Irene Merryweather

Whoa, you’ve been quick this time. Credits to Maya and Czez for the heads-up. There’s still one character from the comics appearing in Deadpool 2: covering Firefist‘s outburst at the Essex House for Mutant Rehabilitation, and the following intervention of the X-Men, there’s a news anchorwoman named Irene Merryweather, portrayed by Andréa Vawda. Although she only appears in this sequence in the movie, she has quite a long run with the movie’s protagonists in the comics; plus, she’s not originally a tv reporter, but rather she works for a newspaper fundamental in the mythology of yet another character, Spider-Man. Let’s see together.

Born and raised in New York City, Irene Merryweather studied journalism following the dream of becoming a great reporter for the Daily Bugle, just like Ben Urich. Dreams clashed with reality, though, and she found herself working for a definitely inferior paper, the tabloid Inquiring Eye. The kind of articles she could write for the Eye were exactly what she expected, and mostly involved conspiracy theories of various kinds, but one happened to be an actual story: her boss asked her to investigate an alleged secret society called the Hellfire Club, and so she did, not knowing that this time the lead was as real as it could get. The White Bishop of this Hellfire Club was so worried that Irene could actually uncover something serious that he sent some of his mercenaries to silence her. As she came back to her office, Irene found all her coworkers dead, killed by the Hellfire soldiers, and she was their next target. She was however saved at the last moment by Cable, a mutant who claimed to come from the future. Wanting someone to tell the story of his life in the eventuality that he got killed, Cable chose Irene as his chronicler, a task she gladly accepted, especially considering that she was now unemployed. Following Cable she had the chance to discover a lot of things about the Hellfire Club, and to witness incredible adventures, that she promptly wrote down. Not everything was sunshine and roses, as once, as Cable deemed the mission up ahead too dangerous, she was left in Switzerland all alone, forced to find a way back to the United States on her own. She met some of Cable’s associates, like G. W. Bridge, Domino, Madeline Pryor and Blaquesmith, and she discovered some hot stories, such as the one revolving around a black ops led by S.H.I.E.L.D. in Hell’s Kitchen. The latter in particular was the one article that won her the prize she always wanted: a place among the investigative reporters of the Daily Bugle.

She knew she was on the right path about the Hellfire Club when the Black King himself, Sebastian Shaw, offered her a position within the Club in exchange of her silence, something that she refused, knowing that she could count on her friend’s protection. Then, Cable started to call himself Soldier X, and disappeared for a while. Not hearing from her friend for a while, Irene got worried, but she eventually received a letter from him, including his diaries, so that she can write them down and continue the chronicles of his life and adventures. Cable eventually returned, but Irene realized that something was amiss with him: he secretly used a virus to turn everybody on Earth pink, only to restore them back to normal and be acclaimed as a hero. Irene interviewed him, and she realized that his powers were probably making him go nuts. She became so worried that she even brought a gun to work in order to protect herself from him, in the chance he went totally crazy, but she was caught by her boss, J. Jonah Jameson, who fired her for bringing a firearm to the office. Without a job, Irene accepted Cable’s offer, especially considering that he owed her, and she moved to Providence, the island Cable had turned into an utopia. She became Cable’s right hand woman, and she basically ruled the place whenever he was out on mission. She even befriended his newest associate, Deadpool, a crazy mercenary who even developed a crush on her (she always rejected him, as she rightfully considered him a total idiot). As Cable learnt of the birth of the true Mutant Messiah, the Marauders attacked the island, and destroyed it with the alien weapon Hecatomb, killing many citizens in the process. Cable apparently sacrificed himself self-destructing the island, and Irene was nearly killed by Sabretooth, but she was saved by Deadpool at the last moment, and brought to safety before the explosion. Without her time traveler to write about, Irene came back to New York, where she got her job at the Bugle back…unfortunately, she just couldn’t get rid of Deadpool.

