Porcupine (comics)

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Porcupine is any of three fictional characters in Marvel Comics.

Publication history[edit]

The first Porcupine first appeared in Tales to Astonish #48 (October 1963), and was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Alexander Gentry[edit]

Porcupine
PorcupineMarvel.jpg
Porcupine
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Tales to Astonish #48 (October 1963)
Created by Stan Lee and Don Heck
In-story information
Alter ego Alexander Gentry
Team affiliations United States Army
Lethal Legion
Maggia
Abilities Weapons Designer

Alexander Gentry was originally a scientist who worked as a weapons designer for the United States Army. He conceived the idea of designing a battle-suit in imitation of a porcupine: it would be covered with quill-like projections for defense. Moreover, it would be able to shoot its quills, or gases, flames, chemicals, paralysis-inducing pellets, or weapons from quill-like tubes, at an opponent. Gentry spends months working overtime to create his porcupine battle-suit. He is proud of his achievement when the suit was finished, and believes his invention is worth a fortune. Yet Gentry also believes that the government would pay him, one of its employees, virtually nothing for his creation. Angrily, Gentry decides to keep the porcupine battle-suit and to use it to become wealthy through crime. Thus Gentry became the Porcupine, one of the first costumed professional criminals of his generation.

Hank Pym, who was then the original Ant-Man, and his partner, Janet van Dyne, the Wasp, soon defeat the Porcupine while he attempted to rob a bank.[1] However, the Porcupine succeeds in escaping. After Pym had also assumed the superhuman powers and identity of Giant-Man, Porcupine returns for revenge. During the resulting battle, the Porcupine consumes what he thinks is a Giant-Man growth medium, but which instead shrinks him to microscopic size.[2]

Eventually, however, the capsules' effect wore off, and the Porcupine, again at his normal size, is among the many costumed menaces assembled by Doctor Doom to disrupt the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm.[3]

His self-confidence still shaken by his failures in battling Giant-Man and the Wasp, the Porcupine eagerly accepts the invitation of Count Nefaria, a powerful figure in the criminal Maggia, to join his group of costumed agents. Among Nefaria's agents are the original Eel, the Plantman, the Unicorn, and the Scarecrow, with all of whom the Porcupine would ally himself in the future as well. The Porcupine and the other costumed agents aid Count Nefaria in his attempt to hold much of Washington D.C. for ransom. However, the original X-Men thwarted Nefaria and his agents.[4] Once again, the Porcupine succeeds in escaping being taken prisoner, and he blames the failure of the blackmail scheme on Nefaria and the other agents. Gentry comes to suspect that in fact, he himself was inadequate for the role of being a "super-villain" battling superhuman opponents.

It is not known what the Porcupine did between the end of this venture and his enlistment as a member of Batroc's Brigade. As a Brigade member, the Porcupine unsuccessfully battles Captain America.[5] Months later, the Porcupine and his allies, the original Eel, the Plantman, and the Scarecrow, went to work for the masked criminal mastermind who calls himself the Cowled Commander on his crime spree. Once again, the Porcupine clashed with Captain America but is defeated.[6]

Convinced that they were failures, Gentry and Leopold Stryke, who was the original Eel, seek guidance from the Celestial Mind Control movement, which was secretly masterminded by the alien Nebulon. Nebulon pits the Porcupine and the Eel against his foes, the costumed adventurers called the Defenders, who defeat them both.[7]

The Porcupine was then employed by the android Zodiac to participate in a crime spree.[8] Porcupine was then employed by Justin Hammer to battle Iron Man.[9]

Later, the Porcupine and a small group of confederates invade a major Manhattan hotel to steal the valuables in its safe. This time the Porcupine errs by deciding to rob the wealthy attendees at a fashion show in one of the hotel's ballrooms. Unfortunately for him, the show as being given by fashion designer Janet van Dyne, who is also the Wasp. Moreover, Henry Pym, who now uses the costumed identity of Yellowjacket, is also present, as is Kyle Richmond, the adventurer called Nighthawk. The heroes swiftly defeat the criminals. Porcupine feels humiliation at being taken down by opponents the size of insects.[10]

