaman and Mera. As soon as she started to master her powers, Nora was called Cruise. Her childhood was filled with amazing moments… but it all came to an end, as the Darkness started to engulf the earth. The Darkness, the physical embodiment of all the hatred and the rage in the world, awakened years before by the song of the Kindred, had infected people all around the world, forcing them to kill one another in interminable wars. The moment it infected superhumans as well, things became to look really scary. The Justice League answered the call to confront the Darkness, but just before that the heroes brought their children to Mount Olympus, to keep them safe as long as they were away. They never came back. Nora and the others waited for them, but it soon became clear that they were lost just like all the others. They spent years training together, becoming powerful enough to surpass the dimensional barrier around Olympus and come back to their world to look for their parents… or to avenge them, if the worst had come to be. Cruise became faster, even faster than her father, and she even started something like a romantic relation with Hunter. But the mission was more important.

Once on Earth, it became clear that all the heroes had died, but the world still needed them. Cruise and the others organized into a new Justice League, and traveled the world trying to bring hope and comfort to the survivors of the war… but it wasn’t over yet. A sorceress who apparently appeared out of nowhere, a powerful warrior who called herself Sovereign, attacked the Olympus, slaughtered the gods and took possession of the mount, making it her throne world and teleporting it on Earth. From Olympus, she started a death campaign, hellbent on murdering anyone she could find, apparently with no reason nor purpose. The new group, this Justice League Legacy, couldn’t do much against her, especially after Aquaman, who had apparently went mad and killed Mera, joined her. There wasn’t much they could do, until Hunter had an idea: they would have traveled back in time, and stopped the Darkness and Sovereign before they destroyed the world, acting together with their parents. With nothing to lose, the JLL reached Olympus, looking for the tech they needed to time travel, but they were greeted by Aquaman, ready for them. Cruise attacked him head on, but the former hero was prepared, and detonated a Timeless Grenade, that slowed time to a near stop, with the effect of making Nora move at normal speed… slow enough for Aquaman to knock her out with no effort. Wounded but alive, Cruise was saved by the twins, and thanks to Cube the group managed to reach Olympus, where she was finally able to recover her connection to the Speed Force. Here, the JLL broke into what remained of the Infinity Corporation Building, where Cube was still sensing the presence of Vincent. Vincent, actually, was dead by a long time, but his conscience, downloaded in the computer, still guided the heroes, and led them to the last remaining Stones of Forever. Using them, Cruise and the others finally reached the past, appearing right in front of the Justice League, contemplating a massacre occurred in Midway City. Overwhelmed by emotion in seeing her parents after so many years, Cruise embraced Green Lantern Cruz, and later followed the JLA, asking for clarifications, to the Satellite… but she and the others had failed to notice that the Darkness had followed them in the past, and was ready to fuse with and empower its past self becoming unstoppable…

Nora Allen is a girl who had to suffer a lot for her young age, but who’s still able to maintain an easy-going and cheerful attitude despite everything. As Cruise, she’s connected to the Speed Force, and as a result she can move at extremely fast speed, even faster than her late father Flash; she didn’t demonstrate other abilities connected to the Speed Force, but she’ll almost certainly develop them in time. Brave to the point of bordering with recklessness, committed to the death to the one family she knows, her friends from the Justice League Legacy, Cruise is a survivor who fights to save what remains of her world, and a heir who feels all the pressure of living up to names like the one of her parents, two of the greatest heroes ever lived… and she’s making quite an excellent job in honoring them.

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Benjamin Lockwood (Agent Liberty)

It’s official: this year, in Supergirl, I’ll be rooting for the villain. The big bad in Season 4, in fact, will be the charismatic and fascinating Benjamin Lockwood, portrayed by Sam Witwer. The show’s version has been reinvented as a “brilliant orator in the guise of a family man”, who secretly is Agent Liberty, the founder and leader of a human-first movement named the Children of Liberty. Despite the tv series chose to turn Agent Liberty into a militarized version of Donald Trump, the original one from the comics is actually a superhero, and one who is born in direct response to the disgust for the “official way” of military and secret services. A homage to Marvel‘s Captain America, with energy shield and stars-and-stripes suit, Agent Liberty ironically plays the good guy the moment Kryptonians are the bad ones in the comics… just like he’ll pretend to do in the series. Let’s take a look.

