Abner Girdler (Gridlock)

The tv series season is about to open again, so let’s take a look at what DC tv is preparing for us in the immediate future. The Flash is coming back with its fifth season, opening with an episode named Nora: after the shock of meeting his daughter from the future, The Flash will team up with her in order to take down another dangerous metahumanGridlock. This is quite an obscure villain, and the fact that he’ll be played by an actor like Daniel Cudmore doesn’t change the fact that it looks like CW is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find someone left from the comics to face the heroes week after week. Maybe they’ll manage to do something good with Gridlock nevertheless, but in the comics he was pretty lame, and he only appeared in one issue. And it wasn’t The Flash the speedster he faced: let’s see.

Abner Girdler was born in Manchester, Alabama, and he studied to become a skillful and inventive engineer. He was hired at Technodyne, a company that entrusted him with a series of important projects. As an expert of urban planning and new transportation technologies, Girdler developed a new, experimental monorail that would have reduced the expenses and increased the efficiency of public transportation. The mayor approved the project, and Technodyne invested quite a remarkable amount of money to realize it… but then Clifton Burdett, the county transportation commissioner, denied the construction permit, ignoring the previous approval from the mayor. With all the money invested in the project lost, Technodyne was close to bankruptcy: the CEO Leo Nordstrom decided to use Girdler as a scape goat to please the board of directors, and fired him, blaming him for everything that had occurred to the company. Abner Girdler was not a man to be taken lightly, as his former boss would have soon learnt. Using the technology he had developed for the monorail, he built a miniaturized kinetic control device small enough to be placed inside a pair of gauntlets. He tailored himself a costume, and stole a flying motorbike, the Konstruktor 3000, from his previous employers. Abner Girdler became Gridlock, and after months of work, he was finally ready to take his revenge on both Clifton Burdett and Leo Nordstrom.

The time was perfect, as Clifton Burdett was running to be elected the new mayor of Manchester. Gridlock decided to sabotage his campaign, and during his first public appearance he used his gauntlets to siphon kinetic energy from people, vehicles and equipment alike, freezing everything and everyone on place. During the havoc, the newest hero in town, Impulse, arrived and tried to stop him, but he was far too impulsive and didn’t study the situation, so he got immobilized as well. With half the city blocked, Gridlock had no problems in reaching Technodyne and kidnapping Leo Nordstrom, ready to reach the last stage of his plan… if it wasn’t for Impulse, who, being a speedster, had burnt the effects of his paralyzing tendrils much faster than anyone else. Gridlock thought he could get rid of the teen hero like the first time, but Impulse had learnt his lesson: first he ran at super-speed around Gridlock, creating after-images that confused the villain and made him lose time shooting the wrong target. Then, when the boy finally stopped, Gridlock shot him without realizing he was holding a piece of insulating metal: the kinetic siphon, not finding any heat nor kinetic energy, came back to its source, hitting Gridlock and immobilizing him instead. As the effects of his first attack wore off, Abner Girdler was arrested and, still blocked, he was brought to jail. He’s never been seen since…

Abner Girdler is an intelligent and resourceful man, but also a vindictive one, who’s ready to pay tenfold if scorned or humiliated. As Gridlock, his special equipment allows him to shoot black tendrils of energy that siphon kinetic energy from any physical body, with the result of immobilizing the target; he can also fly at remarkable speed on his Konstruktor 3000 bike. Definitely a man of wit, Gridlock is also a man who lost everything for an injustice, who’s now ready to pass to the wrong side of the law to right what has been done to him… or at least to enjoy an old-fashioned revenge.

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Hammersmith (Jackhammer)

JackhammerTime for the second character introduced in Arrow episode Code of Silence, again a member of the Demolition Team. In the trio, there’s a hulking brute who fights using a massive sledgehammer, and who manages to completely overwhelm Spartan during their first encounter (even if he’s tricked and defeated by him during their second one): that’s Jackhammer, portrayed by Daniel Cudmore. As well as his teammates, Jackhammer appears in a much more grounded look than his comicbook counterpart, lacking his original flashy costume and his futuristic equipment. But let’s see together who this secondary villain is.

