Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dart Adams presents Black Like Me: Black Comic Heroes Through The Ages Revisited Part Two 1989-2009

Let's just get back to business now, shall we?:

Battleaxe (Axe for short) and Longbow were two members of the team that was hired in Madripoor to track down Jubilee, Psylocke and Wolverine back in the days. They almost succeeded, but Jubilee stepped up and proved that she was worthy of becoming an X-Man and staying within their ranks and she could be brought along on missions with Xavier's teams. Axe and Longbow haven't used since and the Harriers have since been forgotten except by X-Men/Wolverine fanatics...and, of course, bloggers doing posts about Black superheroes.


Silhouette and her brother Midnight's Fire first appeared in New Warriors #2. They are the children of one of Night Thrasher's closest associates Andrew Chord. The trio were out playing vigilante, crimefighting and running afoul of street gangs when Silhoutee was shot and suffered spinal injuries. Midnight's Fire blamed Night Thrasher and immediately used his talents to start a life of crime to pay for treatment for his sister. Thrash used his pull with his family company to develop special leg braces that allow her some mobility and she uses special crutches to fight. Sil joined the New Warrior's while Midnight's Fire acquired super powers and become one of their main enemies.

Deathlok had a few different incarnations back in the early days but this one was something quite different altogether. A Black man named Michael Collins was a scientist/researcher and he worked at Cybertek, a company owned by the infamous Roxxon Oil Company. He discovered some shady dealings going on at the lab but before he could blow the whistle his body was put on ice and hidden and his mind and memories were transferred to the Deathlok body that he had discovered by mistake.

After Deathlok (Collins) got revenge for his imprisonment in his cyborg body by dispatching the people that tried to sell him and use him as a weapon, he then went on a mission to find his original body. This was the theme of the 1991 Deathlok title that Marvel produced and Collins is still trapped in Deathlok's body but doesn't have the same problems he originally had with it.

G.W. Bridge was a former member of Cable's old crew The Wild Pack/Six Pack. They did a gang of missions as mercenaries the world over for years and years. The took job for whomever paid for their services. They'd do a job for AIM one week and then get hired by HYDRA to sabotage AIM the next. The week after they'd force AIM and HYDRA into a bidding war for their further services. Bridge became more and more uncomfortable with Cable's secrecy and the nature of their missions, especially after team member Hammer was paralyzed and Cable seemingly did nothing to help him then disappeared.

Bridge ended up working with SHIELD years later with the hopes of taking Cable down one day. When he resurfaced with a new team of mutants called X-Force he formed Weapon Prime, a team filled with people that Cable has wronged throughout the years.

Feral joined up with the former New Mutants and Cable right before they officially became X-Force in New Mutants #99. She was a mutant that had taken on a feline appearance as well as feline characteristics and abilities. She had claws, super speed and agility, increased strength and fighting ability. Feral would go into a beserker rage and her inability to follow orders got her tossed from X-Force. Her older sister Thornn joined in her stead, having left her old position in the Morlocks.

Cardiac is one of the most hardbody vigilantes in the history of Marvel Comics. First, he amassed a fortune in memory of their dead brother and then he discovered that there was a cure that could've saved him but the company wouldn't release it until the cure was profitable once he bought said company. Some people would be crushed at this news, Eli Wirtham decided to use his vast wealth to alter his body so he could become a superhuman and fight for justice.

He got some of the typical augmentations, a brand new heart that emitted electrical charges. He completely replaced his skin with a material that makes it so he can withstand electricity and physical damage. He then creates a staff that channel his electrical energy into concussive bolts and be used as a weapon or to polevault things like high walls. Then he creates a battlesuit and calls himself Cardiac, the newest vigilante in New York City! Thank God he didn't go overboard or anything!

The newest man to don the robe of the Spectre is Crispus Allen. He is pretty much forced into his new role as The Spectre. It's truly an uphill battle as Crispus hates delivering judgment against other people. Until a chance meeting with The Phantom Stranger, Crispus felt that he had no say so or control while he serves as the new Spectre. He has recently learned that he has the ability to manipulate the power of the entity whenever Spectre cannot, and has even begun to develop other talents such as utilizing the ability of touch. Allen struggles with his own responsibility as the Spectre and feels put on by God for being given such a major responsibilty in the first place.

