|First appearance||Slingers #1 (1998 December)|
|Created by||Joseph Harris
The Slingers were four teenage superheroes who had been inspired by Spider-Man. The group first appeared in Slingers #0, a free promotional comic book included in an issue of Wizard. Slingers #1 used a controversial sales gimmick: four versions of the first issue were produced, each telling a fourth of the first issue's story from the point of view of one of the four team members. The series failed to sustain sales, despite a small but loyal fan base, and the series was cancelled with issue #12.
The team's four members used costumes and codenames that had been used by Spider-Man during the "Identity Crisis" crossover. During "Identity Crisis", Spider-Man was wanted for murder with a million-dollar reward posted for his capture; instead of his normal costumed identity, he adopted four other costumes and created a different crime-fighting persona for each suit. After this crisis had ended, he discarded the four costumes, and they subsequently disappeared, reappearing in the possession of the Golden Age superhero called the Black Marvel. The Marvel gave the costumes to four youths, and trained them to become heroes.
Aside from brief cameos in New Warriors and Contest of Champions II - during which they were defeated by the New Warriors in a game of basketball, the teams reasoning that not every contest had to be a straight-out fight - the team made no appearances elsewhere, and in their own series only received a few brief appearances by their inspiration, Spider-Man. When it was revealed that the Black Marvel had received the costumes through a deal with the demon Mephisto, the Slingers broke from him, and then returned to free his soul from Mephisto. The Black Marvel died, free from Mephisto's grasp, and the team apparently disbanded. Ricochet has recently made several guest appearances in the Marvel comic Runaways as a member of Excelsior, a group made of other former teenage heroes whose goal is to help fellow teenage superheroes to adjust to mundane lives and dissuade other super-powered teenagers from becoming heroes. They were introduced in "True Believers" the first arc of Runaways Volume Two. Recently, Ricochet (while attending their usual group meeting) followed both Darkhawk and the third Spider-Woman on their mission to take down the MGH dealers that once used Mattie as a source for the drug.
Hornet was later found dead by forces of S.H.I.E.L.D.. He had died confronting Wolverine, who had been brainwashed by the Hand, an evil ninja cult. Prodigy has only recently resurfaced, fighting against Iron Man during the Civil War event. Eventually Prodigy joins with Captain America's underground movement and later became a recruit for the Initiative program. Dusk has recently been seen as a captive of the Puppet Master. At the end of Avengers: The Initiative, Prodigy was released from 42 Prison, in which he was detained for having resisted Osborn's regime, and is depicted as working on the motivational speaker circuit while trying to reunite the Slingers.
The four members of the Slingers were:
- Dusk (Cassie St. Commons): Died in Slingers #0 and mysteriously returned from the dead in Slingers #1. She was the Goth daughter of a rich socialite couple from Connecticut. Dusk has many supernatural abilities. Her primary power is the ability to teleport herself (or others) anywhere she wishes to be. She can manipulate shadows to form objects or constructs of solid dark energy. She also has the ability to sense the whereabouts of her teammates, and knows if they are in danger. She is aware of Hornet's feelings towards her, but found herself attracted to Johnny Gallo, who was dating someone else during the course of the series. Her whereabouts following the series' conclusion have not been revealed; although she was seen (wearing her Dusk costume) as a hypnotized prisoner, being held by the Puppet Master in Ms. Marvel (vol. 2) #18. Dusk made no further appearances during the storyline, which concluded with Puppet Master's defeat and the release of his other captives. Her current whereabouts are again unknown.
- Hornet (Eddie McDonough): A freshman at Empire State University and a victim of cerebral palsy, he wore a suit of flight-capable powered armor which enabled him to fly at high speeds. Micro-servos in the armored suit enhanced his strength beyond normal levels and allowed him to use his withered right arm. His gauntlets contained wrist blasters that could fire darts filled with a fast-acting sedative, which he called "Stingers," as well as powerful laser-beams. After the group dissolved, he and Ricochet eventually returned to fighting crime together under the same identities until Hornet was killed battling a brainwashed Wolverine.
- Prodigy (Ritchie Gilmore): The leader of the group, a wrestler who attended Empire State University. He is an athletic, stubborn loner. Prodigy's costume is mystically infused with power, giving him incredible superhuman strength;enough to stop a speeding train with his bare hands. He can leap incredible distances and when he jumps, it appears that he is flying. His golden costume is completely bulletproof, and can withstand most physical assaults. His cape has similar properties, as it alone once protected a child from a burning building, even as the building itself collapsed around him. Prodigy gave up his cape and his powers at the conclusion of the Slingers series. However, an apparently re-empowered Prodigy later resurfaced. He was arrested in Civil War: Frontline #2 at the hands of Iron Man for openly defying the Super Hero Registration Act. Prodigy succeeded in sending a message to the people of the Marvel Universe, and his actions were considered the first act of Civil War. Prodigy was freed by Captain America's team during the prison break and joined said team against Iron Man and his registered superteam. With his side's defeat, he was back to serving his jail time but was offered to serve on the Initiative Program. He eventually begrudgingly joined along with the third group of recruits. It has not been explained how Prodigy regained his cape and his abilities after the team disbanded. Ritchie is not to be confused with David Alleyne of the New Mutants, who also used the codename "Prodigy."
- Ricochet (Johnny Gallo): A mutant with superhuman agility, enabling him to leap great distances. He has incredible reflexes, and when combined with his leaping powers, can seemingly bounce off walls (ricocheting, as it were). His mutant powers also give him a "Danger Sense", which functions much like Spider-Man's "Spider-Sense", allowing Ricochet to sense danger before it happens. His jacket sleeves hold up to eight throwing discs. Originally used to strike at enemies by rebounding off walls, much like Ricochet himself, Hornet later provided Ricochet with special "gimmick" discs, which can return to the thrower after a short time, or even self-destruct. His mother was killed by Orphan-Maker when he was in his early teens, though the identity of the killer remained unknown to Johnny until much later in life. He also had a troubled relationship with his cold and uncaring father. After the group dissolved, Ricochet and Hornet returned to fighting crime at one point, but Hornet's death prompted Johnny to seek help in giving up the costumed life. He joined the Los Angeles-based "teenage superhero recovery group" called Excelsior, where despite the group's mission statement, has repeatedly found himself fighting alongside other members of the group against local threats.
- Still on the Shelf #84 - Slingers. A brief review of the series, with issue synopses and short bios of the characters.
- Slingers cover gallery
- SpiderFan.org Slingers page
- Slingers on the Marvel Universe Character Bio Wiki