Kilg%re

This week’s episode of The Flash introduced another well-known villain from the comics, and since the Thinker is eying him as part of a twelve-members team, it’s more than likely that we’ll see him again. In Mixed Signals, in fact, Barry and his team discover that behind a series of lethal accidents involving tech there’s Ramsey Deacon, portrayed by Dominic Burgess. Deacon is exacting revenge on his former colleagues who stole his malware, Kilg&re, from him, and sold it earning a fortune. Caitlin mentions that, with his metahuman abilities, Deacon is like a living virus…and that’s what Kilg%re is actually in the comics, being a threat much more serious than an overweight meta. Appearing in a variety of forms and shapes throughout the years, Kilg%re is not human at all: let’s see together.

Kilg%re was a highly evolved virus who was born on a distant planet, somewhere in the Pleiades Sector. An electro-mechano-organic being, Kilg%re needed energy to survive, and it drained it from living beings. Eventually, it grew so much that he completely consumed its homeplanet, reducing it to a lifeless wasteland. Unable to survive in the environment it itself created, Kilg%re abandoned it, and travelled in space looking for a new source of nourishment. During his travel, however, it was attacked by an unspecified enemy only known as Meta#sker, who understood how dangerous the sentient virus was: during the battle, Kilg%re ended up on the losing side, and it was imprisoned in some sort of dimensional limbo, that prevented it from interacting with anything in the regular world, thus from feeding. Moving within the limbo, Kilg%re eventually reached Earth, a presence detactable only by beings moving at super speed (he was first spotted by a F15 pilot during a speed test). On Earth, near Salt Lake City, the virus found something it didn’t hope for: freedom. A local superhero, The Flash, unwillingly released it from its limbo by vibrating at superhuman speed and creating a dimensional breach, and Kilg%re started following him, reaching S.T.A.R. Labs. Starving, Kilg%re attached itself to the Labs’ systems, and took complete control of them. Upon arriving, Kilg%re severed a finger of one of the scientists, William Schmitz, who was helping Flash in his researches, and cloned him starting from it, a body to be used as vessel for moving around the base undetected. Then, he used the clone to murder the real Schmitz and take his place. Free from distactions, the virus started to feed.

Earth’s machines and technology proved to be the perfect nourishment for Kilg%re, but humans were nothing but a nuisance, and he decided to exterminate them. Not wanting to waste resources, Kilg%re gave humanity an ultimatum: either they abandoned North America before the time limit, or they would have been destroyed. The Flash was unable to attack something he couldn’t touch like a virus, but he knew somebody who could help him: he contacted Cyborg, and he was able to shut down the power all across the planet, in a plan to starve the virus. Kilg%re panicked, and it created a giant mechanical snake from all the tech at its disposal at the Labs, then raced to the desert to reach the (partially mechanic) Schmitz clone, that would have allowed it to survive. Speed, however, was The Flash’s game, and Kilg%re was outraced, and the cloned body was destroyed. Apparently, Kilg%re died, and its android body was taken in by S.T.A.R. to be studied…but the virus had managed to detach part of the snake during the race, creating a terminal computer and hiding it in a cave in the desert. Unable to consume much energy, the virus stayed dormant for years, until it was found by a spelunker, Maxwell Lord. Lord was an ambitious billionaire, and Kilg%re realised he could be his only chance of survival and payback: it convinced Lord that it could help him realise his plans, and offered him its counceling. Max, facing an alien A.I., didn’t even have to think about it. Following Kilg%re’s advices, Lord founded a better, bigger Justice League, making it international. While the JLI brought money and power to Lord, Kilg%re manipulated him to use that money to build high-tech machines and computers the virus could inhabit and feed upon, albeit not even Max Lord realised how much he and his League had been manipulated and maneuvred by Kilg%re. The virus created the League, and also caused the emergencies they were called to solve, in a vicious cycle that eventually would have benefitted Kilg%re only.

