Wraith (Image Comics)

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Wraith
Wraith-D5-25-TimSeeley.jpg
Wraith, from Dynamo 5 #25 (October 2009). Art by Tim Seeley.
Publication information
Publisher Image Comics
First appearance Dynamo 5 #1 (March 2007)
Created by Jay Faerber
Mahmud A. Asrar
In-story information
Alter ego Spencer Bridges
Species Half superhuman/Half extraterrestrial
Team affiliations Dynamo 5
Notable aliases Myriad, Vigil
Abilities Expert acrobat and martial artist
Superhuman strength, speed and endurance
Telepathy
Formerly:
Shapeshifting

Spencer Bridges is a fictional comic book superhero, a member of the superhero team Dynamo 5, which appears in the monthly series of the same name from Image Comics. Created by writer Jay Faerber and artist Mahmud A. Asrar, he first appeared in Dynamo 5 #1 (January 2007). He is a half human, half extraterrestrial hybrid, the child of an alien woman and the Earth superhero, Captain Dynamo, from whom he inherited superhuman abilities.

For the first 24 issues of the series, the character possessed shapeshifting abilities and went by the codename Myriad, though for a brief time he masqueraded as a female masked vigilante called Vigil, who exhibited superhuman strength, speed, and endurance, and expertise in martial arts and acrobatics. It was later revealed that for some time, he had been taking an illegal drug called Flex, that granted him his elevated strength, speed, and endurance, powers that remained permanently bonded to his half-alien physiology after he ceased taking the drug. In issue #25 of the series (October 2009), the character, whose shapeshifting powers had been erased in the previous issue, obtained different powers, in addition to his superhuman strength, speed, and endurance. Now possessing telepathy, he goes by the name Wraith.[1]

With regard to his reasons for making the identity Vigil a female, Bridges has indicated that he is not gay, though not entirely heterosexual either, and that he chose to make the Vigil identity female as an experiment, as his former shapeshifting abilities presented "opportunities".[2]

Publication history[edit]

Captain Dynamo, a superhero who first appeared in Noble Causes: Extended Family #2 (June 2004)[3] was depicted as a womanizing philanderer, and in Dynamo 5 #1 (January 2007), following Captain Dynamo's assassination, his widow, Maddie Warner, a former government agent posing as now-retired investigative reporter, discovers from his personal effects that he had been unfaithful to her countless times. Despite her devastation at this discovery, Warner realizes that without a full-time protector, Tower City would be vulnerable to Captain Dynamo’s legion of super-villain enemies. She uses her skills to track down five people who could be Dynamo’s illegitimate children.[4]

Spencer Bridges was the third person Warner contacted to be on the team. He agrees to join the team only because Maddie is paying him. Gathering all five of the children together, Warner exposes them to the same unidentified radiation that gave Captain Dynamo his powers forty years earlier, unlocking their powers. Spencer, who manifests his father's shapeshifting ability, takes on the codename Myriad, and works to protect Tower City with his newly discovered brothers and sisters.[4]

Spencer Bridges as Myriad. From Dynamo 5 #1. Art by Mahmud A. Asrar.

After fighting crime alongside his siblings for less than a year, Spencer, in losing consciousness after swimming from the team's flooded underwater headquarters to the surface, is rendered unconscious, and is revealed to have a bizarre, alien-like appearance. Confronted by his siblings, he reveals that one of the women with whom Captain Dynamo had an affair was an alien whom Dynamo met in deep space when he came to the aid of her starship, which had broken down far from her home. After aiding in their repairs, he journeyed with her crew to her home planet (the name of which has not been revealed), where they conceived Spencer. Because of the cultural taboo of raising a "half-breed" on her world, she journeyed to Earth after Spencer was born to leave him in Dynamo's custody. Dynamo, however, had no interest in raising Spencer or threatening his marriage, so he left Spencer in the custody of a F.L.A.G. (Foundation for Law and Government) research facility, telling them not that Spencer was his son, but that he found the infant at an alien crash site. Spencer's home for the next few years was the research compound, where scientists subjected him to extensive study and experimentation, including exposing him to the same radiation that gave Captain Dynamo his superhuman abilities, not knowing what effect it would have on Spencer. This exposure activated Spencer's shapeshifting ability, long before he met Maddie Waner. He learned how to use this power to disguise his alien appearance, and to mimic the appearance of people around him, but one of the scientists in particular, an African-American woman named Dr. Bridges, took a liking to Spencer, and the two formed a rapport. The other scientists were not amenable to their bond, and separated the two. Unable to convince Captain Dynamo to remove Spencer from the facility, Bridges had Spencer use his shapeshifting ability to smuggle him out of the compound. Knowing that she would be discovered by F.L.A.G. if she attempted to raise Spencer on her own, she placed Spencer, who maintained the appearance of a full human, in the care of child services. Because of this, the two never saw each other again. Spencer spent his childhood in an orphanage, and was placed in a succession of less-than-ideal foster homes. He struck out on his own at the age of thirteen. Spencer speculated that Warner found him through a notation in Dynamo's black books about Dr. Bridges.[5] At some point Spencer took on Dr. Bridges' last name, though when he did so is unknown. The origin of his first name, and the point in his life at which he adopted it has also not been specified.