Benjamin Lockwood had been raised in a very conservative family, and taught immortal values like patriotism and self-sacrifice for his country, the glorious United States of America. It was only natural that, growing up, he joined the military, and he ended up being so good and determined that he was eventually selected to join the ranks of CIA, becoming one of the best agents around. The reality of the secret service, however, was much different from the idealized version Ben treasured, and he became increasingly disgusted by the methods the CIA was employing both on national soil and abroad. As he tried to report the injustice and brutality of CIA, poor Lockwood soon realized that the entire Federal Government was part of the same system, and that kind of violence was not only tolerated, but supported and encouraged: the price for democracy was the death of freedom, especially if the one of other countries. Ben’s moral contempt became action, and he joined the paramilitary group the Sons of Liberty, ultra-patriotic terrorists who were just as idealistic as he was, and whose aim was to overthrow the government to create a more righteous and just one. The Sons of Liberty, finally having an operative worthy of the name, equipped Lockwood with a high-tech suit and a number of gadgets and weapons, transforming him into Agent Liberty, the strong arm of the organization. Agent Liberty accomplished a variety of missions for the Sons, even and especially some that didn’t exactly fit with the “legality” category: this eventually brought him to exchange blows with some superheroes, but not even the perspective of facing a powerhouse like Superman made him falter from his intent. He had found a home for his ideals and his values, and nothing could make him betray or abandon his new family… until the founder of the Sons of Liberty, former U. S. Air Force Major Charles Holcroft, was arrested by Superman and brought to trial.

Holcroft accepted to testify in front of a Senate Committee, something that would have obviously destroyed the Sons of Liberty. The Sons kidnapped Lana Lang, fiancee of Senator Pete Ross, to convince him to kill Holcroft before he could testify, but Ross didn’t obey, so Agent Liberty was sent to kill him instead. He successfully assassinated Holcroft before he could talk, but this particular mission reminded him his days in the CIA a little bit too much to maintain his faith in the Sons intact. More to that, the Sons decided to kill Ross as well to silence him, but Ben opposed this: for a change, they had found a truly honest senator, and killing him was against the Sons’ principles. Agent Liberty decided to cooperate with Superman, and learned from him that the Sons had already killed Ross’ predecessor. Investigating the group, Agent Liberty was shocked in learning that the true leader and founder, the puppet master behind it all, was Reese, his former CIA mentor. This was enough for him: he killed two prominent members of the group, Jay Harriman and Ronald Kramer, who had discovered his betrayal, and then sent all the information he could to Clark Kent, reporter of the Daily Planet. With this, Ben personally signed the end of the Sons of Liberty and, disgusted by himself and by his own naivety, he swore he would have never used the Agent Liberty equipment or identity again. Then, Superman died. In sign of respect for the fallen hero, Ben Lockwood became Agent Liberty once again, and even joined the Justice League of America, helping them into repelling an attack from Brainiac. Brainiac himself later brainwashed him and used him as a drone, but the heroines Huntress and Vixen saved him. Realizing there was much he could do even on his own, Ben finally embraced his alter ego, and joined many other heroes into defending Metropolis from the Secret Society of Super-Villains. The victory he collected that day finally convinced him to come out of retirement, and to give another opportunity to institutions… just as, in Washington, everyone was worried for the huge number of Kryptonian refugees arrived from Kandor.

Benjamin “Ben” Lockwood is a belligerent patriot, so disgusted by the inconsistency of the government and by the lack of true values of institutions that he’s ready to adopt extreme measures to fix a corrupted system. As Agent Liberty, his suit increases his strength and durability, it can generate an energy shield from the back of his gloves and plasma knives from the palms, and it also includes a jetpack that allows him to fly for short periods of time; he’s also an extremely skilled hand-to-hand combatant and marksman, with years of training in espionage and military tactics. Talented, determined and incorruptible, Agent Liberty is now the worst nightmare of the ones who trained and formed him, a man who, for a change, truly believes in the values mostly used for sheer rhetoric, something that his crooked and greedy superiors definitely didn’t see coming…

H’ronmeer

The season finale for Supergirl was beyond horrible, but it did introduce a couple of concepts from the comics, such as the ending eyeing to the classic Superman: Red Son. There’s also one character to see, and one I didn’t expect to ever see portrayed. In Battles Lost and Won, as M’yrnn prepares to sacrifice himself heroically bonding with the nucleus of Earth (?) and thus stopping the planet’s terraformation (??), he shares one last memory with his son: a Moses-like moment in which the Martian god H’ronmeer gives the sacred scrolls to the first Martian, an unidentified woman. Albeit in the show H’ronmeer is referred to as to the only god of Mars, in the comics he’s actually one god in a numerous pantheon, even if he can indeed be considered the most prominent one. Let’s see together.