Irene Merryweather is a determined and clever woman, a brave reporter who is perfectly capable of dealing even with extremely dangerous people. A skilled investigator and a gifted administrator, she doesn’t originally possessed any superhuman power, but after Alecto manipulated her mind while helping her against Blaquesmith, she became immune to any form of telepathy. Able and willing to dig into the dirt of several secret societies, terrorists and criminals, Irene Merryweather joined forces with people just as dangerous and deranged as the ones she’s hunting down, to the point that she’s now forced to be equally careful of her friends as she is of her enemies…

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Hope Summers

We knew she would have been there in some capacity after the very first image of Cable, with that teddy bear hanging from his belt, and in fact the last character who appeared in Deadpool 2 is Hope Summers! The daughter of Cable is portrayed by Islie Hirvonen, and she looks like a perfectly normal girl her age. In the comics, on the opposite, she’s a pivotal character and quite a powerful one, and she’s either referred to as the Mutant Messiah or as the Harbinger of Death. Her story is quite complicated, as it involves a lot of time travel, but we’ll try to sort it out. Small tip: no, in the comics she’s not Cable’s daughter…not biological, at least.

After she went mad for grief and traumas, Scarlet Witch originated a cataclysmic event known as Decimation, spelling three words, “No more mutants“, and turning all mutants on the planet into regular humans, with the sole exception of little less than 200 individuals. No mutants were born from that point on, and the entire race seemed to be doomed to extinction…until the baby who would have been named Hope was born. She was the daughter of a fireman, Captain Louise Spalding, and the moment she was born in Cooperstown, Alaska, the mutant detector Cerebro exploded. As a toddler, she became the most hunted girl in the world: from a side, the future Sentinel Nimrod sent after her the Purifiers, who wanted to kill her; on the other, the remaining mutants wanted to protect her. There was one mutant, however, who sided with the Purifiers: Bishop, who believed that Hope would have grown into a mass-murdering abomination that would have created the dystopic reality he was from. As the Purifiers destroyed Cooperstown and killed everyone in it, the baby girl was saved by Cable, who on the opposite believed her to be the messiah who would have saved mutants and humans alike. Cable lost her to the Marauders, who brought the baby to their leader Mr. Sinister…who was actually Mystique in disguise. Her putative daughter Rogue was in a coma because of Strain 88 virus, and Mystique had her touched by the baby. Gambit, horrified since he believed she had killed her, took the infant away from Mystique, but watched in shock as not only the little one was fine, but she had also cured Rogue, who woke up. It was there that the trio was reached by X-Men and Predator X, and a huge battle between them and the Marauders over the girl started. As the battle was escalating, Cyclops called it off, and decided that the girl would have been safer with his son from the future, Cable. Everyone agreed, and Cable took her back to his time, hiding her in the haven of New Liberty…while Bishop secretly tracked and followed them, wanting to kill the girl in the future.

Cable raised the baby along with his new wife, Hope, and she grew up in a safe environment, at least until a group of humanoid insects attacked New Liberty. Cable saved his adoptive daughter, but he failed to save his wife, who died in his arms. It was in this moment that he decided to call the girl Hope Summers, in honor of her late adoptive mother. Bishop in the meanwhile was advancing, and he destroyed entire continents to limit Cable’s movements. Another war erupted when Bishop allied himself with Stryfe, and X-Force intervened to help them. Hope bonded with X-23 and Elixir, and when Cable was forced to travel in time once again, she escaped from him during the jump, becoming stranded in time, with two years separating her from her adoptive father. She survived for two years thanks to Emil Spence, a descendant of Stryfetroopers, a boy she fell in love with. When she rejoined with Cable, he took her away on one of the few remaining space ships, the Ensabahnur I, and Hope had to say goodbye to the one she loved…well, not exactly, as Emil, who believed that Cable had kidnapped Hope, joined forces with Bishop, whom he believed to be Hope’s true father. They reached the ship, but during the battle the Brood, attracted to Hope’s power, attacked both factions. Emil sacrificed his life to save Hope and Cable, and the two managed to escape in cryo-chambers, while the others seemingly died in a nuclear explosion. After this many escapes, Hope decided she was ready to come back home, in the past, and join the X-Men. The only functioning time machine was now Bishop’s one, as Cable’s had been damaged, so Cable tracked down a dying Acanti Bishop had used to survive the explosion. As he activated the time machine, Bishop awoke and shot Hope in the head…but the girl’s mutant powers manifested themselves, and she borrowed Cable’s telekinesis to stop the bullet in mid-air. The travel was pretty jumpy, with Bishop always in close trails, but eventually Cable managed to send him to 6700 AD. Finally, back to the present, Hope and Cable took a car and drove to the X-Mansion, ready to start a new life and bring hope to a dying race. There was still someone eager to hunt for her even in the present, though…

