Michael Van Patrick

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MVP
MVPatrick.jpg
MVP from Avengers: The Initiative #1
Art by Stefano Caselli.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Avengers: The Initiative #1 (March, 2007)
Created by Dan Slott
Stefano Caselli
In-story information
Alter ego Michael Ian Van Patrick
Team affiliations (All)
The Initiative
(Michael, Van & Patrick)
Shadow Initiative
(Michael & Patrick)
Counter Force
New Warriors
(Patrick)
Avengers Resistance
Notable aliases MVP (sometimes written M.V.P.)
Abilities Peak human intelligence, strength, speed, reflexes, agility, and endurance.

Michael "Mike"[1] Ian[2] Van Patrick is a fictional comic book character created by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli. Although the character himself is deceased, and in fact died in the issue he first appeared in, the character is said to have been cloned after his death, with his clones continuing to play roles within the ongoing series.

Described by Slott as an archetypal "all-American boy",[3] the character is introduced in the pages of Avengers: The Initiative #1 as the great-grandson of Dr. Abraham Erskine,[4] the inventor of the super soldier serum within Marvel Comics' shared universe the Marvel Universe, before being subsequently killed at the end of that first issue.

The first clone replaced Michael, and was sent back to his parent's home to prevent them from learning of his death. The next three clones, named Michael, Van, and Patrick, originally worked as the Scarlet Spiders, as part of the Black Ops group within The Initiative. They were revealed to be clones in Avengers: The Initiative #7. He was cloned once more, in the Killed in Action story arc when plans were made to fill some of the vacant positions in the Initiative teams with MVP clones.

The original Michael Van Patrick's only appearance outside the pages of Avengers: The Initiative was a brief cameo in an alternate reality What If comic. All that is known about the original character has been revealed throughout the ongoing series, with Van Patrick's (and the first sets of clones) origins being shown in the 2007 Avengers: The Initiative Annual. However, the Scarlet Spiders (Michael and Patrick) became the first clones to appear outside The Initiative when they appeared in New Warriors vol. 4 #14 (September 2008), with the first MVP clone appearing in the following issue of the New Warriors series.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Michael Van Patrick's origins are traced back to the developer of the Super-Soldier serum, that changed a frail Steve Rogers into Timely Comics's[5] (Marvel Comics' 1940s predecessor's) Captain America, scientist "Dr. Josef Reinstein,"[6][7] later retroactively changed to a code name for the scientist Abraham Erskine.[8] On his death, Dr. Erskine left papers, which covered years of research and findings that the government had not seen fit to classify, to his grandson, Brian Van Patrick,[9] who studied his grandfather's work, particularly regarding his work on growing, preparing and serving the most wholesome and nutritional foods, and an exceptionally challenging experimental program of isometric exercises he developed. Brian Van Patrick used the research during the early life and development of his son, Michael, helping him achieve his optimum potential.[1]

The events of the 2006–2007 Marvel Comics crossover, Civil War, required all United States superpowered individuals to register with the American government. Some of these individuals were sent to The Initiative's training camp, Camp Hammond. Given Michael Van Patrick's descent from the creator of the super soldier serum, many people came to suspect his athletic abilities to be superpower-related with a subsequent scandal resulting in Michael losing his scholarship and Justice, an Initiative superhero, recruiting Michael for the Initiative program to train him into a superhero.[10]

MVP is killed after saving Cloud 9 in Avengers: The Initiative #1. Art by Stefano Caselli.

Michael Van Patrick joined the program, under the codename MVP, along with a selection of old and new characters to make up the cast of the Avengers: The Initiative. During the first day's training at Camp Hammond, MVP demonstrated extraordinary speed and agility as he broke the camp's obstacle course record for users without superspeed on his first attempt.[10]

During a combat simulator exercise, one of the Initiative trainees, Armory goes out of control and fires blindly on the other recruits, and MVP has to save a fellow recruit Cloud 9. While saving Cloud 9, MVP is shot in the head, killing him instantly.[10]

Initiative scientist Dr. Baron Von Blitzschlag, a former Nazi and supervillain, performed the autopsy on Michael's body. The autopsy revealed that MVP's extraordinary physical abilities were unconnected to the super-soldier serum, and were instead achieved by purely natural means. Von Blitzschlag advocated cloning MVP, much to chief administrator Yellowjacket's disapproval.[11] In Avengers: The Initiative #22, the members of New Warriors take possession of Michael's body; to return him home.

