Gilad Anni-Padda (Eternal Warrior)

eternalwarriorfilmFinally, let’s end the series of characters seen in the Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe trailer with another fan-favourite one, none less than the Eternal Warrior, who’ll be portrayed by John Morrison. We don’t know much of his role in the upcoming series, especially considering that we only see him running somewhere with his faithful sword and his usual attire. With him in the brawl, the series surely looks crowded, but we just have to wait for some other promotional pics or videos to see who other is in there, since the poster hints at an all-in from the independent comicbook company. Waiting for that, let’s take a look at the original immortal soldier (like as with all the others, we’ll use the most recent biography, ignoring the meagre first one).

The Eternal Warrior’s story is ancient as human civilization itself. He was born in Ur, the Sumerian city-state, in 3268 BC, as Gilad Anni-Padda. He had two older brothers, Ivar and Aram, and he was an extremely skilled warrior of his clan. The three siblings grew up together, and shared a deep bond: they also shared a number of adventures, always seeking fortune, thrill and glory. Eventually, the Anni-Padda brothers learned of the legends of an enchanted land, simply known as the Faraway, full of treasures and marvels, a place that granted access only on certain times…and the right one was approaching. The three brothers travelled to the Faraway, and they found the marvels they had been looking for. Among all the treasures at disposal, Gilad and the others obviously took also the Boon, an artifact that was allegedly able to grant eternal life to the ones possessing it…with a price. When the Faraway started closing its access to the three men, they rushed away from it, but they found themselves stranded in the desert, and Gilad was also wounded. They embarked in a travel back home, but Gilad had suffered too serious injuries, and the fatigue gave him the finishing blow: Gilad died in the arms eternalwarriorcomics1of his older brothers, just a few miles from Ur. Overcome by grief, Ivar grabbed the Boon, and made one last effort to bring Gilad back to life, managing to activate the artifact (actually an alien machine): the attempt resulted in an explosion, that sucked the life away from any nearby area, murdering the entire population of Ur. However, it did restore Gilad’s life, as well as granting to him and to his brothers immortality. The siblings got separated, each one of them finding a sense and a purpose in their new eternal life…with Gilad finding a neverending mission for himself, one that would have accompanied him throughout the ages.

Back home, Gilad arrived just in time to see his mother Anni being killed by his father, Padda: without even thinking, the man killed Padda, slicing him in half with his axe. Still mourning his loss, Gilad was approached by Cuth, Anni’s friend, and the old woman gave him a book, written by Anni herself: she called it the Book of Life, and it contained everything Anni had learnt in her life. Reading the book, Gilad discovered that the world itself was alive, and that it spoke to certain people, the Geomancers, to mantain its own balance; the Geomancers, gifted with amazing powers, could influence and guide humanity, favouring a peaceful relationship between living beings and the planet they lived upon…and Anni was a Geomancer. Gilad also learned that other forces, like Padda, hunted down and killed the Geomancers, believing they could harness their powers, or simply wanting to destroy them, preventing them from guiding the world to a brighter future. With this knowledge, Gilad knew what he was meant to do with his neverending life: he would have looked for the Geomancers (who only appeared one per time) and protected them against the forces who wanted to destroy them. With millennia in front of him, Gilad honed his battle prowess to perfection, and he started travelling the world (at first with his brother Aram, then alone when the latter decided he wanted a more peaceful and enjoyable life) to identify the Geomancer of the current time and to protect him or her from any harm: he had become the planet’s Fist and Steel, an immortal bodyguard eternalwarriorcomics2who wanted to safeguard the balance between humanity and Earth. It took some centuries for the warrior to listen to the voice of Earth as well, and to follow the planet’s instructions to locate the new Geomancer: the first one we know he found was a man from TibetAnqi Sheng, during the III Century BC: when he found Sheng, Gilad also met the one who would have become his nemesis, the Immortal Enemy, the champion of the rival side who reincarnated from era to era with the only purpose of killing Geomancers. Gilad’s eternal life had just become an eternal war, to be fought through ages for the sake of the planet: he was the Eternal Warrior.