Hope Summers has been on the run since her birth, chased and hunted down for reasons she didn’t understand; molded into a true survivor, she’s however more compassionate and good-hearted than her putative father Cable, and she never lost her humanity despite the trials she had to endure. She’s an Omega Level Mutant, with the ability to mimicry the powers of any mutant close to her, and to use them at their maximum capacity, even more than one per time; she’s also the only one able to stabilize the powers and personalities of the new mutants (six, this far) born after her and Decimation. Troubled and pressured for all the expectations revolving around her, and grown without knowing anything close to peace, Hope is working hard to be the beacon of a new era, and thus to live up to her name…

Thomas Samuel Eamon Cassidy (Black Tom)

Deadpool 2 has been out for some days now, so we can see together the two remaining characters appearing (as usual, if I miss somebody, just let me know). As Deadpool and Russell end up in a prison for mutants named the Icebox, they immediately become the plaything of the toughest bastard around, a tattooed goon going by the name Black Tom Cassidy. Portrayed by Jack Kesy, Tom never has the chance to show his powers, as he’s always wearing a power-dampening collar, and is pretty much of a living spoiler, as his presence alone is enough to reveal who’s the big guy in the maximum security cell. This is the first appearance of Black Tom, despite him being quite a villain in the mutant mythology, and having his named dropped in X2: X-Men United on Stryker‘s computer. Now, let’s meet the original one. Spoilers alert: no dreadlocks and no tattoos.

Thomas Samuel Eamon Cassidy was born in Dublin, Ireland, the pupil of the well-respected and wealthy Cassidy family. In his youth he wasn’t exactly the perfect image of the educated nobleman, cultivating friends with disreputable people like Cain Marko (a friendship that would have proved useful in the future) and soon becoming the black sheep of the family. In particularly he had a fierce rivalry with his cousin, Sean Cassidy, who on the opposite of him was simply the perfect gentleman. Their enmity escalated when, playing a game of dice, Thomas managed to lose both his family mansion Cassidy Keep and his fortune to his cousin, but it intensified even more when they both fell in love with the same woman, Maeve Rourke. The two cousins courted Maeve, with Tom trying to boycott Sean, but eventually it was Sean the one to be chosen, and married, by the woman. This marriage, apparently, did put an end to the two’s rivalry, as Tom was ready to accept Maeve’s decision. With time, Sean trusted Tom enough to entrust his beloved wife to him every time he was away for work, and working for the Interpol that happened quite a lot. One absence in particular proved to be pretty long, as in that time Maeve found out she was pregnant and carried the baby for the whole nine months, without telling anything to Sean who was unreachable at the time: it was Tom the one who took care of her during pregnancy, and who helped her giving birth to Theresa. One tragic day, Maeve got killed during an IRA attack, and Tom, who didn’t know how to contact his cousin, took Theresa with himself, waiting for Sean’s return. His cousin did return, but he wasn’t exactly in the right mood to hear Tom’s news about his own daughter: shocked by his wife’s death, Sean blamed Tom for everything, saying that he should have protected her. As Tom tried to speak to him, Sean attacked him with his sonic scream, revealing to be a mutant: the attack broke one of Tom’s legs, leaving him with a limp for life. As Sean angrily left him and Ireland, Thomas swore that he would have made his cousin pay.