First clone[edit]

Though Yellowjacket disapproved the idea of cloning MVP, Secretary of the Superhuman Armed Forces Henry Peter Gyrich, who had ordered MVP's death remain secret, sanctioned the cloning. As Van Patrick is a non-altered human, Yellowjacket considered the cloning was comparatively easy.[1]

Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1 reveals the clones creation and development. As the clone was grown to its original's age, all of his original's skills and abilities programmed into him with the help of a special suit with telemetry circuits and a video of MVP's training session and the photographic reflexes of Taskmaster. The first clone is sent home to his family's organic vegetable farm in Liberty, Kentucky, with a false story that he had failed the Initiative program because of his lack of powers. The clone, who was still coming to realize that his memories are not his own and that he will never be the real Michael Van Patrick, elects to stay with "his" family. He is warned however to never tell them that he is not their real son.

However, the clone's first appearance was a couple of months prior in a few panels of Avengers: The Initiative #4, where Justice and Cloud 9, not knowing of clone's replacing Michael, flew to the Van Patrick farm to inform MVP's parents of his death. On arriving, they are greeted at the door by the clone but are called off to deal with the events of World War Hulk[12] before they can ask how Michael was still alive and well. In a later issue, Justice again returns with Cloud 9 to the Van Patrick home, wishing to find out what information Gyrich and Yellowjacket were keeping from him. On arriving, they find the house boarded up and abandoned.[13]

During the Killed In Action storyline, it is revealed that the clone has an imbedded tracking device and that the Van Patrick family had moved to Bulls Gap, Tennessee.[14] In the conclusion of this storyline, the clone then helps The Initiative stop KIA, and begins to further MVP's romantic interest in Cloud 9.[9] In Avengers: The Initiative #12, the MVP clone, along with the surviving Scarlet Spiders and MVP's father, join with Justice's New Warriors as a Counter Initiative of underground registered heroes. MVP, as a part of Counter Force, would go on to appear in New Warriors vol. 4 #14 and #15 (September & October 2008); in the character's first appearance outside of an Avengers: The Initiative title.

Scarlet Spiders[edit]

Cover art for Avengers: The Initiative #7. Art by Stefano Caselli.

Three more clones, developed the same time as the first but with added genetic material from Baron Von Blitzschlage,[14] were programmed via input from Taskmaster with not only MVP's skills and abilities but also those of Spider-Man, Peter Parker.[1] The three clones, Michael, Van, and Patrick (sometimes referred to as "Pat"), were each suited up in redesigned Iron Spider Stark armor which Spider-Man had worn during the early stages of the superhero Civil War.[15]

During their first appearance, they identify themselves as "Red Team" and take down supervillains Shocker, Boomerang, and Hydro-Man. Though War Machine identifies them by their official name Scarlet Spiders when contacting them,[16] they still identify themselves as Red Team One (Michael), Red Team Two (Van), and Red Team Three ("Pat" Patrick) in the field.[13] They are later revealed to be part of a black ops group called the Shadow Initiative under the command of Henry Gyrich with Constrictor, Mutant Zero, Bengal and Trauma.[17]

The Scarlet Spiders were forced to expose themselves to the public in Avengers: The Initiative #7 after an attack on Baron Von Blitzschlage. The subsequent pursuit of three criminals wearing the Vulturions flying exosuits would lead the spiders into confronting an angry Peter Parker. Their appearance in battle against and alongside Parker has raised public doubts over whether Parker is the original and/or only Spider-Man, despite his having publicly revealing his dual identity in the early events of the Civil War.[13]