Hammer used to be another member of Cable's Wild Pack/Six Pack alongside Domino, Grizzly and G.W. Bridge until he was paralyzed on a mission and Cable seemingly did nothing to help. Domino was manipulated by Mr. Tolliver in exchange for medical treatment for Hammer and G.W. Bridge eventually took care of Hammer and included him in his plans, eventually he became a SHIELD collaborator and a member of Weapon Prime himself in hopes of bringing Cable to justice for all of his crimes. Hammer has extensive technical and tactical knowledge and he can construct machines and computer equipment to aid himself or whomever calls upon his talents and expertise.

Thornn is the older sister of Feral. They both grew up in a tough section of New York City and both of them took on feline appearances once they became of age. They were both sexually abused by their stepfather but when Feral murdered him, Thornn was accused of killing him and she and Feral were forced to flee and took the names Feral and Thornn so know one would who they originally were. Thornn joined the Morlocks and fought Feral on several occasions coming out even in most scraps. Once Feral was forced to leave X-Force and switched sides, Thornn took her place in X-Force.

Both Thornn and Feral were recently depowered after M Day and killed when their appearances but NOT their powers were returned to them after they attempted to fight some super powered foes.

Coal Tiger is the name of a promising young trainee of the Gatherers, a group of former Avengers from different universes that showed up on Earth-616 in Avengers #355 as does battle with them. The young man also happens to be a Wakandan prince named T'Challa. Interesting!

Cardinal (later known as Harrier) first appeared in New Warriors #28. He's a habitual crimnal that first rocked his powered suit of armor to serve as a bodyguard for arms smuggler Jeremy Swimming-Bear (aka 'Sea Urchin'). The plot was foiled by the New Warrior. Broken out of prison by his allies, the Air Force, he and the team went after the New Warriors, but were defeated and sent back to prison. He continued to encounter superpowered foes, get defeated and get stuck right back in the pokey. He changed his name to Harrier not too long ago and joined the Thunderbolt Army...guess where he is right now? Prison!

Threnody was a frequent travel companion of Nathan Summers AKA X-Man and her debut was in the pages of X-Men #27. Her powers involved her being a vampire that fed on the waning life force of the dying while simulaneously being able to sense mutants with the Legacy Virus. She could store and then expel that enegy into a blast or an explosion. She was given further augmentations and additional powers by Mr. Sinister in exchange for her spying on X-Man. She has been to active in the Marvel Universe lately but the next time the Legacy Virus or the Summers family line is involved in another big storyline (on Earth at least) I'm sure she'll turn up again.

Sentry is a Black man only known as Curtis who is currently a member of The Jury. He was formerly the guardian of The Vault owned by the Life Foundation that held Venom under lock and key. Once Venom escaped from The Vault, he was one of the first people picked to take down Venom. As a member of The Jury, Sentry has used his battlesuit to combat Spider-Man as well as Venom's new group, The Thunderbolts. He first appeared in Venom: Lethal Protector #2.

XS is the daughter of Jeven Ognats (Black guy!) and Dawn Allen of the Tornado Twins and grand daughter of Barry Allen (The Flash). This also makes her the cousin of Bart Allen (Impulse) so she was bound to end up receiving the powers of the Speed Force sooner or later. XS joined the Legion Of Super Heroes in the future and her first appearance was in Legionnaires #0. She has gone on a number of missions throughout time and has encountered her entire family tree extended family tree pretty much. Her entire storyline/continuity was pretty much squelched in Infinite Crisis a few years back so it's like her character never even existed in the DC Universe.


Ryder's first appearance was in Skrull Kill Krew #1. He leads a team bent on extinguishing any trace of Skrull influence on Earth. Due to carelessness a great amount of Skrulls were turned into cows by Reed Richards ended up becoming slaughtered for food products resulting in several humans becoming infused with Skrull DNA and receiving some of the powers/shapeshifting abilities that Skrulls have. Ryder has returned to prominrce in the current Marvel Universe after the Secret Invasion happened.

