Constrictor. Art by Andrea Di Vito.
|First appearance||Incredible Hulk vol.1 #212
|Created by||Len Wein
|Alter ego||Frank Payne|
Masters of Evil
|Notable aliases||Frank Schlicting|
|Abilities||Cybernetic coils made of vibranium
Skilled unarmed combatant and street fighter
Constrictor (Frank Payne) is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics Universe. The character is primarily a supervillain, but is often portrayed as a redeeming antihero. Constrictor first appeared in Incredible Hulk vol.1 #212 (Jun. 1977) and was created by Len Wein and Sal Buscema.
Constrictor made his first appearance in Incredible Hulk #212 (1977). The character went on to feature as a supervillain in Captain America #228-229, #231 (1978–1979), Iron Man #126-127 (1979), Power Man & Iron Fist #66 (1980), Captain America Annual #5 (1981), Power Man & Iron Fist #78, #84 (1982), Captain America #281-283 (1983), #309-311 (1985), Fantastic Four #334 (1989), Marvel Comics Presents #74, #86-87. #89-92 (1991), New Warriors Annual #2 (1992), The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #12 (1992), Web of Spider-Man Annual #8 (1992), Iron Man #284 (1992), Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. vol.3 #36 (1992), Marvel Comics Presents #119-120 (1993), Alpha Flight vol.1 #121 (1993), Captain America #412 (1993), Sabretooth #1-3 (1994), Marvel Fanfare vol.2 #6 (1997), Thunderbolts #24-25 (1999), Gambit vol.3 #12 (1999), #16-19 (2000), Gambit Annual 2000 (2000), The Hood #2-4, #6 (2002), Agent X #6 (2003), Weapon X vol.2 #26, #28 (2004), Secret War #3-5 (2004–2005), Marvel Team-Up vol.3 #7 (2005) and She-Hulk vol.1 #9 (2005).
Constrictor appeared as a supporting character in Deadpool #35 (1999), #38-45 (2000) and #61 (2002). The character went on to feature in Cable & Deadpool # 7-12 (2004–2005) and The Thing vol.2 #1-3, #8 (2006) in a more heroic role. Constrictor later appeared as a member of the Initiative in Avengers: The Initiative #1, #4-5, #8, #10, #12-15, #17 (2007–2008) and featured prominently in #20-24, #26-35 (2009–2010) during the Dark Reign and Siege storylines.
Fictional character biography
Frank Payne was an agent of the international espionage organization S.H.I.E.L.D., and the father of an adult daughter, Mia. When S.H.I.E.L.D. needed a costumed "supervillain" to go undercover in the criminal organization called the Corporation, Frank was given a snake-themed costume and a pair of wrist-mounted electrified metal coils. Using the false identity of "Frank Schlicting" from Racine, Wisconsin, and the codename of "Constrictor", he infiltrated the group, only to suffer a nervous breakdown and become a career criminal in earnest. As a result of his defection, S.H.I.E.L.D. allowed his daughter to believe that he had died. As the Constrictor, "Schlicting" debuted in combat against the Hulk, while attempting to assassinate the Hulk's friend Jim Wilson on behalf of the Corporation. The Corporation next sent him to assassinate Captain America; the Constrictor was trapped in a cave-in of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, and was freed by Captain America.
The Constrictor would remain an independent mercenary, criminal, and assassin after the dissolution of the Corporation. He next battled Iron Man as a member of Justin Hammer's criminal army. He next teamed with Sabretooth to safeguard a stolen jade tiger statuette, and battled Power Man and the Daughters of the Dragon. He teamed with Sabretooth again to help Sabretooth get revenge on Misty Knight.  They fought Iron Fist, Power Man, El Aguila, and Misty Knight.
Constrictor was also invited to join the Serpent Society, which he turned down and walked out after the first meeting. He subsequently tried to turn them over to the Avengers, and Anaconda later exacted revenge on him. While in the hospital recuperating from the beating, he was nearly killed by the Scourge of the Underworld disguised as a nurse, but was saved by Captain America.
Constrictor eventually took an assignment to kill the Beast in Belgium by Commander Courage who was impersonating the Red Ghost. Finding out that he had been set up Constrictor teamed up with Beast to defeat Commander Courage.
