Maston-Dar

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps getting better, even in space! Last week’s episode Fun & Games introduced a bunch of new characters, and killed off just as many, but among the crowd there’s one who’s named only in the credits, the Kree who works as Faulnak‘s bodyguard: Maston-Dar, portrayed by Remington Hoffman. In the comics, Maston-Dar is indeed a Kree, but not one of the blue ones, and he has nothing to do with S.H.I.E.L.D., dealing rather with the protagonists of another (unsuccessful) Marvel series, the Inhuman Royal Family. Let’s see together.

Maston-Dar was a Kree, born and raised on Hala, the center of the mighty Kree Empire. Maston-Dar served in his Empire’s army, and became a warrior testing himself in the centuries-long war against the Skrull Empire. A respected veteran, who had at disposal thousands of men, he rose to the rank of General, becoming one of the leaders of the galaxy’s mightiest military force. Unfortunately, General Dar reached the top of his military career just when the Kree Empire opened another war front, this time against the Shi’ar. The effort proved to be too much even for the strongest empire, and the Kree were defeated, their home conquered and ruled by the Shi’ar, the Supreme Intelligence killed by the Avengers, and many Kree citizens scattered around the galaxy. Maston-Dar himself took his battleship and his second-in-command, Major Tarnok-Kol, and collected as many civilians he could, transforming his ship into an ark and leading his people away from a hostile force’s domination. For some time, General Dar and his people wandered the space looking for a refuge, until he remembered of a long-lost Kree outpost, Attilan, a city that was now located in the Blue Area of Earth‘s Moon, and was inhabited by the Inhumans, the abandoned super-soldiers created by the Kree millennia before. If Attilan was once theirs, it could have become once more, and it could have been the refuge the Kree were in desperate need of. Of course, everything should have been planned thoroughly, if there was to be any chance of success: his men weren’t the warriors they used to be anymore, they were tired, broken and lost, and General Dar needed a good plan to win Attilan for them.

General Dar was more than willing to ask mercy from the Inhumans, to plead to them as refugees, but he also was afraid of the Royal Family, now on self-exile on Earth, while Attilan was run by the Genetic Council. Knowing that Black Bolt and his family had the power to wipe away everything remaining of the Kree Empire, Maston-Dar summoned a group of three master assassins led by Tol-Nok, and sent them to Earth to kill Black Bolt, his wife Medusa, his child Ahura, and his cousins Gorgon and Karnak. After that, he and his people descended on Attilan, where they were obviously “welcomed” by gunfight, as the Inhumans believed they were invading. General Dar himself faced Rok, one of the top guards, and defeated him in combat, before interrupting the fight and surrendering to the enemy. Allowed to meet the Genetics Council, Maston-Dar spoke for his people, and asked to be allowed to stay in the Blue Area, in a tent camp near Attilan. His plead convinced Kitang, who wanted to grant refuge to the Kree, but was met by the resistance of Thernon, who didn’t trust them. Things were made all the more difficult when a Kree boy, Sals-Bek, killed an Inhuman one, Avion, during a brawl. Even more, a faction led by Major Fahr rebelled to General Dar, as they considered him weak, and assaulted the tower of Terrigen Laboratory, wanting to take possession of the Terrigen Mist and to use it to conquer Attilan by force…just when the Royal Family, who had defeated the assassins, came back to the Moon to see what was happening. As he watched Black Bolt and Fahr battling in the black skies over Attilan, General Dar knew that his effort to provide a new home for his people had just failed.

General Maston-Dar is a broken man, a once proud Kree who witnessed the fall of his Empire and now clings to any last ray of hope he can find. As a Kree, he possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability and reflexes, and he’s also a trained hand-to-hand combatant and marksman; he’s also a superb tactician and a charismatic leader. Feeling all the burden of the responsibility of bringing to safety not just his men, but also women and children who survived the decimation of Hala, Maston-Dar desperately seeks a new home for what remains of the Kree, and is ready also to swallow up his honor to achieve his goal.

