Morgan Edge

The ComicCon provided us also with trailers for the upcoming tv-series, and DC dominated the scene with an ever-expanding tv universe. In Supergirl Season 3 trailer we got a first look at a new antagonist, Morgan Edge, portrayed by Adrian Pasdar, a media mogul from L-Corp who’ll become quite a rival to Lena Luthor. The character already had three live action appearances, albeit two of them were different versions of him: in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace the corrupted David Warfield portrayed by Sam Wanamaker, who takes over Daily Planet transforming it in a second-rate newspaper, is clearly based on Edge, while in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Bruce Campbell‘s Bill Church Jr. is an amalgamation of Edge (he even possesses a tv station with a nearly identical name to Edge’s, Multiworld Communications) and Bruno Mannheim. Edge directly appeared only in Smallville, portrayed by Rutger Hauer and Patrick Bergin, as a crime lord from Metropolis who has a past with Lionel Luthor, and acts as quite a foe for both Lex and Clark during whole Season 3. In the comics, Edge has a much more sinister partner than Lionel: let’s see together.

Morgan Edge was born in Metropolis, the son of the wealthy media mogul Vincent Edge. Vincent wasn’t exactly a nominee to the “father of the year award”, as he constantly abused his son, teaching discipline in the most violent and brutal way. Morgan found tenderness and comfort only in his mother, but even that safe harbor was eventually taken away from him: one day, while the entire family was walking down a street in Metropolis, Vicent got angry at his son as usual, and started disciplining him as he always did: slapping and shouting. Morgan’s mother, not standing her son being publicly humiliated and beaten for the umpteenth time, tried to intervene, with the only effect of Vincent turning on her in front of Morgan’s terrified eyes. During the fight, Vincent pushed his wife with too much strength, and the woman ended in the middle of the traffic, being run over and killed by a bus. When the police arrived, Vincent forced his son to testify that his mother had slipped, and the woman’s death was dismissed as a tragic accident. This marked a turning point in Morgan’s life, as his hatred for his father grew to unbearable levels, but he was so afraid of him that he could do nothing against him. Eventually, one night, he climbed on his house’s roof during a storm, and shouted his anger and hatred to the sky in a mute prayer…a prayer that was listened not by the god he was thinking about, but by a god nevertheless: Darkseid, the cruel tyrant of Apokolips. The New God promised the boy he would have made him strong, fearless, able to stand up to his father and to get his revenge on him, if he only consecrated his entire life to him. Full of hatred for his father, Morgan Edge “sold his soul” to Darkseid, and from that very moment his humanity was lost forever.

Darkseid kept his promise, and he was for Morgan the father figure he never had, molding him into a ruthless man, who could channel his anger and hatred into a sharp intellect. As an adult, the first thing that Morgan did was to exclude his father from the media company he himself had founded, Galaxy Communications, forcing him to an early retirement and making even his public name disappear: for a man like Vincent, who had based all his power on media exposure, anonymity was worse than death. As the new CEO of Galaxy Communications, Edge became one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Metropolis, but he of course had to do the bidding of his master, Darkseid: using his connections, he created a criminal empire in the underworld of Metropolis, and he even provided street criminals with futuristic weapons from Apokolips. The result was the origin of Intergang, one of the most dangerous and vicious criminal groups Metropolis had ever seen, hellbent on creating chaos in the city without an apparent purpose. Edge always maneuvred Intergang from behind the curtains, sure that nobody would have ever connected the gang to him. Eventually, however, Edge discovered he had been deceived from the very beginning: the one he believed to be Darkseid was actually DeSaad, another New God, who had pretended to be his master to create random havoc on Earth, using Edge as a puppet and making him promises he would have never been able to keep. If this wasn’t enough, two journalists from the Daily Planet were on Edge’s trails: Clark Kent and Cat Grant, who were following unexpected leads to connect Galaxy Communications to Intergang (the latter as an insider). Edge was exposed and imprisoned, and even Vincent came back to resume control over GC: Morgan, however, was a master of the power of the media, and a prison wasn’t able to keep him from using what he had learnt to destroy his enemies, even from afar…

Morgan Edge is an unscrupolous and ruthless man, a highly intelligent businessman created by his father’s abuses and DeSaad’s lies. A media mogul who knows how to twist facts in order to manipulate the public opinion, Edge is one of the most dangerous men alive as long as he has access to a computer or a camera, using his intellect and his charisma to shape the world into a distorted version of it, also managing to appear a hero at the eyes of people as he does it…usually making the true heroes appear as criminals, of course.

