(THE superteens of the 90’s!)
by Phil Perich for the Nuff Said Universe
One of my favorite (albeit short lived) comic series of the 1990’s was the team book Slingers. The whole thing started with Spider-Man. Having been framed by Norman Osborn for the murder of small time hood Joey Z, every mercenary and bounty hunter were hunting him for the 5 million dollar bounty on his head. To continue his crime fighting career, Peter Parker created 4 different costumed identities. The storyline lasted for 2 months (May-June 1998) and ran through all of the Spider-Man books of the time.
Amazing Spider-Man #434-#435 featured the Ricochet identity, a wisecracking thief
Sensational Spider-Man #27-28 featured the Hornet, an armored hero armed with a jet pack, wings, and stingers
Peter Parker: Spider-Man #91-92 featured Dusk, a mysterious figure clad in an all black costume from the Negative Zone (because things always work out so well when Spider-Man brings back a black suit from an alien environment!).
Spectacular Spider-Man #257-#258 featured Prodigy, an old school “Superman” type who leapt almost appearing to be flying, and with a bulletproof suit that mimicked invulnerability.
After clearing his name, Peter put the costumes away and almost forgot about them. At some unknown point after this, the golden age hero the Black Marvel makes a deal with the demon Mephisto and receives the Slinger costumes. For reasons still unknown, the Black Marvel gave the costumes to four teenagers, some of whom received superpowers from their costumes.
Ricochet was really Johnny Gallo, a mutant with superhuman agility and a “danger-sense” that mimicked Spier-Man’s Spider-Sense. Ricochet even had throwing disc weapons.
Hornet was Eddie McDonough, a freshmen at Empire State University who had cerebral palsy. Not only did his high tech armor give him the powers of flight and super strength, but also gave him the ability to use his withered right arm.
Dusk was actually a rich socialite goth girl named Cassie St. Commons. She died in a fall from a rooftop in Slingers #0, but returned in a state between life and death in Slingers #1 (December 1998). Dusk’s powers included teleportation, controlling shadows or creating constructs out of dark energy. She could also sense the whereabouts of her teammates and tell if they were in danger.
Prodigy, the leader of the group, was Ritchie Gilmore. Another student at Empire State, Ritchie was an athletic loner. The Prodigy suit gave him super strength, and was impervious to damage, including the cape.
the series ended at issue #12, when the Slingers free Black Marvel’s soul from Mephisto’s realm. The team seems to disband at this point, especially since Hornet and Prodigy lose their powers after the fight with Mephisto. All the members return with their powers, which is never explained, and never together.
Hornet is killed after trying to stop a mind-controlled Wolverine.
Dusk is seen as a prisoner of the Puppet Master, but once all his prisoners are freed by the original Ms. Marvel, she is not seen again.
Ricochet shows up in Los Angeles, seen a few time with a self help group for super powered teenagers named “Excelsior”.
Prodigy was imprisoned after battling Iron Man during Civil War. He is freed by and fights with Captain America’s forces. He later becomes a motivational speaker and tries to reform the Slingers team.
Well, that’s it for this week. Another Marvel series that has a special place in my heart. What are some of YOUR favorite Marvel series/moments? Let me know, I love talking comics!
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You can hear me and Charlie Esser discuss Marvel every week on the All New Marvel Roundup and Superconnectivity podcasts, both of which have Facebook pages.
I also write for 2 other blogs, Batfan Cave for you Batman fans, and the Flash/Arrow blog. Both of these can be found at www.southgatemediagroup.com
Until next time…NUFF SAID!