Sunday, May 27, 2018 • Evening Edition • "Be glad we're not indoors."

Your Top Marvel Heroes part 45

Written by Chris Mitchell on Friday, April 30 2010 and posted in Features
Two badasses and a teenager,


118. Nico Minoru (24 points)

sistergrimm.jpgNico is the daughter of Tina and her husband Robert Minoru. Every year, the couple used to join other five couples in an organization called the Pride. Eventually, Nico was shocked to see her father performing a spell casting scenario in which he was one of those who murdered a girl for their ritual in their organization. Nico have made a decision to help the others run from their parents. While running, Nico was shocked to see her mother yielding a staff called the Staff of One. Later, Tina Minoru revealed that she and Robert were secretly dark wizards. Attempting to jam the staff on her daughter's chest, Nico have absorbed it. Following some events, Dale Yorkes' Samurai has attempted an attack against her with his battle axe, but the Staff of One have just merged with her. By saying the word "Freeze", she was able to freeze Stacey Yorkes. The incidents therefore explain the fact that Nico Minoru like her parents was actually a witch and whenever she experiences bleeding, the Staff of One merges with her. To be able to hide her identity as Nico Minoru, she used the name Sister Grimm but it does not last for long. She was then recruited by Alex and became the unofficial leader of the Runaways for a while.

During the first volume of the Runaways title, Nico found herself leading the team in their efforts to prevent their parents from bringing the Gibborim onto Earth. During this period, she became engaged in a relationship with fellow Runaway Alex Wilder, but this was broken when Alex ended up betraying the team to the Pride. Despite the resentment she felt at him for betraying her trust (thoughts she articulated by punching him in the face), Nico still grieved his death at the hands of the Gibborim, and wasted a resurrection spell in an effort to bring him back. When the Runaways were separated and each placed into different foster homes at the urging of Captain America, Nico found herself in Father Flanagan's Home for Unwanted Goth Kids. While initially accepting her place there and trying to forget her past as a Runaway, Nico was soon drawn back into the world of super heroics when she was attacked by the villainous Marie Laveau, who was seeking the Black Mirror, one of the Four Cornerstones of Creation, which Nico's parents had stolen from her. After a lengthy magical confrontation, Nico defeated the sorceress, only for Laveau to escape with the true prize within the Mirror, the last page of the Darkhold. Following this battle, Nico accepted her place as a superhero, and left the orphanage to return to the reunited Runaways.

When Gert's future self arrived in their time to warn the Runaways about Victor Mancha, she agreed with Gert that he shouldn't be killed. Nico was devastated when Karolina left to be wed to Xavin in order to unite their warring planets, particularly since mere moments before, Karolina had revealed her sexual identity and her unrequited love for Nico. Just when she thought her life couldn't get more complicated, a new version of the Pride appeared, led by a version of Geoffrey Wilder summoned from the 1980's. Wilder attempted to resurrect his dead family by using Molly as bait to lure Nico to be sacrificed by Gibborim. Although they are able to defeat Wilder and the new Pride with the return of Karolina and Xavin, Gert is killed while attempting to save Chase from being sacrificed instead of Nico. This event greatly distresses her and she begins a physical relationship with Victor Mancha in order to help her cope with Gert's death. During this time, Nico confesses to Victor that she often finds herself seeking out physical comfort in times of great stress and grief.

After an upcoming threat was revealed about Victor Mancha, Nico and her co-Runaways have to abduct Victor to interrogate him about some details despite the murder of his parents. However, this became possible after Ultron's defeat. Nico then recruited Victor to the team. Following some events, the Gibborim then attempted to take Nico's soul because of its purity and its availability for the Gibborim to consume. Victor then saved her from the aforementioned villain and led to a relationship between the two Runaways. After going back to their headquarters, Xavin have realized that she have made their location noticeable for Iron Man and the SHIELD so to be able to escape, Nico ordered her team to relocate.

Following their exploits in the past and the Secret Invasion, The Runaways move into one of the Pride's safe houses on the California beach. Nico displays much greater magical power, but with some unexpected results. While fighting some of the few remaining Majesdanes (Karolina's people), she casts a spell that physically "scatters" her opponents, but emotionally scatters her teammates. After Xavin leaves with the Majesdanes in Karolina's place, the team begins fighting a deranged megalomaniacal Radio DJ. When one of her parents' former associates grabs hold the Staff of One a security daemon is released from the staff and eats the associate. She is continuing to learn her magicks and attempting to control them more fully.

