Friday, November 30, 2007

The Dreaded Porcupine: A Super-Villain You'll Never Forget!

So after naming the Porcupine a “turkey”, I decided to re-read his very first appearance in the pages of Tales to Astonish #48, and was mildly surprised to see that he actually had a pretty good thing going; aside from all the sucking, that is. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what-all the Porcupine can really do.

The saga of the Dreaded Porcupine began in the lab of Alex Gentry, genius engineer and spiked rodent enthusiast. Gentry has some interesting ideas about how the Army ought to be spending its money:

To be honest, I’ve heard worse ideas. Who wants to mess with a porcupine? Gentry took the porcupine’s defensive abilities a few steps beyond mere sharp quills, though, creating a multi-purpose battle suit with a fantastic, albeit highly improbable, array of weaponry:

Unfortunately, I have nothing whatsoever to do with purchasing combat suits for the Army, but if I did, I’d buy a few gross. Porcupine’s original armor not only allowed him to launch sharp quills (though it wasn't shown in this origin story, oddly enough), but was also packed with gas pellets, napalm, liquid cement, ammonia, and various other chemicals. The gas mask actually protected the wearer from his own weapons, all while looking wicked kewl.

Alex Gentry wouldn’t be a low-level scientist in a silver-age Marvel comic if he weren’t disgruntled, so here we see him bitterly choose the next most logical career: super-villainy! To be fair, he’s probably absolutely right about what he can expect from his employers, so, y’know, screw ‘em.

Here we find our prickly pal pulling off his very first bank heist. Acetylene torches are also built into this one man arsenal, and he burns through the lock while cloaked by a self-generated smoke screen:

The Porcupine suit also included jets…

...And strangely enough, fireworks:

Of course, when he finally came up against Ant-Man, he unveiled his ultimate weapon:

A bathtub of tepid water is more than a match for the fightin' formicidae, and Porcupine hauls ass on outta there, leaving him to drown.

The lameness of Ant-Man could take up a whole other post, but suffice it to say, his bones would be clogging Gentry’s drain to this day, if not for the Wasp. Ant-Man and the Wasp handed Porcupine his first defeat by dousing him with liquid cement, clogging his tubes, and sending him off to the first of many, many stays in prison. Later, he adopted a more modern, streamlined suit (pictured above) shortly before dying. He actually died saving Captain America’s life, and his armor was placed in a memorial case in Avengers Mansion. Which later blew up.

The Porcupine could actually be a pretty formidible villain, if the suit were used by someone more skilled than Alex Gentry. Another Porcupine is currently at large, last seen in Thunderbolts, and he may be a real badass for all I know. At least there's still a Porcupine in the Marvel Universe. Note the date on that piece, though. Like most characters, even this "turkey" has potential.


Widgett Walls said...

I remember when I first saw his costume years ago I thought he must be Thatched Roof Man. "Shingles?! Shingles!!??" Or something.

Maxo said...

I like the old costume - he actually looks like a porcupine. Sorta. He also looks like a cross between an Eskimo and a straw hut.

Maaaan, now I'm a Porcupine fan!

Brian Hughes said...

I was wrangling with some joke about how Porcupine got off the hook because there was no Police code for "assault by haystack", but I scrapped it.

Citizen Stuart said...

I always liked the Porcupine, and I've always thought that his original suit would make good camouflage in a rural environment - it's very reminiscent of the ghillie suits used by Scottish gamekeepers when stalking deer.

I wasn't actually aware that he was deceased though - a great pity as the character was obvious Thunderbolts material.

leandromd said...

Yes! We will never forget him.
Also, I have written about him in my blog, when he died (the text is in Portuguese, I have not had time yet to post a English version...)