Wednesday, May 23, 2018 • Midnight Edition • "Bring your own straight jacket."

Your Top Modern Characters part 53

Written by Chris Mitchell on Thursday, March 26 2009 and posted in Features
Top List
Three more characters. Sit back and enjoy.



194. American Dream (21 points)

americandream.jpgYear first appeared: 1999

Shannon Carter is the daughter of, one time SHIELD agent, Sharon Carter and unnamed man, who later revealed to have been a police officer. Shannon would lose her parents in her adolescences in a horrible car accident. The accident would claim the lives of both of her parents and also temporarily claim the use of Shannon's legs. She would be hospitalized and would remain there months while her injured body recovered from the damage it had sustained. Since she lost both of her parents her aunt adopted her, O.S.S alumni, Peggy Carter. Once Shannon was able, she was released from the hospital and into her aunt care. She would be wheelchair-bound at first and was very affected, both mentally and physically, by the events that put her in her current situation. Her aunt though did all that she could to help her niece recover as best she could. Peggy, in her younger days, worked with the Avengers of their reality (Earth #982 or MC2). She would ease Shannon's mind by regularly telling her stories of the heroic Captain America and those of her mother, Sharon Carter and the Avengers. Shannon enjoyed these stories and would gain a quiet strength from them. She enjoyed them so much that she began to idolize Captain American, wanting to become a super hero as he was. This was the driving force for her to begin training and strengthening her body. As a result of her strength training and renewed shot at life, she was able to overcome her need of a wheelchair and gain the use of her legs. She didn't stop there though. She continued to train daily, making her body a finely tuned machine. It was around this time that Shannon would finally get a chance to work her with Avengers too, but not in the way that she would have liked. The Avengers had disbanded and their mansion/headquarters was reopened as a museum instead. The Maria Stark Foundation backed it financially. Due to her aunt's connections to the Avengers, she called in a favor to the Chief-of-Staff of the museum, Jarvis and got Shannon a job there. Shannon would gladly work there, as it would bring her closer to her idol Captain American and in a weird way to that of her mother as well.
Lucky for Shannon, during her time as an employee at the Avengers mansion, the Avengers would become active once again. Kevin Masterson would arrive and would be given his father's old hammer, Thunderstrike. Initially thought to no longer have any power, a string of events would show just how incorrect this thought was. Kevin would be attacked by a new threat and his hammer would grant him the powers that his father once had as the Avenger known as Thunderstrike. Knowing that alone, Kevin wouldn't not prevail against his and the cities threat, he would send out an alert and reactive the Avengers once again. The alert was responded to by Cassandra Lang in this reality known as Stinger (in the mainstream reality she is known as Stature), Jubilee (her mainstream counterpart is known as Wondra), Jolt, J2 (Zane Yama) & Speedball (Robbie Baldwin, Penance of the mainstream reality). Including Kevin, now referring to himself as Thunderstrike they would act as the new Avengers and defeat Kevin's attackers. After the threat was defeated, only a few would stay on as Avengers such as: Thunderstrike, Stinger, Mainframe and J2. Though Shannon was not apart of the line up of the Avengers, she would soon make her presence very known. Being that the new team of Avengers was so short staffed, Shannon would take the opportunity to try out for the team. She would also bring others along with her, dubbing them the Dream Team. With her would be Freebooter, Bluestreak and the Crimson Curse; all would gain membership into A-Next. Shannon would create a costume based on her idol, Captain America. Donning the Red, White and Blue uniform she would also take a codename, it being American Dream.

American Dream had finally achieved her dream to become a superhero and joined A-Next. She would stay on the team and persevere through many battles. Not too long after her joining, A-Next would be swept away to an alternate reality, where they would aid the Avengers of that time. A-Next proved to be a solid unit. American Dream stood out quite a bit from her team, showing a true hero’s mettle. Due to this, the Captain America of that reality would give American Dream his shield. Thus furthering her connection and likeness to her idol. When all was said and done, A-Next would return to the own reality but their leader, Thunderstrike, would stay behind. He wished to get to know his father better. This is when American Dream would finally fulfill the title of her idol Captain America. She would be given leadership of A-Next. She still maintains her role on the team as American Dream and the leader of the group.