As all the other gods, H’ronmeer was created by the Presence (also known as the Unnameable One or, simply, God, the supreme creator) to watch over a specific people on a specific planet, guarding a specific aspect of existence. H’ronmeer’s planet of election was Ma’aleca’andra (Mars for humans), and he considered all the Green Martians born there his own children (the White Martians had other gods they prayed to). H’ronmeer wasn’t honored only by Green Martians on Ma’aleca’andra, though, as he was known also as Hiromeer by the Red Saturnians on Saturn, a race that actually descended from the Green Martians and had many traits in common with them. Albeit he did take care of all his children throughout the galaxy, guiding them during their lives and escorting them to the afterlife when they died, H’ronmeer had quite an ambiguous nature, and while most feared him as the God of Fire and Death, others adored him as the God of Light and Life, and many others revered him as the God of Art. Actually, H’ronmeer embodied all these different aspects, synthesizing them into a simple common trait: change. He was indeed the god of change, being it in essence or just in shape. For millennia, H’ronmeer watched over the Green Martians along with his brothers and sisters in the Martian pantheon, but then the almost entirety of his people was wiped away in a matter of days, and by an evil that had his name: the H’ronmeer’s Curse. This was a psychic plague engineered by a madman, Ma’alefa’ak, that attacked the Martians’ psionic abilities and made them burn alive out of suggestion. Thousands and thousands of Martians died to the Curse, but somehow H’ronmeer found himself unable to collect their souls and guide them to the afterlife: they were all drawn somewhere else, in a different time, on a different planet. For the first time in eons, H’ronmeer left Ma’aleca’andra to look for his lost children.

H’ronmeer found the cause of his inability to reach his children on Earth, in the late XX Century. A human scientist, Dr. Saul Erder, had teleported in Denver, Colorado, a Martian from the past, J’onn J’onnz, who still had a psychic bond with all the Martians who had died on his home planet. The transport in space and time, however, had damaged J’onn’s psyche, so he suffered from amnesia, and his bond to his people was subconscious. H’ronmeer tried to communicate with him to guide him back to Ma’aleca’andra and release the ghosts of Mars, but Erder had provided him with false memories to replace the ones he had lost, so J’onn didn’t recognize nor believed in him anymore. J’onn had become the heroic Martian Manhunter on Earth, and he had friends in the heroes of the Justice League of America, but they as well didn’t trust the visions of this self-appointed “god”. There was, however, one exception: Mister Miracle, the one who, in the JLA, had more experience with godly matters, being a New God himself. Miracle helped H’ronmeer to enter in contact with his lost child, and convinced J’onn to listen to his call. The Martian Manhunter tracked down Saul Erder, who had already been contacted by the Martian god in turn, and he was sent back to Mars, where H’ronmeer was waiting. Finally, with both of them on their home planet, where the god’s powers were at their fullest, H’ronmeer was able to restore J’onn’s original memories, giving him back also his true identity and cultural heritage, making him the gift of his true self. In exchange, the god asked for his help in freeing the ghosts of Mars from their current state, dead yet unable to pass through the veil. Now conscious of the psychic link that tethered him to the souls of his lost ones, J’onn J’onnz released them all, making them free to join their god in their afterlife. H’ronmeer had finally fulfilled his sacred duty, but his mission wasn’t over yet: as long as there was still even just one Green Martian breathing, he had a people to watch over.

