Thursday, May 24, 2018 • Evening Edition • "Because comics!"

Your Top Marvel Heroes part 44

Written by Chris Mitchell on Friday, April 30 2010 and posted in Features
Some fun characters this time around. {nomultithumb}

121. Dum Dum Dugan (23 points)

dumdumdugan.jpgDuring World War II, while working as a circus strongman, Dugan helps Nick Fury and Sam Sawyer escape the Nazis during a mission. Dugan later joins the British Army, and when Sawyer is charged with creating Fury's First Attack Squad, also known as the Howling Commandos, Sawyer invites Dugan to become second in command. His exceptional strength saves the day in several of his adventures with the group. During his time with the Howlers Dugan became skilled on all Allied small weapons and gained experience in all forms of hand to hand combat, especially Judo. With his trademark derby, Dum Dum frequently struck fear into the Nazi and Japanese enemies in mission after mission. Such were the Howling Commandos feared by the Third Reich, a counter squad of elite fighters, the Blitzkrieg Squad was formed, and among their number, bar room brawler Siegfried, whose story of defeating six men with his bare hands made it to the ears of Von Strucker, was chosen to stand against Dum Dum Dugan.

Among the foes Dum Dum squared off against was Colonel Klaue, stepping in for Fury on a one-on-one match with the iron-handed officer. Following this incident, Dugan was brought up on court martial charges, but Fury soon revealed that it was a plot by the Agent of a 1,000 Faces. Perhaps one of his most daring moments was his face off against the Sea Shark, during which he lead a group of prisoners to take over the German ship. Foreshadowing his future experiences in SHIELD, Dugan also faced a number of supernatural and super-human menaces during the war, including Baron Blood.

Dugan had many opportunities to take command of the Howlers himself. On one occasion, trapped behind enemy lines during Allied bombings of a German town Dum Dum took command and lead a demoralized team back across heavily fortified enemy territory with a wounded Fury in tow. His experience with the Howlers lead to Dugan to being assigned to train the similar task force known as the "Deadly Dozen" by Sawyer. Promoted to sergeant, Dugan along with fellow Howlers Pinkerton and Maneli trained and fought alongside the Dozen on their first missions. Dugan was reassigned to the Howlers just prior to the Battle of the Bulge where he fought alongside not only his Howler teammates, but also the Deadly Dozen with their new commander and Captain America and Bucky.

Serving Fury well as second in command of the Howlers during not only W.W.II but also later during missions in Korea, it took little indecision as to who Fury wanted seconded to him as sub director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Dugan served at the front lines of many of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s battles with the likes of HYDRA, A.I.M., the interplanetary Wraiths, a robotic clone of the Yellow Claw, Scorpio and the Zodiac, the Druid, the Maggia, the villainous duo of Mentallo and the Fixer and many other foes. Dugan also came to know and befriend many of the world's heroes, including the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Falcon, Black Widow, Quasar and of course Captain America, whom he first met during World War II.

The late 1970's saw him take command of the special helicarrier named Behemoth IV to track down the Japanese monster Godzilla, an assignment he became somewhat overzealous on in the opinion of others, including Gabe Jones. Nicknamed "The Godzilla Squad", the group headed by Dugan, and including Jones and Jimmy Woo, followed Godzilla across his many exploits in the United States, including along the Alaskan pipeline, Seattle, and San Francisco where the interference of the Champions of Los Angeles led to the crashing of the original helicarrier. This mission to neutralize the threat of the beast left one of the few blemishes on Dugan's career, as he nearly lost S.H.I.E.L.D.'s mobile headquarters. Following the crash, Dugan was assigned the Behemoth IV carrier and the Red Ronin drone to apprehend the monster. In time however the creature returned to the sea on its own, never seen since.

