Marvel character highlight #31: X-23

Name: Laura Kinney

Alias: X-23, Captain Universe, Talon, Wolverine

Affiliation: Weapon X, X-Men, New X-Men, Avengers Academy, X-Force

Special abilities: Superhuman strength, durability, senses, reflexes, agility and animal-like attributes, regeneration, Adamantium-covered retractable claws in hands and feet, expert armed and unarmed combatant

Background: Laura Kinney was born to Dr. Sarah Kinney, who was part of a top-secret program designed to recreate Weapon X. The child, the 23rd and only viable embryo in the project, was experimented upon and had her natural-born claws coated in Adamantium much like her father’s. After her handler trained her with a trigger scent, she was set loose upon her mother and killed her in a murderous frenzy. She was found and arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. but managed to track down Wolverine and explain her past and their connection. They form a relationship and after demonstrating her innocence, she returns to Wolverine and later joins the X-Men for training and work with her father.

Relationships: Wolverine, biological father; Dr. Sarah Kinney, biological mother; Daken, brother; Gabby Kinney, clone/sister; Megan Kinney, maternal cousin; Angel, lover; Gambit, close friend; Psylocke, close friend

First Versus appearance: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

Appearances in other media:
Television: Wolverine and the X-Men (animated), The Super Hero Squad Show (animated), Hulk vs. Wolverine (animated)

Film: Logan

Video games: X-Men the Official Game, Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Marvel: War of Heroes, Marvel Pinball, Marvel Heroes, Marvel Contest of Champions, Marvel Future Fight, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Marvel Strike Force

Marvel character highlight #28: Iron Fist

Name: Daniel Rand-K’ai

Alias: Iron Fist, Daredevil, Daredevil 2.0, Devil, Spider-Man

Affiliation: Defenders, Heroes for Hire, Rand Corporation, Immortal Weapons, New Avengers, Thunderbolts, Midnight Sons

Special abilities: Chi augmentation; peak human endurance, strength, speed, agility, and stamina; superhuman pain and injury resistance; energy absorption; and, a master martial artist and acrobat

Background: Danny Rand was born to businessman Wendell Rand, who once lived in K’un Lun. K’un Lun, situated in another dimension, could only be found once every 10 years through an interdimensional nexus. Through treachery, Rand’s parents were killed and the people of K’un Lun found Rand and trained him. When he was 19, he fought to acquire the power of the Iron Fist, through a fight to the death with Shou-Lao the Undying. Winning the battle, he earned the power and returned to America. Once he returned, he was introduced to Colleen Wing and her father and later learned the truth about his parents’ murders. Rand later teamed with Misty Knight and Luke Cage to form Heroes for Hire and the Defenders.

Relationships: Misty Knight, partner and former lover; Luke Cage, partner; Colleen Wing, partner

First Versus appearance: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Appearances in other media:

Television: The Super Hero Squad Show, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Ultimate Spider-Man, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload, Wolverine: Weapon X (motion comic), Avengers: Secret Wars, Marvel Future Avengers, Iron Fist (Netflix series), The Defenders (Netflix series), Luke Cage (Netflix series)

Video games: Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (SNES, Sega Genesis), Spider-Man: Lethal Foes, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Marvel Avengers Alliance, LittleBigPlanet, Marvel Heroes, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, Disney Infinity 3.0, Marvel Contest of Champions, Marvel: Future Fight, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

 

Marvel character highlight #26: Taskmaster

Name: Tony Masters

Alias: Taskmaster, Barney Toastmaster, Captain America, Chief Warrant Officer T. McWilliams/Ground Crew Chief McWilliams, Tasky

Affiliation: Power Elite, Ravencroft Institute, Black Ant, Hydra, Hydra’s Avengers, Hydra High Sect, S.H.I.E.L.D. Secret Avengers, A.I.M., The Org, The Cabal, Initiative, Shadow Initiative, Committee, U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M., Cyber Ninjas, Lords of the Living Lightning, Sons of the Serpent, Black Choppers, Trenchcoat Mafia, Militiamen, The Inquisition, Agency X, Frightful Four, Thunderbolts

Special abilities: Photographic memory and, after taking an experimental version of the Super-Soldier Serum, the ability to memorize the motor skills and abilities of others. This ability comes at the cost of his own memory.

Background: Tony Masters was born in the Bronx and realized at an early age that he could perform feats he’d seen on TV just by watching someone perform them. When he matured, he joined S.H.I.E.L.D. as an agent. During a mission, he injected himself with the Nazi experimental version of the Super-Soldier Serum (much like the one that changed Steve Rogers) and gained enhanced abilities gained through his photographic memory and reflexes. This came at the cost of his memories as he overwrote his true memories with those of the person he observed. His wife, Mercedes Merced, then crafted the Taskmaster persona to help him. Through his ill-gotten gains as Taskmaster, he became a trainer of villains, or anyone who would pay. He has trained several super villains, been part of the Secret Empire and Hydra and re-learned his true past, only to lose it again after being forced to learn a new set of moves.