Also Thomas held a secret, exactly the same as his cousin: he was a mutant, and he took his power from plants. He took the moniker Black Tom, and without anything left in the world he became a criminal; he used a shillelagh as a walking cane, and also as a weapon to channel his powers. In the following years, he raised Theresa as his own daughter, passing his hatred for Sean onto her, and when he was sent to jail he found there his childhood friend Cain Marko, who had become the mystic-enhanced Juggernaut: the two resumed their friendship, even stronger than before, and became a formidable criminal couple. Much to Black Tom’s amusement, even Theresa developed mutant powers, something that he would have used against her biological father in future schemes. With the unstoppable Juggernaut by his side, there was nothing Black Tom couldn’t do, so his plan for getting revenge against Sean, now known as the heroic Banshee, could begin. First he murdered Sean’s lawyer, Mr. Flaherty, in the village of Dal’Roon, and used his signed letters to invite Sean with his friends in Cassidy Keep, claiming that he could finally take possession of it. He blackmailed the keeper Eamon O’Donnell into helping him, and set a trap for the X-Men coming: not only Banshee, but also Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus. Eamon made them all accommodate into their rooms, only to lead them to a fake dining hall with a trap floor, that made them fall right in front of Black Tom and the Juggernaut, waiting in the castle dungeon. With the team leader Storm crippled by her claustrophobia, Juggernaut made short work of Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler, leaving to Tom the chance to face his loathed and ungrateful cousin. Due to their family bond, their powers turned out to be ineffective against one another, so the match was decided by fists only…and in that field, Black Tom held quite an advantage on his good-mannered cousin. Tom easily defeated Banshee, and with him down, all the X-Men had been vanquished in a matter of minutes. The victory was at hand, but Black Tom had sworn to his friend to exact revenge on his step-brother too: he would have kept the X-Men alive, but only just as long as they could act as bait for Professor X

Thomas Cassidy is a complicated man, a scoundrel, a thief and a murderer, but also a man of honor, who in name of that same honor is ready to pursue his hated cousin Sean to the end of the world for getting revenge, but also to put his own life on the line to protect his friend Cain. As Black Tom, he’s capable of channeling strong thermal blasts through wood, making a deadly weapon even of a simple shillelagh, and he’s quite an accomplished fighter despite his limp; because of a temporary Secondary Mutation, he had become a plant-like being who could absorb living beings’ life force, communicate with plants, heal instantly from any wound and grow in size. A man of subtle and cruel intelligence, Black Tom Cassidy is a criminal with a grudge and a purpose, and never leaves anything to chance…the perfect match for an impulsive brute like his best pal, the Juggernaut.

Telford Porter (Vanisher)

Well, the role of X-Force in Deadpool 2 has been…surprising, to say the least. Anyway, many people had noticed in the trailer a completely invisible member of the team, whom we can “see” as a floating parachute sitting between Domino and Zeitgeist. Now we know who that is: the Vanisher, who’s unexpectedly portrayed (for the few instants he’s visible, at least) by Brad Pitt. This was hard to foresee, especially considering that the original has a very different set of powers. This is actually the second live action portrayal of the character, since he appeared in a cameo in X-Men: The Last Stand as one of the dozens of mutants attacking Alcatraz. Also here, he’s portrayed as a simple teleporter like Nightcrawler, while he’s much more powerful than that. Also, he’s not a hero, but rather one of the first villains ever faced by the X-Men, albeit he did worked with X-Force recently, but only because he was blackmailed. Let’s see together.

Much of the Vanisher’s life is still shrouded in mystery, especially considering that his real name, Telford Porter, is likely just an alias. Apparently he was born in Massachusetts, either in Boston or in Milton, and nothing is known about his family or profession, but it’s likely he had some notions of engineering. Whatever he was doing before making his public debut, it all changed the moment he found out he was a mutant, and a pretty powerful one: for a time, it was believed he was the most powerful teleporter on Earth, not having any limitations in the distance he could cover with his jumps or in the quantity of matter he could bring along with himself. Wanting to make easy money with his talent, he started committing a series of impossible crimes, appearing inside bank vaults or within closed museums, stealing what he wanted just to disappear in thin air once again. With his fortune increasing, and getting the fame of being uncatchable, the Vanisher attracted a number of low-level thugs who wanted a share of what he had, and they became his small private army, followers ready to eat the scarps that fell from his table. Growing cocky, the Vanisher stole top-secret defense plans from the Pentagon, and blackmailed the US Government by demanding 10 million dollars to have them back, otherwise he would have sold them to the Soviet Union. The X-Men tried to stop him, but they could do very little against him, and he vanquished them. Sure that nobody would have been able to stop him, the thief along with his many (human) followers appeared right before the White House, and demanded his payment. Unfortunately for him, this time waiting for him there was also Professor X, the world’s most powerful telepath and leader of the X-Men, who, while his pupils took care of the gangsters, used his powers to induce amnesia into the Vanisher: Telford Porter forgot everything about who he was, including his own powers, and thus was easily captured by the police.