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Ursa

ursafilmNext character from casualgamer‘s list is again from Superman‘s rogues gallery: Ursa, the lethal Kryptonian warrior. She first appeared in Superman: The Movie portrayed by Sarah Douglas: in the prologue on Krypton, she was arrested along with her master and lover General Zod and exiled in the Phantom Zone. In Superman II she is accidentally released by Superman himself, who throws a nuclear bomb just near her dimensional prison. Once on Earth, she’s quite intrigued by her new powers, and she can vent all her sadism on poor helpless humans. She also seems to develop quite a taste for badges and insignia, and her Kryptonian suit becomes full of symbols (how she pierces them on the unbreakable cloth is a mystery, just as how on Earth is possible that she feels pain after a simple snake bites her). In the comics, she’s Zod’s right-hand woman as well, and her relationship with him is not just suggested, as they have a son together. Let’s see.

Ursa was born on planet Krypton, in an unspecified city. When she was still very young she lost both her parents, and as an orphan she had to build up her strength in order to survive on her own in a strictly ordered and hierarchic world. Determined and versatile in both physical and mental practice, Ursa joined the Military Guild when she was still a young woman, and she became the protege of General Zod, the leader of the planetarian army. Excelling in both the classic training and in the private one given to her by Zod, Ursa earned her place in the elite Black Zero Unit, soon becoming the leader of it. Her relation with Zod grew closer with every progress in the military hierarchy, and eventually the two of them became lovers, always mantaining a strict superior-subordinate relationship while on the battlefield or in front of other soldiers. The Military Guild was at disposal as law enforcement unit, and when the Science Council, the planet’s supreme authority, condemned for heresy two of the planet’s most revered and esteemed scientists, Jor-El and Non, the Black Zero Unit was sent to capture them and to bring them in front of the ursacomics1Council for receiving their sentence. The trial ended with not much of a result, as the two prisoners were set free with the order of not revealing to anyone their discoveries…but Zod, Ursa and the rest of the Guild knew that the scientists had concrete evidence of the imminent destruction of Krypton, and when Zod decided to trust the “heretics”, Ursa followed him. While Jor-El obeyed the Council and mantained the silence, Non publicly exposed his discoveries, and Zod and Ursa arrived to the point of defecting the Guild to support him. Unable to silence him in any other way, the Science Council lobotomized Non, making him a mindless brute, and for an enraged Zod this was the final straw: he organized a rebellion, with Ursa always at his side. Now the most wanted criminals on Krypton, Ursa and her lover were eventually captured, and only Jor-El’s defense avoided a death sentence to them; however, they were exiled in the dimensional prison, the Phantom Zone, for all eternity, a destiny not so much better than death.

Ursa, Zod and even Non, condemned with them, remained in the Phantom Zone for at least three decades, a time that seemed an eternity. The Kryptonians didn’t resign to their destiny, however, and they elaborated a plan to escape from the unescapable prison: Zod and Ursa decided to conceive a child, calculating that, being born inside the Phantom Zone, he/she would have been immune from the effects of the dimensional prison, so that they could have used him/her to escape. The two proceeded with their plan, and Ursa got pregnant: she gave birth to a son, Lor-Zod, who was born with a genetic compatibility with the Phantom Zone. As long as he was a child, Lor-Zod was taken care of by Non, who became his guardian, while his parents planned their moves after the boy would have allowed their escape. Finally, Lor-Zod came of age, and Ursa and Zod put him on a spaceship they had built from the many wrecks in the Phantom Zone and sent him out of the prison: his genetic template wasn’t recognised as an alien one, and he was able to pass through the dimensional barrier…causing a breach in it. Not much time after, Ursa, Zod and their followers used the breach to escape as well, and they tracked their son’s ship on a remote planet, Earth…where ironically the boy had been found, saved and raised by the very son of Jor-El, Kal-El, there known as ursacomics2Superman. The yellow sun of that galaxy assured the Kryptonians amazing powers, and Ursa, stronger than ever, attacked the city of Metropolis with her men; she nearly destroyed the offices of the Daily Planet, and she was the one to find Lor-Zod, in company of Lois Lane. Using her newfound super-strength, Ursa knocked Lois out with a single finger, and she took both her and Lor back to their ship. She personally interrogated Lois, and she wandered why Kal-El had chosen that weak and feeble female as his companion…but much to her surprise, her own son rebelled against her, and took Lois’ defense. In the same time, Superman attacked, allied with Lex Luthor and an army equipped with anti-Kryptonians weapons. Ursa and the other escapees were defeated and sent back to the Phantom Zone, but they would have not stayed there for long, as the leader of KandorAlura In-Ze, was about to create a New Krypton, and she wanted Zod and Ursa in charge of her new Military Guild…