117. Orson Randall (24 points)

orsonrandall.jpgOrson Randall was the Iron Fist before Danny Rand and long thought dead. He fought against the Germans during the First World War and is considered a 'hero' and 'veteran' by some though he thinks of himself as just a survivor of that nightmare. He considers the mantle of the Iron Fist as a curse rather than a gift because of the violence and death that goes with it. He has experience with focusing his Chi into pistols which has sometimes been called Gun-Fu. This feat was pioneered by Wu Ao-Shi the only woman to ever earn the title Iron Fist, Immortal Weapon of K'un-Lun.

The story of Orson Randall begins in the late 19th century with a mechanical genius named Phineas Randall who created technology right out of the stories of Jules Verne. With a massive airship Phineas traveled the world but crashed into the mythical city of K'un-Lun the one day that it appeared on Earth each decade. One of the people injured in the crash was Phineas' wife who was eight months pregnant, the healers did what they could to save her but she died giving birth to a son they named Orson. Phineas believed that with his science he could pierce the dimensional walls between K'un-Lun and Earth so that its citizens could come and go as they pleased. It was possible to travel to Earth through mystic means but it would never go unnoticed by Yu-Ti, the Dragon Kings and the Gods of K'un-Lun. Nu-An, the son of Yu-Ti the ruler of K'un-Lun was intrigued by this idea and paid Phineas to build his gateway and keep it secret. With the gold he was paid to create the gateway between Earth and K'un-Lun Phineas created his Empire of Theoretical Science.

All the while Orson was left in K'un-Lun to train with Lei Kung the Thunderer an immortal who was the greatest martial artist in a city of martial artists. When Orson came of age he defeated the Shou-Lao the Undying to become Iron Fist, the immortal weapon of K'un-Lun. Like many other Iron Fists Orson went to Earth but while he was there he witnessed so many atrocities and so much death during the First World War that he would only fight when necessary. Returning to K'un-Lun after ten years on Earth it was obvious that Orson had changed he had begun drinking heavily and smoking opium to forget the horrors of war. He took the book of the Iron Fists from K'un-Lun in the hopes that without it there wouldn't be another Iron Fist to follow him. Eventually he was called to fight in the 'Tournament of the Heavenly Cities' but refused so the six other immortal weapons were sent to make him join the tournament or relinquish the golden Chi of Shou-Lao. Orson instinctively lashed out and accidentally killed the immortal weapon of the city of K'un-Zi. Lei Kung was next sent to kill his former student but when he saw the state Orson was in from alcohol and opium he returned to K'un-Lun saying it was done.

Orson would soon find himself in Nepal where his life would be saved by an orphaned American child named Wendell. He took the boy in as his ward and raised him like a son teaching him how to fight and telling him stories of K'un-Lun where he had grown up. Along with their allies; the Confederates of the Curious, they traveled the world finding adventure using Orson's father's money and technology. Wendell wanted to be the next Iron Fist like his mentor but Orson got angry whenever Wendell brought it up and told him that Shou-Lao would kill him if he ever tried. After a mission Orson left an injured Wendell behind after he had been shot. Finding his mentor abandoned him Wendell decided to find K'un-Lun and become the Iron Fist to spite his former mentor. Orson dove more into the world of opium which effectively cloaked his Chi from Ch'i-Lin the demon that killed most of the previous Iron Fists at the age of 33.

Wendell spent 10 years in K'un-Lun and earned the right to face Shou-Lao but turned away from K'un-Lun before facing the dragon uncertain that it was his destiny. Angry at his mentor for putting doubts in his mind Wendell planned on killing Orson but seeing him drugged out of his mind on opium turned his anger to pity. Orson explained that he didn't want Wendell to have the life of violence of the Iron Fist, he sensed it wasn't his destiny, it would however be his destiny to father a great Iron Fist. The world believed Orson to be dead and he had willed everything to Wendell who used that money to build Rand-Meachum Inc and meet Heather Duncan who would give birth to Danny Rand. Living in an opium induced haze Orson was unheard of until the 'Tournament of the Heavenly Cities' was scheduled to occur again. Davos, the Steel Serpent had become the new immortal weapon of K'un-Zi at the behest of the Crane Mother who wanted revenge against Orson for killing her last immortal weapon.

Crane mother sent her female servants to Thailand to find Orson Randall but he was able to beat them despite the opium haze he was under. Deciding he needed to speak with Danny he traveled to New York but was attacked by servants of Davos and Crane Mother. To defend himself Orson had to use the Iron Fist technique against his attackers which Danny sensed and felt was an attack against him. Danny tried to track down this person who was also using the Chi of Shou-Lao but Orson tracked Danny down first and faced him. Knowing that this man was using his Chi Danny attacked but Orson surprised him by holding him off and telling him about Danny's father. Together Orson brought Danny to one of Phineas Randall's pneumatic subway stations and showed him the book of the Iron Fist but they were immediately attacked by soldiers of Hydra. Hydra was working with Davos, Crane Mother and a man named Xao to destroy Danny Rand, and usurp his company. After dealing with Hydra Orson told Danny a bit about his life including why Crane Mother wished to destroy him, killing her immortal weapon, and refusing to fight in the last 'Tournament of the Heavenly Cities'.