His siblings feel betrayed by his having kept his true nature a secret. Spencer sees this as hypocrisy, as all of his siblings have lied to their families about who their real father was, about their lives as superheroes, and allowed a murderer named Lionel Barstow to go free in order to free Neil Lewis, the father of Spencer's sister, Slingshot, who was being held hostage by Barstow's former employers. This argument does not convince Spencer's siblings, and as a result of both this revelation, Warner's condition, the flooding of the Aquarium, and the need to return to their civilian lives, the team seems to fall apart.[5][6]

Bridges as the female vigilante, Vigil, as seen on the cover of Dynamo 5 #14 (June 2008). Art by Mahmud A. Asrar.

Despite this, Myriad decides to continue fighting crime in Tower City himself. He moves to a Tower City hotel,[7] and uses his shapeshifting abilities to pose as a female masked vigilante named Vigil, relying on his natural speed, martial arts and acrobatic abilities to fight crime. When he encounters Scrap, the only other team member who decided to continue protecting Tower City, Scrap, not knowing that Vigil is her brother, decides to team up with Vigil, who poses as a native of Tower City. The two later recruit three other superheroes, Quake, and the mother-daughter team the Firebirds, into a new Dynamo 5 team. The new team suffers badly against Widowmaker, who assembles a team of supervillain mercenaries to attack them, and during this battle, Vigil is revealed to be Myriad. The team is joined by Slingshot, Scatterbrain, and Visionary, who manage to defeat their enemies. Although Quake and the elder Firebird are seriously injured, the Dynamo 5 siblings are reunited as a team.[7][8]

In issues 22 and 23, it was revealed that in order compensate for the lack of offensive superhuman powers that lent themselves to combat situations that his siblings had, Spencer had been taking Flex, a street drug derived for the serum that turns humans into Whiptail, a monstrous, bipedal lizard. After he was discovered, he led his siblings and F.L.A.G. agent Augie Ford to his dealers, but agreed to stop taking the drug.[9] He subsequently discovered, however, that his elevated strength, speed and endurance remained, which Doc Noble speculated occurred because it bonded to his extraterrestrial DNA.[10]

In issues 24 and 25 of the series, the team was attacked by their other half-sibling, the supervillain Synergy, who used a weapon to erase the team's abilities and capture them. The team freed themselves, and used the weapon to restore their powers, but they manifested different abilities than the ones they previously had. Spencer found that he and his brother Gage, had switched their powers. Now possessing telepathy, Spencer took the new codename Wraith.

In the miniseries Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father #3 (August 2010), Spencer learned, while battling another extraterrestrial who recognized Spencer's race, that his people are called the Khandrians. During this encounter, the telepathic Spencer saw in his opponent's mind an image of a humanoid being held captive by Khandrians who were apparently experimenting on him. It was also during this battle that Dr. Bridges sees Spencer on television.[11]

Personality[edit]

Spencer Bridges is depicted as a promiscuous womanizer[12] in his late teens[13] who has never held a job for more than two weeks, though he never seems to be without financial means. Dynamo 5 creator Jay Faerber indicated upon the series' debut that his shapeshifting ability would tie into his lack of direction in life, saying, "He inherited Cap's shape-shifting powers, and he can now become anyone he chooses. Maybe one day he'll figure out who he wants to be."[14] Shortly after meeting his siblings, Spencer tells them that the people who took him and other children in did so only to receive a government check, and while he can remember all their faces, he cannot remember half their names, and feels that today he doesn't need a family.[15] Unlike his brother Hector, who thinks of Captain Dynamo as "Dad",[16][17] and has a poster of Dynamo over his bed,[16] Spencer, who, having wondered all his life who his father was, is disappointed to learn it was Captain Dynamo, and thinks of the late superhero as "an enormous hypocrite and a horrible husband".[18] Despite Spencer's dismissive statements about his need for family, he undergoes an eye-opening experience when Maddie Warner asks him to impersonate his brother Gage after Gage falls into a coma, in order to quell suspicion on the part of Gage's family, who are unaware of Gage's superhero life.[19] The experience served to illustrate to Spencer what having a stable family is like, something he had missed all his life, but in getting carried away, he initiates a romantic overture with a schoolmate of Gage's, and when Gage, who discovers he is capable of astral projection, witnesses the two in a romantic embrace, he sees this as an invasion of privacy, and later comes to blows with Spencer. Spencer wonders if it is motivated by racism, as the girl in question was black. Spencer apologizes to Gage, but when he confessed how having a family for a small number of days made him feel, Gage, understanding of this, forgives him.[20] Although he initially accepts Warner's offer to join the team because she pays him,[4] he eventually decides to move to Tower City full-time and help protect it for more altruistic reasons.