Now public, the Scarlet Spiders join with the other initiative trainees in the next issue. An incident involving Dragon Man leads one of the Spiders to save Cloud 9 in much the same fashion as the original MVP did at the time of his death.[18] In Avengers: The Initiative #10, the Scarlet Spiders unmask themselves in an attempt to calm the enraged MVP clone, KIA, only to have him behead one of their number. The surviving (and still unmasked) Scarlet Spiders, Michael and Patrick,[9] are later seen by the majority of the trainees, including Cloud 9.[19] In Avengers: The Initiative #11, the remaining Scarlet Spiders make their way to Bulls Gap, Tennessee to aid in the capture of KIA.

In Avengers: The Initiative #12 after the defeat of KIA, the surviving Scarlet Spiders, along with the MVP clone and the real MVP's father, join with Justice's New Warriors as a Counter Initiative/Counter Force of underground registered heroes who go on to appear in New Warriors Secret Invasion tie-in story "Secrets and Skrulls" where Counter Force would team up with the other team of New Warriors. Reappearing within the pages of Avengers: The Initiative #21, with Norman Osborn taking control of the 50-State Initiative, Counter Force were made wanted criminals. The team shows up at Camp Hammond, having retaken the name New Warriors, to battle a rampaging clone of Thor, Ragnarok. In Avengers: The Initiative #22, Scarlet Spider Michael is killed by the clone of Thor. During the next issue, in the aftermath of the battle, Patrick, the last surviving Scarlet Spider, publicly unmasked himself, revealing to the media that the Initiative had secretly cloned MVP.[20]

KIA[edit]

Cover art for Avengers: The Initiative #11. Art by Steve Uy.

The results of the previous clonings impressed Initiative administrators enough to attempt to fill places within the Fifty-State Initiative with further clones of MVP.[18] In Avengers: The Initiative's first multi-part story; Killed in Action (starting issue #8), a new Michael Van Patrick clone is fitted with the Tactigon, Armory's former alien weapon and sets forth on a murderous rampage through Camp Hammond in an attempt to seek revenge for MVP's death.[volume & issue needed]

In the second part, First Casualties, the clone, who is distinguished by his whited out eyes, is said to have had Armory's moves programmed into him in preparation to use the Omega-Level weapon that killed the original MVP. The Tactigon interfaces with this clone's mind activating latent memories of the real MVP's death. Hacking into the Initiative's computer, the clone learns of his "death" and gains a list of all those present at the time. The disturbed clone demolishes the cloning lab, attacking Baron Von Blitzschlag and Yellowjacket while saying the term Killed in Action over and over again and carving the initials "KIA" into his chest. The clone continues its rampage through Camp Hammond, striking heavily those whose names are on his list and attacking anyone else who gets in the way.[volume & issue needed]

At the end of the third part, the clone attempts to find the comatose Gauntlet, the drill instructor who sent MVP to the ill-fated combat training session. However, Gauntlet's weapon, taken from an alien that faced off against the alien who controlled the Tactigon in Gauntlet and Armory's origin stories,[1] seemingly takes control of Gauntlet's body forcing him to acquire the sword element of the alien's armor which he recovered when he originally bonded with the alien glove device. The two later battle and KIA stabs Gauntlet to bring him out of his coma, in an effort to face the man rather than the gauntlet weapon.[14]

In the concluding part of this storyline, Worst Case Scenario, KIA battles his way through the Initiative to follow trainees Cloud 9, Komodo, and Hardball to the location of MVP's first clone, Bulls Gap, Tennessee, where they are attempting to convince the first clone to download its memories into a device (and most likely leave himself brain-dead) which could then upload them into KIA to reset his mind. After arriving at the location, KIA is met by the collective Initiative force of The Avengers, the remaining Scarlet Spiders, a rogue New Warriors group and the trainees. In the climax of the battle, the first clone used the device to download KIA's memories leaving his body brain-dead. After the battle, it is revealed that the Avengers have stored both the body and the Tactigon away in an undisclosed location, while Slapstick secretly took the device with KIA's memories from the battlefield for himself, which reads "ready to transmit brain patters to new host body" leaving KIA's eventual fate open-ended.[volume & issue needed]

Many trainees and staff members were injured during KIA's rampage, but only Dragon Lord,[21] Trauma,[21] Van[9] (one of the Scarlet Spiders[21]) and 8 S.H.I.E.L.D. agents[21] were killed. However in Avengers: The Initiative #12, Trauma came back to life.