Ursa is a woman out of the ordinary, a strong and proud warrior who learnt to exploit her talents and strength to survive alone in a world full of men she despised. She’s blindly loyal to her commander and lover, Dru-Zod, and she wishes to serve both him and Krypton (in this order) the best she can. She possesses all the powers of a Kryptonian under a yellow sun: superhuman strength, durability, stamina, speed, reflexes and senses, flight, invulnerability, heat vision, freezing breath, super breath, x-ray vision and healing factor; to all this abilities, she ads a unique proficiency in armed and unarmed combat, and she’s unbeatable with a laser baton or with a knife (she wields a lethal knife with a Kryptonite blade). Nothing in this universe can keep her apart from the one man she loves and respects, and all of his causes will become hers with an enthusiasm that borders fanatism: nothing more dangerous than a woman in love…especially if she has an extensive military training.

Non

NonFinally, the identity of Astra‘s mysterious associate has been revealed in latest Supergirl episode Hostile Takeover. And he’s not a simple ally, it’s her husband: Non, portrayed by Chris Vance. In the show, Non is still a cunning and ruthless warrior, not the lobotomized brute we know from the comics…and he’ll undoubtedly pose quite a threat for Supergirl. The character first appeared in Superman: The Movie, portrayed by Jack O’Halloran, where he was a mindless yet strong underling of General Zod, sent to the Phantom Zone along with his boss and Ursa…only to be accidentally freed in Superman II, where he fought the Man of Steel along with his two partners. Now, before seeing what this new, speaking and reasoning version of Non will bring to us, let’s take a look at his comicbook counterpart.

Surprisingly enough, on Krypton Non was one of the most respected and brilliant scientists from the Kryptonian Science Council. A researcher and a teacher, Non received the esteem of the entire planet for his work, and when the unorthodox scientist Jax-Ur blew up Krypton’s moon during one of his experiments on interstellar travel, the Science Council put Non in charge of a research team to investigate on potential consequences on the planet’s climate, following the moon’s disappearance. Non enlisted in his think tank his best student, Jor-El, and together they led a thorough research…which brought them to completely unexpected and totally alarming discoveries. The two scientists, in fact, found out that Krypton’s sun was growing unstable, and that it would have destroyed the planet in little less than three months if nothing was done. Non and Jor-El rushed to the Science Council to communicate them the frightening news, but they were met with scepticism and derision; knowing far too well what was at stake, Non and noncomics1Jor-El didn’t stop because of the Council’s reaction, and tried to warn the population, only to be charged of heresy by the Council itself. The Defense Council was sent to arrest them: the punishment was light, but the two scientists were forbidden to spread panic with “catastrophical fantasies”, and ordered to mantain the silence. Jor-El chose to obey, Non didn’t. Desperate to make his people learn about the incoming disaster, Non started to speak publicly, to everyone who’d listen, about Krypton’s doom; among the ones who chose to listen to him there were two officers from the Defense Council, General Zod and his lieutenant Ursa, who did a little bit of investigation of their own, and realised that the rogue scientist was absolutely correct. Both Zod and Ursa defected the Defense Council, and joined Non in his desperate cause: the presence of a war hero such as Zod gave Non’s ideas the echo they needed to reach the public, and a mass panic started spreading. The Science Council acted on consequence, and had the three leader of the “heretic” movement arrested; plus, in order to shut Non’s mouth once and for all, they had him lobotomized, transforming him into a mindless savage.

