124. Darkhawk (22 points)
"Chris Powell gets no respect. He gets love for the costume alone."
Created by Tom Defalco, Darkhawk first appeared in his own self-titled solo series written by Danny Fingeroth. His series went for 50 issues before cancellation. During the run of his title, Darkhawk made guest appearances in several other titles such as Amazing Spider-Man and New Warriors. But after his book ended, he became regulated to infrequent minor appearances for nearly a decade.
Around the same time as an appearance in an arc of Marvel Team-Up as part of a team called the League of Losers, Darkhawk made a respectable return to the spotlight in the pages of Runaways. Written by Brian K. Vaughan, Darkhawk was given a new status quo as a member of a west coast team called Excelsior. Due to copyright reasons, this team was renamed the Loners and given a limited series soon after appearing in Runaways.
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning picked up there character from there and had him appear in the Secret Invasion tie-in arc of Nova. This was a start of a new direction for Darkhawk. Much like what was done for Nova in Annihilation, Darkhawk was being launched as a new key player in the cosmic scene in War of Kings. Retcons were made to Darkhawk's history, expanding his amulet's origin to make him part of a new concept called the Fraternity of Raptors.
Darkhawk armor is a Raptor armor forged Eons ago by the Fraternity of Raptors. It's equipped with a datasong that gathers information through the armor and feeds information to its wearers mind, including past memories or possible future events.
The amulet on the suit chest grants the ability to create force blast, a generate energy shields for the suit or force fields around others. By focusing the wearer can draw variant armors from the amulet to serve a mission purpose like for example the strike suit which gives increased resistance due to its bulkier armor and carries micro- munitions as ordinance.
The suit itself grants flight, enhanced strength, enhanced vision and Wolverine-like claws but also retractable talons, a grapple cable and retractable glider wings that can double as shields. The grapple cable can also be used to create raptor-like scout birds which the wearer can see thru and operate remotely. The suit also is capable of interstellar flight and creating jump gates/portals.
123. Valkyrie (22 points)
At a young age, Brunnhilde, along with Sif, were one of the few female Asgardians to enter into training in order to become warriors. Although the two girls started out as rivals, due to Sif's jealousy, believing that the blonde Brunnhilde would be more competition for winning the affections of Thor. Even though the two initially get off to a rough start, they eventually became allies when Brunnhilde helped Sif to break an enchantment on Thor which was placed by Amora when she used the Mirror of Mycha. To this day, Sif is perhaps the only female Asgardian who may be equal to Brunnhilde in combat. Once Brunnhilde had grown and completed her training she was appointed by the All-Father, Odin, to lead the Valkyrior in combing the battlefields for worthy mortals on the brink of death and leading them to Valhalla. Brunnhilde was so proficient at this task and so renowned for her skills that she was able to maintain this position of power for centuries. Her success and combat prowess caused Odin to revere her so much, that she was even tasked with subduing his son, Thor, when he destructively tore through the mortal realm of Midgard after the humans he had been protecting ate his beloved steeds. Although Brunnhilde was doing well in combat against the Thunder God, the two were forced to join together and defeat a Storm Giant who came to destroy Midgard. Afterward, both Asgardians seemed to enjoy a brief tryst before returning to their respective duties.
During this time, however, Odin entered into a deal with the other Gods of Earth and the ancient Celestials, forcing him to cut off all interaction with Midgard, leaving Brunnhilde and her Valkyries only slain Asgardian warriors to choose from when performing their duties. Since Asgardians rarely died due to their long life-span, Brunnhilde attempted to occupy her time by finding new adventures to face. On some occasions, she would even accompany the Enchantress from time to time, although when Brunnhilde tried to move on to other tasks, Amora turned on her and trapped her essence inside a soul crystal, keeping her there for centuries. Amora often used this crystal to access the Valkyrie's superior physical abilities for herself, or to enhance her pawns.
Centuries later, Amora used her crystal to bond Brunnhilde's essence to the mortal Barbara Norris, who eventually joined the Defenders. Some time later, Brunnhilde's actual Asgardian body was recovered, although she continued to serve with the Defenders until the team disbanded. After this, Brunnhilde returned to Asgard to resume her role as leader of the Valkyrior and even allowed Samantha Parrington to work as new Valkyrie on Earth, after Lorelei and the Olympian Death God Pluto transformed the mortal for their own schemes.