Powers, abilities, and equipment[edit]

In Avengers: The Initiative #2, Dr. Baron Von Blitzschlag refers to Michael Van Patrick as an "Übermensch", a perfect human specimen, down to the cellular level. This perfection is displayed in his mental and physical abilities being the highest possible standard for a human being to be without being considered superhuman, much like Captain America. Yellowjacket (actually the Skrull agent Criti Noll), one of the chief administrators at Camp Hammond, ironically referred to MVP as "Captain America, Jr.".[22] in the first issue of Avengers: The Initiative. However, unlike Captain America, MVP's abilities were revealed in the Avengers: The Initiative Annual to have come as a result of the "revolutionary" diet and an "ultimate" isometric exercise regime he went through rather than Dr. Erskine's super-soldier serum.

The first clone has those same abilities, with the Scarlet Spiders additionally having the skills, reflexes/reactions and moves of Spider-Man programmed into them to the degree of regular human ability.[1]

Michael, Van, and Patrick's Scarlet Spider suits, a redesign of Tony Stark's Iron Spider armor (previously used by Spider-Man),[15] are supported by systems similar to that of Stark's classic Iron Man design. In the Scarlet Spider's first appearance, Avengers: The Initiative #3, the suit is shown to feature several devices, including four mechanical spider-arms or "waldoes" on each suit, one more than on the original, along with cloaking devices, and a short-range GPS microwave communication system. In Avengers: The Initiative #7, the suits are shown to have the new feature of mechanical web-shooters and had retained the ability to change appearance to other versions of the Spider-Man costume or street clothes. In New Warriors vol. 4 #15 (October 2008), it was revealed the suits have had their StarkTech removed, which prevented the suits being affected when all StarkTech was made inoperable by Skrull invaders. However, this is seemingly retconned in a line spoken by one of the Spiders: "should be StarkTech like ours, but it's so alien", in Avengers: The Initiative #22, when the Spiders are shown to be able to interface with other technology.

Attached to the "KIA" Michael Van Patrick is Armory's former weapon, known as the Tactigon, which was detached when she was expelled from the Initiative program. It is a multi-dimensional alien device that is able to shift into an infinite number of weapons and tools with a built in safety designed to only enable the wearer to wield the specific range of weapons or tools that are needed to get the job at hand done.[10]

Reception[edit]

The IGN reviewer considered MVP one of the "instantly likable characters"[23] in the first issue, while a Comics Bulletin reviewer expanded on this by saying MVP especially "could help carry this title".[24] However, MVP's death at the end of the issue was met with concern "while shocking, [MVP's death] undermines the advancement of the rest of the issue".[23] Despite concerns over writer Dan Slott being too cavalier with killing MVP, IGN reviewer stated that "having seen the emotional fallout of that incident, I can see why it was so important to do that. Clearly the death in the first issue added immeasurable weight to the situation".[25]

Collected editions[edit]

trade paperback collections of his appearances include:

  • Avengers: The Initiative, Vol. 1: Basic Training ISBN 0-7851-2160-9; collects Avengers: The Initiative #1–6

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Dan Slott, Christos Gage (w), Tom Feister, Carmine Di Giandomenico (p), Jose Villarrubia (i). "Born To Serve" Avengers: The Initiative Annual 1 (December 2007), Marvel Comics
  2. ^ Dan Slott & Christos N. Gage (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Killed In Action part 2: First Casualties" Avengers: The Initiative 9 (March 2007), Marvel Comics
  3. ^ "MEET THE INITIATES – Writer Dan Slott introduces four characters you’ll want to watch in the pages of Avengers: The Initiative. By Kiel Phegley". Wizard Entertainment. 4 April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-10. Retrieved 2008-01-21. "
    MVP: A dashing and dedicated athlete whose apparent super-strength found him ejected from competing in his school’s athletic program, MVP is looking to prove something in his shot at being a hero.
    Slott says: “He’s the great-great grandson of Abraham Erskine, who came up with the super-soldier serum. He’s the all-American boy, and he has a secret. [Laughs] I can’t say what that secret is.”"
     
