Sometimes, our Nerdery doth come in pairs, wherein each name sounds like another there! Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Rhyming Pairs!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and sadly NOT doing the entire list in iambic pentameter, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN RHYMING PAIRS!
10) IRON MAN / GOLIATHAN
After the Avengers’ return from Counter-Earth, Tony Stark was once again himself (after an extended period of being first a traitor under the sway of Immortus and/or Kang, followed by a run with a teenage Tony Stark, thanks to #TimeTravelShenanigans.) Reforming the team, he also created a brand-new cutting edge Iron Man model dubbed the Renaissance Armor, which used the separated “horned” gold faceplate for the first time since his Model 2 armor back in 1963. It’s a great look, but one that went by the wayside when it literally went rogue, achieving sentience thanks to (in the original telling, anyway) the Y2K bug.
The future heroes of the Quantum League hail from more than 100 years hence, inspired by the legendary heroes who lived on Black Hammer farm. With the help of Hammer Lass, they fight for a better world and lovingly homage the Legion of Super-Heroes. Indeed, they may have been a bit TOO on-the-nose in their pastiche, as many of the heroes signature Lad and Lass names were changed in the collected edition. For instance, Goliathan here, who may be inspired by Bronze Age Legionnaire Blok, was originally named Sand Boy before gaining his superior nom de guerre.
9) MAGNO / SHADOW
A revival of Ace Comics Golden Age hero, Dr. George Edward Hamilton gained his magnetic abilities after volunteering to be a medical assistant to a genius scientist, becoming a caped mystery man. Enjoying a much longer and more robust career than his Golden Age incarnation, revamped Magno became the leader of the super-team called The Sentinels, By the modern day, Magno has retired from active adventuring in order to study magnetic fields full-time. For those wondering what the “I” on his chest stands for, it’s actually a bar-magnet with it’s North and South magnetic fields visually represented.
An Australian hero unrelated to Lamont Cranston, Jimmy Gray is the stereotypical “Rich Idiot With No Day Job,” but in truth he stalks the night as the faceless vigilante known only as The Shadow. Jimmy also uses his lack of responsibility to pose as petty criminal Limpy Olsen, gathering inside intel which he uses to bust the heads of criminals who don’t realize that they’re talking to the legendary crimebuster.
The mask is canonically rubber, which sounds both uncomfortable and claustrophobic as hell.
8) NIGHTFIRE / THE VAMPIRE
Hailing from North Carolina, Matt Nighy is an all-American boy who enlisted in the Marine Corps right out of high school. A third generation Marine, Nighy was exposed to an alien virus that caused him to burst into strange cold black flames. Learning to control his powers, Nightfire learned that even though they gave off no heat, his flames can still burn like a normal fire. A member of TASK (Tactical Allied Superhuman Kommand), Nightfire can even fly by channeling his power downward like a rocket. He is publicly known for his talk show appearances and constant stream of public relations events on the behalf of the USMC.
Another hero of Australia’s Golden Age, The Vampire (real name unrevealed) appeared only once circa 1947, during which her skintight green leotard really changed the way we imagine the undead. As far as I can tell, she is best remembered for blowback about the perceived sexuality of her lime green tights, which… I’m gonna be honest: Pete Chapman could draw, but if you’re finding this character overwhelmingly alluring, I think that’s what we can a “You Problem.”
7) SUB-ZERO / TOUGH HERO
Not the legendary Mortal Kombat ninja, but a man from Venus whose real name was never revealed and is probably unpronounceable, Sub-Zero was sent to Earth to make contact with the backwards denizens of our world. Unfortunately, their ship passed through the tail of a comet, killing all of his crewmates and imbuing Sub-Zero with the power to freeze anything with a mere touch. Initially known as the Sub-Zero Man, he adventured with a young Inuit boy called (YIKES) Freezum, occasionally allying with fellow hero Blue Bolt before disappearing.
Debuting in 1993, tech-powered crime-puncher Brix (apparently his real name) reminds me a bit of Iron Man, with a very ’90s twist in his mask. HIs gear is all built by the mysterious Creator, an alien marooned on Earth who created the power-enhancing armor, as well as his high-tech armored flying motorcycle. In case you can’t read Tagalog, Tough Hero is part of a long and noble line of Filipino superheroes, battling mad scientists, vampires, aliens, robots and alien robots.
I really love his skull or maybe shamrock helmet design, but it seems really familiar, for some reason.
6) IRON HAWK / PSI-LOCK
The creation of Kevin Keyes and a young Erik Larsen, Iron Hawk first appeared in the same issue that debuted Savage Dragon waaaay back in 1982. Abducted by an alien robot named Arodnap, Gavin (last name unrevealed) was given a special armored suit as part of a complicated plot to destroy the Earth… I think? The story only had one chapter, and our hero (with his girlfriend and/or wife Moon Spider) were left on a cliffhanger when I was twelve. He has made a cameo or two in Savage Dragon since, but I’m not sure his story has ever been completed.
A member of X-Gen (The Unknown Generation), Psi-Lock (real name unrevealed) was assembled by rich/genius/psychic Dr. Joselito Javier to serve with his team of genetic experiments. With both the skill and agility of a ninja and psionic abilities of her own, Psi-Lock serves with Cyclon (who shoots eye blasts), Steel (who can turn into steel), Raja (who flies and has super-strength, as well as a cool flight jacket) and Alamid (a feral berzerker with animal senses and razor-sharp claws) all of whom fight Javier’s eeevil twin brother Magno.