On their way back to Rand Corporate Headquarters they found it swarming with Hydra agents, Crane Mother's servants and Davos. Using the life-force from Crane Mother's servants Davos was able to gain the advantage against both Danny and Orson. Orson fought Davos knowing he couldn't win but Luke Cage arrived in time to give them some relief. Sacrificed himself Orson was critically injured and told Danny to take his Chi because it would be the only way to beat Davos. Danny plunged his hands into Orson's chest absorbing his Chi like he had from the molten heart of Shou-Lao to become the Iron Fist in the first place. It was a surprise to Davos that Danny was able to hold his own and seeing that he couldn't win Davos fled. Immediately thereafter Danny was summoned by Lei-Kung and Yu-Ti to take part in the 'Tournament of the Heavenly Cities'. Danny did not even have the chance to bury the man who could be considered his grandfather.

116. USAgent (24 points)

usagent.jpg"A pig-headed, stubborn soldier who's all to happy to do things his way, John Walker appeals to me for much the same reasons Guy Gardner appeals to me at DC. While some love to hate him for his attitude, I choose to simply love him."

John Walker idolized his brother Mike, who died serving his country during the Vietnam War. After Walker served his own time with the military, he eventually gains his superhuman abilities from the Power Broker. Once he had his powers, Walker needed to repay his debt to the Power Broker. He initially wrestled in the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, where super powered individuals regularly competed such as the Thing and She-Hulk.

He eventually decided to leave the wrestling world to take up crime fighting. Taking the identity Super-Patriot, he became a corporate sponsored Hero. Walker set himself up in opposition to Captain America claiming the title should be given by the people to the person most worthy. Behind the scenes, the Red Skull had slowly maneuvered Steve Rogers into conflicts with the government's Commission on Superhuman Activities in an attempt to drive him out of his role as Captain America. When Steve Rogers abandoned the role, Valerie Cooper invited Walker to take over as Captain America.

As Captain America, Walker received training from the Taskmaster. It was from the Taskmaster that Walker gained his competency with the shield and fighting style of Captain America. However, he lacked the moral fiber Steve Rogers possessed. The Red Skull wanted a figure in the Captain America uniform that would tarnish the image Steve Roger's had taken a lifetime to uphold. Walker's time as Captain America very nearly succeeded in bringing the Red Skull's vision to fruition. His parents were killed by a group known as the Watchdogs, one of the groups secretly run by the Red Skull. This drove Walker to the edge, and he began a steady streak of murder. He massacred many Watchdog members and ended several missions with fatal results.

Walker eventually fought Steve Rogers, who temporarily took the name The Captain in his continued fight for justice. The two fought, and eventually The Red Skull's plan was revealed. Walker realized the he could not be the type of man necessary to wear the Captain America uniform and asked Steve Rogers to take back his rightful uniform.

Walker returned to crime fighting in his own fashion, were he evolved into the USAgent. The USAgent costume was based on Steve Rogers' Captain uniform in honor of Captain America. His costume was complete with his own Vibranium shield.

During this stage of his career, Walker has been added to the roster of several superhero teams. Over the years he has served faithfully as a member of the Avengers West Coast, Force Works, and The Jury and recently he has been in the latest incarnation of the Invaders.

After the events of the Civil War, Iron Man appointed Walker to Omega Flight in Canada to track down Purple Man. While Omega Flight was in battle, the Scarlet Witch pulled Walker from the battle to join a reformed Mighty Avengers team to combat Cython.

During the events of Siege, USAgent and the remaining members of the now defunct Mighty Avengers battled Norman Osborn's black ops team the Thunderbolts in the middle of Asgard. In the battle, U.S. Agent fought furiously to recover the Spear of Odin from the Thunderbolts. Nuke, also known as Scourge, from the Thunderbolts went toe to toe with USAgent and was seemingly beaten, but in the chaos of Asgard being brought to the ground by Sentry, and in an incredible stroke of good luck, Nuke was able to get a hold of the Spear of Odin. Stunned from Asgard's decent into Oklahoma, U.S. Agent stumbled to recover his balance, but before he could Nuke severed U.S. Agent's left arm and leg in one fell swoop.


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