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Your Top Marvel Heroes part 31

Written by Chris Mitchell on Friday, April 23 2010 and posted in Features
We made it to the Top 150!! Rejoice!! {nomultithumb}

151. Stingray/Diamondback (17 points)

stingray.jpgI have that bust. I love it.

Take it away, Amoeb.

Walter Newell loved the oceans. His whole young life was about the mysteries of the deep. After earning his Ph. D. he became a full fledges oceanographer working for the U.S. Government.

Working on an experimental underwater agricultural city/farm, Newell had his first run in the Namor the Sub-Mariner when the villainous Plunderer destroyed it. From that time on Newell often ran (or swam) into Namor, even assisting him against some of Namor's enemies like Tiger Shark.

One day, the Earth's water level started to drop. Aliens had been stealing it and the government was convinced that the Sub-Mariner was in on it. Being a government employee Newell had no choice when asked to help capture Namor. Newell used all his knowledge of the oceans and his scientific know how and created an exo-skeleton suit that would allow him to survive the pressure of the deep sea as well as increased strength, speed and an electrical blast which he could direct anywhere.

Newell, taking the name Stingray, engaged a weary Namor in battle and bested him. Convinced of the Atlantean's innocence, Stingray helped Namor escape (which was later proven).

Stingray would aid Namor numerous times over the years, whether in battles or in helping him search for his father.

Newell would later take assignment on an artificial mobile island called Hydrobase. The island was formally the base for the evil Dr. Hyrdo who had genetically altered the survivors of a plane crash into water breathers. The Doctor was gone but the Hydro-Men remained. Newell helped them adjust to their new lives and together with the Thing and Reed Richards they would eventually return them to human.

Newell would have plenty of reasons to become Stingray while living on Hydro-Base as he adventured with the Thing, Triton Gorgon, Karnak, the Defenders, and the Scarlet Witch.

Newell found love in Diane Arliss and they soon wed. Around the same time, the Avengers were in need of a new Headquarters and Newell leased a portion of Hydrobase to them. As Stingray, the Avengers soon offered him limited membership. With them on the island of course led to the bad guys showing up there and so it wasn't long before Hydrobase sunk to the oceans floor during the Acts of Vengeance.

Stingray still made numerous appearances here and there, most notably when he joined Captain America in opposition to the Super-Hero Registration Act. After Cap supposedly died, Stingray accepted a pardon and became a member of the Avengers Initiative.

Rachel Leighton was born in Austin, Texas as the only girl among three brothers. As a youth, she moved with her family from Texas to New York City and proceeded to grow up with the wrong crowd. Two of her brothers joined a notorious street gang known as the Savage Crims, led by Brock Rumlow (the criminal later known as Crossbones). At the age of fifteen, Rachel attempted to join the same gang by approaching Rumlow alone and claiming that she would do anything to join. Rumlow responded by beating and raping Rachel. Her two brothers in the gang retaliated by attacking Rumlow, but it went badly and her elder brother Ricky was killed. Her other brother, Danny, survived and went on to become the villain known as Cutthroat.

After Rachel recovered, she trained at one of the schools ran by the Taskmaster and became a deadly fighter, particularly with thrown weapons. After 'graduating,' she took the costumed identity of Diamondback and became a founding member of the Serpent Society, where she fought and later fell in love with Captain America and turned over a new leaf. She now works as a mercenary, both freelance and with B.A.D. Girls Inc.

After joining Captain America's cause against registration during Civil War, she was apprehended by Ms. Marvel, Wasp, and Black Widow. She became a staff member of the Initiative and stayed on even when Norman Osborn took over. She currently leads the Women Warriors team and has a relationship with Constrictor. She is also a mole for the Avengers Resistance.

150, Christian Walker (17 points)

christianwalker.jpgChristian Walker's origin was explored in the story arc "Forever" in Powers (vol. 1), issues 31 to 37. Initially thought of as a boring, two dimensional character due to his lack of conversation (which has since been put down to a feeling of having had "every discussion before" like an "old man that couldn't be bothered to finish his sentences" in the letters pages of the book) the origin was acclaimed for its originality and filled out some of the questions surrounding Walker, while further raising some more.

It all started at the dawn of man, when two Cro-Magnon men have a disagreement over a woman and start fighting, both surprised and confused to find that they have powers. The fight rages on for days and destroys everything in its path as the first super powered battle, eventually tiring them out. They walk away from each other in a stalemate. One of these first ape-men was Christian Walker.

In the Powers 2008 Annual, it is revealed that Walker and his rival clashed once again, this time as full homo sapien cave-dwellers. Walker, now known as Gor, has retired to a desolate cave where he sat alone for many years, simply evolving. Over time, Gor attracts a tribe, and becomes something like a worshipped chief to his people. When one of Gor's men is killed by a wound not made by teeth or claw, Gor is forced to investigate, following a trail that leads to his old rival. Gor's rival, now calling himself Blood Fist, has invented the world's first stone weapon (a knife made of rock and bone, suggesting he has a tendency to out-pace Walker in evolution) and has used it to violently take over a tribe. Now Blood Fist is preparing to challenge the tribe's "cave god", an enormous bear to which the tribe pays tribute, and claims to be a god himself. Remembering the two's past encounter Gor resolves to end their fight once and for all, and moves quickly into the cave, killing the bear with his bare hands and ripping off its skin. Gor challenges Blood Fist while wearing the bear skin, rejecting his words and claiming that they are both just men. Finally, Gor apparently ends their fight by stealing Blood Fist's weapon and stabbing him through the skull.

