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Like A Fool I Mixed Them – Who’s That Dude With the Jewel in His Chest?

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As you all know, superhero comic books are a serial medium, and superhero continuity, in particular, is an ever-changing status quo as characters change dramatically over the years. However, “classic” storylines are often viewed on their own and not as a part of whatever continuity was current at the time the story was released. As a result, when you look back at these storylines and the issues surrounding them, there often is a bit of a disconnect between viewing these stories as “timeless” and the reality that they are very much rooted in their own particular era.

This is the latest in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces looking at interesting overlaps in comic book continuity. Today, let’s look at the use of Bloodwynd in the Death of Superman (NOTE: This’ll take the place of Abandoned an’ Forsaked this week).

Enjoy!

Bloodwynd was a new addition to the Justice League during Dan Jurgens’ run on the title, a necromancer who gained powers from communicating with the spirits of the dead.

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I love superhero names like this, by the way. “Hello, I am Bloodwynd.” “Hey, Bloodwind, nice to meet you.” “No, not Bloodwind, Bloodwynd.” “That’s what I said, Bloodwind.” “No, you said Bloodwind. My name is Bloodwynd” etc. etc.

Anyhow, as it turned out, Bloodwynd was actually the Martian Manhunter in disguise. The REAL Bloodwynd (who really WAS a necromancer who gained powers from communicating with the spirits of the dead) was trapped inside the big Blood Gem by a demonic force ALSO trapped inside the Gem who then mind-controlled the Martian Manhunter to take the form of Bloodwynd until “Bloodwynd” could come across a superhero with just the right power source to help the demonic force escape from the Blood Gem (it eventually turned out to be the Ray, but in the end, the League stopped the demon and allowed the real Bloodwynd to return and for the Martian Manhunter to return to his own identity).

When the Death of Superman came around, though, no one knew Bloodwynd’s true identity yet.

So he was just some brand new guy fighting Doomsday along with the rest of the League…

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Bloodwynd even got to appear at the end of Superman #75, as part of the most famous sequence from the final part of the storyline…

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It was a bit odd to fans in 1992 to see this no-name guy (Bloodwynd was out of the Justice League within a couple of years and has only made a handful of appearances in the last 20 years), but it is REALLY odd for readers now, as the guy is such a foot note in comics history and there he is at the end of the Death of Superman.

30 Comments

So was the revelation that Bloodwynd was “real” a Xorn scenario? (i.e hey this fake character is cool let’s contrive that he is actually real)

So was the revelation that Bloodwynd was “real” a Xorn scenario? (i.e hey this fake character is cool let’s contrive that he is actually real)

My guess is that Jurgens intended Bloodwynd to be a real person right from the beginning.

Forget abour Bloodwynd… what is Bugs Bunny doing there??

So the Blood Gem demon’s scheme is to capture a sorcerer, turn someone else into a copy of that sorcerer, and then find a third party with the power to free it because, as we all know, brainwashed copies of sorcerers frequently encounter a wide variety of powerful beings? The ways of magic are strange and mysterious indeed.

when i got the trades of Death of Superman and the follow ons, I had no idea who any one was except Cat Grant, Lois, Clark/Supes, Perry and Jimmy Olsen since I’d never read a DC comic…

Ryan Costello, Jr

June 18, 2013 at 6:41 am

Wasn’t there a scene during the fight with Doomsday where Blue Beetle, who never trusted Bloodwynd, sees him revert to his true shape off panel and say “You? I knew you weren’t who you said you were all along,” before getting knocked into a coma?

@Ryan
Yeah there is, we don’t see it but it’s fairly obvious it’s the Martian Manhunter as it’s due to being hurt by fire.

@Nataniel–

Thanks! I always hated that smirking Bugs Bunny image at Superman’s death. It’s not impossible for someone to be wearing a random t-shirt at the scene of a tragedy, but I wish it hadn’t been included all the same. I mean, it’s staring right at you with this “Ain’t I a stinker?” look.

Bloodwynd:

That has got to be one of the most ’90s superhero names ever.

When I saw the title for this entry, I thought maybe it was going to be about Ulysses Bloodstone:

Who’s that dude with the jewel in his chest who won’t let monsters get any rest?
Bloodstone!
Well, all right.

I like this idea for a column.

Whenever I lend somebody my copy of ‘Infinity Gauntlet’, I invariably get asked the same question… “What’s the deal with Thor in this?” I kind of like the blend of “timeless” and “during that exact period when Superman was blue but Flash’s leg was still broken” nature of it all…

Considering this character’s powers, why was he not considered for Justice League Dark? I think he would fit well, but please change his costume.

Sean–

Ha! Your comment reminds me of the frequent complaints about “Age of Ultron”–”If this is taking place now, why is Spider-Man acting like Peter Parker and not Doctor Octopus?” The answer is because someday, somewhere, somebody would have picked up AoU for the first time and have been confused about why Spider-Man was talking like Ock.

As I recall, the fan press (read ‘usenet’) called Martian Manhunter right off the bat. The power set was too similar.

Andrew Collins

June 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

Gotta love names like this one. It makes playing the “Name your own 90′s superhero” game fun. Just combine any of the following words:

Blood, Rage, Strike, Dead, Death, Claw, Dark, War, Wild, or Star and- voila!- instant 90′s superhero.

