Strangers (Malibu Comics)

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The Strangers
Cover to Strangers #1
Art by Rick Hoberg and Tim Burgard
Publication information
Publisher Malibu Comics
Genre
Main character(s) Atom Bob
Electrocute
Grenade
Lady Killer
Spectral
Yrial
Zip-Zap
Creative team
Creator(s) Steve Englehart
Rick Hoberg

The Strangers is the title of a comic book series created and written by Steve Englehart. It was originally drawn by Rick Hoberg, for Malibu ComicsUltraverse imprint.

The Strangers consisted of a group of random passengers on a cable car who were struck by what they believed to be a bolt of lightning, but was actually a "jumpstart": one of the bursts of energy emitted by the Entity from the Moon, which transformed them into "Ultras".

History[edit]

On June 24, 1993 San Francisco cable car goes out of control and crashes into a car driven by Johnny Domino. This drives a piece of metal into his brain. This accident causes Johnny to no longer need sleep and to develop the ability to hear evil thoughts, which led to his becoming the Ultra-Hero, Night Man. The passengers all develop super-powers to a various degree.[1]

The six who would become the Strangers later gather at the spot of the crash site and come into conflict with the sorceress Yrial.[2] This continues into the next issue; which also has the first appearance of recurring adversaries, TNTNT.[3]

Getting established[edit]

Elana came to sponsor the team, having developed a fortune in the fashion business. She gives them all pagers, when they are called in to battle the villain named Deathwish. Their adversary turns out to be another cable car passenger; he has killed an entire block of people. He is soon defeated.[4] In this issue, the Strangers develop a working relationship with police officer Captain Jacob Rowe. He had become the San Francisco police department liaison with 'Ultras', super-powered beings.[5]

It was at one of Elana's shows where the villain Rafferty attacks. Despite threats to kill one of the heroes, Rafferty only murders an old lady, right in front of the group.

More villainy[edit]

In an attempt to discover the source of their powers, they steal a shuttlecraft from the villain J.D. Hunt, the same man who once had Electrocute as a sexual toy. The shuttle was being stored on a military base. This brings them into conflict with the rookie superhero Prototype.[6][7] On the way to the successful moon encounter, they destroy a monstrous infestation of a Russian space station.[8]

Upon return to Earth, they are rescued from the consequences of stealing the craft by base commander Captain Christopher Dugan. Night Man had solved murders on Dugan's base, making him more receptive to the efforts of super-humans. Even when informed one of the Strangers was gay, Dugan indicates it matters little. In the same issue, Yrial's people force her to come home.[9]

The Strangers get a clue as to where Yrial is being held and follow. They end up fighting super-powered pirates, these people were some of the cable car passengers.[10]

Grenade and Electrocute later become a romantic couple. The team helps Hardcase and his partner Choice invade the Groom Lake facility of the mysterious organization known as Aladdin. Spectral reveals he is gay, to the acceptance of all his friends. Around this time they confront J.D Hunt's personal enforcers, TNTNT.

Grenade gets into deep trouble when his girlfriend is re-programmed by her original makers, Nu-Ware. With the additional help of the mystical Teknight, he believes he will be able to defeat TNTNT. Electrocute attacks also, defeating the two heroes.

J.D. Hunt Jr.[edit]

J.D. Hunt's son, knowing the Strangers held his father prisoner, visits the hero's headquarters, temporarily located at Labrava Fashions, on Pier 25. He negotiates with the only two Strangers left, Zip-Zap and Spectral. He threatens to have the other heroes sold off unless they make the trade. Despite Grenade and Teknight having rescued themselves from the prison, the two need additional help in escaping. Spectral's mechanically talented friend Mike adjusts Electrocute's systems, preventing them from being overridden in the same manner again.

At the time of this incident, Len and Yrial are in Europe in an attempt to help Atom Bob. They encounter dangers on a mysterious mountain.

Frustrated that he is unable to use his powers effectively and corrupted by demonic magic, Atom Bob ends up a villain. Night Man exposes him.

Membership[edit]

The Strangers were an Ultra-hero team consisting of:

  • Electrocute - a gynoid (female android) named "Candy", created as an elaborate sex toy by billionaire villain J.D. Hunt. She develops sentience after the accident and becomes a superhero with the Strangers. She has the ability to project bolts of electricity, as well as a highly durable body.
  • Atom Bob (Bob Hardin) - Art student who gains the ability to rearrange matter on the molecular or atomic levels.
  • Grenade (Hugh Fox) - close friend of Bob, gains the ability to fire explosive blasts.
  • Lady Killer (Elena La Brava) - Fashion designer; Has tracking ability. Plus can hit what she aims for.
  • Spectral (Dave Castiglone)- Able to envelop himself in different colored flames, each color granting him a different power: Red (enhanced strength and aggression), Orange (fire manipulation), Yellow (flight), Green (healing), Blue (water manipulation), Indigo (space-vacuum survival), Violet (protection). Castiglone later revealed he was gay.
  • Yrial - Sorceress from a magic flying city.
  • Zip-Zap (Leon Balford)- Urban teenager who gained super-speed.

In other media[edit]

The Strangers (save for Lady Killer and Yrial) appear in the final two episodes of the Ultraforce animated series. According to Steve Englehart, via his personal website, this was supposed to be a back door pilot for a Strangers animated series, but plans were cancelled following Marvel's purchase of Malibu.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Freex #4 (October 1993)
  2. ^ "The Strangers" #2 (1993)
  3. ^ "The Strangers" #3 (1993)
  4. ^ "The Strangers" #5 (October 1993)
  5. ^ "Freex" #2
  6. ^ "Break-Thru" #1
  7. ^ "Prototype" #5
  8. ^ "The Strangers" #7 (Dec. 1993)
  9. ^ "The Strangers" #8 (Jan. 1994)
  10. ^ "The Strangers" #9 (Feb. 1994)
  11. ^ Englehart, Steve (2008). "The Strangers 1-12". steveenglehart.com. Retrieved 19 November 2011.