Apparently this was just a temporary measure, as soon after the Vanisher regained his memories, and his powers along with them. He used them to escape from prison, then he joined Factor Three, a mutant terrorist organization preparing World War III. This adventure, oddly enough, ended with the Vanisher and his new teammates joining the X-Men against the Mutant Master, Factor Three’s leader, who turned out to be an alien who wanted to destroy mankind. After defeating the alien, the Vanisher tried to rebuild his empire, but this time he was captured by the Sentinels, and much to his shame he was rescued by the X-Men once again. This was quite a blow for his reputation, and after this episode he was forced to lay low for a while. In all this time, he successfully reprogrammed some of the Sentinels who had been hunting for him, planning to use them to regain respect. When he he came out of hiding, he joined the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants with the intention of testing himself and his skills against the Champions, unleashing his Sentinels after them. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, as while Angel, Hercules, Iceman, Ghost Rider and Black Widow took care of the giant robots and the Brotherhood, Darkstar used her powers to trap the Vanisher in a suspended state, disrupting his powers in mid-teleportation. As a result, half of the Vanisher materialized on Earth, specifically in a town named Poughkeepsie, while the other half was in the Darkforce Dimension, the space between spaces the Vanisher unconsciously crossed while teleporting. The Vanisher remained in this suspended state for years, until Nightcrawler, who wanted to learn more about his own powers, started investigating on him, and found him in Poughkeepsie. The moment the blue X-Man touched what remained of the Vanisher, the latter’s powers were activated once again, and they both got stranded in the Darkforce Dimension. From there, helping each other, the two teleporters managed to come back to Earth, and parted ways: finally, the Vanisher was back, and he could resume what he was doing before being so rudely interrupted.

Telford Porter is a cunning and highly intelligent individual, an ambitious and greedy man who seeks to obtain as much wealth, power and fame as possible in the shortest time. As the Vanisher, he’s a remarkably powerful teleporter, able to cross intercontinental distances without the slightest effort, teleporting along with himself even other people and objects (once he threatened to “kidnap” an entire city with his powers, but whether he would have been actually able to do that is open to debate); while moving, he unconsciously crosses the Darkforce Dimension, but unlike other teleporters like Nightcrawler or Cloak, he can visit also places he cannot see or has never seen before, as he seems to be always aware of spacial conditions in the point of arrival, and thus he never materializes within a solid object. Clever and charismatic, the Vanisher is also quite lazy, and tends to let others to the dirty work for him. Despite this, he’s still a dangerous criminal, with enough power to do whatever he threats to, and enough resources to always find a way out of the direst of situations.

Russell Collins (Firefist)

Deadpool 2 is almost in theaters, and the character many believed to be Firefist…turned out to be Firefist, after all. Julian Dennison is portraying Russell “Rusty” Collins (despite he’d like to be called “Hot Stuff“, judging from the trailers), a young mutant with pyrokinetic abilities who’s being hunted by Cable for some unknown reason. Deadpool will form X-Force with the sole purpose of protecting him, but judging from the prison uniform and the anti-mutant collar something goes bad some point in the line. Waiting to see what the movie will do of Rusty, let’s take a look at the original character.