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Jaycen/Jason (Flint)

The return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been quite thrilling, and definitely intriguing. We met our first new addition from the comics in last week’s episode, A Life Spent: as Tess is leading Coulson, Mack and May to the Trawler, she finds a friend of hers, a boy named Flint, sleeping in the cargo. Portrayed by Coy Stewart, Flint will be a more relevant presence from now on, and he’ll hopefully help our heroes to come back to their time…and to prevent whatever caused the massive destruction we see in the future. In the comics, Flint doesn’t live in a space station in a dystopian future, but in the present, and displays some genetic characteristics we came to know pretty well by now. Let’s see together.

Jaycen was born in the hidden city of Utolan, a community of Inhumans in Mozambique, Africa. He was the son of Dijyen and Irellis, two Inhumans, but he was taken away from his homeland as an infant when Dijyen, who feared Terrigenesis as his brother had been killed by it, decided to spare his son the same fate. Dijyen traveled to the United States of America with his infant son, looking for a better life for him, but he got killed. The baby boy was adopted by Martin, a white man from an Inhuman community who had successfully avoided Terrigenesis for millennia, and was raised by him and his wife in a small town in Minnesota. Jaycen, rechristened Jason, grew up feeling to be different from anyone else, and being the only black boy in the entire town didn’t help things out. How much different he was, however, was far beyond what Jaycen imagined, and he discovered it the hard way when the Terrigen Bomb detonated. As the Terrigen Cloud moved towards the town, the entire community fled, and Martin had to put quite an effort in convincing Jaycen to follow him. As the family ran, followed by the cloud, they eventually found a torrent blocking their way. Just before the cloud engulfed them all, Martin told Jaycen that they were special, as the family in Mozambique they had adopted him from were. Before he could ask for explanations, Jaycen was enveloped by a cocoon, as well as all the other members of the community. He was the only one who emerged from it alive, and mutated. He was a NuHuman.

Jaycen came out of his cocoon understandably in shock, but he was immediately found by Lash, who was collecting the NuHumans he deemed worthy (killing all the others). Lash saw some potential in the boy, and he renamed him Korvostax, bringing him to Orollan; on the way to the lost city, he explained him the glorious heritage of the Inhumans…but as soon as they arrived to Orollan, they found Queen Medusa with a small army of Inhumans, come to stop Lash’s madness. Terrified by the battle, Jaycen instinctively used his powers, and much to his surprise he moved some rocks and hurled them at Gorgon, the same one who later saved him from one of the blasts Lash was shooting randomly in the crowd. As Medusa defeated Lash, Jaycen asked for her forgiveness, and also to be brought to New Attilan, to be taught about his true legacy and to control his powers. The queen agreed to that, and he allowed Jaycen to come to the city. Here, the young man was taught how to control his power, geokinesis, and he even adopted a new name, Flint, as the rock type. He became good friends with Dante, another young Inhuman who went by the name Inferno, and met many others…one of these was Lineage, a NuHuman with the unique power of ancestral memory. He knew pretty much everything about any Inhuman ever lived, and with his powers he was able to tell Flint that his biological family was still alive in Africa, and that his mother and sister lived in Utolan. It was finally time for Jaycen to meet his real people, hoping to finally find a place he didn’t feel different anymore.

Jaycen (or Jason) is a lively and vital boy, haunted by a feeling of not-belonging that accompanied him all his life. As Flint, he has the power to control earth and rocks, an ability that literally makes him able to move mountains; he can fly standing on a rock he makes levitate, he can create a rock armor to increase his strength and durability, he can create objects with soil and rock and he can even cause earthquake-like ruptures. Fully free and in peace with himself only since he acquired his powers and discovered his true nature, Flint is enthusiastic pretty much about everything in his new life, but the road to self-awareness is still long for a young an inexperienced NuHuman like him…

Anton (Red Guardian)

redguardianfilmSome people were kind of disappointed when, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the leader of the Watchdogs everybody had been speaking about so long was revealed to be an original character, some Russian conspiracy theorist who held a grudge against Phil Coulson, rather than a villain from the comics. Well, after Self Control it seems we were wrong once again, as the gruesome fate of Anton Ivanov, the villain portrayed by Zach McGowan, sheds some light on who this guy was supposed to be: Life Model Decoy, severed head in a jar, Russian nationality and the “Anton” name identify him as the seventh Red Guardian (the Russian Captain America), a guy who’s been recently introduced in the comics (2008), and who had several secrets to hide. Let’s see together.