His loyalty was tested to its limits during the Deltite Affair when his close friendship with Fury endangered his position in S.H.I.E.L.D. and nearly cost him his life. With Fury on the run, Dugan was expected to assume command of S.H.I.E.L.D., however the Deltite-controlled oversight council that ran the agency cited Dugan's heart condition as a specific reason not to choose him. Following that turn of events, Dugan was among one of the few agents who suspected something wrong with the hunt for a rogue Nick Fury and together with fellow Howler Gabriel Jones and the Contessa, they uncovered the corruption at the heart of the Deltite Affair, leading to the dissolving of S.H.I.E.L.D.

After S.H.I.E.L.D. disbanded he retired to a civilian life with his wife and children, however a bizarre plot involving the Death's Head and the Yellow Claw unwittingly him and his family their lives. The death of Dugan spurned Fury to return to the world of espionage and avenge the death of his trusted and life-long friend. As events later revealed, Dugan was in fact still alive, frozen by the Yellow Claw and allowed to be found by Fury. The motivations behind the Yellow Claw's elaborate ploy remain a mystery unsolved.

Returning to active duty, Dugan served as a firm bedrock for Fury during the formative months of the new S.H.I.E.L.D and later the traumatic events of the massacre at S.H.I.E.L.D Central in 1991 and the subsequent fiasco involving the brainwashing of long thought dead agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Once again Dugan was at the front lines alongside Fury, most notably on a mission with to thwart the theft of a long lost Soviet nuclear submarine. Together with the mutant Wolverine, Fury and Dugan put a minor dent in the growing HYDRA arsenal. Dugan was in command of the helicarrier when it was hijacked by a cadre of super-terrorists lead by Mad Dog and bankrolled by AIM, enduring considerable torture at the hands of the hijackers.

Dugan briefly served as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1993, however the position was nearly in name only as Fury still ran S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury took back the mantle later that year in time to lead an invasion against Von Strucker's base in Iceland.

Feeling his age, in the years that followed, Dugan served more in an administrative sense, always close at Fury's side to offer consultation and advice. Among the crises S.H.I.E.L.D. faced were the subterranean Tantalus and the terrorist organization known as DANTE. Despite his age, Dugan was not opposed to some field work, taking a shot in the leg following his escorting of former KGB officer Dmitri Panshin, which eventually led to a rogue band of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents taking over the helicarrier.

In 1995, Dugan's loyalty to Fury tested their friendship as he sided with Fury's son, Mikel and helped him try to capture the Punisher, who was gunning after Fury thinking he had the Castle family killed. The events of those days eventually culminated in the apparent 'death' of Nick Fury, shot and killed by the Punisher. Dugan was quick to oversee the situation and played a large role in the funeral of his friend.

Acting as a deputy director Dugan assisted the Contessa in the aftermath of Fury's death, helping her during Fury's funeral and later in dealing with Fury's son who went gunning for the Punisher looking to avenge his father's murder. Later under director G.W. Bridge's tenure, Dugan served aboard the carrier during the chaos of the apparent death of many of the world's heroes at the hands of Onslaught, seriously wounded during the helicarrier's crash into Manhattan harbor following attacks from Sentinels. Later Dugan served aboard the carrier, helping to solve the computer malfunctions aboard the new helicarrier caused by the evil spirit Ogun.

Details remain unclear as to how upon his escape from his imprisonment in Operation Back Slide, Fury returned to command S.H.I.E.L.D. What is clear is that by the end of the millennium, Dugan was once again acting as unofficial commander of the organization under direct orders from Fury himself, while his friend maintained a low profile. Dugan kept tabs on the Thunderbolts and faced a plot by Nightmare with Sharon Carter and Captain America. Dugan informed Captain America and Falcon that Fury was in fact alive and investigating a new threat from the Hate-Monger.

Dugan served as a special director during Sharon Carter's tenure of command in the agency, offering his experience in combating threats from AIM and their attacks with Protocide and her formation of the ELITE agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with whom he lead to apprehend the Thunderbolts

When Nick Fury returned to the helm, Dugan now in his fifth decade at S.H.I.E.L.D. seemed to adopt a much lower profile when compared to earlier years. Retiring from active combat roles, Dum Dum Dugan can still be seen at Fury's side, such as during the interrogation of the Vulture after the Identity Disc theft and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s recent dealings with Cable and his floating city of Providence.