Gilad Anni-Padda is a serious and brave man, committed to his mission and fully aware of its importance, even if thousands of years of infinite battles had tired him, and he’s much more disenchanted about the effectiveness of what he’s doing. As the Eternal Warrior, he’s immortal, unaffected by time; he possesses an ecceptional strength and an inhuman durability, and he can heal from nearly any wound; he has thousands of years of battle and combat experience, he’s a master of any weapon ever crafted and of every martial art ever conceived, a fighter with no match on Earth who can put to good use his infinite experience. Forged by pain, rage and loss, the Eternal Warrior fights a desperate war to save humanity from itself, a constant battle that he’ll keep fighting, no matter how exhausted he might be.

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Obadiah Archer

archerfilmPenultimate character from the Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe trailer, another unmistakable face (especially considering how accurate and comicbook-faithful the characters’ portrayal is in the upcoming web series). When we see Armstrong losing his patience and marching menacely towards an unseen adversary, there’s a young boy with a blue shirt by his side trying to calm him down: that’s Obadiah Archer, Armstrong’s inseparable partner. We don’t have an official name for the actor portraying him (yet), and as usual it’s unknown what kind of role he’ll have in the series, if he’ll only have a cameo, or he’ll actually take part to the fight…yes, he’d be more than able to. Let’s take a look.

Obadiah Archer was born somewhere in Kansas, the son of unknown parents. When he was still a child, he was adopted by Joe Earl Archer and his wife Thelma, a couple of pious philanthropists who were also esteemed political and religious leaders, renowned in their community for being generous and wise people, always ready to help the unfortunates such as poor baby Obadiah. The holy couple, however, was not as saint as it seemed. Obadiah was not the only adopted kid, as many others were taken for a purpose far more sinister than phinanthropy: the Archers were the leaders of The Dominion, a religious society part of a much larger and more ancient group, simply known as The Sect; as well as all the other children, Obadiah was raised since his childhood to be one of the group’s top assassins, trained in the use of weapons and in martial arts. As a kid, those trips to Adams County, Ohio, to the Dominion’s headquarter named the Promised Land, were fun for Obadiah, an occasion to spend some time with his lifelong friends, his adopted brothers and sisters, especially with Mary-Maria, whom she had a close bond with. Growing up, however, Obadiah became more and more convinced in the principles and values of the Sect, and his archercomics1moral view on the world was molded accordingly to his parents’ one. Deeply committed in his training, he became an extremely skilled combatant, the best among his peers, a warrior of unrivaled skill; seeing how much their son had improved, the Archers finally revealed to him the one and true mission of the Dominion: to rid the world of a perverse devil haunting it since the dawn of time, an immortal creature they only called “the One Whose Name Is Never Spoken“. Obadiah firmly believed that the demon was evil incarnate, and he consecrated himself to his destruction. He was truly and deeply honored when, being the best warrior in the Dominion in generations, he was chosen for the mission to kill the devil, found and identified in New York City.

With a small arsenal and all his impossibly refined skills, Archer travelled to New York, where he was ready to finally confront the demon who had been haunting his nightmares since he was a kid…the devil himself, however, was quite different from what he had been expecting. Surely depraved and immoral, foul-mouthed and vulgar, the tramp-looking man he was pointed to had however nothing of the monster of evil and ferocity he had been told, quite the opposite, he was quite jovial and easy-going. Archer attacked the One Whose Name Is Never Spoken (albeit he himself spoke it quite a lot, and he introduced himself as “Armstrong”), but with the supernatural regenerative powers of Armstrong and the tireless determination of Archer, none of them was able to prevail. Tired from the fight, both combatants were attacked and imprisoned by a paramilitary army: the private militia of The Sect. While in prison, Archer realised one simple truth: the Sect didn’t want to protect the world from Armstrong, they just wanted The Boon, the powerful alien artifact that had given Armstrong his immortality, and that he had shattered into six pieces only he knew the location of. Finally understanding that his parents, the Dominion and the Sect were the truly evil ones, Archer sided with Armstrong, and together they broke free of their prison, defeating all the soldiers standing before them. Once outside, however, it was far from over: young and idealistic, now that he had realised who was good and who was archercomics2evil, Archer wanted to free the world from the influence of evil sects in general, starting from the one that had created him. Armstrong, worried for the kid’s well-being and by now quite fond of the boy, decided to help him in his quest, and the two of them became an inseparable duo…not that it was easy for them to stay together: Armstrong was still a vice-lover party-man with no responsibility nor morality, while Archer was still a naive young man raised in an ultra-religious environment who mantained a puritan view over pretty much everything; adapting one to the other could be a far greater challenge than defeating the Sect…