Brunnhilde and her horse were slain in battle by Durok the Demolisher, however, she passed on her leadership of the Valkyries and her mighty sword, the Dragonfang, to Sif, who quickly avenged Brunnhilde's death, just before Loki's ultimate destruction of Asgard during the Ragnarok. After Thor was reborn, he restored many of the Asgardians with the Odinforce, although it remains unclear whether Brunnhilde has been restored as well.
122, Werewolf by Night (22 points - 1 first place slot)
"For anyone who thinks they have "family issues", be glad you're not a Russoff."
This is another Amoeba write up:
It all started millions of years when the Wolf God, a member of the Elderspawn, gave birth to the Wolf-Men. The Wolf-Men engaged in war with other animal-men that spilled onto Earth. Eventually the battles ebbed and the Wolf-Men started enslaving humanity. Around 20,000 B.C. the humans revolted and by 18,000 B.C. the vast majority of Wolf-Men were dead.
Meanwhile an alien race called the Nuwali were checking on their garden (aka the Savage Land) and through genetics (and residual magic left behind from the Wolf-Men) created the modern wolf-men. The wolf disease (lycanthropy) was spread through scratched, bites and hereditary means. Soon many wolf-men existed and they grew into societies (which quickly were hunted by humans). The wolf-men societies crumbled and what few remained went into hiding for eons.
1795 AD. Grigori Russoff's wife is killed by Dracula. Russoff ended up destroying Dracula (temporarily) but not without incident as he was he was turned into a werewolf by an employ of Dracula's. Russoff hid his curse for years, took a new wife and had children (whom never appeared to have the curse).
A great great grandchild named Gregor happened upon the evil scrolls known as the Darkhold. He bound them into a book and one night while reading about lycanthropy under the light of a full moon, he triggered his ancestor's curse and changed.
Gregor sought a cure and to help pay for it he sold his family's land (Wundagore Mountain) to a two men( Jonathon Drew and Herbert Wyndham). Unfortunately, Gregor, under a full moon, happened upon Drew's wife and she was killed. In order to protect himself and to capture the wolfman, Wyndham created a metal suit which served it's function as Gregor was captured. The two came an understanding and Gregor stayed with Wyndham in his efforts to cure him and Wyndham's true goal of high evolution experimentation.
Later, someone also named Gregor (who may or may not be the same person) married and they gave birth to Jacob in their ancestral home in Transylvania. A year or so later, lightning struck the castle freeing the curse of the werewolf. Gregor was killed by the locals who turned on the entire family. Jacob and his mother escaped to Los Angeles where they converted their names. Jacob Russoff became Jack Russell.
As Jack was turning into an adult, a criminal organization discovered the Russoff secret and began blackmailing Jack's family. Things went bad and as the full moon began to glow, Jack began to change into a Werewolf By Night. He killed the blackmailer and afterwards ran.
Unable to stop the curse, he would change and battle various individuals and gangs - often infecting survivors with the disease. A nomad, he traveled the country, all the while learning about his family's history.
As the days turned to years, Jack would run into the likes of Spider-Man, Brother Voodoo, Moon Knight and a lengthy relationship with Topaz . Eventually he ran into the Darkhold and attempted to use it to cure himself (it never took).
On one occasion, Jack, along with the Man-Thing, Ghost Rider and Morbius all had a chance for a permanent cure but they unwittingly all helped in killing the alien that held their hopes.
Back in LA, Jack ran into the Darkhold again and with the help of Iron Man and Spider-Woman they stopped Morgan Le Fay's plans. A foe of Spider-Woman captured Jack and tried to use him against Jessica Drew (the daughter of the man who Jack's father sold Wundagore mountain to). Altered by the scientist, Jack became more feral and out of control, this was short lived.
Jack joined the Shroud's Night Shift, a group of villains led by the heroic Shroud in his undercover role. Jack knew the Shroud's secret and helped him keep the group from doing to much harm. In time though the Werewolf turned on the crew and Jack was forced to run again. Running into the Braineaters (a gang he fought early in his career that caught his curse) Jack finally accepted who he was and in doing so gained full control of his moonlit persona.
Werewolf by Night would in turn assist Dr. Strange against the Possessors, rejoin the Night Shift, and even help out Captain America when he was turned into a wolfman. As always though, Jack lost control of the beast again and was hunted by a the Cult of the Third Moon. Hiding in Salvage, Alabama, Jack discovered a town of werewolves. At last he was accepted but then the town was slaughtered, Jack and a comely lass named Rhona were the only survivors. Together they run seeking a cure.
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