Lightning makes her debut in Kingdom Come #1 as the youngest daughter of Gotham's hero Black Lightning. He electricity based powers allow her to control, emit and manipulate electrical energies but she doesn't have proper control of her powers yet so she ends up shorting out or overloading electrical or computer equipment. As an aside, Lightning has one of the worst character designs/costumes evar.

Cecilia Reyes is a doctor and a mutant who first appeared in X-Men #65. She was outed by a Sentinel during the events of Operation: Zero Tolerance. She had the power to generate force fields that were attached to her very life force. She learned how to use her force field for offensive uses such as a melee weapon under the tutelage of the X-Men. She left the team after a few years and went from place to place as a practicing doctor. Following the events of M-Day it's believed that Cecilia Reyes has become depowered.

Nefertiti Jones has the odd distinction of being the lone character in this list to never actually appear in a comic book. She's appeared in several Spider-Man and Iron Man novels but never in a mainstream Spider-Man title. She's been a police woman, then a CIA operative and finally an agent of SHIELD. She has a similar character design to Cecilia Reyes, doesn't she? Hmmm © Arsenio Hall

The Image title Amanda and Gunn centered around a private investigator named Amanda and her sentient weapon called Gunn and their adventures deep in the remote woods of Oregon. People begin disappearing and a gang of odd things began happening around town and the surrounding aears in the quiet hamlet. Amanda and Gunn break into action and decide to get to the bottom of the disappearances. Few people remember it aside from serious collectors.

Mark Millar and Jackson Guice cooked up the weirdest story involving Tangent Superman. Harvey Dent (?) was a test subject who was given a special drug by a secret organization in hopes of creating a superhuman. After a while, Dent developed a myriad of superpowers of varying natures and he evolved into the most powerful being on Earth and potentially the entire universe.

Since then this character has become a key character in the Tangent Universe. Superman has primarily every psionic and mental based power in existence on the level of Akira or Tetsuo or possibly even greater. He rules the Tangent Universe and the normal DC Universe characters have even traveled to the Tangent Universe in hopes of trying to finally stop his reign recently.

Triathlon was a former athlete disgraced for being caught using steroids. He was banned from competition and the former superstar and Olympic Gold medalist had his honor, integrity and career taken away in one feel swoop. Disallusioned with lifem he joined a cult called The Triune and the leader bestowed the powers of the old 70's Marvel hero 3D Man on him.

He became Triathlon, he had 3x the strength, speed, agility and fighting ability that the once had and he was now the spokesman of the Triune cult. Triathlon aided the Avengers in missions where they defeated Moses Magnum and he thwarted a terrorist attack against Avengers Mansion. He eventually became an Avenger and realized the Triune were just using him. He has since become the new 3D Man and used his new skills to quell the Skrull insurgency during Secret Invasion as a member of the new Skrull Kill Krew.

Kid Quantum was a member of the Legion Of Super Heroes who used a belt that allowed him to be able to manipulate energy and create powerful stasis fields that he could turn into energy blasts. During one battle he overloaded his tech and his Stasis Belt, it exploded and killed him instantly. The Legion Of Super Heroes instituted a ban on technological based powers. This lead his younger sister to find a way to manipulate his Stasis Belt based energy powers so they she could use them without the aid of tech. She became the next Kid Quantum and joined the Legion Of Super Heroes in his stead.

Aegis was a member of the New Warriors that received his powers from a special breastplate that endowed him with the power to generate force fields, absorb and generate energies then focus them into blasts. He was also known as the unofficial protector of Brooklyn for running afoul of drug dealers and street gangs that ravaged the area before he joined the New Warriors as an official member. He has long since left the New Warriors and became part of The Initiative.

Echo, also known as Maya Lopez has a remarkable back story. Her father was originally killed by Wilson Fisk, but he raised the deaf Echo as his own. It was discovered that she could remember, learn and then perform feats she saw at a superhuman level so she immediately went into training as one of Fisk's assassins. The Kingpin told Echo that the man that killed her father was Daredevil so she went out into the streets of New York to seek him out.

She encountered the blind lawyer Matt Murdock and fell in love with him while simultaneously searching for Daredevil (sound familiar?). Once she discovered that Daredevil couldn't have possibly killed he father, she often joined Daredevil on missions and aided the New Avengers over in Japan. She learned all about Japanese fighting techniques from Wolverine and became his lover as well as the first person to take the guise of Ronin before Clint Barton (formerly Hawkeye) took the role over from her.

