Five Great Marvel Heroes You've Probably Never Heard Of
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Left on the Shelf
With all of the hype that’s gone on in the last few months over the Avengers Movie and The Amazing Spider-man, you’d have to have been living under a rock to not know that comic book fiction is making a definite comeback into popular culture.
Sure, we all know all of the major characters from television and some of the movies that have been made over the last decade. The characters of the Hulk, Spider-man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Thor are best known. However for every Thor or Hulk there’s a score of characters that will make some of the most ardent geeks go, “Huh, What?”
You know how it is. Creative writers come up with a bunch of character concepts and only one in forty becomes a memorable character. You throw enough stuff against the wall and you know that something has to stick eventually.
They aren’t the rock stars of the superhero community. They are the ones that find themselves outside the superhero clubhouses trying to convince one of the bouncers that they really ARE heroes. These “mystery men” are the other guys. They’ve been blessed with some power. They have some abilities. They may even look good in a costume. They rise to the call when it happens. They take care of business like all of their A-list counterparts.
But they really haven’t got a good PR man to push their names into the limelight.
You may have not heard of any of these guys, and perhaps some of you hardcore geeks have. In any event, in justice to them, here are five guys that punch a “hero clock” and don’t get their songs sung.
Shamrock - The Luck of the Irish
Shamrock is Irish. Her real name is Molly Fitzgerald. Her origin is a bit sketchy, but what you really have to know is that her powers are mystical. She’s the vessel for displaced Irish poltergeists who were victims of wars or were the innocent victims of crimes. In turn for giving them a place to be seen, she’s been given a bit of “the luck of the Irish”.
Yes, I’m serious. Whatever leftover luck these people didn’t use, she gets. This allows her to affect probability fields within twenty feet around her body. Now I know what you’re thinking – especially those of you who have read some of my other articles regarding Amos Fortune of DC.
We have one really lame character in DC that works with “luck glands” and we have four characters in Marvel that work with probability fields (Longshot, Shamrock, The Black Cat, and The Scarlet Witch). The difference in this is that DC says it’s biological. Marvel says it’s mystical.
Either way, probability fields are a better writing device as all things have to even out. Even if bad luck has to happen to someone close to the main character. In Shamrock’s case, as she’s using a mystical reservoir of “good luck” it may not apply as the victims of the luck source had the “bad luck” of dying.
She’s rarely been seen and I think an alternate version of her made an appearance in the Marvel Zombies title. She usually works only in Ireland.
American Eagle - Indian Hero
I don’t know why Native Americans don’t make it in the Marvel Universe.
There have been many of them that have gained some popularity, but most of them have just fizzled out. We’ve had Thunderbird of the X-men – who was killed after his second mission by Count Nefaria. He’s survived by his younger brother, Warpath aka Thunderbird II. There’s also a third Thunderbird on one of the X-teams. Then there is the mystical heroes like Forge, Psyche (or Mirage) who could see death glows, Black Crow, Wyatt Wingfoot, Shaman (of Alpha Flight) and Talisman.
It's more than just a few.
When you consider the rich mythology of Indian lore and spirituality, it is a gold mine of plot devices and potential villains. There really needs to be more attention to this neglected demographic.
None of them have ever had their own title – especially American Eagle.
American Eagle aka Jason Strongbow was attempting to stop a mining company run by Ulysses Klaw (master of sound) and got blasted with Klaw’s sound ray in combination with some uranium. This gave Strongbow superhuman strength and enhanced senses. Granted, American Eagle’s powers are nothing spectacular but considering the popularity of Captain America, this guy should have gotten more press.
He was last seen working against the Avengers Initiative (against Tony Stark and Norman Osborne) and was given a pass against mandatory registration as he lives on the Navajo reservation and is outside of the country’s jurisdiction.
Captain Universe - Hero Without A Body
This character doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of usage he deserves.
You say that every superhero has an alter ego? Captain Universe doesn't. He is truly unique as he has many alter egos.
That’s right. He’s a bunch of powers and memories without a body. In actuality, what Captain Universe is, is the recipient host of the uni-power – an extra dimensional force that grants its host, in times of crisis, a plethora of powers based on the host’s physical form.