The life of the man known as Anton is quite an enigma, as much of it has been proven to be false, but it’s still unknown whether he knew his memories were fake or not. As for what we knew at the beginning, Anton was born somewhere in Russia from an unknown family, and he grew up to become a skilled engineer. A true patriot, he enlisted in the Russian Army, where he made himself noticed for both his talent, his intellect and his loyalty; in reward for his accomplishments, he was chosen to wear in battle the Crimson Dynamo armor, the super-suit originally built by Anton Vanko and assigned to Russia’s top agents after the scientist’s death. After an unspecified time as a Crimson Dynamo, Anton was promoted once again, as he was chosen to replace the deceased Krassno Granitsky as the new Red Guardian, the superhero who embodied the whole Russia. This would be quite a marvelous career…if it wasn’t all false: Anton never had a childhood, nor he ever studied to become an engineer, and he never was a Crimson Dynamo either. He wasn’t even human. He was a Life Model Decoy, an android who was a perfect replica of a human being (and often unaware of his own nature of an redguardiancomics1artificial life form, that’s why it’s unclear whether or not Anton knew what he was). He was programmed precisely to take the mantle of the Red Guardian and to lead the new incarnation of the Winter Guard, the national superhero team thought to be disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union: under his command he had the armored Dimitri “Crimson Dynamo” Bukharin, the Darkforce-wielder Laynia “Darkstar” Petrovna and the were-bear Mikhail “Ursa Major” Ursus. Together, they defended Russia from any threat, human or superhuman. To the world, they didn’t exist…until S.H.I.E.L.D. sent an investigation squad on Russian soil without permission, immediately following the murder of a Russian superhuman criminal, Emil Blonsky aka Abomination, and the destruction of a village.

The team, composed of Doc SamsonIron ManShe-HulkMaria Hill and General “Thunderbolt” Ross, was indeed investigating the death of the Abomination, apparently killed by the Hulk, or by someone incredibly similar to him. The Winter Guard intercepted the Americans, and tried to force them to leave…but the visitors proved to be quite uncooperative, and the two groups engaged in battle. The skirmish ended only when General Ross found a survivor from the nearby razed to the ground village, and Red Guardian translated for them the word the kid kept mumbling: “Red”, indicating that someone other than the presents was responsible for the murder and the wanton destruction. Red Guardian and Maria Hill agreed to part ways and to continue their investigations on parallel routes, and the incident was solved for the time being. The Winter Guard met yet another American superhero when they helped Blue Marvel in a fight against King Hyperion and Pagan, and once again redguardiancomics2when the Agents of Atlas aided them into repelling an invasion from Krang, the warlord from Atlantis. The relationship with Americans wasn’t always this friendly, since when She-Hulk, now a bounty hunter, came back to Russia with the Lady Liberators, this time Red Guardian and his team met her and her allies as enemies, not wanting to relinquish the man the Jade Giantess had come to collect. During the Secret Invasion, when the Skrulls started an all-out attack on Earth after infiltrating their shape-shifting agents among politicians, superheroes and other key figures, Red Guardian led the Winter Guard against the invading forces in Russia, this time with a strict order not to help any American superhero…an order that Ursa Major disobeyed to as he aided War Machine, who had come to Russia just to help the Winter Guard. When the battle was over, however, Crimson Dynamo convinced his teammates not to help War Machine, who had been abducted by the Skrulls. Despite the many hard battles, Red Guardian was just about to face the greatest yet, as The Presence targeted his team, and a traitor hid in the Guard’s midst: dire times laid ahead…