Obadiah Archer is an idealistic and pure-hearted young man, who sees the world with an incredible innocence and naivety; raised in an extremist environment, he has no gray in his moral scale, and he despises vice and sin with all his strenght. Having being trained as a top assassin, Archer is one of the best martial artists in the world, a combatant with total control over his body and movements; he has a nearly infallible aim, both with firearms and with classic bow and arrow, but he’s particularly skilled with his trademark crossbow. A tireless warrior trained to erase evil from the world, Archer is doing exactly what he’s been taught to, rebelling to his “parents” and his former fellow cultists…balancing with his seriousness and innocence the irresponsibility and love for fun of his partner Armstrong.

Jamie Capshaw

colonelcapshawfilmThe third-to-last character from the Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe trailer is another lady, and apparently quite a nasty one: during a battle scene, we see another red-haired woman leading what seems to be a paramilitary force against Ninjak, and she tries to shoot him directly, with her bullets being deflected by the super-armored spy. That’s Colonel Capshaw, portrayed by Tatiana DeKhtyar. In the comics, Capshaw is quite a major player, but she only has a secondary role in Ninjak’s story, crossing paths mainly with other Valiant heroes and anti-heroes; in the show, she appears to be primarily an antagonist, but everything remains to be seen yet. Anyway, let’s take a look at the original character.

Jaime Capshaw was born in Grand RapidsMichigan, the daughter of a decorated military veteran. Since her childhood she looked up to her father, and she took a military career for herself as soon as she came of age. While in the academy, she already showed some uncommon qualities and skills, and she gained the attention of many superior officers: determined, highly intelligent, with a natural tactical mind and the guts to take unpopular decisions, Capshaw was redirected to intelligence, where all her strength could be put to good use. The decision happened to be a very good one, as she excelled in every field, rising in ranks in no time. She went through a number of top secret, classified missions, and she always emerged with more esteem from both her superiors and her subordinates, with more experience and even more skills than before. A commanding officer, she eventually became a Colonel at a very young age, receiving a high consideration everywhere, renowned to be the one to put in charge when extremely dangerous situations required a quick adaptability and the courage to make tough calls. With a growing presence of alien life on Earth, and not always a peaceful one, Capshaw was put in charge colonelcapshawcomics1of M.E.R.O. (Military Extraterrestrial Recon Outpost), a UN-sponsored intelligence agency bent on protecting the world from any alien menace, having at disposal the resources of the entire free world. While in charge, Capshaw faced many attacks and attempted invasions, dealing with the overspreading infiltration of The Vine in Earth’s military and political powers, but she found herself clearly outmatched when the Armor Hunters, an intergalactic army that hunted down the ancient race of semi-sentient armors Shanhara was part of, arrived on Earth in forces. During that occasion, it became clear to Capshaw that something needed to be done to make Earth’s reply to such invasions ready and effective.

The invasion was eventually repelled, but it left a widespread destruction, and a population who had lost trust in the authority. Working together with the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Colonel Capshaw decided to rebrand M.E.R.O., in order to make it step out of the shadows, and to become a publicly known (and possibly trusted) international agency: the “new” organization was named G.A.T.E., for Global Agency for Threat Excision, and started monitoring any potential menace coming from single super-powered individuals, wider groups and even entire species. In G.A.T.E. Capshaw had carte blanche in the managing of the agency, and she was also free to take…unorthodox routes to obtain her goals. Since G.A.T.E. had to deal mostly with superhuman threats, Colonel Capshaw started a cooperation with Toyo Harada, one of the world’s most powerful psions, who could help her with other psions, identify the truly dangerous one, and take care of and teach the simply scared and misguided ones. Things got surely better, but there was still one thing she wanted to obtain after the war with the Armor Hunters, and that seemed to be beyond her reach: she wanted X-O Manowar‘s suit as part of U.S.’s arsenal. The occasion to obtain it came when Aric of Dacia and his old friends the Visigoths conquered a part of Romania to make a new homecountry for them: using her connections with Harada, Capshaw supervisioned a new version of the superhero colonelcapshawcomics2team Unity, which this time included Harada himself, the British spy Ninjak, the immortal combatant Eternal Warrior and the psion Livewire. Unity triumphed on Aric and his men, and Colonel Capshaw personally led a team to extract the defeated X-O Manowar…but Toyo Harada had double-crossed G.A.T.E., since he wanted the armor for his personal world-conquering ambitions. Unity gathered again, this time to take down Harada, and Capshaw released Aric to allow him to take back control over the armor. Following the battle, X-O Manowar joined Unity, thus being under direct control of G.A.T.E.: exactly what Capshaw had been wanting from the beginning.