H’ronmeer is a god ambiguous in nature, a creature of great wisdom who embodies change, and is thus the guardian of both life and death; on one side or the other of the veil, though, his love for his “children” remains unchanged, though his ways are often mysterious to his people. As a god, he’s immortal and virtually invulnerable; as the god of life and death, he can walk freely between this world and the other, and as the god of change he can modify his own shape and size however he wants; he can move in space and time without restriction, and he shares the gift of telepathy with the Green Martians; as the god of fire, he masters fire in every form, and manipulates it at will. A god fiercely committed to his holy duty to guide his children in this life and in the next one, H’ronmeer is a benevolent deity whose will can also manifest in quite a frightening way: after all, change is not bound to a single form by definition…

Selena

Well of course, we still have to talk about the real big bad who acted from behind the scenes during the entire Season 3 of Supergirl: Selena, the new High Priestess of the Kryptonian Witches Coven, who replaced the deceased Jindah Kol Rozz as the leader of the Worldkillers. She first appeared in The Faithful as a hallucination, but she’s only been named in Dark Side of the Moon. This is the third live action appearance of Selena, and the first one who gives her Kryptonian origins . In fact, she’s been previously portrayed as a human witch, first in Adventures of Superman, portrayed by Mira McKinney, and then of course in the Supergirl movie, where Faye Dunaway portrayed her as the main antagonist, bent on ruling the world with the power of the Omegahedron. Let’s take a look at her comics alter ego, who’s human as well, and who for once is subsequent to her live action portrayal, as it’s set in Prime Earth.

Most of Selena’s origins are still unknown. She was a homo magi, born from the bloodline of Ataxia, an ancient and incredibly powerful sorceress who obtained enough infamy to be considered chaos incarnated. As the heir of Ataxia, Selena surely didn’t let her family name be forgotten, and she honed the magical skills she had inherited to perfection, and wreaked havoc into the magic world just for the fun of it. Not even her could stand the wrath of the entire magic community, and she was eventually defeated and imprisoned in the fabled Limbo Town, in the forgotten prison known as the Subterranean Home of Necromancy and Puritania. Her cell was supposed to suppress any kind of magic, but apparently it wasn’t ready to hold a force of nature like Selena, and she eventually broke free of it… just in time, as she had guests: as soon as she was out of imprisonment, she was greeted by the Emerald Empress, a criminal from the future who had come along with her two newest associates, the vengeful powerhouse Magog and the biotech alien Indigo. Together, they had formed a team to exact a preventive revenge on Supergirl, the heroine that the Emerald Empress knew would have destroyed all of them, and Selena was welcome to join the party, also to rekindle the fear that the name of Ataxia used to invoke. If fear and chaos was the aim, Selena gladly joined. The Empress’ plan was to turn everybody against Supergirl, than to utterly destroy her and all the people who supported her, including the D.E.O. and CatCo Media. Indigo would have posed as the new hero to replace her, and Selena was pivotal in this, as she would have provided a villain: she went to Gotham City, where she collected a hair of the zombie Solomon Grundy. With her magic, she used the hair to create a clone of the brute, even more mindless (and controllable) than the original. With him, the Fatal Five were ready to act.

Back to National City, Selena assumed the appearance of Cat Grant, and called for Supergirl on the Ordman Building‘s balcony. Here, she shot the heroine with a futuristic weapon she’d been given by the Empress, a special ray that augmented Supergirl’s powers, making them utterly uncontrollable and potentially lethal for everyone around her. Wanting to create even more chaos, Selena visited the real Cat in her own apartment, making a statement for the Fatal Five. Then, Magog turned Grundy into a giant, and let him loose in the city. While Supergirl, unable to control herself, destroyed everything and endangered everyone in the effort of fighting Grundy, Indigo intervened, claiming to be the hero that National City truly needed, one not made unstable by emotions; at the same time, the Emerald Empress kidnapped Director Cameron Chase, and obtained vital information from the D.E.O. mainframe. Those same information were passed to Selena, who was back at Cat Grant’s office: after a quarrel with the media tycoon, the sorceress read her mind and extracted from it the codes to access CatCo Reporting; with them, she broadcast the news that the Cyborg Superman, the monster that had been terrifying National City time before and that was allegedly killed by Supergirl, was actually the heroine’s father, and was still alive and in custody of the D.E.O.: Supergirl had lied to everyone. The people immediately turned against the Girl of Steel, and started to root for Indigo. Cornered by Grundy and incapable of fighting without hurting innocent bystanders, Supergirl came back to the D.E.O. to be treated, thus giving the impression of running away. The plan was almost complete: now the hero had to be destroyed. Selena and Magog went to the Scabbard, a D.E.O. ghost site, to attack Supergirl taking advantage of the fact that she was being operated on by Doctor Veritas, but they had underestimated the scientist’s defenses: as soon as the two intruders were located, they were attacked by Veritas’ ace up the sleeve, the Kryptonian werewolf Lar-On. As powerful as the duo could be, this was a foe they didn’t see coming and weren’t prepared for…

