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Marvel NOW!

Psych Ward: Darkhawk

Can therapy session transcripts shed light on the location of this lost hero?

By Tim Stevens

Captain Rogers,

In light of Christopher Powell’s disappearance and your request, I’ve done my best to summarize his therapeutic experience and presentation. I have included all the material I could in respect to his Avengers-designated release. I wish I could provide you with more but until a court order is issued, I cannot break his confidentiality, even if our therapeutic relationship is no longer active.

Although nothing in particular stuck out to me in my file review, I do hope the information contained within will help you locate Powell.

If there’s more I or the staff can do, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Christopher Powell presents as a physically fit male in late adolescence/early adulthood. Although he was often brash over the course of on his erratic therapeutic experience, it was quickly clear that he suffered from significant anxieties and insecurities and used the presentation of overt confidence and lack of interest in working with others to mask those feelings.

Most of the client’s energies over the years have been focused on his costumed identity, the cosmic-powered vigilante known as Darkhawk. In this roles he served in the New Warriors, as an Avenger, and, most recently, as head of the security force at Project Pegasus.

Powell had a very ambivalent relationship with his alter ego throughout our therapeutic sessions. This sense seemed only to intensify over time, as the client gained more knowledge about where his power came from and what significance his “armor” held in the rest of the universe.

For one, the mechanisms that allowed Powell to become Darkhawk apparently involved a hijacking the “body” of a member of a dormant cosmic terrorist group known as the Raptors. Though Darkhawk continued efforts at justice, the sect was reawakened and, for a time, Powell lost control of the body and the terrorist took it over, using it to commit an act of terrorist assassination. In addition to having his life considerably complicated as he was forced to live as a fugitive, Powell also had to wrestle with feelings of guilt and responsibility. Additionally, as he was able to “see” the murder, he suffered with fairly vivid dream recollections of the crime that only served to increase his sense of being involved.

However, even before the client was aware of the Raptors, he struggled with how the armor affected his emotions. At times, he seemed stable, in control, and perfectly average for his age in emotional processing. At others, he was consumed by extreme mood swings that could often turn violent, although thankfully never directed at another person in a non-crime fighting or combat experience. This made the client fearful of himself and untrusting in his abilities to be a member of the super hero community. For a time, he sought out understanding with the west coast support group for former teen heroes dubbed by the community as the “Loners,” but that group’s eventual implosion only emphasized his difficult relationship with being someone who wanted to do good in the world and seemingly had the means to do so, yet feared that he was too out of control. He often spoke derisively of himself, labeling Darkhawk a “d-list loser,” when he felt most out of control.

Avengers Arena #4 variant cover by Bobby Rubio

The client also had struggles independent of his costumed identity, especially in reference to his family life. He was parentified in his teens by the loss of his father and does tend to bear an overwhelming sense of responsibility for his mother and younger siblings, which, in turn, often leaves him feeling further disappointed in himself as he has “failed” to provide in the way he should. Of all areas of our therapy, this seemed to be the one he made the most headway in, reconciling many feelings of guilt and shame and coming to accept his father as a flawed human being who would’ve been proud of how his son grew into the role of adult and head of household, not disappointed that Powell didn’t do it “better.”

Beyond his family and fellow super heroes, the client indicated no particularly significant interpersonal relationships. Additionally, he had no “favorite” spots to go, excepting his work at Pegasus which he was very proud of. Outer space did seem to be more of a draw for him as of late, but this writer certainly understands that that hardly offers a limited area to search.

Doctors Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker should be able to provide additional insight in the file labeled AVENGERS ARENA #1, available on December 12.

Tim Stevens, MA is a Psy D candidate who has experience in dealing with individuals who have difficulty with healthy, appropriate expression of emotion.

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