Jaime Capshaw is a strong and authoritative woman, a no-nonsense commander who constantly has everything under her control, and who makes sure to put a leash on anything that isn’t yet. As an Army Colonel, she’s a skilled and trained hand-to-hand combatant and precise markswoman, she’s an expert pilot and a naturally gifted tactician; as the head of G.A.T.E., she has at disposal a small army of highly trained agents and an arsenal of futuristic weapons designed to overpower superhuman threats. Cold, intelligent, an unforseeable planner, Colonel Capshaw keeps the reins of one of the world’s most powerful agencies, and has control over some of the most gifted superhumans ever existed: as many have learnt, she’s just as dangerous as each superhuman threat can be.

Aric of Dacia (X-O Manowar)

x-omanowarfilmAnother (possibly) major character in the upcoming Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe webseries is one of the most popular heroes in the Valiant UniverseX-O Manowar, who’ll be portrayed by Derek Theler. As usual, we don’t know much of his role in the show: in the trailer, we only see him walking in some kind of desert, and then flying away in his extraterrestrial armor by the end. Considering his…turbulent past with Ninjak, and the fact that the latter made his debut as an adversary in his series, it’s more than likely that the two heavy-hitters will come to blows sooner or later, even if they are allegedly part of the same superhero team. Now, let’s take a closer look at Valiant’s most known icon.

Aric of Dacia was born around 380 AD, son of Rolf and Inga, a Visigoth living under the domain of the Roman Empire. Aric only knew war all his life, as his people were constantly battling Rome‘s military forces to conquer some of their territory; when he was still a kid, Aric was entrusted by his parents to his uncle, Alaric I, the king of Visigoths, who raised him as his own son. A brave warrior, Aric was one of Alaric’s most trusted men; as an adult, he married a Celtic slave freed from a Roman camp, Deidre, and he lived with her and his parents at his uncle’s court. One fateful day, Aric followed his uncle in a massive battle that involved all the Visogoth warriors: in Pollentia, the barbarians faced the Roman Empire’s forces…and were utterly defeated by their superior military power. Aric witnessed his father being killed by the Romans during the battle, and if that wasn’t a enough a reason for grief, once they came back to their city the Visigoths found out that another Roman division, taking advantage of the men’s absence, had assaulted the x-omanowarcomics1citadel, capturing and enslaving all the women and children they could find. Even Deidre and Inga were among the missing ones. Alaric, understanding far too well his position, started to negotiate with the enemy for the release of the hostages; the younger and hot blooded Aric saw this as a weakness, and refused to obey his uncle. Along with his friend Gafti, Aric gathered a number of warriors who didn’t want to make pacts with the Romans, and organised a strike team to attack the enemy by surprise, that very night. On their way to the targeted stronghold, the Visigoths found some warriors dressed in strange garments: mistaking them for Roman sentinels, they attacked the group…but the “Romans” were in fact aliens from outer space, who made short work of the Visigoths with their futuristic weaponry. The few survivors of the skirmish, including Aric and Gafti, were abducted by the aliens, and brought to their mother-ship as brand new slaves for their people: they were The Vine.