Coal Tiger's first appearance was in A-Next #4, T'Chaka the eldest son of T'Challa becomes Coal Tiger and joins the New Avengers in an an alternate universe. The character hasn't been utilized very much in the past decade, though. There have been several alternate Black Panthers if you include Ultimates, the 2008 Black Panther Annual and the introduction of a new female Black Panther.

Empress made her debut in the pages of Young Justice #16. She has mastered several forms of magic and is well versed in hand to hand combat both armed and unarmed. She is most famous for using telepathy during shouted verbal commands to entrance and control her opponents to manipulate them to do her bidding. She also has the power to teleport and cast spells that do damage to her adversaries. She often uses a staff or sword as a melee weapon in combat.

This version of DC's first ever masked crimefighter called the Crimson Avenger premiered in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E #9. Jill Carlyle was a criminal attorney who purchased the Pistols of the original Crimson Avenger at a pawn shop to use upon someone she deemed guilty of a crime that she failed to convict him of. Once she executed him she fell prey to their curse. A perpetually painful bullet wound suddenly manifested in the center of her chest as part of the curse. She dons a blood colored crimson blindfold over her eyes instead of a mask. This Crimson Avenger has teleported in the past and occassionally becomes intangibile like a ghost. She also retains the memories and skills of the individual she is getting vengeance for in addition to her own powers.

Ultimate Nick Fury was first used in an Ultimate Marvel Team Up. He has been given the appearance and mannerisms of the famous and popular film actor Samuel L. Jackson. He is the Director of SHIELD as well as a brilliant tactician, military strategist, leader and soldier. Now that Samuel L. Jackson has signed with Marvel for a 9 picture deal including his own feature film in either 2011 or 2012 I suggest you get familiar with Ultimate Nick Fury, people.

Coldcast is a member of Justice League Elite with the ability to master electromagnetism sort of in the way Magneto can. He utilizes it in a way that allows him to manipulate substances and particles on every scale, even down to the subatomic level. He can emit EMP's (electromagnetic pulses) at will in addition to varying types of pulses spanning the EM spectrum. Coldcast is most heralded for once using his formidable powers to slow down Superman's own electrons. Coldcast also has the ability to fly due to his manipulation of Earth's own electromagnetic fields (much in the same fashion Magneto does)

Angel Salvadore has had quite a harrowing back story, she was a sexually abused mutant child that had wings like a fly and apparently several other physical gifts of insects. She ran away from home and was taken in by the X-Men. She eventually joined the Special Class of X-Men trainees and hatched several babies after she and Barnell Bohusk AKA Beak, an avian mutant had sex (?). She also ended up a fashion model at one point or another.

After M-Day, both she and Beak were depowerd and became normal looking humans. They joined New Warriors shortly afterwards Night Thrasher recruited her and Beak by using technology to give them powers so they could continue their careers as crimefighters. Angel is now known as Tempest and she can emit both intense heat and cold blasts through the aid of equipment provided by Night Thrasher.

Postman was the leader of the Chicago branch of the Morlocks and his power was the ability to wipe people's memories via a safe word of his choosing that completely erased everything they knew of themselves before that exact moment in time. He has since become depowered following the events of M Day. His greatest expoits can be found in the 2002 Morlocks 4 issue limited series published by Marvel Comics.

The Crew was a government agency that included several members that I mentioned in the previous installment of Black Like Me. In addition to War Machine and Josiah X were the Vulcan Demuyan (a South American country) immigrant Manuel Diego Armand Vicente AKA Junta and Kasper Cole AKA White Tiger.

Kasper Cole AKA White Tiger was a former narcotics police officer who borrowed a Black Panther outfit from the police station and went on a series of unauthorized drug busts. He even masqueraded as the Black Panther and fought crime on several occasions without once knowing that his father was actually a Wakandan. Once he was forced to come clean, The Falcon advised him to go to Wakanda and become a proper member of the Panther Cult. He took the famous heart shaped herb that gave T'Challa his enhanced abilities. He has since become one of the heirs to become the next Black Panther once T'Challa gives up the mantle.