Oh, and any colors are also in play, though negative points if your character is black and you use “Black” anywhere in the name…

From there, just add pouches, gritted teeth and the largest gun you can draw…

So the Blood Gem demon’s scheme is to capture a sorcerer, turn someone else into a copy of that sorcerer, and then find a third party with the power to free it because, as we all know, brainwashed copies of sorcerers frequently encounter a wide variety of powerful beings? The ways of magic are strange and mysterious indeed.

While yes, it is definitely a silly plan, the specific plan was to get the fake Bloodwynd to join the Justice League in particular, since a member of the Justice League DOES encounter a wide variety of powerful beings. And since the plan required controlling the hero by attaching the Blood Gem to them, the plan had to go with a shapeshifter, as otherwise, “Hey Ice, why do you suddenly have a big gem stuck to your chest?” would not go over well, I would imagine.

Ha! Your comment reminds me of the frequent complaints about “Age of Ultron”–”If this is taking place now, why is Spider-Man acting like Peter Parker and not Doctor Octopus?” The answer is because someday, somewhere, somebody would have picked up AoU for the first time and have been confused about why Spider-Man was talking like Ock.

If I recall correctly, the concept of Age of Ultron is that Ultron showed up from the future in the past and conquered the Earth. So the events of Age of Ultron are taking place in the present, but the actual attack took place in the recent past, so Spider-Man would still be Peter Parker then so that is why he is Peter Parker in the present. Essentially, Ultron’s attack made it so that Doc Ock never got the chance to take over Spider-Man’s body.

Since the start of Dan Jurgens JLA run, there was this mystical precense regarding Bloodwynd, which BB became quite obsessed with. So I believe Dan planned the John-as-Bloodwynd plot from the very start, but having there be a real Bloodwynd that must have come later and It just complicated matters further. Also there is a bloody good reason why BW isn’t used more often….he is quite a boring character.

Charles Knight

June 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm

No it’s Doc Ock – one of the tie-ins makes this clear – the reason in the main series it comes across as Peter is that it *is* Peter (confusing huh?) and that is simply because the majority of this was written and was suppose to be out almost two years ago.

I like the idea of this column. I have recently started reading Atlantis Attacks! Omnibus and there is so much in there that were the product of the time. Dr Strange has an eye patch. Dagger (of Cloak and…) is blind and flat chested. Mirage has different powers. All fun, good stuff.

@Charles–

I concur, although they had plenty of time to tweak the dialogue to reflect that it’s Ock. I suspect that they wanted to keep up the appearance that it’s Peter for the broad, mass-market audience so that Joe-non-comics-reader wouldn’t be confused by it.

It’s like in CIVIL WAR. Most comics readers knew that Daredevil wasn’t Matt Murdock, but Iron Fist. The main story made no mention of that and went out of its way to not show DD’s face, simply because Marvel didn’t want to confuse the publicity-driven readers.

@Purple Hayes–

I would love to see something on Strange’s eyepatch! I was heavily reading Marvel comics back then, and I still don’t know why he had the eyepatch, or why it later disappeared! (Nobody spoil it for me–let’s see if Brian covers that one.)

Charles Knight

June 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm

“My guess is that Jurgens intended Bloodwynd to be a real person right from the beginning.”

He did, I asked him on twitter.

I was always fond of the character. I even like the costume.

Essentially, Ultron’s attack made it so that Doc Ock never got the chance to take over Spider-Man’s body.

And then Marvel published a Superior Spider-Man AU tie-in where it’s Ock-as-Spidey anyway.

@Dominic
I liked Bloodwynd back then, too. I think the Jurgen’s JLA was excellent (like, except for how Fire spoke) and to short.

@Andrew Collins
That’s pretty good. I might spend part of this afternoon designing Rage-Star!

Yeah, I remember picking up this trade for $4 at Walmart right after the storyline had wrapped. (They did a super-quick printing of the trade; it even has an ad for the then-current “Funeral for a Friend” issues in the back.) I wasn’t too familiar with some of the characters since I hadn’t read many recent Justice LEague comics, but I had a decent idea of the basics of most of them(such as Booster and Beetle). I had no friggin’ clue who Bloodwynd was, though. I promptly forgot about him, and I never did find out who he was until I remembered him out of the blue a couple of years ago, and did a Google search to see what his deal was.

Thank you so much for finally telling me who that guy is. I figured out Ice pretty quickly, since she was a pretty regular DC character at the time, but ever since reading “Death of…” when I was like 10, I have always wondered who the hell the guy standing near Superman’s death scene in the goofy ’90s costume was.

Brian Cronin
June 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Ha! Your comment reminds me of the frequent complaints about “Age of Ultron”–”If this is taking place now, why is Spider-Man acting like Peter Parker and not Doctor Octopus?” The answer is because someday, somewhere, somebody would have picked up AoU for the first time and have been confused about why Spider-Man was talking like Ock.

If I recall correctly, the concept of Age of Ultron is that Ultron showed up from the future in the past and conquered the Earth. So the events of Age of Ultron are taking place in the present, but the actual attack took place in the recent past, so Spider-Man would still be Peter Parker then so that is why he is Peter Parker in the present. Essentially, Ultron’s attack made it so that Doc Ock never got the chance to take over Spider-Man’s body.

oh god, that made my brain hurt

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