  4. ^ "ABRAHAM ERSKINE". marvunapp.com. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-11. "Known Relatives: Michael Van Patrick (great-grandson, deceased)" 
  5. ^ The 1995 Marvel Milestone Edition: Captain America archival reprint has no cover date or number, and its postal indicia says "Originally published ... as Captain America #000". Timely's first comic Marvel Comics #1, likewise had no number on its cover, and was released with two different cover dates.
  6. ^ Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)
  7. ^ Captain America #109 (Jan. 1969)
  8. ^ Captain America #255 (March 1981)
  9. ^ a b c d Dan Slott & Christos N. Gage (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Killed In Action part 4: Worst Case Scenario" Avengers: The Initiative 11 (May 2007), Marvel Comics
  10. ^ a b c d Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Happy Accidents" Avengers: The Initiative 1 (June 2007), Marvel Comics
  11. ^ Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Hero Moment" Avengers: The Initiative 2 (June 2007), Marvel Comics
  12. ^ Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Green Zone" Avengers: The Initiative 4 (September 2007), Marvel Comics
  13. ^ a b c Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Triple Treat" Avengers: The Initiative 7 (December 2007), Marvel Comics
  14. ^ a b c Dan Slott & Christos N. Gage (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Killed In Action part 3: Confirmed Kills" Avengers: The Initiative 10 (May 2007), Marvel Comics
  15. ^ a b "Initiative Initiation: The Scarlet Spiders". Marvel.com. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-11. "A triumvirate of enigmas clad in versions of the armor developed by Tony Stark for Spider-Man during "Civil War," the Scarlet Spiders made their first appearance in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #3" 
  16. ^ Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Bug Hunt" Avengers: The Initiative 3 (August 2007), Marvel Comics
  17. ^ Dan Slott (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Secret Weapons" Avengers: The Initiative 5 (October 2007), Marvel Comics
  18. ^ a b Dan Slott & Christos N. Gage (w), Stefano Caselli (p), Daniele Rudoni (i). "Killed In Action" Avengers: The Initiative 8 (December 2007), Marvel Comics
  19. ^ "AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE 10". Marvel.com. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-11. "For some time you've known the secret of the SCARLET SPIDERS. Now here's what happens when CLOUD 9 finds out!" 
  20. ^ Christos N. Gage (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Edgar Delgato (i). "Avengers: The Initiative Dissembled" Avengers: The Initiative 23 (May 2009), Marvel Comics
  21. ^ a b c d Dan Slott & Christos N. Gage (w), Steve Yu (p). "Changing Of The Guard" Avengers: The Initiative 12 (June 2007), Marvel Comics
  22. ^ "‘THE INITIATIVE’ UPDATE: APRIL 4, 2007. By Kevin Mahadeo, Matt Powell and Brian Warmoth". Wizard Entertainment. 4 April 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-01-21. "Ironically dubbed Captain America Jr. by Yellowjacket, the star-athlete MVP would soon suffer the same fate as the Star-Spangled Avenger when he put heroism first to save a combat-frozen Cloud 9 from a wayward energy blast. And not even a half-second later, MVP took the next blast skull first!" 
  23. ^ a b Advance Review: Avengers: The Initiative #1: The superhuman draft opens new doors for Marvel. by Richard George. March 30, 2007
  24. ^ Sunday Slugfest – Avengers: The Initiative #1" Posted: April 8, 2007. by Keith Dallas. April 8, 2007
  25. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #2 review: Tony Stark's war comes at a steep cost. by Richard George. April 30, 2007

External links[edit]