Roger Harrington

Continuing with our analysis of the characters from Spider-Man: Homecoming, let’s meet the most relevant professor among the ones we see: Roger Harrington, portrayed by Martin Starr. Harrington is a science teacher at Midtown School of Science and Technology, and the head of the school’s Academic Decathlon Team, so he’s the one who brings the team to Washington D.C. and who’s almost killed by a Chitauri weapon an oblivious Ned Leeds carries along in the Washington Monument. In the comics, Harrington appears as an older man, and he’s not a teacher (not anymore, at least), but rather a school principal. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Roger Harrington’s early life: born and raised in New York City, he was a teacher for vocation, and he loved his job to the point of dedicating himself to it totally, even renouncing to a family of his own in order to take care of his students. Later in his life he became a school principal, and when Andrew Davis retired, he take his place as the new principal of Midtown High School, a school in Queens. The neighborhood wasn’t one of the easiest ones in New York, but as he always did Harrington put all his resources at his students’ service, deeply committed to his new job. Things became quite complicated when one of the students came to school with a gun, and opened fire on his schoolmates and his teachers. Tragedy was avoided out of sheer luck, and the boy was apprehended by the authorities, but Harrington found himself in a bad position as (understandably) some of the teachers, who clearly didn’t share his sense of duty nor his idea of teaching as a mission, resigned, looking for another school to teach in or for another job entirely. As in response to his prayers, however, some new, remarkable elements arrived to his school, with a couple of them being ex-students of Midtown High itself.

The first candidate was Peter Parker, a renowned academic scientist who was the perfect choice for becoming the new Science teacher; the second one was Eugene “Flash” Thompson, a decorated veteran who had just awakened from a coma, a former football star whom he hired as the new School Coach. Things went out pretty smoothly from that point on, and despite some minor problems such as Parker’s common lateness (or sudden absence) and Flash’s hostile relation with the Science teacher, the school knew a rebirth…until it became the target of the seemingly reborn Mysterio (it turned out the Mysterio attacking the school wasn’t the original, deceased Quentin Beck, but his successor Francis Klum, not that Harrington cared anything about it). When Spider-Man intervened to save the day, Harrington stayed with him, trying to help him the best he could in saving his students, but the hero soon made it clear that the good-willed principal would have only been a hindrance to him, and he told Harrington to hide into the audiovisual room until his battle with Mysterio was over. Harrington did as he was told, but he realised too late he wasn’t alone in the room. A shape-shifting alien from a possible future, the Chameleon from Earth-9500, was there as well, and he killed the poor school principal, destroying the body and taking his place. The Chameleon’s scheme would have been discovered only months later, and Harrington would have been avenged by Spider-Man and Sandman, but in a way or the other Harrington had died in the one place he had loved in his entire life: his school.

Roger Harrington is essentially a good man, a dedicated teacher and later principal who dedicated his entire life to his school and students. Everything Harrington does, he does for his students, but he’s also always there to support his teachers: truly the school principal anyone would want.

Amadeus Cho (Mastermind Excello)

amadeuschofilmNext character in Brick89‘s list is Amadeus Cho, a teenager hero who lately in the comics got a lot of attention, but who in the movies is still just a background character. Cho only appears in The Incredible Hulk, and in a pretty disappointing version: he’s the computer nerd portrayed by Martin Starr who’s bribed with a pizza by Bruce Banner when he infiltrates Culver University. Well, since his mother has been introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s possible that this version of Amadeus Cho will be soon retconned to give space to a more faithful version of the character, especially considering that he was only credited as “Computer Nerd” at first, and that his name was revealed later in the movie’s novelization. Anyway, this is the only Amdeus Cho we have so far, and it’s a good excuse to take a look at the original one nevertheless.

