The Twelve: Mirror Images

Do the members of the Twelve seem familiar to you? We look at what modern Marvel stars they share some common traits with. Plus: preview art from THE TWELVE #3 by Chris Weston.

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By Jim Beard

THE TWELVE #3
preview art by
Chris Weston

THE TWELVE by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Chris Weston: the story of heroes from another time, strangers in a strange land—12 costumed characters from the 1940's end up in the here and now and must put their pasts to rest, for all who remember them have long passed on and the present just doesn't understand them. Or does it? If you're new to these heroes, you're not alone. The incredible story that Straczynski and Weston have dreamed up will make you love these mystery men—and woman—but we're thinking that a little tour of the Twelve and their conceptual counterparts in the mighty modern Marvel Universe might help. Their story may just now be unraveling, with two issues on the stands and a third on the way March 5, but the Twelve have already begun to make their mark on the world. The Black Widow—While the obvious choice in the Marvel Universe to compare this sultry siren seems to be the modern Black Widow, Ms. Claire Voyant actually has more in common with Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider. Johnny, like Claire, once believed his powers were provided by the Satan himself, and both heroes have suffered emotionally from that burden. Ghost Rider's past has taken on a new light of late—will the Black Widow's?

THE TWELVE #3
preview art by
Chris Weston

The Blue Blade—This snappy swashbuckler has a kindred spirit in that amazing archer, Hawkeye. These guys put "brash" on the map, "purple" on the planet, and "obnoxious" in orbit. That and their proficiency with their respective weapons-of-choice, of course. Captain Wonder—Yep, you guessed it: we're matching ol' Cap with none other than the original Captain America himself. They're both good joes, guys that you want to have watching your back when the going gets tough. Trustworthy, honest, and oh-so-patriotic—though Steve Rogers would never have run around with bare legs. Dynamic Man—Who's more dynamic in the super-hero biz than Wonder Man? There's the flair of an actor in Dynamic Man, just like in Simon Williams, and they both definitely try a bit too hard to be one of the gang. And their codenames couldn't be more similar—unless they were the same! Electro—Anybody out there remember Alpha Flight's very own Box? You know, Roger Boch's metal monstrosity that stood in for his arms and legs and enabled him to fight for truth and justice—from a distance? That's Electro all over, except his creator could be seen only on a weird tele-screen on the robot's head. Brrr…who's creepier?

THE TWELVE #3
preview art by
Chris Weston

The Fiery Mask—Commanding, take-charge, packed with power, a leader: all attributes that the Fiery Mask shares with the Invincible Iron Man. Able to mop the floor with an entire army, these two heroes have the strength, voice, looks, and surging energies to do what it takes to win—every time! The Laughing Mask—A hero with guts and boatloads of determination, but who hides a deformity, a handicap, beneath a dynamic visual, the Man Without Fear, Daredevil, seems to be a good match for the Laughing Mask. But watch out; neither of these guys have any compunction against breaking a few eggs to complete their missions. Master Mind Excello—Endowed with fantastic occult abilities and with an incredible flair for the paranormal, Excello would at first glance seem to be the Golden Age Dr. Strange, but actually he's much more like the unflappable Dr. Druid. Both men boast of having been trained in the mysterious East and both claim to be masters of clairvoyance, clairaudience, and all matter of metaphysical manifestations. Mr. E—Like a shadow descending on crime, this dark avenger swoops down on his vicious victims with a mind to make some mayhem. The Shroud also knows the

THE TWELVE #3
preview art by
Chris Weston

shadows, and knows too that sometimes a hero must embrace darkness to infiltrate the dens of evil. On top of that, they both hide something—the Shroud his scarred face, Mr. E his balding pate! The Phantom Reporter—Every group of super heroes has an everyman. One crimefighter whose demeanor anyone can identify with; a likeable guy with a few weird quirks…in this case, putting on a costume and crushing criminals. Ladies and gentlemen, consider the Phantom Reporter the Spider-Man of the Twelve. Unlike the wallcrawler, the Reporter possesses no powers, but he hates crime just the same…and like Spidey, he also worked for a newspaper! Rockman—This gigantic bruiser has been called the "Hulk" of the team—but he's really more akin to Namor the Sub-Mariner. Both rule fantastic, far-away realms; monarchs held dear by their peoples and prideful of their heritage. When Rockman travels away from Abysmia, he cannot help but think of his distant kingdom, like Namor and his beloved Atlantis. Their native countries remain as much a part of them as their own bodies.

THE TWELVE #3
preview art by
Chris Weston

The Witness—Look no further than Frank Castle, the Punisher, for the Witness' modern counterpart. The Witness' eyes can be difficult to look into, betraying a barely-contained rage and a capacity for violence that would shock a lesser man. The Punisher too has witnessed more than can be considered healthy for one's sanity, and both men have taken what they've seen and from it crafted their war against the guilty. THE TWELVE #3 heads to a location near you on March 5. While you're waiting, check out some other classic tales of the Golden Age with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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