Next the story shifts in time thousands of years, following a famous warrior named Gora (as Christian Walker is called here) as he is tracked down by a Princess warrior to fight for her father. His vicious powered enemy Haemon (who was the other early human that he fought before) appears, claims they are demons on earth, slays the Princess warrior and starts another momentous battle. Walking away in exhaustion, Haemon tells Gora to be ready for their next fight.

Shift forward thousands of years more and we see Christian Walker walking up thousands of steps to the Woshu Mountain Temple in Peking, China to see Master Han Xian-Zi, leader of masters and warriors who live and study in the Great Temple. It is this great journey of walking up the steps to the Temple, making his feet "calloused and dead" that gives him the name 'Walker'. He hopes of discovering what makes him so different. He finds dozens similar to him, some immortal, mortal, or reincarnated, but all special and looking for a home. Walker is portrayed as tortured by the deaths of loved ones and not only confused by, but unwanting of the powers he holds. It is discovered that like many Powers, but not all of them, Detective Christian Walker, despite being as old as recorded time, can only remember as far back as a human mind can. He has his first meeting with Zora and the then Chinese version of Retro-Girl, and Supershock, who all would later play a big part in his life. It appears he likes Retro-Girl and most likely sparks up a relationship with her, much to Zora's disappointment. He lived there in peace for 16 years until an ordinary man traveled to the Temple from Peking to ask for help against the invading, deceptive foreigners who had taken many Peking people as slaves and had set off a chain reaction of violence and destruction in his city. The warriors within the Temple are split as whether to help these people so different from them, but Walker, along with Zora, Retro-Girl, Supershock and others decide to help, forming the first known super team.

In homage to golden age superheroes first known as "Mystery Men", the story shifts to 1936 Chicago, where Walker had recently put on a mask to help his wife's brother out against Frank Nitti and the mob. Tracking down Einstein, he hopes to figure out how he does what he does, including an ability to fly. It is revealed parts of his memory do come back to him, but yet he has no idea why he left China or what happened to him in intervening years that include London. Einstein, of course, has no idea of the answers Walker needs and is shocked at his power. Einstein gives Walker one piece of classic superhero advice however. "Never let them know who you really are -- never take the mask off. They'll kill you." Walker travels home to tell his wife that he felt better for the talk, to find his aging wife had been butchered by the man formerly known as Haemon. Clearly having a better memory than Walker, he had tracked him down to fight him once again, as he reveals he has done in many countries, in many eras. Shocked and angry that Walker does not have the same memories of him, Haemon (in this century, later calling himself Wolfe) beats him and leaves, expressing how he wanted to kill Walker when he could remember him and feed off of his hate.

Switching to 1986 and the final chapter of Walker's origin of how he came to be, he is first shown in bed with Zora and Retro-Girl (modern) before being shown with them in costume as Diamond, "the costumed avenger that captured the hearts and minds of a generation". Triphammer (a great playboy inventor who uses his expertise to design suits that give him Powers, much like Iron Man) showed Walker the first Power Drainer, and its distinctive green glow. Walker expresses an interest in making such a power drain permanent to the disgust of Triphammer. Snapping, Diamond/Walker again expresses his anguish at watching his loved ones die time after time. Then their "family" of superheroes including himself, Zora, Retro-Girl and Triphammer confront the greatest villains of their era in a momentous battle, after getting word that Johnny Royale (another character that would haunt the Powers detectives in the future) was attempting to broker an alliance amongst the villains, to counter the latest superhero team.

Wolfe (formerly Haemon) -- Walker's greatest enemy-shows up during the brawl, and decides Walker is now ready for the reiteration of their eternal duel. For the third time, Wolfe and Walker battle it out to exhaustion. Taking the initiative - and realizing that, like every other time, their fights can only end in stalemate - Walker flies Wolfe into Triphammer's building and activates the Power Drainer. Without powers, Walker is physically superior and proceeds to beat Wolfe half to death, while questioning him as to why he has been torturing him across time. Wolfe simply laughs and says he can no longer remember. Infuriated, Walker throws the fragile Wolfe into the Drainer, causing an explosion that leaves both of them stripped of their powers, seemingly forever. Wolfe is taken to prison and even questioned in the "Who Killed Retro-Girl Case?" during the first story arc. Walker waits two years before he introduces himself to a Captain on the police force, whom he had helped out in an as-yet unrevealed way earlier on in his career, and so Walker's new life as a detective begins...

The final part of the story, although set just after Deena Pilgrim's first case with Christian Walker (see "Who Killed Retro-Girl?"), concludes the Walker/Wolfe storyline and so still makes up part of Walker's "origin", seeing as it, in part, makes who Walker is today and concludes the rivalry that shaped him through the ages. It is the modern day and Christian Walker, despite being powerless, has seemingly not aged a day as he became the very successful detective for Homicide cases involving Powers. Wolfe, having lived under a Drainer for the past twenty years, has evolved past Walker to regain his powers, but is rapidly deteriorating. With his body decaying from the sudden release of his long-dormant powers, he searches for Walker at his apartment. When the two confront each other, Wolfe admits he wasn't sure if he even intended to kill Walker. Disturbed and close to death, Wolfe asks for Walker's forgiveness. Walker refuses to give it to him and shoots him in the head. With his last breath, Wolfe hopes to take the "mighty Gora" out with him, exploding in a huge energy ripple that leaves Walker speechless. The issue and the arc finishes with Walker sitting in silence, clearly gaining no feeling of triumph from the death of his greatest foe.

Currently... While investigating the death of a seemingly innocent civilian, Walker learns of a secret interstellar guardian guild known as Millennium. Walker is visited by specters of both his past and present, who reveal they are actually projections from an alien race who supply the powers and uniform to the secret cosmic guardians of the universe. Choosing Walker as their next in line for Earth, he accepts the powers and new responsibility, with success in his first mission.


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