August 04, 2007

Puma joins MODOK's 11

11 Days of ‘Modok’s 11’:  Day ThreeBeginning July 18, the Marvel Universe’s greatest giant head in a tiny floating chair launches his most aggressive and awesome scheme to date as MODOK gathers 10 other villains for the ultimate heist in Super-Villain Team-Up/MODOK’s 11, a fresh new miniseries courtesy of writer Fred Van Lente and artist Francis Portela.

Real Name: Thomas Fireheart
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #256 (1984)
Archenemies: Spider-Man, Wolverine
History: The result of generations of selective breeding and mystic preparation, Native American Thomas Fireheart was raised by his tribe to serve as Earth’s last line of defense against a prophesized powerful being destined to destroy the world. A skeptic who never fully bought into the prophecy, Fireheart nonetheless strived to achieve greatness in all fields, training extensively in the martial arts to reach peak physical condition, honing his intelligence to become CEO of the multinational Fireheart Enterprises, and mastering his inherent ability to transform into a feral creature of great strength, speed and agility. Becoming bored with his life, Fireheart became the mercenary Puma and took a contract from the Rose to kill Spider-Man, but spared the Wall-Crawler’s life after his foe saved an innocent bystander. Puma learned Spider-Man’s secret identity of Peter Parker thanks to his enhanced senses, but chose to try and aid his former adversary rather than oppose him, even buying the Daily Bugle for a brief period and appointing Parker’s friend Robbie Robertson as publisher. Around this time, Puma clashed with the Beyonder, the powerful being of the prophecy, with neither scoring a decisive victory over the other. Gradually growing disillusioned with New York City, Fireheart sold the Bugle back to J. Jonah Jameson and returned to his home, but would pop back up in Spider-Man’s life years later as a threat when his Puma persona overtook him and the Web-Slinger was forced to turn to the mystic Black Crow to help his old ally. Most recently, Puma lost to Wolverine in a brutal Bloodsport competition and then aided Spider-Man against Stegron, becoming romantically involved with the Black Cat along the way.
No Law and Disorder:  Van Lente Talks “Super-Villain Team-Up/M.O.D.O.K.’S 11”While his new status as a "bad-ass" may be established in Van Lente's retelling of his origin, M.O.D.O.K. will still need some assistance to accomplish his goals. He spends the first issue of the mini-series assembling that help. “M.O.D.O.K.'s plan is so insanely complex he needs supervillains with very specific powers to pull it off,” Van Lente explained.

With nine colorful characters and two mysterious members, readers might have guessed that the group dynamic of “M.O.D.O.K.'s 11” will be very interesting. “We have quite a range of ‘villainy' going on here,” Van Lente said. “Puma, Armadillo, Nightshade and Rocket Racer, in fact, have all acted, if not as actual super heroes, than on the side of the heroes quite frequently—it's unusual circumstances for all four that drive them back to crime. Living Laser and M.O.D.O.K. are poignant mutated freaks. Chameleon is an amoral professional. Spot and Mentallo, I think, are out for a quick buck. Which one of these will turn on the others? And will more than one? Well, that's half the fun of the series.”
Super-Villain Team-Up:  MODOK’s 11 #1 (Of 5)

After introducing MODOK and Armadillo, the story cuts toHeartsdale, New Mexico, a reservation currently hosting one Thomas Fireheart. The elders of the tribe are officially fed up with his antics as a corporate raider, which apparently include an indictment for fraud and a freezing of his corporate assets. (As much as I like Puma, and enjoy his treatment here, I think that he’s another Marvel character whose been done a disservice by beingjacked around by recons and “high concepts” in the last few years.) The council of elders is also aware of Puma’s side gig as a thrill-killer for money, going so far as to remind him that they KNOW his handiwork, as they empowered him. Thomas replies that the court charges are false, the last man he killed was a notorious slaver who sold women for sexual purposes who just flat needed killin’. Puma ends with the assertion that he doesn’t need their approval, he needs filthy lucre….

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