Anton is exactly what he’s been designed to be: selfless, courageous, smart, patriotic, a leader born, just with his allies and pitiless against his enemies. As Red Guardian, he’s an extraordinary athlete and hand-to-hand combatant, and he possesses a shield made in Vibranium that is both an indestructible protection and a formidable throwing weapon, which automatically returns to him after being thrown thanks to special circuits in his costume; as an LMD, then, Anton is also invulnerable to regular arm, as his robotic body resists pretty much everything (he’s still “alive” after being decapitated by a Dire Wraith). The perfect hero, the new Red Guardian is just as good as he could be if he was designed purposefully for the position he holds…and that just happens to be the case…

Robert L. Hunter (Nitro)

nitrofilmLast episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been quite a blast…in more than one sense, and it delivered quite a surprise character, who we met before, but definitely not like this. In BOOM, the anti-Inhuman militant Terrence Shockley, portrayed by John Pyper-Ferguson, tries to infect Senator Ellen Nadeer with the Terrigen Mist…and he’s quite shocked to realise he’s the one ending in a cocoon. When he emerges, Shockley literally explodes, recomposing a few moments later, ready to go boom again, and again, and again… His new set of abilities are quite familiar to the comics’ readers, as he’s now apparently the show’s version of Nitro, quite an infamous villain who’s been under the spotlight in recent years for being the one responsible for the most famous (and best) crossover in recent times. Waiting to see whether or not Shockley will adopt the moniker in addition to the powers of Nitro, let’s take a look at the original guy. No, he’s not an Inhuman…but his powers are “cousins” to the Inhumans’ ones, havin the same origin.

Robert Hunter was born in ScrantonPennsylvania, and he was a perfectly normal man. He had a wife, Maru, and a daughter, Virginia. He didn’t do anything particularly exciting in his life, but he was an electrical engineer, and he loved his job. When, due to the agency’s policy, Hunter was forced to retire, he started to feel simply useless, and he vented his powerless frustration through the only tool that allowed him to: his radio. His messages were sent to the ether as a general rant, but they attracted an unexpected attention, as they were received by a passing alien ship: the ship was commanded by the Lunatic Legion, a group of Kree supremacists who wanted to overthrow the Supreme Intelligence and to kill the Kree superhero Captain Marvel. Interested in Hunter, the Legion abducted him, and experimented on him modifying his genetic structure, giving him an nitrocomics1immense power: Hunter could now explode in extremely powerful blasts, reforming his body at will. He was now the Lunatic Legion’s top agent, Nitro. While testing his new powers, Nitro unwillingly killed his own wife. This, however, wasn’t an entirely bad thing: now he was a different man, with a new purpose in his life…it was only natural for him to cut ties with his former self. His first mission for the Legion was to steal Compound 13, a secret gas developed by the government: while escaping from the secret facility with a canister of the deadly gas, Nitro was intercepted by Captain Marvel, the Legion’s nemesis. Marvel was caught off-guard by Nitro’s powers, but he soon devised a plan to counter Hunter’s unusual ability, and thanks to the intervention of Rick Jones he managed to prevent Nitro’s regeneration, leaving him in a gaseous form. Captain Marvel recovered the canister, but he inhaled some of the gas in the process: on the long term, this exposure originated a deadly cancer that would have killed him in a matter of time. Nitro may have failed to recover the gas, but he had succeeded in what many others couldn’t accomplish, as he had killed the greatest Kree hero, Captain Marvel.