The Visigoths soon found out that, if there was something worse than being enslaved by Romans, it was being enslaved by The Vine. Not broken yet, Alaric and Gafti made their escape as they managed to overpower their jailer and to run to another section of the ship…only to be recaptured in a matter of minutes. Before being taken again, however, Aric saw something weird, a strange ritual in which an alien warrior was brought to the presence of some sort of floating orb, that took the shape of an armor; the armor, actually the semi-sentient super-weapon Shanhara, didn’t find the Vine worthy to be its host, and killed him. That episode remained in Aric’s mind for all his time as a slave, a time in which he was brutally forced to work on the alien spaceship as a farmer; the jailors were brutal and sadistic, and one day, while trying to protect Gafti from the savage beating of a Vine, Aric had his left hand cut off as punishment. That was the final drop: enraged, Aric started organising a rebellion, formulating a plan with all the other slaves on the ship. Slowly but steadily, the slaves stole tools from the ship’s farms, until after some years they had an arsenal of scythes and rakes. Aric guided his fellow slaves to freedom, and the prisoners x-omanowarcomics2killed some slavers making their way to the armory: the security chief on the ship, Commander Trill, managed to put up a true siege, cornering the rebels in the armory, transforming their hope into their tomb. The humans would have all been slain, if not for a small detail: Shanhara was there, and it chose Aric as a worthy host. With the power of the armor, Aric annihilated the enemy forces and won the slaves’ rebellion. Eager to see his wife again and to free her from Rome, he travelled back to Earth…only to find a much different world than the one he had left. Because of light-speed travel, the years on the Vine ship had been centuries on Earth, and everybody Aric ever knew was long dead. Attacked by Italian police, the barbarian escaped in South America, hiding in the jungle: now, not only he had to understand the rules of this strange new world, he also had to defend himself (and the planet) from the Vine, who wanted their super-armor back…

Aric of Dacia is, simply put, a barbarian: grown in a world of conflict and raised with a morality that privileged strength and valor over anything else, he’s a man from another time, a warrior who lives for battle and takes what he wants. As X-O Manowar, the Shanhara armor grants him a number of abilities: he can fly, he possesses superhuman strength and durability, he can emit powerful energy blasts, he can create solid-light objects (usually a sword, a weapon he’s always been a master of), he can interface with nearly any technology and absorb many forms of energy, he can speak and understand any language, he can heal from virtually any wound (the armor also stimulated the regrowing of Aric’s missing hand), he can teleport, he can cloak himself becoming invisible and he has a number of weapons integrated in the system; even without the armor, Aric is a formidable warrior, both unarmed and armed. A man out of his time, struggling to understand the rules of modern civilization with the sensitivity (or rather lack of) of a barbarian born two millennia ago, X-O Manowar found out that even the modern war is full of conflicts and wars, a world in which he can claim the honor that belongs only to a victorious warrior.

Amanda McKee (Livewire)

livewireiifilmAnother character from the Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe trailer, another super-powered woman. In the trailer, we only see her walking in a hallway, with her eyes and hands glowing and her hair starting to move due to static electricity: that’s Livewire, portrayed by Ciera Foster. It’s still unclear whether she’ll appear as a foe or an ally to Ninjak in the series, and the fact that she’s a superheroine in the comics doesn’t give any valuable clue, considering that we still don’t know what Ninjak will be after (and the “everyone against everyone tournament” that was announced makes me think that even she will exchange blows with the protagonist). Anyway, here she is, in all her glory: let’s take a look at her original self.

Amanda McKee was born different from everyone else: since her childhood, she had a different perception of electronic devices, and growing up she found out she could actually control them with a form of unborn technopathy. When she was still a kid, Amanda’s parents died, and the girl was put into an orphanage, where her powers seldomly manifested. One day, a man came to the orphanage, and recognised her for what she was: a psiot, or Harbinger, a “mutant” gifted with incredible mental powers. The man himself was one of the most powerful psiots on the planet, Toyo Harada, leader and founder of the Harbinger Foundation, a powerful organization buried deep down into his conglomerate, that collected gifted individuals such as Amanda. The girl was taken by Harada to the Foundation, where she was recognised as a “Active” (a psiot who had activated his abilities, opposed to “Norms“, normal people with no ability, and “Latents“, potential Harbingers who didn’t trigger their evolved genes yet). Amanda became a student in the Harbinger Foundation, and one of the most promising ones: as an Inchinensei (students from the livewireiicomics1first year) she already had mastered her powers better than most of the other students, as a Nensei (students from the second year) she emerged as particularly gifted even among her peers, and as a Shinia (students from the third year) she was already one of Harada’s most trusted pupils. She took the moniker “Livewire”, and she prepared for the last step in her education…to become a super-soldier in Toyo Harada’s private psiot army. The philanthropist, in fact, wanted to save the world, by letting it be guided by his wise and gentle hand. Livewire became worried for her mentor’s vision, but she trusted Harada’s good heart…until someone else made her change her mind: Peter Stanchek, a new student entrusted to her tutorship.

