I had been planning to revisit my earliest memories of the JLA, with the arrival in the UK of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow series ( one which owes a huge debt to our Doctor Who but also features some terrible dialogue). However, at present, the first JLA stories are being dealt with in depth on this site:
I still think I might link to a post on the Silver Age Batwoman and Batgirl and their contemporary counterparts on Some Fantastic Place. In October, to celebrate the fortieth birthday of Captain Britain, we’ll look at his Bronze Age career; his adventures with Excalibur; and other super-Brits, such as Micromax, Caledonia, Beefeater and the Knight and Squire.
But today, with the Brexit saga and the Eurovision Song Contest final in May, I thought it might be amusing to look at European super-doers from Marvel and DC. ( For Erin’s finest, please see, from 2012, https://materioptikon.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/st-dominics-preview/ )
Allez maintenant, let’s celebrate the Auld Alliance in La Belle France:
Despite his rather villainous attire, Marvel’s Le Peregrine is a winged, French martial artist hero and a horror writer in his civilian identity. Romantically linked with Ireland’s Shamrock, he appeared a few times in the 80s and very early 90s. Peregrine doesn’t mean falcon in French, however…
The Muskeeter was one of the Club of Heroes ( the, ahem, inspiration for Roy Thomas’s WWI hero, the Crimson Cavalier from Freedom’s Five). He retired and became rich on the profits of his tell-all book. Dem Frenchie.
Fleur De Lys, co-created by Len Wein, made her debut in the late 80s page of Infinity Inc. A secret agent who had lost a child, she had a liaison with Deathstroke. Poor choice, mademoiselle!
The role of Crimson Fox was in fact shared by taloned twins, heirs to a perfume fortune. One of the twins was murdered by the daughter of GA villain the Mist.
Nightrunner is a Muslim superhero. A parkour expert, he was also a member of Batman Incorporated.
Hauptmann Deutschland is the, er, Captain America of Germany, with powers over kinetic energy. He was briefly renamed Vormund, which seems to mean guardian (as in ” parent or…” Oops.) His last appearance was surprisingly recent: Al Ewing’s Mighty Avengers 4, February 2014.
The Wild Huntsman was one of the Global Guardians from Super Friends, introduced in the summer of 1981. I think he’s awfully like Thor, with a magic horse and hound.
An earlier ENB iteration was a member of Evillo’s Devil’s Dozen in a whimsical mid-60s LSH tale.
From Bella Italia and another member of the Club of Heroes, The Legionary was another surrogate Batman. Armed with a lance, he ended his career ignominiously as a gluttonous slob and was murdered in Grant Morrison’s Black Glove Bat-serial. Ah, peccato.
Marvel’s Ultimates introduced a Captain Italy.
The only Spanish DC hero I can find was created by Jack Kirby. The Troubador was one of the Green Arrows of the World ( archery-themed versions of the Batmen of All Nations, including the Phantom of France and The Bowman of Britain). Unfortunately, Troubador seems to just be a fan designation .
Captain Spain, with Captain France just off-panel
As we’ve seen, there was also an Ultimate Captain Spain at Marvel and of course, the evil mutant Empath, (getting his comeuppance, above).
Norwegian heroine Icemaiden later became known simply as Ice and had a long career in the 80s and 90s JLA/JLI. She had a confusing backstory that had some Thor-like elements.
The Blackhawks, in their Sixties ” Junkheap Heroes” phase give us a number of bizarre international heroes: the Leaper (Sweden), the Weapons Master (Netherlands), Golden Centurion (Poland) and M’sieu Machine ( France, n’est-ce pas?)
Finally, from Denmark and Greece we have the Little Mermaid ( an aquatic mutant) and The Olympian, who has all the powers of Jason’s Argonauts.
The big question is, naturally, could any of these characters be viewed as legitimate contenders for membership in a Big Two super-team…or their own strip?
Well, in my opinion, with a name-change, Marvel’s Peregrine and Hauptmann Deutschland are contenders as European Avengers. Neither Captain Spain or Captain Italy have anything much to recommend them, however. As for DC, unfortunately, Olympian duplicates Wonder Woman’s shtick (and any iteration of Hercules) while Crimson Fox is trumped, really, by Vixen. Fleur de Lys has a simple, heroic look however and is a blank slate. So, vive la France, it seems! I could also see an all-ages, fish out of water miniseries for Norwegian naif Icemaiden.
In the future, with the aforementioned Captain Britain anniversary, we may well look at the histories of Justice League Europe and Marvel’s Euroforce.
Coming soon, Harley and Ivy.
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