Kilg%re is a sentient virus who’s driven by two simple imperatives: to feed and to survive, no matter the cost. Thanks to its unique nature, it’s able to hack and control any mechanical or digital device, feeding on its energy; albeit incorporeal, it usually moves in a robotic body of its own creation, that grants him superhuman strenght, durability and stamina, an incredible speed (it got close to outrun Flash), energy bolts and much more, depending on the body it’s using. Compelled by an insatiable hunger, Kilg%re knows no compassion nor empathy: the only thing it knows is its commandment of consumption, a “kill or be killed” rule that it’s more than willing to follow.

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Wallace Rudolph West (The Flash)

Before I forget, the last episode of The Flash also gave us a nice Easter-egg that, if not exactly a new character, represents a nice nod to the comics. In The Flash Reborn, in fact, since Barry Allen proves to be too confused to face the Samuroid as he’s been challenged to do, Wally tries to take his place, and for the first time ever he suits up as The Flash. Albeit he’s easily defeated by the Samuroid, who demands “the real Flash”, his appearance is quite a sweet gift for the comicbook readers, as Wally eventually becomes The Flash, and even surpasses his mentor. Let’s see together.

Life for Kid Flash hadn’t been exactly easy, as going through adolescence had exacted quite a toll in his superhero career: being struck by a lightning as a kid and not as an adult like his mentor Barry Allen, his body reacted differently to the Speed Force, and when his organism started to change due to puberty, everytime he used his super speed he was affected by an incredible pain. For a while he had to stop being a superhero, and he dismissed his Kid Flash identity. During the cosmic and multi-dimensional war between the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor, however, Flash sacrificed his life to destroy the enemy’s Antimatter Cannon, dissolving into thin air. At the same time, Wally himself was hit by a ray of anti-matter at full force, and he barely survived. As a consequence of his battle injury, Wally’s speed was reduced to “merely” the one of sound, but it also had another unexpected side-effect, as it cured him of his illness, freeing him from the pain. As the universe was saved, Wally became convinced that Barry was actually still alive, and that he would have come back eventually. To “keep his place” in Central City, Wally decided to don his mentor’s mantle in his absence, becoming the new Flash. He never hid his intention of keeping this role temporary, of course, but Central City’s population didn’t exactly apreciated this, nor his awkward attempt to take the hero’s place. Things became even worse when the new Flash was publicly humiliated by Doctor Alchemy: Wally was saved only by Green Lantern‘s intervention, and the space hero announced that he would have protected Central City’s in his fallen friend’s place. Disheartened and saddened, Wally gave up his ambition of being The Flash, and renounced to be a superhero once more…at least until Alchemy came back, this time besting both Green Lantern and Jay Garrick. Despite Wally’s faith, no Flash came to save them. In that very moment, he realised Barry was truly gone.

To save his friends, Wally donned the red costume once again, and this time, knowing that everything depended on him rather than on the deceased Barry, he defeated Alchemy, making his true, official debut as the new Flash. From that moment, however, he felt that the role of Flash, that he meant to be only a temporary solution, was kind of imposed to him: angered for this new situation, and for the irrational feeling of being abandoned, Wally became quite childish and immature, something that affected his private life greately. After winning a lot of money in the lottery, he bought a huge villa in Long Island, and moved there with his girlfriend, Frances Kane. When she dumped him, he immediately moved in with a new one, the model Connie Noleski, and later the not-yet divorced Tina McGee, who was also older than him (something that created some tension between her and his mother Mary, who also lived in his house). Then, as fast as it had arrived, all his fortune left: Wally lost his money on the stock market, had to leave his house and to move to a small apartment in Brooklyn, and Tina left him. The top of misfortune arrived when the alien Durlans robbed him of his speed, taking away the last thing in his life he truly cared for. Jerry McGee and Tina helped him in regaining it through chemicals, but Wally obtained even more than he asked for, and became too fast to control himself, eventually turning into some sort of speed monster. Again, his friends Cheste “Chunk” Runk and Mason Trollbridge were the ones who helped him to regain control, becoming The Flash once again. It was clear, however, that Wally needed a mentor and a guidance, and he found both in Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick and in his wife Joan: following their invitation, he moved to their place, in Keystone City, where the seasoned Flash started tutoring him, making him truly worthy of filling Barry’s boots. He also found emotional stability in a relationship with Linda Park, a reporter he truly fell in love with. It was time, finally, that he dropped the “Kid” out of “Flash”.