Peter was an immensely powerful psiot, and Harada had entrusted him to Amanda since he had to be kept close, for he represented a great asset. When Harada had Peter try to activate a Latent, without telling him that the process could be lethal, the following failure brought the boy to decide to escape from the Foundation. Livewire learnt about this, but she had doubts already: believing that a force such as Peter Stanchek could bring the right balance to prevent Toyo Harada from being conquered by his ambition and take over the world, instead of trying to stop the boy she helped him escape. When Harada learnt of Stanchek’s escape, Amanda confessed her betrayal to him…with the only result of being expelled from the Harbinger Foundation. Her exile was interrupted soon after, as Harada called her back for an emergency: the barbarian Aric of Dacia had conquered Bucharest and declared it the new homeland of the Visigoths, and Harada had put together a team, Unity, to take him down. Seeing the emergency, Livewire accepted to be part of the team, and she travelled to Romania: her powers proved to be vital to the mission, as she used her technopathy to severe the bond between Aric and his armor, Shanhara, and to take possession of it. While wearing it, however, Livewire learnt that Toyo Harada’s true goal was to take the armor for himself and to use it to livewireiicomics2conquer the world: seeing her worst fears coming true, Livewire rebelled to her mentor once again, and she informed the two other members of Unity, Ninjak and Eternal Warrior, of Harada’s plan. Acting together, Unity managed to defeat Harada, and Aric claimed back his armor, joining the team as well. Now under the protection of MI6, Livewire and Unity protected the world from anyone, like Harada, who had too much power and too little scruples to use it.

Amanda McKee is a brilliant and determined young woman, loyal and grateful to her mentor Toyo Harada, but not as much as to not see the man he’s becoming. As Livewire, she can interface with any electrical machine and control it, she can manipulate electricity and even attract magnetically devices she entered in contact with; she’s also a very skilled martial artist, trained to best the greatest combatants in the world. Powerful and dedicated to the cause, Livewire eventually finds out “the cause” is not exactly the one she believed it to be…but there’s not a reason to stop fighting.

Angelina Alcott (Roku)

rokufilmTime for another character spotted in the trailer for Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe, and quite a naughty one: near the end of the trailer, we see Ninjak restrained and mocked by a red-haired woman, whose hair apparently move on their own, like snakes. That’s Roku, portrayed by Chantelle Barry. Apparently she’ll be a villain in the series, and judging from the grudgy “I’ll kill you” Ninjak directs at her, she won’t spend quite a pleasurable time with him (well, not as long as she’s not winning the fight, obviously). In the comics, Roku and Ninjak have quite a past together, and their enmity is more than justified. Let’s see together.

Angelina Alcott was born in England, and she never experienced what you’d call a “normal family”. One of her relatives (the exact relation between them is unknown) was Neville Alcott, a high-ranking spy working for the MI6; Alcott was specialised in training and managing extremely gifted individuals, and upon seeing potential in Angelina, he enlisted her in the agency. Angelina became one of Neville’s recruits, and she was trained along with another very skilled young one, Colin King; rivals at first, Angelina and Colin developed a deep attraction one to the other, and they eventually became lovers, keeping their affair secret since it was forbidden by the MI6’s protocol. During their first assignment, Angelina and Colin were sent to take out a renowned hitman, Xaman, but something went terribly wrong with the mission, and some imprecise intel led King to miss the target. As a result, that very night, Xaman hunted the two young spies down, and in the following attack Angelina Alcott was killed…or so it seemed. Abandoned by Colin King, who left her for dead and only thought of saving himself, the dying Angelina was collected by a clan of monks, the followers of the Undead rokucomics1Monk, who brought her to one of their benefactors, the necromancer Master Darque. Darque used Angelina as a test subject for a new black magic he was developing, one that managed to heal the girl, but that also wiped away her memory. After being resurrected, the girl was put on trial…quite harshly: she woke up buried alive, with no idea on who and where she was. Realising that she could now control every single cell of her body, she used her hair to dig a way out of her tomb, and she ended up in a cave…inhabited by demons and monsters. Each creature held a piece of her memory, and the girl slew each and every one of them, losing all of her former self…including her name, that she “murdered” for last. When she arrived at the final cave, she was welcomed by the monks, who trained her to use her new abilities, and indoctrinated her to be a part of their order.