It’s said that this FIlipino superhero is based on an American property, but I can’t quite suss out which one.
Oh, Cyclon has a brother with cosmic powers named Hamok. I am not making up a whit of this.
5) THE QUESTION / THE CHAMPION
On Multiversity-era Earth-4, not to be confused with any other the OTHER Earth-4s, all of which are based on the Charlton Comics Action Heroes line, Vic Sage is a mysterious faceless vigilante called The Question. A member of Pax Americana, his world’s greatest super-team, this Question is meta as all hell, channeling much of Rorschach from Watchmen, who was himself initially based on the original Question. Investigating the murder of the President, a retired superhero, The Question was embroiled in a conspiracy to murder Captain Atom.
Pop will indeed eat itself.
A Golden Age hero in the universe of Super!, The Champion’s identity is unknown, but he fought in the trenches of Europe during World War II, like all good patriotic types are required to do. He even founded his own super-team, The People’s Champions, and is almost certainly dead as a mackerel in the modern age. I mean, it’s not as though there’s a convenient iceberg for every red-white-and-blue super to nap in peacefully, right?
4) STEELBACK / DEATH TRACK
A member of The Kingdom, an African super-team operating in The Congo in the DC Universe, Daniel Balogun retired from his super-hero gig to become a businessman. (It is a much easier life, after all.) When a serial killer called Massacre began targeting the former heroes of The Kingdom, Balogun worked with Batwing and Batman to stop him, only to find his own armor remote-controlled by the villain’s mysterious backer.
It ended badly.
Not to be confused with his colleagues Death Hawk, Deathlord or Sonic Death-Monkey (only one of which is made up), Death Track AKA Death Tracker AKA “Nobody in Legion X-II has a real name, as far as I can determine” is an assassin and combat master in a sea of assassins and combat masters. A member of Legion X-II, Death Track and the heroes of SilverWolf/Greater Mercury Comics were decades ahead of their time, fighting each other in endless cycles decades before Marvel and DC would start doing the same.
3) CHAMELEON / CENTURION
Appearing in the pages of Novelty Press publications circa 1940, The Chameleon was a private detective who never took on a costume, even though he had an excellent alias. Born Peter Stockbridge to a wealthy family, Chameleon worked pro bono, using the power of disguise to infiltrate criminal organizations and do undercover work. He once went undercover as the superhero Target, only to have the REAL Target’s secret identity arrive to bust him. Awwwkwaaaard…
Air Force Colonel Christina Lellios was a field agent specializing in strange phenomena when she was sent to the moon to find out about strange energy spikes. She and her team were ambushed by alien warriors intent on conquering our world, but when she accidentally bonded with one of the aliens’ armors, discovering that is was, in fact, a sentient being. She agreed to bond with the armor, achieving a more perfect synthesis than the alien had, and made short work of the invaders. Returning to Earth, she became a member of TASK using the power of the armor, called S-u’hent, to punch evil at supersonic speeds.
2) FLASH AVENGER / WASABI NO-GINGER
A modern-day samurai and trained sushi chef, real name unrevealed, Wasabi No-Ginger joined Big Hero 6 after the departure of Sunfire and Silver Samurai from their ranks. Not only is he a trained martial artist and swordsman of some repute, he can channel his Qi energy into powerful knives of pure force, usually using the familiar shape of his sushi knives.
There’s something disquieting about his alias and the fact that he never got another name, but at least he’s actually from Japan. It’s really no wonder that his cinematic counterpart has a completely different modus operandi and secret identity.
Dipping once more into the Golden Age of comics, this time in Great Britain, we find wealthy playboy David Gaunt who, for one adventure circa 1951, punched evil in a tuxedo and a very cool mask. Though that single appearance was his only adventure, Flash Avenger was revived in the pages of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen decades later, where he became a member of super-team The Seven Stars. Since he’s genuinely impossible to effectively term-search, I’m not sure how much of his story is Alan Moore’s creation, but I can tell you that Barry Allen was never a member of Iron Man’s signature super-team.
1) POWERHOUSE / BAT-MOUSE
Milquetoasty loser Denny Atlas spent his entire youth as the target of bullies, and had to deal with the added agony of a family history of mental illness. When the voices began to speak to him, though, Denny followed their instructions and found a box containing a magical mask that transformed him into a falcon-headed avatar of an ancient god. As a descendent of Ra himself, Powerhouse could now fly and possessed incredible physical power. Unfortunately for poor Denny, he was still considered just another super-freak.
Having a head that looks like a bale of hay probably didn’t help.
A hero on Earth-C-Minus and member in good standing of the JLA (Just’a Lotta Animals), Bat-Mouse, whose real name is obviously a rodent pun on “Bruce Wayne”, was thought to be fictional at first. Much as Barry Allen later discovered that his comic hero Jay Garrick was real, Roger “Captain Carrot” Rabbit was a comic book artist tasked with drawing the “fictional” adventures of Bat-Mouse and his pals before crossing dimensions to team up with the heroes for real. The Zoo Crew and the JLA got along famously before being erased from reality by the Crisis on Infinite Earths and a general late ’80s hatred of whimsy.
Once again, this week’s topic, Ten Rhyming Pairs is all me, but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra to suggest your own! There’s always more Ten Things madness on my Twitter or check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because Brainiac 5 and Mummies Alive! Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!