Z is for Zaran

Well, here we are, at the end of the month, and the end of the alphabet.  I hope you’ve learned some new things about old favorites, or been introduced to some characters you might not have heard of before.

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

We will end the month with Zaran, the lazy alias of Maximillian Zaran.  He was originally a British mercenary, but trained in all forms of armed combat and survival skills, becoming the super villain known as the Weapon Master.  (Really, code names were not his specialty).

He fought, and lost to, Shang-Chi and Captain America on many occasions.  He mastery of knives, bows, staves, maces, guns, spears, nunchaku, and shuriken did not seem to help him at all.  He is also an expert marksmen, but clearly not as good as others such as Bullseye or Deadpool.  He was teamed up with Batroc the Leaper for a while (who you might know from his brief fight in the newer Captain America movie) and was often teamed up with him in brawls.

During the super hero Civil War, he was captured by the Thunderbolts and forced to work with them, although did not last long on the team.  Currently, I am unaware of where he is, or what he has been up to.  He is a character that I feel could be used as a larger threat than he has been.  I feel like he is too basic though for mainstream continuity and therefore will always be regulated to a loser that appears for a one or two page fight.  I think he could do what Taskmaster did, and train troops for others.  After all, the MU is full of henchmen, and it seems like an army of Weapon Masters might be able to take down a super hero.  Food for though, Marvel!

Thanks for journeying with me through the alphabet and through the Z-list characters that populate the MU.

Y is for Yo Yo

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

Yo Yo Rodriguez, or Slingshot as she goes by, was a part of the Secret Warriors, a team of unknowns recruited by Nick Fury to help him take down Hydra.  If you haven’t read Secret Warriors, I highly recommend it.  It ran for 28 issues and is a great example of Jonathan Hickman’s storytelling ability.

Yo Yo is the daughter of the Griffin.  If you don’t know who the Griffin is, here’s a picture to help yourself to.

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

Yeah, kind of weird.  I’m not entirely sure how he had a kid, but hey, who am I to judge?

Anyways, like the rest of the team, Yo Yo was brought into the fold and battled against Hydra as well as Osborn.  She has super speed but also can slingshot her body back to where she began running, which seems like it might not be helpful in some situations, but would be nice at others.  While in a battle with Gorgon, she had her arms cut off.  Luckily, being friends with Nick Fury means that robot parts are never too far away and that it’s heard to truly die (see Agents of SHIELD as an example).  During her recovery, she became very close to Stonewall, her teammate and the son of the Absorbing Man.

Nowadays, the Secret Warriors are dissolved and most seem to have fallen through the cracks, or died.  Hopefully the rest make a reappearance at some point as they were an excellent team and a great example of new blood that the MU needs.

X is for X-Ray

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

X-Ray is a member of the U-Foes, a villainous group with origins tied to the original Fantastic Four.  They tried their best to be bombarded with cosmic rays, and succeeded in getting more than the FF had.  He is made out to be the Human Torch of the group, but it is worth noting that their powers are vastly different, and X-Ray has a master’s degree in engineering, which I think is far above the education of Johnny Storm.

X-Ray has control over radiation.  He cannot turn his body into its normal form, but is instead is a living energy field of radiation.  He can transform, emit, and absorb all sorts of types of radiation, and is intangible and invisible at will.  However, it appears that some things, such as lead, or Thor’s hammer, can still harm him in this state.

He has battled Hulk and Thor alongside his team, but always come up short.  However, more recently the U-Foes registered as super heroes with the government and helped Osborn when he was in charge of SHIELD (which he renamed HAMMER).  They attacked Volstagg, an Asgardian which resulted in a devastating catastrophe and was the catalyst for the Marvel event Siege.  Since then, I have not been sure what they are up to, but I would guess they are still lurking around somewhere.

W is for the Wrecker

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

Not the whole Wrecking Crew, mind you, but just their leader, the Wrecker himself.  Real name Dirk, he was a construction worker who was fired for being a jerk (Dirk the jerk).  He decided to become a criminal, and with his crowbar, set out on a string of crimes, eluding police again and again.  He eventually found himself in a hotel room robbing Loki, (as might happen in the MU).  He managed to steal some of Loki’s power and became super strong, which allowed him to even beat a partially depowered Thor, which he still brags about from time to time.  However, he was later depowered and thrown in jail.