Unable to speak or even think for himself, Non remained with Zod, who was now enraged at the Science Council’s blindness and meanness. Non’s cause now became Zod’s cause, and the General started a riot leading an army of insurrectionists to expose the Council; he even tried to recruit Non’s former student, Jor-El, but the latter refused him. Eventually, however, Zod’s rebellion was stopped by the army, and Non got arrested once again, even if he clearly wasn’t responsible of his actions anymore. At first, Non and the others were sentenced to death, but thanks to Jor-El, who spoke in their favour, they were instead exiled to the Phantom Zone. In the timeless prison, Non still blindly followed Zod, and when the General conceived a son with Ursa, Lor-Zod, born just to assure his parents a way out of the dimensional prison, Non acted as his guardian and friend, using what little kindness he still had noncomics2raising a baby far too often abused by his biological parents. Lor-Zod, born and raised in the Phantom Zone, was immune to its effects, so when he came of age Zod and Ursa sent him away, to Earth: the passage opened by Lor-Zod’s ship allowed also Zod, Ursa and Non to escape their imprisonment, and the trio followed the boy on Earth, where Lor-Zod had been taken under Superman‘s protective wing. Needless to say, Zod immediately started a war on Earth in order to rebuild Krypton on the new planet, and Non fought loyally under him, even against Superman, who turned out to be Jor-El’s son, Kal-El. Thanks to the combined efforts of Superman, of human genius Lex Luthorof Daxamite Mon-El, and of Lor-Zod, Zod’s army was ultimately defeated, and the Kryptonian criminals were sent to the Phantom Zone once again. Unknown to everyone, Lor-Zod had followed them in the dimensional prison, in order to make sure the portal would have stayed closed. Only Non knew of Lor-Zod’s presence, but he didn’t report it to Zod or Ursa, on the opposite, he kept protecting the boy even from his own parents, keeping him hidden and bringing him food. Maybe something was resurfacing of the personality of the good man he had once been…

Non used to be a brilliant scientist, a good man who was far too honest and caring for dealing with the political ambiguities of his planet’s leaders; now, he’s just a hulkling brute, a mute goon who blindly follows the orders of General Zod, uncapable of thinking for himself. As all Kryptonians, under the radiations of a yellow sun he gains a variety of amazing abilities: incredible strength, speed, durability and stamina, heightened senses, flight, heat vision, x-ray vision, freezing breath, invulnerability, healing factor, decelarated aging, and more. His lack of mental restraint and his impressive physique makes him also stronger and more durable than Superman himself, a brutal and violent savage able to easily subdue even other Kryptonians. Despite his lobotomization, something of the old personality survived, and with children especially Non is still able to be kind and gentle, becoming extremely protective with Lor-Zod, first, and the other children from Kandor, later. Under that ton of muscle, the good heart of the man he’d been still beats.

Samuel Lane

General Sam LaneNow, let’s alternate a bit, and take a look at a character spotted in the latest trailer for Supergirl‘s upcoming episode Red Faced. In order to train Supergirl, the U.S. Army builds an android, Red Tornado, as a sparring partner, and the officer responsible for the whole operation is General Sam Lane, portrayed by Glenn Morshower (since his daughter Lucy is already part of the roster, it’s likely Sam will be a recurring character as well). This won’t be the General’s first appearance: he had a cameo in Superman: The Movie, briefly appearing on a train at the beginning of the film portrayed by Kirk Alyn. He later popped up in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman reinvented as a cyberneticist, and was portrayed by Denis Arndt, first, and by Harve Presnell, later. Last but not least, he also appeared in Smallville, portrayed by Michael Ironside: in the show, he was mostly explored as a single parent, raising his two daughters as if they were two of his subordinates. Waiting to see what this new version will bring to the character, let’s see who the original General Lane is.

The first version of Samuel Lane was a simple man, a horse farmer who married a beautiful woman, Ella, and had two daughters from her, Lois and Lucy. He and his family lived in a small rural town, PittsdaleIowa, and when Lois and Lucy grew up, Sam and Ella stayed behind in their farm, following their daughters’ career in the big city of Metropolis. After the Multiverse collapsed following the events of Chrisis on Infinite Earths, Sam Lane became a completely different man, with a different story and a brand new attitude. Lane entered U.S. Army as a young man, and became a career officer, climbing the ranks until he became a General. He married the woman he loved, Ella, and lived with her moving from a military base to another depending on his assignments. Sam wanted his firstborn to be a son whom he could teach everything he knew to, but Ella delivered a baby girl, Lois: quite generalsamlanecomics1disappointed for having a daughter instead of the son he was expecting, Sam treated Lois as a male nevertheless, and was quite hard, uncompromising and strict with her. When Ella got pregnant a second time, Sam had yet another daughter, Lucy: albeit he was lighter with her than he was with Lois, he still was quite the austere father, and when Ella tragically fell ill and died, being a single parent didn’t help him at all into bonding properly with his girls. As Lois and Lucy grew up, Sam ended up distancing himself more and more, until he was a totally absent figure in their lives, always prioritizing his work over his family. Lois, strong and independent, chose her own future, and became a reporter for the Daily Planet in Metropolis, making a new life for herself, while Lucy was quite a troublesome girl, unable to accomplish anything. Sam followed his elder daughter’s progresses in her career, albeit he never showed he was interested in Lois’ life; he met her daughter again when she wanted to introduce to him her fiancé, Clark Kent, a good-heart and mild-mannered man who utterly failed in impressing the hard-bitten General. Not approving anything in Lois’ life, least of all Clark, Sam eventually decided not to attend her wedding with Kent, thus increasing the distance between them.