When her training and initiation were complete, Angelina was an infallible assassin, a superhuman killing machine: to embrace her new life, she took the name Rokurokubi (which she soon changed with a shortened version, “Roku”). Being ready for action, Roku was presented to the ones who made use of the monks’ work the most, the Shadow Seven, the powerful leaders of the illegal weapons dealer and manufacturer known as Weaponeer. Among the Seven, one in particular took interest in Roku, the billionaire Kannon who, impressed by the woman’s skills, hired her as a personal bodyguard. The woman started working for him, protecting him from dangers and removing threats to both him, his business and his organization. During one of these missions, Roku let herself be captured by some Russian agents, who locked her up. As soon as she regained senses, it took her no effort to free herself from her prison, to make her way to the control room, and to use her psionic powers (result of the monks’ training) to “suggest” to all her jailers to committ suicide. Following that, she started hacking their computers to obtain the information she was looking for…but another agent arrived on the scene: Ninjak. Before realising it, Roku was battling Ninjak, and the black-and-purple assassin proved to be the most dangerous foe she had ever faced; when he hit her, momentarily stunning her, Roku rokucomics2became overwhelmed by an inexplicable fury, and she started destroying everything in her sight just to land a blow on her enemy (apparently, some part of her had recognised in Ninjak her former lover Colin King, the man who had left her to die). In her rage, Roku didn’t realise she had just triggered a chain reaction that could cause a nuclear explosion: to prevent that, Ninjak kicked her out of the facility, and stopped the detonation just in time. He reached for his enemy, and announced her that her mayhem risked to destroy everything and everyone in miles radius…thus implying he had just saved her. Humiliated and defeated, Roku had two reasons to hunt Ninjak down and kill him…and if she only remembered him from her previous life, that would have made three reasons.

Angelina Alcott is a woman without a past, rebuilt and reshaped to be the perfect killer, loyal to the Weaponeer and without an identity. Ruthless and precise, she suffers from hidden traumas that sometimes resurface from the buried, not lost, memory of her previous life. As Roku, she’s one of the most proficient martial artists in the world, an expert in armed and unarmed combat; black magic gave her the ability to control every cell in his body, so she can move freely even her hair, and she can decouple and reintegrate every single joint in her body, being extremely flexible and nearly impervious to damage; she can also fasten her healing and increase her strength with hormones. Plus, the cancellation of her previous self left her with some psionic power: she can communicate telepathically, read other people’s minds, and “push” others to do something, a form of persuasion that has a great influence on weaker minds. Still struggling to keep at bay the person she once was in the deep of her subconscious, Roku is one of the world’s deadliest assassins, a nearly infallible killer who unites in her the most ancient magics to the most advanced technologies.

Aram Anni-Padda (Armstrong)

armstrongfilmTime for another character appearing in the Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe trailer, another heavy hitter. We see a man dressed like an old-fashioned tramp peacefully drinking a giant beer at a pub, and suddenly getting angry at somebody we don’t clearly see, getting ready to kick some butt…that surely means trouble, as the man is actually Armstrong, portrayed by Kevin Porter, an immortal brawler with quite a volatile character. As for anybody else, we don’t know much of his role in the series, and from the trailer it’s not even clear whether he’ll fight against Ninjak or if he’ll be an ally of his. Considering his role in the comics, he could very well be both. Waiting to see what he’ll be up to, either alone or with his immortal brothers, let’s take a look at the original guy.

