UN-Forgotten Characters: Southpaw
He did it. That mad man did it!
At long last, after nearly two decades of build-up, writer Dan Slott has finally brought us the Reckoning War in the pages of Fantastic Four. And in doing so, he’s finally brought together the characters of Gauntlet and Southpaw as they were always meant to be: cannon fodder for an evil, alien suit of armor.
Most importantly for this moment, it’s Southpaw’s first appearance in more than a decade.
I haven’t been reading Reckoning War, so I can’t exactly comment on how awesome it probably is. But I did recently learn that this moment I’ve been waiting for for many years has finally arrived. Sort of. Not exactly the way I wanted it to go down, but it has happened nonetheless. And I think it’s a neat enough occurrence to mark the occasion.
Join me after the jump for why it’s a big deal that Southpaw is back!
So way back in the day, when Dan Slott first started writing major comics for Marvel, he started teasing something called the Reckoning War. And as part of his teases, he introduced two new characters: The Gauntlet and Southpaw. Each character had a giant, mechanical, alien gauntlet on their arm; one on the left arm and one on the right. But the magic was that Gauntlet and Southpaw were introduced in different comics and had nothing to do with one another.
Southpaw showed up first in the She-Hulk comic in 2004, and then The Gauntlet showed up in The Initiative in 2007. Two very different characters who never met or interacted, but they very clearly had matching alien gauntlet weapons (artistic interpretation aside).
Somehow, for some reason, Marvel and Slott didn’t do anything with the characters together. Southpaw disappeared after her She-Hulk appearances, while The Gauntlet was used every once and a while. He showed up when Slott wrote Iron Man a couple of years ago. I already did an UN-Forgotten Characters article on him.
I’ve been patiently waiting for something like this to happen. For Slott to be allowed to enact whatever grand or clever plan he had for Gauntlet and Southpaw. And it’s happened! Both characters showed up fighting in the Reckoning War in the recent Fantastic Four #43.
Where they still didn’t get to interact, and instead had their gauntlets forcibly ripped off by the bad guy.
What a darn shame. Fortunately, Southpaw survived the violent encounter, so maybe she’ll get to come back in some capacity at the end of the war? I dunno.
Slott also revealed that another original character, Grasshopper of the Great Lakes Avengers, got his power-legs from the same alien armor. The current Grasshopper was killed so that the bad guy could take the legs back, so that’s a solid running gag of Slott killing Grasshoppers.
So yeah, it’s not much of a reappearance. And it’s not the big team-up between Gauntlet and Southpaw I’ve been waiting for. But at the very least, it has happened, and Dan Slott got to make the magic happen. He even saw to it that both characters are wearing the costumes that were teased all the way back when he first mentioned the Reckoning War.
This is like the comic book version of Boyhood. More than a decade ago, a comic book writer teases a dangerous event that is going to happen years in the future, featuring some specific characters. And then real time actually passes and the future is here, so the dangerous event actually gets to happen with those specific characters. How neat is that?