Russell Collins was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of an allegedly heroic sailor who died in war when he was still a newborn. Also his mother died soon after, wishing that her son became “just like his father”. Orphaned, Russell had still two uncles, Ted and George, and he was entrusted to the first one…who didn’t like him very much, and made no secret about it. With the excuse of granting his sister’s dying wish, Uncle Ted “helped” Russell join the Navy underage, at sixteen years old, thus getting rid of the boy. Even in the Navy, Russell wasn’t exactly the idol of his fellow recruits, and earned the nickname “Rusty” that stick all his life. While docking in San Diego, his superior officer Jack Fisher asked a friend of his, the wealthy prostitute Emma LaPorte, to seduce the inexperienced Rusty. Forced to drink and terrified at the perspective of his first sexual experience, Rusty panicked, and in that moment his latent mutant powers manifested for the first time: he could generate bursts of flame, and he unwillingly burnt Emma, nearly killing her and disfiguring her for life. Panicking even more, Rusty tried to flee, but he was arrested by Naval Police. While in custody, Chief Fisher confronted him, swearing revenge on him personally and on his kind in general, and attempted to shoot him in cold blood…only to ignite the young man’s power once again. Rusty managed to escape imprisonment, but Fisher, who wanted him dead on one side but feared that the young sailor would have reported him if arrested on the other, called for the help of X-Factor, a team of (alleged) mutant exterminators, to take care of the problem.

Rusty faced X-Factor convinced that they would have killed him, but he was surprised to see that they were actually the original X-Men in disguise. X-Factor “defeated” Rusty, actually saving him from the military, and took him away, with the blessing of Chief Fisher. The heroes explained to Russell that they were posing as mutant hunters to find mutants like him who needed help in understanding and controlling their powers, and the young man accepted to be trained by them. During his time with X-Factor, he developed a crush on Marvel Girl like many others, but never acted upon it. Despite some minor scuffles with his teammate Artie Maddicks, Rusty finally found a place to belong, and as a trainee he chose the name “Firefist”. During a mission, Rusty, who was still a wanted criminal for the incident with Emma, was targeted by Mystique and her Freedom Force, who wanted to arrest him. While trying to escape from them, Firefist was saved by a runaway girl now member of the Morlocks, Skids, who tried to bring him to The Alley, the underground home of the Morlocks. Freedom Force, slowed down by an anti-mutant mob, reached them and was ready to apprehend them, but X-Factor intervened just in time. During the battle, Rusty was severely wounded by Blob, and Skids stayed by his side for all the time of the recovery (thus saving herself from the mutant massacre going on underground, with the Marauders slaughtering all Morlocks). Between the two outcasts a sweet and strong romance was born, and they stayed together for all of their life (for all of Rusty’s life, at least). From zero to hero, Firefist became a celebrity along with the other X-Factor kids after the defeat of Apocalypse, but things didn’t last, as he finally decided to turn himself into the Naval Police, not wanting to hide anymore. He was soon broken out by his teammates, as his friends Artie Maddicks and Leech had been kidnapped by demons. Firefist took the lead of the X-Factor kids, who now called themselves X-Terminators, and went to the rescue. Apparently, he would have repaid his debts to society in another way.

Russell “Rusty” Collins is a gentle and likable guy, a sometimes insecure young man who deeply cares for others and who shares a beautiful love with his teammate Skids. As Firefist, he’s a mutant with the ability to ignite air in the immediate vicinity, either originating fire from his own body (usually hands) or igniting them remotely; he can control the shape, the direction and the heat of the fire he creates, and he can also manipulate heat without physical fire being present, such as by creating a heat shield around himself hot enough to melt incoming bullets; he also subconsciously creates a psionic barrier all around himself able as protection from excessive heat and burns. First a scared and insecure boy, now a charismatic and diplomatic leader, Firefist grew up with, thanks and for his teammates and friends, finally becoming a man he can be proud of.

John McIver (Bushmaster)

The trailer for Luke Cage Season 2 sees our hero in quite a happy time, a super star known everywhere in Harlem and considered invincible by friends and foes alike…until he gets knocked out with a single capoeira kick in the middle of the street. The one who beats Luke Cage and proves to be on an equal ground with him is John “Bushmaster” McIver, the big bad of the season portrayed by Mustafa Shakir. The first season heavily lacked action and a villain worthy of the name (apart from the charismatic Shades), but Bushmaster promises to deliver them both. We dare to hope, and in the meanwhile we take a look at the original one.