In jail he met up with the other criminals who would become part of the Wrecking Crew.  Together they found his crowbar and shared the mystical power that it held to all become super villains.  They held buildings for ransom and would destroy if not paid.  They were defeated by many heroes and thrown in jail, only to break free again and again, usually thanks to Wrecker and his crowbar.

They were a part of the Secret Wars.  They were in the Masters of Evil.  They’ve been on television shows.  They get around, but never seem to be as big of a threat as they could be.  In recent times, they were part of the Hood’s gang and then helped Osborn out during Siege, but now appear to be back in jail.

Wrecker is the most powerful of the four.  He is super strong, super durable, and has a mystical connection to his crowbar that will even allow him to possess someone who has touched it.  He can also throw it and have it return to him, much like Thor does with his hammer.  I hope that one day the Wrecking Crew will be as feared as they could be, but for now they just appear to be dumb meatheads, even though one of them is an actual genius.

V is for Venus

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

Venus, not the planet, or the Roman deity, (both of which exist in the MU) is a key member of the Agents of Atlas.  She was once a siren (you may remember those from The Illiad) but was transformed into an immortal human by a powerful sorcerer.  She has the ability to alter the moods of people around her through use of her voice.

She can also create illusions that are realistic enough to even fool the Silver Surfer.  She is a shapeshifter, but as she enjoys her own looks so much, she tends to only alter her hair.  Being a siren, a creature of the sea, she can also swim at rapid speeds and breathe underwater.  She once believed that she was indeed Venus, the deity, but has since come to realize her true nature.

Along side Gorilla Man, Jimmy Woo, the Uranian (he comes from Uranus, haha), Human Robot, and Namora, Venus fights against evil around the world as part of the Agents of Atlas.  She was even part of a group in an alternate past that exposed Richard Nixon as a Skrull infiltrator.  That was part of Avengers Forever, a mini-series that I’ve mentioned before.

However, the team’s popularity does not seem to last long as their series are often ended abruptly.  It is an interesting team, and one that could prove to have very unique adventures.  However, they never seem to get off the ground well.  The last time that they did was during the Dark Reign, where they had some minor roles in aggravating Norman Osborn.  But they are still out there, and I’m sure one day will return.

U is for Uatu

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

Uatu is a Watcher, a race of beings that watch.  They are like recorders of the universe in that they are put places to watch over worlds and their peoples.  They also had to take an oath not to interfere, which tends to be a problem with Uatu, as he likes earthlings to much to sit by and watch bad things happen.  The Watchers are seemingly immortal (more on that later) and occasionally would come together to share the information they had seen with one another.

Uatu lived on the Blue Area of the moon, a part that has oxygen, in an abandoned Kree settlement.  It was there that the Fantastic Four found him.  He assisted the four on many occasions, even going as far as to lead the Human Torch in getting the Ultimate Nullifier, to thwart off Galactus.  After several such occasions, Uatu was put on trial by his own people, but subsequently released after promising not to interfere again.

He was had a nephew, Aron, who went rogue and tried to manipulate the Fantastic Four into fighting the Inhumans as well as tried to end the universe completely so that he could start a new one.  Luckily Uatu helped to stop him, but in doing so, was punished and stripped of his title.

More recently, Uatu appears in comics during times of upheaval or great change.  He is usually featured once or twice during every big event, but more often that not, will simply stand there watching, or make only a small comment.  He has also been the narrator of many What If?s as he can see into alternate universes.

However, it appears now, that in Original Sin, the next big event from Marvel, Uatu has been killed.  I don’t know how, but his eyes were scooped out from his head.  This means that whoever killed him has possession of all the secrets that he had accumulated over the years, secrets that no doubt will shock the MU.

RIP Uatu.

T is for Tigra

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

Tigra is one of those super heroines that seems only to be around to appeal to a certain demographic.  And that demographic are the type of people who find human/animal hybrids to be attractive.  I mean, look at her.  She is covered by fur and is wearing nothing but a little bikini.  What is the point of that?  What would she look like if she had nothing?  Would anything be visible or would it all just be covered in fur?  I mean, she has human looking breasts, which is odd, considering that’s not what cats have.  Also, why does she have human hair on her head still?  Moving on.

Tigra has been an Avenger for some time, although she has never been a heavy hitter.  Her history seems long and confusing, but involves a race called the Cat People, who she is a part of.  She has had many problems with her human and feline sides interacting, and when her cat side takes dominance, she tends to be moody, needy, and aggressive.

