Sunday, June 29, 2014

The PERFECT Hit Man


Can YOU


Name This Marvel Villain??



Remember our good friends from the Corporation? They've been responsible for a few super-powered operatives featured as our mystery villain, such as the Animus and Blue Streak, and it looks like they're not through yet. Let's drop in on their east coast branch and let them fill us in on our high-priced assassin.



I suppose that calling yourself the Night Flyer tends to limit your options as far as the jobs you'd be able to take, since we'd have to assume that daytime work is off the table--which makes sense, if you're using a hang glider to approach your target and you're depending a great deal on stealth. Still, there's a little more to this villain, starting with the somewhat unorthodox way he preps himself before a mission:


(Jeez, would the Borg love to get their tubules into this guy.)


We first meet the Night Flyer in the last two issues of Jack Kirby's run on Captain America. SHIELD is harboring a defector whom the Corporation wants eliminated (no, I don't know why the Corporation would be the least bit interested in a defector--maybe they're being well compensated for taking him out), and, as we see, the Flyer doesn't seem at all worried about attacking SHIELD complex. Or concerned about encountering another flyer:





(No, I don't know how an armored hang glider is able to do much gliding, either. Apparently SHIELD's finest crack shots are as mystified about it as you and I--otherwise, they'd be positioning men to shoot at the man, not the glider.)

So now our guy is infiltrating the complex--and, running like "a human missile," he makes his way to the defector's room and unhesitatingly fills him with a few rounds. But SHIELD isn't as slow on the uptake as we think they are--they'd moved the defector to another location, and placed a dummy in his bed. The Night Flyer has flown into a trap.



Wait a minute! The Flyer sure doesn't sound like he's trapped. Granted, he's not too worried about Captain America, blinded by a recent injury--but does he seriously think his mission is still viable, surrounded by the Falcon and armed SHIELD agents? Well, if we've learned anything about the Flyer, it's not so much that he thinks it is--he knows.



So the Flyer grabs his gun and starts quickly making his way through the complex, depending on a SHIELD mole to show up and give him intel on where the defector has been moved. And a guy who makes use of stealth isn't too worried about noisy SHIELD agents who practically announce themselves.



At least SHIELD's I.T. guys have a little more on the ball. They've managed to discover the Night Flyer's vulnerability, hiding in plain sight:



The guess proves correct, and the Flyer drops. Unfortunately, his link with his glider proved to be a fatal one:



But you can't keep a good Flyer down--and he next shows up as a hireling to the Corruptor, who found his charred remains in the SHIELD morgue and resurrected him. I can guess what you're thinking: How does a guy who corrupts people manage to raise the dead? Jeez, you're asking a lot of questions today, aren't you?

Since the Corruptor's "evil touch" is only temporary unless his subject is in a heightened emotional state, he's sent the Flyer to enrage the Hulk. And he's off to a good start, having already enraged Bruce Banner:



Yet the Flyer doesn't succeed with the Hulk until the battle's climax, when Betty Ross is injured by his attack. And since the Flyer's goal was to enrage the Hulk, we'd have to respond with "mission accomplished," and then some:





Fortunately, we'll be spared the unspeakable results of the Hulk's advance on the Flyer--as, once again, the Flyer's glider proves to be his undoing, and he can once more look forward to his fate as a charred, ashen corpse.



It's to Kirby's credit that so many of his concepts continued to see life in Marvel's titles after he'd finally left the company for good. The Flyer, perhaps one of Kirby's less notable creations, would nevertheless have a couple of appearances left in him, one of them by way of another villain (the "Dead Ringer") imitating him. Let's hope the Ringer had the good sense to install a circuit breaker in his costume, designed to flip in the event his glider was destroyed.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loved Jack Kirby's run on Captain America. It was weird, corny, colorful and bombastic, but it was also my introduction to the character, as a little kid.
I am also a huge fan of Englehart's classic run too, which I picked up later, and I understand why some fans back then found it hard to make the adjustment from one to the other.
Both great, just different. I mean, I like The Who and Led Zep but I also dig Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
Kirby used to seem to leap outta bed and come up with about a dozen different weird new characters and concepts while most writers were still brushing their teeth.
It's amazing how many of those characters and concepts are still being mined for stories by comic writers who could never match that manic creativity.
Even the Night Flyer, one of his minor creations, is still an interesting villain! Great post.
mp

Comicsfan said...

Kirby used to seem to leap outta bed and come up with about a dozen different weird new characters and concepts while most writers were still brushing their teeth.
It's amazing how many of those characters and concepts are still being mined for stories by comic writers who could never match that manic creativity.


Quite nicely put, M.P. Of course there's no reason why other comics writers shouldn't make use of ready-made concepts that would otherwise lie around collecting dust--but while those writers were creative talents within their own right, Kirby was surely a wellspring.

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