Rogue Roulette – Wonderman
By John Coughlin
Greetings 616 Politicians! It’s time for another edition of Rogue roulette. This time we are featuring one of my favorite Avengers, Wonderman. You might be thinking, “why would anyone like Wonderman?” The answer is because he’s awesome.
Wonderman is a classic case of untapped potential. He’s as strong as Thor, completely invulnerable, can fly, and even though he’s been killed a bunch of times he never stays dead. With all that power he should be able to handle the baddest of Marvels baddies, but his self doubt is his own worst enemy. Wondy is just like every kid who’s teacher told his parents “Little Simon has so much potential, but he just doesn’t apply himself.” As an Avenger, Wonderman has come up against some truly awesome foes: Ultron, Graviton, and even Dr. Doom. Wondy’s solo career has been somewhat less spectacular.
It’s about time for Wonderman to get another shot at a solo series. He’s a great character with very interesting relationships throughout the Marvel 616 Universe. He shares the Vision’s brainwaves and shared a body with Rogue. He’s best friends with Beast and his love interests have included Scarlet Witch, Tigra, and Ms. (Captain)Marvel. There’s no doubt his friendships are strong and interesting, but his enemies have too often been defined by his time with the Avengers. He really hasn’t developed his own enemies. During his solo series in the early 90’s, he fought characters like Lotus, Splice, Angkor, and the Recession Raiders. If you don’t know who any of these people are, don’t bother to look them up; it’s really not worth your time. If a Wonderman series is going to survive we need a better class of rogues. Let’s take a look at a few we can work with.
You could say his greatest enemy has been the Grim Reaper. Eric Williams became the Grim Reaper because he blamed the Avengers for the death of his brother Simon. As a result, Simon feels some responsibility for turning his brother down his dark path. A classic brother vs. brother relationship is what good dramas are made of , sometimes they love each other, sometimes they punch each other through brick walls. Most recently (spoiler) The Grim Reaper was killed in the pages of the Vision comic. This might make it hard for him to bother Simon, but death hasn’t kept the Grim Reaper down in the past.
Another guy who has been at odds with Wondy forever is the Black Talon. You know the Louisiana Houngan who wears a giant chicken head on top of his own head? He’s responsible for Wonderman’s first resurrection. His physical appearance is probably the reason he’s used so sparingly in the Marvel Universe. The Black Talon was shot in the head by the Punisher not too long ago, but again, I don’t see him having a hard time recovering from that.
Erik Josten has been a thorn in Wonderman’s side forever. As Power Man when he received the same ionic treatment as Simon. Later, he would get super-sized and call himself Goliath. Most recently he had been working with the Thunderbolts as Atlas. Since Atlas is now a good guy, he wouldn’t make a great rogue for Wonderman. He could still be used as a rival, rather than a pure enemy. As a villain Josten was always jealous of Simon, feeling he got better results from the ionic treatment. A battle between the two nowadays would more than likely lead to a team up.
So Simon’s got two dead guys, and one good guy in his rogues gallery; not exactly as impressive as Spider-Man’s villains. A Wonderman solo series should explore his lack of confidence. It should put him in situations he doesn’t think he can win, and have him win anyway. It should also knock him down when he starts getting too confident, so that the essence of the character is left intact. For this Rogue Roulette we will put Simon in some situations where he’ll have to overcome his self-doubt…or die! ( Don’t worry it’s not like he’ll stay dead. )
A Wonderman series needs to take place in Los Angeles. Simon could rekindle his acting career by making cameos in summer blockbusters about his friends. A special effects man gone bad would be the perfect foil for our Hollywood hero. It would make perfect sense for him to encounter the traps and illusions of Quentin Beck while on the set of one of those summer blockbusters. Mysterio would provide Simon with an adversary who made him use his brain as well as his brawn.
This former Herald of Galactus would be a good match for Simon, and he would tease Wonderman’s future in the cosmic landscape. Terrax has taken on the Fantastic Four and The New Warriors by himself. When Simon defeats him single handedly he may start to develop the confidence he needs to be the hero he doesn’t believe he can be. How long will the confidence last?
Who has been known to live for over 5,000 years, grow to great size, and been resurrected over and over? Apocalypse! Having also been resurrected time and time again, Simon might not be as mismatched as it would seem. There’s no doubt Ol’ Red Eyes would need help from his friends in this matchup. Team him with his best bud Beast, his rival Atlas, his former body mate Rogue and throw in his brother, the Grim Reaper; together these five could give Apocalypse a run for his money, or they may end up getting soundly defeated. However, Wonderman needs a villain who can beat the tar out of him once in a while; that way he can keep the unhealthy dose of self doubt that keeps him the fascinating character he is.
We have a Hollywood hero, who doesn’t know just how great he is, proving time and again that he can match up with the best heroes in the business, all while traveling from L.A. to the depths of space and back again. Wonderman could be a great book that touches all corners of the Marvel 616 Universe.