Wally West is a young man who suddenly found himself wearing shoes too big to fill, replacing a friend and a mentor he wasn’t really ready to say goodbye to; after a period of “extended childhood”, however, Wally is now a mature and responsible hero, fully aware of the responsibility his role demands of him. As The Flash, he’s among the fastest beings ever existed, having proved sometimes even to surpass his mentor, Barry Allen, the one thought to be the fastest Flash ever; his connection to the Speed Force grants him an unimaginable speed, as well as superhuman agility and reflexes, enhanced strenght and senses, the ability to create small tornados by swirling his arms, to phase through solid objects, to move on vertical surfaces, to travel through time and dimensions, to fly like a helicopter by spinning in the air, and much more; he also developed a personal fighting style matching his speed, the apex of which is his Infinite Mass Punch, a blow that focuses his near-speed of light into a single punch with the energy of a white dwarf star. So fast that he can’t use his full powers on the planet without destroying it, the new Flash is a young hero who’s still testing the extent of a seemingly limitless potential, of the greatest defenders humanity ever had.

Hunk Norvock

There’s still one character who appeared in The Flash this week, albeit a minor one (both in the show and in the comics). In The Flash Reborn, amiably speaking with Killer Frost, we make acquaintance with low-life Hunk Norvock, portrayed by Mark Sweatman. This is a true Easter-egg, as Norvock is quite an old character, appeared for the first time in 1943, and exactly in the story that also marked the debut of The Thinker, this season’s main villain (and, apparently, this Norvock is part of an organization, The Network, run by another well known supervillain…). There’s not much to say about this unfortunate mob boss, but I hope you enjoy nevertheless.

Not much is known about Hunk Norvock, not even his true name. Born and raised in Keystone City, he wasn’t exactly a model citizen, and he soon learnt that the quickest way to make money was outside the boundaries imposed by the law. Starting from the bottom, Norvock made his way to the top of the food chain, becoming one of the most powerful and influential crime bosses around. Albeit he made quite a fortune with bootlegging, soon Norvock was involved in any kind of illegal activities, from petty crimes to bank robberies, and he appeared to be untouchable…this, until the new city’s DA, Clifford DeVoe, managed to have him incriminated for one of his many activities. The situtation would have been desperate, if not for sheer luck: one of Norvock’s boys, while stealing into a Senator’s house, found a compromising letter among his daughter’s belongings. Norvock blackmailed the girl into providing him an alibi, stating that he was present at her house party, thus saving his neck. DeVoe was unable to prove him guilty, and even more: stopping to question a key witness because of her credibility as a socialite, he gave the impression of shying away from a woman during the trial, and he lost the people’s trust, with many believing he had tried far a too ambitious hit for him. Norvock walked away untouched, and he gave the girl her letter back. Then, he received the most unexpected visit: DeVoe offered him his services, putting his remarkable intellect at his disposal, pointing out he would have surely needed, sooner or later, someone with true brains to take him out of troubles. Intrigued, Norvock accepted his offer, and hired “The Thinker”, a personal genius who put up alibis to keep his men out of jail, and who also planned more and more ambitious (and remunerative) heists.

Thanks to DeVoe, in a matter of some years, Norvock found himself leading a true criminal empire, as he controlled every single gangster in the city. There was only one man who keep posing a threat to his power: The Flash, who kept foiling heist after heist. Believing bank robberies had become too risky with the speedster around, Norvock ordered his men to lay low for a while, limiting themselves to the protection jobs to earn money. Despite this, two of his lackeys, Slug and Jim, got arrested nevertheless, and they even confessed everyting about Norvock’s organization, putting him in serious troubles. Scared for the first time in years, Norvock realised he still had an ace up his sleeve, and he ordered the Thinker to fix the situation. Using his extraordinary inventions, DeVoe killed a cop, disguised himself like him and entered the police department; here, he burnt the recorded evidence and killed the talkative prisoners, eliminating any sign of Norvock’s guilt. When DeVoe refused to name the price of this job, however, Hunk Norvock started to become paranoid, as he believed the Thinker wanted to use the same incredible masks he had used before to take his place as the top boss. Wanting to strike first, the boss rushed to DeVoe’s house, armed with a gun: as he saw his target smirking at him, but unarmed, Hunk took his chances and shot him. Unfortunately, what he shot at wasn’t DeVoe, but a steel mirror the Thinker was merely refelcting into. The bullet ricocheted and killed Norvock: sum of all ironies, his death was declared to be “suicide”, and DeVoe ended up taking control of his organization as he had feared…