He later had a showdown with his common law stepfather McAvey, who had murdered his mother.
Constrictor has battled numerous heroes over the years, including repeated encounters with Captain America, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, the Thing and even the short lived character NFL Superpro. Although Luke Cage and Nick Fury eventually uncovered Payne's former identity, he chose to retain the Schlicting alias and to allow his daughter to believe that her father was dead.[volume & issue needed] During the Acts of Vengeance, Constrictor was one of the many villains that attacked the Fantastic Four.[volume & issue needed]
Constrictor appeared as a supporting character in Deadpool wherein he and Titania moved in with him as his roommates. During their uncomfortable living situation, Constrictor was convinced that Titania was actually a man. It would turn out that he was right that she wasn't what she seemed; but not about her gender as Titania was revealed to actually be the mutant shapeshifter and Deadpool's former lover, Copycat. He was later found to be under the employment of Justin Hammer. When cutbacks forced his supervisor to lay him off, he responded by brutally attacking him.[volume & issue needed]
He did join the seventh incarnation of the Masters of Evil led by Crimson Cowl. During the Deadpool story arc, it was also revealed that Constrictor had been part of a very short-lived rendition of the Wizard's Frightful Four.[volume & issue needed]
At one point he was one of the many mercenaries hired to kill Alex Hayden, who was at this time thought to be Wade Wilson (Deadpool). He works with many unnamed mercs and some notable ones, including Crossfire. In the story it was stated that Wilson was a hard-ass so Hayden couldn't be Deadpool. Hayden then broke Constrictor's nose. The Constrictor was later seen in the same issue being used, or rather his vibranium coils were used, to drag the Rhino into a river. Somehow both escaped.
After a severe beating from Hercules, the Constrictor was awarded several million dollars in a lawsuit. Nighthawk, rich himself, convinces the Constrictor that with all his money there was no need to be a criminal anymore, and he has apparently turned over a new leaf and decided to be a hero. He is currently under the employment of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a member of the new Six-Pack. He was most recently seen at an all-superhuman charity poker tournament hosted by the Thing (who also had a hand in the Constrictor's apparent reformation), where Hercules regains at least a large portion of the money he lost to the Constrictor in a non-tournament side game.[volume & issue needed]
The Constrictor was identified as one of the 142 registered superheroes who have registered as part of the 50-State Initiative. The Constrictor was later revealed to be part of the Shadow Initiative, a black ops version of the Initiative under the command of Henry Gyrich. He travels with Trauma and Mutant Zero, two other members of the group, into Madison Square Garden; they rescue Initiative recruits from the invading alien forces called the Warbound.
Constrictor saved Gyrich from the clone of MVP known as "KIA", however KIA severed Constrictor's forearms in retaliation. Constrictor was quickly ferried away to safety by fellow team member Bengal. He was given bionic hands which function like his coils, and was also presented with a Purple Heart for his valiant efforts.
During the Secret Invasion, Bengal discovers that the Skrulls have taken over Camp Hammond and summons the rest of the Shadow Initiative to deal with them. They decide to assassinate Queen Veranke, but the attempt fails and they are taken captive.
During a conflict with the initiative and some terrorists as seen in the Dark Reign, Constrictor helps the Women Warriors, one of the official government hero teams. He stops an out of control passenger plane, saving many lives, including that of the hero, Diamondback. Constrictor is visibly distressed as civilians thank him for his heroic actions. Soon after, he and Diamondback begin a romantic relationship. Frank later discovers that Diamondback is secretly working for Gauntlet's "Avengers Resistance". He keeps her secret despite knowing the danger this involves for them both; mainly the Initiative head, Taskmaster, would kill them both.
During the Siege of Asgard, Constrictor becomes buried under a pile of falling rubble. Taskmaster digs him out, and Constrictor sees Diamondback running towards Captain America. Wrongfully assuming that she has reconciled with and returned to her former lover, Constrictor sorrowfully joins Taskmaster in fleeing the battlefield. The two also begin working as mercenaries and partners in crime.
As part of the Marvel NOW! event in the pages of Avengers Arena, a flashback experienced by Arcade showed that he had previously acquired the ownership of a bar in Bagalia called the Hole where he catches Constrictor (who previously attended Arcade's birthday party and made fun of him) robbing it. Arcade defeated Constrictor by crushing him with a large hammer-like trap.