After losing his shapeshifting abilities, Spencer is isolated by the fact that his extraterrestrial appearance limits his ability to socialize outside the team's headquarters.[21]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Spencer Bridges is a half human, half extraterrestrial hybrid. Although he formerly used his shapeshifting ability to appear human, his true appearance is that of a Khandrian, the extraterrestrial race to which his mother belonged. As such, he has been depicted with gray skin, no hair, and a long face that includes a pronounced brow and a small, snout-like nose just under his eyes. The space between his nose and mouth is proportionately greater than that found in a human face. Artist Mahmud A. Asrar depicted him without a philtrum, though other artists such as Tim Seeley[1] and Julio Brilha did not.[21] He also has no apparent ears, at least none that resemble those of a human. His hands have a total of three digits, including an opposable thumb, though his other two non-pollical digits are much larger than those of the human. All three of his digits have pointed claws.[5][6]

Spencer has the power of telepathy, and can read other people's minds, a power that was formerly possessed by his brother, Gage Reinhart. His power is both voluntary and passive. While he can use his power to deliberately read someone's mind, he can also involuntarily pick up the thoughts of those around him, even when he does not wish it. Although he has not yet been observed utilizing all the applications of his telepathy that his brother Gage exhibited, it has been otherwise observed that his powers function exactly as Gage's did.[1]

As a result of taking a street drug called Flex, Spencer has superhuman strength, speed and endurance.[2] The extent of these powers have not been explicitly given, but they enable him to break several lines of chain tied around him as a restraint,[1] and leap dozens of feet into the air[7] and across rooftops.[22] Combined with his knowledge of martial arts and acrobatics,[5][6][17][23][24] Spencer has successfully taken on opponents such as Anchor, Chain Reaction and Blue Blaster single-handedly,[25] and held his own against Widowmaker,[6][13] Optima[13] and a human who wore the strength-amplifying Strong-Suit.[7]

Spencer formerly had shapeshifting powers with which he could alter the form of his body, his facial features, and even the clothes he wore, in order to disguise himself as anyone he chose. He sometimes practiced his impersonations of certain people, and used reference materials in order to perfect his disguises.[18] Like his father, Spencer could alter the apparent size of his body, enabling him to disguise himself, for example, as an obese person.[4] Spencer used this ability to disguise himself as people who appear to have greater mass than he does, as when he impersonates Captain Dynamo.[18] How he was able to do this, in light of the law of conservation of mass, has not been explained. When engaged in superheroics, Myriad did not wear a mask or helmet like his siblings, but instead disguised himself by erasing all of his facial features. How he was able to see, breathe, hear, and speak without them was also not explained. Spencer's ability to maintain a disguise was dependent upon his concentration; being punched in the face while disguised, for example, would cause that disguise to falter,[23] and being rendered unconscious would cause him to revert to his true, Khandrian appearance.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #25 (October 2009)
  2. ^ a b Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #24 (August 2009)
  3. ^ Noble Causes: Extended Family #2. Grand Comics Database. accessed September 5, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #1 (January 2007)
  5. ^ a b c d Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #13 (May 2008)
  6. ^ a b c d e Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #12 (April 2008)
  7. ^ a b c d Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #0 (February 2009)
  8. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #14 - 19 (June 2008 - January 2009)
  9. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #22 (June 2009) and #23 (Aug. 2009)
  10. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #24 (Aug. 2009)
  11. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father #3 (August 2010)
  12. ^ His womanizing is mentioned or depicted in Dynamo 5 #1, 2, and 14.
  13. ^ a b c Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #19 (January 2009)
  14. ^ Weiland, Jonah. "Ain't Nothing but a Family Thing: Faerber Talks Dynamo 5". Comic Book Resources. December 20, 2006
  15. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #4 (June 2007)
  16. ^ a b Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #9 (November 2007)
  17. ^ a b Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #10 (January 2008) Image Comics.
  18. ^ a b c Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #3 (May 2007)
  19. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #8 (October 2007)
  20. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #9 & 10.
  21. ^ a b Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father #1 (June 2010)
  22. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #15 (August 2008)
  23. ^ a b Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #7 (September 2007)
  24. ^ Faerber, Jay Dynamo 5 #23 (August 2009)
  25. ^ Faerber, Jay. Dynamo 5 #14 (June 2008)

External links[edit]