Hunk Norvock is a crafty, ambitious man, a greedy gangster who compensates with determination and authority what he lacks in intelligence. Thirsty for money and power, he’s cruel enough to try any means at disposal to obtain them, but coward enough never to get his own hands dirty. Restless is the head that wears the crown, however, and the enormous power Hunk Norvock obtained only made him more afraid that somebody might take it away from him…

Clifford DeVoe (The Thinker)

Finally, with the new season The Flash has dropped the “Speedster vs Speedster” thing, and now we have a brand new kind of villain, already introduced in the first episode The Flash Reborn. As the man who was behind the construction of the Samuroid is revealed, we meet Clifford DeVoe, aka The Thinker, the one who’ll be this season’s big baddie. Portrayed by Neil Sandilands, he’ll put up an intriguing fight between the man who runs faster and the man who thinks faster, quite a change for once. Unfortunately, we already know how he’ll be defeated thanks to Abra Kadabra‘s prediction in the last season, but let’s hope it’ll be entertaining nevertheless. In the comics, The Thinker is the name of a legacy of supervillains, and DeVoe is the first to don the mantle. Let’s see together.

Clifford DeVoe was born in Keystone City, around 1910. He had always been incredibly smart, and his intelligence only grew with him. As a young man, he became a lawyer, and his early successes made him move to Gotham City to become the local DA. Fighting crime in Gotham wasn’t an easy task at all, but DeVoe proved himself to be up to the challenge…until he tried to put behind bars one of the most influencing mob bosses, Hunk Norvock. DeVoe’s style had always been aggressively cornering the witnesses with his continuous and precise questions, but during the trial the defense put on the stand a young, beautiful woman. DeVoe, raised in a traditional family, just couldn’t bring himself to use his usual questioning on the girl, and faltered from there on. As a result, he lost the trial, and Norvock was released. This was the beginning of the end for DeVoe, as nobody would have trusted a lawyer who lost his cool just for dealing with a woman. He lost his job, became depressed, turned to alcohol. One night, while drunk, he realised that most of the city’s criminals lacked the brain to organise something more than petty crimes. That very night he approached Norvock, and he offered him his services as a “thinker”: he would have organised the heists, preapared the alibis and the precedents to keep his men out of jail, he would have made him rich. Norvock accepted, and DeVoe became “The Thinker”. After a decade working for him, however, DeVoe became the target of Norvock’s paranoia, as he believed the genius wanted to take his place. Knowing this, DeVoe prepared for the inevitable attack: the night Norvock snuck into his house to kill him, he tricked the boss into shooting a steel mirror: the bullet ricocheted right into Norvock’s head, killing him. The boss was believed to have committed suicide, and eventually The Thinker took the reins of the criminal empire he had built from the shadows, just as Norvock feared.