When he reformed, Nitro was still pretty confused, and he attacked Omega the Unknown mistaking him for Marvel, whom he still targeted. When he realised he had picked the wrong guy, Nitro left, looking for his nemesis in a Stark Industries warehouse, but Omega followed him, and after another battle he managed to disperse Nitro’s atoms in space. It took even more time for Nitro to reform this time, but he eventually did it, just in time to give Captain Marvel, back on Earth after an adventure in space, a warm welcome: the two battled once again, and Nitro was imprisoned in the Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. facility. No prison could hold him for long, and he managed to escape…only to be intercepted and defeated by Spider-Man, who locked him into a containment canister. Nitro couldn’t possibly escape from this new prison on his own, but luckily enough Spider-Man had many enemies, and one of them, the Vulture, freed him. Nitro battled many other heroes from that point on, and he even managed to nearly kill the indestructible Luke Cage while teaming up with the Untouchables. He collected yet nitrocomics2another victory while working for Thanos in his team, the Defenders: along with his teammates (Super Skrull, Titanium ManRhino and Geatar), Nitro obtained the Oracle of Ancient Knowledge for Thanos, then he was sent back to Earth. Following this, Nitro became one of the many muscles for hire around: Kingpin, Count Nefaria and others sent him against their enemies, and he always delivered, although he sometimes failed in killing the target for good. His past with the Kree came biting his back when Genis-Vell, son of the deceased Captain Marvel, hunted him down for the role he had in his father’s death, but he ultimately refused to kill him, wanting to honor Captain Marvel’s legacy. Left alive, Nitro didn’t exactly use this second chance for doing something good of his life, quite the opposite: during a battle with the New Warriors, Nitro detonated in StamfordConnecticut, killing most of the heroes and dozens of civilians, including the children of an elementary school nearby…giving start to a world debate that would have eventually caused the superhero Civil War.

Robert Hunter is a sadistic man, who finds in his new condition a new purpose in life, and uses his gift the best way he can think of: killing people for money. As Nitro, he has the unique power to detonate himself in powerful explosions, later reforming from a gaseous form he can mantain for as much time as he wants. With an extremely destructive ability, Nitro is the ultimate terrorist, a “suicide” bomber who uses an undetectable explosive, and who can walk away from his attacks: definitely the hitman any crime boss would bet his money on.

Ilsa Koenig

ilsakoenigfilmA new request is pending, but first we have to catch up with the tv series. This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been quite a weird one, as we first were introduced to all the Koenigs (they’re not clones, nor LMDs: just twins, apparently)…including the first born. In Hot Potato Soup we meet Koenig after Koenig until we reach the older sister, LT Koenig, portrayed by Artemis Pebdani (luckily enough, she’s not Patton Oswalt as well). The woman has been the very first Koenig to join S.H.I.E.L.D., and the one who introduced most of her brothers to the organization…and even the most badass of them all, despite the size. Well, in the comics the only male Koenig is and remains Eric, but he does indeed have a sister, even if she’s never been a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, working (still as a spy) for an entirely different group in a different time. Allow me to introduce Ilsa Koenig.

Ilsa Koenig was born in BonnGermany, and she grew up with her older brother Eric. When she was a young woman, she witnessed powerless the raise of the Third Reich, as Adolf Hitler became the chancellor and later the Führer of Germany, leading his violent and racist party, the Nazis, who obtained more and more support from the population. Neither one of the Koenig siblings supported the Nazis, but they soon realised they had to pretend to in order not to be arrested as traitors, as free thinking had long forsaken their country. Despite they were forced to remain silent, however, the Koenigs didn’t want to stay inactive as well, and as soon as World War II began, engulfing all Europe in the fires of war, Ilsa and Eric joined the German Resistance, trying to sabotage the Nazis from within their own motherland, helping the Allies and their spies in the war effort. They spent some years working in secret, always mantaining the facade of law abiding citizens while helping English, French and then ilsakoenigcomics1even American agents on German soil. After a mission with them, Eric unofficially joined the Howling Commandos, an American task force renowned for being able of accomplishing impossible deeds. When Eric helped three of the Commandos, field leader Nick FuryBull McGiveney and Rickets Johnson, to escape their own execution in Berlin, Ilsa helped as well, allowing the fugitives to use her house as a temporary shelter and providing them with new clothes, so that they could blend in with the crowd and go unnoticed. She actually did even more than she was asked, since when the rest of the Commandos reached the escapees to complete their mission, she infiltrated a Nazi base on her own and took pictures, so that she could provide evidence for the Commandos to present to their superiors, as the mission was an unofficial and unauthorized one. The mission was succesful, albeit Dino Manelli got injured: it was Ilsa who tended to his wounds, developing some feelings for him in the process. She proved to be a valuable spy and asset, but her cover was about to blow, as the Nazis now knew for sure that her brother Eric was a traitor…

