Tertiary Heroism

Avengers: Age of Ultron soars onto the silver screen in the states this week. Those blessed blokes in the U.K. got it this past weekend. By end of Marvel’s Phase 3 and the culmination of Justice League’s assembling, not many comic-book characters will be left on the sidelines. However, a few notable ones haven’t been announced for big-screen adaptation and these are a few that would whet my appetite for more superhero escapades…

1. The Trickster

Ezra Miller was recently trumpeted as the lead for The Flash in 2018. The Flash is not an extremely unique crimefighter. Sure he can move beyond the speed of light but so can Superman, Quicksilver, Professor Zoom and Northstar. A pretty commonplace trait. Therefore, the only thing that distinguishes him from his counterparts are his foils. One such flamboyant villain is The Trickster who is bedecked in a court jester outfit. He was popularized by Mark Hamill’s portrayal in both iterations of the television shows. The Trickster can extemporize seemingly clownish gadgets which allows to perform sleigh-of-hand like levitation. Unlike The Joker, he is a con artist at heart and he would an off-kilter antidote to The Flash’s solemn demeanor.

2. Doctor Mid-Nite

This one is from the Golden Age of comics. He was a renowned surgeon who was subsequently blinded (ala Daredevil). The symbolism of a totem animal (in this case an owl) allows the doctor to observe that he has perfect vision in complete darkness. His choice of weaponry is brilliant. He lobs “blackout bombs” which eliminate all lights in the vicinity and he develops a “cryotuber” which gives him access to an opponent’s nervous system. Unlike most superheroes whose handicaps improve over time, Mid-Nite’s eyesight deteriorates over time which gives him a tragic dimension. His costume might be a crude mash-up of Harvey Birdman and Space Ghost but that shouldn’t deter anyone from transposing him.

3. Magog

Superman’s tenets involve incarceration and hopefully the eventual rehabilitation of criminal masterminds. Magog, on the other hand, adopts a more violent method. He dispatched The Joker after he killed Lois Lane because he believed the worst injustice would be permitting him to live so he can recidivate back to his old ways. After Superman’s retirement, Magog introduces a new wave of superheroes to follows in his no-holds-barred brand of capital punishment. He is the definition of an antihero. He never leans too heavily in either direction. He clashes with Superman over his methods but he never outright declares war on him and when his technique devastates a large area of Kansas civilians, he feels genuine compunction. He is a more multifaceted, ultimately dangerously persuasive character than he initially appears.

4. Gorilla Grodd

In several ways, he could be the forefather of Caesar from Planet of the Apes. Gorilla Grodd was a benign creature in Africa until an alien spacecraft crash-landed and engorged him with superhuman intelligence. Best of all his newly acquired abilities though is his telepathy. He can camouflage himself as an ordinary gorilla which is a good subterfuge against the Justice League. He is also one of the most bloodthirsty villains. In one issue, he not only ordered the massacre of several dozens of humans but he also devoured a few as well. Like a zombie and the myth of wendigo, he can absorb intelligence via the consumption of brains which is a frighteningly ghoulish ability.

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