In the pages of Avengers Undercover, Constrictor was with the Masters of Evil when Baron Helmut Zemo became the new leader following the death of Max Fury. Constrictor becomes the bodyguard of Baron Helmut Zemo. Constrictor is shown to live in a building called the Snakepit in Bagalia which is also the headquarters of the Young Masters.
Powers and abilities
The Constrictor's primary weapon is a pair of cybernetically-controlled, electrified, prehensile, wrist-mounted metal coils provided by Justin Hammer. The coils eject and retract from special appliances running from shoulder to wrist. These cables are able to extend to a maximum length of 30 feet (9.1 m) and can be used as whips, capable of rending steel or lesser metals; or as bonds, capable of entwining an object or human being and constricting.
The previous sets of coils were made from an adamantium alloy then from vibranium. The adamantium coils were stolen from him by Gambit and were subsequently used by Mister Sinister to reinforce Sabretooth's skeleton. The strength of the coils varies based on their construction, but the adamantium coils were powerful enough to lift and even temporarily restrain the Hulk. The vibranium coils have a contact-based aura that suppresses sound: while the coils are wrapped around a target's throat, the victim's voice cannot be heard.
The Constrictor's costume is lightly armored with partial bulletproofing around the chest and head area, and the entire costume is electrically-insulated, and covers his entire body except for his lower face and chin. Although the Constrictor is a skilled unarmed combatant and street fighter, he usually relies exclusively on his coils in a fight.
After his encounter with KIA, Constrictor is implanted with cybernetic arms, the fingers of which duplicate the abilities of his old coils.
An alternative version of Constrictor appeared in JLA/Avengers #4 (2003), part of the Marvel/DC crossover storyline, as part of Krona's supervillain army. Other versions of the character appear in the What If? storylines What If?: World War Hulk #1 (2010) and What If?: Secret Invasion #1 (2010) in minor and cameo roles.
House of M
A version of Constrictor appears in the House of M reality. In House of M: Masters of Evil #1-4 (2009–2010), Constrictor is a member of the Hood's incarnation of the Masters of Evil opposing mutants' superior role in society. The character was later killed by Sebastian Shaw.
In other media
- Constrictor appears in the animated television series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Cam Clarke in the season one episode "The Breakout" Pt. 1. He reappears in the episode "Ultron-5", voiced by Troy Baker, in the season two episodes "Along Came a Spider..." and "Yellowjacket", as a member of the Serpent Society.
- Constrictor is featured as a boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance. Following the release of the 10th Spec Ops, Constrictor can be unlocked as a playable character by collecting 8 comic covers from Coiled Lockboxes.
- A figure of Constrictor was released as an exclusive foreign release as part of Mattel's Secret Wars toyline.
- A figure of Constrictor was released in wave 11 of Hasbro's 3 3/4" Marvel Universe toyline.
- A figure of Constrictor was released in wave 1 of Hasbro's 6" Marvel Legends 2012 toyline.
- Mia Payne
- Incredible Hulk #212
- Captain America #228
- Iron Man #127
- Power Man and Iron Fist #66
- Power Man and Iron Fist #78
- Power Man and Iron Fist #84
- Captain America #281-283
- Marvel-Two-in-One #96
- Captain America #310-311
- Marvel Comics Presents vol. 1 #85-92
- Marvel Comics Presents #74
- Agent X #6 (Feb. 2003)
- Avengers: The Initiative #1
- Avengers: The Initiative #1 Character Map
- Avengers: The Initiative #4 (2007)
- Avengers: The Initiative #5 (2007)
- Avengers: The Initiative #10
- Avengers: The Initiative #12
- Avengers: the Initiative #17
- Avengers: The Initiative #29
- Avengers: The Initiative #30
- Avengers: The Initiative #31
- Avengers: The Initiative #35
- Secret Avengers #29
- Avengers Arena #7
- Infinity: Heist #1
- Avengers Undercover #1
- Avengers Undercover #5
- House of M: Masters of Evil #1 (2009)
- House of M: Masters of Evil #4 (2010)
- Constrictor at Marvel.com
- Constrictor at Marvel.wikia.com
- Mia Payne (Constrictor's daughter) at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- In the PoP!-Light: Constrictor