After she first helped the Howling Commandos, Ilsa Koenig became a person of interest for the regime, with the S.S. constantly spying on her. Being under surveilance, Ilsa would have been spotted on her first attempt to contact the Resistance, something that Eric couldn’t allow: he convinced Nick Fury and Dino Manelli to accompany him on what was now a rescue mission, obviously another unauthorized one. Ilsa met her brother in secret, but they were found immediately by the S.S., who intervend to arrest them both…just to be intercepted by Fury and Manelli, who took the siblings on a jeep and started a desperate escape. During the pursuit, Ilsa disposed of her chasers by throwing grenades at their cars, once again proving her worth. On their way to the plane, the four escapees stumbled on a Luftwaffe munition factory, and they blew it up as an improvised secondary objective…and Ilsa didn’t stepped down from that either, helping the soldiers with unexpected ability. Finally on the plane, Ilsa and the others reached England, where Fury was scolded by Captain Sawyer, quite unpleased that some of his best men had gone AWOL; nevertheless, Sawyer welcomed Ilsa Koenig in the base, and offered her a new life as a refugee…but the woman was exactly were she wanted to be, ilsakoenigcomics2and she offered in return her experience and skills to keep fighting in some capacity. Sawyer granted her that much, and Ilsa started working at Able Company’s Base, and kept supporting the Howling Commandos during their missions. Taking advantage of her new position, Ilsa even tried to court Dino Manelli, but the soldier was going through a bad time coping with the death of his lover Nina Bergson, and he barely noticed her attentions. Wanting to take Dino out of her mind, Ilsa started dating Nick Fury, but their first date was ruined by Paul Ryan, a soldier who had something against Nick, while the second was interrupted when Fury had to leave to look for the missing Pinky Pinkerton. Approached by Butch Barker, Ilsa slapped him when he tried to forcefully kiss her, and when he was about to strike her in return, Dino Manelli intervened to save the day: maybe there was hope for a relationship, after all…

Ilsa Koenig is a brave and resourceful woman, a skilled spy who uses her fantasy and her remarkable intellect to obtain informations most men couldn’t. A trained fighter, Ilsa is more than able to participate to a battle in first person when the situation requires it, being quite skilful with guns and explosives. A woman who simply can’t sit down and watch the men fight her battles, Ilsa Koenig will always oppose the Nazi regime, responsible for taking away freedom and much more from her beloved homecountry.

Elias W. Morrow

elimorrowfilmLast episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. furtherly explored the origins of the mysterious ghosts hunting down the cursed book Darkhold, and doing this it introduces another character from the comics, Eli Morrow, portrayed by José Zúñiga. In Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire, Morrow was the chief engineer in the facility in which all the ghosts worked, and ended up being the only survivor of the incident that “killed” them; he’s in jail for sending his boss, Joseph Bauer, in a coma by beating him nearly to death, considering him responsible for the accident. Eli, however, is a good man, who raised his nephews Robbie and Gabe helping his sister when her husband died, becoming a father figure for the two boys…and that’s quite a major twist from the comics, as the original Eli Morrow is the baddest and meanest bastard you’ll ever meet: let’s see together.

Elias Morrow was born in Los Angeles, the brother of Alberto Reyes. Born with a malicious spirit, he was estranged when he was still very young (hence his different surname), and left home at an early age. Violent and utterly uncapable of any form of empathy, Elias became a serial killer, taking quite a pleasure in inflicting pain to his victims. He even grew close to satanism, becoming a devout devil-worshipper. Elias dedicated all his killings to Satan (or to whatever other demon was listening on the other side, he didn’t really care), until he found a way to make money from his “passion”, as his talent for murdering people was noticed by a group of Russian mobsters. Elias was enlisted as a killer, and he managed to make a living out of mauling people as he liked to do…with the only limitation of having selected targets this time (albeit he always managed to do some “extra work” in his spare time). Once, he even came back to Los Angeles to see his brother Alberto: the man had married a good woman, Juliana, and had had a son from her, Robbie. When Elias arrived in the Reyes’ house, Juliana was pregnant with their second elimorrowcomics1son, Gabe. Elias delivered his “I missed you” message directly to Juliana, and he beat the woman nearly to death; it was a miracle she didn’t lose the baby, but when Gabe was born, his spine had been damaged, and he never got to walk, being forced to a wheelchair all his life. Years after, apparently, Elias was also involved in Roberto’s and Juliana’s disappearance, but the details are still unknown: almost certainly, he had a role in Robbie’s and Gabe’s status as “orphans”. Anyway, finally his life of violence exacted his toll, and some of the enemies he had made while working for the Russians came looking for him, and during a final shoot out, Elias Morrow was taken down for good. Well, not exactly.

