Mighty Man (Image Comics)
|First appearance||The Savage Dragon #3 (1992)|
|Created by||Erik Larsen|
|Alter ego||Ann Stevens|
|Team affiliations||Allied Supermen of America
Mighty Man is a fictional hero created by Erik Larsen some years before he began drawing professional comics, possibly in his adolescence. He has been a major character in Larsen's self-created title Savage Dragon and its spin-off Freak Force, as well as in Gary Carlson's Big Bang Comics series. His first appearance was Megaton #2, an anthology by Carlson, which was also the first appearance of the Savage Dragon.
Fictional character biography
Mighty Man is actually an ancient entity created by a mysterious wizard named Fon~Ti to fight evil. The entity is passed from host to host at the point of death. The host, regardless of their sex, is able to transform into a tall, handsome blonde man with god-like powers, including flight and incredible strength. This is accomplished by tapping their wrists together. However the Mighty Man entity cannot sustain itself, and in order to survive the host must return to human form to sleep and to eat.
Robert Berman was the Mighty Man entity's host from the 1940s until 1992; he used the entity and the powers of it to be a super-hero. For the first few years of his career Berman was a teenager, working as a radio broadcaster. This is the Mighty Man who appeared in Big Bang Comics. During World War II Mighty Man first fought alongside SuperPatriot who would remain his lifelong friend and ally. During the fifties they formed another team The Liberty League, with three other super-heroes Mr. Big, Hornet and Battle Tank.
Over his years of heroism Berman's Mighty Man built up a rogues gallery like most others in his profession, most notably The Wicked Worm and Dr. Nirvana. Berman was killed in 1992 by a gang or ordinary thugs after a newspaper journalist learned and published his secret identity. While delirious and dying Berman mistook his nurse Ann Stevens for his grandson Billy and passed on the Mighty Man entity to her. This is the Mighty Man that appears in Savage Dragon.
Ann Samantha Stevens was unaware that Berman had given her the Mighty Man entity until she slipped on a spillage in her home and accidentally tapped her wrists together. After realizing the entity could not sustain itself, she managed to figure out how to change back and forth at will. During the time she had the powers and was unaware of it, she supervised the health of an amnesic 'superfreak' who had been found in a burning field, and gave him the nickname 'the Dragon' because of his green skin and the prominent fin on his head, The Dragon liked her nickname and took it as his legal name.
Steven's first public appearance as Mighty Man was in Savage Dragon #3. He/she helped save two other heroes, Dart and Star from the rampages of an escaped group of super-powered prisoners. Mighty Man had appeared in the Megaton anthology Dragon stories but these are not considered canon.
The Dragon was skeptical about Mighty Man's return, until he/she saves him from the rampages of Mighty Man's old friend Superpatriot. Superpatriot is being controlled by Horde, a being made up of hundreds of copies of the entity known as Wicked Worm, combined with the wizard Fon~Ti.
When Ann's roommate, Phyllis Deeder, learns of her identity, she sexually propositions Ann while she is in male form. Ann rejects her, stating she 'wasn't that kind of person'.
Mighty Man joins the super-powered team of bounty hunters called Freak Force but did not reveal her identity to them, or the Dragon, for some time. The actual identity of Mighty Man was a subject of much talk in the letter column. Her full origin appeared in Freak Force #6. There, she defeats a powerful opponent in her human form and then explains everything to Superpatriot.
The daughter of Dr. Nirvana, Chelsea, is a recurring villain in the Savage Dragon stories, and was the main villain of both Freak Force series. She scams her way into becoming the secretary for Freak Force. She then steals the powers of another villain, Johnny Redbeard. She now has the power to give other people super-powers. Chelsea's lover, Inhabitor, kills Redbeard, but this was after the creation of the tall, super-strong Bludgeon. This villain beat Mighty Man into a coma, where she/he stayed until she reverted to Ann Stevens.
The Freak Force series lasted from December 1993 to July 1995.
Ann Stevens uses her strength to help the Dragon when he had healed incorrectly from a battle with the entity known as The Fiend. Her nursing knowledge allows her to break his bones in ways so that the Dragon's super-fast healing abilities would re-mold them correctly.
Ann Stevens denies the Dragon's offer to join his new government team, Special Operations Strikeforce. She fears revealing her identity.
Some time after Dragon's wife is seemingly murdered, he and Ann Stevens began dating. Chelsea Nirvana, now in a man's body, manages to temporarily shape-shift into the Dragon. He shoots her to death, in the process stealing the form of Mighty Man. At Ann's funeral Nirvana under the influence of the Wicked Worm attacks Dragon. However he dies from exhaustion. The powers pass to the now-legless Dart. Naturally, as Mighty Man, Dart enjoys her/his new legs.
The Savage Dragon series is now set on an alternate Earth to the one it was set on for its first 75 issues. The original Earth was destroyed in Savage Dragon issue 103 and everyone from that original Earth, with the exception of a few, were killed when it was, this includes the Mighty Man of that world.
On this new Earth Ann Stevens did not slip and did not realise she held within her the power of Mighty Man. The lack of Mighty Man causes large changes in the history of that Earth. For instance Mighty Man did not stop the jailbreak in Chicago and Dart was carried off to a remote tropical island by a villain named Mako and as such was never crippled or became Mighty Man herself. Avoiding the attentions of Chelsea Nirvana, Ann moves to Kansas City and is employed as a nurse there.
While looking for allies to help him overthrow this new Earth's leader, Dragon shows Stevens what she could do. Dragon realizes Ann needs training. While she trains, Berman's nephew, the intended inheritor of the powers, gains the form of Mighty Man for a time. However, he dies and the powers return to Ann. As Mighty Man, she joins the Liberty League. This group includes the Dragon, SuperPatriot and BattleTank. The group dissolves later.
She later tries to stop the Galactus-like Universo from draining energy from the planet.
Ann Stevens becomes pregnant and her child later gains Mighty Man's powers. After some destruction, Ann convinces her daughter to turn back and promises to guard her wrists so this would not happen again.
Mighty Man is heavily based on Captain Marvel. Erik Larsen was a big fan of the character as a child (and remains one today) and Savage Dragon and popular series villain Powerhouse also started out based on the hero. Mighty Man's enemies are also equally obvious pastiches of Captain Marvel's enemies Mr. Mind (The Wicked Worm) and Doctor Sivana (Dr. Nirvana), Mighty Man's old team The Liberty League, however, is based on Marvel's premiere Superhero team The Avengers, and the wrist-tapping transformation is reminiscent of Marvel's Captain Marvel's Nega-Bands.
Powers and abilities
Inheriting the Mighty Man entity allows the person to transform into a tall blonde man while still retaining their own personality, as well as being super-strong and being able to fly, Mighty Man is also bullet-proof and has enhanced durability though he is not totally impervious to harm.
- Freak Force 6
- Savage Dragon Mini-Series 1
- Savage Dragon Ongoing Series 86
- Dragonfan.com - A fansite
- SavageDragon.com - Official site
- Freak Force #6 (June 1994)
- Freak Force #5 (July 1994)
- Savage Dragon #170