Not much is known about Jackhammer’s early life, almost nothing actually. His surname was Hammersmith, and he was born in HoustonTexas. He grew up with a brother, Jackson, but the two of them didn’t have much of a relationship when they became adults. Hammersmith found a job as an oil rig wildcatter, something he turned out to be pretty good at, and that made him travel up and down the country quite a bit. One of his favorite places to stop, while working in the South, was Rosie’s, a bar in New Orleans, run by a woman who knew quite how to handle guys like him. Just like Rosie, Hammersmith was a greedy man, always trying to earn as much money as he could… and not necessarily through the legal way (not that working with oil corporations represented a problem with that); when Rosie offered him to become a part of the team she was gathering, a team of mercenaries not always (almost never) on the side of justice, but who earned in a pay-day more than a regular man in a life of work, jackhammercomics1Hammersmith didn’t have many doubts, and chose to join the Demolition Team. Rosie designed for him a special pneumatic drill, whose power was augmented by the remarkable size and by the sonic waves it employed; from that day on, Hammersmith was known as Jackhammer. With Rosie’s engineering abilities, the Demolition Team soon gained fame and respect in the mercenary world, specializing in both localized destruction… and total mayhem. If Rosie’s weapons weren’t powerful enough, the cosmic entity Monitor provided them soon after their debut with futuristic tech, which Rosie reverse-engineered to adapt to the weapons Jackhammer and the others were already using, making them utterly unstoppable… or close enough.

The baptism of fire for the new equipment arrived when corrupted Congressman Jason Bloch hired the Demolition Team to damage a personal financial adversary of his, Ferris Aircraft. Jackhammer and the rest of the team were sent to Los Angeles, where they were ordered to destroy the local branch, possibly with the CEO Carol Ferris still inside the building. The security guards were no match for Jackhammer and his brute strength, and apparently Green Lantern wasn’t on the spot to help Ferris as he usually did, so the Demolition Team was dealing with an easy mission… that, until a new, blood-thirsty protector appeared, Predator, who was actually a manifestation of Carol Ferris’ own subconscious. Despite their new equipment and their combined effort, every member of the Demolition Team was defeated by Predator alone, and they were sent to jail. Of course, demolishing a prison wasn’t such a hard job for the Demolition Team, and they escaped soon after their arrest, coming back to business (every one of them but Hardhat, who preferred to start a solo career). The first mission Jackhammer and the others received after the imprisonment sent them to Germany, where they were ordered to destroy a nuclear power plant. Again, what would have normally been an easy job was made uselessly complicated by the appearance of jackhammercomics2superheroes, this time the newborn team Blood Pack; in the following battle, the Pack proved to be a worthy adversary for Jackhammer and his teammates, and eventually the Demolition Team was forced to withdraw. Back to the United States, Jackhammer found himself without a single job for quite a while, since Rosie had disappeared, and the team had disbanded as a result. Just when he was about to resume his old job, however, Jackhammer was summoned again by Rosie, who had come back and was ready to reunite the old team together… and this time, there was much more at stake than simple profit: the survival of reality itself was in danger, and the Demolition Team had a role to play in the upcoming cosmic battle.

Hammersmith is a greedy and brutal man, whose sole interest is money. As Jackhammer, apart from being gifted with a remarkable strength and durability, he’s armed with a high-tech jackhammer, powerful enough to level a building after a few seconds of use. Loyal to Rosie, and to nobody else, Jackhammer is an intimidating behemoth devoted to destruction and profit only.

Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin (Colossus)

colossusfilmLast character, at least for now, revealed in the pics from X-Men: Days of Future Past, another old acquaintance: Colossus, portrayed by Daniel Cudmore. Colossus, real name Peter Rasputin, already appeared in the first three movies in the series: in X-Men he only had a small cameo as a student sketching in the courtyard; in X2: X-Men United he fought against William Stryker‘s men during the school’s invasion and helped some children escape; in X-Men: The Last Stand he finally entered the team officially and fought alongside the X-Men against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in Alcatraz. It’s unknown what role he’ll have in the movie yet, or how big it’ll be, but he’ll appear in the present part, along with old Professor X and Magneto. Let’s see who this Russian mutant is in the comics.

Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin was born near Lake Baikal, in Siberia, from simple farmers Nikolai and Alexandra Rasputin. He had an older brother, famous cosmonaut Mikhail Rasputin, who he adored, and a younger sister, Illyana, who he loved and protected. A simple man with an artist’s soul, Piotr enjoyed painting and drawing, and loved the farmer’s life of the Ust-Ordynski Collective, the cooperative farm he and his family worked in. During adolescence, his mutant powers first appeared: he was able to turn his body into organic steel and to gain from it superhuman strength, stamina and durability. At first, he used his powers to help the people from the Collective,colossuscomics1 working twice as anybody else in the farm. In those years, Mikhail apparently died when his space rocket exploded, and Piotr took upon himself the responsibility of being the older male in the family. One day, little Illyana was about to be crushed by a tractor out of control, and Piotr used his powers to save her, crashing the machine with no effort: this act of heroism attracted the attention of Charles Xavier, a powerful American telepath who was searching around the world worthy young people to form the second formation of his X-Men, since the first one had gone missing during a fight with Krakoa, the living island. Piotr was at first reluctant to leave the farm, since, thanks to his strength, much of the work in the Collective was his doing; he didn’t want to leave his family either. Xavier, anyway, convinced him that he could have done a lot of good to the world if he joined the X-Men, using his powers for helping not only his small Collective, but the entire human and mutant populations. Eager to help other people, Piotr accepted Xavier’s offer and left Russia, becoming a member of the second X-Men team. Along with the other X-Men Xavier had recruited (Kenyan Ororo “Storm” Munroe, German Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner, Canadian James “Wolverine” Howlett, Apache John “Thunderbird” Proudstar and Irish Sean “Banshee” Cassidy), Piotr, now code-named Colossus, battled and defeated the sentient island Krakoa and freed the original X-Men. When most of the first team left the School for Gifted Youngsters, Colossus chose to stay, becoming a full-time X-Men.

Colossus fought many battles along with his companions, also in remote zones such as the Shi’ar Empire or the Savage Land, always proving more than useful in battle despite his gentle and pacifist spirit. Piotr, called “Peter” by his American friends, proved to be a worthy colossuscomics2opponent also for historical nemesis of the X-Men, such as the Juggernaut (one of the few able to surpass him in strength with ease) or Magneto himself. Colossus became a close friend of both Nightcrawler and Wolverine, forming with them a formidable trio. Peter faced some great challenges that tested his character, such as when Arcade brainwashed him and forced him to fight against his friends in his Murderworld, or when his sister Illyana was kidnapped: Arcade’s right-hand woman, Miss Locke, had in fact abducted some X-Men’s beloved ones to force them to free her master from Dr. Doom, and among them there was Colossus’ little sister. When the team defeated Locke and Arcade and freed the hostages, Peter decided it was safer to keep Illyana by his side, and the young girl was allowed to stay in Xavier’s Mansion. Unfortunately, the six-year old kid was kidnapped once again, this time by the sorcerer Belasco, who locked her into the demonic dimension called Limbo; the X-Men managed to save her, but, while on Earth Illyana stayed away only a few hours, in Limbo seven years had passed, and she came back to them a teenager broken after years of tortures. Colossus became even closer to his sister, in order to help her recover from her traumatic experience; he also started to feel a certain affection towards another X-Man, Kitty Pryde, but both of them were too shy to admit their feelings. Everything changed after the X-Men almost died at the ends of the alien race Brood: Peter and Kitty finally declared their attraction, and started dating. In the following years, when Illyana died because of the Legacy Virus, Colossus lost his original resolution, and even joined Magneto and his Acolytes for a while, but at the end he came back to the X-Men, knowing what was right to do with his powers.

Peter Rasputin is a sensitive and caring man, selfless and gentle, with the soul of a poet and the body of a giant. His mutant powers allow him to turn his body into a nearly indestructible organic steel, gaining strength and durability in the process, and the training in the Danger Room made him a terrific hand-to-hand fighter, especially in combo with Nightcrawler or Wolverine. A painter, a worker, and especially a good friend for everyone, Peter is the heart and soul of the X-Men, one of the pillars that keep the team united.