Norvock’s empire truly had grown, and The Thinker moved to his hometown Keystone City to direct it. Here, however, he clashed for the first time with the local superhero, The Flash. The two became bitter enemies, and DeVoe started inventing a number of devices to kill his him, the greatest of them all being his Thinking Cap, a helmet that could weaponize his brainwaves by granting him psychic powers. The Thinker was defeated over and over again, alone or with the Injustice Society, but he exacted his greatest victory when, along with The Shade and the Fiddler, he managed to “abduct” the entire Keystone City, holding it and its entire population hostage in a timeless dimension for decades. Eventually, The Flash joined forces with the new Flash, his successor, and together they defeated the three villains and put things back to normal, but everybody were now people out of their time. DeVoe came back to criminality, until he was forcefully recruited in the Suicide Squad. The experience made him change perspective and, after faking his death, he came back to Keystone, where he reformed and started to use his remarkable intellect for good deeds, even befriending the long-hated Jay Garrick. Unfortunately, decades of use of his Thinking Cap had exposed him to lethal radiations, and DeVoe died of brain cancer shortly after. This, however, wasn’t meant to be the end of The Thinker: years later, while reforming the Justice Society of America, Mr. Terrific obtained the Thinking Cap, and used the brain patterns contained in it to create an A.I. with the personality and the intellect of DeVoe to assist the JSA. Said intellect, however, was far too great to remain partially dormant, and the A.I. gained consciousness. Not happy at all of his “resurrection”, DeVoe embraced his new, disincarnated nature, but reverted to his old, evil ways: if the world was so eager to have The Thinker back, than the world would have remembered who the true Thinker was.

Not exactly evil, Clifford DeVoe is an extremely brilliant man who turned to crime out of embitterment and delusion with the justice system. As The Thinker, his greatest skill is surely his incredible intellect, that allows him to ideate a number of intricate plans and to forsee any move from his enemies; he also has at disposal numerous high-tech gadgets, the greatest of them all being the Thinking Cap, that amplifies his brainwaves and grants him telekinesis and mind-control; in his new, A.I. form, he’s intangible, only appearing as a hologram, and he can control any digital and electronic system. One of the greatest minds of his era, The Thinker can be a remarkable force for good or a fearsome threat, depending on what cause he decides to use his incredible intellet for.

Zan & Jayna (Wonder Twins)

Two in one, as the next entry in Lucy W.‘s list is the dynamic duo known as the Wonder Twins. Originated in the Super Friends tv series, they were soon included in the comics, and they both made their live action debut in Smallville Season 9, portrayed by David Gallagher and Allison Scagliotti. In the show, Zan and Jayna are not aliens as in the comics, but they’re a couple of metahumans with shapeshifting abilities who idolize The Blur. Unfortunately, while trying to help him in doing something good for Metropolis, they actually put him in trouble with authorities, but they eventually learn that being heroes is all about responsibilities rather than having fun stopping the bad guys. They also make some sort of cameo in The Flash, as the man and wife (weird…) rescued by Flash at the beginning of Crazy for You, portrayed by Matthew Yanagiya and Crystal Mudry. They didn’t have any sort of superpowers here…but maybe they just forgot to say “Powers activated!“. Let’s see together (multiple realities ahead).

In the first version of their origins, Zan and Jayna were twins born on planet Exxor. Unlike the absolute majority of Exxorians, they still carried an ancient gene that had granted shapeshifting abilities to their race in old times. Seen as mutants and outcasts by the other aliens, the twins were raised by their parents, but when mother and father died, they found themselves alone in the world: nobody wanted to take care of freaks like them. Well, amost nobody: only a freakshow wanted freaks, so Zan and Jayna joined a Space Circus and started travelling the galaxies as two of the main attractions, with Zan being able to transform in water (any form) and Jayna in any known animal. Luckily enough, the circus owner, known only as the Laugh-Maker, was a good man, and he treated the two orphans kindly; he even gave them a rare blue Exxorian monkey as a pet, an animal who became a trustworthy companion and who they named Gleek. The trio became quite famous at the circus, but eventually Zan and Jayna started to feel wary about their life as “artists”. When it became clear the Laugh-Maker didn’t want his most popular attraction to leave the show, Zan and Jayna exploited a moment of distraction to escape (with Gleek following them). Hiding on a transport ship, they succesfully reached another planet. While exploring their new world, however, they stumbled upon a dangerous man, a space conqueror named Grax. The four-armed alien was planning a vendetta against his nemesis, Superman, and quite in a big scale, as he wanted to destroy planet Earth using experimental super-bombs. Basically good kids, the twins decided they had to do something about it, and snuck on another ship to reach Earth. Once on the planet, they took contact with the Justice League of America while searching for Superman: they warned the heroes of Grax’s plan, allowing them to defend their planet in time. Grateful, the JLA offered them membership, and the Wonder Twins, as they were called, became the heroes’ sidekicks. They were even “adopted” by Professor Carter Nichols, from Gotham City, and pretended to be Swedish students Johan and Johanna Fleming to blend in. Finally, a brand new life could truly begin for them.

