Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Characters I Like -- Spear

One of the tropes of the Silver Age which carried over into the Bronze Age (and to a degree, even into the early modern era as well) was that each hero, no matter how high or low on the proverbial totem pole, had his own gang of baddies whom he would regularly tangle with. Sure, everyone might throw down with Doctor Doom from time to time, but month in and month out there was a subset of villains who our favorite crimefighters might interact with. One of my favorite Marvel characters is Luke Cage (same name syndrome), and he, like everyone else, had his own set of foes who he would face down. And today, I'm taking a look at one of his coolest, if not exactly enduring, enemies.


Spear preparing to rip #$%@ up, POWER MAN #34

Spear started out as a mysterious man in the shadows terrorizing Dr. Noah Bernstein, the man who created the Power Man Process, which made Luke Cage into the skull-breaker we all know and love. Turns out that the good doctor had tried an earlier prototype of the PMP on Spear's convict brother, wh owas suffering from a brain tumor. Needless to say, things took a turn for the worse, and Spear, like pretty much anyone who was wronged in any way in a Marvel comic from 1962 until about 2001, developed a costumed identity with which to get revenge.

As far as gimmicks go, Spear is pretty well covered. He has a high powered speargun (natch) which he uses to launch various types of spear-like projectiles. Since he apparently has the same armorer as Hawkeye, Spear's arsenal includes his normal trident like spears, plus explosive spears, gas-filled spears, napalam spears, and message delivering spears. And his speargun was powerful enough that he could hurt Cage with it, a mean feat considering that Luke normally laughed off bullets.

Spear had another odd quality -- his costume was seemingly designed twice for the same appearance. Inside the pages of Power Man, he sported his yellow, orange and purple duds, but on the covers, it was a green and purple ensemble that he rocked.

Spear rips off the Melter's costume, POWER MAN #33

In the end, Spear (along with his other brother, the brutish wrestler named Mangler) only appeared for one storyline in the pages of Power Man (#33-35), then disappeared. Why he has never popped up again is a mystery to me. His costume needs a little freshening, but Spear always struck me as a character who would make a good hired gun, especially against characters who aren't near the top of the superhero food chain -- he'd get a good fight from Daredevil, or Captain America, for instance. Creators and fans bemoan the lack of good villains in today's comic books, but I think that there are plenty of foes with lots of upside if you just look.

Personally, I am hoping that he pops up at some point in Marvel's current Heroes For Hire series, which is a haven for characters like Spear. Because, let's face it -- Shang Chi fighting Spear would be undeniably awesome.

This is Spear, and he is a character I like.

(I obtained the top image from the most excellent Appendix To the Marvel Universe -- check it out!)

1 comment:

Diabolu Frank said...

Daredevil pretty much defines "not at the top of the food chain" without regard for the actual quality of the character. Captain America though, in all respects save raw super-power, is right up there. No Spear for him!

Speaking of which, I initially misread the piece in his arsenal as "massage delivering spear." I've got one of those, bay-buh. Huh-huh-hu-huh-huh. "Spear."