What does that mean? It’s simple. There’s a sentient bodiless entity that works within the universe and possesses a person or superhero and grants that person an array of powers and abilities based on what he already has.
So if the uni-power possesses an average man, he’ll be granted the power to fly, his strength will be increased by a factor of ten (a man who can press 200 lbs. can now lift a ton) and he’ll be able to fire force bolts and manipulate matter. He has a variety of “vision powers” (microscopic, X-ray, telescopic, etc…) as well as a danger sense. On top of that, the recipient will have the memories of every other person who has ever had the uni-power (for the time that they’ve possessed it). The uni-power is sentient and will abandon a host if it plans on doing evil with its power.
When the power possesses an average man, the effect is good. When the power possesses a superhero, like Spider-man, the effect is awesome. Spider-man can ordinarily lift approximately ten tons. As Captain Universe, he can press 100 tons. That puts him in the same class as the Hulk. Plus, he has his own powers on top of that.
Captain Universe is brought out every so often for a one shot or a limited series. The best Captain Universe story I’d read was when the uni-power resided in an earth man and was part of the Guardians of the Galaxy under Peter Quill (Star Lord).
The thing that you should know about the uni-power is that no time passes between the recipient of one host to the next – which means that somewhere, someplace, there is always a Captain Universe.
Union Jack - Britain's Working Class Hero
America has Captain America. Great Britain has Union Jack.
Like Captain America, Union Jack is a mantle that has been passed from one man to another. The character wears a costume with the British “Union Jack” branded on the front of his costume. Union Jack usually has no super powers and his only weapons are a large knife and a revolver. The three men who have worn the costume have all had peak athletic abilities and were trained British operatives.
The first man who was Union Jack, Lord Montgomery Falsworth, fought during WWII and his role was succeeded by his son, Brian Falsworth. The current incarnation has been assumed by Joseph Chapman, the son of a working class ship builder.
Union Jack was one of the mainstays for the Invaders and the current incarnation has made many appearances in Captain America’s title as one of his British allies.
I like the current Union Jack as he seems to do more with actual pluck, guts, and – while not an official member of MI6 – needs to hold his blue collar job and save his country in his off hours.
The Forgotten One - Truly Forgotten
I couldn’t resist. Here’s a guy who truly has been forgotten and has never gotten any of the credit he deserves.
As an Eternal, he’s gone by many aliases in his long life. Among his peers, he’s known as Hero. We’ve seen him as Gilgamesh, Heracles, and Samson. According to the Forgotten One, Hercules didn’t do the labors, he did. If you ever see the two together, it’s a bone of contention that Hercules has been taking credit for this adventure for thousands of years.
If you haven’t gotten the hints from his aliases, the Forgotten One has tremendous strength. He can lift over a hundred tons – putting him on the same strength level as the Hulk, Thor, and Hercules. He fights for the side of the angels often beating gigantic beasts to protect normal humans, but in almost everything he’s done, he never seems to get enough credit for his good deeds.
He’s been a member of the Avengers and is notably the last to show up on any Eternals story whenever they are written. Ironically, he was not included in the last Neil Gaiman limited series for the Eternals.
He was just… forgotten.
Marvel has had a long history of creating new characters.
As they have created more than their fair share of popular superheroes that have done well in the media, there are scores of characters that generally have their part to play and then get put onto the sidelines for some enterprising young writer to rediscover.
The two titles that seem to have recognized that there are plenty of characters that have real potential as well as having the unique quality of being somewhat disposable are The Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America. The former has found all of the cosmic characters that were birthed by defunct titles like Captain Marvel (Kree) and Warlock. These characters that rarely get used like Moondragon, Drax the Destroyer, Adam Warlock, Star Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, and Quasar who were once cornerstones of many an old plotline have been given new life with the stipulation that any one of them could be killed at any moment.
The same goes for the Captain America characters that have taken Sabra, the Arabian Knight, Union Jack, and Spitfire and let them fight equally old characters like the Corrupter and the Controller (both villains who can given any one a run for their money).
The thing that’s great about the comic book industry is that the characters are already there. And because no one’s using them, it gives a measure of uncertainty for any plot as any one of these “disposable” characters can be disposed of.
© 2012 Christopher Peruzzi
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