Relationships: Mercedes Merced (wife)

First Versus appearance: Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Appearances in other media:

Television: Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble (animated)

Film: Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, Iron Man (animated), Captain America: Heroes United, Black Widow (upcoming live-action)

Video games: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Marvel Heroes, Avengers Initiative, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel: Avengers Alliance Tactics, Captain America: The Winter Soldier – The Official Game, Marvel Avengers Academy, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Avengers (2020), Marvel: Future Fight

Marvel character highlight #20: Hawkeye

Name: Clint Bartonhawkeye
Aliases: Captain America, Golden Archer, Goliath, Ronin
Affiliation: The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Defenders, Great Lakes Avengers, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, Thunderbolts, West Coast Avengers, Wild Pack, World Counter-terrorism Agency
Special abilities: Despite having no super powers, Hawkeye is at the peak of human conditioning. He has a vast amount of strength, is a grandmaster archer and is extremely efficient in acrobatics, hand-to-hand combat and weaponry.
Background: After losing his parents in a car accident at an early age, Hawkeye joined the circus with his brother, Barney. During his time living with the circus, he was trained as a master-level archer by Swordsman and Trick Shot. After leaving that particular circus, he joined other traveling carnival outfits until he saw Iron Man/Tony Stark in action. He wanted to become a costumed superhero but was accused of theft in his first try at adventuring. He soon met the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova version) and fell in love with her. Things did not end well between the two and he later saves Edwin Jarvis, Iron Man/Tony Stark’s assistant, from a mugging. Through this relationship, Clint joined the Avengers in its second incarnation after being sponsored by Stark.
Clint left and rejoined the Avengers several times and was reunited with his wife Mockingbird several times. He was also wiped from existence and killed at least twice, thanks to his former lover Scarlet Witch.
Relationships: Barney Barton (Trick Shot), brother; Barbara “Bobbi” Morse (Mockingbird), wife; Janet Pym (Wasp), lover; Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), mentoree; Natalia Romanova (Black Widow), lover; Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch), lover; Buck Chisholm (Trick Shot), mentor; Jacques Duquesne (Swordsman), mentor
First Versus game appearance: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Appearances in other media: The Marvel super Heroes (television), Iron Man (television), Fantastic Four (television), The Avengers: United They Stand (television), The Super Hero Squad Show (television), The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (television), Iron Man: Armored Adventures (television), Ultimate Spider-Man (television), Avengers Assemble (television), Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers (television), Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (animated film), Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher (animated film), Thor (film), The Avengers (film), Avengers: Age of Ultron (film, not yet released), Spider-Man: The Video Game (video game); Captain America and the Avengers (video game), Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety (video game), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (video game), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (video game), Marvel: Avengers Alliance (video game), Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (video game), Marvel Heroes (video game), Lego Marvel Super Heroes (video game), Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics (video game), Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (video game), Marvel Universe: LIVE! (theater)

Marvel character highlight #19: Captain America (Steve Rogers)

Name: Steve Rogerscaptainamerica-fixed

Affiliation: Formerly the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., Avengers Unity Division, Illuminati, Invaders, U.S. Army, Secret Avengers, Captain America Corps, Secret Avengers, New Avengers

Special abilities: Enhanced speed, agility, reflexes, healing and stamina comparable to a man at the apex of physical perfection. These are the result of his receiving the Super Soldier Serum, designed to create the perfect soldier who is resistant to disease and injury.

Background: Steve Rogers was a frail and sickly man rejected from the Army during World War II. After he is finally accepted through multiple attempts, he is subjected to an experimental procedure called the Super Soldier Project. During this project, the frail Rogers is intravenously and orally fed a mixture called the Super Soldier Serum and bombarded by Vita Rays, designed to create the perfect soldier. The creator of the serum, Dr. Abraham Erskine, is murdered minutes after the successful procedure and the formula is lost to history thereafter.

Rogers is then sent on numerous missions to serve the Allied wartime interests of defeating Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers. During a mission circa 1945, Rogers and friend Bucky Barnes were attempting to stop a bomb-laden plane launched by Baron Zemo. The plane exploded in mid-air, apparently killing Barnes and throwing Rogers into the ocean. Rogers then entered suspended animation, freezing into a glacier until his discovery decades later by the Avengers as they were fighting against Namor.