General Lane strongly opposed the rising number and popularity of superheroes, mistrusting individuals with so much power at their disposal, and with such an independency from law and authorities. This position granted him a place in the cabinet of the newly elected President of the United States of America, billionaire Lex Luthor, who made him his Secretary of Defense. Lois knew far too well Luthor’s true nature, and she tried to warn her father of the new President’s dark side, but the General had found in Luthor a man who shared his thoughts on the threat represented by “enhanced individuals”, and refused to listen to his own daughter. Lane organised Earth‘s defenses when the entire planet came at war with Imperiex, a cosmic being who wished to annihilate “imperfection” from the universe. Necessity wanted Lane to team up with the superheroes he despised so much, and generalsamlanecomics2he found himself battling one of Imperiex’s probes side by side with Black Lightning: the probe’s armor was impenetrable, and at last the General detonated the nuclear engine of his own tank to crack the shell enough to allow Black Lightning to attack it. The plan succeeded, but Lane apparently died in the following explosion. The general miraculously survived, and was brought to safety by the Army, who kept his survival a highly classified information. Dead to the world, Lane oversaw a secret project aimed to monitor the actions of Brainiac, the alien cyborg who almost won the war against Imperiex. He left his secret base only once to speak with Lois, pretending to be his own ghost, exploiting his “death” to clarify things with his daughter and to solve some of their many unresolved issues. After that, he came back to his superiors, who made him the leader of Project 7734, a secret black-ops facility aimed to protect Earth from any kind of extraterrestrial threat or potential threat, including species believed to be friendly such as Kryptonians. Now, Lane had all the resources, the power and the licence to pursuit his life-long goal: to protect humanity from the so-called superheroes, aliens with too much power and not enough control in their use of it.

General Sam Lane is a hard and uncompromising man, an outspoken and direct soldier who doesn’t fear anybody or anything. With a deep distrust towards superhumans in general, Lane becomes nearly xenophobic in dealing with aliens of any kind, being them “good” or “evil”. A capable leader and a skilled tactician, a gifted pilot and a trained soldier, Lane is a warrior born, truly and totally committed in serving his country, even when this means to neglect his duties as a father and a family man. A man of power and authority, General Lane hardly accepts that other people can have more power than himself (or than the entire Army, for what matters), and he hasn’t the slightest intention of leaving them unchecked and uncontrolled.

James Bartholomew Olsen

Jimmy OlsenThis appears to be the trailer’s week, as also Supergirl got one, with quite a bunch of characters to speak about. Let’s start from the most famous…and unrecognizable one: Jimmy Olsen, the goofy photographer who in the show will be portrayed by Mehcad Brooks. This Jimmy, however, won’t be goofy at all, apparently, quite the opposite, and he’ll also act as a liaison between Kara Danvers and her cousin Superman (and he’ll be Kara’s love interest). Jimmy is a fundumental part of Superman’s mythology, and has appeared in nearly every movie or tv series about the Man of Steel: his very first live action appearance was in the Superman serial, portrayed by Tommy Bond, while the most popular is probably Marc McClure‘s version, since he played the character in all five the original movies (including the Supergirl spinoff). Aaron Ashmore portrayed him (and his older, nearly omonymous brother) in Smallville, while Sam Huntington did the same in Superman Returns. In every portrayal, Jimmy was the brave yet clumsy photographer with a particular relation of friendship with Superman…and it seems Brook’s portrayal will differ quite a lot from the usual Jimmy, at least for the clumsy part, and in appearance. Waiting to learn something more, let’s see who he is in the comics.