193. John Hartigan (21 points)

Year first appeared: 1996

A long serving member of Basin City police department, he is a highly respected detective. Known for being a straight cop, a rare thing in the crooked world of Sin City. He always regards others before himself and will throw himself into battle despite odds or ailments. In fact Hartigan suffers from angina, a serious heart problem which often affects his ability to walk but never effects his aim. He carries what appears to be a .44 Magnum revolver, an enormous hand cannon capable of removing most body parts in a single shot. He is also a strong powerful man despite his age and can still hold his own in most fights. His love for Nancy Callahan, the girl whom he saves at age 11 and in saving her from the son of the most powerful man in Basin City condemns himself.

Hartigan first met Nancy on his last night as a detective before retirement. He was investigating a rapist and serial killer who targets young girls with his partner, Bob. Nancy Callahan was his latest intended victim. Bob requested they wait for backup (he was receiving bribes from the Roark family), but Hartigan, determined to save the girl, punched Bob out and continued on. After taking out the serial killers henchmen, Hartigan discovered that the serial killer was none other that Roark Junior, son of the most powerful man in Basin City. Hartigan shot Junior's ear off, then his hand, and finally, shot him in the groin.

His partner, Bob, then shot Hartigan several times in the back. Hartigan tells Nancy to run, but she chooses to stay with him. Bob tells Hartigan to sit down, but Hartigan tried to reach a second gun he had in an ankle holster. Bob shot him a few more times, and Hartigan finally sat down. No longer worried about Nancy as he can hear backup nearby, Hartigan accepts his fate, as he thinks him dying so Nancy can live is a fair trade. Nancy huddled close to him as he slipped away.

A few days later Hartigan awoke in hospital, not dead. A visit from Senator Roark explained that he had paid to keep Hartigan alive, even fixing his angina, so he could make Hartigan confess to being the rapist as punishment for what he did to Junior. Senator Roark tells Hartigan that if he tells anyone the truth, he'll kill them. Hartigan does not confess, but is still sent to prison.

Hartigan spends eight years in prison, receiving letters from Nancy every Thursday, under the alias Cordelia. One Thursday, however, a letter doesn't arrive. Hartigan at first thinks Nancy has finally forgotten him, however, Roark Junior pays him a visit (although Hartigan no longer recognizes him because of his yellow skin and drastically changed appearance) and leaves him an envelope with a finger inside. Hartigan, assuming it is Nancy's, decides he has to get out of prison to save her. Confessing to raping Nancy and the other young girls, Hartigan gets out of prison.

Waiting for him outside is Bob, who offers him a ride into town. Hartigan accepts, not noticing Roark Junior watching him from his car. Bob tells Hartigan he made him hate himself for what he did, and that Hartigan's wife Eileen has remarried and has children. Roark Junior follows them from a distance. Hartigan and Bob say their goodbyes, and Hartigan goes to see if the only person he cares about, Nancy is ok. Her house has been broken into, and so Hartigan goes inside. He finds books about criminal law and a little else, a matchbook from Kadie's Club Pecos. Having no other clues to her whereabouts, he travels there.

To his surprise he finds that Nancy has grown up to be a beautiful young dancer at the club, and that she is in no danger at all. He then realizes that he has been tricked into revealing Nancy's location. He tries to leave, but she notices him. Nancy leaps from the stage and kisses him (Marv witnesses this). Hartigan, knowing he now has to protect her, tells her to get some clothes on so they can leave.

They go outside to Nancy's car, which Hartigan offers to drive, but Nancy claims only she can keep her car running. While driving she tells Hartigan that there is a gun under the seat, but that it kicks like a mule. They are then shot at by Roark Junior, who has been tailing them. Hartigan tells Nancy to keep the car on the road, then leans out the door, and, with careful aim, manages to shoot Roark Junior in the neck, causing him to crash. Hartigan tells Nancy to stop the car, so that they can confirm the kill.

Finally after a second showdown with Senator Roark's son, Junior (who Hartigan stabs, castrates, and then pounds him in the head until he dies) Hartigan realizes the only way to protect Nancy is to take his own life, which he does by shooting himself in the temple after sending Nancy back into town.

