There are a lot of power-conveying weapons, accessories and trinkets in the various fictional universes we love, but more than a few of them seem to have things in common… Some fictional heroes are about the head, some heroes are about the fist, but for a special few, the gimmick is all in the wrist! Welcome to Ten Things!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’, and ’32 Points Of Articulation’, Presents:
TEN CHARACTERS WITH POWERS ‘ALL IN THE WRIST’!
Though often dismissed as a Green Lantern knockoff, Quasar’s signature quantum-bands date back well before Hal Jordan, to 1950 and the first appearance of Marvel Boy. One of several heroes to bear that name, this Marvel Boy (Bob Grayson) was a young man whose father emigrated to an alien colony on Uranus. Bob eventually returned as one of the Agents of Atlas, while his replacement Wendell “Quasar” Vaughn became an Avenger and later gave his life in battle. (As we see so often in comics, it didn’t take.) With total control over light and much of the electromagnetic spectrum, Quasar’s quantum bands allow him a wide array of powers, but are permanently fused to his wrists.
9) WONDER WOMAN
Modeled after the bracelets worn by her creator’s girlfriend as a symbol of their unique relationship, Wonder Woman’s bracelets are an iconic part of her power set and costume, though she has much flashier abilities in her arsenal. Interestingly, in the Golden Age, they were also her metaphorical Kryptonite, as having her wrists bound by a man left her powerless. In the Post-Crisis continuity, they are forged from The Aegis, an impenetrable shield of legend, and could not just themselves be used to deflect bullets, but create a mystical force shield around her.
TRANSMUTE! Many a playground fight started in the 1970s over the rights to be Mark, the leader of G-Force, rather than one of the other members. One thing, though, remained constant: The wrist-flip henshin transformation gestures. G-Force/Battle of the Planets originated in Japan as ‘Science Ninja Team Gatchaman’, pioneering the Super Sentai traditions of color-coded warriors fighting as one with special weapons, powers and a cool ship and/or robot. In fact, the 1991 entry in the Super Sentai franchise, Chōjin Sentai Jetman, was a direct homage to Gatchaman, featuring a similar team makeup, bird motif and transformation gadgetry.
In his very first appearance, Floyd Lawton was merely a man in a suit with a pair of pistols, but a 1977 revamp by the classic team of Englehart and Rogers introduced his iconic look: Red suit, silver mask with targeting eye-piece, and dead wrist magnums. Though the size and shape of his guns has varied, Deadshot’s accuracy with them, and the sheer awesome factor of high-caliber weapons hidden in wristbands has made him one of DC’s top anti-heroes. (It almost certainly had a hand in him joining the DC big-screen properties in the upcoming ‘Suicide Squad’ film.)
You kids today don’t realize how good you have it blah blah blah uphill both ways, especially when it comes to your adventure fiction. In the 1980s, we had to wait until our shows were on, and few were as anticipated as ‘Spartakus and The Sun Beneath The Sea’, a dubbed version of a French adventure cartoon that seemingly only aired on Sunday mornings. Spartakus, a former gladiator, wore an amazing gauntlet that mystically provided him with a crossbow, a dagger and a cool grappling hook, as well as becoming a plot-important maguffin when it was discovered to glow near certain artifacts, making Spartakus not only look cool but drive bits of plot as well.
Poor Brock Jones… He never really wanted to be a superhero, but stumbled onto a stolen alien armored suit that wicked Senator Stivak wanted to use for evil. He kept trying to retire, but was continually getting dragged back into action, using the Torpedo-suit’s wrist mounted turbines to fly, punch at superhuman levels and even create gusts of wind to stave off his foes. Sadly, Brock’s not-entirely-willing super-duper career was cut short when an alien Dire Wraith brutally murdered him (Wraith kills generally involve a tongue-spike to the brain) and took his identity. The Torpedo suit later fell into the hands of New Warrior Turbo.
4) BLACK WIDOW
Natalia Romanova has a lot going for her. She’s a talented ballerina, a skilled undercover operative, Olympic-level athlete and acrobat, as well as a stone fox who looks great for a woman born in the late 1930s. (That’s not a joke, it’s in her back story.) But what sets her apart from the other cat-suited lady bad@$$es comes in her style and her distinctive combat bracelets. Delivering not only her trademark ‘Widow’s Sting’, they contain a grappling line ala Daredevil’s billy club, tear-gas pellets and can even deliver clouds of knockout gas. Given her usual attire’s lack of pockets, it only makes sense that she accessorize wisely.
3) CAPTAIN MAR-VELL
Mar-Vell came to Earth as just another alien in a space suit with a fin on his head, but quickly adapted to Earth’s ways and adopted our planet as his new home. Thanks to a conspiracy of his enemies/former countrymen (Would countrymen still apply if we’re talking about another planet? Bygones…), Marv became trapped on the Negative Zone, only able to escape thanks to a unique bond with young Rick Jones. By clanging his wrist-mounted “Nega-Bands” together, Rick can call the Captain to Earth for a limited time, a shout-out to the original Captain Marvel and his youthful alter-ego Billy Batson. Even after their situation was resolved, Mar-Vell continued wearing the Nega-Bands, which turn his mental might into super-strength, durability and flight powers.
I really agonized over this entry, as it seemed at first that Peter Parker’s web-shooters were merely a small part of his arsenal. But the more I though about it, the more it fit, and it all came together when Otter Disaster made the observation that “most of what makes him spidery is in the web-shooters.” Allowing him to swing through the skies, to create nets to catch innocents, or a parachute to save himself, Spider-Man’s webbing is a (you should excuse the expression) marvel. (Some might even call it “advantageous.” Those people are probably dimwits.) Spider-Man with full web-shooters is a force to be reckoned with by any villain; Spider-Man without web-shooters is essentially just another strong dude in tights.
1) BEN 10
When he was only ten years old, Ben Tennyson discovered the mysterious Omnitrix, a device which contained the DNA of dozens of alien lifeforms, which bonded permanently to his wrist and gave young Ben the ability to turn into superhuman alien hybrids. (My favorite is probably Cannonbolt, though I have to say I love the name Kickin’ Hawk.) Since then, he and the Omnitrix have been through a lot of changes from Alien Force to Ultimate Alien to Omniverse, but it remains a wrist-mounted device that gives him nearly any power he wants, which Ben then proceeds to use for maximum property damage. (Some things never change.)
Big thanks to Bruce “@OtterDisaster” Otter for suggesting the theme for this edition of Ten Things! Feel free to follow along (@MightyKingCobra) for more Ten Things madness on Twitter! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, and I’m sure you’ve already got a couple ready that we’ve overlooked here today locked and loaded. The comments section is Below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering![signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]