James Bartholomew Olsen was born in YonkersNew York, the son of military officer Jake Olsen and of his wife, newsagent Sarah. When Jimmy was still a kid, his father went missing in action while on a secret mission in Asia, and was declared dead soon after (he wasn’t dead though, but working as a secret agent for Cadmus). As a result, Sarah became overprotective over her son, and Jimmy was constantly guarded by his mother, growing up a little bit insecure. The Olsens moved to Metropolis, where Sarah started running a newsagents: Jimmy wanted to jimmyolsencomics1help, so every morning he woke up early and read all the newspapers, collecting the stories he liked the most, cutting out pictures and articles and pasting them into a scrapbook he made. With time, he became more and more passionate about journalism, and in particular about photography. With his first savings, he bought a camera, and started practicing, learning the technique from books he borrowed. Growing up, Jimmy Olsen proved to be pretty smart, but school wasn’t exactly his thing: he often got bored during lessons, so sometimes he just cut classes to attend lectures he really was interested in; he also used the time he didn’t spend in school practicing with his camera. All the hours spent outside school eventually paid off, as during a lecture he met Perry White, the editor in chief of Metropolis’ most important newspaper, the Daily Planet. White had quite a liking for the boy, since in Jimmy he saw a younger self; the two became fast friends, and Perry eventually offered the boy a job as an intern at the Planet, everything while Jimmy was still a junior high school student (of course, in the deal with Perry, Jimmy had to promise he would have finished school). From a day to another, Jimmy found himself working with some of the best journalists in the city, including the nearly legendary reporter Lois Lane. Jimmy befriended Lois as well, and he saw her talent as unrivaled…until something unexpected happened: Lois lost a scoop.

Metropolis found its new hero in the greatest of them all, Superman, a flying man who kept saving the day, without revealing anything about himself. Jimmy tried to take some pictures of the new costumed hero, but Superman was too fast, and the best he got was a red-and-blue blur. Everyone, Jimmy included, believed Lois would have been the first one to discover something about the flying man, but another reporter beat her on time: Clark Kent, who obtained the first interview ever with Superman, and was immediately hired by Perry White as a result. Jimmy befriended Kent as well (usually entertaining himself with the rivalry Lois had started with her new colleague). jimmyolsencomics2Following Kent’s interview, Jimmy tried to learn everything he could about Superman, so that he would have been the first one to take a picture of him…but his efforts went all in vain. One night, however, one of his school friends, Chrissie Walker, knocked to his door: she had tried to committ suicide with a pill overdose, but she had changed her mind immediately after, and she now asked for help. Jimmy and Sarah put the dying girl on their couch, but they were unable to contact any emergency personnel, or to bring her to the hospital: thinking fast, Jimmy assembled parts of his father’s old radios, sending a hypersonic signal in a frequency that, according to the interview, Superman could hear. Jimmy’s plan miraculously worked, and the Man of Steel himself rushed to the source of the signal, recognised the emergency and brought Chrissie to the hospital, saving her life. Complimenting Jimmy for his wit, Superman built a miniaturized version of Jimmy’s sonic device, and gave it to the boy in the form of a wrist watch: from that time, if Jimmy was in an emergency, he would have been able to summon Superman with the same signal. Exploiting the occasion, Jimmy also took a photograph of Superman, the first good one since the hero had appeared: the picture was a success, and Jimmy was promoted from simple gopher to photographer (who occasionally acted also as a reporter). Finally, he could follow Lois Lane or Clark Kent on the field as a professional photographer, with his works usually taking the front page of the Daily Planet: his dreams had come true.

Jimmy Olsen is an extremely smart kid, resourceful and fast-thinking, able to muddle through any kind of situation, albeit being incautious and sometimes even goofy always puts him in trouble. He’s a skilled photographer, always ready to catch the perfect moment, and he’s an ambitious young man who dreams of becoming a renowned photojournalist. He’s also Superman’s pal, and he possesses the one and only Signal Watch, a device he can call Superman with any time there’s an emergency (being quite the fanboy, he even used it for more trivial and mundane matters, getting scolded by Superman as a result). Brave and intelligent, Jimmy Olsen is a loyal friend and a daring young journalist, a “kid” for all his mentors, but also a colleague who earnt their respect.

Lana Elizabeth Lang

Lana LangTime for a major character in the Superman mythology: in Man of Steel, she just has a cameo as a little girl on the school bus, portrayed by Jadin Gould, but for every fan Lana Lang is surely not an unknown name (the pic is awful, but I didn’t find anything better). Her first live action appearance was in The Adventures of Superboy pilot, where she was portrayed by Bunny Henning, and she also had a small cameo in Superman: The Movie, appearing as a school friend of Clark Kent (she was portrayed by Diane Sherry); in the original movie series, she had a major role in the third movie, portrayed by Annette O’Toole. She mostly appeared on television, always as Clark’s best friend and/or love interest: in Superboy, a single episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and, of course, Smallville, where Kristin Kreuk gave the character a world-wide fandom. Let’s see together who Lana Lang is in the comics.