In the 2005 film adaptation of Sin City, Bruce Willis portrayed Hartigan


leopatterson.png192. Leo Patterson (21 points)

Year first appeared: 2006

All Criminal story arcs are self-contained and focus on different characters, but these central characters inhabit the same world, frequent the same bar, and share a common history of two generations of crime. With his partner Ivan, Tommy Patterson ran the city's most proficient crew of pickpockets and taught the trade to his eight-year-old son, Leo. When Tommy was arrested and imprisoned for the murder of Teeg Lawless, Ivan took care of Leo and explained to him how following certain rules can keep a criminal "out in the world," out of both prison and the morgue.

Around the same time, Teeg Lawless' two sons were arrested. While his fifteen-year-old brother Ricky was sent to a juvenile work camp, Tracy Lawless was given the option of going to prison or enlisting in the armed forces. Tracy joined the U.S. Army, abandoning Ricky but honing his skills as a soldier.

The first story arc Coward, begins fifteen years after Tommy Patterson was killed in state prison, and five years after Leo survived the disastrous "Salt Bay job." Since then, Leo has been keeping a low profile as a pickpocket as he struggles to take care of Ivan, who suffers from both Alzheimer's disease and an addiction to heroin. Leo closely follows his own rules for survival, and so he has a reputation, not only for being brilliant at planning scores, but also for being a coward who always manages to escape a bad situation. Both aspects of this reputation attracts the attention of Seymour, who also survived the Salt Bay fiasco, and a crooked cop named Jeff. They try to recruit Leo to work an armored-car heist, telling him that the police evidence van is carrying $5 million in diamonds. He refuses because he has a rule against working with corrupt police officers, but Seymour knows Leo won't say no to a woman named Greta, a recovering heroin addict who's working the heist to start a new life with her daughter Angie. Leo eventually agrees to join the crew and recruits his friend Donnie, an epileptic con man.

When Jeff includes his own partners in the score, Leo and Greta suspect a double-cross, but they continue with the heist's planning and execution. Leo thought the double-cross would occur after the heist, so Jeff and his partners have the element of surprise when they open fire during the robbery, killing Donnie and wounding Greta. Leo still followed his rule about having his own back-up escape route, so he and Greta manage to drive away with the score, which he discovers isn't diamonds but rather a briefcase of heroin.

Jeff and his partners work for a drug kingpin named "Roy-L.T." Hyde, and the evidence-van heist was intended both to retrieve his merchandise and facilitate the release of his lieutenant named Delron. Furious with their failure, "Roy-L" kills one of Jeff's partners, and he then sends the recently freed Delron with Jeff to track down his nearly $1 million in heroin. While she recovers from her wound, Greta, Ivan, and Leo lay low at his grandfather's farm. He and Greta fall in love, and while they're sleeping together after a night of passion, Ivan finds the suitcase of heroin, and Jeff and Delron track down Greta's mother and daughter.

When Leo wakes up, he finds that Ivan died, overdosing on the uncut heroin. Leo withdraws emotionally from Greta, refusing to talk to her about his past, and while he buries Ivan behind the farmhouse, she makes the mistake of calling him a coward. Leo suddenly takes the heroin back to the city to find a way out of their predicament. There he meets "Genuine Jen" Waters, an old friend who now works in Internal Affairs for the police and who tells him about what "Roy-L" and Jeff were planning: they had hoped Leo would escape, but without the drugs, so that he could be the cops' sole focus. Meanwhile, distraught over how Leo left and tempted by the one remaining bag of heroin, Greta makes the mistake of calling of her mother's house, where her mother has been murdered and where Jeff is waiting to trace her phone call. Leo breaks into Seymour's apartment, hoping to use him to get out of the dire situation, when he finds a message on the answering machine: Jeff and Delron have found Greta.

Leo races back to the farm, but he finds Greta has been tortured and murdered. Still threatening to kill Greta's daughter Angie, Seymour forces Leo to take him to the briefcase of heroin. Seymour tells Leo that he has him figured out, but he doesn't, and Leo explains that his father didn't kill Teeg Lawless: Leo did. Leo's afraid of what's inside himself, and he quickly distracts and kills Seymour. He then tracks Delron to the local motel and kills him, too, rescuing Angie. He makes his way back to the city, tracking down and killing "Roy-L" and Jeff -- killing Jeff because Jeff helped torture Greta. Severely wounded, Leo can't escape the police who arrive on the scene of the brutal firefight, and he realizes that dying is a lot harder than killing.



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