The son of Korean immigrants Phil and Helen Cho, Amadeus Cho was born in TucsonArizona. Since his very first years, Amadeus proved to be an incredibly gifted kid, developing an outstanding intelligence that put him far above the average of his peers. He absorbed informations like a supercomputer, and learnt a lot of things by himself, becoming highly cultured, besides being smarter every month he lived. His parents, and Helen particularly, soon understood he was a genius born and supported his talent, providing him with new passions and new things to learn: school was but a formality for Amadeus, and when he was fifteen he was already a senior in high school, much more intelligent and cultured than his professors. It was during this year that the soap corporation Excello organised an online game for highly intelligent teenagers, an extremely difficult quiz named Brain Fight. Obviously, Amadeus participated, and he didn’t even break a sweat to win the $5,000 reward. Apart from the amadeuschocomics1money, Amadeus won the title of Mastermind Excello and the position of 7th smartest man in the world, a result that made his parents and his little sister Maddy rejoice…but the Chos didn’t know that there was a secret aim behind Brain Fight: the CEO of Excello was Pythagoras Dupree, a genius himself (self-proclaimed 6th smartest man in the world), former child prodigy, pathologically envious of whatever other intellect might challenge his own. Dupree had organised Brain Fight to find other geniuses like him…and to kill them to eradicate possible rivals before they became adults and could challenge his genius. Unwillingly, Amadeus had revealed his existence and his genius to Dupree, and the latter didn’t wait a moment to act: he sent his men to the Chos’ house, and had them blow it up. Amadeus would have died in the explosion as well, but that night a mysterious girl (the goddess Athena in disguise) made him arrive late for dinner for the first time in his life: as a result, now Amadeus was alone in the world, with his entire family brutally and senselessly murdered.

Amadeus hit the road, hoping to hide his trails from Pythagoras Dupree and his men, and to survive on his own (something that wasn’t very difficult, considered his intellect and his resourcefulness). After the attack to his house, he grew quite paranoid, and he didn’t trust anybody he met, thinking that anyone could be Dupree’s spy. The only other being he allowed to be his travel companion was a coyote puppy he found on the road, whom he named Kirby (short for Kerberos). Together, Amadeus and Kirby travelled the country, always trying to stay hidden and to avoid unwanted attentions…but even all his caution eventually failed, and Amadeus was spotted by authorities, and consequently by Excello. Dupree’s agents tracked him down, and where about to finally dispose of him…if it wasn’t for another genius hunted down by the whole world: Hulk. The Green Goliath obviously didn’t know Amadeus’ story, but he saw a defenseless teenager pursued by mysterious men with clear killing intent, and he didn’t need anything else to intervene. Hulk saved the boy, and from that moment, he started following the giant, considering him his friend. The two stayed together for a while, until the Hulk mysteriously disappeared, and the boy found himself alone again. Meanwhile, a battle among superhumans in Stamford, Connecticut, had killed a amadeuschocomics2number of children, and the Government had ratified a new law, the Superhuman Registration Act: according to S.H.I.E.L.D., an intellect such as Mastermind Excello’s was an ability that needed to be registered, and they started hunting him down. Cho’s brain was far too much for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle, and he managed to outsmart them and to escape in New Mexico, in a hideout previously owned by his friend the Hulk. From here, Amadeus hacked the Baxter Building security system to learn what the Pro-Registration Faction was up to…but he discovered something else: a group of the smartest heroes in the world, the Illuminati (Mr. Fantastic, Black BoltProfessor X, Dr. StrangeIron Man and Namor), had sent Hulk in space. Plus, the giant had ended up on a different planet than the one the Illuminati calculated: now it was up to Amadeus to recover his friend…and to unleash his fury on the ones who had betrayed him.

A loyal friend and a loving son, enthusiastic and cheerful, Amadeus Cho is a perfectly normal kid…or at least, he would be, if he wasn’t as smart as he is. His intelligence also causes paranoia and a general mistrust towards nearly anybody, apart from a selected number of friends, namely Hulk and Hercules (albeit with time this trait of his character diminished a little). As Mastermind Excello, he’s one of the ten smartest men on the planet, able to rival with Iron Man, Doctor Doom, Mister Fantastic, Hank Pym or Hank McCoy; he possesses a so-called hypermind, a brain able to perform an infinite amount of complex calculations at the same time, to absorb unlimited informations, to identify any possible variable in a situation (even on a quantum level) and to change the outcome based on his previsions. With a gift that more often then not proved to be a curse, Amadeus Cho tries to cope with his limitless intelligence, and with a world that doesn’t seem ready for it.