Monday, 21 October 2013

Trying to put a name to a face on that Revolutionary War image.

When the Mark Brooks cover for Revolutionary War: Alpha was revealed last week I think most of the faces on display were fairly recognisable to the majority of 1990s Marvel UK readers. There might be a little bit of curiosity over whether the Sir Gawain on show was the the Robot version from the second volume of Knights of Pendragon or... something else. But by and large they were familiar.

But there has been a fair bit of debating online as to who the chap standing between Gawain and Pete Wisdom actually is.

At first many people (mostly from seeing the knife in the utility belt) assumed it to be Blade the Vampire Hunter. After all he was born in London, and has been working with MI13. But some folks out there (me included) are not so sure. Blade tends to sport sunshades, for one. He rarely leaves his eyes exposed. He also pretty much exclusively wears Black, and usually sports some kind of leather jacket. This makes me query that claim, somewhat. The utility belt here seems to hold bullets, a knife and more. He does look a little younger than Blade tends to be drawn and the colour pallet just doesn't quite match to my mind.

So who else might he be? For all the number of characters who popped up during the explosion of the Imprint Years at marvel UK, it has to be said that there really weren't that many of them who were of afro-caribbean skin tone (something which doesn't really match with reality here in Britain, and didn't really then either). They weren't all strictly Caucasian either, of course. Indian, Asian, blue skin pigment with bug-eyes...

But, yes. The number of likely candidates is not high.

There is though, to my mind, one fairly plausible option I can think of. A guy who had not entirely dissimilar hair and also used to sport a utility belt.

And that guy used to go by the name of 'Shift'.

'Who?' I hear you ask...
Well, Shift wasn't part of an ongoing series at Marvel UK, but he did appear in several limited series as part of the Genetix team.

Genetix were a team of young powered individuals brought together by MYS-TECH through their Gena-Sys research and development division. The X-Men have the Jean Grey School, the Avengers have the Avengers Academy. Heck, MI13 even have the Braddock Academy. Well, MYS-TECH had Genetix - a bunch of kids with powers who they captured and then experimented on to better weaponise those powers. They also filled their heads with a bunch of faked memories in an attempt to better control them.

Well, you know... they were the bad guys.

Unfortunately for MYS-TECH, as often occurs when you experiment upon people, they don't tend to take too kindly to it when they find out about it. Genetix spent their second series on the run from MYS-TECH and mostly hanging out in an abandoned London Underground station.

Shift's real name was Clinton Joseph, at the time a 16 year old from Kingston, Jamaica. His codename was formed in reference to his ability to 'shift' between dimensions. He was able to create portals to them at will. Something which came in damned handy for transportation purposes. But it also had a secondary use. Clinton was able to store caches of weapons in pocket dimensions. Something he did regularly, allowing him to call upon all manner of weaponry at a moment's notice in battle. 
Even more handy.
Shift's costume, and the shaved arrangements of his hair, changed on and off through his appearances. More often than not he wore a somewhat garish trenchcoat and shades. But certainly in his early appearances he did wear a utility belt. At one point that belt also incorporated a Walkman in it.
Yeah. As in the tape playing kind.That does kind of mark its age now, doesn't it?
But if you compare this image from Shift's factfile in Codename: GENETIX #2 next to the image from the Revolutionary War cover there is a certain amount of similarity.
In particular notice the similarities around the neckline and utility belt. The colour scheme isn't that dissimilar to his other appearances, either.
It might also be noted that Shift, along with the other Genetix members, was co-created by one of Revolutionary War's writers - Andy Lanning.
It's plausible.
We've no idea just how much exact time has passed in continuity since the early 90s, but if other 90s Marvel teens like Jubilee are now considered adults it's pretty likely that Shift would be in a similar age bracket.
The other alternative would be one guy we actually know very, very little about. Because in all honesty we never got to learn very much more about him than his name.
Kith Nasca - 'Ultra Marine'.
Major Nasca was US Army Major who debuted in Dan Abnett and Carlos Pacheco's Dark Guard limited series. There was very little explanation of how he came to be there (although to be fair that was kind of the point of Dark Guard), or anything you could actually call a backstory, but one could assume that there probably was some kind of further plans for him if the planned Dark Guard: Gold had ever seen print.
If that's who we're seeing on the Revolutionary War cover then I think you'd have to agree that it's a fairly radical, and certainly much more understated, redesign. Because Ultra-Marine? He was previously all about the armour.
Hugely tech reliant - strength and stamina enhanced by it, plasma blasts launched by it, it even had a fusion reactor in its casing.
And that's why it seems far less likely to me. Because the guy on that cover may look like he could have a Marine vibe to him (the utility belt, bullets and knife) but he doesn't look quite so tech savvy.
No gadgets. No devices.
But that said, with the mask off, and placed side by side...
In expression and in jawline there is a certain amount of physical similarity. And that's why it's hard to completely discredit the idea.
Again, it's definitely not implausible.
Both are pretty obscure choices, I grant you. But they do still both bring something to the table.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see once the series kicks off.
One way or another it'll certainly be interesting to find out.


  1. You know, I think it is Shift. Good call.

  2. I think so, too. I wonder if the rest of Genetix have survived?

  3. Exactly why i like reading your blog,continue to share your views.