Selena is a malicious being voted to pure chaos, an anarchist who never takes sides in the moral battle between good and evil but aids one side or the other depending on which one grants her more fun. As the heir of Ataxia, she’s an incredibly powerful sorceress, who masters a number of spells: she can teleport, read mind, summon and manipulate ghosts, create (or rather clone) mystic beings and golems, project energy blasts, and most certainly much more. Much more powerful than anything that even Limbo Town has ever seen, Selena is an unparalleled force for disorder, seeking to wreak as much havoc she can, lingering in the chaos she herself creates.

Thara Ak-Var (Flamebird)

For being an extinct race, surely Kryptonians are quite a lot. This season of Supergirl revealed that Argo City escaped the destruction of Krypton thanks to an energy dome, and in Not Kansas Kara decides to go back to her mother and people. In the lost city she also finds her best friend from the past, Thara Ak-Var, who survived as well. Portrayed by Esmé Bianco, Thara is an architect in Argo, she got married and she has kids, much to Kara’s surprise. In the comics, Thara Ak-Var is indeed one of the Kryptonian survivors, but there’s another reason she survived the destruction of her planet. Plus, she also has quite a superhero career in her C.V., being the fifth person to take up the mantle of Flamebird. Let’s see together.

Thara Ak-Var was born on the planet Krypton, in the city of Kandor. She was the daughter of soldiers Ak-Var and Tes, and she grew up in quite a military environment. When she was a teenager, she became the best friend of Kara Zor-El, who lived in Argo City. In her youth, Thara made the most shocking and traumatizing experience in her life: the alien Brainiac came to Krypton to collect Kandor, and he sent his probes to miniaturize the city and prepare it for the collection. Lt. Ursa led Kandorian defenses against the probes, but this resulted in a massacre, during which both Ak-Var and Tes got killed. Brainiac won the day, and Thara was part of his prize, as part of the city. She spent years alone, until Brainiac found out that a scientist on Argo City had reverse-engineered his tech to create a force field around the city to protect it: not pleased for the theft, Brainiac captured Argo as well and integrated it into the bottle of Kandor. This event marked the end of Thara’s solitude, as she was reunited with Kara’s parents, Zor-El and Alura, and they treated her as if she was their daughter. Despite her parents both belonged to the Military Guild, it looked like destiny had something else in mind for Thara, as she started to have prophetic dreams about the Flamebird, a legendary Kryptonian deity. These dreams led her to the Religious Guild, and the worshipers of Rao believed her to be the avatar of the Flamebird. Through the Guild’s teachings, Thara managed to make clarity in her dreams, and she witnessed the birth of a boy conceived and born in the Phantom Zone, and she knew that her fate was tangled with his. As soon as she knew what the Flamebird wanted from her, Thara left the Religious Guild and joined the Military one, and when Kandor was finally freed from its prison by Kal-El and rebuilt on Earth, Kal’s adoptive planet, Thara was entrusted with the position of head of the Defense Council. On Earth, she even reunited with her long lost friend Kara. She had everything she could have ever wanted… but the dreams still continued.

Finally, with all the authority and the equipment she needed, Thara Ak-Var stole a space suit and a Phantom Zone Projector, and used them to reach the dimensional prison: here, in Fort Rozz, she found the boy she had been dreaming of, Lor-Zod, the son of General Zod and Ursa. Lor had been having her same dreams, only in his it was the Flamebird’s partner deity, Nightwing, to guide him. Realizing their connection, the two came back to Earth, and Thara secretly let Lor-Zod in Kandor. Lor informed Thara of his parents’ plan to evade from the Phantom Zone, so the two of them, with the names of their guardians Flamebird and Nightwing, became superheroes, patrolling New Krypton in the effort of preventing Zod’s return. In the meanwhile, Thara also acted as the chief of security, and she trained the escort team of Zor-El and Alura to accompany them in diplomatic missions. Tension, however, escalated, and when Commander Gor killed some Science Police officers, General Lane retaliated by sending Reactron and Metallo to New Krypton, where they killed Zor-El. Alura blamed Thara for her husband’s death, as security was her responsibility, and the relationship between the two got stranded. As all Kryptonians but Superman got exiled from Earth, Alura moved all her people on a planetoid that had an opposite orbit around the Sun than that of Earth. Thara began to question Alura’s skills as a leader, and lost most of her faith in her when her adoptive mother decided to free from the Phantom Zone General Zod and his followers to strengthen her military power. Distrustful of Zod, Thara and Lor-Zod started to spy on him, and they learnt that Ursa had sent on his account some sleeper agents on Earth to prepare a new invasion. Knowing what kind of threat they Kryptonian agents represented for humans, the two heroes came back to Earth in disguise, and they resumed their activity as Flamebird and Nightwing to find and capture Zod’s people. This, of course, wouldn’t have been an easy task at all.