The Porcupine next turns up as one of a large assemblage of costumed criminals organized by the original versions of Libra and Sagittarius of the android Zodiac. This time the Porcupine is defeated by the Hellcat during a battle between a number of the criminals and a group of adventurers operating under the auspices of the Defenders.[volume & issue needed]

The Porcupine goes to prison but was soon released by minions of billionaire Justin Hammer. The Porcupine agrees to provide Hammer with half the proceeds from his criminal activities in exchange for Hammer's financial support. The Porcupine is among the small army of costumed criminals whom Hammer sends to attack Iron Man when the latter turned up on Hammer's enormous "houseboat" headquarters. Iron Man succeeds in defeating all of these criminals. Porcupine is soon fired by Hammer.[volume & issue needed]

Tired of his long string of defeats, Gentry believes his criminal career had become a joke. He decides to give up his career as a costumed criminal and live off the millions of dollars he expects to receive by selling his battle-suit. Gentry totally redesigns his porcupine battle-suit, making it far deadlier than before. He enters into negotiations with the subversive organization called the Secret Empire to sell them the suit. The Empire requested proof of the battle-suit's capabilities, so Gentry said he would prove it was the perfect combat suit by testing it in battle against Captain America, the ultimate soldier. Captain America and his ally Nomad defeat the Porcupine, and Gentry was returned to jail.[11]

In prison, Gentry vows never to be defeated again, and to ensure that, he decides never to put on the Porcupine battle-suit again. Gentry is soon released from prison under unknown circumstances, and he sets about once more to try to sell the battle-suit. He fails to find any serious buyers. Gentry tries to sell it to the Secret Empire, but is attacked by Nomad.[volume & issue needed]

When most of the heroes were missing due to them partaking in Beyonder's Secret Wars, Porcupine joined Batroc and some other villains in fighting Moon Knight and Guardsman.[12]

Porcupine later joined a short-lived version of the Lethal Legion in their mass-attack on New York's superheroes. He was knocked aside by a thrown printer and hit by a stray blast from Unicorn.[13]

Gentry then tries to sell the suit to AIM, HYDRA, the Kingpin, the Maggia, the Tinkerer, various others, and finally to the Serpent Society, but almost no one wanted it, and the few offers he did receive for it were insultingly low. Despairing, Gentry came up with the idea of selling the battle-suit to the Avengers to prevent it from falling into the hands of their enemies. Captain America was intrigued and, in talking to Gentry, learned that he knew how to contact the Serpent Society, whom Captain America had been trying to bring to justice. Captain America agreed to have the Avengers buy the battle-suit if Gentry helped get him to members of the Serpent Society. Gentry accepted Captain America's terms. Captain America's plan was for Gentry to pretend to have captured him and to offer the Serpent Society the opportunity to kill him. Gentry contacts the Society's leader, Sidewinder, and arranges to have some of the Society members meet him at a lower Manhattan construction site. Gentry, having reluctantly donned his Porcupine costume once more as part of the plan, pretended to guard Captain America, who was seemingly bound with chains. Four Society members soon appeared: Cottonmouth, Death Adder, Diamondback, and the Rattler. Captain America took the Society members by surprise, and the Porcupine began to flee. Diamondback, realizing that the Porcupine had set them up, went after him and threw two nitroglycerin-filled diamond weapons. The weapons exploded on impact, damaging his battle-suit but not harming him. Seeing his only valuable asset damaged, Gentry flew into a rage and attacked Diamondback. She again damaged his suit somehow, and as he tried to escape her, he tripped and fell, inadvertently impaling himself fatally on one of his quills. Gentry died believing that he would die the same way he lived, as a loser, despite Captain America's assurances to the contrary. In tribute to Gentry, Captain America had him buried in a grave reserved by the Avengers for those who have fallen in battle, and put his battle-suit on exhibit in Avengers Mansion, labeled "Battle Armor of the Porcupine – Honored Foe of the Avengers".[14]

Roger Gocking[edit]

Porcupine
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Daughters of the Dragon #3 (May, 2006)
Created by Justin Gray Jimmy Palmiotti and Khari Evans
In-story information
Alter ego Roger Gocking[15]
Team affiliations Thunderbolts
Abilities Weapons Designer

A person using the Porcupine identity and battle armor appeared in Daughters of the Dragon #3. Porcupine and other villains are attacked by Colleen Wing and Misty Knight, who were seeking information in the bar. Porcupine is quickly felled and thrown into Doctor Bong.

