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Post By
Piotr W.

In Reply To
Jared

Subj: Some ideas...
Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:35:22 pm EDT
Reply Subj: Best-developed obscure character?
Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 at 11:08:09 pm EDT

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What obscure character, who never really made it big as either a hero or a villain, had some of the most interesting development for you?

Aside from Sleepwalker (which should be obvious coming from me), my vote would be for Anthony Davis, also known as the Ringer, and later as Strikeback.

What do I like about his development?

Well, at first he was a petty, jealous, sniveling crook, who got into crime to rob the Richmonds, until Nighthawk clobbered him.

Now saddled with a nasty inferiority complex, he obtained his new battlesuit, and was walloped twice in one day, first by the Beetle, and then by Spider-Man, who both made him feel like a worthless loser.

His confidence shattered, he sinks into petty crime in the Midwest, becoming nothing more than a two-bit hood who tries desperately to prove that he isn't as pathetic as everyone says, until the Scourge finally puts him out of his misery.

Oddly enough, Davis was the only one to survive the massacre, and gets a new lease on life from AIM, who rebuild him as Strikeback. Davis's near-death experience seems to have toughened him up, as he successfully completes several missions for AIM before striking out on his own in search of his wife Leila, determined to end her life of crime.

The fumbling, whiny loser of the past is gone, and the new Anthony Davis is a ruthless, confident ass-kicking machine. He takes out no less than four Spider-villains in one fight; Swarm, Boomerang, and the Vulture all fall before him, although his systems are critically damaged by Stegron. Even so, he finally defeats the dinosaur man before escaping with Leila.

Badly damaged, Davis's systems slowly break down, but his final hours are peaceful enough with Leila at his side, and he dies at peace with himself.

When you think about it, it's actually a pretty interesting character arc-Davis starts out as a snivelling, selfish, two-bit loser who deserves everything bad that happens to him, but later redeems himself by turning Leila away from her criminal ways.

Oddly enough, Leila herself would be redeemed as well, making the ultimate sacrifice in fighting Graviton. Yes, she failed, but she died honorably, fighting a true villain.

The Davises never really became good guys, but they did undergo tremendous personal changes and managed to redeem themselves in their own ways at the end.

Those are some of my picks for Marvel's best-developed obscure characters.

What are yours?

The question isn't an easy one... because, in my opinion the most succesful developments of obscure characters ended in... them not being obscure anymore (which puts them beyond this topic's limits ;\-\) ).

For example, one of the most succesful developments of obscure Marvel character may well be... Immortus. For many years he was a mere footnote in the history of the Avengers - a one-time foe who was forgotten by every writer. But then, Steve Englehart came... and connected this ultra-obscure guy to well-known Kang. And it made Immortus into classic Avengers baddie.

Another example: Ms. Marvel. Carol Danvers, in her beginnings, was merely a supporting character in Mar-Vell's book. But then, she was made into Ms. Marvel... and turned out to be a more interesting (and enduring) character than Captain Marvel himself.

Similar thing may be happening currently in the X-books with the character of Karima. She was introduced merely as a character in the third Thunderbird's backstory... but, after few years, she was brought back - first in Excalibur, then in X-Men. Who knows, she may turn out a long-time member of the team.

One another example may be Henry Gyrich. I don't think that, when he was introduced in Avengers, he was supposed to be anything more than annoying character in one particular subplot. But then other writers started using him... and Gyrich became a fixture in Marvel books. And that's good, because I really like him \:\-\)

But, coming back to really obscure characters... One interesting example may be Ms. Marvel foe, Destructor. He was a villain in one storyline in Carol's first book - and after that story, he disappeared. But a few years ago, he was brought back, fused to another foe of Carol's, the android Doomsday Man (which was unexpected, but interesting)... And he also turned up in current Carol's book. Given time, he may become a character with staying power...


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