John McIver was born on St. Croix, in the Caribbean, and knew poverty since his very childhood. Without parents, he grew up along with his younger brother Quincy, and the two of them survived together on the streets, stealing whatever they could. John was clever enough to always stay out of trouble, but Quincy was reckless, and once got caught by a shopkeeper he was trying to rob. Panicking, Quincy told the shopkeeper that he was John’s brother, thus soiling McIver’s name and reputation. As a result, first John severely beat Quincy, than he proceeded to do the same with the shopkeeper, killing him in the process. From that point on, John gave up on any subtlety, and became a hired muscle, working for several crime bosses. Years later he managed to climb the ranks enough to become the right-hand man of Herve Argosy, the biggest crime lord of the area. He obtained to take the lead of some of Argosy’s business in Europe, and left the islands to make a name for himself. In the Old Continent, McIver took control of many of his alleged boss’ activities, and became a wanted man for FBI, Interpol and CIA as the uncatchable Bushmaster. During this time John had also a son, Cruz, from an unnamed woman. Not many years passed before Bushmaster was approached by the Maggia and joined their international criminal cartel, expanding his power even more. Many agents from several agencies tried to infiltrate his organization, but to no avail…at least, this is what he thought, as his new operative and love interest, Maya Korday, had actually something to hide. John found out about this the moment he decided to come back to the United States to expand further: when he accepted a contract kill from a man named Shrieve, who wanted to get rid of the hero Iron Fist, Maya revealed her true colors.

“Maya Korday” was in fact P.I. Misty Knight, and as soon as she realized her beloved Danny was about to get killed, she blew up her cover, beat down Bushmaster and forced him to reveal to her where the hit was going to take place, then she left and foiled it. Furious and humiliated, Bushmaster swore to take his revenge on Misty Knight, and decided to use her friend Luke Cage to do his bidding, in order to humiliate her the way she had him, with betrayal. First, he had two friends of Luke’s, Dr. Noah Burstein and Claire Temple, captured and held hostage, then he summoned Cage, ordering him to bring Misty Knight to him if he wanted to save his friends…and adding as a bonus a videotape provided by Gadget, one of his men, that could prove his innocence in the heroine affair of years before. To make sure that Luke Cage did as he was told, Bushmaster sent Shades and Comanche to follow him and to report everything that happened. Apparently, Luke Cage did attack the Heroes for Hire, but was defeated by his friend Iron Fist, and proved unable to capture Misty. Even more enraged, Bushmaster forced Dr. Burstein to replicate on him the same procedure that had transformed Luke Cage into Power Man, only to a greater extent, so that he would have been able to do everything by himself. Burstein did as he was told, and Bushmaster acquired the same abilities as Cage, but on a higher level. This became plain clear when Luke Cage came back to free his friends, accompanied by the other Heroes for Hire. With his new powers, Bushmaster was able to fight against Cage, Iron Fist, Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, always holding the upper hand. During the battle, however, Cage and Bushmaster pierced a can containing chemicals, and the substances ended up on a torn power line, causing a massive explosion. The Heroes for Hire escaped with the hostages, but McIver was believed dead in the explosion. They couldn’t be more wrong…

John McIver is a clever and ambitious man, a ruthless criminal who hasn’t the slightest doubt in killing, threatening and hurting anyone standing in his way. As Bushmaster, he’s a street-smart fighter careful and bright enough to make the best out of any situation; plus, Burstein gave him the same abilities as Luke Cage, but on a higher level: he’s incredibly strong, his skin is virtually indestructible, he’s pretty much invulnerable, and he heals quickly from any wound he rarely suffers. All brain and brawn, Bushmaster is an extremely dangerous man, a crime boss who has all the power he wants to build an empire with his own hands.

James Woo

New promotional pics for the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp emerged, and in one of them we got a look at the last major character making his debut in the movie: James “Jimmy” Woo, portrayed by Randall Park. Woo had already been referenced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as one of Melinda May‘s contacts, but this will be his first live action appearance. He’s only described as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and he’ll most likely be Scott Lang‘s parole officer, but everything regarding his actual role remains to be seen. In the comics, he has quite a long history, dating back to the 1950s. Let’s see together.