Rogers, now thawed in the present day, joined the Avengers and led the team through many a crisis including stopping Baron Helmut Zero and a revived Red Skull, preventing Onslaught from taking over the world and destroying reality, bringing an end to the Civil War — which led to his death at the hands of Red Skull and hypnotically possessed lover Sharon Carter — and participating in stopping the X-Men’s Phoenix Force from destroying Earth.

Relationships: James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes (Winter Soldier/Captain America), best friend/partner; Sharon Carter, lover; Peggy Carter, lover; Sam Wilson (Falcon/Captain America), partner

First Versus game appearance: Marvel Super Heroes

Appearances in other media: Captain America in: The Doom Tube of Dr. Megalomann (video game), Spider-Man and Captain America in Doctor Doom’s Revenge (video game), Captain America and the Avengers (video game), Marvel vs. Capcom (video game), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (video game), Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (video game), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (video game), Marvel vs. Street Fighter (video game), Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (video game), Avengers in Galactic Storm (video game), Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety (video game), Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (video game), Spider-Man (video game), Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro (video game), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (video game), Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (video game), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (video game), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad 2, Captain America: Super Soldier (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad: Comic Combat (video game), Marvel: Avengers Alliance (video game), Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty (video game), Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (video game), Marvel Heroes (video game), Lego Marvel Super Heroes (video game), Marvel Avengers Alliance Tactics (video game), Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (video game), The Great Gold Steal (novel), Captain America: The First Avenger (film), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (film), Marvel Universe: LIVE! (theater), Ultimate Avengers (animation), Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther (animation), The Avengers (film), The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (film; not yet released)

Marvel character highlight #18: Jean Grey/Phoenix

Name: Jean Grey-SummersPhoenix

Affiliation: X-Men, X-Factor, The Twelve, X-Terminators, Phoenix Corps

Special abilities: Omega-level telepathy; telekinesis; Phoenix Force, which grants the ability to travel unaided through space; psionically manipulate matter and any form of energy; create powerful “cosmic” fire; resurrect from death and manipulate life energy in others; and manipulate timelines.

Background: Jean Grey had an ordinary home life with her parents and older sister in upstate New York. That changed when Jean’s friend Annie Richardson died after being hit by a car. Jean telepathically linked with her dying friend, manifesting her powers for the first time. To save Jean, her parents sought the help of Charles Xavier, who connected with Jean and brought her out of her coma. Jean then went to live with Charles at the newly formed Xavier Institute, learning to use her powers. While there, she fell in love with fellow teammate Scott Summers and continued to go on missions. During one mission in space, Jean was exposed to a mortally lethal dose of radiation poisoning. As she was dying, Jean cried out telepathically and the Phoenix Force answered her. The Phoenix Force created a duplicate body — which it resided in with Jean’s essence — and placed Jean in a healing cocoon that sunk in Jamaica Bay. The Phoenix Force posed as her for years, while a clone of Jean (Madelyne Pryor) married Scott and had a child with him. Jean was resurrected from the cocoon and rejoined her teammates. Later, Jean and Scott’s marriage fell apart and Jean was killed again. She then resurrected herself using the Phoenix Force and ascended to a higher plane of existence, the White Hot Room.

Relationships: John Grey (father), Elaine Grey (mother), Sara Grey-Bailey (sister), Scott Summers (former husband), Nathan Christopher Charles Summers (Cable; genetic son), Stryfe (clone of Cable; genetic son), Rachel Summers (genetic daughter), Hope Summers (step-granddaughter), Nathaniel Grey (X-Man, genetic son), Madelyne Pryor (Goblin Queen, genetic clone), Corsair (Christopher Summers, father-in-law), Vulcan (Gabriel Summers, brother-in-law), Havok (Alex Summers, brother-in-law and lover)

First Versus game appearance: Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

Appearances in other media: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (television), The Marvel Super Heroes (television), X-Men animated television series (television), X-Men: Evolution (television), Wolverine and the X-Men (television), The Super Hero Squad Show (television), X-Men (anime), Iron Man: Armored Adventures (television), Astonishing X-Men (motion comics), X-Men (film), X2: X-Men United (film), X-Men: The Last Stand (film), The Wolverine (film), X-Men: Days of Future Past (film), X-Men: Apocalypse (film), X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants (video game), X-Men (video game), X-Men: Gamemaster’s Legacy (video game), X-Men: Mutant Academy (video game), X-Men: Mutant Academy 2 (video game), X-Men: Next Dimension (video game), X-Men Legends (video game), X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (video game), X-Men: The Official Game (video game), X-Men: Destiny (video game), Marvel Super Hero Squad Online (video game), Marvel: Avengers Alliance (video game), Marvel Ultimate Alliance (video game), Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (video game), Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth (video game), Marvel Heroes (video game), LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (video game), Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (video game), Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (video game)