Thara Ak-Var is a passionate and determined young woman, a capable and self-confident girl who takes her responsibilities, being them civil or divine in nature, very seriously. As Flamebird, she possesses all the powers of a Kryptonian under a yellow sun, including superhuman strength and speed, invulnerability, flight, super breath, freezing breath, heat vision, enhanced senses, x-ray vision and much more; plus, as the avatar of the mythical Flamebird, she shares a psychic connection with the avatar of the Nightwing, Lor-Zod, and possesses the power of pyrokinesis and of quick healing, as well as immunity from Gold Kryptonite (and possibly all the other kinds as well). A guardian chosen by the gods, Flamebird protects what remains of her people, but wants to do more than that, as she also watches over them not to let them take a road that would lead them far away from the Kryptonian values and principles… and this last part will prove to be even more difficult than the first one.

Jack Nimball (Toyman)

The Toyman is dead, long live the Toyman! …or Toywoman, following yet another gender swap. Supergirl came back with a bang, quite literally, as in Schott Through the Heart the original Toyman dies, but a new one is immediately ready to take is place with a number of bomb attacks and lethal toys. The identity of the copycat is revealed to be that of Jacqueline Nimball, portrayed by Brooke Smith, a former prison worker who secretly became Winslow Schott‘s apprentice, and is hellbent on executing his last will. In the comics, Nimball is actually named Jack, and is more of an usurper than an apprentice. Let’s see together, and keep in mind that the continuity of reference is that of Earth-One.

Not much is known about Jack Nimball prior to his public debut in the criminal world. He was presumably born in Metropolis, or at least he lived there for most of his life. Certainly not a saint, he always dreamed of becoming a professional criminal for easy money, and he had the perfect chance when Winslow Schott, aka the Toyman, announced his retirement, wanting to clear his conscience. Nimball grabbed the occasion, tailored himself a jester costume, and somehow obtained many of the original Toyman’s toys and tech, presenting himself to the world as the new Toyman. On his debut, he used futuristic technology to shrink a plane, and escaped capture by dropping explosive balloons all over the city, forcing Superman to save civilians instead of pursuing him. He then used a similar plan to steal a nuclear submarine, and he publicly announced that he would have ransomed off the stolen vehicles for 100 million dollars. The news attracted the attention of the original Toyman, who foiled Nimball’s following heist: as he was about to steal the world’s fastest car, Schott appeared, and threatened to kill him for soiling his name. He would have allowed the copycat to live only if they joined forces, and Nimball agreed to the alliance. Next they stole a satellite rocket, but as soon as the Toymen brought it where Nimball had hidden all his loot, the new Toyman assaulted the other with poisonous cotton candy. What Nimball didn’t know, however, was that Schott had been allied with Superman all the time of their alliance, and that the Man of Steel was hidden in the stolen rocket: the hero came out of his shelter, saved Schott and arrested Nimball. This misadventure taught Jack Nimball not to trust anyone, not even another Toyman, and from there on he worked alone.

The Toyman didn’t stay in jail for much, and he escaped soon after, taking advantage of a sudden monstrous appetite of Superman to rob the city while the hero spent his time eating. As Superman solved the solar energy crisis behind his unusual condition, the Toyman was once again assured to justice. Quite unexpectedly, Toyman was freed by the alien Mr. Xavier, who used him along with other eight criminals for an all-out assault on Superman, having actually an agenda of his own, as he drained power for himself from every fight. Needless to say, even this time the Toyman didn’t get to kill Superman, and he was arrested once again. He spent quite some years in jail, this time being unable to get out on his own, and with nobody interested in breaking him out. He behaved well, and he eventually was out on parole. In the meantime, however, something terrible had happened to Winslow Schott: as he was participating to an inventor’s exposition as part of his new life, his exhibit was destroyed by a rampaging Bizarro, ruining him. Mad with the thirst of revenge after mistaking Bizarro for his old enemy Superman, Schott decided to come back to his criminal ways, but to do so he had to reclaim his identity. As Jack Nimball was walking down the streets of Metropolis, he was reached by a mechanical bird, sent to him by his predecessor: this time, the first Toyman didn’t offer him anything as a condition for his life, and brutally killed him. There was, anyway, a consolation prize: Jack Nimball would have had, years later, the honor of having one of the Toyman’s robots modeled after him. Quite a privilege.