Thunder is the other daughter Gotham's own Black Lightning. Her first appearance was in Outsiders #1 and she has powers that involve density and mass manipulation. Her father was completely opposed to her becoming a superhero and made her promise to wait until after college to become a customed adventurer, she joined Gotham's newly formed Outsiders but donned a long blonde wig to hide her identity as Anissa Pierce as she has short black hair. She was later revealed to be a lesbian as is thought to have been killed by the same man who is credited with killing Batman and causing the battle for the cowl following the events detailed in DC's Batman R.I.P.

David Alleyne AKA Prodigy debuted in New Mutants #4 with the mutant power to acquire the knowledge, talents or abilities of anyone he came into close proximity of temporarily so mental blocks placed on him so that he couldn't retain all of the talents, knowledge and abilities he gleaned from his fellow New Mutants and X-Men for fear that he'd amass so many that he'd become unstoppable. He became co-leader of The New Mutants and following his depowering following M-Day he had his mental blocks removed so he has retained all of the skills and knowledge of the collected New Mutants and X-Men he spent years in close quarters with. He still aids the X-Men to this day.

Aliyah Bishop is the daughter of the X-Man Bishop and Deathbird, sister of Shi'ar Empress Lilandra in an alternate universe. She first appeared in X-Men: The End Book 1: Dreamers & Demons. Aliyah doesn't have any mutant powers but she has retained the knowledge of her family members while about the Starjammers massive ship and she is trained in advanced fighting techniques, several exotic weapons as well as firearms from all over the galaxy while specializing in Sh'iar technology and weapons. She ultimately continues the leagcy of the X-Men and becomes Empress of the Shi'ar Empire.

Tag is a former member of the Hellions who was later made one of the New Mutants after Emma Frost brought him to Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters. He had the ability to psionically "tag" people or items so that people either directed all of their attention or rage to it and attacked it and repelled people and they avoided or ran from a person or a thing. He could also use it on himself, opponents or teammates. Brian Cruz was ultimately depowered on M Day and killed when William Stryker bombed a bus full of depowered X-Men, trainees and New Mutants.

Nathan Kane first appeared in Ocean #1, he's a UN weapons inspector that travels out to a research station that orbits in space around Jupiter's moon Europa. There have been some interesting discoveries made by scientists on board as they found artifacts that point to a previous civilization and some more discoveries made by Nathan while on board the station. He navigates a world of espionage, intrigue and corruption in this Sci Fi's hard being the Kane!

John Wilson took the name of John Henry and his appearance in the DC Comics limited series The New Frontier was quite controversial due to the fact that he used a hammer to gain vengeance on Klu Klux Klansmen back in the early days of the Civil Rights Era. The character was all but omitted from the animated adaptation of the series/graphic novel but I decided to give him some shine here seeing as how he's the retconned inspiration for John Henry Irons AKA Steel.

The Fox was a member of The Fraternity and debuted in Mark Millar's Wanted #1. She was one of the deadliest villains on planet Earth, a thief and a cold blooded sociopath...but she looked like Halle Berry so all was forgiven. She was the former lover of the greatest villain in history, The Killer. Once The Killer is murdered, Fox was asked to find his son Wesley Gibson, inform him of his fteher's death and whip him into shape so that he becomes "the baddest super fuck who ever walked the face of the Earth" just like his daddy. If you saw Angelina Jolie's portrayal and thought you saw the real Fox, then you are SORELY mistaken.

Manhattan Guardian was once an unemployed ex-cop who was hired by the Manhattan Guardian newspaper to be their crime fighting figurehead to boost the profile and circulation/sales of the periodical as it wanes in popularity.

DC's Seven Heroes Of Victory storyline involving the Newsboy Legion and some other convoluted plotlines and retconned old stories that warped the whole continuity of the old Newsboy Army/Legion was just odd. At least it actually prominently featured some people of color for a change, though. Whenever DC decides to fix their old storylines or update them it's usually a mixed bag at best.