Jimmy was born in the 1930s in China, the son of Kim and Margaret Woo, two descendants of Genghis Khan. The Woos were involved with the Atlas Foundation, the criminal heir of the Mongol Empire, ruled by the mastermind Yellow Claw, but the Foundation’s adviser (and dragon) Mr. Lao foresaw that their son would have inherited the title of Khan from Claw. Not wanting this destiny for their son, Kim and Margaret escaped to the United States and settled in Cheverly, Maryland, where they raised Jimmy completely oblivious to his origins; they spurred him to pursue a career in law enforcement, and so he did, as he joined FBI as an adult in the 1950s. Because of his familiarity with Chinese culture and language, Jimmy Woo was the one agent who always dealt with the threat represented by Yellow Claw, now recognized as an international terrorist, fighting him over and over again (oblivious of the fact that all this battles were just tests from Mr. Lao). Woo followed the Claw’s trails to San Francisco, where he exposed his front activities in Chinatown and met for the first time Suwan, Yellow Claw’s grand-niece. To complicate the matter, the two felt a strong, immediate attraction towards each other, but Suwan refused to betray her grand-uncle for Jimmy…albeit she did save the agent’s life when, later, Yellow Claw was about to have him executed. In the following years, Jimmy Woo foiled a plan after the other from Yellow Claw, who formed alliances with the Communists, with other terrorists and even with a brainwashed alien and with inter-dimensional predators to destroy the American empire. Every time, Woo was secretly helped by Suwan, and always managed to find a way to defeat the criminal mastermind. In 1958, however, Yellow Claw managed the unthinkable, and kidnapped President Eisenhower, forcing Woo to start a rescue mission. In order to follow his enemy to Mongolia, Woo needed allies, and powerful ones.

Given free rein over the matter, Woo founded Department Zero, and with that he recruited some extraordinary individuals who formed his G-Men, a team of superhuman agents that included the man-turned-ape Gorilla Man, the human-robot M-11, the alien Marvel Boy and the goddess Venus. Together, the G-Men successfully rescued the President, and Woo gained quite a fame, albeit in the secret world of espionage only. He entered in contact with powerful people such as Howard Stark, whom he later helped as part of his Stark Seven to battle some aliens who called themselves the Greys (albeit the true object of the mission was much more sinister), and years later, when he finished his job with the G-Men, he was contacted by Nick Fury who wanted him as part of his S.H.I.E.L.D., the ultimate espionage agency. Jimmy accepted the offer, and he aided Fury and Captain America against Yellow Claw, who had apparently survived his death (the first of many, actually). It was during this time that Dum-Dum Dugan selected him to be part of his special squad, assembled to battle the mutant monster Godzilla who was destroying cities on American soil. To aid the team, Woo participated to the construction of the giant robot Red Ronin, and during his work he started a relationship with Dr. Tamara Hashioka, the assistant of lead engineer Yuriko Takiguchi. Eventually, Dugan’s squad defeated Godzilla thanks to the help of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, so Woo resumed his regular work at S.H.I.E.L.D., becoming with years a valuable veteran agent. As the Atlas Foundation resurfaced yet again, however, Woo decided to ignore his superiors’ orders and to lead a team against Yellow Claw, but as a result all the team got killed in an explosion, and Woo himself was severely burnt and brain-dead. As he laid comatose, Gorilla-Man, M-11 and Marvel Boy reached him, and the latter managed to restore him to health, reconstructing his body as he remembered it…so the way he looked like back in 1958. With his youth restored, Woo rejoined his G-Men and, together with them, resumed their original mission: to find and destroy what remained of the Atlas Foundation. Things, however, would have evolved in an unexpected way…

Jimmy Woo is a smart and resourceful man, a skilled agent with a great spirit of adaptability, an incredibly fluid mind that allows him to always improvise and think outside the box, and the fundamental ability to make allies out of many of the foes he meets. As an FBI and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Woo is proficient in many forms of hand-to-hand combat and a trained marksman, a superb law enforcer who particularly excels in interrogation techniques. A government agent who’s always been able to see behind the appearance of even the weirdest and most monstrous of foes, Jimmy Woo has been unwittingly trained for all his life to become much more than a simple law enforcer, a Khan wise and compassionate enough to hold the entire world within his grasp without being tempted by the power.