Lana Lang’s story has been rebooted even more than the other characters’ one: in the first version, she was born the daughter of Lewis and Sarah Lang, a couple living in SmallvilleKansas. When she was a teenager, she fell in love with two people at the same time: lanalangcomics1Clark Kent, her neighbor, and Superboy, the local hero. During much of her high school days, she spent her time trying to discover Superboy’s secret identity, either by following him and by feigning to be in distress in order to lure the hero. At a certain point, she helped an alien who gave her the powers of the Insect Queen, but this is another story. In her second version, we find Lana as an adult, as a television critic for the Daily Star. She was born in Smallville, but moved to Metropolis when she was very young. In this reality, she wasn’t attracted by Clark, nor by his superhero alterego, Superman. Lana met Clark in television, and she recognized in him her childhood friend she hadn’t seen in decades, and the two became friends once again. Even this Lana became the Insect Queen, but this time she obtained her powers not through a grateful alien, but through a mystical amulet her archaeologist father retrieved in an ancient temple, and that he gave her daughter as a gift unaware of its properties. If a live action version of Insect Queen will ever see the light, we’ll speak about Lana’s expolits as a superheroine.

The third and final (at least for us) version sees Lana as a childhood friend of Clark’s. The two of them grew up together in Smallville, and they fell in love with each other when they were still children. Lana discovered about Clark’s powers when she was very young, when Clark saved lanalangcomics2her life deploying his incredible strength. From that moment, Lana stayed close to him and helped him keep his secret, and she also helped him to control and understand the new powers he was discovering: the first time they kissed, the arousal made Clark develop his heat vision, and when Lana was sucked up in a tornado, Clark learnt to fly and saved her. The two parted when Clark left Smallville, and Lana herself moved to Metropolis to attend University, getting a degree in Business. When Superman appeared, Lana was the only one (apart from Martha Kent) who knew perfectly who was hiding behind the red cape. Lana became a successful businesswoman, and met again Pete Ross, another childhood friend from Smallville. Pete fell in love with her and proposed to her, but Lana still felt something for Clark; when she realized that Clark would have never loved her the way she loved him, she eventually married Pete and moved to Smallville with him. She became pregnant, but the child was born premature: fearing for his son’s life, Lana called Superman and asked him to take the baby to an advanced medical facility in Metropolis as soon as possible, but on the way Superman was attacked by Brainiac in the body of Doomsday, who defeated him and kidnapped the baby. Brainiac wanted the baby as a new host, and started a process of rapid aging, but Superman interrupted it and saved the child, who was however older than before. He brought him back to his mother, and Lana chose to name him Clark Peter Ross. Lana then moved to Washington, D.C. when Pete became Lex Luthor‘s Vice President and then President himself. After their White House adventure, anyway, Lana’s and Pete’s marriage was severly tried, and the two eventually divorced. When Luthor fell from grace, Lana became the succesfull chairwoman of LexCorp, a powerful woman who was now triying to use her resources to help her hero and friend, Superman.

Lana Lang is, in every incarnation, a loyal friend and a good girl (or woman), with a strong character and an indomitable will. Despite being quite uncertain about her feelings (she’s always in love with Clark Kent, despite her try to deny it, first of all to herself), she has proven more than once to be a reliable ally for Clark, in both his civil life and his super identity. Since she divorced from Pete Ross, she has started some sort of rivalry with Clark’s wife, Lois Lane, who doesn’t see well the return on scenes of her husband’s first love…

Kal-El/Clark Kent (Superman)

supermanfilmWith another official poster for Man of Steel released, I think it’s time to speak about the first superhero ever, the character who gave birth to the word “superhero” itself: Superman. Superman is one of the most portrayed character in both cinema and television, live action and animation alike, and earned the title of most famous superhero of all times. His most famous portrayals are the ones of George Reeves, who starred in the first movie dedicated to the hero, Christopher Reeve, the protagonist of the four movies started with Richard Donner‘s one, and maybe Tom Welling, who gave his face to the character for ten seasons (!) of Smallville. The latest addition to the long (long long) series of actors is Henry Cavill, who will portray the Man of Steel in the homonymous movie from Zack Snyder. Let’s see where all of those movies and tv series came from.