Just before dying, in fact, Elias performed one last satanic ritual, one aimed to spare him the torments in Hell he had deserved during his life. The magic ritual prevented him from reaching the otherworld at all, so that his soul remained trapped on Earth, bonded to a physical object…namely a car, a black 1969 Dodge Charger, used by a criminal gang in L.A. and linked to a number of violent crimes. The car was used in a gang war, and even in a theft against super criminal Mister Hyde…and it eventually arrived to a mechanic’s workshop, Canelo’s Auto and Body, where Robbie Reyes worked. Still dormant within the car, Elias’ spirit only waited for his moment, and it soon came: trying to collect enough money to move to a more peaceful neighoborhood for his brother’s sake, Robbie used the car for an illegal race, and at the end of it he was pursued by Hyde’s men, who wanted their formula back. At the end of a pursuit, Robbie was reached and gunned down…and that’s when Elias Morrow finally contacted him: using the powers black magic had given to him, the spirit, who introduced himself only as “Eli”, offered to Robbie enough powers to get his revenge on his killers, bonding with him as a demon would; the boy, dying, accepted his offer. Eli, with a living human host, could elimorrowcomics2mimic the powers of a Spirit of Vengeance, and transformed his nephew in the new Ghost Rider, bringing him back to life. The initial bond, however, wasn’t permanent, as there were some conditions to fulfill (first of all, Robbie had to kill Eli’s killer, the Russian mobster Yegor Ivanov); depite claiming he wanted to help the boy, Eli’s true goal was to take complete control over his body and soul, erasing Robbie’s consciousness. It took time for Robbie to realise this, but he was aware nearly from the very beginning that anytime he surrendered to his darkest emotions, rage or despair, Eli got stronger and tightened his grisp on him. Still keeping his true identity hidden from his nephew, Elias Morrow manipulated Robbie into relinquishing to him more and more power, hoping to regain his freedom and to restart his killing spree as soon as possible: murder was the sweetest drug he had ever tried, and he wouldn’t have given up on it so easily.

Elias Morrow is a man evil to the bone, with no empathy, no humanity, no good in him at all. Violent, sadistic and cruelly cunning, he’s a skilled manipulator and deceiver, and he’s even more dangerous now that he’s dead than when he was alive; his satanist rituals, in fact, gave him a number of powers, from the ability to possess living people as hosts to the one of literally devouring the souls of others; he can grant his host powers similar to the ones of a Ghost Rider, from generating and manipulating hellfire to invulnerability, regeneration and enhanced physical attributes, but he’s also bonded to the Rider’s vehicle, the Hell Charger, which he can imbue with hellfire making it indestructible and highly destructive. An evil man turned evil spirit, Elias “Eli” Morrow preys on his own family to get another life after the one he has destroyed with his own hands, all for the pleasure of resuming his favourite hobby, killing…not exactly the uncle of the month.

Jeffrey Solomon Mace (Patriot)

patriotfilmFinally, in the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we met the organization’s new director portrayed by Jason O’Mara…and he’s indeed a character from the comics, a veteran with his origins dating back to 1941. Some of you guessed it before the episode’s release (I didn’t…), but in Meet the New Boss we learn that the director is in fact Jeffrey Mace, and the show reinvented him from the super-soldier he is in the comics by turning him into…yes, an Inhuman, apparently gifted with superhuman strength and durability, as we can guess from how easily he incapacitated a deranged Melinda May. His presence in S.H.I.E.L.D. is part of a government-sponsored plan to include Inhumans after the events of the previous seasons, and it’s funny that he mentions Captain America at a certain point, since the two character are closely related in the comics. Let’s see together.