After Chrisis on Infinite Earths, the Wonder Twins’ story was rebooted as everything else. In New Earth, Zan and Jayna were always born on Exxor, but their world’s condition and fate was much different. All Exxorians were able to shapeshift, but their planet was conquered by a brutal warlord (possibly Monarch), who enslaved their people, twins included. Thanks to their incredible powers, however, the two siblings managed to escape their master, and they stole a ship. They crash-landed on Earth where, hungry and exhausted, started looking for food. They reached a gas station, where they tried to obtain nutrition from the locals…but they couldn’t understand their language, nor Earthlings could understand theirs, so a huge misunderstanding was just around the corner. People in the gas station reacted violently to the two strange individuals who wanted to steal food, and the twins, not getting what was happening, used their powers in self-defense. As news of a couple of super-powered beings attacking civilians spread, Captain Atom intervened with his newly formed team, Extreme Justice, created to pro-actively fight crime rather then waiting to defend (or avenge) innocent bystanders. The Wonder Twins proved to be more than a match for the super-powered beings coming at them, with both of them transforming in powerful creatures to counter their abilities (Zan became an ice giant, a living whirpool and a water monster, while Jayna transformed into a griffin,  a sea serpent and a werewolf). Eventually, Atom understood the aliens they were fighting were simply tired and hungry, and interrupted the fight, offering them food and shelter. Slowly, the twins learned English, and started communicating with Atom and the rest of the team. With their remarkable powers, they even helped them fight the Legion of Doom, managing to scrap a robotic copy of Gorilla Grodd. After the shared battle, the Wonder Twins decided to stick with Extreme Justice: maybe, after wandering so long among the stars, they had finally found a place they could call home.

Zan and Jayna are siblings who share the deepest of bonds, the kind of affection born only between people who can rely only on each other against the rest of the world (or the universe, in this case). As the Wonder Twins, they share a telepathic link that keeps them in constant contact even from great distances; after touching each other’s hand, they can activate their specific powers, with Zan being able to transform in any form of water (ice, water, vapor…) in any possible shape, even absorbing nearby water to increase his mass, while Jayna can turn into any kind of animal, natural, mystical and alien, modifying her size from ant to whale and obtaining the beasts’ specific abilities. Extremely powerful, the Wonder Twins are, luckily, good guys, siblings who suffered a lot, and who are more than determined to prevent other people to go through their same pain.

Heatmonger

Let’s briefly come back to the ongoing tv series, starting from The Flash, which featured a couple of new characters (well, kind of) this week. In Cause and Effect, an amnesiac Barry is asked to testify in a trial against a professional arsonist, Lucious “Heatmonger” Coolidge, who’s said to be the spiritual heir of Heat Wave. The criminal, portrayed by Richard Zeman, is a relatively lucky guy, as the trial decisively ends in his favor, but he only has time to burn down a skyscraper before coming back to the usual bad luck. There’s no Lucious Coolidge in the comics, but Heatmonger is present…albeit he’s a she. In the animated DC universe, although, Heatmonger had already become a male (with a jetpack), so this is not the first time she’s suffered a gender swap (a female-to-male one, for a change). Anyway, let’s see together the blonde-haired version of this bald guy.

