Forgotten Characters: Gauntlet and Southpaw
Whatever happened to Gauntlet and Southpaw?
One is a surly, loud-mouthed superhero drill instructor. The other is a rebellious teenage rapscallion. Both are wielders of gigantic, alien fists – but only on one hand each. And together, Gauntlet and Southpaw are one of the most clever ideas comic writer Dan Slott ever came up with.
But where the heck have they been hiding?
Dan Slott has had a very busy career writing for Marvel Comics, tackling everyone from She-Hulk to the Great Lakes Avengers. Now he’s the head Spider-Man writer, and has been guiding Marvel’s flagship character for years. So with this kind of prominence, how could two of his most interesting characters have disappeared? You’d think the guy would have enough pull to get them added to the Mighty Avengers or the New Warriors or something, right?
The mysteries of Gauntlet and Southpaw need to be revealed! Join me after the jump to learn a bit more.
Who are they?
Neither Gauntlet nor Southpaw has starred in their own comic or been anything more than a background supporting character – and therein lies their genius. As you can see in their pictures, both Gauntlet and Southpaw wear one half of a pair of alien super gloves.
You’d think this would make them a team, but they are absolutely not. I don’t even think Gauntlet and Southpaw have appeared together in the same comic. Slott was able to pull this off by being the writer of multiple comics at the same time, seeding his plan through the backgrounds of several different series and expecting his readers to be smart enough to pick up on it. Don’t worry, Mr. Slott, we totally are.
Southpaw debuted in the She-Hulk comic in 2004, as a rambunctious teenager who is taken under She-Hulk’s wing. Not every superhero needs a big, fancy origin story these days. Sometimes characters will just pop up fully formed, with their powers and costume already in place – like Southpaw. Nobody really questioned where she came from. She was just a supporting character in the She-Hulk comic, helping out from time to time until she disappeared by the time Slott stopped writing She-Hulk.
Gauntlet made his first real debut in Avengers: The Initiative in 2007 – a full three years after Southpaw was first introduced. Gauntlet was the drill sergeant at Camp Hammond, a training camp for superheroes. He was a military man who took his job seriously, like every drill sergeant you see in the movies. When that series came to an end, Gauntlet was sent back into military service in Afghanistan and hasn’t been seen since.
However, one issue of The Initiative gave readers a glimpse of where the gloves came from. Apparently two aliens were in combat above planet Earth, then died after passing through the atmosphere. Gauntlet – real name Joseph Green – was a soldier in the Middle East, and was the first to arrive at the crash scene. Gauntlet had to grab one of the alien gloves to help protect his team from some terrorists, and the glove bonded with him. How the left-hand glove came to bond with Southpaw is as yet unrevealed.
Both gloves are able to project big energy hands, which both Gauntlet and Southpaw use to punch bad guys, like you do.
Why should you care?
Because Gauntlet and Southpaw are such a fun example of the magic of comic books. Dan Slott trusted the readers to figure out their connection. He used the unpredictable nature of his writing career to weave his own little story in the background of several different comics and events. But he hasn’t closed the loop. The mystery of the gloves, Southpaw’s origin, and just the idea of them teaming up in general remain open to explore.
And considering Dan Slott is the head writer of Spider-Man, I think that means Marvel has put a lot of trust and faith into the guy. You’d think he’d have the clout to get their story told.
Why not put Southpaw on the new, upcoming New Warriors series? She’d be perfect! Or what about adding Gauntlet to one of the dozens of Avengers comics? He’s a superhero soldier operating in Afghanistan; how is that not a comic? Why aren’t there more comics about superheroes in the Middle East fighting alongside all our soldiers? Gauntlet would be the perfect hero to help America fight the war on terror. So get on that, Marvel! Dan Slott’s babies are overdue for some limelight!