Friday, April 2, 2010

Lost Universe: The Shooter

This article is another one of Caine's explorations into the Lost Universes of defunct companies. You can read other Lost Universe articles here. - Jim

Today we'll be focusing on another archetype; The Shooter, Gun Singer, Armored Hero. I don't know that anyone would argue with me if I stated that Frank "Punisher" Castle is probably the purest distillation of that archetype in comic book form (Cable being a close second). What's interesting about Frank, a character who's been around long enough to have multiple "takes" from lots of different creators, is that he's often known specifically for just that: Shooting. Where as some of the same characters built from "The Shooter" Archetype are almost known for what they do when they don't have a gun.

The "Lost Universe" publishers embraced "The Shooter" archetype, maybe it was a sign of the times, the industry, or the fact that several of the most popular characters being published were gun toting characters. Whatever it was, there were lots of them. Many publishers put out more than one.

VALIANT: BloodShot
"Angelo Mortalli has become the ultimate killing machine. His memories were erased and his blood was infused with microscopic computers called nanites. These nanites allow him to heal wounds quickly, dominate electronic devices, and fully control every aspect of his body to maximize his physical capabilities. A modern-day Frankenstein, he wages a one man war — taking out the mob, the police and his covert government creators — in his struggle to find out who he was and what he has become."~wikipedia

I don't think it would be a huge stretch to label Ninjak as a shooter as well (but I'm saving him for another archetype).

btw - There is a rumor that there might be a Bloodshot movie in the works with Kick-Ass Director Mathew Vaughn purportedly eyeing the character as his next movie. This might open up the door for more Valiant characters to appear in movies.

Brandon Tark, millionaire by day - mercenary by night, put on an armored costume with lots, and lots of weapons to function as Warstrike. Like The Punisher and Bloodshot Warstrike is often armed to the teeth. Unlike them Warstrike is an "Ultra" with the ability to see alternate time lines depending on his course of action. As an added bonus, causing much drama, Warstrike was addicted to this phenomenon he called "Being on the wire". I wonder if they have a twelve step program for seeing the future and choosing the most dangerous version of it?

Much like Valiant had an "in between" character that could also be labeled "Shooter" the Ultraverse also provided us with Solitaire (again, I'm thinking of another archetype for him).

FIRST: Grimjack
"John Gaunt, alias Grimjack, was born in The Pit, a slum area of the pan-dimensional city of Cynosure, where both magic and technology, humans and aliens intermingle. His mother, Anya (née Laughton) died in childbirth. John had two older brothers, Nick (nicknamed "Young Nick" and named after their father, "Old Nick") and Jake. His father married Anya's sister, Maite (nicknamed "Mouse") and they had one child together, Joe. Joe was the only of his brothers for whom John cared, and he vowed to Mouse that he would watch out for him.[1] Old Nick had one brother, Jack. Young Nick hated and resented John, blaming him for the death of their mother, the only person who loved him. Throughout John's life, Young Nick manipulated their father into hating John in hopes that he would kill John."~Wikipedia

The one "Lost Universe" publisher who embraced "The Shooter" the most? That would be Darkhorse's Comics Greatest World. On top of several solo characters (Mecha, Rebel, Ghost, X, Barbwire & more) there were entire teams of shooters: The Pit Bulls (undercover armored cops), The Wolf Gang (street gang of meta hoods defending their turf), and the members of the super hero team: Catalyst: Agents of Change were always shooting at everything as well (Mecha & Rebel being members).

CGW: Ghost
Elisa Cameron is dead. That doesn't mean her troubles are over with though. She's still tied to the living in Arcadia, including her sister and alcoholic parents. On top of the real life dragging her down her corporeal self is driven to do one thing: kill those who are responsible for ending her own life (a fact that is later disputed if you read the entire series) & she's got twin .45 to get it done with. If the premise alone doesn't thrill you, Elisa crossed over with everyone from The Shadow to Batgirl.

CGW: Barb Wire
"In Steel Harbor, a bombed-out wreck of a town, thrill-junkie Barbara Kopetski - better known as "Barb Wire" - is a bar owner and part-time bounty hunter (in order to pay for her bar, The Hammerhead). She is skilled in many areas, but excels in combat-related abilities. While she has a brother and several allies, she is essentially a loner, although this is something which is uncomfortable for her to think about."~Wikipedia

"X, whose law is that one mark means a warning, the second one death, takes on a collection of business, law, mob, assassins and politics. This includes characters such as Mayor Teal and Police Commissioner Anderson as well as the Llwellyn brothers, their hired assassin named Gamble, Mob boss Carmine Tango and highly connected army officials."~Wikipedia

Have a great weekend,



Anonymous said...

Ah, you did Warstrike for Malibu, but missed Firearm... unless having a super-special weapon is another archetype?

JimShelley said...

We talked about FireArm (James Robinson's first major comic wasn't it?) a really good comic, but the emphasis of that comic was less on the Shooter side than some of the others - the tone was different.

That would make a really nice collected edition btw...

Caine said...

Firearm V1 was an ex navy seal, ex spy who turned private investigator. I liked the book, it just didn't fit the archetype.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. I figured he hadn't really been forgotten, just maybe didn't quite fit what you were going for, or was being saved for another 'type.

He'd fit right into a "secret agent/commando/hitman" category, but there have been so many of those over the years that you could probably do a whole series just on them. :)


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