We all know the history of Superman, even if, of course, it has been retold more than once during the years, changing some details in the process. The fact that in the DC Universe there are many Supermen depending on which reality you’re looking at doesn’t help at all. Anyway, there are some common traits. Everything began on the planet Krypton, a distant world on the verge of disaster (depending itASSMv1 p1-32.qx on natural causes, the intervention of the artificial intelligence Brainiac or the terrorist Black Zero, the fact remains that Krypton was about to explode). Two scientists, man and wife, Jor-El and his beloving Lara Lor-Van, since they failed to convince the Kryptonian council of the approaching catastrophe, went against the pillar traits of their culture (which preached sterility) and conceived a son, Kal-El, who they wanted to save from the end of their world. Jor-El built a rocket for his son, entrusted the on-board computer with the memory of Kryptonian culture and history and digital copies of his personality and his wife’s, and sent the baby in open space, aimed to Earth, a distant and primitive planet. Once on Earth, the radiations from its yellow sun would have granted Kal-El powers unknown to the local population, and would have made him a god among mortals (on Krypton a red sun made everyone like normal “human” beings, apart from intelligence). Kal-El’s rocket landed in SmallvilleKansas, a small rural town: in here, he was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, an elderly couple (or not so elderly, depending on the continuity you’re reading in) without children
who chose to adopt him, presenting him as their own to other towners. They named him Clark Kent, and raised him teaching him the most human of values, such as compassion, humility, love for every living creature, respect for life. Growing up, the boy developed outstanding powers, that made him one of the most powerful beings on planet. When he was 18, the Kents revealed him his alien origins, and showed him the rocket. Clark acknowledged his origins, and, following his putative parents’ teachings, he decided to use his powers for justice.

He went to Metropolis University, and saved the day in his spare time, always avoiding to be seen. When he was 25, anyway, while saving a falling spacecraft, he made his first public appearance. Believing that his real identity had to remain secret in order to allow him to live among people, understand them and their needs without being recognized as an almost almighty being, Clark decided to create a symbol, a new identity to show in public as the world’s savior. He transformed Clark Kent in a nerdish, clumsy, shortsighted, shy and awkward man, while Martha created a costume for him. A Metropolis young reporter, Lois Lane, who witnessed his debut, nicknamed him supermancomics2Superman, and that remained the official name for the world’s most powerful superhero. While Clark Kent started working at the local newspaper Daily Planet, befriending many colleagues (including Lois), Superman became a world-wide known hero, some sort of benign god who saved everyone who was in need, in every part of the world. More than convinced to be Earth’s guardian angel, Superman founded, along with some other heroes, the Justice League of America, a super team that would have faced treats that were too much for every single one of them alone, including Superman. His amazing powers attracted the attentions of many ill-intentioned people, the first being Lex Luthor, a powerful industrialist who started to hold a personal grudge towards Superman, trying to kill him in many ways (and sometimes succeeding in it) wanting to punish him for not sharing his powers with normal human beings. Kal-El, Last Son of Krypton, began a real double life: while Superman lived in his Fortress of Solitude in the North Pole, Clark Kent lived in Metropolis, coming back to Smallville from time to time; the first one was an always present hero, the second an unreliable absent-minded journalist. Things got easier the moment he revealed his secret identity to Lois Lane, who eventually became his wife: with Lois covering him, he was able to have Clark Kent disappear without raising too many doubts.

Kal-El is easily one of the most powerful beings in the universe: with incredible super strength and speed, invulnerability, the ability to fly, x-ray vision, heat vision, freezing blow, a longevity that could possibly be real immortality, superhuman senses, a healing factor working with sunlight, a genius level intellect, a good training in combat and many other powers and skills, Superman is virtually invincible, his only weaknesses being magic, a force that affects every living being, included gods and aliens, and Kryptonite, a rare mineral composed of the fragments of his destroyed planet, that weakens him to the point of killing him. Kryptonite has various effects on Superman depending on its specific conformation (and color), but it never has pleasurable effects. With right values and solid principles, Superman never uses his powers to dominate over other beings, quite the opposite, he uses them to serve, and sacrifices his own life to protect humanity, just as a god would do with his people. The world’s mightiest hero is also the world’s greatest man, the most human and compassionate person ever lived.