Words by Locke Van Kemp
Art by Rip Branagan
For those who know me this will come as no surprise, but I spend an inordinate amount of time getting drunk in comic book stores and doing research for Wood Rocket. My industry man-on-the-inside is store owner & complete looney-dick, Mr. Rik Kirby. Kirby is such a nutball that I honestly have a hard time listening to his shrill voice for more than ten minutes without chugging down single malt scotch that should never be chugged down. Regardless, over the past few months we’ve run across a plethora of some of the most insanely bad comic book characters’ names. Names that I have been chronicling; names that were so bad they were good. Now that’s enough with the introductions; suit up with me and dive into a sea of ineptitude and horror.
It goes without saying that I find myself laughing an enormous amount in researching this stuff. Well, this particular guy got me real good. The name alone: The Whizzer? Okay, okay, so it turns out it refers to his speed and not the fact that he is a piss freak, but still . . .
The Whizzer is fast. Superhuman fast. How did he gain this ability? When he was young he was bitten by a cobra. Was the cobra radioactive? No! The cobra is now inconsequential to this tale. And here’s why. The doctors who treated the young lad who would become the Whizzer decided to use a transfusion of mongoose blood to save him. Mongoose!? To be fair it was an African hospital in the 1950s so--- I dunno--- maybe back then they would just walk out, kill whatever animal was available, grab an IV bag and then exsanguinate the poor creature. Regardless, the mongoose blood (non-irradiated, shockingly) gave the boy super speed, and he uses the power (not shockingly) to fight crime. He also, in a sad and uncalled-for twist, battles alcohol and depression for a decent chuck of his life. Oh, The Whizzer, that’s just not what I thought I was getting into with you.
You know what else? I read as many Whizzer comics as I could find, and you’ll never guess what the common denominator is. Heart attacks. I’m not talking about heart attacks happening to other people, I’m talking about heart attacks happening to poor, damned Whizzer. He has his first bout when he meets his estranged son.
But – being on the mend – he is tricked by the Living Laser into battling the Avengers. The fuckin’ Avengers! Guess what?
Time to retire, Whizzer!
Which he does . . .until one day he sees his arch-nemesis on the street and decides to go at it a last, final time. Seriously, imagine if Superman retired and saw Lex Luthor on the street years later, doing some evil shit. This is that! So the Whizzer takes a swing and – you already knew this was coming...
This one kills him, and kills me with laughter because, goddammit the Whizzzer, you can’t catch a break, you old piss-freak!
Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Bleh! She’s a teenager with telepathic powers or precog powers... or some such shit. This one’s probably more self-aware than the rest judging by the fact that when X-Men’s Kitty Pryde meets her she says, “Wow, we’re really running out of names, aren’t we?”
She’s also one of those characters whom the writers never bother to flesh out, because they plan to kill her off – thus providing the other more established characters a reason to be outraged.
“Someone killed Earwax Child? NOOooOOOOooOo!”
And yet that is neither here nor fucking there in regards to her extremely unwieldy codename. Grant Morrison created her and has admitted that he named her after some song by some band and again, just bleh! That’s really her whole claim to fame right there. And I don’t mean to jump ahead too much, but I’ve read every current X-Men issue in which Negasonic Teeenage Warhead appears, and the only notable event (other than her aforementioned and inevitable death) is that fact that she once had fifty-something nightmares in a row. Granted, they were all concerning the genocide of the mutant species, and also granted that it nearly came to fruition thanks to some scary-ass new school “wild” Sentinels, but really, I mean come on. If having a nightmare about something that comes true makes you a mutant then please start referring to me as The Incredible Emptyo ScotchBottleman.
Unus the Untouchable
First off, totally touchable. If you decide to go with something as bold as “Untouchable” as your descriptor you should damn well make sure you can’t be touched. But he can. Hulk does it. Twice. Maybe more, but I’m not 100% sure because Unus has a sordid past, and the books I read with him weren’t great and there might have been an excessive amount of drinking going on.
Back to the point: he’s a barely-used Marvel bad guy, and most of the time in battle he hands himself his own ass. Unus’s power is to create a supposedly impervious force field around himself, but thanks to my spoilers, you and I both know this ain’t the case. The first time Hulk touches the Untouchable Unus he does it simply by punching the shit outta his force field, which just blows apart like cheap, one-ply toilet paper on a dry asshole. The second time Hulk un-touches Unus the Untouchable he does it by just slapping the force field away. You read that right. Hulk sonic bitch-slaps the touch right into Unus.
But that’s not really the worst part about Unus, and I know that’s saying a lot. The main thing I found both troubling and hysterical is that Unus often maintained his cocoon-like force field for too long, using up all of his own oxygen and CHOKING HIMSELF OUT. Several times. Like, so many times, that I actually said, “Damn, one day he’s gonna kill himself...”
AND HE DOES!
In a chilling scene on the mutant haven island of Genosha, Unus just straight-up loses control of his power and everyone is all, “Dude! Take the shield down! You’re turning blue!” But Unus is Untouchable, and when the shield finally dissipates we are taken aback by the sight of the dead, suffocated body of Unus.
And also, he was a huge INXS fan. So that’s weird.*
*he almost did it. he almost made it to the end without lying –ed.
That is that, folks! There’s a part two coming soon, so stick around, same bat time, same bat channel, right here on the world’s greatest website: WoodRocket.com! Raise a pint for me and remember, I’m Locke Van Kemp and I miss you already.
“Locke” is the writer of several nationally syndicated & critically acclaimed comic books, countless published short stories and the occasional questionable low budget movie. We at Woodrocket don't condone Locke's insanity, but we sure as hell enjoy reading it.