Jeffrey Solomon Mace was born in New York City, and he grew up in Yancy Street. As a young man, he got hired by Walter Goodman as a reporter for the Daily Bugle, and on his workplace he met two of his entire life’s best friends, fellow reporter Mary Morgan and photographer Jack Casey. When World War II engulfed Europe, Jeffrey tried to enlist to do his part, but he was rejected because of his flat feet. Despite this, Mace didn’t resign himself to just stand and watch, and tried to make the difference through his work as a reporter…but that still wasn’t enough (also because his job was at risk: Goodman didn’t apreciate reporters who tended to be part of the stories they told). Then, one day, Jeffrey witnessed Captain America fighting some Nazi spies disguised as dock workers: unable to simply stand aside, he joined the hero in his battle; Cap, impressed, thanked the man for helping him out, and called him a “true patriot”. Inspired by Captain America, by his words and by what he represented for common people, Jeffrey Mace decided to follow his footsteps, and secretly underwent a severe training to be just like him; soon enough, he tailored a costume for himself, and as a homage to Cap’s words, he named himself Patriot. When Mary told him about some problems her patriotcomics1father, Otis Morgan, had at his company, Morgan Shoe Company, Jeffrey decided it was a good occasion to make his public debut: dressed as the Patriot, he arrived on place, and single-handedly fended some union busters off. From that moment, Jeff used his job as a journalist to find situation in which the Patriot could be useful, and he repelled the invasion from the private militia known as the Yellowshirts, stopped the Nazi killer Mad Violinist, prevented the escape of captive Nazi officer Lt. Heinrich Von Betz and much more; he even met other heroes such as the Human Torch, Toro and Angel, and with his spontaneous heroism and proud patriotism he became an inspiration even for the veteran heroes.

The first major emergency the Patriot faced was when the king of Atlantis, the Sub-Mariner, attacked the surface world: the Patriot led a small army of heroes against him, gathering the robot ElectroHurricane, the Phantom ReporterMister E and Fiery Mask. All the heroes united could do nothing but buy time until Captain America and the Human Torch arrived to subdue the Sub-Mariner, but their heroism didn’t go unnoticed, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself congratulated the Patriot. During this meeting, the Patriot had the chance to talk to the President heart to heart, and convinced him to have the United States join the conflict in Europe. Jeff joined the other heroes another time, when Bucky asked for his help after the Red Skull had brainwashed the Invaders, Captain America included: the Patriot contacted other heroes (namely Thin Man, Whizzer, the Red RavenMiss America and Blue Diamond), and together they formed the Liberty Legion; the Liberty Legion faced the brainwashed Invaders in an epic battle in the Yankee Stadium. The Patriot managed to defeat the Red Skull and to free his idol and the other Invaders from his control: while Cap and the others came back to England for the war, the Legion swore to stay together and defend America from any threats patriotcomics2while its greatest defenders were in Europe. The Patriot himself led the Legion against hundreds of Nazi spies, super criminals and mad scientists; one of the latters, Doctor Hanz Groitzig, kidnapped Mary Morgan and experimented on her: when the Patriot intervened to save her, she had been mutated already, and had gained superhuman abilities…which she used to confirm the Patriot’s secret identity, and to join her long-time friend in his everyday war against evil as Miss Patriot. Finally, World War II came to an end, and the world mourned the loss of its greatest hero, Captain America: to honor his memory the best he could, Jeff decided not to abandon the Patriot’s identity, and kept fighting crime on American soil even in times of peace…especially considering that the Cold War was already providing new enemies to the US.

Jeffrey Mace is a hero born: selfless, altruistic, ready to do his part, he never backs down from a challenge, and constantly pushes himself over his limits, often sacrificing his personal interest to a greater good. As the Patriot, he doesn’t possess any superhuman ability, but he’s a superb hand-to-hand combatant, a trained athlete, and a skilled pilot, a man who trained his body to perfection in the effort of following the footsteps of his hero, Captain America. Dedicated to the cause, always on the side of the weak and the defenseless, the Patriot will fight with determination and courage to his last breath to make the world a better place.