Debrii was a member of the New Warriors at the time Nitro caused the explosion that destroyed most of the key members of the team and numerous civilians at the time they were part of a reality show. She wasn't chosen as a member by Night Thrasher but the show producer added her to the team because her selfishness, arrogance and general abrasiveness created team friction and boosted ratings. She had the power to become a telekenetic magnet, she created a field that attracted loose object she could use as shielding, cover or projectiles. She is currently a member of Counter Force with several ex-New Warriors that left The Initiative.

Starboy is a member of the Legion Of Super Heroes with the power to change and manipulate the mass and density of objects as well as control gravity, including himself so he has the ability to fly. He is from the planet Xanthu which is also the home of both Kid Quantums from the same group. He is best friends with long time Legionnaire Cosmic Boy as well.

Darwin is easily one of the most versatile characters to be created by Marvel in recent history. His first appearance was X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2 and his pwers involves his body automatically and involuntarily adapting so that he can survive and live through whatever situation or obstacle he's facing regardless of what he wants to happen. Darwin has become incredibly intriguing and powerful at the same time and he'd assisted the X-Men on several occassions but is currently one of the 198 mutants that aren't depowered so he works with X-Factor.

Dreadlocks is a character and a title created by independent comic book distributor Urban Style Comics. A man named Kaaria sets out on a quest to become one like the Gods Of Akebulon. He discovers The Book Of Death and through it, finds himself being consumed by the powers that are within its pages as it controls his very thoughts and actions. Kaaria (Dreadlocks) comes closer to the one known as Anakis. The one called Anakis lures Dreadlocks to a parallel dimension where the battles of the past and future collide as one and he unravels the mystery of the murdered people on his own home planet.

Cipher is the newest member of the Young X-Men even though she may have been around much longer than readers may think since she has the ability to not only go unseen to the naked eye through her invisibilty but she can phase as well as being as master of stealth. She can also pilot all of the X-Men's jets so that's a plus. The only way to know she's even around is if a powerful telepath (like Emma Frost or Charles Xavier) detect her mind or thoughts. Apparently, she can scrap a little too.

High Rollers is an urban crime drama series in the vein of "The Wire" and in it's pages are the exploits of CQ, a young man who's set his sights on becoming the boss of the L.A. underworld. The graphic violence, adult themes and movie style pacing will appeal to those who love shows like "Brotherhood" and "The Sopranos". The detailing of CQ's rise to gangland prominence are reminscent of the film "American Gangster ". Look for the trade paperback if you're into urban themed graphic novels.

Jamal Stuart appears in the DC/Vertigo title Haunted Tank as an American soldier in Iraq. His tank is haunted by a Confederate soldier who's bound to protect his relative in a reworking of the original long running DC series. Jamal Stuart is less than enthused with having the ghost of a Confederate soldier hang around even if it's defending his tank and his White co-pilot and tells the soldier so. Eventually it's revealed that the ancestor the ghost is protecting is Jamal! How's that for a twist, M. Night Shymalan? This series is defeinitely worth checking out.

Barack Obama and Spider-Man bought shared top billing in Marvel's special Inauguration Day Edition. Peter Parker got to meet and kick it with President Obama. This collector's edition is sure to be in mylar bags with cardboard backs in hopes of people that don't even collect comics for generations to come.

Sachiko is the upcoming release from the same company that brought us Dreadlocks, Urban Style Comics. Sachiko relays the tale of a young female assassin on the run from the Demon Lord known as White Tiger. This billionaire financier is also the leader of the Asian branch of an evil sect called the Phoenix Group. Sachiko’s father was killed by their leader Koji Yuhoshito (White Tiger) who then brainwashed her into believing the hit done by the Shang Lo crime syndicate. Sachiko AKA Sasha Blue is the best assassin in the world she has no equal and she is the perfect killing machine.

In 2009, a new female Black Panther will be introduced after T'Challa turned down an invation to join The Illuminati by Namor following the disbanding of SHIELD and Tony Starks ouster. He encountered Doctor Doom and he and his men fought Doom and his automatons. After the battle was over, he attempted to fly back home to Wakanda but his plane was shot down and in the resulting crash T'Challa is in a coma fighting for his very life. Is it Storm? Is it another one of his female relatives? We'll all find out soon enough!

There you go! I STILL left some people out, though. Why? First off, I don't wanna get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and secondly, if I did everyone now then what would I do next year?