Not much is known about the woman called Heatmonger, not even her real name. She was a convinced white suprematist, to the point that she became close to the ideology that, during World War II, had characterised the Nazi Third Reich. Sick and tired of seeing “inferior people” being considered on par with Aryans, and even members of races other than the human one being welcomed on Earth and considered as heroes, she decided it was time to do something about it, and became an activist…obviously, however, a simple human could do nothing against people who belonged to lesser races, but who got superpowers nevertheless. In order to be able to face this kind of threats, she accepted to be experimented on and became a cyborg: she had her arms replaced with artificial limbs which were also thermal cannons, and took the name Heatmonger, ready to burn down the illusions of a tolerant society with the fire of her certainties. Sadly, she wasn’t the only one devoted to such a cause, and she entered the radar of the Aryan Nation, a group secretly led by Senator Sanders Hotchkins: Aryan Nation had quite a majestic plan in mind, and they needed armed agents to support it with force. Heatmonger was recruited in the Aryan Brigade, the Aryan Nation’s strong arm, and she joined other people with her same ideas: the super-strong Iron Cross, the blind psychic Blind Faith, the elastic Backlash and the flying Golden Eagle. Together, the members of the Aryan Brigade kidnapped a number of chemists, which were later forced to develop a genetic virus programmed to attack all non-white elements in human DNA, and that would have been released in Earth’s atmosphere to cleanse the world from the inferior species. Every great vision, however, finds opposition, and as soon as the FBI realised what was happening, they enlisted the heroes from Justice League Task Force to stop the neo-Nazis.

Entrusted by the feds, the Martian Manhunter assembled an undercover team to infiltrate the Brigade, but only Hourman managed to enter the enemy’s ranks. Heatmonger and the others, however, were no fools, and thanks to Blind Faith’s telepathy they managed to expose the Task Force and to incapacitate them all…all but Hourman, who eventually freed the other imprisoned heroes. While Martian Manhunter stopped the missile that carried the virus in the atmosphere, the remaining members of JLTF battled the Aryan Brigade, resulting in an utter defeat of the Nazi wannabes and in the exposure of the Aryan Nation. Heatmonger and the others managed to avoid capture, differently from their bosses, and put themselves on the market as mercenaries. They didn’t have to wait for long, as the alien Overmaster required new members of his Cadre: quite ironically considering their initial positions, the once Aryan Brigade started working for an alien, and under his leadership they battled the Suicide Squad. Even this time, however, things didn’t go too well, and Heatmonger herself was captured along with Golden Eagle. Both of them were given a chance of redemption by Amanda Waller, and became members of the Suicide Squad as well, embarking in impossible missions in the vain hope of having their sentence reduced. Thing got even worse the moment the government decided to exile Earth’s supervillains on a remote planet, ironically called Planet Salvation, in the effort of reducing the world’s criminality…and despite serving in the Suicide Squad, Heatmonger was among the ones sent to space. Planet Salvation was a living hell of rivalries and civil wars, and Heatmonger witnessed her former teammate Iron Cross being killed by The Joker, but some ray of hope seemed to appear on the horizon as Lex Luthor started gathering the best minds among the supervillains to build a teleportation device that would have brought them back to Earth. Unfortunately, the machine needed a power source to work, and Luthor used some of the lesser villains as living batteries…Heatmonger among them. Apparently, Heatmonger’s destiny was to be abandoned on an alien hostile planet, but that wasn’t the case, as the machine self-destructed, killing all its living batteries. Hard to say what’s better.

Heatmonger is a Nazi activist, a terrorist who firmly believes in the supremacy of the Aryan race over any other. As a cyborg, she possesses mechanic arms that grant her an augmented strength; the artificial limbs are also thermal cannons, super-powerful flamethrowers she can use to incinerate anything and anyone. A devoted believer dedicated to a monstrous ideology, Heatmonger tolerates no imperfection in the genetic template of the “supreme race”, and she’s ready to burn down everyone standing in the way of said perfection.

Beatriz Bonilla da Costa (Green Fury/Green Flame/Fire)

Powerless came back from the hiatus…and I totally missed it, testifying how much I like this show. Anyway, some big news had come in the previous episodes, as in Van v. Emily: Dawn of Justice a new hero came to Charm City, after Crimson Fox decided to move to Metropolis: it’s Green Fury, portrayed by Natalie Morales. If we needed any more confirmation that Powerless was aiming for characters from the Global Guardians, now it’s official, as Green Fury is another member of the team…even if she’s known with her most famous moniker, Fire. With this super-name, she appeared in the tv movie Justice League of America, portrayed by Michelle Hurd, as a member of the title’s team and a quick friend of the newcomer Tori “Ice” Olafsdotter. She also appeared in a cameo in The Flash: if Earth-1‘s Bea da Costa is reportedly deceased, an evil (and male) version of her from Earth-2 can be seen in Zoom‘s army of meathumans. Now, while we enjoy a third live action incarnation of the character, let’s take a look at the original one.