Following the savage HYDRA attacks on S.H.I.E.L.D. that left Nick Fury injured, Dugan served as acting commander of S.H.I.E.L.D. Under his command, S.H.I.E.L.D. launched an all-out assault on factions of HYDRA, AIM, and the cult known as the Hand lead by mutant Gorgon.

During the Civil War, Dugan, along with several other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, was sent to capture his fugitive friend Captain America. The entire group was defeated. He expressed regret to fellow agent Sharon Carter for trying to capture his friend. He also stated his concerns about losing faith in S.H.I.E.L.D. due to the war and the way the organization was run under Director Maria Hill.

After the events of Civil War and as Tony Stark took over as director of S.H.I.E.L.D, Dugan turned in his letter of resignation, stating that he did not approve of the changes Stark had made, or of the way he ran the organization. Dugan's resignation was not accepted however, as he was too vital to S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite Dugan's disapproval of Stark's leadership, Stark still trusted Dugan and Dugan alone with the command of a weapon that could send an abandoned Manhattan into the Negative Zone, destroying the island and anyone inside during World War Hulk, citing that Hulk and the Warbound were too dangerous a global threat to leave Manhattan free. Stark trusted that Dugan would know the appropriate time to execute the plan, if at all. Dugan never used the weapon.

Dugan was later placed in charge of pursuing Wolverine. While chasing Logan and Omega Red, Dugan was badly wounded by Daken.

It was later revealed that, shortly after the death of Captain America, Dugan was ambushed and stabbed by a Skrull impersonating Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, who then took his place. The Dugan impostor destroys the Peak, S.W.O.R.D.'s Orbital base, in a suicide strike that allowed the Skrull armada to invade Earth. After the invasion, Iron Man discovered the Skrull kidnap victims alive and well, including Dum Dum. Dugan is later shown in a support group meeting with the others that had been replaced by Skrulls.

Dugan is now running around with Nick Fury with other ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agents fighting Hydra and H.A.M.M.E.R.!

120. Ult. Spider-man (23 points)

ultimatespidey.jpgI am not going to lie, I thoroughly enjoyed this series. Like most writers, Bendis is hit and miss with me but when it came to this title it was always spot on. Frankly. I think his Spider-man in the New Avengers is always good too. Bendis-speak works with Spidey out of all the characters he writes, imo. But yeah, it was a fun fun title. I tried to get into it post Ultimatum but the art killed me and I am on a little hiatus from collecting comics till after the wedding to save some cash. So, since his history is a little long I figured I would just write about post-Ultimatum here. Cool? Cool.

It's six months after the Ultimatum wave hit and Peter Parker is working again, but not as a web designer. At Burger Frog Peter is a cashier, facing old ladies who think are being given "lip" to the boss who orders him to wear a hat. Mary Jane is a reporter a for the school's student newscast in New York is being nice to Spider-Man even when he does nothing and Gwen is kissing Peter.

One night as Spider-Man Peter finds a store where some thugs force themselves into a store where a hooded man had already done the "super hero thing" . Some cops give the glory to Spider-Man and the hooded figure watches over.

Back at home Peter finds Gwen waiting for him in the attic. She welcomes him with a kiss and before that goes any further Peter sneaks in so his Aunt May won't find them being "naughty". Aunt May tells Peter that Kitty called for him and jealously Gwen tells him that "she is probably calling to tell him she's still in love with him". Short after Johnny Storm arrives to ask for a place to stay the night and then collapses over him.

The Kingpin is back in town and when entering his office he get's thrown out of his office by a new villain, Mysterio.