Aram Anni-Padda was born millennia ago, around 3300 BC, in Ur, a city-state set in the ancient Sumer. He was the second of three brothers, the oldest being Ivar and the youngest being Gilad. The three brothers grew up together, sharing a deep bond, and they survived how they could in the streets of the one that used to be the greatest city in the world. Aram and his siblings became skilled thieves, taking what they needed to survive…until they found what looked like a gold mine, a mysterious land they only knew as the Faraway (actually a special dimension outside time itself, accessible only in determined moment in history). Eager to know what treasures the Faraway hid, the Anni-Padda brothers travelled there and found a wonderful artifact, the Boon, which they obviously didn’t understand the operating principle of, but which they liked enough to try and take it…especially considering that it was said by legends that the Boon could grant eternal life to the ones able to use it. They managed to take the Boon, but the adventure was not without perils, and during the voyage back home, a weakened Gilad died for the wounds and of fatigue: Aram and Ivar were left to mourn their younger brother, but the latter hoped for a miracle, and activated the Boon. The device armstrongcomics1caused a giant explosion, and when he woke up, Aram found out he was the only one left, and that the entire world had been engulfed in the blow and had been devastated by it. Alone and ridden by guilt, Aram decided to destroy the Boon, and with a newfound strenght granted by the device itself he shattered it into six pieces, which would have later been known as the Wedge, the Inclined Plane, the Torque, the Sphere, the Fulcrum and the Axle. Aram started a solitary journey to hide the fragments in every corner of the world, making sure that nobody could put his hands on the entire Boon ever again. With the passing years, Aram found out that the artifact had actually worked, since he had become immortal. Known simply as “Armstrong”, Aram kept wandering on the Earth for millennia.

At first known as Aram the Other, the man travelled the world as a gloomy and mourning wanderer…but that didn’t last long, actually, as with his new “Armstrong” persona he changed attitude altogether: history was his to enjoy, time had no limits for him, and all the vices of the world were at his disposal. He became a hedonist, a pleasure-seeking adventurer who purchased women and fun, and who was drunk for most of his immortal life. He crossed history as the loudest party-man ever, being affected by major historical events only marginally, enjoying his immortal life the best he could without caring of anything else but his own pleasure. This kind of attitude obviously earned him quite a fame, and not of the best kind; particularly, a number of religious sects and extremist groups started hunting him down, believing him to be the incarnation of vice and evil. One in particular, The 1% (simply known as The Sect) believed Armstrong to be the Devil himself, and from the Middle Ages sworn to destroy him; they even wanted to obtain from him the location of the Boon’s fragments, to recompose the artifact and to use it to reshape the world. Armstrong didn’t pay much attention to them (they couldn’t possibly damage him), but their ambition to recompose the Boon started to be a worrisome thing to take care of, and they were quite a nuisance. Ironically, in modern times, the Sect provided armstrongcomics2Armstrong with one of his greatest allies and friends ever: the group, in fact, sent to him one of their greatest warriors, a young and idealist martial-arts prodigy called Obadiah Archer, whose task was to free the world from the “He Who Was Not to be Named“. Archer attacked Armstrong (who was more amused than threatened, truth be told), but it took little time to the boy to understand that the “atrocious demon” wasn’t nearly as evil as he had been painted by his parents; Armstrong clarified the positions, and demonstrated to the boy that it was the Sect the evil one. Feeling betrayed, Archer declared war on the Sect…and Armstrong decided to accompany him for the sake of fun (and of the world, of course), forming a formidable duo bent on ridding the world from secret cults and sects.

Aram the Other is, simply put, a reprobate, an immoral party-lover who seeks any kind of pleasure and mantains a marked, blatant irresponsibility concerning pretty much everything. As Armstrong, he’s one of Earth’s immortals, and thus he’s impervious to any disease or aging; he heals quickly from any kind of injuries, even deadly ones, thus being nearly invulnerable; he possesses superhuman strength, and he’s an expert hand-to-hand combatant, forged in millennia of battles (more likely bar brawls, but whatever); he always carries along a satchel containing a number of weird and powerful artifacts collected in every corner of the world in every historical era, even if he’s aware of only a number of them, since he gathered most of them while he was drunk. A ladies’ man, a poet and a heavy drinker, Armstrong hides behind his pathological irresponsibility and his easy-going attitude the pain coming from millennia of loss and tragedy…but he manages to do it pretty well.