Jack Nimball is a greedy and sneaky man, who has the fault of believing himself to be much smarter than he actually is. As the Toyman, he has quite a talent for engineering, chemistry and physics, and he uses his skills to adapt and modify the original Toyman’s equipment: his arsenal includes a shrinking gun, poisonous cotton candy, explosive bubble gum, flammable chocolate syrup, a flying toy car, and much else. A copycat who wrongfully believes to have what it takes to replace the original, the new Toyman is just an amateur playing with the professionals, a game his toys might not be enough to handle…

Streaky (Super-Cat)

If there was a character from the comics I didn’t expect to pop up in Supergirl, it was Streaky, but the show proved me wrong. In the comeback episode Legion of Superheroes, Kara is trapped within her mind in a comatose state, and Brainiac 5 tries to help her sort the situation out. While in her subconscious, Kara is reunited with Streaky, a stray cat she had adopted, and who had taught her how to be gentle and control her strength (otherwise, she might have hurt him just by petting him). In the comics, Streaky has quite some hidden talents, and is one of the super-pets that were a big success in the 1960s. Let’s see together.

Streaky was a pretty normal tabby cat, found and adopted by Linda Lee, a student at Stanhope College. A jokester always happy to be petted and cuddled, Streaky soon became the mascot of all the female students of Linda’s dorm, and enjoyed strolling around even during lessons, knowing that there would have always been somebody giving him some food or playing with him when he wanted. One day Linda, who was secretly the heroine Supergirl, was making experiments on a small chunk of Green Kryptonite to try and make it harmless for Kryptonians, but the chemicals she used barely modified the rock’s appearance, without affecting its harmful radiation. Frustrated, the girl (proving to be quite irresponsible, actually) threw the rock out of the lab’s window… just where Streaky was playing. The cat, liking the weird smell of the one that would have later been known as X-Kryptonite, approached it… and the unique combination between Linda’s chemicals and the rock’s natural radiations gave the cat superpowers similar to a Kryptonian’s. With also his intelligence increased to human level, Streaky tested his powers, and during his first, clumsy flight he crashed against a Superman action figure he took his cape from. From that day, Streaky assisted Supergirl in many of her adventures, but even managed to do something on his own.

One day, Streaky was approached by three members of the Legion of Super-Heroes: Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad. The trio had just been manipulated in the past by the Brain-Globes to kidnap Superboy: the evil aliens could mind-control people, but not animals, so the Legionnaires were assembling a team of super-animals to rescue Superboy in the past. Streaky the Super-Cat and Bepo the Super-Monkey traveled back in time to join Krypto the Super-Dog and Comet the Super-Horse, and together they defeated the Brain-Globes. Grateful, Saturn Girl named them the Legion of Super-Pets, a special branch of her own Legion. Streaky fought powerful foes like Satan Girl with the Legion, and by himself he even faced Overman (though it’s likely that this was an alternate version of the Super-Cat created by the Psycho Pirate). When a curious lab accident turned all the Green Kryptonite on Earth into simple iron, however, Streaky saw his power source disappear, and he came back to be a simple cat. He lived with Linda for some other time, but when she left college and moved to San Francisco, he was left with Fred and Edna Danvers in their house in Midvale. Apparently, it truly came the time for the Super-Cat to retire.

Streaky is a very special cat, an easy-going and sometimes pesky pet who however shows some unexpected propensity to heroism. As the Super-Cat, his intelligence easily reaches (and in certain cases surpasses) human one, he can fly, he possesses superhuman strength and speed, and is pretty much invulnerable. An inseparable partner to Supergirl, Streaky the Super-Cat is a pivotal member of the Legion of Super-Pets, a secret hero who, between a nap and a snack, saved the world several times.