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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Nu-Perspective: BANTAM

Welcome to another installment of Nu-Perspective, THEE home of revamps and updates of various underdeveloped, underutilized and all-but-forgotten Nubian (black) characters!!

And even though we’re in July we have a late June entry to post. June is Caribbean heritage month, and with me and my Nu-P collaborator Fabian Wood both being from Barbados, we wanted to spotlight our fellow Caribbean comic book brothers and sisters. So without further ado we give you your representative from Puerto Rico: BANTAM!!

Original Bantam look. Taken from google; artist unknown

And now our Nu-Perspective version....

Nu-Perspective Bantam design by Shawn Alleyne
Real Name: Pedro Vasquez
Current Alias: Bantam
Identity: Secret
Occupation: Former professional Luchador, Vigilante
Place of Birth: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Base of Operations: Puerto Rico
Affiliations: Avengers

Original first Appearance: Captain America Annual #12 (1993)
Original Creators: Mark Gruenwald, David Wohl

Story: Born on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, young and impoverished Pedro Vasquez was shunned and ostracized in his small town when he started to develop a mutation that left his body with a partially avian physiology. Raised in an orphanage all his life, Pedro had little self-confidence or courage, until the day he saw the superhero Bantam on television.
Learning “the Battling Bantam” had opened a gym in San Juan, Pedro tracked down his idol. Roberto Velasquez (Bantam) gave the young, impressionable man an inspirational speech, and pointers on standing up for himself; even promising him private training when he returned from the US. It would only be months later that Bantam would meet his end, when he and other pro-registration heroes tried to confront the unregistered hero Thunderclap.
Devastated by his hero’s unceremonious demise, Pedro’s hopes were crushed. Going back to Roberto’s gym one night, he spotted some looters hoping to pawn Bantam’s memorabilia. Indignant by this desecration, the diminutive Pedro leaped into action, but was unable to fend off the would-be robbers. The severe beating landing him in the hospital, but it also activated his body’s secondary mutation, allowing him to heal at an accelerated rate. After his discharge from the hospital, Pedro dawned the costume of his brief mentor and become the new Bantam.
Blurring the line between entertainment and real-life, Pedro became the super-star luchador in the local fighting circuit under the same name as his hero persona. In short order, Pedro’s fame grew, and he used his newfound good fortune to help the poor of his village and become an inspiration to the downtrodden youths all over the island. A national hero, his fame even reached the attention of Triathlon and Goliath, who approached him to join their new team of Avengers. Seeing this as a way to further honor the original Bantam, and bring awareness to the plights of his people, the now confident and resourceful Pedro quickly accepted the invitation.

Powers/Abilities: Pedro’s original mutation, which manifested during puberty, endowed him with avian characteristic such as feathers on his limbs and half his body, as well as bird-like scales on his feet, but made him very frail. His secondary mutation saw those characteristics disappear and morphed his body to be stronger (he can lift around 5 tons) with an accelerated healing factor. He has powerful legs which allows him to run as fast as a steed and leap higher and farther than Olympic athletes. He is capable of aero-kinesis, which he manifests by condensing air around his fists giving his blows devastating power. Combined with his strength this can increase the impact of his punches to around 10 tons. He has honed his eclectic luchador training of quick dodges, grapples, holds and throws to evade, subdue and defeat opponents. His fighting style also incorporates aspects of yoga, Brazilian ju-jutsu and capoeira. Pedro also has bird-like eyesight which is many times more accurate and perceptive than a normal human’s. With more training it is proposed that his control over air will grant him further defensive and offensive capabilities.

Paraphernalia: His new Avengers suit is reinforced, granting him the same level of durability as the original Bantam, who could shrug off basic ballistics. 


And there you have it. 

Now the original Bantam was killed in the Marvel U, but check out his original look and story and let us know if you like what we did with this revamp. Then see ya sooner than later for another Nu-Perspective.
What IS Nu-Perspective you ask? Well, it’s a bi-weekly column I started with my writing partner Fabian Wood with the purpose of spotlighting, revamping and updating various underdeveloped, underutilized and all-but-forgotten Nubian comic book and pop culture characters. Our goal is to showcase them in fresh, contemporary and exciting ways both visually and story-wise.   

Fine print: All characters are copyrights and trademarks of the respective publishers and creators. This column is used solely for artistic enjoyment. We aim to showcase Nubian characters in fresh, contemporary and exciting ways both visually and story-wise.

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