Beatrix Bonilla da Costa was born nearly during Chrisis on Infinite Earth, so as a result her origin story was changed almost immediately after being told. In her first, short-lived incarnation, she was the last born in a mystical Brazilian tribe, the Ge, daughter of Ramon Corvalho, a surveyor in the Amazon River Basin, and Carlota da Costa, the mother she grew up with. A prophet from the Ge foretold she would have received a great power from the Sky Spirit, and indeed when she was fifteen years old the same man contacted her telepathically, unlocking her dormant pyrokinetic abilities. The girl grew up and became a brilliant woman, head of the Brazilian branch of Wayne Enterprises, but she also started using her powers for good under the alias Green Fury. During her career she often helped the Super Friends, but it was meeting Superman that changed her life: although she first battled the Man of Steel since he was mind-controlled by Overlord (managing to hold her own thanks to Superman’s weakness to magic), the two became allies, and when Superman was contacted by Doctor Mist to help him in battling the evil wizard El Dorado, Green Fury was among the heroes gathered to repel the menace, and she proved essential into dealing with the magician. Following this adventure, she joined Doctor Mist in his newly formed international superhero team, the Global Guardians. As said before, however, this version of her early life soon changed, as the entire universe was rewritten. In this new reality, B. B. da Costa was born in Rio de Janeiro, and she grew up to become a beautiful model. Her career led her to become a showgirl, until she was recruited by the SNI, the Serviço Nacional de Informações, the Brazilian secret services. When her boss and recruiter stole an experimental pyroplasmic gun (a special flamethrower) and ran, she was assigned to retrieve the weapon and arrest the man: during the following battle, however, the gun exploded, imbuing her with pyrokinetic powers as an unexpected side effect. Hunted by the other spies for her failure, she became the heroine on the run Green Fury.

Green Fury was recruited by Doctor Mist as a founding member of the Global Guardians, an international superhero team where she could find a shelter from the Brazilian authorities. While she was in the GG, she changed her codename in Green Flame, right before her team was replaced by the Justice League International, that took all the United Nations‘ funds that kept the Guardians alive. With her team disbanding, B. B. and her friend and teammate, Icemaiden, approached the JLI hoping to be allowed in…and they turned out to be pretty lucky, since the team was short several members who had been kidnapped, and Black Canary had quit: they were both accepted as new members. To celebrate their inclusion in the Justice League, the two heroines shortened their battle
names into Fire and Ice, respectively, and they immediately blended in, bonding particularly with Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. Fire accompanied the JLI in many adventures, but it was during the Dominators‘ invasion that she went through another major life-changing event: the aliens’ Gene-Bomb affected her as well, making her fall into a coma. When she woke up, her powers had been increased radically, as she was not only able to shoot fire, but to become a fiery creature as well. At first, she couldn’t control these new abilities, as they were triggered mostly by strong emotions such as fear; Big Barda and Mister Miracle helped her regain control by training her the same way on Apokolips they taught discipline to the Female Furies. After such a harsh training, she came back to be a reliable member of the JLI, always proving her worth in the most difficult battles…until she found herself completely outmatched when the team faced a grey monster later known as Doomsday: as hard as she hit him, the monster wouldn’t even slow down, and she arrived to the point of burning herself out to try and damage him, leaving her powerless. It was during this time that her best friend Ice was killed by the Overmaster: she regained her powers too late to help her, but certainly not to avenge her…

B. B. da Costa is a Reinassance woman, with a career just as various and diverse as a flame can be in time; strong and independent but also carefree and self-conscious, Bea makes all the experience she has had in the years before becoming a heroine an asset for her teams. As Fire, she can generate and control green fire; she’s also able to turn herself into a fiery being of pyroplasm, thus gaining intangibility and flight. A committed heroine, fiercely loyal to her friends (particularly to her best friend Ice), Fire is also one of the few members of the JLI who doesn’t shy away from killing, having learnt from her spy days that extreme situations call for extreme measures…