During the Civil War event, he is apprehended alongside Eel in San Francisco by the three rookie Beetles and their leader, MACH-IV.[16] This group forms Thunderbolts Team A.

The Porcupine appears again in Thunderbolts #107 alongside the likes of the Eel, Doctor Octopus, Boomerang, Whirlwind and others who in separate teams of the new Thunderbolts face massive hordes of empowered people. These were everyday people empowered by an out of control cosmic source of energy called the Universal Well Spring.

The Thunderbolts entry in Volume 12 of the Marvel Universe A-Z Handbook hardcovers reveals the new Porcupine's real name is Roger Gocking.

During Doctor Doom's war with Wakanda over their Vibranium supplies, Porcupine was employed by former Damage Control worker Walter Declun in Mexico to defend one of Doctor Doom's outposts there from the Dora Milaje and the Fantastic Four.[17]

Billy Bates[edit]

Porcupine
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance District X #13 (August, 2005)
Created by David Hine
In-story information
Alter ego William Nathaniel Bates
Abilities offensive morphing power

A relatively normal teenager before manifesting his powers, Billy inadvertently killed a group of human patrons at the Cafe Des Artistes who were harassing the mutant waitress Sylvie, on whom he had a crush. He took her “hostage” which led to a police standoff.[18] Rather than allow the situation to become a catalyst for anti-mutant strife in Mutant Town, also because one of Billy's victims was one of the leading people of the Louisiana chapter of Purity, Alexei Vazhin hired Sashenka Popova to assassinate Billy Bates. Vazhin then paid Sylvie and her father off to keep them quiet about the incident.[19]

While he never officially took the name "The Porcupine," Billy intended to use it as his superhero name.

Powers and abilities[edit]

The original Porcupine designed a suit of battle armor for himself composed of steel and advanced plastics that enhanced his strength and durability. The armor is equipped with a wide variety of offensive and defensive weapons built in. The outer surface of the armor is covered with razor-tipped metal quill-like projections which can be fired at opponents. The armor's other capabilities include laser beams, concussive bombs, small rockets, tear gas, sleeping gas, smoke screens, acetylene torch flames, liquid cement, wheels giving off hypnotic lights, and high voltage blasts of electricity. The battle-suit included belt jets which allowed him to fly for short distances. Gentry was a skilled automotive mechanic, and had a masters degree in engineering.

The second Porcupine's armor gives him some resistance to physical and energy attacks. The helmet has a 6-hour air supply and has night vision lenses. The quills do damage when striking opponents. His boot jets allow him to fly for up to 10 minutes. The Porcupine can fire three bombs at once and fire three knock out gas bombs at once.

Billy's offensive morphing power allowed him to sprout razor tipped spikes from his face, body, and right arm. These spikes were retractable, distorting the skin tissue to appear as acne. He could fire these spikes as projectile bolts with lethal force. Billy could also distort his left arm into a misshapen, extended form with elongated fingers and claws.

Other versions[edit]

House of M[edit]

In the House of M reality, William Bates was killed by Shashenka Popova when she stabbed him when William was trying to prevent her from fleeing the scene of a Sapien League attack.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tales to Astonish #48
  2. ^ Tales to Astonish #53
  3. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #3
  4. ^ X-Men #22-23
  5. ^ Captain America #130
  6. ^ Captain America #158-159
  7. ^ Defenders #37-38
  8. ^ Defenders #63-64
  9. ^ Iron Man #127
  10. ^ Avengers #167
  11. ^ Captain America #285
  12. ^ Code of Honor #3
  13. ^ Marvel Age Annual #1
  14. ^ Captain America #315
  15. ^ Marvel Universe A-Z Handbook #12
  16. ^ Thunderbolts #104
  17. ^ Doomwar #5
  18. ^ District X #13
  19. ^ District X #14
  20. ^ Mutopia X #1

External links[edit]