During the Civil War, she was a spy for Iron Man and infiltrated Cap’s team, only for them to tell her they knew about it all along.  She then was hooking up regularly with Hank Pym, which raises another whole host of questions, but I won’t go into them here.  It turns out that Pym was a Skrull however, and she became pregnant with his baby and gave birth to a hybrid thing that she has since left with the Cat People.  I thought cats were slightly better mothers than that, but oh well.

So there you have it.  Eye candy for furries and overall odd heroine.

S is for Stilt-Man

Stilt_Man_001

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Originally I was going to write about Solo, but an earlier column reminded me of Stilt-Man, one of the all-time worst super villains.  Seriously, I don’t think he ever did a successful thing, (save one) which I’ll mention in a bit.

Wilbur Day stole a hydraulic ram press from a business partner and converted it into telescoping legs that allowed him to tower over NYC and commit crimes.  Already, this sounds bad.  I mean, had he ever seen a guy walk on stilts?  They aren’t the most stable thing in the world.  But anyways, he did it and was quickly and repeatedly beaten by Daredevil and Spider-Man. At one or two points he retired, but couldn’t stay away from a life of failed crime.

He was always a joke in the underworld, and even had his armor stolen from him by Turk, a low level thug of Kingpin’s.  But sadly, Wilbur Day was killed by the Punisher during the Civil War (who also killed a Jester and Jack O’Lantern in the same issue).

During a wake held at a villains’ bar, it was revealed that he was married to Princess Python, who looks like this:

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

How the two of them ended up together is beyond me, unless he used the hydraulics to make other body parts telescope as well.  She was the mother of another super villain, but I think he might have died, not too sure.  Also, I don’t know if Stilt-Man was the father.

The last time I saw anything about Stilt-Man was in a Spider-Man issue where Deadpool showed up and helped Spidey defeat Stilt-Woman, a criminal who seemed to be as big a failure as her predecessor.  I laughed with Spider-Man when she said that she was doing it as a homage to Stilt-Man.

Really?  Come on now.

So there he is.  Arguably the worst villain ever in the history of the Marvel Universe.  Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone worse.  But there is still a few days left. Maybe the tail end of the alphabet will enlighten me.

R is for Ravage 2099

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

Let me start by saying this, the 2099 series are my jams!  I love that stuff.  I used to only have a few Spider-Man issues, but last year, my friend James (the Slim) got me into Ravage.  I came home for the summer and he gifted upon me several issues of the run, each one coming from the quarter bin at a local shop.  Ravage (Paul-Philip Ravage, that is) was created by Stan Lee, so that alone should make you take notice.

He worked for Alchemax, a bad corporation of the year 2099, but was framed when he exposed secrets and forced into hiding.  He made his way to Hellrock, where strong radiation mutated him into more of a superhero.  He could (can? will be able to?) generate concussive energy beams from his hands from a surgery.  However, this energy comes from him and will leave him depleted after only a couple minutes of use.  However, the radiation made him beast-like and he had retractable claws, superior senses, and could change back and forth between human and a beast-like state.

He went on to battle mutroids and Atlanteans, but also other creatures from Alchemax.  Now, I don’t have all the issues, so I don’t know how his story comes to an end.  It’s just one more thing I’m anxious to come home for.  To search through quarter bins until my story is complete!

Q is for Quasi-Motivational Destruct Organism

marvel.wikia.com

marvel.wikia.com

That’s right, we’re talking about Quasimodo.  Not the hunchback of Notre Dame, mind you, that would be ridiculous.  No, instead I mean the artificial intelligence created by the Mad Thinker.  I’m not really sure why he needed to have such an ugly visage, but I suppose it was so that the name would make more sense.  Anyways, the Mad Thinker made him to defeat the Fantastic Four, promising him a better looking body if he succeeded.  Of course, he didn’t.

Since then, he has fought Iron Man, the Avengers, Vision, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four a few more times.  His goals are usually either take over the world, or create a new body for himself.  It was the latter that gave Tony Stark the idea of confining him in an artificial reality where he believed that he did have a perfect body.

However, he was taken out of that environment by Norman Osborn during his Dark Reign and helped him put together dossiers on the superheroes who opposed him.  Since Osborn’s fall, I am unaware of what Quasi might be up to.  I’m guessing that he is out there, his consciousness laying dormant in some machine, ready to strike out again at the world that has repeatedly defeated him.  Of course, maybe he’s changed, found a simple android or LMD body to commandeer and is now leading a quiet life.  But somehow, I doubt that.