Mysterio appears shortly afterward, using an illegal gas to cause several blocks of civilians to hallucinate and see giant spiders. With everyone distracted, he then tries robbing a bank. Unfortunately, Spider-Man is in the vicinity, and guesses that the spiders were an illusion, and manages to fight Mysterio, stopping him from getting away with the gold he was trying to steal. In revenge for this, Mysterio creates an illusion of the Hulk rampaging, which Spider-Man goes to stop. Upon reaching the Hulk, he is knocked unconscious, and the only thing stopping Mysterio from killing him is the arrival of the Shroud, a mysterious new hero. Together, the Shroud and Spider-Man stop Mysterio, damaging the technology in Mysterio's costume. Mysterio manages to get away then. Spider-Man takes some of the damaged technology to the police, but unknown to him, Mysterio is at his hideout, and notices some blood which isn't his on his costume.

Mysterio then sends a Spider-Slayer to get Spider-Man, which can track him using his DNA (from the blood). However, the Spider-Slayer is easily destroyed by the Shroud and the Human Torch. The police then arrive at Mysterio's hideout, having tracked him using the tech, and Mysterio is forced to blow up his hideout so that he doesn't get captured.

119. Snowbird (23 points - 1 first place vote)

snowbird.jpg"Yes, Snowbird! How can you not love a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned Inuit goddess??? At a time when so many in comics are concerned with manufactured diversity and political correctness, Marvel flips them a Great Northern Bird with the lovely Snowbird!"

In ancient times the Eskimo Gods of the North battled the Great Beasts for the fate of the world. After being exiled they looked for a champion to battle the Beasts if ever they arose. Nelvanna, goddess of the Northern Lights, appeared to the man Richard Easton and convinced him to mate with her. Afterwards was returned to Earth, he believed he was only gone for one night while in reality it was 9 years. The realization of this eventually drove him insane. When Nelvanna was about to give birth she sought the assistance of Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen to act as a midwife. Sensing the child's unstableness (the result of being a transmorph) the young shaman bound it to the Earth allowing it to have a human form. The child, whom he named Narya, went to live with him and aged at a surprisingly rapid rate. Twoyoungmen taught her the ways of the Earth and how to use her powers. Narya had the ability to assume the form of any animal native to , super strength, flight, pre cognition and post cognition and she can also sense mystical and magical energies.

Dr. Twoyoungmen was visited by his friends, Guardian and Vindicator, the founder of Alpha Flight. After discovering Narya's powers they invited her and her foster father to join the group. Dr. Twoyoungmen was given the name Shaman. Narya was given the name Snowbird and assumed the public identity of Anne McKenzie, a records keeper with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. While working there she met and fell in love with Doug Thompon. The two married and conceived a child which angered the Eskimo Gods. When she went to the along with Shaman to give birth the resulting magical energies awoke Pestilence. Her newborn was possessed by the evil being and rapidly grew up. Pestilence was eventually defeated and driven away while still possessing her sons body. After being exiled by the Gods she sought to redeem herself in their eyes and regain entrance to . This angered her husband and when she did not seek out her possessed son he left her to find him alone.

Snowbird and Shaman later found Pestilence in an abandoned mining town with the help of Doug Thompson, who had been given a fatal disease by the evil being. During the ensuing battle Snowbird killed her child and was slain by Vindicator. After her death she was forgiven by the Gods and allowed entrance to the afterlife. She refused until they allowed her husband and child to enter with her.

Snowbird is sent by her Grandfather Hodiak to join Athena's God-Squad in order to defeat the Skrulls deities Sl'gur't and Kly'bn. While traveling through the Skrulls assimilated Gods, Snow Bird decided to end her loneliness by sleeping with Hercules. During a battle against with a group of Skrull gods she transforms to Neooqtoq the Ravager deadliest of the Great beast of the North for a long time and loses her mind, killing anything in her way. At the last moment she transform to a cloud of mosquitoes, honoring her fallen comrades by fighting on. She returns and impales the Skrull god Kly'bn on the spine of the slain God-eater Demogorge. At the end she carries a weeping Hercules and Amadeus back to earth in a form of a Great White bird.


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